Thank God I moved to Canada!
No, I had no idea in the late 1990s that Stephen Harper would eventually arrive in Ottawa to guide Canada out of the swamps of the sophisticated naiveté of Pierre Trudeau, the mixed messages of Brian Mulroney’s Conservatism and the warmed-over, second helping of Trudeau with Jean Chrétien.
Prime Minister Paul Martin, who preceded Harper, was almost a thing that never really happened. Almost as phantom-like as Prime Minister Kim Campbell.
“Just watch me,” declared Pierre Trudeau, and the world did indeed witness the Martial Embarrassment of Trudeau’s October Crisis.
That, of course, happened a few years before anyone in entertainment had even really heard of Michael Moriarty.
I was, however, hearing about Canada and Pierre Trudeau. The most legendary of French Canadian Prime Ministers soon symbolized all the “sophisticated” brilliance that… well… all sophisticated geniuses need in order to intimidate the rest of the world.
Pierre Trudeau had even frozen Marlon Brando in fear.
“That’s the most frightened I’ve ever been in my life,” said Brando. “He’s the most intimidating person I’ve ever met.”
Brando is famed for intimidating everyone else! Trudeau, therefore, had to be the unsurpassed essence of a fearsomely sophisticated bully.
At that time, however, I was an utterly brain-dead Liberal artiste! Trudeau, to my mind at the time, could do no wrong. That is until 1993 when I met Attorney General Janet Reno of the Bill Clinton administration and… well… the whole experience was akin to shock treatment or Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT), which, during my youthful year in London, England, I was personally more than sufficiently acquainted with. It took me 10 years to recover from that experience.
A similar form of shell-shock followed the face-to-face meeting with Janet Reno: I plunged myself, body and soul, into seemingly endless vats of red wine, good and bad, until the memory of Reno and the reality of my subsequent expatriatism became a foggy blur within the accompanying stupor of a delayed but unavoidably inherited alcoholism. Not only was I no longer a Liberal, but I was soon to learn the horrifying implications of the word “Progressive.” In short, the Progressive Conservative Party of Brian Mulroney meant, in the crudest of terms, watching The Game being routinely dealt from the bottom of the deck.
Following that, Canada and Canadians thought they could reignite the Trudeau magic with Jean Chrétien… but… well… there was only one Pierre Trudeau as I hope there will prove to be only one Barack Hussein Obama.
I also pray that the Obama Nation in the White House will terminate the October Crisis in America 2012 by not being reelected in November!
This now brings us to the divinely welcome arrival of Stephen Harper.
I had been a fervent supporter and booster of Stockwell Day.
I stayed quite loyal to him for quite some time.
He retired last year, not seeking reelection.
Oh, well… as I’ve said, “Thank God for Stephen Harper!”
Here is Harper’s most courageous decision so far: closing Canadian embassies in Iran and expelling Iranian ambassadors from Canada.
His bravery was immediately rewarded by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation.
At the award ceremony and aside from the mistake of overpraising Henry Kissinger,
with whom I have more than a number of bones to pick, Stephen Harper presented the heart of his governing philosophy throughout this acceptance speech.
He begins with this:
“In a globe of conflicting
and competing interests,
it is far too easy
to set aside the silent
and subtle appeals
of the conscience.
“But, if we do,
the world is lost.”
Despite the low-key, Canadian style, Prime Minister Harper is more the poet than the politician.
However, he’s not one to live in a white tower. He’s on the ground wherever he sees threats to human rights.
As the classic Canadian, however, he knows how to help, when to help and when not to help. When to simply think things over before you act:
“You have made it your life work
to take the horrors of your own experience
and to use them
to remind us of something truly hopeful:
and human dignity
of every person.”
Dr. Karl Menninger described sanity as “The Vital Balance.”
Here is Stephen Harper discussing The Vital Balance required for world leadership:
“We Canadians, for example,
are very conscious of our own sovereignty
and we expect our governments
to make pragmatic decisions
in Canada’s national interest.
we also want those governments
to be good world citizens,
to try to understand other points of view
and to act in concert with our partners,
for the wider interests
Then he strikes to the heart of the contemporary matter:
When confronted with evil in the world,
we do take a stand;
we take strong,
principled positions in our dealings,
Canada pulled its ambassadors out of Iran four days before the 9/11 attack upon the American Ambassador in Benghazi, Libya. It was neither a popular decision among Liberals nor a panicky action prompted by one incident. The orders obviously came from Stephen Harper’s intensely weighed estimate of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s insanely provocative and tyrannical reign in Iran.
“That is, of course, not the same thing, friends,
as trying to court every dictator
with a vote at the United Nations
or just going along with every emerging international consensus,
Now here he comes to the heart of his message:
“The years through which we are now passing
seem to be times of extraordinary change,
as if some great hand
is spinning the wheel of history.
Nations with a history of shared values,
like many of our friends in Europe,
(and south of Canada’s border)
are weighed down by debts
they cannot seem to control,
by entitlements they can no longer afford,
and by sluggish economies
that show few signs of growth.
new powers are rising,
whose commitments to our ideals
are often neither firm
All of whom are involved in President Obama’s vaunted “Arab Spring.”
“What appears to some
a hopeful spring
an angry summer
seem to come back to life,
energizing groups who advocate terror
seek nuclear weapons.”
Only such wisdom in the Prime Minister could see the glaring contradiction-in-terms that we now live in:
“The world is probably a freer
and more democratic place today
when I look at it
than at any point in my lifetime.
rarely has the future
of the free and democratic world
been less secure.”
Then Prime Minister Harper sounds the strongest alarm bell:
“Other countries, however,
a clear and present danger
and thus demand
a very sober assessment.
“First among these
is the Government of Iran.”
Here is one of the few leaders of the world courageous enough to speak undiplomatically:
“I believe that the appeal of our conscience
requires us to speak out
against what the Iranian regime stands for.
it requires us to speak
in support of the country
that its hatred most immediately threatens,
the State of Israel.”
Finally comes a one-sentence paragraph that demands a repeated echo from the loftiest pulpits we can find on earth:
“And we are also mindful
of a lesson of history,
who single out the Jewish people
as a target
and religious bigotry
be a threat
to all of us.”
Stephen Harper is Winston Churchill without Churchill’s flair for self-promotion.
Harper is Harper.
Harper is, in essence, the best of Canada.
To my mind, the best leader that Canada ever had to offer.
Mitt Romney, God willing he should be elected, will have a challenge ahead of him to remain even neck-and-neck with what is now the greatest leader of the Free World: Stephen Harper.