Call him what you like, Beelzebub, the Prince of Darkness, the Baron of Bland, today's Corporate Canada has its administrator in chief and we call him Stephen J. Harper.
Here's a secret: the Liberals and New Democrats want Harper's job. They want one of their guys to become the next C.E.O. of Corporate Canada. They want Harper out. They're not trying to dismantle the corporation.
I read a lot of nonsense about what the "left" should be doing or how the "progressive" parties should be doing this or that. And each time I see those references I ask myself, "what 'left'" or "what 'progressives'?"
There was a time when most everything on the other side of the Conservatives could be considered left or at least slightly centre-left. Then Harper showed up with his prime directive to shift Canada's political centre far to the right and fix it there. And, with a great deal of help from people with names like Ignatieff and Layton, that's exactly what he's done.
Harper said we wouldn't recognize Canada when he was done with it and it turns out he was right. He was so right that now it's also nearly impossible to recognize the Liberals and, even more so, the New Democrats for what they used to be. Harper can be justly proud for beating the socialist stuffing right out of the New Democrats, sending them running for cover as Latter-Day-Liberals. Sorry Dippers but you've been royally Tony Blaired.
Isn't it odd that the Canadian people don't much care for Steve Harper as a person. They certainly don't trust him. But that doesn't matter, does it? They think that, overall, he's running the country more or less okay.
The Canadian people think he's a somewhat competent administrator and that's what prime ministership has become today, administration. And who can blame the Canadian people for seeing it that way when the opposition parties are looking to fill that same job?
So what are we reduced to? We're waiting patiently for Steve Harper to screw up so badly that enough voters will turn up at the polls to turf him out. That could be a while because Steve has shown us his greatest talent - engineering election wins out of thin air. His campaign strategy has always been the same - "That guy, are you serious?"
But there may be another way, one that doesn't depend on Steve Harper falling down a flight of stairs. That's to do the one thing he can't. That's to become genuinely progressive again. And the neat thing is, once we restore progressivism to the heart of our politics, we can generate powerful policy platforms and present a vision that speaks to the concerns of Canadians, that resonates deeply with the voting public. If that means leaving the security blanket of corporatism, and it does, then the country and our people are far better off for it.
If you're still not convinced, look at it this way. Progressivism is the key to the future of the Canadian people as we, and the rest of the world, meet the challenges that this century has in store for us. It is the glue that holds together and nurtures the strongest, broadest and most vibrant middle class, the very cohesiveness without which we are in for a very rough time very soon. It's time for a bit of housecleaning on the left.