I have wondered aloud more than once, how, in a Democratic nation, this could possibly happen? The man has a minority government, he possesses little more than 30% of the popular vote. Yet he runs the county with all the abandon of a man with a sound majority backing him up. The fact of the matter is, there really is no one party or single entity strong enough to challenge this savvy politician with the Napoleonic Complex. (I am now convinced that as a kid, Harper was always the last person picked for neighborhood road hockey games).
He first of all succeeded in uniting the political parties to the right of center, then he annexed the name "Conservative" thanks to the Machiavellian mind set of Peter MacKay. The name "Conservative" meant nothing to Harper, but it's acquisition created the illusion of respectability. And that was all he needed to gain support east of Manitoba for the first time. Though duplicitous to say the least, this crafty Reformist from Alberta had set the wheels in motion for his ascendancy.
But his timing was right as well. The country had gone through more than a decade of majority Liberal governments and as has been the pattern with the electorate, Canadians were sensing an environment of entitlement from the Grits, a wholly un-Canadian frame of mind. So a change was quite predictable. The fact that the Sponsorship scandal occurred just as Jean Chretien was nearing the end of his tenure as Prime Minister, thus leaving the Liberals a divided party, played quite well into Harper's hand.
But the fact remains that the Liberals remain a divided party. They are somewhat more solidified than when lead by Stephan Dion or Paul Martin, but they have yet to return to their truly dominant form. And Harper, with his highly unethical tactics of spin-doctoring, character assassination, fear mongering , divisiveness, and out-right lies has ensured that the Liberals have remained that way. He has also done his utmost to ensure that wedges remain firmly in place so as to keep the Liberals, Bloc and NDP well separated and constantly squabbling among themselves.
In 2008, the majority of M.P.s attempted to form a coalition to overthrow the emerging tyrant Harper, but in a never before seen move to stave off a vote of non-confidence, Harper had the House of Commons Prorogued. The nominated leader of the Coalition, Stephan Dion was subsequently tossed from office as leader of the Liberals as a result of their buying into the Conservative spin-doctoring. And when Parliament resumed after a brief absence, there was a new Liberal Sheriff in town, Michael Ignatieff, and he wanted nothing to do with any kind of coalition. And the NDP, quite deservedly, felt betrayed and have had very little regard for the Grits ever since. The Bloc of course, will swing which ever way the wind blows if it suits their purpose.
So Harper realized early on that Stephan Dion was a real threat to his power, that he may have been the only person on the other side of the floor capable of leading a palace coup and quite masterfully had him eliminated. And now, Harper rules seemingly unopposed.
But still I wonder, sometimes aloud, sometimes not, why this man is being allowed to systematically disassemble the democratic system in our country. The splintered left seems to be more fearful of the public opinion polls than of Harper himself, and are thus paralyzed in a perpetual state of inactivity. The Grits and the NDP both talk a good game in Question Period, but neither seems to have either the wherewithal or the cojones to do what needs to be done to stop this megalomaniac Harper.
It seems that both Ignatieff and Jack Layton see themselves as a possible Heirs Apparent as Prime Minister and are thus as politically at odds with each other as they are with Harper. And Harper has seen to it that Canadians would look disfavorably on any kind of coalition of the left. So his manipulation and lies have led to the virtual elimination of any competition in the House of commons. Both the Upper and the Lower Chambers are his, unchallenged, and he knows it.
And so it seems that the only possible Saviors of Democracy in Canada are the electorate itself. We gave this man the mandate to rule with a minority and he has transgressed, lied, cheated and manipulated his way into absolute power with nary a percentage point lost in the polls. Collectively, we as Canadian citizens have been content to fiddle as our system of Democracy burns. So either Canadians don't care about becoming a Totalitarian state, or far too many of us have sipped of "Harper's cool-aid" and have been conned into believing his rhetoric.
So next election Canadians, it's up to us. If we wish to see Canada remain a Democracy, we must collectively vote Harper and his collection of goons off the face of the Earth. Harper and his Reform/Conservatives should cease to exist as a political entity. And then Mr. Harper should be taken to task for his myriad indiscretions and out-right violations of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I can't guarantee that the next Prime Minister will be the greatest of all time, but he or she will know that they are accountable to the people of the Nation.