Stephen Harper came to Ottawa like a bull in a china shop -- determined to get his way in all things, even if it meant destroying the shop in the process. But, Carol Goar writes, the bull has been wounded:
It took a while to find the chinks in Stephen Harper’s armour. But Canadians have done it now.
They are chipping away at the prime minister’s policies on everything from electoral reform to military procurement. Advocacy groups have raised red flags, the media have highlighted the damage he is doing to people’s lives and communities and the courts have reined him in. But the primary thrust is coming from citizens who don’t like what is happening to their country.
Goar then goes on to highlight several instances where Harper hasn't been allowed to get his way:
Their plan to the rewrite the Election Act , disenfranchising thousands of voters, ran into a wall of public opposition. The harder Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre pushed his proposal, the harder Canadians pushed back. Eventually he agreed to amend the controversial bill. The new version is not perfect, but its most contentious elements are gone. It will no longer allow the Tories to restrict the right to vote or withhold ballots from individuals whose identification doesn’t meet their standards.
Their plan to flood the labour market with temporary foreign workers worked for six years. But last April it began to unravel. The Royal Bank was caught replacing its information technology staff with temporary foreign workers. (The bank said the arrangement met the letter of the law, but apologized and launched a review of its outsourcing strategy.) Rather than squelching the controversy, that stoked it. Whistle-blowers in other sectors — mining, hospitality, food service — popped up, claiming they too had lost their jobs to temporary foreign workers. Employment Minister Jason Kenney tried to put a lid on the contagion but it was too late. On June 20, he announced a wholesale overhaul of the program, effectively shutting it down.
Their plan to revamp — preferably abolish — the Senate without the agreement of the provinces was rejected out of hand by the Supreme Court of Canada. It delivered a stinging rebuke to the prime minister, pointing out he did not have authority to override the Constitution or change the rules under which Canadians are governed. Harper grudgingly accepted the court’s ruling, but tried to exact revenge six days later. His office issued a statement insinuating that Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin had improperly approached him. The evidence melted under scrutiny.
What is most striking, however, is that the prime minister appears incapable of learning from these rebukes:
Their plans to crush prostitution and drive an oil pipeline through British Columbia will probably be next on the list.
Conservative policies are being thrown out with abandon these days. But the ultimate rebuke will be when Canadians throw Harper and his party out. That is still going to take some doing.