Stephen Harper and the long term goal of the Conservatives
What is Stephen Harper's reason for becoming the leader of the government? For many it is to implement the so called "hidden agenda" so that Canadians "will not recognize" their country when he is done. This has been the biggest fear amongst progressives since he came to power. As well, that has been the biggest hope of Conservatives since he came to power.
Of course, both progressive and conservatives have been left a little dumbfounded by what Mr. Harper has done. Although, he has nibbled around the edges he has not fundamentally changed Canada. Everything he has done can and will be reversed. Indeed, he will be the first government leader in a very long time who will leave absolutely no legacy. He will be forgotten.
So why is he being so timid? Part of it is the constraints of the minority government. However, he had a couple of years where he had a virtual carte blanche that he squandered. So there must be another reason.
For a clue of that reason you must look at Tom Flanagan and other conservative thinkers in this country. Tom Flanagan in particular has stated on several occasions the the goal of the Conservatives is to become the new "Natural Governing Party" in Canada. In other words they are thinking long term.
The interesting thing is the country could be ripe for just such a change. The population is getting older and that usually leads to more conservative views on the part of voters. As well, the low voter turnout is mostly fed by the fact the young people in this country have essentially walked away from its politics. That leaves the aging boomers and their kids who are showing signs of becoming more conservative.
So why are the Conservatives failing in reaping this change. That's simple, they have the wrong guy leading them. Canadians may becoming more conservative but the progressive habit runs deep so they are going to have to convinced to break that habit. Stephen Harper is not the man to do it. He does not inspire and he does not cause people who might me sympathetic to his ideas to actually decide to agree with them.
He knows it too. That is why he is so damned partisan. He knows he will not inspire Canadians to see the Conservatives as the "Natural Governing Party" of Canada with ideas and his charisma. Instead he believes that the only way to do it is to diminish the other guys. He believes that if he can keep the Liberals out of power long enough a sufficient number of Canadians will begin to see the merit of the Conservatives to sustain their position as the dominant party in Canadian politics.
Of course, it cannot last. Every government gets tired and eventually defeats itself and no matter what their efforts and the efforts of the NDP, poll after poll after poll has demonstrated that the Liberals are still considered the only real alternative to the Conservatives when it comes to governing. So, it is virtually inevitable that the Liberals will win the government again and if a recent poll is to be believed they could very well win a majority government the next time around.
It is ironic that Stephen Harper, in trying to realize the dream of his teachers in the Calgary School, could very well utterly fail to achieve their long term objectives and, in the process, squander the one opportunity for him to actually make the changes to the country, in the short term, that he got into politics for in the first place.