Stephen Harper's recent lament over the political leanings of the federal civil service and the Supreme Court of Canada is a disingenuous attempt to allay the very real fears held by Canadians of a prospective Conservative government running amok and an electorate powerless to stop them. One has to ask why he would even say it unless he was fully aware of the fact that he is widely viewed as a dangerous man with dangerous ideas.
Harper's suggestion is that he would be held in check by federal institutions which are peppered with liberals. Aside from the blatant insult leveled at federal public servants, he doesn't even hint at the idea that he would engage in a pogrom on the civil service which would guarantee its compliance with Conservative policy. But, that is exactly what would happen. Harper has made no secret of his belief that the civil service is too large and, should the Conservatives form government, we can expect a wholesale dismissal of massive numbers of federal employees within months of taking office.
Harper has also managed to avoid acknowledging that a significant segment of the Conservative Party is populated with extremists. This time out, they were clearly muzzled by party edict. That silence will come with a high price and the extremists will expect their agendas to proceed with some haste.
Harper gathers support, either through candidates or directly, from groups which will expect their social issues to receive priority on any Conservative government order paper. Vote Marriage Canada, The Promise Keepers, Focus On The Family Canada, R.E.A.L. Women of Canada, Canada Family Action Coalition and Campaign Life Coalition are some of the groups which support the Harper campaign by either promoting their candidate or openly supporting the Conservative Party of Canada platform. All of these groups are homophobic, most are anti-abortion and most pursue an extreme right-wing christian agenda. While some claim to be non-partisan, that suggestion is quickly dispatched with one look at their election literature. Many of these groups are Canadian branches of larger US bodies led by proselytizing christian extremists.
Of course, Harper is a homophobe himself. He has suggested that if the issue of same-sex marriage is presented in a private member's bill, that he will allow a free vote. While stating that he would not use the 'Notwthstanding Clause" of the Charter, he would have little choice since any such bill immediately marginalizes a minority group.
Other parts of a Harper agenda might seem harmless but, in fact, will radically alter the country. Harper's own plan is to change what is now a confederation into a union of provinces. This is the very concept which he and his fellows from The Calgary School suggested in the Alberta Agenda letter, commonly known as the Firewall Letter. Such an arrangement is all well and good if the province is resource rich Alberta, but it leaves areas such as the Maritimes in the economic wilderness. Harper's platform is an Alberta-centric instrument which will cost the rest of the country dearly.
As much as Harper preaches "less government" he only means it in terms of taxation and delivery of programs. When it comes to social governance, a Conservative government would be in your face, in your bedroom and likely listening to your phone calls. Given Harper's attraction to the policies and practices of US President George W. Bush, there is every reason to believe he will mimick Bush's behaviour as closely as possible.
So, while Harper sends out reassuring messages of "checks and balances" which have no basis in reality, we should be looking for the hatchet behind his back.