Has Chief Spence got the Harpersphere worried – update

Just after Christmas, I noted an angry denunciation of Chief Theresa Spence and the Idle No More movement by a Harper-friendly journalist. I took it as an early sign that Spence holds “outsized potential to cause trouble for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government.”

Toronto Star columnist Chantal Hébert seems to agree, albeit somewhat convolutedly:

On the societal role of government, the gap between the various non-Conservative constituencies in this country has always been smaller than the gap between those who support the current government and those who don’t.

The ranks of those who sympathize with the activist goals of the Idle No More movement stretch from Joe Clark, a former Tory prime minister on whose foreign affairs watch Canada embraced free trade with the United States, to the likes of Peter Julian, a former executive of the nationalist Council of Canadians, who is now energy critic for the NDP.

Against significant odds, social peace has mostly prevailed in Canada since Harper came to power. But over that period his government has hardly gone out of its way to expand its tent.

If anything, it has been more content than its predecessors to draw lines in the sand between its tent and the comparatively smaller ones of its squabbling rivals.

A risk in to that approach is that the number of people who feel left out in the cold tends to keep growing.

On that basis, the Idle No More movement — if left unattended — could snowball into the biggest challenge Harper has encountered since he was first elected as prime minister seven years ago this month.

Meanwhile, Alberta neocon Ezra Levant has gone nuclear over his discovery that the Attawapiskat Band has assets, and its protesting chief gets a nice salary. This apparently disqualifies both from carrying out any protest. Moreover, all chiefs are guilty by association with this non-crime, so the entire Idle No More movement must be dismissed.

The Harpershpere is indeed in high gear. Perhaps they are worried.