The central political question in Canada has lately become "just how far off the rails will the Conservative Party go?" For a long time political watchers have predicted the eventual self-immolation of Harper and his self-absorbed, bullyboy whackos. It was clear to most of us that once these guys got a majority they would begin to go off the deep-end. They have long been peddlers of hate who are so wrapped up in their own state of bizarre paranoia that it is nearly impossible for them to see clearly let alone engage in any sort of 'normal' political discourse. But while in a minority government they were able to create a sort of barricade mentality in which they could portray themselves as under siege by a hostile media and 'coalition' that was always waiting in the wings take over. It was obvious to everyone that this story would wear thin pretty quickly in a majority situation (particularly when every newspaper in the country except one endorsed them). However, not only did their story wear thin, a majority has made the Harpercons careless and pompous, with feelings of invulnerability and entitlement. As they have grown comfortable in their ministerial offices and limousines (like so many governments have in the past), they have begun to give up on any pretence to legality. Ministers like John Baird blatantly use their influence to divert funds to their friends, and seem entirely unconcerned that their malfeasance might be discovered. And under these circumstances ministers begin to reveal things that they would normally hide, feeling (as most tyrants eventually do) that their power entitles them to do as they please with public funds and ministerial power. As Susan Delacourt points out, they have begun not only more careless, but more childish as well. And as Lawrence Martin demonstrates, government ministers are beginning to come unhinged.
As they further entrench their power and get more comfortable in their positions (which will eventually bestow upon them the kinds of pensions that most Canadians can only dream of), the real problem for the Harpercons is that their hate and paranoia will become part of their everyday surface behaviour and that they will slowly become so despised by the vast majority of voters that they have no chance of ever winning an election again. Of course, this will be when they will become most dangerous. In the face of inevitable electoral defeat, Harper and his minions will look for ever more corrupt and illegal ways of maintaining their power and will slowly become like Putin in Russia, operating in total corruption while maintaining all the while that they are continuing to operate in a democracy. Paranoid tyrants are never so dangerous as when they become unhinged, and the hinges are breaking folks.
The real question in Canadian politics has now become "just how crazy will the Harpercons become?"
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