Just to pick up on a point knb has made, many of the pundits might have it wrong, once again. I agree that this proroguing issue will fade, other matters, namely the budget and our economic direction, will takeover the political debate. However, this fact doesn't appreciate the cumulative damage that Harper has now cemented.
Harper's chief liabilities prior to this prorogue issue revolved around the sense of a controlling, divisive and entirely hyper-partisan politician. It is this lingering sense that has handicapped the Conservative brand, even when the polls were favorable, support was "soft" beyond the standard base. Harper had made progress on this front, appearing more "bi-partisan", projecting a softer image that was starting to pay dividends. This sense was enhanced by a weak alternative, people were wrong to see Harper's "rebound" as completely anchored, it always was a flimsy presentation. Perceived support didn't necessarily equate to genuine affection, part default, part passive acceptance. In other words, Harper was always on "thinner ice" than people assumed, and it was this dynamic which explains rapidly changing fortunes, triggered by the slightest transgression.
The issue of prorogue may fade, but the damage has lasting impact. I note that Bob Fife made the point, you can only tarnish yourself so many times before it starts to stick. This prorogue decision completely reinforced all the negative narratives that have hobbled Harper since he took office. There is the "death by a thousand cuts" analogy, and if you prescribe to this characterization, prorogue represents a deep slice. That fact doesn't necessarily equate to permanence, but it does make it increasingly hard to break out and have another "piano man" moment.
It remains to be seen, but this prorogue decision might just be the tipping point, wherein enough Canadians desire a change, Harper unable to shake off his baggage. There is a consistent, comprehensive pattern, developed over time, which is entirely understandable- a simple concept that people can grasp. I would submit, the PMO's recent gymanstics denote a certain desperation, which in and of itself supports their own concerns about "damaged goods".
The opposition are apparently working on reforms to prorogation. This initiative will keep the issue around for the spring session, but I agree that it will lose the primary focus it enjoys now. However, that was never the point, the sentiment revolving around prorogation is something that will linger. All the work the Conservatives have done to transform Harper's image has evaporated. What's worse, you aren't back to square one, the setback is accompanied by the worst reinforcement- namely playing up your biggest achilles heel.
Eventually things STICK, and a politician suffers permanent damage. To assume that Harper can keep making high profile errors, without EVENTUAL lasting impact, defies any sense of history or political precedent. Is this the moment? Maybe, maybe not, but everytime you garner a "tsk tsk" from Canadians, it's that much harder to don the sweater and play a different role effectively. Our eyes are that much more jaundiced, so whether or not the word "prorogue" is part of the discourse in two months, misses the real point entirely.