So what did Jean tell him?Strike one: the partisan, ideological economic update. Strike two: the unprecedented self-serving prorogue request. Strike three will be how tin-pot does on the budget vote and there are too many unknowns at this point to speculate on that outcome.
Several constitutional scholars suggest she probably expressed her disappointment at the situation. Jean herself told reporters this week that she needed to have a good discussion with the prime minister.
Peter Russell, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Toronto, said the length of the meeting, followed by Harper's immediate promise to seek compromise with the opposition, offered two clues that she probably did a fair bit of talking.
In fact the prime minister had to cancel a planned event at an Ontario car plant because the meeting lasted far longer than expected.
Franks, who has advised governors general in the past, says he would have given Harper a piece of his mind. He says the prime minister acted foolishly, angered the opposition, and then took a major gamble by playing the national-unity card to get himself out of trouble.
"I would've said to Mr. Harper, 'I am shocked and appalled at the kind of politics you have been playing. National unity is always an issue in Canada and what you have been playing and pandering to are the basest motives and attitudes in Canadian politics'," said Franks, professor emeritus at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont.
"'You are pandering to prejudice against Quebec and French-speakers. ... You're pitting the West against the East. You might well win the battle for public opinion, but the cost in destruction to the country is incalculable.
"'You're like the captain of a ship who says I'll let the ship sink, as long as my life-jacket is safe."'
Liberal leadership challenges are interfering with a very clear truth this week: we are led by a man and his party of lemmings who ran from Parliament facing defeat. We need to be rid of him. I suspect that there are those in the Conservative party who are not relieved to see that Harper is enjoying a bit of a reprieve. I hope that those individuals keep pressing and rid their party of that cancer. As they say, leopards don't change their spots.