1. The PM has lost the moral authority to lead.
Even some of Harper's own caucus members are coming around to the idea, a handful refusing to stand in the House for the customary leader's ovation after his salvo against Opposition coalition plans this week.
The head of state is supposed to set the example for civility in the House. Last week's attempt to cut off funding for political parties was only the latest in a long list of vulgar power plays. Harper is a student of the Karl Rove school of gutter politics.
See the Cadman affair. See the vilification of Dion in television ads long before the last campaign. See the ostracizing of Ontario. See the resignation of ethics commissioner Bernard Shapiro. See this week's surreptitiously obtained tape of a meeting of the NDP caucus.It's Nixon all over again.
2. Harper has nothing but contempt for parliamentary democracy.
The PM's infamous warning to Alberta to build a firewall around itself is the clearest expression of his outright disdain for federalism.
Barely winning a minority in 2006 but governing as if by divine right of kings, Harper, exploiting the weakness of the opposition benches, threatened to turn every bill into a confidence vote and trigger an election.
Dysfunction? The dysfunction is of Harper's own making. Remember fixed election dates? What about that 200-page tome for Tory MPs on how to disrupt the work of committees? Clever, huh? Worked like a charm during committee hearings into allegations the Conservatives exceeded advertising limits in 2006 elections - and then collected a cool $1 million in tax credits.
True to form, the PM's threatening to prorogue the House to avoid losing power to a Liberal-NDP coalition. With Harper, it's always by any means necessary.
3. Harper's lost touch with mainstream Canada.
Anyone who's caught sight of the PM's motorcade - shiny, black and impenetrable - has noted its presidential air. He even takes it for the short trips between his Langevin Block and Parliament Hill offices.Like no other PM in modern history - Harper has blown himself a bubble from which he rarely emerges, even to talk with his own MPs. Think about it. What do we really know about the man who's been entrusted to lead us?
The deficit denials prove just how out of touch Harper's crew is with Main Street - and Bay Street, in fact. The PM tries to sell himself as Everyman. It's a myth.
4. He's lied to the Canadian public - repeatedly and from the get-go.
Right from the beginning Harper broke his promise to make government more accountable, appointing his unelected Quebec campaign manager, Michael Fortier, to oversee the handing out of billions in government contracts as minister for Public Works.
Slippery from the start, Harper refused to release his entire list of donors to his 2002 leadership campaign. He didn't want anybody knowing just how pumped he is by Big Oil. Talk about keeping the revolving door open for lobbyists.
Three of Harper's first key cabinet appointments went to former lobbyists, among them Gordon O'Connor, who was a mouthpiece for some 25 military contractors before being handed the defence minister's job.
Do we need to mention Mulroney-Schreiber, in the news again this week? The PM allowed Brian Mulroney, a close confidante, continued access to the cabinet as a lobbyist for a number of companies bidding on government contracts even while allegations swirled about cash payoffs to the former PM from German businessman Karlheinz Schreiber. We could go on, but you get the picture.
5. The Tories are not a truly national party.
Yes, the Conservatives won 144 seats in the last election, but the vast majority of their support, almost half their seats, are west of the Saskatchewan border and in mostly rural chunks of Ontario.
In the prairie provinces, Conservatives received roughly twice the votes of the Liberals and NDP but took seven times as many seats, thanks to the vagaries of our first-past-the post electoral system.
In the country's biggest centres, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, where a quarter of the population resides, the Tories have, with a handful of exceptions, virtually no presence. Voters didn't get the Parliament they wanted.
Ironically, the government's own Throne Speech last week proclaimed that "Parliament should be an expression of our highest ideals and deepest values," and that "these ideals can only be achieved if Parliament truly reflects the character and aspirations of the Canadian people."