So said Stephen Harper, playing coy with reporters at a media conference about when he would call an election. It was one of the very few times Harper has told the media anything.
He delivered this rare self-disclosure with complete certainty, confirming to all that he is not a “to be or not to be” kind of guy.
At Humans vs. Harper (HvH), this offers us yet another insight into the man who is once again seeking to control us.
To speculate means, “to form a theory or conjecture about a subject without firm evidence.” Synonyms include: conjecture, theorize, hypothesize, guess, surmise, wonder, muse or think.
We would argue that a vast range of government activities actually relies on at least an initial round of speculation. A couple of small examples:
- Designing a budget speech: “How can we make an actual deficit look like a balanced budget?
- Stuffing an omnibus bill: “How can we ram these last four bills in here?”
But Harper says he does not speculate.
For instance, while many speculate on whether Harper keeps his hair in the fridge when he’s not wearing it, he would never speculate on whether it’s looking good when he takes it out of the vegetable crisper. Neither would he ever wonder whether his hair might do better in the freezer.
Obviously, Harper’s refusal to speculate affects all government operations, most especially in the PMO.
No PMO staffer uses the word “speculation” around Harper. All are strongly encouraged to open sentences with “I will” or “I will not” or “I do” or “I do not.” No one uses words such as “could” or “might” or “depends”.
Early in Harper’s reign, Speculation Rooms were established in the House and all government ministries. Here, employees could work free from the prohibition against speculation. In the PMO, these rooms are soundproofed. If Harper wins the 2015 election, they’re saying he will install Speculation Portables on the parliamentary grounds.
Once a month, staff whose work is considered especially excellent get to go on Speculation Safaris where trained guides tour them through environments where speculation is considered a normal and largely harmless human activity (hockey rinks, hair salons, bank line ups, dinner parties, etc.) The Safaris were deemed necessary after problems related to speculation suppression were found to generate self-destructive behavior.
Speaking of self-destructive behavior of the Duffy scandal variety. After weeks in court, speculation about when Harper knew about Wright’s $90,000 payment to Duffy only increases. Many argue that Harper knew right from February 2013 when PMO staff first started cooking up the deal.
Harper’s speculation rejection issues certainly came into play here. While it’s true the deal required days of high level speculation from Wright and a host of others, Harper never would have been willing – or able – to endure those discussions.
However, remember that Wright emails his co-conspirators to say that he has the “go-ahead” to keep Duffy “whole on the situation” and later, that “I do want to speak to the PM before everything is considered final.”
This is the standard harm reduction strategy Harper’s chiefs of staff use to protect him from all forms of speculation. Harper engages only when “everything is considered final.”
On Duffy, we figure that Harper knew in February. We also figure that if he’s re-elected, he’ll make speculation a terrorist act.
However, inquiring minds are now speculating on how he will survive after October 19th when he will no longer have the PMO to protect him.