Unlike Brian Mulroney who allowed himself to become caught up in the kind of bribery and personal enrichment scandal that causes politicians in other countries to resign their seats and step out of governments, Harper has continued to play not only an unusually vicious form of partisan politics since the day he stepped into his post at the head of the Conservative party, but he has become increasingly authoritarian since the day he got the keys to 24 Sussex Dr. in Ottawa.
But, Harper's "poltical strategy" genius is also his Achilles heel. He hasn't gotten out of thinking about "destroying the opposition" since he was elected in 2006 in a minority. So desperate is he to accomplish this single minded goal that he has called a snap election in 2008, and prorogued parliament to avoid accountability for issues that the Canadian public were concerned about.
He has all but said outright that he has no respect for Canada, Canadians or our system of government. He will manipulate it as much as he feels he has to in order to achieve his goals.
What I think is interesting is that Harper's support is coming from places where education is not valued particularly:
People in Alberta, Canadians 65 and older, and those with a high school education or less are more likely to believe the government is moving in the right direction.
Those with a university-level education are more likely to think the government is moving in the wrong direction.
This is significant in my view, and it tells us a lot about the Conservative's tactics. They thrive on ignorance - in the extreme actually. Alberta's government has always been quick to cut back funding to its public school system, and Harper's attitudes towards any research initiatives that he finds 'politically uncomfortable' have been similarly hostile. His attitude is very much that an educated public is a bad thing - primarily because an educated public will question his directions and orders. Harper likes obedient little minions, not critics that challenge his loftiness.
With this second prorogation of Parliament in a year to avoid dealing with being accountable to the Canadian public, Harper has made it abundantly clear where he stands. In spite of his promises for greater government transparency and accountability, he has actually dragged Canada backwards a good twenty years or more. This is a club that the opposition can, and certainly should, use every time Harper or one of his parrots opens their mouth. You cannot talk on one hand about making government work better or be more transparent and then on the other hand shut down Parliament every time it becomes politically inconvenient. Parliament is the gateway through which Canada's government is held accountable to its citizens. Harper is abusing the very trust which voters have handed him ... and the voters should be angry about it.