Michaels: PM embraced American style campaigning, and Canadians took him down with it

Harper went down in an inglorious blaze of helmet-hair memes, vilifying news features and a few cringe-making moments of musical malfeasance

The three happiest people in the country Oct. 20, were probably Justin Trudeau, the Governor General and Brian Mulroney, says my favourite source for political information.

Trudeau, because he just pulled off a win that nobody expected.

The Governor General, because the unexpected win ensured that he wouldn’t have to wade into the fray, and sort out any problems that would have followed a minority government that nobody would support—you know, like calling another election Canadians would hate him for calling.

And Brian Mulroney, because he is no longer the most hated ex-prime minister in Canada.

Ah, Brian Mulroney.

It’s a name that’s been vilified for as long as I can remember, although my vague recollection of what happened in politics while I was a  teenager isn’t nearly as searing as what Google offers.

My favourite result from searching for this country’s “most hated prime minister” came courtesy of noted Canadian historian J.L. Granatstein.

He said Mulroney “was seen as a Gucci-shod glad-hander in bed with the Yankees, the man who failed so dismally in his constitutional gambits and left office so hated by the Canadian public that it promptly destroyed his party.”

Ouch. I can’t imagine what’s in store for Harper.

The man who embraced ugly, divisive, lie-laden  Amercian-style campaigning like no other before him was taken out this election, as Canadians took his cue and ran him through with it. In the end I was even a bit rattled by the bloodlust shown by friends and family.

I mean, I understood it. But, like you understand why the cheetah has to tear apart the antelope, you don’t enjoy watching.

Harper went down in an inglorious blaze of helmet-hair memes, vilifying news features from across the globe and even a few cringe-making moments of musical malfeasance caught on video. Until the last moments of this election, I wasn’t even aware of his band the Van Cats and I deeply wish it could have remained that way.

All of them were aimed at pointing out, simply, that Stephen Harper is a bad man. He hates mother nature, has no tolerance for ethnic minorities and wants to make Canada into a paranoid police state.

Whether it’s true or not can be debated in history books, but there could not be a more damning depiction of the leader of a democratic nation and he was crushed under the weight of those criticisms, taking along with him his party.

There is no doubt in my mind that Ron Cannan’s local loss was collateral damage. He’ll be fine. In addition to a swish pension for nine years of work, he’s walking away from political life well-liked and well-respected for being a decent, hard working MP who chose the wrong team.

But, Harper? If the writing on my Facebook wall is true, short of starting a cult, I can’t see what his future career options are. Nor do I really care.

What I do care about, however, is that he and all politicians who follow take a cue from what happened this election. That whole “you reap what you sow” thing isn’t just an adage to spew thoughtlessly.

Canadians deserve better. Whether it’s with policy or campaigning we deserve to be dealt with honestly and that’s what the crimson wave across this country was about above all else.

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