party time

It’s election time again -- a time when Canadians will have watched their potential leaders squabble, debate and go to the polls before the Americans have even gotten to the voting stage of their long, long decision-making.

I know the Oct. 14 date will come as a great shock to Canadians, what with the prime minister being so secretive about an election call and all….

(Does sarcasm translate in blogs?)

But in the spirit of getting-to-know-the-man, I am reading* Right Side Up, by Paul Wells, all about how Harper managed to win the 2006 election.

I’m not generally a fan of Wells -- there’s something about his writing that smacks of a smirk. An all-knowing, kind of constant smirk.

But I’m digging the tale so far.
How’s this for getting to know the man?
“Before us all stood Stephen Harper, forty-two years old. Taciturn, self-assured, and, if you must know, a bit woozy. An inner-ear infection was keeping him out of airplanes. An Alliance staffer had driven him through the Rockies from Calgary, like Hannibal minus the elephants.

“Most of the reporters in the room had had occasion to chat with Harper, but not lately. ‘We had an active strategy from about February until he declared he was in the race: He didn’t do a single media interview,’ a close friend of Harper’s said later. ‘Complete radio silence…. Which is a pattern in Harper’s life: You don’t need to be in the media to be politically successful.’” (p. 3-4)

These graphs are from the very start of Wells’s book, leading off at the end of 2001 when Stockwell Day was hilariously sinking in his wetsuit.**

Casting a bigger, smirkier look at the political landscape as a whole in those days, Wells also describes what was going on with the Liberals:
Chretien once said it was ‘fine for people to organize for the leadership,’ Martin told us. ‘In fact, he even encouraged some candidates… to present their candidature.’ Now Chretien had pulled that rug from under everyone’s feet. ‘That’s his prerogative. I just really don’t know how this is going to work. I don’t know what it means.’

“When you and I don’t know what something means at work, do we call the boss and ask? Do we send an email? Do we have our secretary call the boss’s secretary and ask? By God, we don’t! When you and I are confused by something the boss says at work and we really don’t know how it’s going to work and we are
earnest about wanting to find out, we hold a news conference, live on all-news TV, from the basement of a union hall. Just as Paul Martin was doing now.” (p. 28-29)
That part is from the spring of 2002. I actually laughed out loud while reading it, and clearly the emphasized bits are courtesy of the columnist, not me.
Cross your fingers, folks -- I’m sure there will be lots more to giggle at in the weeks to come.

* I am also still reading Mark MacKinnon’s The New Cold War, because it’s an excellent, inspiring piece of journalism. Also, Trudeau and Our Times, because I’m on a bit of a historical/political bent at the moment. And, Alice Hoffman’s Turtle Moon, because sometimes my head hurts and all I want to read is candy.

** Image from here

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