As you read this, it is quite possible Stephen Harper is tucking himself into a nice big comfy loveseat in the corner at 24 Sussex Drive with an apple fritter and a double double savouring his hotly contested and hard-won majority government. Yes, there is a lot of blood on the floor, some of it his, but it was worth it and he is determined not to waste the opportunity.
Of course, it is just as possible he is standing in the hallway throwing apple fritters at the painting of Lester B. Pearson in absolute frustration at, yet again, failing to achieve a majority endorsement from a country writhing with regional politics and unrelenting second-guessing about who he is and what he stands for.
It is unlikely he will be curled up on the bean bag in the basement, with his hair uncombed, his face unshaven and shirttails hanging out.
One way or another he is still our prime minister.
As I write, it is Sunday morning, April 17, 2011. This is not a blog. It is a column. I purposely continue to run at this speed and leave the tweeting and broadcasting to others. I am writing without knowing who might put their foot in it next week and change the direction of the election or whether it will continue as a sideshow squeezed between hockey games.
Helena Guergis, the ex-cabinet minister (remember her), just had her last 15 minutes of fame outlining how she was run out of the Tory party under allegations of fraud, exhortation and prostitution by the PMO.
No truth to it of course, but she was bugging the PM and he did what he had to do: destroy her reputation. The police have gone home, but sadly Helena is not a sympathetic figure. She will get trounced in the election where she is running as an independent and, with that, allow us to forget how shocking this government’s behaviour actually is.
At this stage, we are aware of two Tory Senators charged with fraud. We are informed of the PM’s former assistant Bruce Carson, who actually is a convicted fraudster who was squiring a former prostitute about town while trying to obtain lucrative business for her (mercifully not her primary profession) with the federal government.
We have seen the leak from the auditor general’s office about the extraordinary pork barreling in the G20 extravaganza (although nice to see some ill-begotten gains spread north of the 407), been told of a Tory candidate who belonged to a banned terrorist organization, observed Tory functionaries throwing people out of rallies for having the temerity to be on Facebook with an opposing political figure, noted people being requested to show up in full ethnic garb for a photo op with the PM, which causes us to forget the old stuff like the contempt of Parliament, the negative advertising campaigns and an admitted lying minister who got to keep her job. One can forgive Helena’s incredulity.
Nobody seems to care. Harper at this point has been masterful making the incredible seem ordinary, and the Liberals have taken ordinary to a new level. Jack Layton is popular but going nowhere in terms of seats.
It is difficult to see the potential of this great country through our national political actors. They are Lilliputians in a giant land. I am lucky to have footprints in Northern and southern Ontario where I grew up, Quebec (where I was born), the Maritimes with my roots, and the West coast where I have family. This country is better than its beer ads but we are punching below our weight politically, strategically, environmentally, internationally and commercially. We are dining out on our bountiful resources and the historical prudence that saved our bacon through the financial meltdown. The current crowd had nothing to do with it.
Where there is hope is in our communities where we volunteer, innovate, invest, trade, teach, plan, compete and raise families. We are diverse, bright, creative and hopeful. It is the great counterbalance to the failure of our national Parliament.
The lesson of this election for me is to remember where the power is. It is at home in our city-states and communities where we have the freedom to demand better values, build capacity, exercise compassion and outlaw the race to the bottom.
It allows me to cope with this gruesome spectacle.