Strategic thinking requires intuition, creativity, studying and what is best described as an ability to understand incoherent events. Strategic thinking is always based on a disciplined systemic working procedure.
For those who study governance and real change, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a powerful strategic thinker. This insight he demonstrates, gives him the ability to think about, view and assess his vision of a better tomorrow for Canada. It’s at the core of how he manages our federal system of government.
It’s his ability to step outside the day to day management of issues and take us beyond long term planning. I’m almost hesitant to suggest that he may very well be a truly great Prime Minister and we have never really had a great one.
To be sure, we have had charismatic leaders such as Pierre Trudeau. We have had nice guys like Lester Pearson and we have had Mr. King who tried séances with his Mom. But greatness in a leader has eluded Canadians…perhaps until now.
It was only a few short years ago that Stephen Harper led the fledgling Canadian Alliance. In those days folks in Western Canada yearned to be part of the decision making in Canada, yet we were not allowed. We wanted in and none of the old guard federal parties wanted to make room.
I recall clearly the words of former Prime Minister Diefenbaker telling me that he was forced out of office because he was not one of “them.” I was working out of Ottawa in those years and I took many a flight sitting next to “John,” the man from Prince Albert.
Truthfully, I didn’t quite understand what he meant by the term “one of them.” Learn I did, as I began to realize that the guys who entered the halls of the Laurier club in Montreal and the Bay street crowd from Toronto ran Canada their way and didn’t enjoy any challenger. The hicks from out west were to be ignored.
So we have this upstart from way out west in Calgary who started out as an intern for Debra Gray, Canada’s only Reform Member of Parliament. In a time of little more than eight years, Stephen Harper has gone from humble political beginnings to Prime Minister of Canada with a huge national mandate.
Along the way is the political wreckage of once powerful and influential parties. He has given us the way back to a two party system of government. A truly legitimate opportunity to have a choice , right or left, between two political philosophies.
We have now watched the destruction of both the Bloc and the federal Liberal party. Yes I know what the Toronto pundits have to say, but I believe the federal Liberal party is finished and the only way back for them is some kind of merger with the NDP or a creation of a new left of centre party.
I do have a cautionary word though, and that is, just because the Bloc Quebecois is finished, don’t think for a moment that separatism in Quebec is dead.
Stephen Harper’s ability to have a vision for Canada that includes measurable terms and goals has formed the base foundation for his strategy. He somehow steps outside the box of day-to-day decision making to create the environment that he wants our country to enjoy.
We have all seen and watched leaders offer change and the platitudes of campaign commercials. Harper has laid out measurable objectives that he intends to accomplish and so far his strategy has worked and our lot in life continues to improve.
It takes a great deal of wisdom and forethought to take one’s vision of a country’s future and put in place a plan to guide a country toward that vision.
With the political mess and fracturing our country has suffered through, he has accomplished an almost impossible set of goals. He has told us clearly his vision of the ideal nation. That the national media was so busy playing their own prima-donna game they didn’t hear him, is something they have to live with.
The kind of strategic thinking Prime Minister Harper has displayed is not a common gift. The courage required to stay the course and the personal discipline required to stay on plan is indeed a formidable asset.
He has certainly demonstrated that he has the talent to do great things, the wisdom to know how to get there and the generosity, to take us with him.
Mel is a retired Director of Operations for a large Canadian Corporation. He is a noted world traveller and has studied geopolitical issues for many years. His most noticeable interest is in the effects of different types of governance and organizational behaviour