Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Me and Mr. Harper

I met our new Prime Minster back in 1996 at Ezra Levant's Holiday Party in Calgary. Nice man, but he didn't say much.

Five years later, I met him again in Edmonton when he began his run for leader of the Canadian Alliance Party. He sure had a lot more to say. I always went up to the microphone to ask him a question and he always gave an answer I would never expect -- an intelligent one. He seemed determined. He ignored critics and that Joe who guy.

I met him in 2002 at a Canadian Alliance dinner in Edmonton. He came to our table and made a couple jokes. He was more relaxed, but didn't seem to connect to people yet.

Then I shook his hand again in 2004 at Laurie Hawn's campaign office. Tall man and a lot more engaging. He had sincerity in his steely blue eyes. Nice tie too. I didn't bother to talk to him because there were so many senior ladies wanting to speak to him.

Then I met Mr. Harper in July of 2005 during the BBQ circuit and got a picture with him. He said, "I've definitely met you before. How are things?" I said, "We've met a couple times in the past. Things are great. Good luck to you sir." He was WAY more relaxed and confident.

So going from an Executive Assistant to a P.C. MP, a losing candidate, a Reform MP, a quasi-lobbyist, a leader of a divided opposition party, to a party uniter, to a deal maker, to a leader, and to a Prime Minister, is quite the accomplishment despite his detractors.

He admits he's not about flair and fanfare -- just a humble guy. He's never pretended to be something he's not. He's continually surprised the pundits. He's massively underrated and yet totally exaggerated by the Liberals.

He's Stephen Harper, the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada.

With a very divided House of Commons, a Liberal dominated Senate, Supreme Court, and civil service, Stephen Harper has a lot of work cut out.

However, he has proven he can be a pragmatist, and a uniter. He's united two parties, learned from his mistakes, delivered a stellar campaign, and now, he'll hopefully unite a polarized Canada as well.

Not only do I hope the leaders of the opposition will be tactful, negotiate, and compromise, I hope some Canadians discontinue their divisive attacks as demonstrated by the Liberal campaign.

But I doubt it.

The Liberals will be mired in their own leadership election over the next while and are currently $35 million in debt. Hopefully they'll have little time to attack or won't have the ammo to attack Harper as he carefully steers us through the mudslinging with poise and class and delivers on the items that the other parties can agree on. I don't see why the Bloc would block the GST cut or the Accountability Package.

Time will tell. But time and time again, Stephen Harper has proven he can deliver.

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