Matt Gurney’s National Post article on December 16, 2008 (Senate seats on sale in aisle five — Canadian or American, take your pic), summed it up pretty well:
In Ottawa, years of Tory disdain for the unelected upper chamber of the Canadian Parliament has been swept away by a sudden frenzy of interest in parachuting in loyal Conservatives while Stephen Harper still holds the reins of power. … Pushed to the edge by the prospect of the Liberal-dominated upper chamber being reinforced by the insertion of up to 18 more by the still-scary Liberal/NDP Coalition, Harper has decided he better fill those seats with Tory bottoms before it’s too late. Continue reading
A rather amusing – and very enlightening – exchange today on The Current, CBC Radio One’s national morning news program. There were lots of interviews while everyone was waiting for Stephen Harper to finish his meeting with Michaelle Jean, the Governor General.
We know that language and how it’s used is very important. People are very conscious of that. So we generally prefer not to use words like “negro” or “faggot” except in very particular and approved circumstances. We choose less inflammatory terms where possible, and when we use more inflammatory terms, it’s generally deliberate.
So Anna Maria Tremonti asks Conservative strategist Tim Powers why the Cons have now started using the word “separatists” for the Bloc and their supporters, after having used “sovereigntists” for 20 years or so. “Separatist” being the more inflammatory word, and the change in the choice of language clearly being deliberate.
So what is Tim Powers’ response? He starts. talking. down. to. her. in. short. syllables. like. Anna. Maria. is. five. years. old. And dodges the question of why they deliberately changed language, pretending language doesn’t matter because these guys are separatists, after all, so that’s that. (Though that didn’t seem to bother the Cons when they made their own deals with the Bloc in the past, to govern together if they could bring down the Liberal minority. But I digress.)
And when asked, therefore, why in his TV address last night, Harper used “separatists” when addressing English-speakers but used “sovereigntists” when addressing French-speakers — what was Powers’ response? “Oh, I don’t speak French. so I can’t answer that.”
THIS is a Con strategist. But by golly, don’t ask him to answer any questions about, you know, strategy or stuff.
Or he’ll act like you’re five years old and totally stupid, and he won’t even answer your questions.
You wonder why the Cons have gotten squeamish and so virulent in the last eight years.
Why, in 2000, when they made that little coalition deal with the Bloc, they didn’t just want the two parties — Alliance and Progressive Conservative — to govern the country while the Bloc promised to stay on the sidelines and support them in Confidence votes but otherwise go its own way.
No, my lovelies, no. They didn’t keep the Bloc at a distance, as the progressive Liberal-NDP cooperative government would promise to do this time.
Read their “Consensus Leadership for a New Century” (**) document, and pay particular attention to the following paragraph:
Canadians also made it clear by their votes that they desired ______ Members of Parliament from the Canadian Alliance, The Bloc Quebecois and the Progressive Conservative Party TO GOVERN. This is a majority of the Members of Parliament. In order to govern effectively, we will be required to govern by consensus. (emphasis and caps mine)
Do you get that? Do you GET that??
The present-day Conservative Party of Canada (i.e. the Alliance plus Progressive Conservative parties who would sign this document) would partner with the Bloc Quebecois alone (no other parties in their coalition), and the Cons and the Bloc would GOVERN. Both of them. No arms’ length here. THE BLOC WOULD GOVERN.
Later in the document they leave blanks to specify which percentage of Cabinet seats would come from the Alliance and which percentage from the PCs. They never specify that the Bloc would get none. It could easily be assumed that the Bloc would get whatever percentage was left after the other two. But whatever the case, the document specifies that the Cons and the Bloc would govern together.
“Don’t do as we do — do as we tell you.”
(** If the title of the above document rings any bells, there might be a reason.)
Alliance Leader Stockwell Day, November 2000.
The separatist Bloc Québécois was part of secret plotting in 2000 to join a formal coalition with the two parties that now make up Stephen Harper’s government, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.
The scheme, designed to propel current Conservative minister Stockwell Day to power, undermines the Harper government’s line this week that it would never sign a deal like the current one between the Liberal Party, the NDP and the Bloc.
Bloc officials said that well-known Calgary lawyer Gerry Chipeur sent a written offer before the votes were counted on election day on Nov. 27, 2000.
According to prominent sovereigntist lawyer Eric Bédard, who received the proposal, Mr. Chipeur identified himself as being close to Mr. Day, the leader of the Canadian Alliance at the time. [snip]
…the agreement included room at the bottom for the signatures of Mr. Day, Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe and Mr. Clark, to be signed the day after the election.
At the time, the Alliance was ready to fly Mr. Day from his BC riding to Calgary to pick up Mr. Clark on the way to Ottawa, where the deal was to be presented to the Governor-General in the event of a minority Parliament.
The Alliance government promised in the event of a coalition to “respect the legitimate jurisdictions of Canada’s provinces, including Quebec.”
“We agree that we will support Stockwell Day as Prime Minister of Canada,” said the draft agreement, which would have hinged on Bloc support. [more] (“Bloc part of secret coalition plot in 2000 with Canadian Alliance,” by Daniel Leblanc, Globe and Mail, December 3, 2008)
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, September 9, 2004.
As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the
Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister
to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons
fail to support some part of the government’s program.
We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together
constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We
believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give
you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the
opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising
your constitutional authority.
Your attention to this matter is appreciated.
Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada
Gilles Duceppe, M.P.
Leader of the Bloc Quebecois
Jack Layton, M.P.
Leader of the New Democratic Party
But hey. It’s eeeeeeeevil when someone else does exactly the same thing.
In other words, when the Cons reap the benefit, it’s all hunky dory and legal and legitimate and ethical and moral and shit.
But when the Cons suffer from someone else doing it — it’s OMG WTF TEH EVOL!!!1!
Fascist anti-democratic pig-dogs.
Go there. Sign.
Once the system has your location, it will bring up the name of your own MP, with links to her/him as well as to other groups in your area that you can work with to bring this about.
Let’s turf the anti-democratic neo-Con regime out NOW. Let’s get a government that 62-64% of us actually voted for!
(And since I’m colossally busy and can’t give this nearly the time it deserves, go to Canadian Cynic for regular updates on the latest developments – with entertaining snark as dessert.)
This morning on Toronto’s Metro Morning program on CBC Radio One, Andy Barrie interviewed former political speechwriter Jim McLean, after the revelation yesterday that Stephen Harper’s speech in parliament, supporting the U.S.’s illegal aggression against Iraq, was plagiarized from a speech Australian PM John Howard had made two days earlier.
Mr. McLean had some very interesting things to say. He agreed that speeches in parliament can often be off the top of the speaker’s head, as they extemporize or go with their gut and change what they had thought they would say. But for an important policy speech like the one Harper made that day, McLean says there would always be consultation ahead of time between the speaker and the writer.
This consultation, in fact, would be quite detailed. The speaker would give the writer the essence of what he wanted to say, and the writer would try to put that into words that would sound like something the speaker really would say, using as much of the speaker’s personal cadence and turn of phrase as possible. But it would be very much a back-and-forth thing, as the speaker would continue to have input, ask questions, and help to shape the speech.
So. I would conclude that for something as important as Harper’s speech arguing that Canada should help the U.S. illegally invade a country that had not threatened us or the Americans — Harper would never have been subject to the ludicrous “overzealousness” of a staffer. Harper, a known micro-manager, would have been involved very heavily in the crafting of that speech advocating for military aggression.
Harper is a liar. Period. He is utterly dishonest. And the speechwriter, Owen Lippert, is taking the fall (or being made to?) for a political leader who was very willing to be as dishonest as possible in his eagerness to involve Canada in an unjustified aggression against a sovereign nation.
Harper’s spokesperson Kory Teneycke says, in the article linked above, “I’m not going to get into a debate about a five-year-old speech that was delivered three Parliaments ago, two elections ago, when the prime minister was the leader of a party that no longer exists.”
In other words, the dishonesty displayed by Liberal leaders in the sponsorship scandal is perfectly relevant now (even though most of it happened 13 years and 4 or 5 elections ago) — but a neo-Con leader’s dishonesty has absolutely no bearing on our assessment of his character now, even though we know he has not repudiated anything, and still holds exactly the same beliefs now that he did then.
Harper is a liar. Period.
(By the way, you should be able to listen to the Metro Morning interview itself, at the site linked above, at least today [October 1st] and possibly through podcast after today.)