Harper proves critics wrong
[PoliticsWatch Updated 2:00 a.m. January 24, 2006]
|Stephen and Laureen Harper on the campaign
trail in Quebec City.
Stephen Harper has had his ups and downs.
But even before this election was called an objective observer would
have to say there were really more ups than downs.
Harper's rise to power was rapid.
To put things in perspective, Harper was a mere legislative
assistant to an opposition MP in 1989, when a large chunk of the
existing press gallery on the Hill was going after the Mulroney
Now he's the next prime minister and those same reporters will be
going after him.
But unfortunately had Harper lost this election, his legacy would
have been that of a man who could not connect or appeal with
Canadians. Just like Robert Stanfield, but with fewer admirers in
And everyone would have remembered the downs.
It would have overshadowed the work he had done in just four years
upon returning on the federal scene.
In that short time, Harper won the leadership of a divided Canadian
Alliance party, and put it back together as a strong opposition
party in the House. He then organized talks within weeks after Peter
MacKay won the leadership of the PC Party that led to the uniting of
the two conservative parties. Harper then won the leadership of that
party, including delegates in Ontario, against two Ontarians -- Tony
Clement and Belinda Stronach.
In a short amount of time, Harper had a major hand to play in making
Canada a functioning democracy again where an opposition party could
win power from the Liberals.
Even if he had lost this election and had left politics, he would
have made his mark.
In the weeks and days leading up to this election, Harper was openly
criticized as an unelectable by the so-called experts in Ottawa --
none of whom have ever been elected prime minister -- and many of
whom had predicted Paul Martin would rule Canada for 10 to 12
Here's a look at the top five expert quotes about Harper in just the
|Belinda Stronach said Harper didn't
understand the complexities of Canada.
"I regret to say that I do not believe the party leader is truly sensitive to the needs of each part of the country and just how big and complex Canada really is."
Belinda Stronach, May 17, 2005
"The time has come for Stephen Harper to stop dreaming that his destiny is 24 Sussex Drive. That day will only come if one of its residents invites him over because they are looking for a stick-in-the-mud dinner guest.
"Harper did a good thing (as Martha would say) in engineering the merger and in doing so, has made a valuable contribution to the conservative cause in Canada. However, the Canadian electorate is finished with him. they have made up their minds and have spoken in poll after poll. For him to stay now merely adds insult to the injuries and further damages the conservative franchise in this country.
"If Harper does not recognize this and move on, the electorate will be finished with us too and the CPC will not survive."
A Toronto Conservative Party member, Carol
Jamieson, whose opposition to Harper was the focus of a number
of Globe and Mail stories over the summer.
"Stephen Harper is now typecast, fairly or not, as the grim reaper of Canadian politics. But there is not enough will among the party's rank and file to drive him out. The party doesn't need that kind of bloodbath. The only hope for a change would be if the leader, for the good of the team, voluntarily resigned and called a leadership convention for January.
"These reservations aside, however, Peter MacKay is still clearly, as Liberals themselves attest, the Conservatives' best hope against Paul Martin.
"Stephen Harper might do well to think about this, and recall the time the Nova Scotian cleared the decks for him."
Martin, Globe and Mail columnist, October 6, 2005
|Former prime minister Kim Campbell
"Their (the Conservative party's) positions are too socially conservative, I think, to form a government in
Canada. People may like their fiscal policies but they're frightened by their social conservatism…It's a pity because it denies people a choice on policy issues."
Former Prime Minister Kim
Campbell, December 1, 2005
"In short, disorganization and inexperience at the very top of the Tory team -- and a destructive disdain for the media -- has all the ingredients to make Harper's campaign of hope hopeless by Jan. 23.
"This week, the media following Harper officially nicknamed his campaign plane (okay, it was my idea):
'Mister Happy's Flying Circus.'"
"No way to run a country."
Weston, Sun Media, December 4, 2005
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