This is more than simply a Canadian phenomenon. Bush Derangement Syndrome dominated much of American political discourse in the last decade. While heighten by the perceived folly of the Iraq invasion, the fanatical hatred of George W Bush was in evidence well before 2004. With Stephen Harper there is no equivalent of the Iraq invasion. No grand act of debatable value and logic. He has overall governed only slightly to the Right of Jean Chretien. Yet he is nevertheless perceived as the reincarnation of Attila the Hun.
What the Left hates is not Stephen Harper the man, of whom they know precious little, or of his actual record, of which they know even less, but Harper the Symbol. The Tory leader is suppose to be a Canadian impossibility, a man too radical and “American” ever to be tolerated in the politically placid climes north of the 49th. He is a reproach to the Left’s understanding of Canada and themselves. A cold blast of air in a statist hothouse.
Now is a historical moment rare enough in coming. English Canada can be itself again. If only it can remember what it was and try to become what it might be. For all his timidity and compromise Stephen Harper might just be the best thing that’s happened to Canada in a very long time. A thought at once both depressing and heartening.