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Monday, January 25, 2016
Kumbaya from the Hate Party of Canada
Have you seen this man? Stephen Harper’s disappearing act
He does not haunt us still.
If it hadn’t been a normal part of an orderly transition of power, the almost complete disappearance of former prime minister Stephen Harper might be a subject of more speculation — or at least curiosity.
Harper stepped down as Conservative party leader on election night in October, made a couple of shadowy entrances and exits on Parliament Hill in December … and then vanished completely from the public eye.
Canada is a country accustomed to changing seasons (occasionally, in some parts of the country, four seasons in one day). So one assumes we can easily adapt to changing prime ministers.
What’s remarkable, though, is how even the Conservatives seemed to have moved on quickly from the Harper decade.
The interim Conservative leader, Rona Ambrose, appears to have forgotten (or is hoping that Canadians have forgotten) some significant features of Harper’s government. Ambrose released a letter this week, for instance, asking for a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss the economy before he releases his first budget — as though consulting with the opposition was something that happened all the time over the past 10 years. (It was not, and it didn’t.)
Ambrose actually has become a vocal champion of transparency, as surely as Tony Clement, the former Treasury Board president, is now voicing second thoughts about the decision to abolish the mandatory long-form census. And the new, de-Harperized Conservative party is, apparently, now in favour of an inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women — and not so enthusiastic any longer about making arms deals with Saudi Arabia.
On that last item: Clement was demanding details last week on the $15 billion agreement to sell combat vehicles to the Saudis — an agreement his own government signed. He did acknowledge, at least, that these are details his old boss wouldn’t have released.
“So don’t take the signal from the last government. If you want to be true to your principles and values, which the Conservative party under new leadership shares, let’s move forward,” Clement said.