Since we do have friends, and friends who have other views than we do, we know all of the horrible things that are said about THAT man Harper. How he has no sense of humour, how cold he is, how egotistical, how controlling, how he wants to destroy Canada as we know it, etc, etc, etc. These comments are from people who have never met the man and some of the comments are poisonous. One has to wonder where they get their ideas- and how they can hate a stranger so much. We have to admit we haven’t met Harper either but there are people who have. There are people who grew up with him, who went to school with him. What do they think? Michelle Mandel went to find out about a few weeks ago.
Blame it on evil journalistic scepticism, but my mission yesterday became finding someone — anyone — who has something even a teensy bit bad to say about a certain Richview Collegiate Institute alumnus named Stephen Harper.
But in the hallowed halls of the Etobicoke high school celebrating its 50th anniversary yesterday, the many indulging in nostalgic memories of scarlet and gold would yield only glowing — and rather protective — reviews of Harper, Class of 1978.
He was nerdy, he was shy, he was smart.
“I don’t know if anyone’s told you yet, but he was really a smart guy.”
He got a medal for the highest graduating average . And whaddya know… sensitive?
Susan Del Giudice smiled when asked about the terribly thin, geeky guy who once worked up the courage to ask her on a date.
“We took most of our classes together and he was the consummate gentleman but painfully shy,” recalled Del Giudice, an elementary school principal. “He was an incredible writer. He wrote a beautiful letter to me that was very poetic and sensitive.”
But what about that secret agenda?
Say the name “Stephen Harper” and Heather Johnston pictures the quiet boy in homeroom who was always so polite and respectful — and of course, smart. “I think he only got three math questions wrong the whole year in Grade 13 — and that includes calculus, algebra and functions and relations.”
It bothers her that many voters remain wary of her former classmate. “He’s the nicest guy,” she insisted. “He’s the best guy for the job — he’s a very hard worker and he has no vices. I think it’s a tragedy the media are making him out to have a secret agenda. There’s nothing secret about Stephen. What you see is what you get.”
Seems like he hasn’t changed much either. Or so they say. He showed up for the reunion.
But that was all 30 years ago. What about now? Turns out Harper stopped by the Crooked Cue Friday night to shoot pool with some of his former teachers and classmates and they report he hasn’t changed a bit. “It was a lot of fun,” said Steven Wakeman. “It was a nice breather for him. There was no discussion of politics at all. What I most admire about him is there is no bravado; he’s just a normal guy.”
Bob Scott, his former history teacher, noticed the same. “What amazed me was how relaxed he could be in the middle of an election.” …
Last night, Harper joined his fellow alumni at the Liberty Grand to reminisce about the scarlet and gold and thank his teachers for the road they paved. What a triumphant return it must have been for the former introverted browner now occupying the most powerful office in the land.
“I guess you’re not wondering what happened to me after high school,” he quipped. “Look, things have worked out pretty well, except that, at this point in my life, I thought I’d have a permanent job.”
So maybe he has a sense of humour too and a self deprecating one at that.
“This country is in good hands, believe me. This guy is solid. You won’t find one person here who will say anything negative about that man.” [Read the rest]
So class of 1978 – a class act that is.
To see press endorsements -way too late – see Stephen Taylor’s post- he has gathered the links up. The CH is not included; it seems reluctant to put its opinion on the line-