Stephen Harper 1988 v. Stephen Harper 2010

The Globe editorial board has another go at explaining its disappointment.

The democratic ethos that gave rise to the Reform Party was instrumental in its 1993 breakthrough, leading to the ultimate demise of the Progressive Conservatives. It was carried by Reformers in Parliament; for a time, Preston Manning even sat in the second row in the House chamber to illustrate that he was an elected MP on a par with all others. It was maintained in subsequent party platforms. It catalyzed grassroots interest in the party, inspiring Canadians to get involved in politics. To this day, the membership of the successor Conservative Party of Canada is the largest of any party in Canada…

Today, Parliament is closed, while Canadians hang on to the notion that they live under a parliamentary system of government. We don’t elect our prime minister, we elect our MPs to form a government, and then to hold the prime minister and his ministers to account. But the present reality is one in which the executive increasingly directs the activities of the legislature. That’s something at odds with the ideals on which the country, and the Reform-Conservative tradition, were built. Canadians have taken notice.