Stephen Harper’s decision to break his word and appoint the largest number of unelected Senators in history has made him unpopular everywhere – even in the Conservative heartland of Calgary.
Since it began, Harper has shown an incredible inability to relate to people’s fears about the economic downturn.
And like a reflex born of his discomfort having to hear ordinary folks bleating about their own insecurities, Harper’s reaction has been to retreat deeper into the comfort of his own parochial partisanship. Witness the now-infamous Economic Statement which addressed a sinking auto sector head-on by attacking unions, women and his political opponents.
It’s this exact same partisan impulse which allowed Harper to break his word to never appoint unelected Senators by appointing an obscene 18 of them at the cost of $6 million in the first year.
But people in his hometown of Calgary “get” Harper. Even though he wasn’t born here, the movement that sent him to Ottawa was. Like kindred spirits born of the seemingly-unending oil boom and mountain air, they understand him. Nowhere more so than at the Saddledome – the great hockey shrine, where might makes right and winning is what matters most.
So it’s no small surprise that Harper's visit at the December 23rd game against Anaheim was greeted with booing. Sources tell Canada’s Number One Equine-Themed Politics Blog that a large number in the crowd were visably – and audibly – in an un-Christmasy mood towards Harper and his day-old Senate flip-flop.
As we approach the season of resolution and renewal, Conservatives need to ask themselves if Stephen Harper really is the best they have to offer Canadians.
(Oh, and the Flames won 4-3)