Stephen Harper's ability to see the future
Back in January, 2006, nearing the victory that would make him Prime Minister, Stephen Harper declared:
"I'm not sure there's such a thing as a true Conservative majority in the sense of a Liberal majority. The reality is we will have for some time to come a Liberal Senate, a Liberal civil service - at least senior levels have been appointed by the Liberals - and courts that have been appointed by the Liberals... There's certainly no absolute power for a Conservative government ... we'll have checks on us and limits on our ability to operate that a Liberal government would not face."
When Harper made those comments, they were intended as reassurance to voters worried about what Conservatives would do with a majority. Today, however, thanks to a confluence of news events, we are reminded that those "checks and limits" still exist for Mr. Harper and his government... much to their annoyance, apparently.
* Witness, for instance, this incredibly partisan press release on a government website. (Is that allowed under Treasury Board rules? Anyone know?) Apparently, however, we are now to be reassured that the Senate will soon no longer be acting as a check or limit on the Conservative government. Phew. Good to know.
* And then there's the Supreme Court's new ruling on Omar Khadr, reminding the law-and-order fans in the Conservative government that there are some outstanding legal issues surrounding Khadr's ongoing detention.
*And then there's also that pesky public service -- foreign affairs officials such as Richard Colvin, or former government watchdogs, such as the ones who appeared this week to remind us of notions of "independent oversight."
Four years ago, Harper foresaw all these possible impediments to his authority as useful reassurance for voters. Today, however, they seem to be a bit of a bother -- like the prorogued Parliament, as a matter of fact.