Here's something that's surprising the hell out of me. Stephen Harper doesn't suck as a prime minister.
Now, I'm not saying I'm going to vote for the Conservatives in the next election (that depends a lot on who they run here. The last one was pretty vocal in his opposition to gay marriage, which pretty much made him a dead duck to me) or that I even want to see them get a majority government any time soon. A minority government with the NDP helping to keep them in power works quite nicely for me. Judging by the fact that none of the parties can gain any traction in the polls, it seems to be working quite nicely for most of us.
And yes, I know Stephane Dion has been taking a pounding in the polls and the national press this week. But I tend to lean on the side of some pundits and columnists I've read who remind people that Stephen Harper was behind in the polls in the last election and thought by many to be unelectable. Dion needs to get his act together, but he's hardly dead yet.
It's just that after so many years of being painted the anti-Christ, surprise surprise, Harper's actually not a bad prime minister. The country hasn't fallen apart in the last year. The economy continues to tick along nicely. Decisions are getting made and promptly. Social justice issues haven't been completely rolled back. Same sex marriage continues. Things seem to be quieting down with the separatists in Quebec. Newfoundland is unhappy, but guess what, we're always going to be unhappy.
And hell, I don't even have a problem with Canada being in Afghanistan or the military spending. If we want to be taken more seriously on the world stage, then engagements like Afghanistan are going to have to happen. And yes, it is tragic that men and women have been hurt and killed over there. But honest to God, I think they're making a difference. Maybe it's slow steps. Maybe peace is going to be a long ways away. But I think Afghanistan is better with a Canadian presence there than without one.
And yes, Harper's commitment to the environment is likely more of an attempt to cut the legs out from underneath Dion than a serious belief in the importance of the issue, but hey, it certainly seems to be working, doesn't it?
No, Harper isn't perfect. I don't agree with all the cuts he made in the past year. And I still can't shake the feeling that we would see a very different prime minister if he didn't have to behave in a minority government. But we're already starting to see the lead up to another federal election, this one likely around May. And unless there is a sudden shift in things – Mr. Harper is caught eating small children; Mr. Dion is shown burning tires in his back lawn or Mr. Layton makes a deal with Satan – then there will be another minority government.
I appreciate that politicians are not the smartest breed on the face of the planet, but you'd figure they might catch on sooner or later.
But hey, at least sign makers will make a fortune. Which reminds me, I wonder if any of the parties will make them out of recyclable materials?