In a minority situation, the government governs at the sufferance of the opposition. Harper lost sight of this simple fact. He assumed that since we just had the election and he supposedly ‘won’, he could bring forth any legislation he wants, the opposition will have to go along with it.
He lost sight of the little fact that he didn’t have the majority. A majority PM can be dictatorial, arrogant, ignoring of the opposition and get away with it, but not in a minority situation.
Harper is going to learn this lesson the hard way. Now he trying to do everything he can to stay alive. He postponed the no confidence vote by one week, hoping that the opposition coalition will fall apart. That doesn’t seem to be happening; I saw on TV that they have reached a deal.
He tried to go back on the promises made in the financial statement, he said he won’t get rid of the public funding of political parties; he won’t take away the right of public servants to strike. He also said he will table the budget much earlier, in January instead of March.
But all this may be too little, too late. The time to make these concessions was before the financial statement, in consultation with the opposition. Making these concessions now merely makes him appear weak, it gives the impression that he will do anything to stay in power.
The least he could do now is to go down fighting, in a dignified manner. Making concession after concession with the gun of no confidence motion held to his head is not becoming of a Prime minister.