Anatomy of a Twitter smackdown

Political operatives and journalists take to Twitter to verify the source of a quote in the latest Liberal attack ad


Earlier this morning, National Campaign Chairman for the Conservative Party Guy Giorno questioned a quote attributed to Stephen Harper in a Liberal attack ad. The quote read, “It’s past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act,” which appeared in an August 26, 2010 article in the Globe and Mail. Giorno pointed to David Somerville as the source of the quote, which CBC reporter Laura Payton later verified by digging up the source document: a June 1997 issue of Bulldog. The following is a selected timeline of the tweets that unfolded between dueling war rooms and fact-hungry reporters.
















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Anatomy of a Twitter smackdown

  1. It's rather amusing coming from the party that misrepresented the Auditor General and presented it to parliament. The Liberals should just apologize and find a similar quote.

  2. It%E2%80%99s rather amusing coming from the party that misrepresented the Auditor General and presented it to parliament. The Liberals should just apologize and find a similar quote.

  3. This is kinda late…the Libs have already substituted other Harper quotes that say much the same thing.

    Or was the intent to show us twitter-duels between journos?

  4. If this opens up a Harper quote-fest, I'm all for it. Let's start here:

    "Universality has been severely reduced: it is virtually dead as a concept in most areas of public policy… These achievements are due in part to the Reform Party…"
    – Stephen Harper, speech to the Colin Brown Memorial Dinner, National Citizens Coalition, 1994.

    (The Canada Health Act : "Universality – All insured persons must be covered for insured health services "provided for by the plan on uniform terms and conditions" (Section 10).)

  5. This is disappointing. I say change the quote and keep the topic on health care rather than keep the quote and change the topic to factual accuracy.

  6. Shouldn't this article mention that the Liberals now say they will replace that incorrect quote?

  7. "The following is a selected timeline of the tweets that unfolded between dueling war rooms and fact-hungry reporters"


    Except that it was a Conservative by the name of Giorno who had to do the fact finding for the presses……..

    BTW, I would like for Terry Milewski to do some fact finding, and post on Twitter what he has found out so far when the Liberals claim that "factual correctness," should be reciprocal. What are the Liberals referring to here???

    Reporting is starting to become interesting.

  8. The Liberals apologizing? Yeah, right!

  9. Poor Giorno — if he thinks he can rely on any "senior Liberal spokesperson" via Jane Taber.

    I think it's funny: it's not as if it's hard to find quotations of harper talking sh!t about pretty much anything we hold dear, or any region of our country.

  10. Keep the topic on health care? Why? Because Liberals want to? Otherwise, where is the story? Old re-hashed quotes?

    It's just one desperate attack after another in an election they said was supposed to be about something. Really.

  11. Yep, and now all the Lib attacks against the Cons for misrepresenting the AG's words will be rather amusing, you know, given that they are coming from a party that misrepresented the PM's words. What a beautiful election this is turning out to be. When is that adult conversation on health care happening again?

  12. Where in the world are you getting that? Geez. It's just one desperate attack after another, isn't it.

  13. Actually, at the time of my writing this, the Libs still have the commercial on their website with the "feds scrap health act" quote: http://www.liberal.ca/issues/health-home-care/

    And yes, the intent was to show the way twitter is now used to move a conversation forward.

    P.S. are you implying that "explore alternative delivery methods" is the same as "scrap Canada health act"? Is this part of the adult conversation?

  14. As you well know, there are plenty of quotes that have Harper saying much the same thing….and the Libs are running a contest on their site so people can choose which one to use.

    Libs are making hay, while Cons whine.


  15. The CP: "The incident was reminiscent of another misquote mishap in 2009, when Harper —attending the G8 Summit in L'Aquila, Italy — wrongly attributed a remark to his Liberal rival.

    He acknowledged the error, for which a Harper aide took responsibility, and apologized to Ignatieff.

    Ignatieff has insisted that he's running on a campaign of hope rather than fear like Harper."

    Ignatieff can't find the aid who should apologize but critizes Harper for running a campaign on fear?

    Harper's aid apologized to Ignatieff in the past, and that is a sign of hope.

    Get the difference, leader Ignatieff?

  16. I noticed a couple of ellipses (…) in that quote of yours.

    a) Why not post the quote in full?

    b) Why not provide a link?

    Or is this yet another desperate attack from an opposition that forced this election for nothing?

  17. Obviously there's nothing there, or else you'd post one quote here. Thank you. Next.



  19. This is an interesting tidbit of info:

    "The quote was taken from "extremely reputable sources," including Macleans magazine and the Globe and Mail, Ignatieff said. The Globe later corrected its story, prompting the Liberals to say they would change the ad."

    By Maria Babbage, The Canadian Press

  20. Harper has said similar things about the Health Act for two decades.
    The Liberals quoted the Globe & Mail, who cited Harper.
    The Conservatives said it was a different guy from the NCC who said THOSE words, not Harper (he's just said similar things).
    The Globe & Mail got the attribution wrong.
    The Liberals agree to change the G&M's wrong quote for a right one by Stephen Harper.
    Hooray — now the G&M corrects the record, the Liberals correct their ad and we're back to focusing on Stephen Harper's two decades of statements concerning healthcare and the Canada Health Act.

  21. Even Liberals can't come up with anything about Harper and the Canada Health Act. Thank you for proving my point.

  22. sorry, wipe not whipe!

  23. PS: Why is there no attribution to this blog post?

  24. "Harper also believes that our health care will continue to deteriorate unless Ottawa overhauls the Canada Health Act to allow the provinces to experiment with market reforms and private health care delivery options. He is prepared to take tough positions including experimenting with private delivery in the public system."

    I think this one is currently in second, behind the one that doesn't even mention health care. Okay, to me, this is a good attempt at the adult conversation. Do people really disagree? I think many of us can agree that our health care is not ideal, and perhaps even that it has been deteriorating over the last decade or two (if you disagree, please don't yell at me, just tell me why you disagree). And so Harper here has made a proposal. There is nothing in the proposal that suggests he wants to tamper with the sacred Canadian value that everyone gets medical treatment regardless of their ability to pay.

  25. None of the other quotes I have ever seen suggest he wants the Canada Health Act scrapped. The closest one is that he wants it replaced. But note, replacing means that there is still something in place. Harper, as far as I can tell, believes in health care for all regardless of one's ability to pay.

  26. Harper has shown himself to be a Philidelphia lawyer…so the trick here is in the word 'overhaul' and the words 'market reforms' and 'private health care'

    There isn't a person in Canada…in any of the parties…that doesn't see this as 'American-style health care.'

    It's just that some people like the idea, but the majority doesn't.

  27. "Published Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010 5:01PM EDT
    Last updated Monday, Apr. 18, 2011 2:13PM EDT

    Editor's note: In an earlier version of this column, Stephen Harper was quoted as having said the following when he was vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition: “It's past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act.”

    In fact, that statement was written by David Somerville, president of the NCC, in the June 1997 edition of The Bulldog. This online version has been corrected."

    Wow, can you say bait and switch by the G&M!

  28. "Published Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010 5:01PM EDT
    Last updated Monday, Apr. 18, 2011 2:13PM EDT

    Editor's note: In an earlier version of this column, Stephen Harper was quoted as having said the following when he was vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition: “It%E2%80%99s past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act.”

    In fact, that statement was written by David Somerville, president of the NCC, in the June 1997 edition of The Bulldog. This online version has been corrected."

    Wow, can you say bait and switch by the G&M!

  29. I've voted twice already! :D

    I think some other poster said this somewhere else, but rule one of the adult conversation should be that you are not allowed to brush aside suggestion by labelling them "American-style" or something similar. Perhaps Paul Wells can come up with a list of four rules for adult conversations on Health Care, so we have something authoritative to refer to.

    If we can maintain universal medical treatment for all people regardless of ability to pay, and at the same time reduce ridiculous wait times at ER's and for surgery, and ensure more (all!) Canadians can get a family doctor, then I am willing to entertain it, whether you call it American or not.

  30. Lost in all of this battle of the twits:

    It really is past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act.

  31. It does seem hard, which is why:

    a) The Liberals had to make one up.

    b) Can't come up with one that comes even close.

    Harper has ran in four elections now, and the Liberals keep resorting to these very old re-hashed quotes each and every time.

    This is why we're having our fourth $300 million election in seven years, is it?

  32. Why can't you or the Liberals come up with even one accurate one? Geez.

  33. What exactly have they "baited and switched?"

  34. They've done better than that. They are now asking Canadians to let them know which of the many many quotations from Harper attacking public healthcare and asking for the Canada Health Act to be gutted should they use.

  35. "…scrapped the Canada Health Act"

    Chance would be a fine thing.

  36. Does it matter all that much what Harper said fifteen years ago when he agreed to increase health care spending 6% annually last week.

  37. Nicely done, Jeff – now go in for the kill – pull out the 1994 Ignatieff quotes that illustrate his unfailing support for the Canada Health Act. I'm sure they're out there – '94 was about the time he was thinking about living here again.

  38. Well, let's bet the country on your "as far as I can tell" then. Because it isn't like we've gotten a straight answer to the question, "Where is that 11 billion coming from?"

  39. "The Liberals quoted the Globe & Mail, who cited Harper"

    The Liberals quoted the G&M , who MIS quoted Harper to begin with.

    Are the G&M going to offer an apology to Harper??

    Will Macleans magazine apologize for the mis quote? (another source for the initial mis quote, according to Ignatieff)

    Strange bedfellows, these presses and the Leader of the Liberal party.

  40. Thank you for posting this, Andre.

  41. Allowing private health care and eliminating the concept of equal healthcare for all, is scrapping the Canada Health Act, certainly gutting a core part of it. It's not just about getting healthcare for all.

    You can argue that his pro-private health care message/pro-two tier health care message is good or bad. But it will in no way be the same if Harper had his way. In name only. At least he should say something. Right now he won't talk about it just like he won't talk about what he'll cut for $11B.

  42. There's not even one quote that says that. They either talk about delivery, which he still talks about today, or provincial funding, which is stable until 2014 and will continue regardless of party in power. We know this. This is nothing but another desperate attack in an election that was supposed to about something. This nonsense? Wow.

  43. That's the conversation we are 20 years overdue in having.

    I know what the Liberals and NDP will say. But I don't know who shows up to answer that one for the Conservatives? 2011 Harper or pre-2006 Harper? Nor who to believe if they differ.

  44. Libs are aware Cons vote on their site.

    I'm not having any kind of conversation on healthcare…I'm telling you that's how people in all parties will interpret those words…and that will shut down any discussion because Canadians don't want it.

    The only thing that will reduce wait times is more doctors, and for that we need to deal with the provincial colleges of physicians and surgeons first.

  45. anything you hold dear, the country is not homgeneous. the Liberals have proved once again that they are not capable of holding an adult conversation about healthcare, they're down 10 point in the polls and out come the hidden agenda ads and scare tactics despite the fact that they know that we have to explore reasonable alternatives to the current healthcare system. Several provinces have explored different health care provision models with a great deal of success. But there is a Liberal political imperative here right? As far as the usual Liberal/NDP sycophants and apologists are concerned adult coversations are something to be discussed after the lies, when there is no one around to disagree with you. The Libs know this, they've been practicing the same dark art for decades.

  46. So you read those quotations and you don't see any criticism or attack on the current state of Canadian healthcare. When Harper says that the Canada Health Act needs an "overhaul" or wants to introduce two-tier healthcare despite it being prohibited under the act, you think he just means "carry on as you were, no changes are coming"?

  47. The 11B first: it's 11B over 4 years. Annually, it amounts to 4B in the third and fourth years. 1B the first year, 2B the second year. Total 11B. How? Cutting 5% of some 80B in annual operation government costs. If you don't believe him, that's your business, but let's stop pretending "he won't talk about what he'll cut".

    "Eliminating equal healthcare for all" – I"m not really sure what you mean? Are you suggesting that the rich will get the good/competent doctors, and the poor will go into get hip surgery, and leave with their legs amputated? or something? I mean, are you suggesting that those on universal health care (because it has hopefully been established that this stays on the table) will somehow get care that is not good?

  48. Because it's always been the most important issue to Canadians? Because maybe we should hear what the vision for providing our health care via Canada Health Act and also cutting a make-believe $11 Billion from the budget is, and how to be accomplished?

  49. "it's not as if it's hard to find quotations of harper talking sh!t about pretty much anything we hold dear, or any region of our country. "

    Let me guess: the next Liberal attack ad will feature a quote, falsely attributed to Harper, claiming that he hates hockey and Tim Horton's too.

    That same night, Iggy will claim at a rally that the Liberals are offering hope, while the evil Conservatives are campaigning on fear.

  50. Paul, if your reading this, perhaps rule 2 of the adult conversation on health care is that we won't smear other people who are simply being honest about the limitations of their own knowledge.

    Here's the story on the 11B, copy and pasted from below for your reading convenience: The 11B first: it's 11B over 4 years. Annually, it amounts to 4B in the third and fourth years. 1B the first year, 2B the second year. Total 11B. How? Cutting 5% of some 80B in annual operation government costs. If you don't believe him, that's your business, but let's stop pretending "he won't talk about what he'll cut".

  51. Nice to see Iggy taking the high road, Emily.

  52. I think his burgeoning belly would belie any denial of support for T. Hortons establishments.

    He must be very knowledgeable about hockey; he is writing a book about it, one of these days. Maybe will have more time when he leaves politics next year.

  53. Of course that's what Ted's saying. He's campaigning on fear.

  54. He always has…..even when people urged him to fight dirty in return.

  55. From August last year until this afternoon the G&M had this quote as said by Harper, then, conveniently for the CPC, it changed. Intentional or not the effect is the same as a Bait and Switch at the expense of LPC, on their very first attack ad of this campaign.

    But lets face it, not even the most fervid of the CPC/Harper fans would have doubted the quote. The fact of the matter is Harper spent the late 90s shoulder to shoulder with Sommerville, laying out a plan to dismantle the National Healthcare system, writing the Alberta Agenda, pandering to the Americans about how Canadians is akin to Communists. That Harper would think anything other than that quote is really doubtful.

    I bet Harper cringes at the idea that his people have to paint him as a strong supporter of the Canada Health Act in order to give the LPC misquote enough weigh to spin it in the Mainstream Media. Silly campaign games.

  56. Show us how in the world any of those repeatedly rehashed quotes say any of that?

    So, we're having this fourth $300 million election in seven years so that the Liberals can create a bogus accusation based on decades-old quotes used in each one of these elections? They've had nothing else, so they resort to this nonsense? Boy. Next.

  57. Iggy can't explain $28 billion in his platform. Does that mean he'll give us two-tier health care like they have in the country he's lived in the most: the UK?

    This is just nonsense. The Liberals have had nothing to attack Harper on for years. We've had this election, and they still have nothing. So they do this again – for the fourth time in seven years. These aren't Canadian priorities. These are desperate Liberal priorities, and everybody knows it.

  58. No one's pretending more than Harper on this J. He has been asked over and over and over what he will cut and he won't say. Not even an example out of $11B. And that is $11B more than he said he would cut only a few weeks ago in the budget.

    The budget says and Baird has said that they will continue applying their approach to cuts going forward. As Paul Wells has asked: what cuts? what approach? They refuse to answer him on this as well.

    As for eliminating equal healthcare for all. The Canada Health Act guarantees 5 principles – (1) public administration, (2) accessibility, (3) portability, (4) comprehensiveness and (5) universality. People use "equal" as shorthand but maybe we should be more specific. Point taken. But it is a point of fact that Harper's desire for private two-tier healthcare are currently prohibited by (1) and (4) and probably (2) and (5) as well. Frankly, I think some more private enterprise would be a good thing, but I admit I am way offside Canadians on this issue and Harper's desire for an "overhaul" is way way offside. No wonder he doesn't want to talk about it.

  59. Must be the gall, right?

  60. This is hilarious! Misrepresentation is harperite stock in trade. Now they harrumph indignation like virgins.

  61. Oh the gall of it, eh!
    Drives you crazy, doesn't it!
    Just one more desperate post.
    See, anyone can just make stuff up and babble on.

  62. Either you're not following this story, or you're lying about it.

    The Conservatives said today that Harper never made that quote, despite what media outlets have written about it. A CBC journalist confirmed this fact based on finding the original article from the 90's. So, the G&M and others have rightfully corrected the record.

    After four election in seven years, five years of Harper governance, and three weeks of this election campaign, the opposition has nothing but this nonsense: repeatedly rehashed quotes taken out of context because there's nothing else to run on. Thanks a lot. Next.

  63. Yes, because he has repeated similar things ever since then and his election promises don't mean much – remember the "I won't run a deficit" promise of the 2008 election. Actually, Harper may very well think we should scrap the Health Act. He has certainly expanded on that point a number of times. If so, he can explain his reasons.

  64. I'm curious, didn't Macleans also publish that quote and attribute it to Harper? I thought it wasn't only the Globe & Mail. That quote was attributed to Harper well before the Globe article was published.

  65. Also, any chance we could see a scanned or electronic version of the 1997 Bulldog. I've seem other quotes attributed to it and Harper was VP then.

  66. No problem. (And I'm pleased your asking me to do you such easy favours at the end of the day as I'm trying to get out of here)

    Harper: “[O]ur health care will continue to deteriorate unless Ottawa overhauls the Canada Health Act to allow the provinces to experiment with market reforms and private health care delivery options."

    Harper: "We also support the exploration of alternative ways to deliver health care. Moving toward alternatives, including those provided by the private sector, is a natural development of our health care system."

    The Canada Health Act: The health insurance plans must be "administered and operated on a non-profit basis by a public authority, responsible to the provincial/territorial governments and subject to audits of their accounts and financial transactions." (Section 8)

    So endeth the lesson. You are welcome. Now don't make me go into case law to show you that that means no private healthcare.

  67. What I heard on the 11B is that they can't say because they haven't done the operational review yet. It wasn't in the previous budget? Yes, they made a political calculation that they needed to make more cuts in order to eliminate the deficit faster. They hadn't made this political calculation before the election. If this pisses you of, fine, but it's really not that big a scandal. Paul Wells asked Baird about the hundreds of millions in cuts in the last budget, and Baird said he would get back to him, I heard that too, but haven't heard anything since either.

    As for our continued discussion of the health care, I don't have time right now for thinking, so I will check back in later.

  68. The only problem is that it doesn't exactly sound like Harper is anti-health care when he's proposing means to fix the existing system. As is done in European countries.

  69. Again, this is nothing new. Harper even today talks about alternative ways to deliver health care under a publicly funded universal program. Even McGuinty flip-flopped on privately funded hospitals in Ontario. Does that make him an enemy of the Canada Health Act, too? God.

    You have to be an unintelligent loser, or desperate zealot, to believe those quotes say what you or Liberals want them to say.

    Rehashed quotes in an election that was supposed to be about democracy. Whatever. Next.

  70. I figured you'd run right past the fact the Harper and Sommerville were pretty much analogous at one point.

    "the opposition has nothing but this nonsense:"

    FACT: This is the FIRST attack ad by any opposition to mention Harper's NCC past.

    FACT: The ad is being changed.

    FACT: It's the CPC that went all klaxon about the misquote, not the opposition.

    FACT: It's not a misquote as much as saying what Harper actually participated in back then.

  71. Yeah well people were getting carried away with the tangents.

  72. By the way, I just saw the Liberal attack ad on TV, and it still has the false quote.

  73. We don't know yet there;s been a misrepresentatin outside of your imagination. All we know is that at one point the AG was calling for a criminal investigation.

  74. Great!

  75. Blatant dishonesty aside,

    It says something about the hollowness of this latest attack that the Liberals, after scouring the country, and going back decades,

    can't find a single quote that backs up their point, forcing them instead to pass off a quote by someone else as being Harper's.

  76. .
    Shows what happens when you get addicted to running attack ads.

    Harper, the pleasant-faced Bashar al-Assad shows he's a good Tea Party Republican,

    and da Hahvahd Bruiser shows he's a good Democrat.

    I will vote for whoever is being most CANADIAN.

  77. Ted, please excuse the digression, but remember how in our discussion earlier today you claimed not to have seen polls that put the Liberals below 28%?

    Here's another one, just released:

    Ekos April 13-17: CPC 37.4, LPC 24.9, NDP 20.0, GPC 8.4, BQ 7.8

    Throughout this campaign, EKOS had a tendency to show higher LPC numbers than most other pollsters. No longer!

  78. "Resume provincial responsibility for health care policy. If Ottawa objects to provincial policy, fight in the courts. If we lose, we can afford the financial penalties Ottawa might try to impose under the Canada Health Act."

    Here, Harper calls for open warfare with the Federal Government, financed by the deep resource revenues of Alberta. So there's a Federal law. So what, he says. Ignore it, fight it in the courts, unilaterally.

    “each province should raise its own revenue for health care – i.e., replace Canada Health and Social Transfer cash with tax points.”

    Here, Harper rejects the Federal role outright, recommending that each Province go it alone. Imagine the disparities in healthcare standards between, say Calgary and Charlottetown under such a scenario.

    To suggest that Harper is merely musing about some pilot projects with private health delivery (which, by the way, IS the current state of Health Care in Canada — as in my blood tests and imaging are ALREADY delivered by private companies paid by Provincial insurance — y family doctor is part of a private group), is absurd. Why do you contend that he's advocating the status quo? His entire political life has been dedicated to crippling Ottawa's influence on Canadians and letting each Province — big, small, rich, poor — go it alone.

    Many of his quotes call for 100% provincial funding. That's a radical departure from provincial delivery with federal guidance and funding support under the Health Act. Even if he "wants it replaced", he'll have to construct an agreement with the Provinces and get it though the Federal Parliament and Senate. He has made no such overtures to any of the three.

  79. Cons passing off quotes by the AG and the PBO to try to save their butts SOP though. How do you square this double standard, chet?

  80. I think most Canadians can appreciate an ad where Iggy himself is staring straight into the camera telling (an American audience) that its HIS country,

    and a quote where the Libs just lied to attribute it to Harper.

    Most importantly, this latest attack was the centerpiece of their great "hidden agenda" on healthcare scare.

    Talk about an epic fail. It's the Libs hidden agenda with fake quotes that turns out to be the story.

  81. Also deeply ironic:

    The quote, was hidden. Purporting to be something its not.

    As part of the Liberal agenda to attack Harper on healthcare.

    In short:

    A true hidden agenda, where the Liberals were falsely claiming a Harper "hidden agenda".

    I look forward to more "passionate" outrage about integrity and democracy from our travelling professor, and sometimes parliamentarian (when he chooses to show up).

  82. Andrew,

    BTW, you took an old Ekos poll.

    Ekos has the CPC with a 12 point lead.

  83. The Liberals are running a survey for Canadians to tell them which of Harper's quotes on health care they should replace it with. I assume that once they get those results, they'll replace it with the most popular quote.

    You can vote in the survey if you want at the LPC website.

  84. so the liberals lied, got caught, tried to avoid admitting it, and were finally forced into a retraction. meanwhile liberal commenters (and count ig) tried to excuse it with arguments like "but they do it too" (another lie) and "it's the gist of what harper believes anyway" i.e. the old "false but accurate" defense employed by dan rather.

    they're not the "visitors" party – they're the "liars" party. they represent the worst of canada.

    liberals lie and are helped by the media in doing it. what else is new? it's who they are. i'm looking forward to their upcoming reduction to a rump party in the hoc so that the overall integrity of our government will reach some kind of passable level.

  85. Get serious. It got healthcare on the table.

  86. A better chance of that than of an apology from CPC when it messes up… or more like, deliberately gets it wrong…

  87. why cant you read?

  88. The real misrepresentation was when they took a quote related to her review of a Liberal program and dropped it in a minority report of one of their committees as "proof" of what a good job the tories were doing…

    They then, when caught, said it was a "mistake".

    Then a second misquote showed up in the same report…

    Fraud in government docs? Unacceptable.

  89. As to the first paragraph, point taken. I'm having a rough time of it just now, and appear to be snarking on these boards. Hopefully, that means I'm not snarking in *real* life, but I suspect that is a faint hope.

  90. Keep in mind that any post starting with "Blatant dishonesty aside" and coming from "chet" catapults us into the realms of alternate dimensions of reality in which anything is possible.

  91. The current state of Canadian healthcare deserves to be criticized. It is unsustainable and in need of an overhaul. What is wrong with private delivery of some services? Canada is the only country in the world where this is not open to consideration. All the European states, to which we are often so unfavourably compared, which provide public health care have some mix of a public and private system. The close-minded, short-sighted refusal to even discuss other options is infuriating to people who see that the current system is not working as it should be.

  92. As usual, rather than making cogent arguments, you resort to name-calling…

  93. While Iggy plays these petty games, he's now fallen behind the NDP in most areas of the country.

    Canada has real issues confronting her, and Iggy's being cute with his dishonest petty attacks.

    My call:

    the Liberal vote will implode within the next two weeks and the NDP will make a real run at being the official opposition.

  94. As I said at the time: "it takes a hell of a nerve to steal a character reference."

  95. I agree with absolutely all of that.

    And yet for 5 years as Prime Minster, Stephen Say Anything Harper has done not a damn thing. He hasn't bothered to meet with the other premiers to talk about changes. Not once. He hasn't said a thing about what he'll do when the current health accord expires during the next term of whoever is PM. He promised a wait time guarantee and we got emergeny rooms in Tim Hortons.

    Correction. He has said two things about health care of note in the last 5 years.

    He promised he won't reduce the 6% health transfer. We should all be wondering if that is like his broken promise to Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia on the provincial transfer payments accord. And maintaining 6% is falling behind. It's already not enough money. More importantly, money is not the solution if other problems are not addressed.

    He has also said it's not his business to get involved in provincial decisions. Canadians disagree with this abondonment of leadership. In large numbers.

  96. Cheap politics at a G8. Harper is shameless. Nobody can compete with him on this kind of crap.

  97. Just like kids on a play ground! Cept they all have new toys :P

  98. Ted,

    First of all, it would be best that a PM with a majority gov't meets with the premiers.

    You say something that made me chuckle – First, you state that 6% is falling behind, which obviously means you know how much we need to spend on HC. Then you state that money is not the solution, if other problems are not addressed. So is it enough money, if the problems are fixed?

    You say that the federal government delving into provincial matters is 'showing leadership'. That is an opinions statement. You also state that Canadians prefer the federal gov't to get into provincial matters pretty glibly – not everyone would agree.

  99. Why would it be best? It's not how public healthcare was created.

    Money: there are lots of problems in the healthcare system. Several of the problems are money related: how much is spent, how efficiently it is spent, where it is spent, where it is not spent (i.e. medically necessary medical supplies that are excluded), when it is spent, to whom it is paid, from where it is obtained, how money is raised for healthcare (only taxes in Canada; look at France for a different model for eg). But there are also lots that could be solved separate from money issues. If we dumped $1 trillion more into healthcare, we would not necessarily address all of these other problems.

    We have a Canada Health Act. That is federal legislation. Harper has said it should be overhauled and we should have two-tier health care. Leadership is not only about creating a strong federal government like Trudeau and Mulroney did, nor is it about deliberately making a weak federal government like Harper advocated for before 2006 and Martin gave us (we're already the weakest and most decentralized national government in the world for pete's sake).

    Leadership is about taking action where there are problems, showing the courage and direction to lead us to solutions for today's problems and the problems of tomorrow, and not sitting back and letting the problems be sorted out by someone else later. The greatest example is Mulroney with free trade or Chretien with the deficit. Harper? We know the problems. We know what he wants to do. But we get nothing. One way or another, we get nothing. He's been sitting on his hands for 5 years. That is NOT leadership.

  100. The Liberals should do no such thing. The Liberals should take a page from the Harper Govt play book and simply revise the source but keep attributing it to the same person. We all know that the Conservatives do nothing without Harper approval. So, instead of saying "Harper said," simply say, "the Harper Conservatives say." It will still be true and it will work. If Harper has taught us anything it's that it's not a lie if you believe it. Wait, I think that was George…anyway, you get the point.

  101. Pop quiz: which party is the only one to have gouged billions of dollars from the health and social transfer in recent memory?

    Hint: it ain't the Tories

  102. Hey, I get a -1! Does that mean there's such a thing as 1/2 votes; or one confused lib or con rater?

  103. Harper's main problem is that while he said that then, he refuses to campaign on it, just like he refuses to campaign on privatizing Canada's nuclear safety commission, the mega-prison system, etc.

  104. That's like asking a government if its budget numbers are right two weeks ago or two weeks in the future? I guess it's like "If we were going to have a recession it would be here by now" thing, or the stammering about others raising taxes after you've just whalloped every working jim and jane's payroll tax…
    Harper, when John Howard's words don't fit, he'll borrow someone elses…

  105. I wonder how the motivation to 'escalate' this disagreement of words to a "smackdown." When the "discussion" escalates to an "actual" level of smackdown, what will we call it then?

    With Love and Gratitude,


  106. I suspect if I declared the Earth to be the only planet in the Solar System, you'd call it a "lie".

    Funny how so many "progressives" don't just disagree with their opponents' positions, but rather consider them "lies" as if opposition to sacred progressive beliefs couldn't be bona fide, but rather a statement made, knowingly false.

    Of all the comments I've made here, name a single "lie".

    Just one.

  107. the only planet with humans that is…

  108. I don't consider all of my "opponents" to be guilty of blatant dishonesty. Just you and two or three others. The rest, though I may feel they are profoundly mistaken, I consider to be arguing in good faith. You, no.

    If that bothers you — and I really have to assume that it doesn't, not in the least — but if it did, I'd suggest you try pausing for a moment each time you're about to hit Submit Comment, and applying a little bit of critical self-awareness to the words you've written.

    (And I'll set aside your suggestion that I point out the lies from your past comments; you hide your history by not signing up for a proper account, and I suspect that's no accident. But I guess if I wrote the things you write I'd prefer to not have my past comments publicly available too.)

  109. "The quote was taken from "extremely reputable sources," including Macleans magazine and the Globe and Mail, Ignatieff said. The Globe later corrected its story, prompting the Liberals to say they would change the ad."

    What does it say about the state of journalism in Canada, when otherwise respectable publications like the Globe and Macleans apparently can't be bothered to double check the quotes they attribute to people. Back when I was a TA, I used to tell my students not to cite something quoted in a secondary source if the original source was available. Alway look at the original source. It's embarrasing that professional journalists don't do the same thing.

  110. Speaking of Health Care costs….does anyone recall the story last year about some nurses in toronto raking in over $260,000 per year?

    If you want to address health care cost over-runs…there's a good place to start.

  111. It is best because it will be big issue to deal with, and the PM won't have to 'sell' it to the premiers, and then turn around and 'sell' it to opposition leaders. Whoever the PM is, it would be easier with a majority gov't. Not being ideological – just pointing out a fact.

    Money: you proved my point – you have nothing to base your 'not enough' claim. Yes, efficiencies should be tackled first, because if you add money first, the efficiencies become less needed. . .

    CHA – saying that needs to be changed is obvious, especially after reading your second paragraph. Harper (and I have no quotes to back this up, so I may be wrong) has never said that the CHA be scrapped, or that we should have 'two tier' health care. He has only stated that it might be time to experiment in for profit providers. (and this is already being don in many provinces. . .) For the record, this is a way to try to get efficiencies.

    Leadership: I agree. But if you want to see reform on health care from a minority gov't, you are dreaming. Tell me which party leader wouldn't skew the debate to 'Harper wants to ruin your health care'. That is right – they all would, and then we would have an election. Sorry, the only way we will see HC dealt with is with a majority gov't, or an austerity situation like they have in Europe. Sadly, it seems like we are heading towards the latter. . .

  112. Astonishing how successfully the PCs have scammed so many people into discussing this non-event instead of substantive issues. In comparison with the systematic lies in every PC ad and press release, this is really pretty tame. Guess we've just gotten so used to it from the PCs that we don't notice it anymore.

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