Stephen Harper is not a Tory and the only thing 'Progressive' about him is his ever changing toupee.
If you bear in mind that he is a neoconservative, in the American Republican tradition, your job will be so easy.
Just read the New York Times or any other U.S. publication, see what the Tea Party is up to and presto. Instant Harper policy. From the census to global warming, it was probably seen there first.
But if you find that too bizarre, then perhaps a word or two from David Frum, one of the architects of the Canadian right-wing movement, might help.
He sums it up nicely in his book, What's Right: The New Conservatism and What it Means for Canada.
The "end game of the welfare state," as Irving Kristol has called it, may thus present Republicans with no choice but to take a harder line against big government. If they did, what would that hard line look like? ... A Republican vision of social welfare would have to pass three tests.Stephen Harper failed the first test when he racked up almost 250 million dollars in self-promotion ads, on the taxpayers' dime. And when he swelled his own office with an unheard of "communications" team and demanded an increase in his own budget while telling other departments to tighten their belts. (Harper’s personal office budget has ballooned by $10.5 million, a 30% increase)
To satisfy the party's economic conservatives, it must slash at government costs. To satisfy the party's social conservatives, it must eliminate incentives to personal misconduct and family breakup. And to satisfy the party's pragmatists, the vision must be attractive and politically defensible.
One principle that passes all three of those tests goes something like this: Government should protect people only from risks they cannot easily protect themselves against — unemployment, natural disasters, catastrophic illnesses. Government should not protect nonindigent people against the predictable results of their own actions or the inevitable cycles of life — against the costs of retirement and college, against the regular fluctuations of farm and factory prices, against the miseries caused by idleness and addiction. (1)
However, the other initiatives are do-able and have already been reflected in this government's cuts, and will no doubt be reflected in further "deficit fighting" measures.
They will follow a blueprint.
'It must eliminate incentives to personal misconduct and family breakup'. Defunding planned parenthood and abortions. Eliminating benefits for same-sex, common-law, single parents. All part of a long-range strategy. Read anything on the Reform Party. Anything at all.
'Government should not protect nonindigent people against the predictable results of their own actions or the inevitable cycles of life' This is a continuation of intergenerational warfare. The Reform Party believed in means testing for all government programs, including those aimed at helping seniors.
It's interesting that Frum uses the term 'nonindigent' going right to the destitute, or those living in "extreme poverty". This means that very few seniors would qualify for assistance.
He goes onto to discuss how "the nonindigent elderly" are protected "against routine medical problems", causing a drain on Medicare. It's not the government's responsibility to protect its citizens from the "the inevitable cycles of life". Again the term 'nonindigent'. Only those we pull out of a ditch or scrape off the sidewalk, would qualify.
Journalist Murray Dobbin mentions going to Reform Party assemblies when they were first organizing, and how, many seniors jumped ship when they learned of Reform's policies regarding things like CPP and public healthcare. (2)
[No protection] against the miseries caused by idleness and addiction. Neoconservatives believe that most unemployed are only unemployed because they're lazy. And we see their opposition to help for addicts, in their enormous pressure to close down Vancouver's Insite, the fear being that if this works, we can expect the same in all major Canadian cities.
So if you want to guess what social programs will look like under a Harper majority, you will have to ask yourself the same questions that Frum asked Republicans.
How will they fit in with the social conservative (religious right) agenda, and will they help anyone not completely destitute? Seniors or children living in poverty will not get a free pass.
Welcome to Neoconservatism 101.
1. What's Right: The New Conservatism and What it Means for Canada, By David Frum, Vintage Canada, 1996, ISBN: 0-679-30858-X, Pg. 12-13
2. Preston Manning and the Reform Party, By Murray Dobbin, Goodread Biographies/Formac Publishing, 1992, ISBN: 0-88780-161-7 4