October 10. Whatever you think of him, the Stephen Harper of today is not the Stephen Harper of 2004 or earlier. The “firewall” temperament has largely subsided, despite the odd recurrence on matters such as artists who choose free expression over popularity. He is in better control of his emotions. He is smart enough and adaptable enough to recognize that his tendencies toward pettiness and hyper-partisanship hold him and his party back.
Today. Instead, the Prime Minister should focus this fall – and beyond, if he has the opportunity – on developing policies to help rebuild the economy and allow it to emerge from the recession stronger than it entered it. That, more than the familiar pattern of political gamesmanship, would help Mr. Harper make his case the next time Canadians go to the polls. (It is probably not a coincidence that his polling numbers tend to improve when he is seen to be statesmanlike in his international travels, rather than taking potshots at his opponents in Ottawa.)