In his review of the year which has almost ended, Lawrence Martin writes:
In 2011, Canada took its sharpest turn right in its history. It will go down as the year of transformation in Canadian politics, the year when the political right gained unprecedented control, when the traditionally dominant centre was hollowed out and when the party of the left, for the first time, became the country’s official opposition.
That observation will stand the test of time. The question is, was 2011 an aberration or an omen of things to come?
Many Canadians have been shocked by Harper's ascendancy. And some of those who are no longer with us must be in turmoil. Martin writes:
This Prime Minister’s rightward trajectory no doubt has Pierre Trudeau rolling over in his grave, which is exactly what Mr. Harper wishes. Old Tories like Robert Stanfield are probably doing the same.
And some of those who are still with us are not happy. Jean Chretien certainly isn't. And, although he's never said so publicly, one gets the distinct impression that Brian Mulroney isn't, either.
The real question is how long it will take Canadians to cotton on to the fact that they've been had. The election results suggest that 60% of Canadians aren't buying what Stephen Harper is selling. That makes no difference to the prime minister, of course.
But opposition is building. It's coming from the courts -- who recently struck down the Conservatives' plan for a national securities regulator. And it's coming from the provinces -- who will not take the death of the gun registry or the government's plan to defund medicare lying down.
Last but not least, I suspect that the Harperites will rue the day they threw Helena Geurgis out of the party. Whatever her faults -- and they are glaring -- she will get her revenge.