Paul Wells on Stephen Harper

Paul Wells book on Stephen Harper’s politics – The Longer I’m Prime Minister – is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the man and his modus operandi in office. Here are ten quotes extrapolated from Paul Wells’ book – but, to get an insightful glimpse into the Prime Minister, get the book – read it.

  • “You know, the longer I’m prime minister…. the longer I’m prime minister.” – Stephen Harper
  • He is a very particular fellow: fiercely intelligent, combative, secretive, intense. – Paul Wells
  • He survives politically in large part because he is uninterested in debates that are of concern only to people who live within ten kilometers of Parliament’s Peace Tower. – Paul Wells
  • The point of everything he does is to last. The surest rebuttal Harper can offer to a half century of Liberal hegemony is not to race around doing things the next Liberal could undo. The surest rebuttal is to last and not be Liberal. – Paul Wells
  • “My models aren’t Conservative prime ministers. My models are successful prime ministers.” – Stephen Harper
  • He needed to last, because most of what he wanted to do could not be done quickly. He wanted to disabuse Canadians, especially immigrants, of the expression that they would be governed Liberals. He wanted to implement deep changes… a degree at a time as if boiling a frog; and to make those changes as hard to reverse as it would be to reconstitute the frog. (This is politics as boiling a frog: if you raise the temperature a degree at a time the frog won’t notice.) – Paul Wells
  • “One of the things I’ve learned is that surprises are not generally well received by the public. So, we intend to move forward with what Canadians understand about us, and I think with what they are more and more comfortable with.” – Stephen Harper
  • “His focus, in terms of the legacy he’s trying to create, is very much on identifying what he sees as the long-term challenges and opportunities for the country. Yet his strong bias is towards arch-incrementalism. He backs away from ideas which he feels may be controversial. And that creates a lot of frustration.” – un-named Harper advisor
  • “Stephen Harper is Mackenzie King without a ouija board.” – Tom Flanagan
  • What has he accomplished? It is in the nature of Harper’s project that he would have less to show for his time in office than some of his predecessors. They saw themselves as builders; he is a skeptic and, to use the gentlest available word, an editor. – Paul Wells

In Fall 2014 Chris George attended a breakfast where Paul Wells spoke – and here is the By George Journal post on that address.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.