When Brutus is in the House? Backstabbing takes on new meaning
Terrance Gavan – Shrike Editor
[quote] HILL TIMES- SOURCE –Top Conservatives are criticizing Prime Minister Stephen Harper for throwing his former chief of staff Nigel Wright “under the bus” by accusing him of “deception” and are warning that if Mr. Wright decided to return the fire, this strategy could backfire and prove to be disastrous. “You don’t want to push somebody’s loyalty too far. Nigel is a man who values his reputation but, like any human, he will have a certain degree of tolerance. You don’t want to go beyond that point of tolerance,” said one top Conservative in an interview on not-for-attribution basis with The Hill Times last week. [/quote]
One day the shit will hit the fan and Stephen Harper’s mug will be “full of it.” These are my predictions, delivered precariously from the outer edges of the parliamentary zeitgeist. I’m not sure if we’ve ever had a prime minister who was this whistle-blowing quick to dime out a best friend.
I’m pretty sure that Mr. Trudeau would never have treated his friend Michael Pitfield in such a brusque manner. But then again, I don’t think that the Right Honourable PE Trudeau would ever have asked his good friend to front a nefarious conspiracy.
Probably because he had too much respect for his friends. [quote]Michael Pitfield became Clerk of the Privy Council of Canada and Secretary to the Cabinetunder Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau from 1975 to 1979, and again from 1980 to 1982. Because of his close association with Trudeau, he was replaced during the ministry of Joe Clark, but returned following the 1980 election that returned Trudeau to power.[/quote]
I bring this up only because Mr. Harper’s harping and griping about his former Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright, is showing some of his colleagues (if they had any doubts) and a lot of Canadians just what kind of mean sonofabitch this guy really is. The Liberals and The NDP have known it for years. His backbenchers sure know what kind of controlling bastard he is.
But the fact that Hardhair has seen fit to stomp upon any vestige of loyalty to his once and now removed friend and adviser, gives all who have eyes to see an insight into the inner workings of Stephen Harper’s persona – non grata. Think on this. Members of the PC Party have sought anonymity in print just to relieve themselves of that unusually cloistered clusterfuck of a PMO just to tell Canadians what they think of Harper’s unseemly and disgusting backroom boyz behavior.
The Hill Times quotes that balkanized source inside the PC tent with a pretty unveiled threat to Stephen Harper that Nigel Wright may indeed do a Duffy, if he continues to slander him in the press, in the House and indeed in full frontal mode before a convention of the whole last weekend in Calgary.
I don’t know if Mr. Harper is up on his prime ministerial history, but there is some precedent for the issuance of this warning from a top Tory insider. Need we go to long knives edition 3, when Paul Martin and Jean Chretien went at each other because? They just plain did not like each other. And they both had a party to lead. And they both had some enemies in the ranks.
For Martinites? Mr. Chretien was just too… well? Too. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The dynamic of the battle rested on PE Himself… Whose imprimatur was sought by both camps. PET, ironically in terms of this discussion, is a guy who actually did more to bring a centralized regime from the House of Commons to the PMO/PCO than anyone before or after. Except for now.
If the elder Trudeau did, as is commonly accepted, more to install the PMO and PCO as the engines driving the government of the day, well, Mr. Harper has done his darndest to inculcate a top down paradigm that surpasses Mr. Trudeau’s efforts to republicanize the Canadian political framework.
Pierre Himself’s backbenchers were often labeled ‘trained seals’ by conservative opposition leaders like Joe Clark. Mr. Harper’s backbench is seen of late to be in open revolt against their leader’s efforts to silence their own contributions to the House.
Because Mr. Harper had some hard work in the beginning, attempting to corral the effusive right wing ramblings of the former Reformers in the party, a rednecked bunch who were not averse to spouting various racially unsteady rants, Mr. Harper’s efforts to stymie his backbench was viewed as a necessary safeguard while the PCs were attempting to solidify a national platform.
But his totalitarian bulwarks has, if anything, only grown in scale as he and the party insiders (including at one point, ironically, his very close friend and ally Nigel Wright) sought to insulate the PMO from the party proper. Anyone who has taken Political Science 101 knows that the parliamentary system was intended to include the party backbench and cabinet as the intrinsic drivers of legislation. The caucus used to mean what caucus is supposed to mean.
To wit : A committee within a political party charged with determining policy.
So Pierre Himself was certainly’ les guy’ responsible for mangling the British notion of caucus. But make no mistake… Mr. Harper has completely erased any and all notion of a polymorphous caucus.
If you heard the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark meandering about leadership and responsibility in a tete-a-tete with the Pastor, Peter Mansbridge last week? You would have seen Joe the Blow go toe-to-toe with that notion of the balkanizing of the caucus. Joe is consistent. He shat all over Trudeau when that prime minister along withPitfield and Gord Osbaldeston (Clerk of the Privy Council) were working tirelessly to entrench their intransigent backroom management systems back in the 1980s.
Joe Clark is not a fan of Stephen Hardhair and there are an increasing number of insiders and backbenchers who are thinking hard on reinstating that notion of caucus.
Where a leader is beholden to the rank and file.
And not the other way around.
The Long Knives are out.
And some Tory Brutus – you can bet your ass – is in the wings waiting for a chance to stab the Emperor in the nutsack. Prick him where it hurts.
Springtime for Hitler? Always followed by that winter of discontent.
Be it in Stalingrad or 24 Sussex.
Get Terrance Gan @terrancegavan.