Michael Harris wrote this week that Stephen Harper is the Matador of the Great White North, treating the opposition -- all opposition -- like a benighted bull:
You know the bull will soon drop to its knees, pink froth at the nostrils, eyes rolling up inside the skull, instinctively thrashing the air with sluggish horns. It doesn’t know the contest is now a formality – like democracy in Canada.
Last May's election literally made Harper the King of the Hill. And, these days, he does whatever he wants to. But, Harris asks, how long will the people in the seats allow the bull's torture to continue?
But what about all those spectators sitting in the arena watching the bull’s slow and sloppy death in the dust? Will the daily bludgeoning of democratic institutions become the new normal or will it offend? Might it even become the proffered evidence of Stephen Harper’s superiority and fitness to govern? After all, this is a torero who goes for ears, nose and tail with brio.
Today, writes Susan Riley, there are signs that the spectators are tiring of the show. And some of the people who won't take it any more are Conservatives:
The dissidents are mostly Progressive Conservatives, but not exclusively. This week, for instance, former Alberta Reform MP Bob Mills joined Green Party Leader Elizabeth May in decrying the elimination of the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (a Mulroney-era initiative.)
More importantly, there is rebellion brewing in Harper's own backyard:
Harper, busy defending the dinosaurs, risks being eclipsed by newly-visible conservative moderates like [Alison] Redford. While the prime minister remains determined to remove any obstacle to rapid development of Canada’s resources, environment be damned, Redford insists on sustainability. While Harper is quick to exploit divisions — portraying Alberta as a potential victim of mythic eastern bastards — Redford is promoting a pan-Canadian energy strategy, led by Alberta. In tone, Harper is tough, impatient and secretive — note the many surprises buried in his omnibus budget bill — while Redford preaches inclusiveness and transparency. She will be the first Alberta premier ever to launch Edmonton’s pride festivities.
It's still too early to make predictions, of course. But a wounded bull is an angry bull. And Harper could find himself hoisted on more than the horns of a dilemma.