Is Stephen Harper the ‘Teflon’ man of Canadian politics?

Andy Radia

Stephen Harper remains on top of the polls, even after weeks of troubling revelations from the scathing Auditor-General's draft report on G8 spending to the Helena Guergis press conference that left her in tears.

In the flurry of polls (Leger, Angus-Reid and Nanos) released on Monday, Harper's Conservatives are shown to be well ahead of their challengers and in fact, their numbers haven't moved much since the beginning of the campaign.

Harper has withstood a barrage of controversies including the contempt of Parliament finding, the Bruce Carson affair, the Bev Oda scandal, the expulsion of students from Conservative rallies, the five-question limit at press conferences and more recently the Guergis saga.

Nothing, however, seems to stick to Harper enough to make polls change or sway public opinion. The only difference in recent polling numbers is the NDP catching up with the Liberals at 25 per cent support, mostly because of New Democrat strength in Quebec.

The reason as to why Harper has become the "Teflon Man" of Canadian politics is up for debate.

Blogger Jim Harding suggests Harper is a pro when it comes to deflecting criticism.

"Harper immediately went right on the attack during the first week of this election, trying to generate fear among his political base that the coalition would take power if he doesn't get a majority," wrote Harding. "This was also a way to divert attention from his politics of contempt."

The Vancouver Province asked its readers to respond to the question: Why is Stephen Harper riding so high in the polls, having been found in contempt of Parliament?

Michael Estery of Surrey B.C. wrote: "The reason Harper is so high at the polls is because he has no competition. Remember Trudeau-Mania? We need that kind of excitement again. I really can't see Ignatieff-Mania or Layton-Mania ever happening."

Deborah Gray of Vancouver wrote: "I think people basically don't really care at this point. We've had too many bloody elections and it gets tiring to have them jump all over each other like children every time someone takes one little misstep . . . they all need to grow up and stop acting like idiots."

It may be a sad state of affairs but Mike Aston, from Pender Island B.C. articulated what a lot of Canadians are likely feeling.

"He's the best of a bad bunch," wrote Aston. "Unfortunately, because most Canadians are more involved with their struggle to make ends meet, they have no time for politics, even though millions of their tax dollars will be squandered on yet another election circus.

"Indeed so many people are totally disenfranchised with politics and its participants."

(CP Photo)