Posted by Nick Fillmore of Catch 22
You have to give credit to Stephen Harper on one point. When it comes to political strategy and unethical behaviour he's tops in keeping his band of misfits in power in Ottawa.
For instance, Harper stood his ground in September 2009, watching Jack Layton and the NDP “blink” and, along with the Bloc, vote in favour of the budget. In effect, this allowed the Conservative gravy train to stay on the tracks.
At other times, he demonstrated his true feeling about democracy by shutting down Parliament. Twice. In one case, this prevented the public from learning the truth about “who knew what when”, – the who being primarily Peter MacKay – concerning the torture of prisoners Canada had turned over to Afghanistan’s brutal security service. In the other case, it stopped the opposition's "coalition" gambit dead in its tracks.
During the five years that Harper really would not likely have been in power if Canada had a modern electoral system, he ran roughshod over the wishes and interests of the vast majority of Canadians. He sneered at us as he slashed public-interest programs developed over decades by far greater leaders – the likes of Tommy Douglas, Pierre Trudeau, Ed Broadbent, etc. Harper used government resources to do everything possible to try to see that he stays in power.
As Lawrence Martin writes in The Globe and Mail, despite the lack of a majority, Harper has been dominant everywhere.
“Mr. Harper has run his minority as if he won a landslide. He’s overrun the checks and balances in the system to the point where he has the system pretty much under heel.”
As we enter 2011, what’s ahead for us? Will Harper be able to satisfy the NDP by including a little present for them in the next budget?
If the speculation offered by the Globe’s John Ibbitson is right, Harper will avoid a spring election and be able to dominate events in Ottawa even more aggressively then in the past.
“The prospect of 12 months of electoral security – if they get it – will change the way the Conservatives govern. They hope to move from the crisis management associated with minority government to focusing on a few major priorities that will roll out over the course of the year.”