A week from today, we will once again deliver ourselves in the hands of Stephen Harper, the cold-eyed autocrat with the immovable hair and insatiable desire for power.
There is still a chance that just enough Canadians will rise from their La-Z-Boys, turn off the Stanley Cup playoffs, and cast their votes for enough non-Conservative candidates that a Harper majority might be avoided. If the public keeps Harper to a minority, chances are his career is finished. But barring something entirely unexpected — something like Harper briefly turning into Mr. Hyde before reverting to Mr. Jekyll — Harper seems likely to pull off that elusive majority.
Pondering the prospect of a Harper majority, I am reminded of that famous line from Brian Mulroney, who in a moment of typically rhetorical exuberance, said: “Give me 10 years, and you won’t recognize this place.”
I’m afraid after even five years of a Harper majority, Canada may be unrecognizable. After all, look what the guy has done with five years of minority.
Canada’s world reputation under Harper has sunk so low, we couldn’t even get a seat on the UN Security Council, which has never happened before. Harper has essentially given Quebec carte blanche to do as it pleases, leading to a de facto separate state within Canada. His environmental record is dismal. He has consolidated power into his office unlike anyone before. He silences critics and threatens the civil service if they speak to the media. Harper has adopted American-style politics and symbols, from the vicious attack ads against Michael Ignatieff to the little Canadian flag in his lapel to his backdrops for press conferences. He has treated parliament, and the media, with complete contempt. And all of that is while in minority.
What will he do with a majority? We might start to find out on Tuesday morning.