His two-faced approach to policy is breath taking, from demanding an elected Senate to personally appointing the most Senators of any Prime Minister in the history of the country. He demands smaller accountable fiscally responsible government and yet he has created the biggest fiscal deficit in peace time. He talks of tax cuts and he raises taxes on the poorest of Canadians. He insists on further unnecessary corporate tax cuts in the face of deficits and a recession gripping the nation.
Speaking of the 2008 recession, which we are still in, Harper denied that it was even happening. He knew better but avoided responding appropriately to the urgency until forced by facts to tell the truth and act responsibly. He reluctantly put the stimulus spending in place and then took too long to get it out the door as he politically steered funds into seats that his party holds. Since then Harper has spent unprecedented millions of tax dollars, to advertise his "accomplishments" from the deficit inducing stimulus spending.
Harper is now haranguing and harping on the dire consequences of a coalition government in the early days of the campaign. It is clear in Harperland any coalition of "second place losers" (like he was in the Martin minority government) is ok if it makes him Prime Minister. Hypocritically Harper dallied with a coalition with the Bloc and the NDP in 2004 to defeat the Martin minority government in order to make him Prime Minister. A coalition is not ok in Harper's mind if it results in a collaboration of other political leaders who are looking out for the good of the country and thwarting his lust for the absolute power of a majority government.
I read the Sun newspaper "Exclusive" coverage of their QMI commissioned Leger poll today on the reaction of Canadians to Harpers wall-to-wall coalition rant with great amusement. It provides some serious insight why Harper is talking about coalitions as a threat. It is all being done to incite his base to show up and support him even though he has bullied his MPs and repeatedly abused the Conservative party principles.
The Conservative Party wants political power too and this election is their last best hope. Past and present polls show Harper is only able to eke out another minority election result. Hence the Leger poll shows the 95% of Conservatives fear a coalition government. It is their worst fear. On the other hand about 2/3 of Liberals , NDP and Bloc supporters see coalitions as a normal and legitimate option to govern if the Canadian voters insist that no one leader or party is compelling enough to be given a majority government.
The concern over a coalition is a political wedge issue. It is not a wedge between Harper and Ignatieff as Stephen would have you believe and the mainstream media promulgate. It is a wedge issue between Harper and his Caucus and the Conservative Party membership. This is because Harper has been anything but a true Conservative Prime Minister as this link illustrates.
He has alienated his Reform base by pandering to Quebec. He betrays fiscal Conservative principles by spending the country into enormous debt and deficits while at the same time he grows government in size and in its role in "interfering" in our lives. All this stuff fundamentally contrary to his espoused Conservative Principles of the party he leads. His party base no longer trusts him but they fear another minority government even more, because they risk seeing political power going to a coalition of "the others." Harper is playing on those fears in his own party. Canadians could care less as Christian Bourque of Leger Marketing points out saying "The coalition does not really shake the electorate when it comes to who they support." It is not a top issue for Canadians and not going to move votes.
It is only Conservatives who are concerned about the consequences of a coalition government. Harper's top down, command and control centralized imperialist approach to politics concentrates power in himself. He uses fear of "the others" actually forming a coalition government as a zero sum political game for enforcing compliance and sustaining power for himself and his partisans. If Harper can't get a majority government from the Canadian voters this time, his leadership of the CPC party and role as Prime Minister of Canada is over. He knows this and his base knows it. The base is not going to stay behind Harper unless he wins a majority government this time out. Three minority governments is three strikes and that means Harper is out.
Canadians who care enough about our democracy, our political system, our citizenship, our rights and freedoms to show up an vote will decide if Harper will still be Prime Minister of Canada after this election. Our decision to accept him continuing a Prime Minister will be based on our collective assessment of his ethics, character, trustworthiness, integrity, accountability, transparency and honesty. Harper's record shows he had failed us on all counts.
If Canadians decide, in our collective wisdom, to return yet another minority government, it will be the fourth in seven years. That would be a strong message to the Governor General that "the others" should be given a chance to govern in a coalition. Cooperation, collaboration and accommodation of different points of view are embedded in the Canadian DNA. A coalition government is only a crisis for Conservatives not for Canadians. It is time for the election focus to move on and politicians to start talking about the real issues facing Canada and Canadians. A real issue is not Harper's artificial angst over "the others" gathering together to run the country collaboratively instead of letting him ruin it unilaterally.