Saturday, October 09, 2010

Performing for the leader in Harperland

The Globe runs an excerpt from Harperland today. It's a day in the life of Stephen Harper. When Parliament is in session, that day includes a dress rehearsal of Question Period where cabinet ministers are made to run through their lines for the leader and are critiqued and tweaked. Despite David Emerson's quoted earnest appreciation for the exercise, it comes off strangely. Not that they're preparing, but that Harper sits and watches them run through their lines:
When an iffy answer was given, Beardsley would look over at Harper with raised eyebrows, as if to say, “What do you think?” And Harper, he recalled, “would just shake his head like ‘That’s no damn good.’“
No wonder there's such a trained seal perception of the Harper cabinet. It's true. This is very weird stuff.

The emphasis on style over substance, the lack of trust in his cabinet to competently answer questions, the question of the devotion of time to acting out answers all spring to mind as obvious points.

All the world's a stage, including the House of Commons, with Harper as director and his ministers as merely players putting it over on us all.