Sparked by recent events south of the border and the ease with which these terms seem to get thrown around I think is necessary to have a conversation about what these terms actually mean and why it probably is not such a good idea vis-a-vis the level of public discourse to hurl them around. Here is an intervention I made elsewhere when one of the commentators (whose interventions I generally like) referred to Harper as a dictator:
Yes XXXX, and all within the limits of parliamentary democracy and procedure. Sure there is some good degree of dishonesty on the torture file but it took an inquiry of how many years to get to the bottom of the liberal sponsorship fraud?
Terms like dictator have a rather precise meaning in political science. When you call Harper a dictator it sounds like tea-baggers calling Obama Stalinist. I do not disagree with you about the overall, shall we say, lack of reverence the Conservatives have shown both to our democratic processes and institutions but it hardly amounts to dictatorship. That does not make it OK, it just does not make it a dictatorship.
When you hear a coup has been launched; and the military is involved out on streets rounding up trade unionists and every other possible imaginable internal threat; and that the CBC has been shut down; and that parliament is closed; and that the coup leader has indefinitely suspended elections then you can call it a dictatorship.
Further, as XXXX points out, the opposition could bring down Conservatives anytime they liked. That the opposition will not because they refuse to govern together and will not risk that THE PEOPLE will not give one of them a majority mandate at this time is hardly evidence of dictatorship: a sick democracy maybe but not a dictatorship.
So it is we who either need to push for a coalition government or get busy helping our preferred opposition party get elected with a chance of a majority.
And that sounds to me like our parliamentary democracy same as it ever was.