Thursday, January 07, 2010

The reviews are in

Lawrence Martin:
Our priorities, like the PM's, are somewhat upside-down and it has suited him just fine. But with his second prorogation in the space of a year, things may be changing. Although the move could easily be seen as an unprincipled manipulation of the democratic process, Mr. Harper likely figured that having gotten away with it before, he could get away with it again.

And some commentators did, indeed, award him points. As in, hey, never mind that he's seized the moral low ground again – how about those crafty politics! However, there are indications that anger over his act is spreading. A Facebook campaign against it is pulling in a large response. Newspapers that are normally in the Prime Minister's corner have protested. This paper ran a front-page editorial. An Ekos Research opinion poll appearing today will show a sag in support for the governing party.
The question is how many times he can tempt fate and get away with it. What he's doing in avoiding a scheduled return to Parliament is putting his fundamental flaw, his autocratic arrogance, on parade.

His defenders look at the prorogation in isolation and say it's not so bad. Viewed in isolation, they're right. It is not entirely odious. It's only when you look at in combination with all the other examples of low-road behaviour (smearing opponents, shutting down committees, cutting off information channels etc ) that the true picture emerges. There's a cumulative effect that episodic media coverage hasn't brought across – and the cumulative effect isn't pretty.

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