Inside the fight of Stephen Harper’s life

The Prime Minister has outlasted and outplayed three Liberal leaders. The fourth may well trip him up. And this time, it’s deeply personal.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits Governor General David Johnston, along with his wife Laureen, to dissolve parliament and trigger an election campaign at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Sunday, August 2, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen, on Aug. 2, 2015—back when it all began (Justin Tang, The Canadian Press)

As the last week of what must surely be his final election campaign began, Stephen Harper was in Etobicoke, at the west end of Toronto, trying to hold down a seat the Conservatives risk losing. Etobicoke–Lakeshore has symbolic value: Its member of Parliament between 2006 and 2011 was Michael Ignatieff, before the former Liberal leader lost his seat, and everything else, in the last election.

The end of a campaign is a clarifying moment, because there is no longer any room for pretense. At various times, it looked as though this campaign would be about various things: Mike Duffy’s fraud trial, the Syrian refugee crisis, the court’s position on veils and citizenship oaths. But Harper had precisely one message in Etobicoke: The next government would be charged with protecting Canada’s economy “in a time of growing economic uncertainty,” Harper said. “For our Conservative party, protecting the economy is the No. 1 priority in this election.”

Economic issues—keeping “all that money” from “going to bureaucracies and special interests”—had been what inspired him to run for public office for the first time, in 1988. And the distinction between frugal Conservatives and spendthrift Liberals is “one of the most basic differences between a Conservative government and a Liberal or NDP government,” he said.

But, of course, he has been saying that all along and, yet, the Harper Conservatives are in worse trouble now than at any point in the 12 years since they lost the 2004 election. Harper can’t visit the Governor General to postpone this vote. He can’t prorogue his appointment with the Canadian electorate. So in Etobicoke, for the second day in a row, he set about making things more concrete.

Up from the audience came Dino Ari from Dino’s Wood Burning Pizza, a well-regarded local fast-food joint. Dino’s website, I learned later, features a photo of Dino smiling broadly as he poses with Rob Ford, the former Toronto mayor. Ford and his brother Doug were sitting in the front row for this campaign event. Everywhere else in Canada, Harper campaigns against the Liberals for being soft on drugs. In Etobicoke, he campaigns with Rob Ford.

Dino Ari’s job was to make a great show of plunking down fake banknotes while Harper counted off the cost of Liberal tax hikes. A sign on the tabletop bore the helpful message, “The cost of Liberal tax hikes.” Loudspeakers emitted cartoonish “Ka-ching!” sounds while Dino dealt the bills.

This bit of theatre did not mention the countervailing benefit of assorted Liberal tax cuts and new family cheques, so the bill Dino helped Harper to add up was one-sided. But everyone exaggerates his opponent’s dark side and is silent about light. That wasn’t the problem with this event, or not the unique problem, at least. What was most striking was, simply, that it has come to this.

Former Toronto Mayor and current city Councillor Rob Ford arrives to show support for Canada's Prime Minister and Conservative leader Stephen Harper at a campaign rally at William F. White International Inc, a stage lighting equipment supplier in Etobicoke, a suburb of Toronto, October 13, 2015.  Ford, was a larger-than-life figure who made international headlines with his admission that he smoked crack cocaine while he was Toronto Mayor, arrived wearing a sweatsuit to remain comfortable while he recovers from surgery to remove a cancerous tumour in his abdomen earlier this year. Canadians will go to the polls for a federal election on October 19. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Only in Etobicoke: The Fords turn out for Stephen Harper. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Stephen Harper is, after Angela Merkel, the most experienced leader in the G7, a man who reminded voters at every stop in 2011 that he is an economist. The Liberal leaders he has defeated—the legendary finance minister Paul Martin; the world-renowned theorist of federalism, Stéphane Dion; the novelist, BBC crumpet and Harvard foreign-policy hawk Michael Ignatieff—were more or less serious men and, in defeating them, Harper managed to keep his jacket on and his sound effects stowed.

Only days before the Etobicoke game show featuring the disgraced and routed Ford and his creepy brother, Harper stood behind a podium decorated with Canada’s coat of arms at the Foreign Affairs departmental headquarters on Sussex Drive, fielding complex questions from several of the country’s best economics reporters as he announced the triumphant conclusion of Pacific Rim trade negotiations. At that other event, he looked once again like a formidable Prime Minister. Now he was playing ventriloquist’s doll to a pizza man.

It has been a central thesis of the Conservative campaign this year that they are running against a lightweight whose notions of the world are laughable caricatures. But Justin Trudeau isn’t the one campaigning with props, sound effects and 300 lb. of entropy in a track suit.

Harper may even win this thing, in the narrow sense that it is fair to imagine the Conservatives could win more seats than the other parties on Monday night. As the campaign entered its final week, polls suggested the Conservatives remain, at worst, within shouting distance of the Liberals.

But it is beyond our poor capacity to guess what will happen if the Liberals or Conservatives (or NDP!) finish six or eight seats ahead of the other parties. Let us make an appointment to cross that bridge after Oct. 19, if we come to it. But, in the meantime, perhaps it’s not too early to take due note of Harper’s triumph, and to marvel at the fact that the final instrument of his undoing might turn out to be a guy named Trudeau.

‘Who ever thought he would last this long?’

These are large ideas. Let’s take them in order. First, Harper’s triumph. I say again, triumph. Who thought he would last this long?

When he took over the dented and wheezing Canadian Alliance party from Stockwell Day in 2002, even Laureen Harper wondered why he would bother. (He reminded her that, in all of Canadian history, every time a government had been defeated at the polls, it had been the opposition leader who became the new prime minister. That would be he, if he could win the Alliance. She remained skeptical for some time.) He became Prime Minister, in 2006, with the smallest share of seats in the Commons of any government since Confederation—the slimmest possible toehold on power.

In 2008, he won again, only to have the opposition parties align against him in a coalition crisis. In 2011, he won yet again, finally with a majority in the House of Commons. Life with a majority cannot have been what he dreamed it would be. He seemed listless and without a plan for months afterward, demoralizing his supporters and suffering a succession of scandals. At the height of the uproar over Nigel Wright’s cheque to Mike Duffy in 2013, columnists were lining up to predict Harper’s political demise. His resignation that summer was “less and less far-fetched,” Chantal Hébert wrote. Tim Harper said the Conservatives “might need fresh leadership.”

He declined to throw in the towel. Facing no serious internal challenge to his leadership, he stayed at his post until this campaign began. Even if he loses, it is hard to imagine a rout. Compare this record with that of the last two prime ministers to last as long as Harper has.

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By 2003, Jean Chrétien was preparing to retire, the timing of his departure coerced by an ungrateful Liberal party, egged on by a grasping and impatient internal rival. The smell of the sponsorship scandal was rising. In successive defeats over the next 12 years, the Liberals would lose four-fifths of the seats they held in Chrétien’s prime. The party would be lucky to survive.

By 1993, Brian Mulroney had retired, handing over his Progressive Conservative party to a hapless successor who could not durably reverse its collapsing popularity. The voter coalition that had, in 1984, given Mulroney the biggest majority victory in Canada’s history had begun to fly apart soon after, with the birth of the Reform party in 1987 and the Bloc Québécois in 1990. So, by the time Mulroney was done with it, the Progressive Conservative party was doomed—it would never win again—and the country itself was in a national-unity crisis.

‘Justin Trudeau on the brain’

Compare and contrast. Harper has deepened Canada’s trade ties to Europe and Asia, reimagined federalism in ways his successors would do well to contemplate, and constrained the growth of the federal government in ways future prime ministers will have to take into account, whether they like it or not. The party he leads, a freshly knit-together Frankenstein contraption when he led his first national campaign in 2004, is today intact and united behind his leadership. It will probably stay united after him. He has also made a hash of military procurement, watched bailiffs march his former parliamentary secretary, Dean Del Mastro, in leg irons into a paddy wagon, and held, at various times, every conceivable position on the future of the Senate and on Canada’s relations with China. The spectacle he presents today is not lovely. But it is beyond the dreams of his most ardent supporters a decade ago.

It would not be a bad way to go, all things considered, except that the son of Pierre Elliot Trudeau is the one preparing to deliver the coup de grâce.

Harper has had Justin Trudeau on the brain for years already, and Trudeau’s father for much longer than that. In the spring of 2012, as I hurried to write a book about Harper, I showed up at a party he threw for reporters at 24 Sussex Drive. I stood in line for a photo with him, the only way to cadge a few minutes of small talk. (I never collected a print of that photo. The small talk was the point of the exercise.) We discussed the eternal debt crisis in Europe and, as we turned to pose for the photographer, the Prime Minister said to me, “So, are you ready for Justin Trudeau?” It was an odd question: Trudeau wouldn’t even launch his campaign for the Liberal leadership for four more months. Tom Mulcair’s NDP was enjoying one of its periodic rides across the top of the public opinion polls.

But Harper has never viewed the Trudeaus as a normal species of opponent. In 2000, Pierre Trudeau died. Amid the outpouring of grief from Trudeau’s admirers, the National Post’s editor, Ken Whyte, declined to publish several days’ worth of opinion articles from his detractors. Finally, Whyte ran a scathing article by a former Reform Party MP, Stephen Harper, that offered as much autobiography as policy analysis.

This is the article in which Harper described meeting an elderly Pierre Trudeau in Montreal, a man who “had provoked both the loves and hatreds of my political passion.” Little love remained. Harper called Trudeau “a distant leader who neither understood, nor cared to understand, a group of people over whom his actions had immense impact”—in this case, Western farmers. He wrote off Trudeau’s economic stewardship: “Flailing from one pet policy objective to another, he expanded the welfare state, created scores of bureaucratic agencies, offices and ministries and encouraged the regulation and government control of major industrial sectors.”

But Harper’s most bitter criticism essentially dismissed Pierre Trudeau as a lapdog to global evil. Trudeau’s generation “defeated the Nazis in war and resolutely stood down the Soviets,” but the man himself “took a pass” on those epic struggles.

In the last two years, Harper has neither amended his diagnosis of Pierre Trudeau nor drawn any substantive distinction between father and son. He seems to reserve the darkest corner of his political passion for Justin Trudeau, whom the Conservatives have depicted as “in over his head,” as “not ready,” as a man who would speed the delivery of drugs to children and whose MPs were not worthy of visiting a proper democracy like Ukraine.

Within the broad rules of political cut and thrust, all of this is fair, and no worse than what Harper’s opponents have often said of him. But, again and again, it has distorted Harper’s once-formidable judgment until now, when he is running with gadgets and sound effects against a man he once dismissed as a drama teacher. The goal of the lurid theatre in Etobicoke was to draw a distinction between the leaders of the two front-running parties. One of them isn’t serious. It used to be easier to tell which one.


Inside the fight of Stephen Harper’s life

  1. There’s still time to break out the old stock boy band, Mr. Harper. Forget I said that.

    • Old Stock?
      Is Stockwell Day in the band now?

  2. “Harper defends Tory ad claiming Trudeau backs brothels, pot sales to kids: CBC

    Harper has neither brains nor honour.

    • Ha ha! Meanwhile, we have a CPC rally planned by a former crack-smoking mayor.
      Con trolls are all over Twitter as we speak. A faint smell of desparation is rising across Reforma-Con land.

    • No brains or honour would be you Emily.

      • Hey, not my fault you have a leader who cowers in cupboards, BB

      • The national officials evidently had persuaded themselves that they had the law on their side. Elections Canada, the official body that enforces polling law, disagreed. As one of its investigators put it: “You could argue that they stole the election.” Team Harper duly suffered the indignity of police raiding their headquarters in Ottawa, seizing their computers and paperwork, and the further embarrassment of having four senior officials charged with criminal offences. The Conservatives fought Elections Canada to the last ditch, repeatedly challenging it in the courts. Finally, the prosecution accepted a plea bargain. The charges against the four officials were dropped, while the party as an organisation pleaded guilty to illegal campaign spending and paid $282,000 in fines and restitution. That was in March 2012, more than six years after the offence, by which time this particular scandal had cobwebs on it, and Harper had won two more elections, in November 2008 and May 2011.

  3. Paul Martin as Liberal leader was to get the largest majority in Canadian history up to about a week before the election according to the polls,

    The hapless Stephane Dion was to get at least a strong minority.

    The really “Just Visiting” Ignatieff was to get a minority, didn’t even retain his own seat.

    There is only one poll that counts and that is on election day.

    Turdeau “Just Not Ready” 2.0 and Tommy “the Commie Mulcair” will never be PM.

    • “Paul Martin as Liberal leader was to get the largest majority in Canadian history up to about a week before the election according to the polls…”

      You wouldn’t be a real Conservative, Bob, if you weren’t just making it up.

      Either that or polling in the 30s gets you the “largest majority in Canadian history.”
      Like you always say, “math is hard”.

      • Hey clam, look at the date 5/23/04, Liberals over 40 percent, on election day Paul Martin et all lost.

        Like I said, math is hard for clams.

      • All 35 percent or above until a day or two before that election.

        Math is hard for clams.

        • Oh man, talk about thwacking dead horses guys! Let me change the topic, something about accurately counting the angels that can dance on the head of a pin…

      • Ah, so when you said “polls” you meant one single approval rating poll above 40%, and when you said he was going to “get the largest majority in Canadian history”, you meant according to your propriety method of extrapolating approval rating polls into voting intention polls, and when you said “about a week” you meant “more than a month”.
        Bob for the win!

    • “Clearly” (Harper’s favourite word), your guy knows something about which you seem to be in denial: that time in his current job can now be measured in days. Otherwise, why would he be demonstrating his chops as a cheesy game show host?

      Since Sun TV no longer exists and “lamestream media” (as Harper sycophants like to call it) will never pick it up, he may have to upload his new gig as game show host to YouTube, where its viewership will number in the dozens like it does with his current vanity show, 24/Seven.

  4. Prime Minister Harper will go down in Canadian history as our most Machiavellian PM. He will also be remembered as the man who destroyed the Progressive Conservative Party and turned it into the Reformed Tea Pot Party North. Just ask Danny Williams, Joe Clark and many other honourable and life long Progressive Conservatives. He hates our repatriated Canadian Constitution. The Constitution that has led to his 18 defeats in a row in our Canadian courts. It is all that has stopped him from unilaterally running Canada out of his PMO. Thank God for our Constitution and our great Court System. He has divided Canadians like no other PM before; while using the full power of the Canadian government and his Bully Pulpit against a little Muslem lady who wanted to become a Canadian citizen and vote. Shame on you Mr. Harper!

      • Lefty talking points — all of them. Not to be taken seriously.

        • Or facts, if you haven’t been drinking the koolaid

    • Who are you to decide what history will say of Harper? The Progressive Conservative Party destroyed itself. Thankfully, Harper saved Conservatives — or we will have had to put up with Liberal abuses for the last ten years or so. Harper has NOT divided Canadians. It is just that the disgruntled are loud mouths. Canadians have been divided for years — and remain so, regardless of who is in power. The “opinionators” don’t like Harper and are quite vocal about it. That is different from Canadians being divided. We disagree on some issues, but agree on most things. You should also know that the “little Muslem ‘lady'” belongs to a Muslim activist group with a focus on undermining Western democracies from within and without. (Source — Tarek Fatah). Things do not look good for Harper at this point, but he has been a fine Prime Minister and will be remembered well.

      • king stevie the DICKtator will be remembered for having more protest songs written about him than any other PM in history. And on that note don’t forget the farewell to Harper sing a long on Sunday Oct 18. Details can be found on the harperman website.

  5. The irony of the current situation is that many Conservative voters are going to strategically vote for Trudeau in order to prevent the NDP from becoming the default winner, Even if Harper gets a plurality, the Liberals and NDP will force him out. Then the “second place party” will get to govern as a minority for a year or two, with the tacit support of the “third party”. Thus, in Calgary Centre, where the Liberals have a good chance, I will be voting for them purely for strategic purposes. I know others who are doing the same.
    With all of the press coverage of Liberal – NDP strategic voting, I am surprised that this phenomenon is not getting some traction.

    • “are going to strategically vote for Trudeau in order to prevent the NDP from becoming the default winner” That makes no sense. It is Liberal voters who must be concerned about a good showing for the NDP. They should be strategically voting for Conservatives. I also do not believe for a minute that the Liberals have a “good” chance in Calgary Centre.

      • In ridings where the real contest is between a LPC and a NDP candidate, I imagine more than a few Conservative supporters would vote Liberal in the hope of seeing a LPC majority, rather than a LPC minority beholden to the NDP for support. A LPC minority would have no choice but to incorporate NDP policies into its agenda, whereas a LPC majority could govern as it sees fit. And I suspect the latter is what more than a few Conservative supporters would prefer.

  6. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
    Harper is looking mighty old right about now.
    I certainly wouldn’t count him out, but a Conservative majority is looking like a long shot right about now.

  7. “300 pounds of entropy in a track suit” … LOL … thank you for that Paul. It made my day…

  8. How I long for objective journalism from main stream media outlets. Lamenting his lost love for, who I consider the most insidious prime minister in my 43 years of observing politics, even before he’s defeated, I find Paul Wells’ narrow, shaded love affair with conservatism nauseating to say the least. Move to the States already you guys. This was Canada and it will be again once this incredibly backwards incarnation of conservatism is tossed from power.

    • Sad day for Wells on Monday if Harper doesn’t make it. I never could see why Wells had blinders on concerning the insidious side of the longer I’m prime minister scenario.
      Kept boosting, right to the end, and apologizing for the dangerous tendencies.

      • I agree -Paul Wells has completely capitulated to the shallower aspects of Harper’s narrow reign – that everything is about money. Harper was never a Prime Minister for Canadians but simply an opportunistic politician.

        It took Justin Trudeau to wake Canadians up to the idea that our values as a nation are now at stake. Wells, like so many others doesn’t get that at all.

        • “Harper was never a Prime Minister for Canadians” — Hello?? Hello?? It is CANADIANS who voted for Harper in greater numbers than they did either of the other parties, and many Canadians still support the Conservatives. You speak as though there is only one possible point of view. In a democracy, there are many points of view. Also, Justin has not wakened Canadians up to “our values” — Justin is a shallow manipulator as are the folks running the Liberal show behind the scenes. Libs are very, very good at manipulating people and Justin is their tool of choice this time around. If the Libs get in you will see a sell-out to the globalist agenda. You are the one who does not get it.

          • My comment was: Harper was not a Prime Minister FOR all Canadians.

            When a Canadian Prime Minister attempts to turn Canadians against each other as he has , then it clearly HAS become an issue of values.

            And, consistent with your argument, Canadians WILL express their will in this regard.

            The question now becomes, will YOU accept the will of the people?

          • Canadians didn’t know Harper would engage in a personal attack on the Chief Justice, establish a domestic secret police force, create 2 levels of citizenship, set up a special phone line to government for informatives to report on fellow citizens, cheat in elections, and lie to Canadians over and over. There’s lots more.

    • Thanks — we’re Canadian so not keen to “move to the States”. Maybe the left should move to China, and you as well. I consider Harper as probably the best Prime Minister in living memory. You clearly do not tolerate alternative points of view. For the left — it appears that there are ONLY leftist views in Canada. You need to get some perspective.

      • Sorry Rose it was the DICKtator who sold Canada to China. and it is the DICKtator who is turning Canada into a wanna be America. The DICKtator has brought American style policing to Canada, so who is it that is a wanna be either Chinese or American, wait that would be the DICKtator. Hitler and Harper the similarities are scary. Hitler a Dictator, king Stevie a DICKtator, both fear monger, Hitler had the SS, harper the new secret police, Hitler the death camps, Harper new secret jails, both control freaks, temper tantrum prone, liars, paranoid, fearful (Hitler hid in a bunker, harper prefers closets) both surrounded by fanatical yes men, Hitler targeted the Jewish, Harper targets Veterans, 1st Nations, Scientists, Environmentalists and Protestors, and now Muslims and while harper hasn’t ordered the death of anyone (that we know of but he is a secretive jerk so who knows for sure he hasn’t) he is responsible for the attacks currently happening to people of the Muslim faith in MY Country of Canada. Hitler destroyed Germany’s international reputation, Harper has destroyed Canada’s, both had/have similar economic plans. Remember when asked about the recession the DICKtator is the only PM in history to have to ask which one. In fact it even appears they use the same bowl for a haircut. If you painted a black line on king stevie’s upper lip it would be hard to tell them apart. The list of similarities is long and I just highlighted the similarities. The DICKtator has destroyed the very fabric of all that makes Canada the greatest country on the planet. Now he needs to leave as I want my country back. Farewell to harper sing a long nation wide on Oct 18. Details available on the website harperman.ca. Also Google this and you will be amazed at the number of others who see the similarities. https://www.google.ca/search?q=hitler+and+harper+the+similarities&ie=&oe=

  9. It’s easy to forget the opposition created & maintained PM Harper. The opposition voluntarily chose to prop up Harper for years via two Tory minority governments supported by the opposition. They had multiple opportunities to pool their collective majority of seats & oust Harper with his paltry plurality of seats which entitled him to nothing. Arguably, Harper wouldn’t have won a majority last time had the opposition not allowed the public to get used to, over years, having a Tory gov’t running things. Harper owes the opposition, perhaps most especially Ignatieff, a huge debt of gratitude for ensuring he remained in power for years. He couldn’t have done it without them. I can never forgive the opposition for wilfully enabling a Tory gov’t for years. They may have finally come to their senses in 2015 & are now vowing to under no circumstances support another Tory minority gov’t. Better late than never, but 10 years later is WAY ******* late, folks. Sheesh. Unforgivable.

    • I do have a problem with statements such as “allowed the public to get used to, over years, having a Tory gov’t running things” Exactly what is so awful about a Tory government running things. Why shouldn’t they be “allowed” to govern if a plurality of people voted for them.They are a legitimate alternative to leftists running things. You talk like someone who has that foolish notion about “naturally governing”. You seem to think that the voices of all those people who supported Harper (and continue to do so) simply don’t count. Is this a democracy or is this a country where the entitled elite call the shots and think that the people’s choice of party should somehow not be supported.
      The Tories (even in minority) got more votes than the other two parties. It’s the people’s choice — get it?? No I suspect you don’t. If you are looking for a united country, you are going to have to start respecting the views of all those folks who support Conservatives — and there are still a LOT.

      • Long story short– even with his majority (39% of the vote obtained) a large landslide of Canadians did not want him as Prime Minister. In his minority days it was closer to 70% who didn’t want him. I hope the Liberals get a minority and price of NDP support becomes changing our system from first past the post to proportional. Then ALL parties will have to negotiate and compromise in future. No more 4 year dictatorships of any stripe.

        • And to add to that, Harper won, not with 39% of the electorate’s support, but with 37.65% of the 61.1% that bothered to vote.

          In other words, Harper gained absolute, uncontested power with only 24% of the eligible vote.

          Anyone here still think we don’t need electoral reform?

          • Do you ever consider that the 61.1% may have voted Conservative?

      • Farewell to Harper on Oct 18. Join the nation wide sing a long of the very popular and extremely well written and truthful song harperman it’s time for you to go. Visit the harperman website for more information on how to participate.

        Rose how much are the CON’s paying you to troll for them. Desperation is a terrible thing. No one is paying me but I’m having a blast following your posts.

  10. Here are the updated polls on the swing votes … :) … numbers look good for progressive parties but still is too close to call as conservative votes are well distributed… please check this out: (harpernomore.weebly.com) thanks :)

    • Wynnbag will not be able to contain herself if Trudeau wins…..she thinks Trudeau will come running to her aid and get her out of the mess she has put Ontario in!! OMG…I hope Not!

  11. Now there’s a book to write about, political dynasty. What is it about political dynasty that makes Canadians vote for Conservatives?

  12. Historically it has been shown that an increase in voter participation usually indicates a change in power. 3.6 million voted in the advance polls and were willing to wait for hours if necessary to do so; a significant increase over previous elections. Change is coming my friends, whether you like it or not. If you look on facebook a significant number of the ‘people’ arguing “Harper is the best Prime Minister Canada has ever had” are doing so from accounts that are recent, have no or very few ‘friends’ or pictures and no history other than going on different pages spewing the blue Harpercon koolaid. Our current Crime Minister is on the way out and I for one hope that he is held accountable for all the treasonous and illegal acts he has done while on his tarnished throne. Maybe when he is thrown to the curb with the garbage where he belongs, Canada will have a Conservative party that is worth supporting again. I just hope it isn’t already too late to save Canada.

  13. “First, Harper’s triumph. I say again, triumph. Who thought he would last this long?”

    Really? Triumph? I know you keep making this case but Harper has only won one majority and has never managed more than 40% of the popular vote. Surely you would agree, Mr. Wells, that Harper’s “triumph” is due in large part to vote splitting amongst the opposition parties and our anachronistic voting system, which allows parties with the support of a minority of voters to win majority governments. Some triumph.

    • Chretien won 3 majority governments with about 40% of the vote, plus or minus a percentage point or 2.

      Bring on the preferential ballot.

  14. What may have started out as a potentially compelling “fight of Stephen Harper’s life” has quickly faded to “the fight for Stephen Harper’s dignity.”

  15. I say again, this election is not about the economy, this election is about liberty.
    In 2009 Stephen Harper went on record as being interested in privatising Corrections Canada.
    Then his first majority administration pushes the omnibus crime bill through, legislating mandatory minimums for non-violent crimes, and a “protect the snitch” clause that prevents You from suing anyone who wrongfully persecutes you. Next up, bill C-51, which on the very first page declares the government of Canada exempt from all litigators in the event of a wrongful prosecution. Read it.
    Finally, at least 2 Canadian citizens have been gunned down by RCMP officers this year(2015) for nothing more than the crime of belonging to Anonymous. Think about that for a moment. Killed for having an opinion.
    These are the makings of an Orwellian nightmare for our grandchildren. Will Trudeau or Mulcair stop this encroachment on our personal liberties?. We can not know until we afford them the opportunity to succeed. What is clear is Stephen Harper does not care about you or you children’s future.

  16. Former conservative MPs, former conservative premiers, former conservative supporters, and now even the Prime Ministers own former lawyer, are all imploring us to ditch Stephen Harper. In some of the strongest language imaginable: “He can’t be trusted,” “lost moral authority to govern,” “he’s deceived Canadians repeatedly,” “he’s dangerous.”

    It’s important to point out these aren’t people denouncing their conservative values, but affirming them. These aren’t people turning from the conservative party forever, but temporarily in order to fix it. In the end, it’s very likely the party that most benefits from the removal of Stephen Harper is the Conservative Party.

    Until Harper and the unethical PMO staff he uses to enable his approach are removed, the CPC will continue to exist as an unserious and unsupportable entity plunging down a greased slide of ever-increasing brand damage.

  17. The national officials evidently had persuaded themselves that they had the law on their side. Elections Canada, the official body that enforces polling law, disagreed. As one of its investigators put it: “You could argue that they stole the election.” Team Harper duly suffered the indignity of police raiding their headquarters in Ottawa, seizing their computers and paperwork, and the further embarrassment of having four senior officials charged with criminal offences. The Conservatives fought Elections Canada to the last ditch, repeatedly challenging it in the courts. Finally, the prosecution accepted a plea bargain. The charges against the four officials were dropped, while the party as an organisation pleaded guilty to illegal campaign spending and paid $282,000 in fines and restitution. That was in March 2012, more than six years after the offence, by which time this particular scandal had cobwebs on it, and Harper had won two more elections, in November 2008 and May 2011.

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