Harper’s summer, according to none of your business who

SCOTT FESCUK recaps a recap

by Scott Feschuk

UPDATE: It took 59 hours and 117 comments, but we finally have someone writing in defence of Jane Taber. Fittingly, they do so while remaining anonymous. See the comments below.

I know you’re all very busy, and I worry about you. I don’t want you to miss out on any big developments in the world of Canadian politics. So I’ve done you the solid of summarizing the many revelations contained in Jane Taber’s Saturday column in the Globe:

1. The Prime Minister is currently “pretty laid-back. He’s pretty calm.” This quote comes courtesy of a “Conservative caucus member.” One can understand why the MP would demand the cloak of anonymity for such an incendiary and seditious remark.

2. The Prime Minister is “focused.” Polls, the census controversy, the Helena Guergis affair – these are all “mere irritants” (Jane’s description) or “white noise” (the description provided by “one veteran caucus source”). Question: does that mean the source is a veteran of the caucus or a veteran of being one of Jane’s sources? Is this “source” the same “source” as the “Conservative caucus member?” Does Jane Taber go “off the record” with everyone she talks to, or also inanimate objects like boxes and hat racks?

3. The Prime Minister “likes governing,” in the words of a “senior Conservative official” who was granted anonymity because who the hell knows. Funny story: When I was in journalism and an actual reporter at The Globe and Mail, I was informed that anonymous sources were to be used only in the context of conveying factual, important and useful information or revelations that would otherwise not make it to print. I must have tuned out before my editor said they could also be used to assist in performing the reportorial equivalent of a happy ending on a public figure.

4. Michael Ignatieff? “Wishy-washy,” according to a very seniory super-inside long-time party whatever. A Liberal source reached for comment responded: “       ,” because a Liberal source wasn’t asked for comment.

5. John Baird as House Leader “is going to be a game changer” for the government, says someone in the government.

6. Stephen Harper spent part of Canada Day jamming at Harrington Lake with the Barenaked Ladies.

Let me pause and take a moment here. You know what: Too often, we in the media focus on the negative – on the forgotten promises, the failed efforts, the outright lies. So it’s a pleasure to be able to praise Stephen Harper for his foresight and his honesty.

Back in June, 2007, Harper snubbed Bono during a G8 summit. Perhaps you remember this moment? The U2 singer had requested a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss Canada’s contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa – to which Harper replied: “Meeting celebrities isn’t my shtick. That was the shtick of the previous guy.”

During the ensuing three years, Harper has stayed true to his word. Time and again, he has proved that meeting celebrities isn’t his “shtick.” It’s apparently his “full-time occupation.”

Barenaked Ladies, Taylor Swift, Bryan Adams, Chad Kroeger, Michael Buble – and all in the span of the past few months. A full plate. Further kudos to our Prime Minister for using these celebrity encounters to get autographs, jam and play ping-pong rather than sully them with anything so tedious and scorn-worthy as efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.

7. It was, for the Prime Minister, “a good summer.” This isn’t a quote from a senior Conservative source or a veteran caucus member or a super-senior double-secret invisible party uber-insider. These are the words of Jane Taber herself. I’m as confused as you as to why she didn’t demand anonymity from herself.




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Harper’s summer, according to none of your business who

  1. Jane beat you at golf… didn't she?

    • THAT"S NOT TRUE, a senior Feschuk insider replied.

  2. Brilliant.

    How do the editors at the G&M maintain any self-respect employing Taber anyway?

    • I had to stop buying it. Her "columns" and occasional "articles" are enough to make one vomit.

    • Why do you assume they have (or had) any self-respect?

      • Some residual faith in human beings…naive of me I know :P

    • This all makes sense if you understand that Taber is a gossip columnist, therefore not to be held to the same standards as other press gallery members. Gossip columnists don't have to substantiate their reporting because it is all gossip.

    • There has to be some balance…..even at the G&M

  3. I'm as confused as you as to why she didn't demand anonymity from herself.

    She did, but then she decided to blow it.

    • I'm as confused as you as to why she didn't demand anonymity from herself.

      She did, but then she decided to blow it.

      Please! If she did demand anonymity from herself, how the hell would she be able to stroke her own ego,now?

      • For some reason, quoting the whole Anon 001entry as the first respondent, without attributing it to him, seems so confusing, and Taberish. Which, btw, in Southern Alberta means corn. Husky corn. Yellow… husky… buttery and salty corm. Mmmmmm….

  4. Hats are back in a big way the past couple of years (largely due to hipsters not wanting to wear hairnets at their indie food service jobs). Do you project a corresponding resurgence in the popularity of hatracks? Is this a ground-floor business opportunity I smell? Can you lend me some money?

    (Also, "hat rack" vs "hat-rack" vs "hatrack"; I'm torn.)

    • Mailbag isn't till Tuesday, HOR.

      • Does Jane Taber go “off the record” with everyone she talks to, or also inanimate objects like boxes and hat racks?

        Sometimes I like to amuse myself on internet forums by posting replies that pertain directly to things the original authors have written. I'm wacky that way!

        • Maverick

  5. The sad thing is that Jane has a following with people outside the Ottawa bubble who read her column because they think they are getting the inside scoop.

    It's basically Entertainment Tonight for political junkies (and without ET's hard hitting interviewing skills) .

    She is basically the Ottawa equivalent of Gossip Girl but without any redeeming entertainemnt value or representing a cautionary tale.

    • Exactly.

    • Taber is the only columnist inhaling oxygen. The rest are suffering oxygen deprivation.

  6. What's Baird going to change the game to – dodge ball?

    • No, he's simply grown to be a bigger; more untrained pit-bull. He will still need regular rabies testing. He'll be the enforcer.

      • Okay. I actually lol-ed. John Baird as White Goodman from Globo Gym. Perfect.

    • No. Baird will change the game to Mixed Martial Arts now that it is permitted in Ontario.

      You know, muscular guys with shaved heads grappling in a cage …

  7. isn't #3 Paul Wells?

    • As Mr. Wells likes to say, "The longer he's Prime Minister, the longer he's Prime Minister."

    • Busted.

  8. The PMO must really be working hard on lining up newspaper columnists this week.

    Over at The Star, they actually printed a Conservative Party Press Release under the column heading of Angelo Persichilli. Maybe it was a computer glitch.

    • No that was just standard Persichilli crud.

    • I wonder if Jane and Angelo have the same stable of anonymous sources?

      Or are they maybe anonymous sources for each other?

      if so, that would truly be a faux-journalistic perpetual motion machine.

      Must save them both a lot of time.

    • How do you say 'hack' in Italian?

  9. A Liberal source reached for comment responded: “ ,” because a Liberal source wasn't asked for comment.

    Now now. Taber probably asked a Liberal source – but declined to run any response after the Liberal insisted on going on the record. Can't have other names besides Taber's those of party leaders and/or cabinet ministers mucking up her article after all…

    • ..and Laureen, don't forget Laureen.

      • …and the cats.

        • Laureen is probably the anonymous source. She's apparently not allowed to do anything else. Queen Rania, of Jordan, where women don't have rights – Twitters, Youtubes, and Facebooks. Not Laureen; she's a proper model for Repressed and BarefootInTheKitchenWhilePregnant Womanood.

          Of course, Rania is drop dead gorgeous.

          • Winner!!!

  10. Taber does the gossip column of old. Blatch does the sob-sister column.

    Not much changes in journalism.

    • Jane Taber; she who actually, ON RECORD, wrote that Tony Clement was HOT because he's feeling lonely, and that the Press Gallery was not; because Dave Rutherford attacked them. Me thinks it's because she wasn't invited to their reindeer games. Read and weep for yourself:
      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/otta

      • Oh that's pathetic.

      • Abysmally bad, even by her wretched standards.

  11. I'm disappointed that the Prime Minister only found time to meet with the Barenaked Ladies and four singers during the last five months. That's an absurdly low number of celebrity meetings for the leader of a G8 country.

    During that same time period, American president Barak Obama met with hundreds of celebrities. Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi partied with dozens of Italian actresses and models, and he even had sex with some of the younger ones. French president Nicolas Sarkozy didn't just hobnob with French celebrities – his celebrity wife, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, is starring in a new Woody Allen movie being filmed in Paris, costarring Owen Wilson.

    Meanwhile, our celebrity-shunning prime minister only averages one lousy celebrity meeting per month. Even worse, they're not with real celebrities, just the Canadian version. They're not even proper celeb meet-and-greets, surrounded by cameras and paparazzi. In fact, these so-called "meetings" seem to revolve around music… private jam sessions with Harper and his son, or concerts that Harper attends with his daughter.

    Pick up the pace, Harper! Your celebrity-loving G8 counterparts are making you look bad. Justin Bieber is performing in Ottawa at Scotiabank Place on August 24, and I'll be extremely disappointed if you and your daughter don't greet him backstage.

    • You forgot one little detail in your entertaining screed. That would be the part where Obama and Berlusconi and Sarkozy dickishly said "“meeting celebrities isn't my shtick. That was the shtick of the previous guy” back when they were campaigning for office.

    • It blows you mind, once again what a let down by the PM : )

    • Sucks when you need to use Berlusconi as an example in order to make a comparison.

      • I didn't need to use Berlusconi as an example. I just thought it would be funnier that way.

        • It weakens your argument and lets people like me make comments like that! :P

          Anyway, as was mentioned above, the only reason this is an issue is `cause Harper went out of his way to say that celebrities weren`t his thing and implying that spending time with them was somehow bad. I personally couldn`t care much one way or the other.

  12. Stop printing comments without names. Stop encouraging them! Watergate stuff? Sure. Innocuous bullsh-t facebook status updates, no.

    Suck it up, Jane. Don't use them. See who keeps calling. I dare you.

  13. Anonymous she ain't!
    Jane Viper she has been – for quite a while!

  14. Anyone know the total number of celebrities Paul Martin met in his two years of PM celebrity schtick?

    • 93.5

      • I couldn't find anyone other than Bono.
        Is Bono's Q score 93.5?

    • Anyone know how many times Paul Martin made a big show of refusing to meet with a celebrity because it "wasn't his schtick"?

      • Exactly my point.
        Mr Harper managed to dis a previous PM, up his hipster rebel cred and then go on to to smile next to Chad Kroeger.
        Meanwhile Paul Martin's celebrity photo album? A picture with Bono.
        Hmmmm….

        • This is certainly not fair…. Martin was only able to score a picture with Bono because he was being a leader in tackling one of the globe's largest and most challenging problems… lets face it without that… Bono is noshow.

          Harper on the other hand is able to score face time, jam time, anytime simply because it is the only way celebrities can get rid Dimitre. Martin was a piker in comparison to Harper's awesome celebriting.

        • And look at what a great PR payoff Harper got from spurning Bono to cozy up to Chad Kroeger. A giant image of his head was subsequently projected to thousands…er…hundreds of discerning Nickleback fans at one of the band's Ottawa concerts. Would sucking up to an internationally respected star and AIDs activist like Bono have paid such great dividends? I think not.

          (On a side note – nothing captures the rebellious spirit of rock 'n' roll quite like a man in a blue sweater, clutching a kitten, does it?) http://www.chartattack.com/news/82096/giant-steph

          • Re: the photo

            AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            That has got to be photoshopped – not even Chad Kroeger is that lame……..

          • It does appear to be true, as part of a giant slide show: http://jam.canoe.ca/Music/Artists/N/Nickelback/Co

            Think of it, depending on your age, as Big Brother, the dictator in V for Vendetta, or the Dark Mark of Voldemort.

          • Chad Kroeger is definately that lame. Why Nickelback is allowed to make "music", I'll never know.

    • Does Jack Layton count?

      • only in the short form census – Tony Clement is gonna make damn sure socialists don't get the voluntary long form

      • Harper's butting in on Layton's turf here? Layton used to do interviews on streetcorners with the Bare Naked Ladies by his side – I thought they were NDP supporters.

        Oh my, Jack Never-met-a-camera-I-didn't-like will not be amused.

        • Put your arms down.

      • Does Scott Feschuk count?

  15. I suspect Barenaked Ladies, Taylor Swift, Bryan Adams, Chad Kroeger, Michael Buble, were not all that interested in taking Billions out of the pockets of Canadians. Or wag their millionaire fingers at him.

    • Chad Kroeger already takes Billions out of the pockets of Canadians with some sort of repetitive-c**k-rock-voodoo.

      • … and I will never understand why Canadians willingly part with their hard earned money for his "music"

        • And to think that 20 years from now Nickelback will be the "Classic Rock" our kids and Grandkids will have to hear over and over and over and over like it was the quintesessential "Canadian" rock band and that just makes me think that if I have to hear Takin Care of Business one more friggin time, I'll …

          We now return you to our regularly scheduled program of calming political debate.

    • Neither are they interested in making the most of their "celebrity status" to exercise some leadership and try to change the world for the better. In that respect, they must have felt right at home at 24 Sussex.

      • Yes always great leadership from celebrities when the bulk of their crusade is with someone elses money.

        • Spare me the rant. Speaking out for a cause does not — and should not — entail that you forfeit your right to your legitimate earnings. Otherwise, I think you would find the halls of every Parliament pretty empty.

        • The bulk of most people's crusade is with someone else's money. That is kind of how advocacy and charity work.

          • Thats called giving willingly Pat. Something Christians know well.
            NonameCS… Speaking out for a cause is one thing but demanding money is another. Most causes demand money.

          • Way to miss the point.

            When you advocate for something, as Bono is doing, you are advocating for OTHERS to participate and donate that. That is how it works.

            Please find an example of an advocate who does not advocate for others to join him or her in their crusade. I would be interested in seeing what you come up with.

            I am not sure why you think it is necessary to point out that Christians know about chartity. Last I checked they are not the only people out there donating. Kind of an odd thing for you to say.

          • Wrong..Bono is advocating for Billions for Africa from government..aka coercively from taxpayers.
            Those who attend church regularily give more than those who do not.
            And Christians give more of their money than any other.

          • Is this based on StatsCan figures?

            Oh yes, and did you know God favours the census? See Wherry's latest post.

          • That's pretty funny.

            While I wonder where you get your belief that people who go to Church donate more, if true I would suggest that is probably because they donate to their Church, which is not always the same thing as donating to the needy. I was in Florida last year listening to a priest put the hard sell on to all the snowbirds to donate generously to his church. The money was clearly to be used to fund the church.

            Bono is an advocate – he is doing what an advocate does. Something tells me you already know that though because you seem to have come up short in your examples of advocates who do not ask others to contribute to their crusade.

          • You don't understand the difference between asking government to give taxpayers money to their chosen cause. With for example a door knocker soliciting funds. I'm ok with that.

          • The difference between asking for government money and asking for voluntary charitable donations from individuals? I get that is two different sources for the money, but advocates ask for government funding all the time. That is what advocacy is about.

          • Well, charitable organizations that go door to door, to use your example, are mostly registered charities. Which means that donations qualify for a tax deduction for the donor. So again, you see, it's "other people's money".

            I think you're going to have a hard time seeing your argument through, unless you resort to saying that tax money should only be used for foreign affairs and defense. Which is a perfectly legitimate position, by the way, but probably not quite in line with the current government, who seems to like dabbling in just about everything.

          • Uhm so people give to charities and get to keep more of their own money with tax deductions but you equate that with "other people money" Please explain.
            You don't make sense.

          • Who do you think pays for tax deductions? That's right, the taxpayer!

          • The logic astounds and amazes me!! The floor is yours Holly and NoNameCS.

          • Tax deductions are a form of subsidy. The State accepts that since you spent your money a certain way (a charitable donation, in this case) it will deduct part of it from your revenue and therefore won't claim income tax on it.

            A tax deduction is lost revenue on the part of the State. Which means everybody else pays a little more into the pot to make up for the loss.

  16. That was an awesome report Feschuk! Sometimes, with QP and PowerPlay off the air, we forget for whom Mater Taber we forget toils. Big daddy Harper and the CPC chain gang.

    Someone certainly forgot the delete key on this fluffery.

  17. Nope, I got noth'n on this one.

  18. Classic. Welcome back from holiday, Feschuk.

    Re: "I must have tuned out before my editor said they could also be used to assist in performing the reportorial equivalent of a happy ending on a public figure."

    I'm guessing you won't be invited on to any QP panels anytime soon…

  19. "The Prime Minister “likes governing,” in the words of a “senior Conservative official…"

    In other news, Britney Spears "enjoys parenting", Mel Gibson "gets a kick out of relationships" and Michael Jackson was said to have found babysitting "rewarding."

    Also: John Baird as a "game changer?" Sounds ominous, unless someone can convince me that his change will somehow be for the better.

  20. I will regret typing this in, but JT is a self-made wannabe insider who contributes ZERO to the national debate. Can she spell j-o-u-r-n-a-l-i-m?

    • Why so shy Jeffery Simpson?

    • You regret it because you actually and quite ironically spelled journalism wrong.

      Love it!

    • No, and apparently neither can you!

  21. Didn't Michael Buble think Stockwell Day was PM? Now that IS funny and scary at the same time. Needless to say Buble will not be invited back for any Harper events. Maybe that was Buble's strategy in the first place.

  22. Today's Taber:
    Clement digs in heels and gains a supporter on census

    'Stephen Harper's Conservatives thought scrapping the compulsory long-form census was a sound move, never anticipating the reaction and sustained criticism by Canadians to their decision.'…

    hmmmmm where are the new polls on the evil voluntary census?
    Only poll so far as I found, was Angus Reid

    Question
    ”As you may know, some provincial premiers have criticized the federal government's decision to eliminate the mandatory long form census, and the head of Statistics Canada has quit his post.
    Thinking about this, what do you think the federal government should do?”

    answer: stick by decision/don't know
    Conservative voters 58%
    Liberal voters 28%
    NDP voters 29%
    Bloc voters 39%
    Green voters 24%
    http://www.visioncritical.com/wp-content/uploads/

    • How dishonest of you to add the numbers for "stick by decision" and "don't know" together like that. How would you possibly justify that?

      • The 'don't know' numbers, which actually are "not sure" on that last chart show that a greater portion of Conservatives are "not sure" than people identified with all other parties. Well yes, Conservatives don't know as much.

      • She justifies it by noting that way she can spin it to make the CPC look better than they are.

        That is, after all, what it is all about.

    • 42% of people who already vote Conservative, not only thing the original decision was wrong, but thing the government should eat crow, take the political hit and reverse the decision.

      hmmm how many seats do the Conservatives keep if they lose 42% of their votes?

      You really should wait for permission from head office before posting.

      • However, I do want to thank you for proving me wrong. Early on, I had predicted that this issue would actually be a good wedge issue for the Conservatives. However, when those in your own party that care are actually in favour of reversing your previous decision 42% to 39% this isn't wedge politics… it is whacked politics. (Harper may be done with chess… moved on to tiddlywinks.)

        More telling from your highlighted poll is that among Conservative voters

        53% think "The long form census yields data that is important to make policy decisions in all areas of public service, and should remain mandatory"

        while

        31% think "The long form census is intrusive and Canadians should not be forced to answer it"

        This is a massive failure of the Conservative PR machine and is the first time I am aware of that the Conservative base has overwhelmingly rejected a Conservative talking point.

        • Stockwell wil be crushed (metaphorically).

  23. Oh my God this morning's "notebook" is even worse: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/otta

    Non-stop anonymous quotations, zero critical examination of the talking points she gets from Con hacks, another quotation from a talk-radio blowhard, just revolting.

  24. It's funny. As I was reading her column on my Blackberry this morning, I was wondering how it is that a reporter simply parrots whatever "anonymous" conservatives tell her. And then I found this column and learned I am not alone.

    Do you know some conservative supporters actually seem to believe Taber is a liberal supporter? Every once in a while she reports on what the liberals are doing, which clearly and obviously means she is biased against the conservatives.

    ha ha ha ha

    • When the Tories were in Opposition, she used to get accused of being a Liberal stooge all the time.

      • To be one of the three stooges yoiu have to have talent and Taber has none.

  25. Just what commie rock did the author crawl out from under??? Attacking the G&M is kinda like Stalin criticizing Hitlers jewish skills.

    • Classy guy.

    • Godwin's Law ! Goodbye.

  26. Taber looking for a senate seat? I don't know if all those other senators could stand her neverending giggling. Can you imagine sitting at a committe meeting with her involved.

    Good grief.

  27. I really enjoyed that. Glad to see someone in the press sock it to Jane Taber.
    Thank you Mr. Anonymous. The whole thing about "anonymous sources" puts me in mind of one of those novelty songs by Ray Stevens. My kid finds it hysterically funny today. True, it stars an unsavoury person, a stalker, but so are all sneaky people.

    "It's Me Again, Margaret – or Jane"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zs4P8WKbF-w

  28. Harper is a good man, but he's clueless.

    He called the RCMP on his own minister, and they cleared her.

    And then, she was used in this manner.

    Like Bush before him, Harper is just a puppet on a string, because policy is a closed doors affair.

  29. Little known fact – Taber has a number of pets.

    'Conservative caucus member' is a domestic short hair tabby. 'Senior party official' is a 2 year old cockapoo. 'Liberal insider' is a siamese.

    We're not sure what 'Public service source' is, but we're pretty sure there's some Jack Russell Terrier in there.

    • @DBM – 'Liberal Insider' is probably Warren Kinsella, so what you said there is really funny. Visions of him with crossed blue eyes, long whiskers, and smug look on his face.

  30. An older brother of mine and at the time aged about 15 would come home and tell my Father various information. Now there were 12 children in the family and Dad would ask my brother, "where did you hear that", and my brother would reply, " down the square". Just had to be true.

  31. Ha Ha Ha! Its funny cuz its all true! And don't forget his performance with Yo Yo Ma!

  32. Barenaked Ladies, Taylor Swift, Bryan Adams, Chad Kroeger, Michael Buble – and all in the span of the past few months…

    Don't worry, Scot, on one of these days when Chad Kroeger comes to town, he will put a photograph of you and your dog in the slideshow instead of Harper and his kitten when he sings "Photograph."

  33. Man you have a way with words. Good stuff!! One of Madam Taber's topic header was, "The PM does it best barenaked"
    Yeah…but isn't that how most of the world does it?

  34. You know, Jane Taber is a great political reporter! She's better than Coyne and Wells put together cause her opinions and witty jibes arise out of the realities of the political day, while Coyne and Wells stuff us full of what we've already read over at the Globe (just sauced to make us think we haven't tasted that before). Shes reports (unlike Feschuk who only retorts). I like Jane Taber and I think this post is LOW.

    • Because actually distinguishing whether you are reporting facts or regurgitating someone's talking points (i.e. lies) isn't really important anyway.

  35. Hey Feschuk!

    Karen Krisfalusi here. Author of "Maclean's for Dummies" and Paul Well's favourite commenter!!!! I do sometimes post anon but that's only cause 'krisfalusi@gmail.com" and "krisfalusi@inbox.com" and my son's email and my anon email I use for suspect websites are banned on this site. I don't do it on purpose. But really, do you actually care that 'it's me'? This whole issue of anonymous commenting is one I've explored thoroughly through writing "Maclean's for Dummies". I found out that we actually shouldn't use our real names on Internet boards. Not without strict safeguards and controls to protect the brand this is our name.

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