Stephen Harper has been called a lot of things during his time in politics, but not even his biggest enemies have ever called him lucky. If you support him, his success has been due to his steady leadership and impressive economic stewardship. If you dislike him, his success has been due to scheming, rule bending, and shameless attack ads against his opponents. If anything, luck has been against him for much of his time in politics. He came to power when the right was still divided, his first election was against Paul Martin, who was at the time considered the most unbeatable candidate in the history of Canadian politics, there was a global financial crisis, and to top it off his son has a party at 24 Sussex and a teen gets taken to hospital after getting too drunk. But today, after 12 years as leader of his party and 8 as Prime Minister, Lady Luck has finally smiled on Stephen Harper.
On the very day when his former parliamentary secretary stood up in the House of Commons and resigned after being convicted of election fraud, something that would have dominated headlines for a solid week, a shocking sexual harassment scandal broke almost simultaneously. According to reports, there are 2 MPs who have both complained about separate instances of harassment from 2 other MPs, none of whom are Conservatives. Not even Jian Ghomeshi himself will be able to knock this story off the front pages in the foreseeable future, and the Prime Minister can head off to China without having to worry about answering any awkward questions about sexual harassment.
The magnitude of the Prime Minister’s luck is staggering. Not only are both of the accused MPs members of the Liberal Party, but Justin Trudeau, his biggest rival, seems to be making a mess with his handling of the situation. The NDP, the party both accusers belong to, are already complaining that Trudeau did not inform the accusers before making his announcement. There are also reports that he has not even informed the two Liberal MPs what exactly they are being accused of. The accuracy of these reports have not been confirmed, but it seems clear that Trudeau could have easily waited a day or so before making his announcement, which almost makes it look like he was going out of his way to bury the Del Mastro story.
They say that you can make your own luck, but this appears to be a case where the Liberals and Justin Trudeau are making Stephen Harper’s luck for him. If his MPs end up cleared of any wrong doing, the media and some of his own MPs will question if he acted too hastily. If they are in fact guilty, it will cast a pall on the Liberals.