A detailed and fascinating portrait of Stephen Harper. As the article points out:

The core of any government reflects the personality of the prime minister, because everyone in the system responds to his or her ways of thinking, personality traits, political ambitions and policy preferences. Know the prime minister; know the government.

Harper has been an enigma and learning more about his personal policies and approach to governance is very useful while thinking about the upcoming election.

A general summary of the article comes from near the end:

And the long-distance runner – bright, intense, strategic, cautious and confident in every stride – has certainly got things done, from merging two parties, to winning a minority government, to fulfilling most of his campaign promises.

He also has pursued two broad changes in the nature of the federal government: giving the provinces more running room by keeping Ottawa out of some of their affairs and giving individuals a bit more money in the form of tax reductions, credits and child-care cheques.

And yet, despite these policies that he assumed would be popular, despite all the problems on the Liberal side, despite raising far more money, despite governing in mostly excellent economic times, despite stroking Quebec, despite gearing up for elections, his Conservatives have yet to break through decisively.