A perfectly understandable murmur of bemusement has followed the announcement of the CPC's constitutionally illiterate and procedurally risible intention to "review" Canadian history--this, from a party led by a man who once placed the NDP in the 1930s.
This news summoned before me the spectre, more droll than dread, of an official "Harper History", as delivered by the "Harper Government". One cannot foretell all of what such a history would include, but I think it reasonable to assume that the overall canonical criterion would be...Stephen Harper, a man who has only to order that a 30-foot statue of himself be erected beside the Speaker's Chair to hit the Caligulan floor of bathetic conceit to which he has been falling since 2006.
I began to wonder what a typical multiple-choice pop quiz on a Grade 12 Harper History or Harper Civics unit might look like. I then fantasised about what I hoped it would look like. The quiz below represents a typically Canadian compromise between the two visions. Enjoy!
1) For Stephen Harper, Canada Day is
a) a time to gather with loved ones and celebrate the nation’s history, cultures, and heritage;
b) an annual statutory bore that requires him to mumble yet another bland, disingenuous, instantly forgettable speech cribbed from the notes Mike Dufy used whilst barking above the sound of rubber chicken being masticated during the last Port Elgin Rotary Club gala;
c) a brief spasm of silly Trudeaupian nationalism that is harmless enough as long as we remember that Americans are our moral superiors and continental overlords, while we are just can’t-do, second-tier, socialist parasites.
2) Stephen Harper believes Canada was founded
a) at Confederation;
b) by the Act of Union;
c) on the day of Ronald Reagan’s first Inauguration;
d) on the day Tom Flanagan lost his virginity;
e) both c) and d).*
3) Stephen Harper believes himself to be proof that
a) hard work and thrift are always repaid with success;
b) knowing the date of Jupiter’s next transit through Sagittarius is worth the relatively uninspired haircuts and rouge jobs;
c) insane people are not necessarily interesting;
d) even an able-bodied middle-class Caucasian male from a Pearson-era suburb can overcome the inherent disadvantages of birth and become prime minister one day.
4) Stephen Harper believes that his greatest accomplishment is
a) evolving the weaselly King Gambit by establishing the constitutional precedent whereby a prime minister may licitly lock the doors of Parliament mere hours after a Thorne Speech solely in order to hoist his sorry ass out of an arrogantly self-ignited bonfire;
b) standing before a nation teeming with bright, hard-working, superbly educated potential candidates and still managing to ensure that the beneficiary of virtually every single patronage appointment was among the most breathtakingly incompetent buffoons ever to dishonour the public service of an OECD nation, thereby reinforcing for the masses the salutary message that a Harper government isn’t the answer to their problem; it is the problem.
c) staying loyal to the turncoat whose treachery gentrified his Reform Party rabble by continuing to sustain MacKay’s promotion, galaxies beyond his competence level, even though the gearbox-headed coxcomb has carefully overseen some of the most Biblically catastrophic procurement fiascos of modern times;
d) being so synapse-meltingly boring that not even widespread electoral fraud committed on his behalf seems important enough to give a fuck about;
e) becoming so adept at “re-building” Canada’s military by salvaging the rust-bucket hand-me-downs from other nations that plans are now afoot to excavate L’Anse Aux Meadows in hopes of finding still-seaworthy Viking longboats that can be up-gunned with 20 mm Oerlikon autocannon and sent out as Canada’s contribution to NATO counter-piracy interdiction deployments;
f) providing a fiscal maladministration so abject that it has sent Canada’s standard of living plummeting at a speed unmatched since the fall of the Inca kingdoms, thus helpfully depriving Canadians of what had been the chief pretext of their uppity self-esteem;
g) establishing the Office of Religious Freedom, thereby serving notice to all tyrants that they had better stop being naughty to their religious minorities, or we’ll send a sternly worded e-mail informing them that they must stop being naughty to their religious minorities or else we’ll send another sternly worded e-mail telling them that we really, really mean it this time.
5) As brilliant as Stephen Harper is, he isn’t perfect. He believes that his greatest failure has been
a) accusing an incumbent prime minister of being a fan of child pornography without first telling his political mentor and chief strategist why that’s a bad thing;
b) halting his practice of ending speeches with the words “God bless Canada” and thus giving the totally unfair impression that the courage of his religious convictions is so feeble as to be voidable merely by force of the amused sniggering of agnostic Press Gallery hacks and his own salivating avidity for a majority government;
c) forgetting to remind his ministers that they should Google the name of a protesting crowd before rushing out onto Parliament Hill to send them the government’s fond greetings, lest it should turn out to be an Iranian terrorist organisation that slaughters innocents;
d) betraying his otherwise iron-clad commitment to ineptitude by accidentally appointing a highly capable officer of Parliament, thereby forcing his government to give the utterly inaccurate impression that it is a vindictive, paranoid clutch of congenital liars and innumerates;
e) missing the deadline for Diamond Jubilee Medal nominations, thus being robbed of the chance to reward the deserving critters among the PMO staff's dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, goldfish, and chinchillas;
f) being insufficiently emphatic during his exit interview discussion with Bruce Carson about the importance of discretion.
* N.B. The correct answer is e), of course, as both events occurred on January 20, 1981.