The real Stephen Harper could finally stand up, unbound and all but unopposed. When he did, there was more than a little of the tyrant on display. Which is not to use that word the way historians do to describe figures like the Roman despot Caligula. Caligula made his horse a senator; Harper merely handed an ambassadorship to the head of his RCMP security detail. No, I use the word “tyrant” the way the Greeks originally did – a simple descriptor of a style of governance that is essentially undemocratic or authoritarian, a claim I argue that the record indelibly and irrefutably bears out.
The new prime minister ushered in his majority government with a performance that both confirmed and contradicted some of his earlier pronouncements. It was true, as he once predicted, that the country was becoming unrecognizable through fundamental changes pushed through in his majority. Many of them had to do with the effective deconstruction of Canada’s democratic institutions. It was untrue, outrageously so, as he claimed, that he would be the prime minister of all Canadians after his election in 2011.
Stephen Harper’s Canada: The Legacy of Tyrants