"When Joe Clark’s portrait was unveiled in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Stephen Harper skipped the event, a classless act of petty personal vindictiveness." - Jeffrey Simpson's column in the Globe yesterday
Simpson captured the truth very eloquently with "petty personal vindictiveness". I tend to think of Harper as someone who's a savvy political operative, but really he's more motivated by petty personal vindictiveness than by political smarts.
On Thursday Harper snubbed astronaut/MP Mark Garneau by excluding him from the unveiling of the Canadarm exhibit at Ottawa's Space Museum. There was no reason except that Garneau is a Liberal and Harper hates Liberals.
Also on Thursday, Harper scheduled the announcement of a new governor for the Bank of Canada - an event that the outgoing governor cannot miss, to ensure a stable transition - at the same time as outgoing governor Mark Carney's going-away party, which was being held in another city, ensuring Carney would miss it altogether.
These are just the latest in a long string of classless acts by our Prime Minister.
During the Chretien years I would frequently get into discussions with people about how puzzled we were that we felt affection for the man even though we disagreed with a lot of what he did (such as his sloppy environmental record). I think it was partly that he was a good prime minister and got most policies right, but also that we had a sense that he was a good, caring person. That's just not so with Harper. History will probably show that after the AdScam scandal it was inevitable that the Conservatives would replace the Liberals in government, and that Harper squandered that opportunity with mismanagement and an inability to refrain from petty personal vindictiveness.