This was supposed to be a banner year for the Harper government. It hasn't turned out that way. Chantal Hebert writes:
Time and time again over the past parliamentary year the government has turned what could have been policy gold into lead.
As often as not, a chronic incapacity to approach policy as more than a tool to drive a wedge in the electorate was to blame, with diminishing returns to the Conservatives.
The approval of Northern Gateway was supposed to be the triumph of the prime minister's economic vision. However,
the most vivid illustration of the perils of a my-way-or-the-doorway policy mantra pertains to the energy agenda that has long been at the heart of the prime minister’s economic strategy.
Even for a government that has never been in the business of giving Canadians more than a glimpse into its policy thinking, the absence of a designated ministerial pitcher to talk up the decision to give the green light to the Northern Gateway pipeline Tuesday was a stunning admission of how its handling of the issue has rendered it toxic.
Everything is falling around the prime minister's ears.The Supreme Court has ruled that Mr. Harper and the Constitution are frequently at odds. The voters of Ontario have just told him that they are in favour of a beefed up pension plan. And the prime minister's pipe dream of Canada The Petro State is mired in sludge.
The political alchemist has never been able to transform lead into gold. But he has an uncommon talent for accomplishing the opposite. It may be dawning on Conservatives that Stephen Harper is actually the Sorcerer's Apprentice. And, having troubled their own house, they are now poised to inherit the wind.