Odd but interesting column by Wente this week in The Glob, the Old and Stale, the Blobby Male... I'll be here all week, try the liver:
To tell the truth, I don’t agree with all of Mr. Harper’s policies myself. (e.g., the niqab.) But it seems obvious to me that his government is far more in touch with mainstream Canadians than all those critics who accuse him of abandoning the mainstream. He’s worse than an extremist – he’s a populist. Or else he has duped and terrorized the masses so effectively that they are powerless to resist. Kind of like you-know-who.
Sure he is liked. He is also increasingly irrelevant. The retraction of the Feds from the exercise of their own powers combined with confirmation that they cannot dabble in provincial powers has left Mr. Harper as the king of very little. Sure, he has added back the "Royal" to the separate wings of the armed forces but, as a recent chat with a committed military officer reminded me, pretty much only as a matter of branding even if welcome. Nothing has changed in the continued sensible and increased integration of our military as a single fighting force. And, sure, he likes to pay attention to the Arctic more than places where a lot of people live but as that is the only mandated geographic area of Federal administration one would assume he might. And, sure, he like to talk about a balanced budget and spending prudently but one day he might try to pull it off as his Liberal predecessors did.
Mr. Harper believes in a weak limited national government, which is his right, but that means he himself is made weaker, less relevant to the national discourse. For now, we are paying more attention to ourselves as Canadians expressed through our provincial and municipal policies and operations. And why not? We have many layers of meaning, we Canadians. When Harper is replaced the focus will change. What an utterly boring legacy he has mapped out for himself.