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The Walrus, October, 2004

Excerpt from The Man Behind Stephen Harper

by Marci McDonald

What brought Flanagan to Alberta where that bootstrap ideology [Barry Goldwater's policies] would find such fertile grounds? He says only that he needed a job: he and his wife had already started a family (last year his daughter Melissa, retired from a twelve-year communications career with the U.S. Army). At the time, new Canadian universities were hatching across the country, prompting a hiring spree that outstripped the national crop of PhDs. But Flanagan didn't apply for the post. In the spring of 1968, when he was offered an assistant professorship -- just as Pierre Trudeau came to power -- he was researching his thesis on an obscure German novelist in the turbulent compound of the Free University of West Berlin, a U.S.-funded institution briefly shuttered by anti-American protests. When the offer arrived Flanagan had to go look up Calgary on a map.

The invitation came from E. Burke Inlow, another American, and the first head of U of C's political science department. An expert on Iran and the Far East, who died last year, Inlow himself had been recruited directly from an assignment with the Pentagon. There, according to his son, Brand, a Calgary lawyer, he was engaged in "cultural work -- providing intelligence to people we (the U.S. government) were sending to the Middle East."

For Inlow, Flanagan's conservative inclinations were no coincidence. He and his successors set out expressly to counter the prevailing leftist currents on the country's campuses. "Canadian universities were almost the fiefdom of Karl Marx," says Anthony Parel, a Jesuit-trained expert on Machiavelli, whom Inlaw hired from Radio Vatican in Rome. "We wanted balance."


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