I mention the above in the context of this Bob Rae piece, where he argues that the Conservatives newfound arrogance will be their ultimate undoing:
The lack of civility and democratic debate in Parliament has become a major problem — and ultimately it will come back and bite the Conservative government, says Liberal interim leader Bob Rae.
“I think it’s going to turn out to be a very, very deep Achilles heel on the part of this government,” Rae said in an exclusive interview with Postmedia News on Tuesday. “I think it’s going to be a quality of this government which ultimately will be to its demise.”
The article comes with another warning from The Speaker on civility, the lack thereof, a theme we’ve heard before and frankly one that has failed to resonate beyond the “diehard” crowd. Instead of public outrage with each successive breakdown of democratic underpinning, we get more indifference, more apathy, people tune out, they don’t get mad. This dynamic explains why the Conservatives operate with relative impunity, why political geeks are left scratching their heads when apparent “big deals” generate small ripples that fizzle out, time after time.
Is Bob Rae correct in his prediction, or is this latest bout of outrageous behaviour just a moment in time, with little long term damage apparent? I would argue that we are seeing a different Conservative government, that this majority has brought a newfound arrogance the previous minority configurations tended to blunt. The Conservatives have a different swagger, you see it in how they respond, you can sense it from their MP’s and minions, a completely dismissive tone, that has a distinct authoritarian spirit. This pre-disposition has always been part of the Conservative makeup, but again, without the threat of election, without full control of all levers of power, it was at least muted to a tolerable level. Now, having finally achieved the ultimate goal, Canadians are starting to see the true nature state of the Harper regime and I do see potential for “achilles heels” and some blowback.
At some point, Canadians will say enough is enough, it will come without predictive signs or mounting evidence. Perceived arrogance has brought down governments of all political stripes and rarely do they see it coming and address before it’s too late. Given that these Conservatives simply can’t help themselves, given that I truly believe we are now witnessing the unshackled beast roaming in it’s natural habitat, there is some room for optimism that a true tipping point will be achieved. I would also argue a compelling, “decent” alternative presentation can speed this process along…