Sunday, December 17, 2006


I really don't have any qualms with Time Magazine naming Stephen Harper newsmaker of the year. Afterall, Harper has clearly dominated the domestic scene. However, this glowing synopsis is nauseating:
The Prime Minister who was "once dismissed as a doctrinaire backroom tactician with no experience in government has emerged as a warrior in power," writes TIME contributing editor Stephen Handelman. "Defying conventional wisdom about how to lead a minority government (very, very cautiously), Canada's 22nd Prime Minister led Canadians on a bold, and discomfiting, journey of political change. He slashed more than $1 billion worth of federal programs, reshuffled the federal bureaucracy, and reopened the wounds of the national unity debate by supporting Quebec's right to declare itself a 'nation.' At the same time he has introduced a new standard of accountability for federal politicians, stewarded Canada's first major deployment of troops to a combat theater in five decades and, for good measure, negotiated an end to a long-simmering trade wrangle with the U.S. over softwood exports.

"If Harper wins the majority he craves, in the election expected sometime next year, he may yet turn out to be the most transformational leader since Trudeau. He has set himself the messianic tasks of remaking Canadian federalism by curbing Ottawa's spending powers and overhauling Canada's health care and social welfare system...For the way he has dramatically reshaped the national conversation, for restoring a sense of competence and integrity to high public office, and for proving that big ideas still matter in Canadian politics, Stephen Harper has been chosen by TIME as Canada's Newsmaker of 2006," concludes Handelman.

Did someone in the PMO write this overview? I'm sure if you asked the American lumber industry, they too would name Stephen Harper man of the year. Let's see how the "warrior in power" operates now that he actually has a credible opposition and poor polling. This overview gives an unbalanced impression that Harper has been a success story. The left-wing media strikes again.


knb said...

I would agree that he could be called the newsmaker of the year, however, that does not mean that you have done everything right.

Politically, the man is clever, but, the impact of what he is accomplishing was not touched on at all and that is ridiculous.

Just wait for every conservative pundit and no doubt some MP's to start using this line when referring to their leader...I think I'll want to do more than gag!

(btw, I linked to you as I tied this story to an Afghanistan development)

knb said...

Does Time Canada not have a website? I can't seem to find anything

Steve V said...

All I could find was the press release, which I linked knb. I looked for the Time site as well.

knb said...

I linked to your link on my blog, lol, but I find it weird there is no site. Even at the bottom of the US site, there is a link to Time Canada, but it directs you to the US site.

I want to find one, because I want to write and express my thoughts.

willingdon said...

"He has set himself the messianic tasks..."

Way to go Time magazine. Using biblical references when talking about political leaders is so... American.

wayward son said...

I hope that the have Harper on the cover looking like a puppet with Bush standing above pulling the strings.

Mark Dowling said...

Maybe they wanted the invite to the PM's Christmas party *really badly*. Because we know they come with a price tag these days.

wilson said...

Even if you don't agree with what he has done, this is still true:

''For the way he has dramatically reshaped the national conversation, for restoring a sense of competence and integrity to high public office, and for proving that big ideas still matter in Canadian politics.''

PMSH raised the bar, so Libs have to aim higher, and that will not hurt them in the end.

Steve V said...


I didn't know a primary obsession with attaining a majority was considered a "big idea".

wilson said...

The big idea the author was refering to, I assume, was
'restoring a sense of competence and integrity to high public office'

Steve V said...


That wasn't an idea, just a timely slogan to cash in with voters after the Liberals problems.

Anonymous said...

I would have thought Mahar Arar and/or RCMP the newsmakers of the year.

But, I guess, Time wouldn't want to bring out any negativity about Harper.

Shame on them.

Christian Conservative said...

LOL... funny reading all the sour grapes about our guy being named "Newsmaker of the Year".

You know, a lot of people I talk to are impressed that PMSH is a man of his word... a breath of fresh air, compared to what we've had in Ottawa for the last decade.

Steve V said...

"a lot of people I talk to are impressed"

I guess the polling companies missed them.

Scotian said...

While I do not have a problem with the idea of Harper as the Canadian Newsmaker of the year, the fawning in the follow-up is both nauseating AND premature. While Harper this year governed as if he had a majority (I assume this is why the bit about the warrior in power) that was because there was no way the Opposition was going to trigger an election while the Liberals were leaderless and the BQ worried about the CPC making inroads into Quebec. To any half competent student of Canadian political science this is blatantly obvious, now that the Libs have a leader and the BQ no longer feels threatened by the CPC they can't be challenged this way again this year coming. Also, with Layton staking his future on looking like he is more interested in "getting things done" with the CPC it is unlikely he will support the fall of the CPC until the NDP start significantly rebounding in public opinion, something I think is going to be a lot harder for Layton than he and many of his supporters currently believe.

I also find this admiration of Harper’s style and apparent belief that it is proving old conventional wisdom wrong is premature since the voters have yet to ratify this style and the actions Harper has taken. Until we see the voters approving these significant changes in policy and style of governing by reelecting the Harper government (with a stronger minority to majority at that) this conventional wisdom has not been disproved. Just ask Joe Clark how positively his government is remembered for it's treating a minority government like a majority and how well Clark is remembered glowingly for acting in such a manner, especially by PCPCers.

I don't know why Time is giving Harper such a glowing review, but whoever wrote it is clearly not as familiar with the Canadian political dynamic/environment as they would have people believe. Otherwise they would not be making such basic mistakes about how Harper's new government has actually been received to date by Canadians. Harper cannot win a majority without significant vote splitting on the left, which is why he is doing what he can to help the NDP supplant the Liberals agenda Layton is clearly on. His style has rubbed a lot of Canadians the wrong way, his decisions have not met with widespread approval for the most part, and his Finance Minister is trying to play games with fundamental economic definitions for political gain, something I think more Canadians saw through than were conned by. Until and unless Harper wins a larger minority to a majority it is clearly premature to conclude that conventional wisdom has been shown to be wrong about this, although I will agree that Harper is defying it by his actions, something Clark thought he could do with equal impunity and we all know what happened to his government and how it is viewed.

Miles Lunn said...

I think he has been a major newsmaker in the sense that this is the first true Conservative government Canada has ever had, so for good or for ill, things are being done differently and if he won a majority Canada would be a very different place.

Also Harper has been quite bold too in the sense of making radical changes, despite getting a very modest mandate. I don't see this a good thing, but it is definitely a major newsmaker

Steve V said...


Completely agree.