Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Leading from the cupboard

You and I don't know precisely what went on in the Conservative's caucus room last week. That said, the information we do hvae suggests that when the gunfire was heard, a good number of Tory MPs acted swiftly to barricade the doors and create makeshift weapons to defend against whatever lethal violence might come through them. Gunfire indicates a very real risk to life and those who took action in that room might legitimately be said to to have risked their lives to defend their colleagues. There are few actions we humans hold in higher regard.

However, one prominent MP seems to have found it more convenient to locate himself in a storage cupboard.

Now, it's a perfectly normal and evolutionarily helpful instinct to hide in fear of your life when violence closes in, and I personally cannot fault most people for it. However, most people are not political leaders who have made it their thing to militarise foreign policy and turn an otherwise serviceable peace-creating nation into a "warrior-nation" and deploy military forces on combat missions where they die.  It's this point that sticks in the craw.

Maybe it's a truism that politicians who send soldiers to die in optional wars end up being found hiding in small spaces when the shooting gets closer to them.

Indeed. It's not hard to read his life as one spent in hiding. Hiding from the Opposition when scandals and coalitions were proposed. Hiding behind the certainty of ideology. Hiding from the press. Hiding from questions in Question Period with his scripted answers. Hiding in the loo at international meetings. Hiding behind a trained voice and rhetoric. Hiding behind an emotionless face. Hiding behind specs that hide the eyes.  Hiding behind the boys in short-pants. Hiding behind the protections of his Office. Hiding behind power.

You know, I don't think we've ever had such an emotionally troubled Prime Minister hiding in plain sight.


the salamander said...

.. its almost certain that Canada's Prime Minister hid or took shelter in a janitorial closet.. after the gunfire in Parliament's hallway. whether he chose to on his own or was convinced by aides or other MP's matters not. As he entered the closet, leaving a quadrapalegic MP and most of his caucus to face the uncertain threat.. his action betrayed his empty values and cowardly nature. Tony Clement and several other Ministers had already bolted through an exit and barricaded themselves upstairs. we have no word on where Ray Novak or Jenni Byrne were at the time. Now we see the PM via his PMO tweeting a photo from a funeral.. such a disgusting vanity and narcism. Its hard to comprehend that a PM thinks this appropriate.

The Mound of Sound said...

Very well put, Boris. Harper's entire career has been one of hiding. This from the excuse of a man who duped Canadians into giving him power on solemn promises of transparency and accountability, the very traits he most abhors.

Scotian said...

I had a few thoughts when I first heard about this, the very first one being how weird it was that he and Saddam Hussein had something like that in common.

The next thing though was that I couldn't believe just what an act of cowardice this was, it would have been one thing if his security fore had done this to him (and even then given what I am about to say that would only be limited in offset) but that he allowed his staffers/MPs to do this to him when his leadership was most needed, well that is not the action of any kind of leader, not a real one who was there for you. There were well over a hundred people in that room, he could have been kept hidden in the room while directing his people in what they needed to do to protect themselves, and yet he did not.

When I think back on all the prior people to hold his office, Chretien (we know from his facing down a protestor with the Chretien claw/choke hold his willingness to face physical threat at close range), Mulroney, and yes, especially his nemesis PET (who there is footage of facing/sitting down in the face of an angry protest in Quebec on a parade route unwilling to be cowed by those clearly willing to offer violence, unlike other politicos with him), I cannot see any of these men and leaders hiding in a closet, I see all of them standing tall, being the unifying force within the room, directing and bracing his people, IOW acting like a real leader does in time of crisis.

This is not however what Mr Harper does though, even if the idea originated from others he embraced it without countermanding it, which makes it his to wear (which was why I said earlier even if it had been his security behind this it would have been of limited value) regardless of all the after spinning about who was responsible for the idea. Mr Harper chose to hide away while everyone else faced the danger, and he left his party/government, the one he has been the dominating leader of since its literal creation, without its head. Whenever we hear from this moment onwards about how Dion was "not a leader", or Ignatief "did not come for you", or how Justin Trudeau is "not ready" and "in over his head", remember well the big reveal of Mr Harper when his moment of destiny came, he hid in a closet. THAT is what kind of a leader he truly is by his own actions.

By their actions ye shall know them, well Harper just proved the value and wisdom of that adage yet again, this time not just on his actions as a governing PM in his legislative choices, but in his personal conduct and honour when faced with the first real danger he may have ever known in his adult life. It is always at such times that the true heart of a person is revealed, and revealed it was indeed here.

Boris said...

It's probably fair to say that everyone in the caucus room knows what went down, and who the leaders were when it counted. If his own party loses their fear of him and the PMO, we might just see some surprising things happen.

Alison said...

Commander DressUp takes steps ...

CBC : "Prime Minister Stephen Harper told his hushed caucus Wednesday morning he felt remorse for surreptitiously ducking into a closet during last week's assault on Parliament Hill.

Many Conservative MPs were alarmed at the prime minister's sudden disappearance during the terrifying 15 minutes between the moment Michael Zehaf-Bibeau fired the first shot inside the Parliament buildings and when Sergeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers entered their barricaded caucus room to tell them the fusillade outside their door had ended with Zehaf-Bibeau's death.

Harper was spirited out of the Parliament buildings moments after Vickers sounded the all-clear while his MPs remained in lockdown for hours until police were assured the gunman was acting alone.

The prime minister has told some MPs he felt terrible leaving them behind while he was hustled off to a more secure location."

Boris said...

Apology strikes me as falling a little short of the mark. Resignation might've done better. What he demonstrated, again, in stark terms was that personal self-preservation was the only thing that mattered to him. The Party exists to protect him and all members are expendable in the worst way imaginable. If Salamander is correct and most of the Cons High Command fled at the sound of battle, the rank and file will notice and possibly become fearless, seeing his power as an illusion. I wonder what will happen if Con MPs start ignoring PMO diktats?

e.a.f. said...

what we see is the mask, the real Stephen harper is a coward and he proved it, He hide in a closet and then ran away with his security people, while the rest of the M.P.s stayed in the building. Nice going stevie.

Stephen Harper is willing to send men and women into war, any time its good for him to have a photo-op moment. He himself, runs when he hears a gun shot. Now it might be he considers himself so important he is the only one worth saving. That of course doesn't say much about what he thinks of his caucus.

People who think war is grand, such as harper and his herd, usually haven't been to war.

harper and his herd are cowards. The brave where Vickers and his staff, the people who ran to help the solider who had been shot. Its time for harper to resign. If you create a world such as we now live in and can't cope, resign and go lock yourself in a "safe room" somewhere.

Steve said...

So Dick Cheney of him.

the salamander said...

.. Tony Clement is quoted in this article, about escaping and supposedly running right onto the fusillade

What's proving very strange is complete silence by authorities - mounties ? - whom? regarding the gunman, his rifle, ammo, wounds, number of expended shells, coroner's report, bullets or bullet holes, whether he was asked to surrender etc

Its possible to infer his rifle was empty, had no ammunition left & may have commenced his attack at the Cenotaph with only 7 shots in his 30-30 lever action rifle. He fired 3 or 4 shots at the Cenotaph and three within the Parliament Building (security guard, one bullet hole in each of the caucus doors)

So did he reload? Witnesses? One can also time the gap between the shots running down the hallway and the final barrage of gunfire. The MP's seemed to disregard the initial shot(s) and became fearful during the barrage of gunfire which took place well down the hall from their closed main door.

Put bluntly, if not for Cpl Cirillo being fatally shot, Harper in the closet becomes sheer unending ridicule. At this point, Harper owes Cpl Cirillo for his political life. Perhaps some day soon, Canadians will be informed of all the facts.. because we certainly don't all of them yet.

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