Authors have devoted entire books to trying to decipher and understand Stephen Harper. But is he really that complex? I’d say his pattern of behaviour over recent years has given Canadians a rather clear sense of who he is.
He’s the only leader of a G8 country who also happens to be a seven-year-old boy.
Skeptical? The proof begins atop the prime ministerial head. A seven-year-old boy has the haircut of a seven-year-old boy. So does Stephen Harper.
But it goes beyond that. Let’s examine the behavioural characteristics of a typical seven-year-old—as taken from a variety of child development resources—and see how our PM checks out.
— Your seven-year-old may be rude, critical and impatient.
Hmm. Sounds vaguely familiar.
— He is the centre of his own world and tends to be boastful.
Canada’s back, baby. It’s back because of me. I MADE CANADA BACK!
— Generally, he is rigid, negative, demanding; he exhibits tantrums.
Okay, this is starting to get uncanny.
— He begins to place his name on everything to demonstrate ownership and exert control.
For decades, civil servants stubbornly insisted on referring to the government of Canada by the unclear term “the government of Canada.” But now, thanks to Harper’s decree that it must be called “the Harper government,” we will no longer get the government of Canada mixed up with all the other Canadian federal governments out there.
Of course, at this rate, it’s just a matter of time until government expense accounts are replaced with Harperdiems and bureaucrats are forced to buy their snacks from a Stephending machine. Little-known fact: when you lift up Industry Minister Tony Clement, you can see the name “Stephen” written in Sharpie on the bottom of his shoe.
— He changes the facts of what happened to seem smarter in retrospect.
So does Harper. Remember the recession that he said couldn’t happen because it hadn’t already happened? Now he acts as though he knew it wasn’t going to not happen. That’s because while all of us are playing checkers, Harper is off playing chess—which may help to explain why he seems to have no friends.
— A seven-year-old cannot tolerate being wrong, so he goes to any lengths to explain things away.
So does Harper. Consider his reaction when the Federal Court of Appeal ruled the Conservatives had violated our election laws with their “in-and-out” financing racket.
First, Harper called it an “administrative dispute”—which is like getting caught cheating on your wife and trying to dismiss it as an “anatomical incident.”
He then downplayed the ruling, claiming there have been “different court decisions on this particular matter.” That’s an interesting take on how our justice system works. Last I checked, court is not a best-of-five thing. You cannot, for instance, lose at the Supreme Court and still claim to have squeaked out a thrilling three-to-two court victory.
(By the way, one of the Conservative insiders charged by Elections Canada tweeted that anyone who thinks Harper knew about the illegal financing scheme is “an idiot.” That claim makes perfect sense because Harper is renowned for his laid-back, hands-off style of management.)
— He blames someone else when something goes wrong.
Check. His failure to win Canada a seat on the UN Security Council? The fault of Michael Ignatieff. His failure not to stack the Senate with partisan hacks? The fault of the opposition. His failure to dress himself without the advice of a psychic personal stylist? Surely the fault of the seventh house of Jupiter.
— He is angered when others gang up against him and may “take his ball and go home.”
So is Harper, though he tends to prorogue the ball for a good two months at a time.
Listen: it’s not all bad having a PM who happens to be a seven-year-old boy. At least it makes his actions predictable. Will any of us be surprised if Harper falls to the ground and starts screaming in public when he doesn’t get the toy he wants (a majority)?
Sure, our little boy may make us cringe now and then with his childish ways. But we can always look to the future and imagine what he’ll be like when he finally grows up.