Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm Beginning to Worry About the State of Stephen Harper's Mental Health

"Coalition-building is the only practical way for the right to seize national power .... an alliance with the Bloc Québécois would not be out of place. The Bloc are nationalist for much the same reason Albertans are populists – they care about their local identity ... and they see the federal government as a threat to their way of life." Stephen Harper and Tom Flanagan, Next City Magazine, 1997
Three years later, the Reform Party, then calling themselves Alliance, took the advice of Harper and Flanagan, and their leader, Stockwell Day began "flirting with separatists", as part of his "coalition building".
The separatist Bloc Québécois was part of secret plotting in 2000 to join a formal coalition with the two parties that now make up Stephen Harper's government, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail. The scheme, designed to propel current Conservative minister Stockwell Day to power, undermines the Harper government's line this week that it would never sign a deal like the current one between the Liberal Party, the NDP and the Bloc. (1)
The opposition demanded answers, but got none.
Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe held up the letter [of intent] during Wednesday’s question period while grilling the former Alliance leader [Day] over the alleged plan, as well as over the Conservatives’ apparent willingness to form a coalition with the separatist party in 2004.“Will he admit that in 2004, and in 2000, he was prepared to make such a deal with the Bloc?”(2)
According to the New York Times in August of 2000:
Stockwell Day's summer vacation in Quebec was going well. Every day, the rising star of Canada's right appeared on French language television, chatting in francais with his language immersion teachers, fielding reporters' questions about his politique fiscale, or posing for photographs with the eternal friend of language students, le dictionnaire Larousse.

With newspapers reporting ''informal negotiations'' between his party, the Canadian Alliance, and the Bloc Quebecois, whose stated goal is to make Quebec an independent nation, Mr. Day refused to rule out teaming up with the Bloc in coalition after general elections, expected next spring, in order to dislodge the governing Liberals. (3)
And according to political science professor and author, Trevor Harrison:
Day repeatedly journeyed to Quebec ... During August and September, Day stepped up these efforts, going even further to suggest the Alliance party welcome Quebec separatists and might even consider forming a national coalition government with the Bloc Quebecois .... But Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe said he wanted nothing to do with Day whose values (re: gay rights, abortion, youth justice) Duceppe described as "inspired by the United States..." (4)
Harrison referenced this story: "Bloc leader denounces Day's ideas", Edmonton Journal, August 14, 2000.

And as further proof that Stephen had no qualms about joining the Bloc Quebecois, Tom Flanagan, the man who co-wrote the 1997 piece promoting "an alliance with the Bloc", confirmed Harper's intent in 2004.
The author of Harper's Team: Behind the Scenes in the Conservative Rise to Power, managed the Conservative 2004 and 2006 election campaigns. But he insisted he "wasn't a part" of a coalition proposal made by then Official Opposition leader Harper, NDP leader Jack Layton and Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe in September 2004 that would have included the Bloc as a full partner. (5)
"The Bloc as a full partner"?

So why is Stephen Harper, speaking in Edmonton recently, firing up an imaginary "threat" about an imaginary "coalition", which if it existed, which it doesn't, would be dangerous since it included "separatists"?
"Some of you may ask me when the next election will be," he said. "The answer I give everyone is, ask the Liberal-NDP-Block Quebecois coalition. Canadians don't want an election. Our government is not seeking an election. We as Canadians are focused on the number one priority of Canadians and that is the economy." He repeatedly attacked the "coalition." "Think about what that means for our country," he said. "Giving a veto to a party that believes in the break-up of this country. That is what that means." (6)
He was attacking NDP MP Linda Duncan, and she fought back. Go Linda.
Alberta's lone opposition MP says the Prime Minister pulled a nasty piece of politicking by showing up in her riding to bash her before the Thanksgiving weekend. "Clearly he came here with the intention of slagging me personally," NDP MP Linda Duncan said. "Welcome to the world of Stephen Harper politics. This is the way he operates."

Harper warned voters about the dangers of a coalition between the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois. He bashed the NDP as leftist ideologues and said Duncan was bent on "shutting down Alberta's energy industry and putting thousands of Albertans out of work." On Saturday, Duncan said Harper's allegations are "beyond the realm of ludicrousness." Duncan has been an outspoken critic of the oilsands, but insisted she's merely pushing for the enforcement of already existing environmental laws and regulations. Her opinions, she said, are hardly radical. That Harper would single her out for criticism isn't a surprise, Duncan said. "I already know I have a target on my head." (7)
Is Stephen Harper About to Snap?

In 1962, after having his government reduced to a minority, John Diefenbaker began to show signs of stress. He blamed it on the U.S. President, John Kennedy, and was convinced that he was out to get him.
After the 1962 election, Diefenbaker was unshakable in his conviction that Kennedy was out to destroy him. "It's now very clear," he said later, "that it was part and parcel of the beginning of actions by President Kennedy and his associates to get rid of the Conservative Party of Canada." Diefenbaker now wallowed in a swamp of miseries, beset, he felt, by a horde of malignant enemies, deeply wounded by his election pummelling ... and always obsessed with Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy ... personal blows battered his fragile psyche, sending him into a tailspin that verged on an emotional breakdown. He collapsed like a pierced balloon. (8)
And according to his old friend Alvin Hamilton:
"He was completely off his rocker ... You have to admit it, he was unstable. He just seemed confused.... He thought Kennedy was trying to gun him down." "I don't think anybody ever said anything or would say that it was mental illness, but certainly all of us knew that he was subject to fits of depression and to a much greater emotional instability than had been the case previously ... His mind was so black and so sour." (8)
Eventually, as Diefenbaker's actions became even more erratic, his own party was forced to remove him.

So why is Harper's party not stepping in now? His behaviour is clearly erratic and damaging.

- He's seeing coalitions that don't exist, increasingly paranoid that they are out to get him.

- He's still promising to scrap the gun registry (6), despite the fact that 2/3 of Canadians want it left intact.

- He's attacking military experts who speak out against the purchase of his war toys.

- He's promoting partisan attacks on the International stage. Again.

- He's following through on scrapping the long-form census, despite the fact that it is angering even his own supporters.

- He accused the opposition of supporting "White-collar criminals, pedophiles, bank robbers and violent offenders" (6), because they don't want more prisons for criminals that don't exist.

- He completely ignored a senate report on reducing poverty, despite the fact that his own senators worked on it.

I think the stress of the piling scandals and potentially damaging report card on the stimulus spending, is wearing him down. Maybe it's time his party recognized that he may not be in the best emotional state, and started looking to have him removed.

He's clearly a danger to himself and others.


1. Bloc part of secret coalition plot in 2000 with Canadian Alliance, By Daniel LeBlanc, Globe and Mail, December 03, 2008

2. Harper ‘lies’ about coalition details: PM ‘shameful’ in portraying crisis as national unity issue, former NDP leader says, Canadian Press, December 3, 2008

3. Rightist Shocks Canadians By Flirting With Separatists, By James Brooke, New York Times, August 3, 2000

4. Requiem for a Lightweight: Stockwell Day and Image Politics, By Trevor Harrison, Black Rose Books, 2002, ISBN: 1-55164-206-9, Pg. 75

5. Ignatieff 'quality guy,' Flanagan says, By: Frances Russell, Winnipeg Free Press, November 12, 2009

6. PM attacks 'coalition' in fiery speech, By Andrew Hanon, QMI Agency, October 9, 2010

7. 'Welcome to the world of Stephen Harper politics': NDP MP takes exception to PM's warning she wants to put 'thousands of Albertans out of work', By Archie McLean, Edmonton Journal, October 10, 2010

8. Kennedy & Diefenbaker: The Feud That Helped Topple a Government, By Knowlton Nash, McClelland & Stewart, 1991, ISBN: 0-7710-6711-9, Pg. 171-173


  1. Unfortunately for him and for all Canadians, mental illness runs in families.

    snip snip: Since a body was never found, no one can be certain what happened to Harris Harper. But the consensus, said Mrs. Tippett, is that it was suicide from depression. A few months before he disappeared, she said, he had suffered a nervous breakdown. He then tried to return to his job at the school, but they gave him some tests to mark “and it was all marked wrong and he couldn’t conduct school.”

    In his biography, Mr. Johnson says Harris Harper’s disappearance had an “incalculable” impact on the family. Stephen Harper is quoted as saying that it made his own father, the late Joe Harper, “appreciate that all the good things in life … are still just passing things.” Stephen Harper was extremely close to his father, saying he was the foremost influence on his life.

  2. 1962-1963, 'Knocking Over' "Dief the Chief":
    How the U.S. Ambassador Helped Engineer “Regime Change” in Canada

    Not that it invalidates your point, but it seems JFK really WAS out to get Dief. Perhaps MacKenzie-King can provide a better parallel. He did talk to his dead mother after all.

  3. I know that JFK and Diefenbaker did not get along, at a time when Canadians loved JFK. It no doubt had an impact. Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.