It's something we associate with tin pot dictators not parliamentary democracy. Yet Canada is living with our very own version of Strongman Rule in Stephen Harper.
Harper doesn't just lead the Conservative government, he is the government or thinks he is. When there's an announcement to be made, Stevie is the one before the cameras. He micromanages his government which means when something falls off Harper's radar screen it all but disappears.
Tomorrow the Tories will gather in Charlottetown for a 3-day policy session. Stuck in the mud, the party needs to come out with some fresh ideas to increase its popular support. MPs and Senators may toss ideas around but most expect will be more of Harpo's "top down" control-freak management.
This may be a critical year for Stephen Harper, a year that will determine whether he has taken his party as far as he can. Unless he pulls off some sort of breakthrough Harpo may find out what lies in store for autocrats who let down their own side.