Note: the author is a conservative who has never belonged to the Reform party or the Canadian Alliance, and came to support merger only after the PCs were reduced to 12 seats in the 2000 election.
I volunteered to be the interim secretary of the GTA Presidents’ council when Brett Snider founded it last year. When I was asked – repeatedly – to stand for the position of permanent secretary, one of the reasons I declined was the involvement of Carol Jamieson, who in recent years has been slowly destroying her enviable reputation as a political organizer, replacing it with a reputation as a political wing nut. My decision was vindicated when she reportedly appeared at the party’s March policy convention, flogging buttons attacking Stephen Harper. Now she has come out publicly calling for Harper’s resignation.
Carol’s claim that Peter MacKay magnanimously declined to run for leader because he believed the new party needed a new face is laughable: MacKay didn’t run because he knew he couldn’t win, and the same likely applies to whatever contenders Carol is referring to who were scared off by Harper. But if the first rationale is what MacKay wants people to believe, then it is a rationale that creates an obstacle to him running for leader next time, unless he wants to be accused of another Orchard-style flip-flop. His campaign-in-waiting should really be a little more careful about these things.
Carol and the others who promoted Belinda Stronach as a viable prime minister (come on down, Mike Harris and Bill Davis!) bear a good deal of the responsibility for elevating her to a position where she (1) eclipsed the many smarter and better-qualified MPs in our caucus (e.g. Peter Van Loan) and (2) gained the profile to inflict serious short-term damage on the party she herself helped found – damage which she gave little thought to inflicting.
Tony Clement was his usual astute self when he observed that Belinda sucks all the oxygen out of a room. Sadly, little of that oxygen seems to reach her brain stem. I suspect that the main reason Harper hired none of Belinda’s acolytes is because accommodating their pay demands would first require the firing of multitudes. (I wonder whether Carol thinks that now that Harper has fired multitudes, he should still hire Belinda’s people.)
Then Carol undercuts all she has just written, with her view that “the new Conservative Party of Canada had no chance of convincing the Canadian electorate that it was any different than the Canadian Alliance once it picked Stephen Harper as its first leader.” So Carol never supported Harper from the get-go and everything that has happened since has served to confirm that view. So where’s the news here?
I did not support Stephen Harper for leader, but I am frustrated and mystified at why so many in the media and even in our own party are so quick to conclude that he is to blame for the opportunism, venality and incompetence of others. Harper does not strike me as a man who has been plotting and scheming his entire adult life to live at 24 Sussex (unlike the current occupant), but who has reluctantly stepped forward on occasions when he looked around and saw the alternatives were no better qualified or staffed than he. I suspect that the antics of the Carol Jamiesons of the party do little to alter that view.