Saturday, December 13, 2008

Conrad Black on Harper vs. Ignatieff

I was pleased to see that Conrad Black published an article today about the current political situation in Canada, in particular focusing on the Liberal and Conservative leaders. I'm currently reading Black's excellent biography,The Invincible Quest: The Life of Richard Milhous Nixon. What makes it compelling reading is his ability to describe the tactics and intrigue of the political process. (I will have a review of this book coming soon.)

Despite his current predicament, his sense of humour and wit are still intact. Laurier vs. Macdonald, Ignatieff vs. Harper

Michael Ignatieff removed any lingering doubt that he had the character to lead when he did not scheme against the hapless Dion, and kept his distance from the hare-brained exploration of a coalition government with Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe. Canada needs, and surely deserves, deliverance from the sort of nasty, hyperactive political adolescents who confected that mad enterprise.

I think Black might be a bit too generous here. It wouldn't be a stretch of the imagination that Iggy schemed against Dion. Also, during his interview with CBC this week, he was unsuccessful in distancing himself from the coalition. I think the Tories will pound home that he was a signatory of this agreement over and over. He'll have to dream up a convincing counter-measure to this attack. He hasn't yet.

Perhaps because of the brilliance of the Florida summer sun, compounded by the foibles of my American hosts, I have been conducting a completely unnoticed, rear-guard argument in favour of the theory that Stephen Harper is something of a Mackenzie King, an ungalvanizing public personality but a cunning political operator.

It is conceivable that there was an element of calculation in his suggestion of ceasing to finance political parties, reviewing some of the rigidities of pay equity, and revisiting the right to strike in the public service. These are all respectable policy options, and my impression is that the country was more offended by the absurd opposition response than by Harper's heavy-handed, yet sneaky and reckless introduction of these thoughts in a financial message. This episode should be out of mind when the budget is presented in January, but Harper can still revive these issues more promisingly, later.

Read it all.


  1. Who cares what this convicted criminal thinks about anything? If he was half as smart as he obviously thinks he is, he wouldn't be in the hoosegow now and for the next five years. But he stole from the rich in the USA and got caught at at. How clever is that?


  2. So then because Socrates was a convicted "criminal", who cares what he said? Some people, myself included, think Black's conviction was bogus.

  3. Black is not what I would call an "honorable" person, however his knowledge of how the world works is worth reading. You don't rise that fast and high and then crash as hard as he did without learning a thing or two.

    This jail sentence might be just the thing he needed to remove his thick layer of pretension and reveal a great writer.