Since coming to power in 2006, the Canadian prime minister “has acquired a reputation for playing fast and loose with the rules.” Harper plays to his social conservative base. He and his Conservative majority government tolerate neither criticism nor dissent. But these “bullying” ways are set to boost the opposition’s popularity and lead to Harper’s downfall in 2015.
That’s the verdict by The Economist, a renowned right-loving British weekly magazine.
In an editorial, the magazine pays homage to progressive Canadians‘ recent bruising fights with the government over the omnibus budget Bill C-38, nuking of environmental reviews for Big Oil and tightening of immigration laws. It articulates Harper’s burgeoning dictatorial streak this way:
“He twice prorogued Parliament, once to avoid a censure vote and then apparently to duck embarrassing questions from a parliamentary committee.
Though the prime minister once campaigned as a crusader for accountability and openness, he has acquired the habit of secrecy. In April the auditor general accused the government of misleading Parliament about the cost of an order for F-35 jet fighters. The parliamentary budget officer, an independent watchdog, is considering going to court to force the government to release details of job and service losses in the budget’s C$5.2 billion ($5.1 billion) of spending cuts. The courts are “perhaps the only institution of accountability this government does not seem prepared to harass, intimidate, ignore or roll over,” wrote Andrew Coyne, a columnist for the conservative National Post.
The government is intolerant of criticism and dissent. Civil libertarians who oppose giving police easier access to internet users’ browsing histories were branded by Conservatives as supporters of child pornographers. They condemned greens worried about the development of Alberta’s tar sands as radicals laundering foreign money; the government is investigating the charitable status of some green groups. It killed off an advisory body of businessmen, scientists and officials because it supported a carbon tax. The electoral authority is investigating claims that Conservatives used automated phone calling in 2011 to mislead voters in opposition areas about where to vote.”
Read the full editorial HERE.