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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday 2 January 2014

Stephen Harper: The Winter Soldier

It's really hard not to fall into Game of Thrones references these days - they just apply so well to the current political landscape.  We have devious leaders playing selfish, destructive games; we have a society that is beyond frustrated with the failing system in place today and, of course, there's a lingering anger/fear of something bad on the horizon.

But there's something else at play here; something no less uncomfortable, something the same leaders who consider themselves Machiavellian manipulators par excellence are missing - largely because it's almost against their nature to do so.

Our society has been outgrowing the ability of our current systems - educational, healthcare, political, jurisdictional - for a while now.  Without big threats on the horizon, our leaders and their supporters have been focused on consolidating power and bending wills rather than crafting solutions and bringing people together.  Canada has been safe - that's why it's been so resistant to the adaptations other nations have embraced.

Winter has been coming for some time, yet we have sapped ourselves of the will to evolve with the times.  We are woefully unprepared systematically and culturally for what's to come.  

Which is where Stephen Harper comes in.

Harper has been escalating power consolidation, starving government agencies, starving not-for-profits and undermining the very fabric of our democracy.   He plays the divide-and-conquer game; he punishes critical thought from anyone who doesn't reside within his inner circle or otherwise think the way he does.  

Harper has also been shutting himself off from the real world, meaning he's lost touch with the pulse of the nation.  

When you think you're an empire-builder, after all, the reality of the plebes doesn't matter.  You tell them what to think; their job is to fall in line.

History tells us how well that approach works.  There certainly are enough examples to turn to.  They also provide precedents for Harper himself.

While he thinks of himself as a successful politician, a man above, Harper is actually nothing more than a functionary.  If it wasn't him in the role he now plays, it would have been someone else.  In fact, there are many out there right now who are playing the same part.

Our Prime Minister may think he is irrevocably shrinking government and remolding Canada into a permanently conservative country; he's wrong.  Harper is simply serving as political brushfire, clearing out old growth to allow for the emergence of more evolved, more progressive structures and ideas.

In this sense, Harper is the perfect non-leader for our times, a soldier clearing the decks for what's to come next.

After all, winter is invariably followed by spring.

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