As the 42nd Canadian federal election nears, I think about a particular defining moment of Stephen Harper’s leadership. It came when a mentally ill gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, rampaged through the parliament buildings. I don’t wish to make light of this incident; it would have been terrifying for all involved, and certainly devastating for those close to the victims.
But it happened, and while it was happening, the course of action the Prime Minister chose was to hide himself in a small storage room. This action of the PM offers a glimpse at the man Stephen Harper is. What went through his mind as he hid away in this dark room while chaos reigned outside? Of course, true to form, he won’t say. This leaves us to speculate.
If there’s one thing we know about the Prime Minister, it’s that he is very concerned about “Islamicism” (a word that he himself coined). I used to think that Harper presented the idea of Muslim extremism (George W. Bush style) as a way to leverage fear in order to secure votes. The fear had to be manufactured because Canada, like most countries, has had almost no trouble with Islamic extremism, but that fact hasn’t dissuaded the Prime Minister. In virtually all of his speeches, he emphasizes a threat of jihadist terrorism.
I say I used to think he was leveraging this stuff, but I’ve changed my mind.
I think Harper actually believes that crazed jihadists are everywhere, lurking in the shadows, just waiting for the opportunity to pounce on and “radicalize” some sweet, clean cut kids who are innocently trolling Youtube, and convert them into frothing, deranged suicide bombers. The attack on Parliament gave Harper all the evidence he needed to justify his belief that “Islamicism” is a real threat. He now had assurance (if he ever needed any) that Canada needs to insulate itself against “Islamicism”, even if if we have to surrender some of our basic freedoms to do so. It is for our own good. He definitely wants us to be afraid.
It would be convenient for Harper’s detractors to believe he hid in the closet out of cowardice, but I believe differently. I believe that, all of his jihad fears confirmed, Harper fantasized somehow that he, being the Prime Minister, had to preserve himself for the good of the country, just like in the film “Airforce One” when the U.S. president, played by Harrison Ford, ducks into hiding aboard a presidential airplane overrun by hijackers (foreign extremists, of course!), so that he can use his superior cunning and stealth to thwart the plans of these evil bloodthirsty villains, and save his family and America too.
Think about it. Without warning, shots ring out in the parliament building. Harper must have been thinking, “This is it. We’re at war!” It was just as he had suspected; the terrorists had finally launched their attack. It was essential that he preserve himself so that he could emerge from his bunker and lead his people to victory! He was probably thinking about how during times of attack, it is the policy of U.S. presidents and vice presidents to go underground in separate locations.
He had been right all along, and the lazy unionists, the egghead intellectuals, and the hysterical feminists had missed the big picture! It would now be up to Harper alone to lead the good people of Canada; he alone would protect us all. The people can’t be trusted to manage all this on their own. Harper must endure!
He hid in the closet for all of us.