Third, and most important: The Conservative government, read the prime minister, has ignored this glaring strategic reality: To counter a Trudeau-led Liberal party and a Mulcair-led NDP, the Conservatives needed to curb their anti-democratic tendencies — epitomized by omnibus bills and constant, intransigent resistance to compromise, which looks like the arrogance of long-held power — and make themselves credible on the environment. Unfortunately for their more moderate supporters, they have done neither; if anything, they’ve doubled down.
Core Conservative support, just under 30 per cent of the voting population, has kept the party more than solvent; but it can’t win it a majority. That is a fundamental problem for the Harper team, and one it has precious little time to solve.
While I’d like to agree that the current governing party of Canada’s anti-democratic approaches should cost it seats, if not the election, I have strong doubts. I often speak with Canadians (of various political stripes) and ask whether they want decisive action (demonstrated in the form of the current government’s omnibus legislation) or a more drawn out periods of action as parties communicate to develop some kind of quasi-consensus on issues (often as characterized in a minority government situation). Save for the extremely rare person, most state a preference for decisiveness and regard omnibus legislation as efficient. The rationale is almost always that ‘government should be doing things, not stuck just talking for a long time and wasting taxpayer monies’.
Personally, I find such responses extremely depressing. But if my anecdotal conversations have any resonance with the broader Canadian public then I’d be doubtful that ‘anti-democratic’ approaches to governance will be what relieves the current governing party from power. Scandal, perhaps, but I don’t even think the Duffy affair is sufficiently scandalous to cost the government too much.