Dear Stephen Harper,
Long time listener; first time caller.
First, let me commend you for nearly 10 years as Prime Minister of Canada. You were right, it’s not an easy job, and while we didn’t always agree, I nevertheless admire someone – anyone – that stands for public office. You become fair game for personal attack no matter what you do, justified and unjustified, and not to put too fine a point on it, there were a lot of people there at the end rooting for you to fail. Still, you persevered. You created the Canada you wanted, got a consensus to follow, and that’s never easy. Ya did good, kid!
Having said that, it’s okay if you don’t want to hang out on Parliament Hill anymore, and honestly, it really seems like you don’t want to.
I know that losing to Justin Trudeau (or ‘that punk kid’ as you surely refer to him in private) hurt. We’ve known for years and you have no time for Liberals or anyone named ‘Trudeau,’ and losing to the combination of the two -Phew! – I don’t envy you, pal. Really though, did you honestly think we wouldn’t catch you sneaking in to the House Thursday to cast a ballot for the new Speaker? Did you think we wouldn’t notice that you came in *after* the nomination speeches? Did you think we wouldn’t notice that you didn’t stick around, or that you weren’t there for the Throne Speech yesterday either?
At least you let yourself appear in front of the cameras on Thursday. Frankly, you’ve been as elusive as Bigfoot lately. You had the president of the Conservative Party issue your resignation announcement, you sneaked into Rideau Hall to resign as PM, and you took the back way when you made your departing speech to caucus. You’re a fan of British tradition, where’s the stiff upper lip? I’m half expecting Rona Ambrose to go missing and be found in the bowels of the Hill where an enigmatic figure sits playing an old organ under a mask and cape. The Phantom of the Hill, get it?
You’re the Phantom.
No one likes losing, and you can talk to some of your predecessors about it, some of whom *did* make it to the Throne Speech yesterday. Joe Clark and John Turner together lasted less time than one of your minority mandates; Brian Mulroney abandoned ship before Kim Campbell oversaw the near decimation of the old PC Party; and Jean Chrétien saw himself out maneuvered after 10 successful years in office by an upstart wanting his job. None of that last one for you, am I right? 😉
But now the time has come. You’ve done your due diligence, and I admire you for not pulling a Jim Prentice, who had resigned as leader of the Alberta PCs and had his car packed up before even half the ballots on Election Night were counted. Rona Ambrose has picked your baton with one smooth motion, and she seems to be staking her own claim to the role of leader even if it’s just on an interim basis. She was a loyal soldier and a good egg, so why not just leave here and the other 97 Conservatives to it now?
On top of that, I highly doubt that you’re going to be rising to ask any questions, or have an active role in the shadow cabinet. It seems like all you’re going to do is a proforma tenure in the House of Commons for a year or so before a quiet retirement from public life. So why wait? Surely the riding of Calgary Heritage might be better served with a representative who’s interesting in engaging in the parliamentary proceedings. Oh yes, you may have lost track being prime minister for 10 years, but you represent those people in Calgary Heritage in Parliament too, and while they might have been grateful, and even proud, to be represented by the PM, they may still want an MP now.
No one blames you for being bitter, so pretending you’re not bitter is rather pointless. What’s disappointing is this “performance” you’re putting on that frankly is a little immature and beneath someone of your office. You don’t want to be there, fine, don’t be there. Come out, say so, and take your bow. I think you’ll find the press oddly sympathetic and receptive to such an announcement.
You then can live in peace, get that private sector consulting job you’re probably jonesing for, and make a clean break. If you so wish, you can occasionally write an op-ed for PostMedia newspapers where you mock Trudeau for bungling the job. I’m sure you would enjoy that. You’ve worked hard, you deserve to do something for yourself.
Long story short, we thank you for your service. You did good, and no matter anything else, you will always be a former Prime Minister of Canada, and that’s something no one can take away from you. Not even the electorate.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2016.