CALGARY

So it all comes down to this, then? It’s not my fault. Now shut up and vote for me!

What else can we take away from Stephen Harper’s first campaign speech of the 2015 election season, made to the nervously shuffling Conservative hordes in Cowtown Friday night?

Seriously, could we Canadians have actually heard him right? (Not that we actually got to hear the prime minister at all, of course, seeing as we weren’t were invited to the shindig. But you can get the idea from the tightly scripted video clips and the stories in the Conservative Party’s Central Organ.)

The prime minister blamed the Duffygate Senate entitlement scandal plaguing his party on the elites? (That would be the Laurentian elites, if you were wondering. And he’s not part of ’em! Have you got that? Harper is just a Canadian Jefferson Smith who accidentally stumbled into the snakepit of Canada’s Washington, D.C.)

He blamed the Tory troubles on those bad old senators — never mind who appointed Senator Mike Duffy and the other ones causing all the problems these days, or why.

And he blamed them on the judiciary! That’s a new one for Harper — but it’s right out of the Tea Party playbook he studies on, so it shouldn’t really surprise us. Those judges are still too darned independent and impartial, and they need to be fixed like a couple of uppity federal environmental scientists, dontcha think?

Do we need to go on? Does anyone seriously believe Harper is an outsider, who just happens to have made friends with a couple of smooth operators from a pipeline company?

Really, people, this is pathetic!

Oh sure, the 3,000 Tory delegates in Calgary for their biennial national bunfest cheered themselves hoarse when the PM finally finished up — but then, who wants to be the first party delegate spotted not applauding the Dear Leader when everyone else in the Great Hall is still clapping away with a petrified look in their eyes?

There were loads of Tories out looking for a good time on Calgary’s Eighth Avenue Friday night after the speech finally dragged to its interminable termination — but they sure didn’t look like they’d just had one.

Even with the booze flowing freely through the avenue’s many hostelries, the mood among the Conservative mob seemed subdued. And this wasn’t because they were suddenly displaying more maturity about drinking.

It was, it’s said here, because a lot of Tories just can’t shake the feeling the public is finally onto the fact Harper is “a studied imitation of Margaret Thatcher” who has “used Canada’s oil revenues to construct a right-wing petro-state with a penchant for defence spending, electoral fraud, Senate corruption and prison building.”

If those particular words sound familiar, it’s not because you were paying attention to mainstream media coverage of reaction to Harper’s dismal speech. They were spoken by author and environmentalist Andrew Nikiforuk at a rip-roaring response to the Con Convention just up the street, and event that was almost entirely missed by actual reporters.

It was standing room only for Pros and Cons, policies for people and the planet in the Calgary Public Library’s 500-seat John Dutton Theatre, where plenty of real Albertans turned out to hear a dozen speakers that included Nikiforuk, Council of Canadians Chair Maude Barlow, Unifor Economist Jim Stanford and scientist and broadcaster David Suzuki, and to do a little roof raising of their own.

But the only paid media person on site was Ezra Levant, who plays a journalist for a Sun News Network program, as part of his clownish campaign to harass Suzuki.

So I dare anyone to say the 3,000 Tories had a better time than the people at the library, which isn’t the way it’s supposed to be when your side has all the power. But then, how else are Tories to feel with Senator Duffy holding the bat and former PMO chief of staff Nigel Wright on deck?

Conservative columnist Andrew Coyne, until recently a trusty Tory spear-carrier, called Friday’s extended prime ministerial whinge a “4,000 word migraine,” and in the National Post of all places.

Unsurprisingly, Coyne also found a way to blame it on Jean Chretien, but his increasingly mainstream assessment Harper’s stature is fast shrivelling is surely a sign things aren’t quite working out as the prime minister planned.

Well, desperate times call for desperate measures, so it’s no wonder Harper’s obedient convention minions declared war on the labour movement yesterday while the waterboys at the Globe and Mail were promoting the PM’s hockey book as they strove to change the channel!

Unfortunately for Harper, the remote seems to have disappeared under a pillow and the movie playing on TV stars Mike Duffy as Mr. Stay Puft and Pamela Wallin as Gozer. Who ya gonna call?

This post also appears on David Climenhaga’s blog, Alberta Diary.

David J. Climenhaga

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Globe...