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article imageOp-Ed: Stephen Harper resigns as MP

By Jack Derricourt     Aug 26, 2016 in Politics
Former prime minister Stephen Harper announced this morning that he will resign as member of parliament for Calgary Heritage, and quit politics.
Harper announced his resignation in typical (for the guarded MP) fashion — as quietly and with as little press as possible. Creating a message via Twitter for any other politician might be seen as a chance to reach a newer audience, but in Harper's case, it seems a chance to avoid any unnecessary contact with the media. As iPolitics discussed, the image of Harper, in an empty office, in front of a table devoid of any trace of activity, seems an apt scene for the departure of such an isolated figure in the context of Canadian public life.
Of course, this video might be the most that any Canadian has seen of their former prime minister in ten months. Since Harper lost the election, he has attended parliament to sit for votes, but has been using the back door, away from media contact, as much as humanly possible. And now today's farewell. No fanfare, no handshaking, just a sterile video shot with bad lighting.
It's ironic that Harper began his political career as a supporter of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and the man to take his job away was that same politician's son. But, there's no hard feelings from the new prime minister. He was happy to spread best wishes to his predecessor in a press conference today.
Harper represents many things. Any person who cringed at his first press conference when he proclaimed 'God Bless Canada' like some mini-George Bush will associate him with the worst kind of neoliberal ideology. Members of the left, environmentalists and human rights activists will remember him for the many issues that cropped up right until the final days of his government. Conservatives both progressive and more right wing will always remember him for bringing their party together to make a new kind of government in Canada's political landscape.
Personally, I will choose to shrug off this rather lukewarm farewell to such a controversial figure. It is comforting to know that politics has moved on from Harper's vision of Canada: a country fuelled by resource exports of the lowest calibre, compromises made to huge corporate interests before local citizens and draconian security strategies that made very little sense to way too many experts in foreign policy. While nothing is immutable, and the country we live in now is far from perfect, I would like to believe that the election ten months ago indicated the country's shifting focus: towards new ideas, towards environmental concerns, towards a progressive economy filled with technology and educated services and trades — and far away from the isolated world of Stephen Harper.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Stephen Harper, Canada, Politics, Prime minsiter, Conservative party
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