Could it be that when Stephen Harper vowed he wouldn't use the notwithstanding clause to 'force' through the traditional definition of marriage is because he knew, that like the attempt to pass an abortion law in the 90s, it would be stalled by the Senate.
Could it be that Stephen Harper mentioned that the senior levels of the civil service are composed of Liberal appointees as one of the 'checks and balances' he referred to was to assure this senior level of bureaucracy that he had no plans to universally and swiftly fire them the way that the Liberals fired Conservative appointees when they swept in to power in 1993.
Could it be that when Stephen Harper suggested that the judiciary was dominated by Liberal appointees, he knew that there was only one vacancy in the nine judge court, and he was assuring both the NDP and the Bloc -- both of which favour an overhaul of the vetting process, that he intends to follow through with the ideas that the three parties put forward (which were rejected by the Liberals) and will not appoint judges based on their political world view but on their interpretation of the law.
No one is saying they want an American-style inquisition type process of determining the credibility of judges, but all three opposition parties agreed on needed changes.
Canadians would do well to remember that even with a majority government, there will be constraints on Conservatives. There is no such mechanism in place to keep Liberals in check should weak-kneed people decide to maintain the status quo.