by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
By his own telling, former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper entered politics almost accidentally. He joined the Reform Party of Canada as a side project while pursuing his masters in economics; the man who would go on to be Canada’s prime minister for more than nine years only stood for political office because his party simply was not fielding enough candidates.
These outsider origins‚ as well as the populist bent of the Conservative Party of Canada he eventually led to a majority in Ottawa, explain Harper’s unique ability to comment on the distinctly outsider-politics moment that much of the West is now going through. His new book, Right Here, Right Now, is an exploration of how the current populist wave came to be, and what conservatives of all nations can learn from it.
“My goal is to get the reader beyond the day-to-day machinations and reactions to Donald Trump in particular,” Harper explained to the Free Beacon in an interview Friday. “To get beyond the personality of Trump. To get beyond the controversies and the day-to-day battles around the administration, and to focus the readers more on the big issues that have created the Trump presidency and are creating similar movements elsewhere.”
Taking that 40,000-foot view means understanding what prompted the populist backlash. That, in Harper’s view, comes down to the increasingly alienating politics and policies of the international center-left.