Let me state up front that defeating the government and establishing a coalition would be my preferred outcome.
That said, I think it is a treatment of symptom and not cause. Yes, we can look at Harper and say he is exceptionally arseholish, but nevertheless this situation highlights a danger that I think is built in to our parialmentary system, in it's most extreme cases apparent in Zimbabwe, and to some extent (insofar as you can compare their system to ours) Russia's Putin. The capacity exists for the people in government to use instruments and resources of government for partisan political ends. This is not what I pay taxes for.
Dion spoke of maybe Harper giving a "pledge" not to do this sort of thing anymore, but speaking as a guy who works in a corporate culture much like Harper admires, I know that pledges and promises mean nothing without legal consequences, and of course that doesn't stop the next guy/gal from coming in and doing the same thing. It's not just about Harper, it's about any thug. We need anti-thug legislation. We need to stop the Mugabes before they start.
Therefor I propose 2 pieces of legislation that might fix this:
1) Election reform again to establish an absolute cap on total private monies a party can take. This safeguards against the rich buying elections, and still allows new political parties to form. How much is up for debate of course. But the bulk of money should come from the per-voter payout. This ensures that all parties are committed to getting votes over catering to special interests.
2) All government-funded communications should be devoid of political rhetoric. I'm not just talking about "Dion is a weenie", but, for example, Harper's adds against teacher's unions, or even "Isn't your government just great?" type stuff. The only thing I wnt the goernment telling me on my tax dime plus gst is what services they provide and how I can access them. And public service announcements. Just the facts, thanks. They want to convince me to vote for them, let them do it out of party coffers, or better yet, with the good results of their legislation.
This I think will Mugabe-proof our democracy. Legislation aimed at crippling your opponents supporters financially will be irrelevant because proposal 1) would render that pretty much ineffective - they don't give that much of an edge anyway.
Proposal 2) would avoid the country getting surrounded by a propaganda bubble a la Putin's Russia, or Harper's Ontario.
What say you babblers?