Well, I haven’t heard a thing from the PMO since last Thursday. It has left me wondering, where is Stephen?  I see his name a lot, linked to his old buddy Tom, but he has all but vanished from public view. Could it be that he is avoiding the inevitable question?

The last I heard was a statement form his press secretary.  Usually, I get a daily briefing email or two, mostly to let photojournalists know where they can take Stephen’s picture, and sometimes, but not often, because he has something to say.  

For the past week, nothing; you would think he would want the country to know that he is still loyal to the architect of his government’s major policies. At least he could qualify whether the “Harper Government” was still in line with the logic of his political upbringing.

Wasn’t he quick to let the country know his reaction to Mr. Brazeau’s indiscretions? Dropped from the Conservative Caucus before the news hit the streets about his arrest, Brazeau was bum rushed to the door. Perhaps Mr. B. was just a canary in the cage like so many other strategic appointments. I am wondering who is next. After all, there is nothing more disgusting (well there probably is) than a dead bird lying in the dirt soaked newspapers at the bottom of the cage.

Probably Tom was just kidding.  After all, that’s what professors do with students. It is part of the class system. Professors can joke around to draw intelligent responses from students who haven’t got the point yet. Stephen may be laying low to see if the voting public will buy that excuse. His cronies, those literate enough to write, have bought it. At least they say they do. Perhaps it might be possible to seed enough “comments” into reader responses to turn off the flood of “ill informed” criticism from ordinary folks expressing their repulsion for what was clearly an opinion that has festered in Tom’s mind for the last four years.

Academic freedom is a hallmark of democratic societies. So is free speech. Without these an honest reaction to bullshit is muted. Defiling these in the name of remaking Canada is an elitist strategy. Closing down Parliamentary debate, proroguing Parliament, muzzling Stats Can, Omnibus Bills, posing for portraits only, and so it goes — so goes the notion that Stephen can defend his old mentor with this line. To stand behind Liberty after you have screwed her is cowardly; at best it is no more than a cartoon characterization of intellectual fraud. 

So what is a poor boy left to do? If you have something on the people with whom you have surrounded yourself to ensure loyalty then chances are you will appear to be a pretty formidable gang. This is the King’s gambit, at best risky, more often than not ending in regicide. Didn’t someone once whisper in Caesar’s ear, “Beware of the Ides of March”?  

Stephen’s government has been founded on Tom’s logic. Expounded in his writings, whispered into the King’s ear and commandeered in the marshalling of elections this logic has constructed the neocon alliance and given the self-interested and the crackpot theocratic extremists a license to run this country just the way they want. This is the unabashed, timeless logic of the colonist. The sad thing is that most hard working men and women in Canada didn’t get it until Tom had a brainfart in front of an intelligent audience.

I will continue to use First Nations? Second(hand) Thoughts in my curriculum. As an artifact of self-serving logic and half-baked conclusions based on scanty context it will serve as an example of how Indian policy in Canada took a turn for the worse. It may one day serve as the standard above the dregs of the neocon cesspool if real democracy survives. Perhaps all Canadians should read this book while taking an honest and informative course about their Aboriginal neighbours. 

I am wondering though when Stephen will have something to say. Pretending it didn’t happen is not an honest response. Will Stephen either come to the defense of his old friend and mentor or will he banish Tom for failing to uphold the Conservative code, the code Tom wrote himself and to which Stephen has so religiously adhered.  

When will a journalist have the opportunity to ask Stephen, “Can you give us your take on what your old friend Tom had to say last week,” or will it be “last month,” or “last year”; or will the question come during the next election?  

Perhaps Stephen should call a press conference to make an announcement about Tom and just invite photojournalists only. Perhaps his body language would have something to say. 


Robert Lovelace is an adjunct lecturer at Queen’s University in the Department of Global Development Studies. His academic interests include Indigenous Studies, Sustainable Development and Aboriginal education. Robert is also an activist in anti-colonial struggles. In 2008, Robert spent 3 ½ months as a political prisoner for his part in defending the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation homeland from uranium exploration and mining. Robert is a retired chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. He lives in the Algonquin highlands at Eel Lake in the traditional Ardoch territory.