Canada doesn’t have a constitutional monarchy. It has a “Harper government.”

Tories re-brand government moniker in government communications


It’s official: the Harper government is now calling itself the Harper government. Public servants were told in a directive late last year that the “Government of Canada” moniker in federal communications should be replaced with the words “Harper government.” Dimitri Soudas, the Prime Minister’s spokesman, told The Globe and Mail that this “a long-standing practice that accurately reflects the government’s leadership, regardless of who was the prime minister.” He pointed to government releases in the past that referred to the “Paul Martin government” and the “Chrétien government.” So what’s the big deal? Journalists routinely use the phrase when reporting the Conservative government’s actions. Says Jonathan Rose, a specialist in political communications at Queen’s University: “It is one thing for journalists or even the public to use the more partisan ‘Harper government,’ but it is another thing for the state to equate the Government of Canada with the leader of the governing party.”

The Globe and Mail

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Canada doesn’t have a constitutional monarchy. It has a “Harper government.”

  1. I guess the next step in this evolution will be for SH to start referring to himself and his government in the third person.

    • I actually laughed out loud when i saw this.
      I guess the next step is to re-write the anthem

  2. The "Idiot Harper Government" it is!

  3. I think 'Harper Regime' would be even better.

    • It is confusing. Do we still live in a democracy or is it a harpocracy. Is it still the country of Canada or is it Harperland? Am I a Canadian or Haparian? Are we still a parliamentary democracy and do we vote for representatives of a party or are we suddenly a republic and vote for president err prime minister. This is ridiculous. I can't believe he'd be so stupid.

  4. Harper hates Canada anyways!! He always has refering us to a welfare state and saying how great the USA is.
    If we have him in any longer we will be the Damn USA!. Wake up Canadians before its too late.
    Not that Canada is really Canada anymore since he took power. Now we find out that power was obtained by cheating much like his good friend George Bush down south. Piss on his whole regime and may Canada be Canada once again!

  5. Dear lord would you PLEASE stop with the Nazi referrences?!

    • Why thats what Super Right Wing Governements are Facist=NAZI

    • Agreed! You know people have been doing that in the US on both sides of the political spectrum, and it is just old. The chicken little "the sky is falling" scare tactics are old. You have to wonder about people who use fear, they really have nothing positive to offer.

  6. I work for Service Canada, er I mean Service Harper, and the amount of comments we've received for this story is ratehr astonishing.

    It's not huge in numbers but I don't think we got a single call or email about Oda or the Elections fraud claim.

    • You got to be joking :(

  7. It is and always will be "The Government of Canada". Canadians need change , desparately.

  8. He re-branded the Canadian Government by CUTTING CANADA OUT of the name….

    Feels like harbingers of things to come if we let him, I won't be surprised if/when he does this, just surprised if angry mobs, myself included, don't pour into the streets to demand his incarceration…

    …and that DOES happen a lot these days.

    • How dare he take the name "Canada" out !!! Thanks Benjamin,

    • Do CANADIANS care enough, Harper has been allowed to get away with steasily increasing acts of disrespect of Parliament, even making annual financial statements in a chinese restaurant. Me,I' getting ready to return tosanity and GENTLEMANLY behaviour.

  9. Ever since they got into office, Stephen Harper and the conservatives have been trying to re-brand the Canadian Government as a branch of the Conservative Party, which they can then use as a conduit for political advertising. All parties use policy to promote themselves to some extent, but this is blatant beyond belief. Having "The Harper Government" on official letterhead bears no relation to the use of the term by journalists. Journalists (correctly) refer to the "Harper Government" when they are talking about policy, current legislation, and so on, which are associated with the current PM and his caucus. That is very different from "The Government of Canada," which is a much larger entity defined by the constitution, the body of laws, the court system, the various departments, the programs they administer such as immigration, the military, and so on. The Government of Canada is an enduring entity that existed long before Stephen Harper and will continue to exist when Canadians vote him out of office. The Government of Canada does not belong to Stephen Harper and the Conservatives. It belongs to all Canadians. It's time to take it back.

    • Bravo!

      The Government of Canada belongs to us all – and consists of far, far more than the hundred-plus MPs of the currently governing party.

      No MAJORITY government has ever had the hubris to try something like this; if he keeps it up, those large brass balls of his will make nice weights when we throw him in the Otawa River…

  10. Oh Harper's Canada,
    Our true Harper's North strong and free…

    Get used to it.

  11. Indeed taking the work of others and just slapping your name on it as if it were your own is plagiarism, and morally bankrupt of him to do this.
    He should be sued by the Canadian public for unethical behaviour and plagiarism of the public commons, which are probably not laws, but since no one has tried anything as greasy as Harper continually tries, we are gonna end up creating a whole set of new rules to reign in evil little calculator boys like Harpo.

  12. This is just Harper advertising the fact that he will and does always put Himself and His party above Canadians and Canada, he does not serve the public interests, he bankrupts the public interest.

  13. Just watch; next defence of Kenney's use of government stationery for political fundraising is that it's no longer "official" because it doesn't say "Harper Government".

  14. Leave it to that weasel Soudas in Harper's office to find yet another way to twist a meaningful phrase into something dark and ugly.

  15. Harper joins some illustrious company, the Mubarak government, the Ceaușescu government, the Kim Jong-il government, the Gaddafi government, the Ben Ali government and all their ilk. I guess the next step is posters of Harper everywhere, the air must be thin out west.

    • I agree with your sentiment, but please don't generalize about the West. I'm a proud Westerner in Winnipeg, and am appalled by the "Harper Government". It seems every day they stoop lower and lower.

  16. Perhaps if we all made out our tax payment cheques to " Harper Government"?

    • If you REALLY want to protest, make them out to the "Ignatief Government". THAT would blow a few fuses!

      • Or pay to the Coalition Government

        • as long as the folks are elected MP's …I have no problem with a coalition….

  17. Personally I don't see why we pay taxes anyways!!! All the resources in this country (IF THIS COUNTRY BELONGS TO US)
    I think it's us that should be getting huge checks every month not paying taxes. How absurd!

    • That sounds like Social Credit to me.

    • Ummmm, do you have clean water? do you have electricity? do you flush your toilet? do you walk on a street? ever gone to the hospital? ever needed the police? gone to school? ever voted? gone to court?

      If you don't want to pay taxes, don't take advantage of all of the above, provided by your friendly neighborhood taxpayer.

  18. Every person who commented here is basically saying the opposite of what the article says: WHAT is the big deal really. We all refer to the Trudeau government, Chretien Government. AND as far as I see in the news, there is no official directive to change all government of canda releases to Harper Government. This morning there were two releases and not a change to them…

    • That would be a colloquial usage – a bit of shorthand – to indicate which PM was/is leading the party heading the Canadian government during a particular period. But he official name of the government is always the same: the Government of Canada.

      The government belongs to ALL of us; not one party or person. Even the House of Commons is not exclusively Harper's; his party is the one with the most seats, but he doesn't even havea majority there. To rename the government the Harper Government is the height of arrogance. If it isn't already illegal, it should be.

      • But is he actually re naming it? If you look at the budget for 2004 it says Paul Martin government on the official budget. I don't recall him renaming the government OR it being this big of a deal…

        • There is a world of difference between a document tabled by the government – which is inherently political – being called a Harper document and forcing (on threat of dismissal) the apolitical civil service departments, to refer to the Government of Canada as the Harper Government. I don't care if the Conservatives want to call it the Harper Government – its forcing the apolitical institutions of government, , which do not exist to give free headlines to the PM, to refer to the Government of Canada as the Harper Government which is absurdly wrong. Of all the things they have done which I have disagreed with, this is the first thing which has truly kept me awake at night.

          It (this atrocity) is misappropriation of government resources for marketing purposes – which is the least of my problems with it.

          If an election had already been called it would be a breach of the Act.

          It is clearly wrong to do this; if not explicitly so as it is in Ontario.

          The notion that a right wing party and the state are a singular entity is Fascist by definition. When the totalitarian governing party is left wing we call it Communism. A right wing totalitarian regime is fascist.

          Harper is purporting to create a fascist state in Canada by equating himself and his rightwing party with all apolitcal actions of the state, and by threatening civil servants who oppose his misappropriation.

          This is what kept me awake last night.

          Some people cannot make the logical distinction between the institution of government and the party in power; the subtly of the distinction is coupled with fear of reprisal is what helps keep totalitarian regimes in power.

          • Exactly.

    • There's nothing wrong with informally calling the government of Canada "the Harper government." It's when it become official. That is what Harper has done. Harper is the state. Personally, I prefer "the Harper régime."

  19. The Harper Government sounds like dear Stephen has confused the world with a news broadcast.

  20. Maybe there is a positive side to changing to "The Harper Government " as a formal policy change. When the voting public eventually starts to turn against them over issues they do not agree with or screwups along the way then there will be no doubt who to hold responsible.THE HARPER GOVERNMENT. Could be the "Catch phrase" of the Century!

  21. If I get a tax bill from some entity called the Harper Government, rest assured it will not be paid. On the other hand, if I get a tax bill from some entity called the Government of Canada, maybe i should assume it no longer exists and not pay it???

  22. O Harpoland!

    Our home and fascist land!
    True sycophant love in all thy citizens command.

    With glowing hearts we see thee rise .|.
    The True KIng strong and fascist!

    From far and wide,
    O Harpoland, we bow in front of thee!
    God keep our King glorious and fascist!
    O Harpoland, we kneel and bow in front of thee.

    O Harpoland, we grovel and genuflect in front of thee.

    • Wait for it – we'll have to take a Pledge of Allegiance to Harper.

      Why James Travers? Only the good die young.

    • O Harper Land!
      Our home and sold out grounds!
      True betrayed love in all thy slaves command.

      With sorrowing hearts we see thee sink,
      The True North shackled and tied!

      From far and wide,
      O Harper Land, we stand submitted for thee.

      God keep our land shameful and taxed!
      O Harper Land, we stand submitted for thee.

      O Harper Land, we stand submitted for thee.

  23. Well he is already starting to build his prisons. You can bet they will be FEMA prisons when him and Obama make the new "security" border system. The man is dangerous!

  24. That’s so true. I have noticed we have been hearing mostly from “the Harper” government rather than the Government of Canada. Now I can see why Mr. Harper wants to paint the airplane, and build more prisons….

  25. Canada doesn't have a constitutional monarchy. It has a “Harper government.”
    Obviously, there are changes, one being, no more Me, but we. It will now be known, by law, as the (—-) government of the Americas. I wonder how long before you all catch on? Hope not as long as it took to catch on to the giving Canada to the french scam. That also was to win over the majority English, who were in no way, going to be running around parlying the dingdong. Far better to join the NAU!! And thats a done deal!

    The Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), along with other
    U.S.-Canada initiatives have allowed the two countries to incrementally move towards
    creating a common security perimeter

  26. "how about a new political party, one that is accountable, fiscally responsible"

    Isn't that the bill of goods the CPC has been trying to sell us about themselves? Isn't that supposedly the reason they were created?

    Maybe we should just hold them accountable for their promises…

  27. Calling the government "the Harper government" gives me hope that the policies and practices of the current regime are merely a passing phase, and the pernicious policies and practices will pass when Harper is gone.

  28. I kind of am really liking the new name. It just really pops at you, you know what I mean? Like "Government of Canada" is really cool too or whatever and I mean I didn't not like it before…. but now that I heard the new one. I dunno, "Harper government" just has that WOW factor to it……

    • didn't not? im confused…

      • you missed the satire

  29. Canada – home of the most venomous, partisan and meanspirited, not to mention unresponsive and Undemocratic government we've seen since Idi Amin left town….

    The CRAP Government – home of a bunch of Con-Reformers-Alliance Partiers (Tea Partiers without the charisma) Ugh and may "Gold save Canada'…..

    no wonder Harpo's wife left him for her RCMP bodyguard…Andy Cohen and Norman Spector are absolutely correct…that's why they appeared "together" on the CBC Xmas interview….rumours are rumous no longer!

    • jeez! That was trudeaus child bride that , didn't leave him but just er, you know, right in front of him.lol
      Now whose kids are whose as the world turns.

  30. Hmmmm… so, I guess next Stevo would like us to address him as "Your Majesty" ???

  31. It's the ignotief opposition, the layton ndp, and the harper government. Problem?

    • it's the Canadian Government……always will be…..

  32. How dare "Harper" use the media's phrase of the "Harper Government"… who does "Harper" think he is Trudeau? If "Harper" thinks he's going to change Trudeauvia into "the Harper Government" he's sadly mistaken. Trudeauvia will never die!! I hope the media and the Liberal/Separatist party keep up the hysteria surrounding everything "the Harper Government" does or doesn't do… Long live Trudeauvia!!!

    • One of trudeaus, in an outs? lol

  33. Now I understand why Baird was referring the coalition as a coup back in 2008

  34. So when does Steve start wearing colourful military garb replete with rows of shiny medals or maybe even a little turban and long flowing robes and is followed around by a bevy of virgin female bodyguards.
    And this is before he sits under the glass ceiling in the new parliament building. Can hardly wait to see what happens after he's been sitting under glass for a whlle. A tin foil hat maybe?

    • I don't know if I would be sharing this Wilson….It's fairly damning….except for the "Dear Leader" cultish followers that is

      • The same Conservatives who don't recognize a crime as a crime when Conservatives commit it probably think this was a real clever thing to do.

  35. Mr. Harper has gotten one step closer to alienating this conservative voter… :S

    • Not by a long shot. The term Harper Government is used by the media and the opposition parties as a derisive moniker in most instances. So Harper has turned a positive into a negative. Now the media will start referring to the government as the Government of Canada to show Mr. Harper. He wins again.

      • Interesting interpretation, but I still don't like it.

  36. Never see this story if it was still the Chretien or Martin governments. The hypocrisy form the left is so common and so unrelenting it seems normal. Should have showed 'the corrupt Creten governent' and 'moronic Martin government'.

    • Chretien was never narcissistic enough to want to name the government after himself. What's wrong with you Conservative slaves?

    • yeah…..except for the fact that RIGHT NOW…it is the Harper Government…are they responsible??……ever??…….or is everything ok because "The Liberals did it"….

      • Remember that in this case, the Liberals didn't do it, ever. JRB is trying to make up for his inability to think rationally with a vivid imagination.

  37. What we're living with now is not The Harper Government, it's The Harper Coalition.

  38. Whatever! The Citizens of Canada are flocking to him. And even FAR better, the quebec ISN'T!
    In fact, here is what les french are expert at! lol

    CARAQUET, N.B. (CP) — Anyone with an aversion to loud noise would be well advised to stay clear of the annual Tintamarre event in Caraquet on New Brunswick's Acadian Peninsula.

    The point of this celebration is to make a raucous din — in theory, to demonstrate audibly the presence of Acadians.

    Participants march with noisemakers and handmade instruments during Tintamarre, one of the flagship activities of the summertime Acadian Festival of Caraquet.

    It's not just loud but also messy, according to an article posted on the BBC's travel website. In fact, Tintamarre is among the "world's messiest festivals" — events where people just want "to make their mark on the world."

    piss't, piss;t! lol

  39. The term "harper Government" sums up perfectly the attitude of Deceiven' Stephen, his cabal and various and assorted gofers.

    • It should always have a qualifier in front: the lyin' cheatin' Harper minority government, or the crooked Harper minority government.

  40. That probably explains why Canada’s “brand” doesn’t have the same value to the rest of the world as before. The only countries that name themselves based on the current leader are places like Libya.

  41. Let's just say the Conservatives are only 1/4 of the way to where they really want to go with a majority.
    It's 2015. What's it like now?

  42. I think he did it solely to make a few more left heads exploded. I mean, look at all the explosions all over this comment section! Hilarious!

  43. Why is it being made into a "big deal"?

    Because a deserate opposition (and their desperate leftist abbetors in the media) are grasping onto anything…anything…as a pretext to halt Harper's ascention into majority territory.

    The problem is, it isn't making everyday Canadians anti-Harper, its making them tune out this hyperpartisan nonsense.

    • For chrissakes chet – he took the word Canada out of the name of our federal government and replaced it with his own name! We're not talking about the PMO, the HoC or the Senate here – we're talking THE WHOLE FRICKIN' WORKS!!! And threatened to fire people who disobeyed!

      He has just put himself above this nation. That's how I see it; that's how many Canadians see it – as a personal affront and an insult to the history of this country and its government.

      Many of the other scandals have been minor and – except for the cumulative effect – could be passed off as human error. But this is a deliberate, calculated move. It's a line drawn in the sand. And someone needs to step across that line and smack some sense into that man, figuratively speaking.

      For the first time in my 47 years, I may have to join a party and actively campaign. And you can bet I WON'T be in the Conservative camp. IT'S THE G-D GOVERNMENT OF CANADA!!!!! Got it?

  44. They should have to show a little CONsistency and redo all their political ads' taglines accordingly, then:

    Here For Harper

  45. Yes, Harper sounds more and more like either Stalin (with his personality cult – so famous in communistic states) or like the Maoists (again, the same as the Stalinists with their chinese counterpart of a personality cult). Pretty soon, we the people of Canada, must get big portraits of the "Dear Leader Harper" everywhere and even into our homes, the same way they did not only under the communists' but also under fascists' rulers, e.g. like Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, etc. I know, these regimes have gone to the wayside and their leaders as well, but we still have some of them around today, like in North Korea. Is Harper leveraging himself to that kind of leadership, control and personality cult? He already restricts freedom of speech to certain people, the freedom of association, demonstrations like it was done during the G8/G20; the influencing of elections by fraudelent schemes; the forgery of documents by one of his Minister (Bev Oda); the influence peddling by lobby groups hired by the big corporations; etc.

  46. Purely from a communications standpoint, this development is fascinating.
    The previous Liberal government was defetaed during a time when Canada's books were balanced, employment was generally good and there were no really big economic 'beefs'. But, you can identify the key point of decline once the Liberals were referred to as Canada's 'Naturally Governing Party'. From that point on, the clock was ticking, and a sentiment began to emerge amongst Canadians to vote just to prove that point wrong. The Liberals didn't even try to say that 'Natural Governing Party' was wrong…they just took it in stride and didn't distance themselves nearly enough from the label.

    Now here we are today with a very similar situation, and I'm really surprised that Harper's supporters aren't looking at this development with more concern, if ony from the standpoint of preserving this government's hold on power. It's not even the 'conservative' government anymore…it's 'the Harper Government'. It's almost a repeat situation, where the label becomes almost a challenge to voters to prove it wrong. Look at history…support for a government can evaporate overnight for the most seemingly insignificant reasons, at least 'insignificant' when looked at in the big picture. From a communications and 'branding' standpoint, it's like daring people to prove you wrong.

    Like I said, I'm really surprised Harper supporters would fail to see the threat from this sort of communications 'over reach'…it can only hurt. They may well have set the clock ticking on themselves.

  47. We need to start a new conservative party so that we can split votes from the Harpercons. Let's get some actors to play the role of candidates. Their purpose would not be to win, but to siphon votes from the Harpercons. If a new conservative candidate wins, that would be a bonus for that candidate.

  48. No doubt the next move will be to rename Canada "Harperland" with little Stevie as Lord of the Manor and the rest of us will be his serfs.

  49. Does this red rag get a tax deduction for sucking up to the Lieberals this obvious. charlie is dead right, there is virtually no institution left in this country, particularly including our media who deserve any sort of respect. He is further correct in that we are totally and collectively doomed. With absolutely no one to vote for I now stay home. HJopefully the poorer of the choices will get in and we will collapse sooner rather than later so my grandchildren aren't saddled with todays greed and incompetence.

  50. Trudeauvia will never be changed to "Harperland"… never! It's up to all of us Trudeauvian cultists to stop the democratic will of Canadians and encourage our media to keep up the drive by smears and hysterical hatchet jobs on the "Harper Government", I mean the illegitimate Government of Trudeauvia. The American media got God (Obuma) elected by destroying McCain and Palin and our media is just as sleazy and dishonest as the American media, so lets keep up the hysterical witch hunts and manufactured "scandals" and we Liberals and Separatists will "get back to power" before you can say Adscam!! Long live Trudeauvia!!

  51. Kicking the media (his media) out of a Liberal speech.

  52. I should no longer find it shocking that so many whiny Canadians insist on spewing their continued hyperbolic demagoguery onto the comments pages of most online articles, yet I charge once more into the breach. The constant drone of comparisons of our government to fascists, nazis, dictatorships etc has become quite tiresome. If the people who spout such refuse actually lived in a real dictitorial state or under actual tyranny they would deficate themselves. The pure decadence of such referrals is vomit inducing and speaks in reality to the pampered, soft, and weak nature of our civil society.

    The continual tirade against our ties to the monarchy are also about as threadbare. We seem to be a nation hell bent on the destruction of our past and in doing so allow ourselves to be the architects of our future destruction as a national entity. Sadly all of these cries tend to come from those who are woefully uninformed as to the nature of Canadian history, politics, and the shaping forces of current world events.

    I will tell you one thing Canada is in need of, a huge dose of growing up.

    • And the grown up thing to do is remove the country's name from our government?

  53. Isn't the official title "Her Majesty's government"? And aren't the opposition "Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition"?

    It is so sad to see how much damage Harper has done to Canada, our culture and our traditions.

    We are truly evolving into something akin to the Germany of the 1930's.

  54. The McGuinty government has been "The McGuinty government" in all it's press releases since its beginning. I don't remember it ever being a big deal.

    • press releases…yeah see I have no problem with that…..it's the whole "official" name change within the civil service part of the Government thing……yup…that I have a really big problem with…..

    • It should be, though – it's just as bad when Dalton does it.

  55. If a PM can RUN AWAY AND HIDE (do a PROROGATION) from a scheduled Opposition non confidence vote (our ONLY mechanism to hold a PM in check or accountable) that the Opposition has already publicly announced they would defeat the PM/Government on … THEN the new KING CAN DO ANYTHING the KING WANTS because its already over … I will miss Canada.

    The PM must ALWAYS maintain the confidence of the House … HE DIDN'T … that is when HE became our KING since ONLY a KING can RUN AWAY TO HIDE (either you have a KINGDOM or a DEMOCRACY) and HE claimed it was because HE KNEW BEST for us …. YET that was the whole point of the NC vote, HE DIDN'T.

    Hail KING Harper … the HARPER Government … is here.

  56. Is the media so outraged now, instead of the Harper Government, they will refer to the Government of Canada?

    • One can only hope…

  57. time for the bleeding hearts to stop their government basing

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