The Harper government is increasingly calcified. Old and tired, it clings to its dogma, even as the world changes. Lawrence Martin writes:
It’s the biggest threat to the Harper government today. It’s become predictable in most everything it does, set in its ways, unwilling to change.
It’s strange. The Conservatives know they are vulnerable to the change argument – they’ve fallen below 30 per cent support in many polls – but do little to counter it. Rather than bold new promises to make things better, we get the daily drumbeat of dogma. Rather than change their much-criticized way of operating, they double down on control. Voters looking for evidence of their being wiser than yesterday don’t find much.
Consider the prime minister's argument that he is best qualified to manage the economy:
Global conditions are to blame, says the Prime Minister. That is true to a degree. But global conditions were worse throughout the stagflation of the 1970s when Pierre Trudeau was in power. Our average economic growth rate in the Trudeau years was about double of that under Mr. Harper. Maybe there’s something systemic now that needs be addressed. But to hear Finance Minister Joe Oliver, no change is in order. The old approach will do.
The old approach will do is the order of the day:
Where their resistance to change could really sting them is in their method of operating. They are condemned far and wide for being authoritarian. But other than Michael Chong’s watered-down reform bill, they offer no respite from the modus operandi of manipulation.Barring Ches Crosbie, the son of former Tory cabinet minister John Crosbie, from running for a seat in Newfoundland is one of the latest examples. There is no promise to change, to start showing respect for democratic institutions, to stop the use of abusive omnibus bills, to stop the muzzling, to be accountable.
There are no new ideas and no new people joining the team. In fact, the first string members of the team have -- for the most part -- headed for the showers and left the adolescents to run the show:
In keeping with the lack of change on policy and on management style, add the management team. The country is being run more and more by a tight cabal of adolescent-minded enforcers such as Jenni Byrne and Ray Novak in the Prime Minister’s Office and cabinet member Pierre Poilievre.
Mr. Harper says his policies are cast in stone. He forgets that, when living breathing organisms become locked in stone, they become fossils.