Yesterday, the broadcast consortium announced that all the party leaders -- except Stephen Harper -- had agreed to attend a debate in French and a debate in English. Harper, you see, only plays by the rules he makes. And sometimes he breaks those. Think of his fixed election dates.
Such "imperial vanity," Michael Harris writes, may eventually sink Harper:
A politician can get away with a lot — until he starts rubbing the public’s face in his indifference to the rules mere mortals must obey. With Harper, we’re getting pretty close to that point.
So here’s another question: Can Stephen Harper — by the simple act of stamping his foot, taking his bat and going home — derail the national leaders’ debates? Will this decision turn into another yawner, as was the contempt of Parliament finding against Harper, or a step too far for a man infamously averse to playing fair?
The prime minister does not intend to -- you'll excuse the expression -- "reform." His recently announced infrastructure program again shows his obsession with making the rules:
An even more dangerous course of action for a party already known for partisan cheating is the government’s new Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program. A better name would have been the Canada 150 Elect Conservatives Program; the deadlines for tapping into the fund are ridiculously tight, and the Opposition is accusing the government of gerrymandering the program for blatant political gain. The man who might be Canada’s next prime minister, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, didn’t mince words. To him, the program is a “slush fund” underwritten by the public for the benefit of Conservative MPs.
The man who would be king assumes that Canadians will accept anything he does. A better student of history might recall all the kings who were deposed -- starting with mad King George III.