Can a Leopard Change its Spots? Assessing the Anti-democratic Tendencies of Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper

By W.T. Stanbury, The Hill Times, 9 May 2011

Shortly after he won a majority government on May 2, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that "We will be the government of all Canadians, including those who did not vote for us." Even allowing for the usual pious maunderings deemed to be suitable for such occasions, it is impossible to believe that Harper —like the proverbial leopard—is about to change his spots—most notably on the matter of his extensively demonstrated disrespect for democracy and Parliament in particular. Why? First, because Harper's actions as head of two minority governments were so numerous and personalized that they seem to be deeply-ingrained in the man himself. [...]

Second, specialized polling and the election results indicate that Harper's depredations of democracy—most usefully listed by Lawrence Martin, "The descent of democracy: A country under one man's thumb," iPolitics, April 27—have been rewarded. Michael Den Tandt (QMI Agency, May 3) argues that "The various affronts to democratic institutions—centralization of power in the PMO, proroguing Parliament to dodge a vote of non-confidence, silencing civil servants and diplomats, to name a few—Harper got away with." [...]


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