These three adjectives have all been used to describe Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper during the current election campaign. In particular, opposition politicians and political have accused Harper of centralizing power in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and limiting the independence of cabinet minister. Especially with some of Harper’s more competent ministers declining to run again (Think John Baird, James Moore and Shelly Glover) pundits have argued that if he wins another mandate, Harper will only centralize more power in the PMO, leaving cabinet to rubber stamp his decisions.
Political Cartoonists have used such speculation to humorous effect as seen here in this June 2015 cartoon from Graeme MacKay of the Hamilton Spectator:
But if we rewind to 1931 the exact same critiques were leveled at recently elected Prime Minister R.B. Bennett, a Calgary millionaire and political neophyte. Like our current Calgary inhabiting PM, Bennett viewed himself as an outsider and was distrustful of Ottawa’s political classes. Combined with a Conservative Party that had been out of power for a decade and lacked any front bench talent, Bennett was quick to centralize power and to limit delegating important decisions. Political cartoonists of the day pretty quickly picked up on these tendencies and lampooned them in the editorial pages of Canada’s major dailies.
Notice the similarities?