The Tomato

Harper believes Doge memes like this were instrumental in bringing about the downfall of his administration. Graphic: Jaclyn McRae-Sadik.
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Former PM claims canine memes responsible for growing “anti-feline sentiment”

On the morning of Sept. 19, former prime minister Stephen Harper took time out of his busy schedule of going on long walks, whittling flutes, and whatever else retired people do, to drop a bombshell on the world of Internet memes.

“Now that I’m no longer directly involved in Canadian politics, I can finally get this long standing secret off my chest,” wrote the former Conservative leader on his personal blog.

“Basically, every misfortune that happened to my administration during the last couple years can be tied back to one thing: doge memes.”

For those of you who don’t know, Harper’s ire is directed at the widely shared image of a Shiba Inu that is known for its wide-eyed look and fractured inner monologue. Since its rise to prominence in the early 2010s the image has been shared and re-mixed millions of times, dwarfing the popularity of notable cat memes from the 2000s.

Most Internet users describe the doge memes as being “adorable” and “dank as fuck.” However, Harper, an adamant cat lover, believes that this spread of “anti-feline” sentiments in Canada is tied directly to the Conservative party’s woes in the latter half of his run as prime minister.

“When I started out in office, cat memes were all the rage and the country was better for it,” Harper wrote, nostalgic about the popularity of Internet felines of the Nyan, keyboard, and ceiling variety. “Taxes were low, the economy was steady, and people actually said what was on their minds. But when that stupid canine reared its furry head, everything started to turn for the worse.”

While Harper admits that Doge originated as an innocent meme that was enjoyed by children and adults alike, he says it was eventually co-opted by Liberal supporters to fan the flames of partisan smear campaigns.

“It didn’t matter if I was dealing with that robocall nonsense or questions about Senate expenses, Doge was always crawling all over social media to spread more lies and mis-information.”

The former prime minister even blames Doge’s skyrocketing popularity with closing Parliament Hill’s cat sanctuary in 2013.

While he had ample opportunity to expose this conspiracy when he was in office, Harper claims that members of his cabinet pressured him to keep quiet, out of fear that he would be viewed as an out-of-touch “normie” by members of the public.

“I was forced to bite my tongue and stay silent for the good of the party,” wrote Harper. “This topic was so hush-hush that my colleagues even went so far as to talk about it in code, referring to it as the ‘cat-sket of unmentionables.’”

Since its original publication on Monday, Harper’s blog post—titled “Doge, cats, and liberal bias: mass hysteria”—went viral and caught the attention of top players in the Tory leadership race.

This includes potential Conservative front runner Kellie Leitch, who believes cat memes should be adopted as an “essential Canadian value.”

“When I was transitioning from medicine to politics, the ‘I can has cheezburger?’ cat was second only to maple syrup in terms of defining our national identity,” said Leith, laying out her proposed immigration policy. “So, if any incoming migrants can’t identify our country’s top ten favourite cat memes, then we should definitely turn them away.”

While there’s no word on whether or not the Conservatives will officially adopt Grumpy Cat as their new mascot, Harper remains vigilant about doge’s “toxic” influence in today’s discourse.

“At the end of the day, I think this meme is sending a bad message to our youth. It teaches them that if they want to wield political influence, all they need is a cute face and a few empty buzzwords.”

He also added “Or, if you’re a Liberal, it’s all you need to become prime minister.”