We are so heavily invested, we media types, in the notion of Harper as master strategist, able to see around corners and think seven moves ahead and what not, that we tend not to notice how many times he has been screwing up of late.
Harper has never been a master strategist, as I do believe Andrew Coyne has pointed out. He's been stubborn, vindictive and petulant. Every now and again he's managed to be considerate. By and large, he's stayed as much off the radar as possible.
None of this is careful strategy, even though I'm sure the uber-confident people around him (and he himself) like to believe otherwise.
When a problem emerges and you try to sweep it under the carpet, that's not strategy - it's ignorance.
When that problem goes public and you opt not to act because it'll likely blow over, that's not strategy; it's wishful thinking.
When the problem stays public and people grow anxious, is it strategy to bait and switch or plan ahead? Nope. That's being reactive.
Just because someone refuses to admit fault or responsibility, it doesn't make them strategic.
Strategy is the art of leaders, the practice of generals. Generals take pains to understand the landscape, to know their opponents and to take into consideration the morale of their own troops.
If Stephen Harper's a strategist, then I've got some prime North West passage real estate to sell ya. Just be patient - the strategy is to wait long enough for it to thaw, and all will be well.