Over the past year, many political analysts and social media enthusiasts have branded Stephen Harper as "undemocratic" and "dictatorial."
Last Friday, one of the world's most influential magazines 'piled-on' calling Harper a "bully."
"Mr. Harper has acquired a reputation for playing fast and loose with the rules. He twice prorogued Parliament, once to avoid a censure vote and then apparently to duck embarrassing questions from a parliamentary committee," noted an editorial in the Economist magazine.
"The government is intolerant of criticism and dissent. Civil libertarians who oppose giving police easier access to internet users' browsing histories were branded by Conservatives as supporters of child pornographers. They condemned greens worried about the development of Alberta's tar sands as radicals laundering foreign money; the government is investigating the charitable status of some green groups. It killed off an advisory body of businessmen, scientists and officials because it supported a carbon tax. The electoral authority is investigating claims that Conservatives used automated phone calling in 2011 to mislead voters in opposition areas about where to vote."
But on Saturday night, Harper reminded Canadians why his government has won three consecutive mandates in the past six years. The much-maligned Prime Minister addressed a Tory crowd, with a barn-burner of a speech at his annual Stampede-week barbecue in his Calgary riding.
The world must become like Canada to succeed: HarperPrime Minister Stephen Harper says other countries must follow Canada's example when it comes to reaching economic stability. Harper was speaking Saturday at the annual Stampede week barbecue he hosts in his Calgary riding.
According to the Canadian Press, Harper touted his party's record since winning its long-coveted majority government more than a year ago.
He said of 100 campaign promises, 67 had been checked off the list and that his government was well on its way to honouring the rest.
"First we say what we will do and then we go out and we do what we say," Harper told the energetic crowd.
He said measures his government has taken, such as reforming immigration, expanding trade and streamlining environmental reviews, put Canada in a much stronger position than other traditional economic powerhouses like the United States, Europe and Japan.
"New economic powers continue to rise and older ones, ones very much like our own country, continue to struggle. They're weighed down by debts they can't control, by entitlements you can no longer afford and growth that shows no signs of returning," he said.
"Under our conservative government, Canada will not slip back the way so many other developed countries are slipping back."
"To succeed, what the world must become in the future, is what Canada is today."
By most accounts, Harper is right.
Canada's unemployment rate and trade deficit are among the lowest compared to the rest of the G7 nations (U.S., U.K., Germany, Italy, France and Japan), while economic growth and median household income are rising. In the past three years, Canada outperformed all but Germany in the G-7 with a 2.8 per cent growth rate. We also have the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in G7 and one of the lowest rates of inflation.
Is he a "bully?"
Does it matter?
It won't, as long as Canada's economy stays strong relative to the rest of the world.