Five days ago Stephen Harper was a reinvigorated PM, using a recent election victory to lead a party whose acquiescence he had all but guaranteed. Funny thing how politics works.
The Hill Times has an article about how totally floored the Conservatives are over all this:
"It was a mistake, in my view, I don't know why he [Mr. Harper] did it? I think he grossly underestimated the opposition parties' reaction because he should have realized public subsidies is their [opposition parties] lifeblood. Now he may have to change his position but I don't know if he's going to do that," said one top Conservative source who added that the Conservatives were surprised by the opposition parties "furious response."No kidding. The symmetry of all this really appeals to me, though: Harper uses the levers of state for nakedly political means for years, and it's only when the opposition learns to play ball as hard as Harper that they start to get respect.
"All of us are surprised by this furious response. I never expected this to happen."
It's like that anti-drug commercial with the befuddled Dad asking, "Where did you learn this stuff, anyway?" The opposition parties could be forgiven for replying, in one voice, "We learned it from you, okay! We learned from watching you!!!"
That said, part of my concerns over this coalition is that this represents a permanent escalation in the level of acceptable means in Canadian politics.