With the NDP on an unexpected surge in the polls, and another Conservative minority looking like a real possibility, Stephen Harper has suddenly become conciliatory toward the very same parties his campaign has spent the last month ridiculing or vilifying. “Ultimately you have to listen to Canadians and the opposition may be saying some things Canadians care about,” he told the National Post’s John Ivison. The PM voiced a reluctance to change the recent budget that the Liberals and NDP have both said they won’t tolerate. “We’re running on a platform, trying to get a mandate for that platform.” Harper said. “I’m not here to tell you that we’ll turn around the next day and change it all.” But he did create some wiggle room to govern again after the May 2 vote: “It’s obviously life and death to listen to what other parties are saying … I’ll work with people who make compromises but we’re not going to make compromises on things that would hurt the country.” It’s a marked shift for the Conservatives, who throughout the campaign have stressed that they plan to reintroduce the budget tabled in March. The tone, moreover, suggests an awareness that Harper’s image as remote and uncompromising may be limiting his party’s fortunes.