"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy AdamsAfter five years of Harper there is still a lot of debate over his leadership skills. Some in the media will praise his ability to keep his caucus in line. But he does this by keeping them muzzled, allowing them only to read scripts written by the boys in the backroom. That is not leadership. That is control.
If a leader's role is to inspire, how is this inspiring? The message to those under him, is that he has no faith in their abilities. They are only to obey him and fear him, and that they do. Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro, when interviewed for Lawrence Martin's book Harperland, said that he is even afraid when picking out a tie, that it will be the wrong one, and he will be chewed out by Harper's posse because it is not the look they needed for a particular skit or photo-op.
Instilling fear is not a leadership quality.
"The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm." - H. Gordon SelfridgeAnother attribute of a good leader is taking responsibility. And this is where Stephen Harper fails miserably as a leader, because he refuses to take responsibility for anything.
Instead he coaches those under him, feeding them talking points, with the express intent to provide cover. To excuse his actions and not account for them.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Martin Luther King, Jr.During the worst of the debate over the Afghan Detainee issue, Stephen Harper was busy with photo-ops, demanding that those in the House stick to script, even when those scripted answers were totally irrelevant to the questions asked. And these brilliant gems were simply that "there is no proof", "our men and women in uniform", blah, blah, blah.
Peter Braid had an absolute meltdown trying to handle an interview when Tom Clark made it clear that no talking points were allowed. It was a train wreck.
We also witnessed a severe lack of leadership over the G-20 weekend in Toronto. I haven't watched the Fifth Estate episode from last night yet, but have it taped. My husband, though I'd spoke often of it, wasn't really aware until last night just how horrendous it was. He came downstairs ashen faced, and said that it reminded him of Nazi Germany and the Gestapo. I wonder how many others were hearing for the first time, of those events that took place not in Nazi Germany, but in present day Canada.
And as Carol Goar reminds us:
While local police officers beat protesters, arrested innocent citizens, abused their authority and refused to own up to their actions, it was the federal government that designed and implemented the security operation. Eight months after the fiasco, with five inquiries underway, Canadians are no closer to knowing who was at the top of the chain of command.A real leader would have made a statement, other than the standard talking point that the police acted admirably. A real leader would have demanded to know why the citizens of the nation he was supposed to be leading, were privy to such human rights abuses. And a real leader would have stood with the victims, not hid behind the perpetrators.
The list of things that Stephen Harper refuses to be accountable for is staggering.
Our lack of accountability when it comes to the tar sands and their impact on the environment. Instead of taking a leadership role, he sabotages global negotiations, earning a colossal fossil award for Canada, not once, but twice. And he continues to print money for the industry, with grants of 1.4 billion a year. He is also using our money for a pipeline that will send all the good jobs South.
- Two self-serving prorogations, just to save his job.
- Lies about the legitimacy of a coalition government. Especially given that he himself had manoeuvred the same kind of deal in 2004, with the full participation of the Bloc.
- The "In and Out" scheme that resulted in his party being able to spend a million dollars more than the others during the final leg of the campaign. It also allowed Conservative candidates to claim almost $800,000.00 in credits that they weren't entitled to. This was akin to cheating on your income tax.
- The Bev Oda affair.
- The Chuck Cadman bribe, when Harper was caught on tape admitting to knowing that a dying man was being bribed with a life insurance policy if he voted the right way. Doug Finley was mixed up in that one too.
- Our loss of the UN Security council seat. A direct result of our changes in foreign policy.
- The Income Trust debacle, when Goldman Sachs clients netted $35 billion, while many Canadian seniors lost their life savings.
The list goes on.
"I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?" Benjamin Disraeli.Stephen Harper does not follow the people. He does not stand with the people. He does not stand up for the people.
"Stephen Harper is NOT a leader!" - Emily Dee