This sudden drop in numbers comes at a time of a growing realization among conservative Quebeckers that they have been had: Harper has not governed as a conservative, but as one of the worst Liberals one could imagine. Government spending had ballooned by 14 percent well before the global recession and stimulus spending, and conservatives are still waiting for long-overdue tax relief in this country where the tax burden on the average family amounts to 45 percent. Instead of a smaller and more efficient government, they are now faced with an even bigger government behemoth than before. Harper’s silly budget in early 2009 was simply the last straw. Derided by some as a Liberal or even socialist budget, it was simply one that violated every basic principle of common sense and fiscal conservatism.
So, Harper has only himself to blame and no one else. He can’t pin this on Ignatieff or other opposition parties. He presented himself to the people of Canada as a conservative, but once he had won, he quickly returned to his original roots of being a Liberal. (Harper got his start in politics with the Young Liberals.)
In Quebec, as well as elsewhere, many conservatives have resigned themselves to being governed by the Liberals again, saying that if Canada is to have a Liberal government, it might just as well go to an actual Liberal, rather than Harper, the imposter. Ignatieff can’t be any worse than Harper -– at least, that’s what they keep telling themselves.
There is no way for Harper to turn this around in time for the next election, expected later this year or early next year. He has lost the trust of conservatives across the country. He could travel the entire nation between now and election day and hand deliver pledges signed in his own blood that he would adhere to conservative principles from now on, but people wouldn’t buy it anymore. To the real conservatives in Canada, Harper has come to symbolize the betrayal and selling-out of conservatism. This is something that no true-blue conservative could ever forgive.