We appear headed for another election. When evaluating the present government, it is enlightening to judge it -- not by what others have said about it -- but by what Mr. Harper has said about his predecessors.
On the subject of concentrating power in the Prime Minister's Office, consider this bit of fulmination from 2005:
Will this be a country in which Parliament will rule on behalf of the people or where a self-selected group of lawyers or experts will define the parameters of right and wrong?
Then there was Mr. Harper's unshakable commitment to government accountability. When he was elected, the Prime Minister -- who has padlocked Parliament twice -- said:
Restoring accountability will be one of the major priorities of our new government. Accountability is what ordinary Canadians, working Canadians, those people who pay their bills, pay their taxes, expect from their political leaders.
When it comes to "separatist coalitions," it is important to remember that in 2004 -- when the future of the Paul Martin government hung in the balance -- Mr. Harper wrote to the Governor General. A coalition with the Bloc Quebecois was not a problem:
We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise,this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all your options before exercising your constitutional authority.
Measured by his own standards, Mr. Harper has been an abject failure and an absolute hypocrite. Apparently, he believes that Canadians live in an Orwellian world, where all his past pronouncements have gone down the memory hole. And, like O'Brien -- Winston Smith's torturer in 1984 -- his message to Canadians is:
We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.
Consider, for a moment, the consequences of Canadians -- "those people who pay their bills, pay their taxes" being filled with the likes of Stockwell Day, Lisa Raitt, Vic Toews, Bev Oda and -- of course -- Stephen Harper.
Perish the thought.