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Harper’s Tories lost the plot a long, long time ago

They’ve given up everything they ever stood for, and what have they got in return? Nada.


 

Harper’s Tories lost the plot a long, long time ago

Why is everyone so surprised? The budget the Conservatives produced last week may have been startling in some respects—the biggest spending budget ever, fuelled by the largest one-year increase in spending ever outside of wartime—but it was hardly out of character. It was the logical terminus to a decade of climbdowns, reversals, and broken promises, dating back to the first efforts to merge the old Reform and Progressive Conservative parties. What began in fear and deception has ended in confusion and incoherence. Predictably enough.

So let us have none of these astonished little essays on how difficult this must have been for Stephen Harper, how the Reformer who had entered politics to fight deficits had come to embrace them. Once, this would have been hard for him, but by now it is second nature. And spare us, please, the cries of betrayal from stalwarts of the right, who never imagined that a Conservative party could produce a budget like this. Where were these people the last 10 years? I’ll tell you where they were: right by the party’s side, urging it on. There is no betrayal here. They were all in this together. In all the frantic backpedalling of the last decade, as each long-held policy was overturned and each conviction of a lifetime was abandoned, the party never made a peep.

Everyone—from cabinet ministers to the lowliest envelope stuffer—bought in. Everyone signed on. They were “showing discipline.” They were “moderate and middle-of-the-road.” They had grown up, they understood that politics is the art of the possible, they were all incrementalists now. Above all, they were loyal to the leader, and to the leader’s abiding goal of a majority government. And so whatever doubts they harboured, whatever principles they recalled, they were placed in a blind trust for the duration.

It can’t have been all that hard for them, any more than it was for him. Compromise is not, as a rule, terribly unpleasant, or not past the first or second time. After that, it becomes positively intoxicating. There are always crowds of fine fellows about to clap you on the back, to pour you a drink and congratulate you on your new-found “maturity.” And each little compromise, each partial concession, makes the next that much easier, and the next, until at last you are giving up great gobs of yourself without even noticing.

In retrospect, indeed, the appointments of David Emerson and Michael Fortier that first day in office, which seemed so shocking at the time, was not the start of the process. It was already well advanced. Think back to the late 1990s, and what the Reform party then stood for. Not just balanced budgets, but balanced budget laws. Referendums—on tax increases, on constitutional amendments, on citizens’ initiatives. Tight controls on spending. A flat tax. Abolition of corporate subsidies, and of their “regional development” dispensaries. Reform of employment insurance, of the Canada Pension Plan, of the CBC. A federation of equal provinces and citizens. An elected Senate. Free votes in Parliament. More power for ordinary MPs. Open nomination races at the riding level, free of interference by the leader’s office. Fixed election dates.

By the time Stockwell Day was running for prime minister in 2000—the Canadian Alliance having replaced the Reform party, and Day having replaced Preston Manning—a third or more of these were already gone. But the pace only quickened from there. By the time of the 2004 election, the newly formed Conservative party was still vaguely interested in abolishing corporate welfare, and still mentioned tax cuts. But mostly it was interested in telling you what it wouldn’t do: it wouldn’t cut spending, for instance, or much else that might upset someone, somewhere.

The party’s founding policy convention in 2005 took things still further: gone was any mention of referendums, for example. Spending cuts were out; subsidies were in. The courting of Quebec nationalists, which Harper had once warned against, had begun in earnest. Probably the delegates thought they were making a prudent set of concessions to reality, in a bid to establish themselves, once and for all, as a centrist party, ready to form a government. But in fact they were only softening things up for the next round. The accession to power, after so many years, did not mark the end of the party’s concessions. It merely provided it with the means to make still more, each more jaw-dropping than the last: on Quebec, on Afghanistan, on confidence votes, on foreign takeovers, on fixed election dates, on appointing senators, on corporate bailouts, until at last we arrived at last week’s establishment of a regional development agency for southern Ontario.

So they’ve given up everything they ever stood for, and what have they got in return? Pretty close to nada. They’re stalled in the polls, again. The fabled majority remains firmly out of reach. Those disposed to mistrust them are as suspicious as ever, while their own followers are now thoroughly demoralized. They have not moved to the centre; they have only succeeded in shifting the entire political spectrum to the left. The Quebec experiment, likewise, is in tatters, Quebec more nationalist than ever. The destruction is total. The failure is absolute.

Once, long ago, there was an answer: a new party. But you can only do that once: no one’s got the energy to climb that hill again. The harsh fact is that there is no longer anything resembling a conservative party in this country, nor any prospect of forming one. And conservatives have only themselves to blame.


 
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Harper’s Tories lost the plot a long, long time ago

  1. I had reached a similar conclusion to Mr. Coyne. Earlier I wroteCP HQ fund-raising about my views and told them “no more money from me” until I see some reversion to principles. As for supporting our local efforts I shall contribute a markedly much lesser amount than in the past to show my disappointment. That position is REVIEWABLE in both directions. I think a message has to be delivered by party supporters who pushed Reform to where it was able to influence Canadian political events.

  2. Things could change under a new leader, although it will take a skilled leader and some time, as all the CPC MPs seem to have fallen in line and gone along with Harper’s quest to stay in power at all costs.

  3. Not just balanced budgets, but balanced budget laws. Referendums—on tax increases, on constitutional amendments, on citizens’ initiatives. Tight controls on spending. A flat tax. Abolition of corporate subsidies, and of their “regional development” dispensaries. Reform of employment insurance, of the Canada Pension Plan, of the CBC. A federation of equal provinces and citizens. An elected Senate. Free votes in Parliament. More power for ordinary MPs. Open nomination races at the riding level, free of interference by the leader’s office. Fixed election dates.

    Is Coyne suggesting these are manifestations of some golden age in governmental reform? Most (all?) of these policies represent false clarities that most of us recognised at the time. They don’t sound good because they are too simplistic and simple-minded for a country as complex as Canada. In addition, we know exactly how a lot of these policies have played out by just gazing to south of us and that was obvious back then as well.

    • Gazing south introduces the prospect of liberty and freedom to a statist mindset. A beautiful thing.

      Stay on your knees dude, you appear comfortable. And say, while you’re there….

    • Yeah really, look at California.

      Balanced budget law + Ballot intiatives + 2/3’s vote to raise taxes = perpetual budget crisis.

      • Gazing south introduces the prospect of liberty and freedom to a statist mindset.

        No it doesn’t. Read more, talk less.

  4. `conservatives only have themselves to blame’?

    Oh, I don’t know, I’d start with you, Andrew – or at least your friends in the fourth estate given that, no matter how much the Reform / Alliance / early CPC `moderated’ its policies, was constantly and dutifully acted as stenographers for the Liberal / NDP charges that the party was `extremist’ or had a `hidden agenda.’

    How can any truly `conservative’ (ie. classical liberal) party get anywhere in this country when the vast majority of those who report on it act like pamphleteers to their opponents? This doesn’t even include those who are involved in the arts / entertainment industry generally, who are almost reflexively anti-`conservative’ (remember Rick Mercer’s utterly ludicrous `Doris Day’ stunt during the 2000 election, which was in turn hailed as genius by all the expected parties?)

    The answer: you cannot.

    the CPC has become a `Liberal’ (in the bad way) party because they have no choice, period.

    • Is Mike Duffy one of the reporters you mean?

      • he’s part of the 10%, I guess. Can you name any more? maybe you’re thinking of Susan Murray or Drew Fagan. Oh wait…

        • Does Pamela Wallin count?

          • How about Dan Dugas?

          • Wallin: evidently part of the 10% . the other person, i have no idea who he is.

          • Dugas was a reporter now Peter McKay’s mouthpiece.

    • Mercer is a comedian, you can’t call media bias on him.

      But I agree, the CPC has no choice because Canadians just aren’t that small-c conservative. A great man (named A. Coyne) once said “a politician’s job is not to give the people what they want, nor is it to give them what they need. It’s a politician’s job to convince them to want what they need.” This is the main problem– no Conservative politicians can convince a majority of Canadians to want what they need (although “need” is open to interpretation I guess.)

      • Coyne is in severe denial.

        • How so? He’s plainly stated that instead of selling the wider voting public on small or large “C” initiatives, Harper has caved and gone same-old same-old. That’s not denial. That’s observation.

      • I said: `aside from the news media’ (in effect).

        but also, Mercer comments all the time on the news. Is he `media’? Well kinda in fact.

      • Agree on Mercer. His knife cuts both ways. He absolutely savaged Stephane Dion for turtling on every confidence vote.

        “Stephen Harper, your free ride is about to….continue!!!”

        • Mercer is also a card-carrying Liberal.

          • And he works for the CBC, he probably recycles and picks-up after his dog too! Obviously a commie.

    • I think you meant Mercer’s hilarious ‘Doris Day’ stunt. Or were you one of maybe 5 people in the country who thought not?

      • *I think you meant Mercer’s hilarious ‘Doris Day’ stunt.*

        I think there was more than 5, kc sunshine; what it had to do with citizen-initiated referenda, however, I was never able to figure that out.

    • There is always a choice.. Unfortunately, the Canadian voter would not like that choice so the decision is to go for power,, not principle

  5. sorry should have proof read:
    …given that, no matter how much the Reform / Alliance / early CPC `moderated’ its policies, [the news media] were constantly and dutifully acted as stenographers for the Liberal / NDP charges that the party was `extremist’ or had a `hidden agenda.’

  6. I love how “conservatism” is redefined as “classic liberalism” all the time. That’s really at the core of a lot of the problems the Right as, all the time; a very cavalier approach to language and meaning which causes no end of confusion among those who, for whatever reasons, find themselves on the Right. There is absolutely no way true conservatives and true classical liberals can share the same system of thought. They’re worldviews are mutually exclusive.

    constantly and dutifully acted as stenographers for the Liberal / NDP charges that the party was `extremist’ or had a `hidden agenda.”

    No one I know needed the dutiful stenographers in the media to tell us that. It’s a conclusion you come to inexorably by simply paying attention to what Reformatories have been saying, lo these many years.

    • If Liberals hadn’t changed the nature of liberalism from economic and political liberty to maternal socialism, than we would have less problems with language.

      • If Liberals hadn’t changed the nature of liberalism from economic and political liberty to maternal socialism…

        Well, that’s just the world works. Things change with the passage of time and language changes in tandem.

        But in any case, it’s historical illiteracy to believe that it was a conscious decision of liberals/Liberals to embrace more social democratic approaches to governance. Conditions arose that required innovations in social and economic policy (that free enterprise alone could not address) and it’s just natural for liberals to propose and support them, since that is the nature of liberalism. Since the Great Depression and WW2, that’s happened everywhere, not just in Canada, and it’s odd to think this place alone would have not been swept along with those tides of history.

        • Ti-guy,

          Would you please expand on the following two points, for the elucidation of all aspiring political philosophers in the crowd?

          it’s just natural for liberals to propose and support (innovations in social and economic policy ), since that is the nature of liberalism

          And:

          There is absolutely no way true conservatives and true classical liberals can share the same system of thought. They’re worldviews are mutually exclusive.

          Of course, to make your profound insights intelligible to the average reader, you’ll have to define the terms “liberalism”, “true classical liberalism”, and “true conservatism”.

          • If you really want me to explain myself, I suggest you drop the attitude, Olaf.

          • I can’t imagine someone asking a more politely worded question, but consider the attitude dropped. Go ahead.

          • I can’t imagine someone asking a more politely worded question, but consider the attitude dropped.

            Well, you’ll have to reformulate your inquisition sans the loaded words and maybe try to focus on what it is you’re asking me, because I’m sure I don’t know. I was in fact responding to someone else’s (meaning not you) apparent condemnation of Liberals for having done something deliberately eeevil.

          • Ah hell, forget it. It really isn’t that complicated, I was very simply asking you to elaborate on the quotes I provided. They are, in my opinion, not self-evident. If my loaded words are throwing you off to the point where this very straightforward request is completely incomprehensible, just skip over them.

            But since you’re not bone stupid I’ll assume you’re being deliberately obtuse in the hopes that I lose interest, which I have. You’ve won this inane battle of attrition. Congrats.

          • Well, I was being kind of obtuse, only because I didn’t really want to get caught up in a abstract, philosophical discussion at your behest. I really was only attempting to address jwl’s comment without using the word “ignorant.”

          • To clarify (briefly) what has happened to the word “liberal”: the economic side of “classical liberalism” (or rather, Milton Friedman’s warped interpretation thereof) has been taken over by the Conservative party (at least the rhetoric thereof), while the social side of classical liberalism–i.e. the concern for personal rights and freedoms–the stuff that Trudeau was all about, has been taken by the Liberal party. In “classical liberalism” things like the free market and gay rights go hand and hand. The point is that the state should keep its nose out of people’s business as much as possible while protecting their rights and freedoms. But the groups split in the 20th century with “reform” or “welfare” liberalism, when theorists (like Rawls) and politicians (like Trudeau) realised that a fair bit of interference in the economy may be necessary to protect human rights. In fact, “classical liberals” like J.S.Mill and Adam Smith say the same thing, but most “neo-liberals” only read Friedman’s misinterpretation of them. And for some reason, many of the free market proponents who are now with the Cons are also anti-human rights and don’t believe gays should be allowed to marry, women should have control over their own bodies, or people should be allowed to use drugs if they so choose. So they are economic liberals while being social conservatives.

      • Ti’s critique of the Reform platform goes for me too. It might have been ‘principled and uncompromising,’ but that’s often the case with emotionally-driven simplistic gordion-knot cutting. Reform’s motto might have been “There is always an easy solution to every problem — neat, plausible and wrong.”

        However.

        “But in any case, it’s historical illiteracy to believe that it was a conscious decision of liberals/Liberals to embrace more social democratic approaches to governance.”

        Shall we replace that ‘illiteracy’ with NDP whig history – if you’ll pardon the pun – by removing any intentionality from l/Liberal social reform while giving full credit to the CCF and Labour for theirs? Were Lloyd George and FDR just trying to keep the evil capitalist machine rolling, sort of latter-day equivalents of Bismarck? Or are they denoted honorary social democrat to square the circle?

        What about the post-Mackenzie King years in Canada when the LPC became more and more socially liberal? What about when, at the same time the NDP was being formed, we put Trudeau in charge? And thereafter? Canada’s socially democratic/socially liberal fabric wasn’t woven by the heroic vanguard party, I regret to say.

    • *I love how “conservatism” is redefined as “classic liberalism” all the time. That’s really at the core of a lot of the problems the Right as, all the time; a very cavalier approach to language and meaning which causes no end of confusion among those who, for whatever reasons, find themselves on the Right. There is absolutely no way true conservatives and true classical liberals can share the same system of thought. They’re worldviews are mutually exclusive.*

      Sorry, you are wrong. As much as `liberalism’ now means what `democratic socialist’ did, `conservativism’ is in the main synonymous with Whiggism or classical liberalism.

      Oh sure, there are few reactionaries left who believe that homosexuals should be `cured’, that immigrants should be white only (as if), and that everyone should attend church on Sunday. They are, however, a very marginal group within the larger `conservative’ movement, which as I said, embraces classical liberalism or Whiggism (ie. free markets, free minds, free love).

      *No one I know needed the dutiful stenographers in the media to tell us that.*

      Maybe `no one you know’ needs to know that conservativism is evil – because you and the people you know don’t know what they’re talking about.

      As to the mass who are not already brainwashed in the manner described, yes it does matter that (by some estimates) 90 pct of the Press Gallery (not to mention those involved in the arts generally) votes NDP.

      • Well you were interesting there for a while. Yr last pronouncement indicates you’ve been at the tory cool-aid too!

        • No kool-aid for me (too sweet). Which kool-aid do you enjoy, kc, the Layton brand, or would that be the one imported from Russia (by way of London and harvard)?

          • No cool-aid for me either. I’m a beer kinda guy. I’ve seen what passes for balanced conservative journalism in thi country, and i’ll think i’ll pass. If you are into good con journalism then take a look at the better London papers/ mags, or those ones that originate out of that place that Iggy lived in for a while.

      • Is it really a marginal group when it’s that margin that leads the party?

        • *Is it really a marginal group when it’s that margin that leads the party?*

          Stephen Harper a reactionary? Isn’t the subject how LIBERAL he’s behaving? Is this more the liberal bias of `reality’?

          • Perhaps you should research Our Glorious Leader more. Specifically his ties to evangelicism.. and once you’re done that, start going through the rest of Cabinet. While I will concede that Mr. Harper has mostly managed to muzzle this streak within parliament, it cannot be denied that these are the people leading the party.

        • *Perhaps you should research Our Glorious Leader more. Specifically his ties to evangelicism.. and once you’re done that, start going through the rest of Cabinet. While I will concede that Mr. Harper has mostly managed to muzzle this streak within parliament, it cannot be denied that these are the people leading the party.*

          so thwin: Harper is a right-wing evangelical extremist (who was so religious that he married in a civil ceremony; who specifically warned against giving too much influence to the right; who specifically disavowed any effort to regulate what he called – quote – `a woman’s right to choose’) – who is being shellacked for behaving like a Liberal. I don’t get left-wing `logic,’ I really don’t.

          • You can go with your opinion, or you can go with the research.

  7. “A wilderness crying in a voice” Sorry Ac, i’ve been waiting for ever to use those lines from Lecarre. Ac really puts me in mind, from time to time, of a consevative Orwell, railing with much honourable conviction against the excesses, or lack of them, of his chosen dogma. [ sorry AC, don’t mean to put you in a box ] This raises the question of whether Canada can ever be a Conservative country, and certainly not by selling out as SH has clearly done. My answer to that question would be yes and no. [ clearly i’m a liberal] Yes in the sense that we have elected cons at the provincial level more often then libs, and occasionally very consevative ones. But at the federal level, less so ; Mulroney was no real consevative. It’s as if the muddle of well meaning and occasionally ruinous compromises that largely make up liberal rule is in fact the only way – in the modern era anyway – to run this cracy confederation ; you have to put some water in yr wine, and the cons can’t hold their liquor.
    Consevatives were far more effective as a reform opposition to the libs in the 90s – would the debt have gotten on the libs agenda without them yelling from across the aisle – maybe, but probably in a more timid and less focused manner. I like the system of provincial and federal checks and balances that we have evolved over the ys. I’m not suggesting there’s no room at the top for a principled Consevative party, but that so far the libs have intuitively given this country largely just what it’s asked for; federally speaking of course.

    • This is an interesting question – is there enough support in Canada for a conservative party? Sometimes politicians lead and sometimes they follow; right now we only seem have to politicians capable of following, and since the prevailing orthodoxy seems to settle around the liberals, so they all go.

      My complaint with the current conservative party is that it declined the opportunity to actually take a lead in the current economic climate, and has simply fallen in line with orthodoxy on the subject.

      An interesting trend is emerging south of the border; while the chattering classes and politicians have committed to their insane stimulus, the polls are reporting an increasing number of people who do not support it.

      I wonder if they same thing is not true in Canada. The political class and msm have decided that we must have a stimulus package, but I wonder how many Canadians actually think it is a good thing.

      What might have happened if Harper had stuck to his original plan on this?

      • I have a feeling you’re right [ feeling = no evidence ] I thought that if he had stuck to his guns and dared the coalition and persuaded Canadians that the fire-hosing around of money wasn’t necessary, he might have prevailed. However that would take courage, nerve and conviction. Since it’s evident he either lacks these qualities, or they don’t fit into his master plan, well…there you have it. Acs pt, there’s no longer any fire in the conservative belly. It’s an odd feelin for me as a liberal to be wishing for a little consevative prudence, but right now i’d settle for competency.

      • What might have happened if Harper had stuck to his original plan on this?

        …you know, that’s a great question. Although I could be considered left of center (but not too far left), I for one do NOT support the stimulus package. And no, I neither like nor trust Mr. Harper, but I would have gained a measure of respect for him if he had stuck to his guns on this one.

        You do not put out a fire by pouring on more gasoline. I do NOT want my grand kids to be saddled with even higher taxes and a lessening of public services.

  8. Has it ever occur to some that the reason why Harper has had to backpeddle and “give up on everything he’s ever stood for” is because that was the only way for him to get in power and stay there? And if that is indeed true, doesn’t it suggest that this brand of conservatism is simply unpalatable for most Canadians?

    I’m not looking to excuse Harper’s hypocrisy. I’m merely pointing out that some of you need to reconcile your quest for power with the realities of Canadian politics.

    • you said in about 7 lines what i argued in, well a lot more.

      • Seems obvious to everyone except the purists such as Coyne.

    • I think it’s especially important to centre this idea around “this brand of conservatism”. Coyne seems to be mourning “conservatism” as a monolithic idea, but there are clearly wide, wide ranges of political thought that fall under that umbrella. Erstwhile Red Tories and post-Reform Harper politics are very different, for instance. It seems that the country is not in the majority enamored of Harper conservatism. I could go on as to why, but I think that’ll just spark unwarranted replies. That’s for another time.

      I wonder if a decently charasmatic and compassionate politician could bring back Red Toryism, though.

      • rumour, what you are suggesting would inevitably lead the Right back to the split that kept them out of power for so long.

        Again, if what they are after is power, they need each other. If, on the other hand, staying true to their creed is what is most important, they will have to give up on the idea of forming government and accept their position on the margins of Canada’s politics alongside the Greens and the NDP.

        Harper is a hypocrite but so are those who call him a traitor yet expect him to give them a majority.

        There is a reason why the Liberals ruled this land for so long. They do not believe in purism and will do/say whatever is needed to stay in power. That whole “large centre” nonsense that I hear them talking about all the time is nothing more than that.

        • I wasn’t really suggesting that Red Toryism needs to make a resurgence. I was just musing, really. It’s so much preferable to Reform or Harper politics, but particularly in an opposition position. You see, I wouldn’t be upset if a resurgence of Red Toryism kept the “conservative” banner fragmented. I think they do much better in their separate silos, since they’re not nearly fully compatible. (As an aside, I don’t know whether to label Harper’s politics as “neoliberal” or just “dictatorial” (and quite possibly “inept”). I wonder if he really does have many actual principles beyond obtaining and holding power.)

          Anyway, I mostly agree on your assessment of the Liberals. I think they do hew to certain policy-bundles more or less generationally, but certainly do tend to migrate with the times. There are costs and benefits to purism for a party and for the country. On the plus side, we (think) we always know where a particularly party stands and what it means when it speaks. On the minus side, a purist party isn’t really responding to changing public norms, is it? I think it cuts both ways.

          • Rumour, I think that the Right shouldn’t give up on their Reformer/PC experiment just yet. Their problems just might be solved with a different leader.

            I honestly think that Harper is the root of their problems.

  9. *doesn’t it suggest that this brand of conservatism is simply unpalatable for most Canadians?*

    No – it comes down to the fact that the news media are 90% in the tank for the NDP-Liberals… and thus report on every CPC policy as though it is the next Holocaust.

    period

    • yes, where does the media find all those lefties in a country where the vast majority of the population swoons over Harper.

      • *yes, where does the media find all those lefties in a country where the vast majority of the population swoons over Harper.*

        These strange, alien, unknown places called: J-School.

        And, going back to what I said earlier, the vast majority of the population doesn’t swoon over the CPC because of the fact that 90% of political reporters are in the tank with his opponents.

        I mean, is the left-wing bias of the media even controversial any longer (except for partisans like Catherine, Little Guy and Junkie)?

        • Oh so I’m a partisan now? Leave it to Reformers to see Liberals under every bed. Don’t take my word for it, dun. Just look at Harper’s actions. Either I’m right or Harper was a Liberal all along and fooled the entire Reform Party.

          Take your pick.

          • who said you were partisan Junkie?

            I suggested that only you found the idea that the news media are biassed to the left as controversial… when it is for no one else.

          • It’s not controversial at all.

            It’s just wrong.

            Private media are biased, almost by definition, toward the mainstream of the country — those that aren’t tend to go out of business (see Western Standard, Natl. Post, and CanWest’s troubles for reference)

        • “I mean, is the left-wing bias of the media even controversial any longer (except for partisans like Catherine, Little Guy and Junkie)?”

          Which Junkie were you referring to, dun?

        • “Little Guy?”

          Ha ha ha. Let’s all play the game “Dumb Roberts” started.

          Anyone who starts griping about the media being in the tank for the socialists as avoiding just how simply awful(ie. inaccurate, trivial, sensationalist) it is or forgets that most of the media is in, fact, business (and thus hardly allied with socialists) reveals quickly that he or she is simply not paying attention.

          • *Anyone who starts griping about the media being in the tank for the socialists as avoiding just how simply awful(ie. inaccurate, trivial, sensationalist) it is or forgets that most of the media is in, fact, business (and thus hardly allied with socialists) reveals quickly that he or she is simply not paying attention.*

            I guess by your logic, the left-wing of the u.s. dummycratic party couldn’t, just couldn’t, be subsidized by George Soros, because the latter is a financier…

            Little Guy, get out of your Marxist slumber…

    • dun roberts, the truth hurts… I know.

      • I spent 15yrs in Ab, a lot of it in RKs time. Some of the pro Klein coverage was laughable. When folks like Dun cry lberal bias what they really mean is: why isn’t there any conservative bias.

    • I’m sorry, but saying that at present the media is 90% left wing is just sour grapes. Izzy Aster, Ruppert Murdock, etc…..

      The media might have had a left of center tinge in the 70s and 80s, but that is long gone. As far as I’m concerned, most of our media has done everything in it’s power to help Mr. Harper. CTV anyone?

      • Amen to that one.

      • @ dave robinson

        *I’m sorry, but saying that at present the media is 90% left wing is just sour grapes. Izzy Aster, Ruppert Murdock, etc…..*

        Izzy Asper was a former leader of the Manitoba liberal party; if you detect any `conservative’ bias in any of CanWest Global’s newspapers (aside from the Nat Post) like you to point it out for me. the Ottawa Citizen right wing? The Gazette? any of them? that’s a joke.

        *CTV anyone?*

        CTV a conservative network. More ludicrousness.

        • CTV is conservative??? Don’t let Duffy’s appointment fool you.
          You’ve clearly never seen Robert Fife and Craig Oliver.

    • Boyohboy can that AC ever get folks on both sides all riled up, though some seem quite easily riled.

      dun roberts, I’m trying to figure out what you’re saying about the media being in the tank for the Liberals. I disagree with you about the bias, but I’m just saying that so you know where I’m coming from, not so you’ll start hammering me with the names of philosophers or anything like that, so please don’t.

      So if I’ve got you straight – all it would take for a “truly ‘conservative'” party (Reform or Alliance for example, but not Conservative?) to “get somewhere” (resonate, policy-wise, enough with voting Canadians to form a majority government?) would be for the media to not be “90% in the tank for the Liberals” (reporting things straight up or in the tank for the ‘truly conservative party’ in question?)?
      Is this because Canadians are actually quite conservative at heart, but the media tricks them into not knowing this, or because the media tells them there is something in their inherent conservatism, which would otherwise resonate with that party’s policy agenda, that is too extreme, leading them to reject the party instead of what the media tells them?

      • *So if I’ve got you straight – all it would take for a “truly ‘conservative’” party (Reform or Alliance for example, but not Conservative?) to “get somewhere” (resonate, policy-wise, enough with voting Canadians to form a majority government?) would be for the media to not be “90% in the tank for the Liberals” (reporting things straight up or in the tank for the ‘truly conservative party’ in question?)?*

        I don’t know why it’s so complicated:

        If the media reported the party’s positions fairly – all parties – I believe that in any contest, a more `conservative’ (though it’s classical liberal really) CPC would take the majority of seats, yes.

        Most Canadians are imbued with classical-liberal or Whig values, to a lesser or greater degree, so yes, if the policies and positions of a hypothetically `conservative’ CPC were reported soberly and fairly, it would win a majority.

  10. Reality has a liberal bias.

    • The Canadian reality at least.

      • And the North Korean, Cuban, and Russian reality.

        • Oh yeah? Those all seem like pretty right-wing regimes to me, North Korea and Cuba effectively and Russia actually.

  11. The amusing part of political stripes is they are not defined by pat party earmarks, they are defined by actions and results. The shocking history is how long it took media to conform to Canadian popular opinion that this government was a waste of oxygen. This bad movie had gratuitous written all over it and there simply were not enough explosions to secret the pathetic plot. If there exists integrity of purpose, it doesn’t need to be hidden. The only salvation the Conservatives can hope for, or whatever whoever calls this government, would be to insure voter turnout not exceed 40%, and that’s what this pseud does best.

    • This is a good pt. Why did it take the media so long to write articles like ACs? Could it be because they were being even handed. The very longevity of this pathetic regime is itself a testimony to balance in the media. However DR doesn’t want balance at all, he’s for bias ok, just his brand of bias.

    • That’s because of the conservative media bias that exists in 90% of Canadian papers, TV, Radio etc.

  12. @dun
    If you consider Maclean’s has somehow “centred” or more than moderately given to the pursuit of truth over conservativism, then the problem is not the “balance” in Canadian media: It’s probably your inner-ear issue.

    The Conservatives have had the Aspers and Global shilling for them for years. The National Post trumpets each golden jewel that trickles through Harper’s clenched sphincters into public view (and few enough of them there are). Maclean’s just hired Blogging Tory Stephen Taylor.

    If you want media balance, try the CBC. Where facts are facts and Conservatives, for some reason, are disinclined to appear.

    Harper is simply an unprincipled poltroon desperate to cling to power. If he sacrifices his failed ideology for pragmatic reasons, then I’m quite happy to hand him the hammer and hold down the lid while he drives the nails.

    • *If you consider Maclean’s has somehow “centred” or more than moderately given to the pursuit of truth over conservativism, then the problem is not the “balance” in Canadian media: It’s probably your inner-ear issue.*

      I haven’t made any claims about Maclean’s at all; is there something wrong with your inner ear (whatever the means)?

      *The Conservatives have had the Aspers and Global shilling for them for years.*

      as my Liberal dad would say: bullroar. David Akin a shill for the CPC, former Man. Liberal leader Izzy a CPC shill? You reall do have an inner ear problem.

      *The National Post trumpets each golden jewel that trickles through Harper’s clenched sphincters into public view (and few enough of them there are). Maclean’s just hired Blogging Tory Stephen Taylor.*

      big wow. One newspaper out of dozens or hundreds – and it’s not even true either: Donald Martin a shill for CPC? John Iveson? You REALLY do have a popped inner ear.

      *If you want media balance, try the CBC. Where facts are facts and Conservatives, for some reason, are disinclined to appear.*

      the CBC unbiassed? You HAVE NO inner ear. [I’m really actually contemplating at this pont whether you’re being ironic…]

      *Harper is simply an unprincipled poltroon desperate to cling to power. If he sacrifices his failed ideology for pragmatic reasons, then I’m quite happy to hand him the hammer and hold down the lid while he drives the nails.*

      quit talking about the Liberal leadership of the last fifty years.

      • Yessh, i thought all the cry-babys left with Kody!

        • no, this place is full of cry-babies even without kody… right ti, kc, catherine, etc etc

  13. “Maclean’s just hired Blogging Tory Stephen Taylor.”

    W H A T ? ! ? ! ? !

    • Hey, it’s a step up from Mark Steyn, as far as I’m concerned.

      • True

    • He’s no longer listed on the “Canada Blog.” Methinks it was an experiment that didn’t last very long.

  14. *When folks like Dun cry lberal bias what they really mean is: why isn’t there any conservative bias.*

    I’d settle for a conservative *point of view* once in a while…

    *Reality has a liberal bias.*

    so says every gnostic: who ya gonna believe, me or your lyin eyes?

    • I’d settle for the media being held accountable for what they do. The media’s job is ostensibly to hold politicians to account. Whose job is it to hold the media to account?

      We all scream blue murder when a politician is caught editing tapes.

      But there is a virtual silence when someone in the media is caught doing it.

      This is unacceptable. Obviously media cannot be trusted to police themselves. So how do we hold our media accountable?

      • *This is unacceptable. Obviously media cannot be trusted to police themselves. So how do we hold our media accountable?*

        not a good idea: the last thing we need is yet another authority taking onto itself the job of `holding accountable’ people for what they say…

        accountability will come when fair-minded people finally have enough and say: report the news fairly, or we won’t patronize your publication.

        • They do. Note the demise of right wing publications. :)

      • So how do we hold our media accountable?

        If we remember that the media’s business is to sell audiences to advertisers, you’ll realise that we can’t hold the media accountable, not without becoming more authoritarian.

        • Ti-Guy,

          You raise a good point. Media are a private business that sells airtime or page space to advertisers.

          But yet when I suggested on a previous thread that Aaron Wherry is not getting the time of day from the government because he is obviously partisan against them and they don’t want to give him any ammunition, you think this is abonimable.

          If media are just another private business, why should government give them the time of day at all? You seem to think that media should be entitled to get answers from their government. In most cases I would tend to agree. But with that agreement comes responsibility to use that information with integrity, no?

          • *If media are just another private business, why should government give them the time of day at all? You seem to think that media should be entitled to get answers from their government. In most cases I would tend to agree. But with that agreement comes responsibility to use that information with integrity, no?*

            this goes back a long way, john g, we don’t need to invent the wheel again.

            It goes like this: the government (or anyone) DOESN’T have to answer any questions whatsoever from the news media (frequently, you’ll notice, they don’t).

            Yet, shutting out the media is not good either, because then they will write about you, without your input.

            It may comes as a surprise who think I genuflect before a portrait of the PM, but I actually thought this was a massive misstep on the Harper in his first term.

            Yes, the media is biassed against `conservatism’ (apparently only people on this forum dispute that). However, how far do you think you’ll get by shutting them, not making personal connections with them, etc? Nowhere. and that’s precisely what got Harper in trouble in his first term.

          • Jg
            That’s bizarre! So the govt gets to decide how the truth is used? How about they answer that question because Canadians want to know what their govt thinks. And we’ll decide whether the madia has done a fair job of telling the story.

          • John G.: Individual journalists aren’t “the media.” And I’m not sure what relation you’re drawing between the public holding the media accountable and the our elected representatives refusing to talk to them (and by extension us).

            You’ve been making wild accusations about the biases of different journalists here and I think that’s confusing you. For example, I think Andrew Coyne’s in the tank for the Conservatives, but I rarely criticise him in terms of bias; it’s usually in terms of the evidence he has to make the assertions he does.

          • “Yes the media is biased against conservatism [ apparently only people on this forun dispute that]”
            Well we all might as well go home, yr assertion must be true…because…it must be true. I’m off . Floored by such devastating logic!

          • “Yes, the media is biassed against `conservatism’ (apparently only people on this forum dispute that).”

            You really haven’t been paying attention. Credible media analysts and observers all over dispute this.

          • kc: How can we evaluate the media’s job if media malfeasance is not brought to light? If I hadn’t posted here about Diane Sawyer maliciously editing a tape, would you have even heard about it? If Stephen Taylor didn’t blog about the CBC cut’n’pasting Harper’s answers to different questions, a clear violation of their own broadcasting standards, how would we ever find out about it? IIRC Taylor only knew about it because he was there.

            Ti-Guy, that wasn’t the relationship I was trying to draw. My point was that if there is no “official” recognition of the special role the media plays in our democracy (i.e. if the media is looked at as “just another private business”) then what right do they have to complain about lack of access? Obviously a government cannot possibly answer every question put to it by any member of the public. Why should the media get priority?

            They get it because they *do* have a special role in our democracy. And I think they should be subject to sanction of some kind when they abuse it, like in the examples above.

          • My point was that if there is no “official” recognition of the special role the media plays in our democracy (i.e. if the media is looked at as “just another private business”)

            I see the problem here. The media conducts itself as a business while pretending it’s something else…such as a fourth estate. It’s a charade we all buy into because it should be true, but unfortunately, no longer is.

  15. I’ve got two words for all of you rightwingers crying about a liberal media bias:

    Stephane Dion

    • *I’ve got two words for all of you rightwingers crying about a liberal media bias: Stephane Dion*

      (oh, so now you’re calling me partisan? the nerve)

      I have news for you Junkie: Dion was done in by his own team. You don’t think the media did everything it could to prop up this Joe Clark of the left (actually, Joe Clark IS of the left, but whatever…)

      How did a story about Dion not even understanding a simple question, turn into (yet another) story about `how nasty Stephen Harper is’?

      the answer: 90% in the tank for the NDP and Liberals…

      • you’re deliberately mis-representing that episode. A tory friendly network replays a flumb by a campaigning pol with a known difficulty in his 2nd language. Does anyone think that CBC or the original reporter would have done the same thing to Harper?

        • *you’re deliberately mis-representing that episode.*

          No, he understood the question (which was essentially, what would you do that’s different from what Harper is doing?). He didn’t have a good answer, because he would be doing the same thing. He thought he could rely on Steve Murphy to bury it for him. Too bad.

          *A tory friendly network replays a flumb by a campaigning pol with a known difficulty in his 2nd language. Does anyone think that CBC or the original reporter would have done the same thing to Harper?*

          the ctv tory friendly? And do I think the cbc would do that to Harper? Yes, and be proud of it, too.

          • Ok DRs, you clearly don’t need any coo-aid. Since you can already detect liberal bias through that antenna on the top of yr head, you know the one you have tuned to Mars.

        • Does anyone think that CBC or the original reporter would have done the same thing to Harper?

          kc, Stephen Taylor has already addressed that issue.

          • JG
            I take yr pt that there are biased liberal reporters, but please don’t make it by throwing such a paragon of con virtue at me…please!

  16. *No cool-aid for me either. I’m a beer kinda guy. I’ve seen what passes for balanced conservative journalism in thi country, and i’ll think i’ll pass. If you are into good con journalism then take a look at the better London papers/ mags, or those ones that originate out of that place that Iggy lived in for a while.*

    I eschew beer, too it inhibits the mind; maybe you should try that out. And no, you’ve seen no `conservative jounalism’ in Canada because it doesn’t exist (back to 90% in the tank with the left parties…)

  17. I’m still chuckling. The abyss is staring back at the Alliance Reformers.

    • Nah, those guys don’t read German philosophers, do they?

      • speaking personally, one of my favourite philosophers is Georg Simmel (I’ll let you check wiki for him, kc).

        Another is Eric Hoffer, a German-born San Franciscan who also worked on the waterfront (another minute to go to wiki…)

      • oh yeah, the phenomenological philosopher Erwin Straus (wiki has info on him, too, kc)

        • It was a harmless joke. Or is that liberal bias in yr book too?

          • Since you’re so hot on German philosophers i’ll just assume you know that no-one you mentioned was responsible for the quote in question, shall i?

          • *Since you’re so hot on German philosophers i’ll just assume you know that no-one you mentioned was responsible for the quote in question, shall i*

            just a harmless joke, kc, why get so hot and bothered?

            congrats, you’ve read three wiki entries in record time!

          • I didn’t even bother. I said i was joking and i was. I know by happenstance who that quote was from [ partial anyway] and have never read any of those other gentlemen. This may be a contest of, my brain is bigger than yr brain for you, but i was merely interested in hearing you back up yr assertions, which you haven’t. Probably because as is so often the case it’s a matter of opinion.
            I do see that you hate the libs which is all that’s been fueling yr pal SH. Come again. Next time with a real conservative vision, and not merely crass hatred of yr opponents.

          • *This may be a contest of, my brain is bigger than yr brain for you, but i was merely interested in hearing you back up yr assertions, which you haven’t.*

            again, have it your way. but please, if you dish out (`these guys have never read German philo’sers’ and why would that be? because they have no brain…) please, don’t complain about being dished at.

            I don’t assume my opponents are dumb, just mistaken.

  18. [no more replies allowed or something]

    *Well we all might as well go home, yr assertion must be true…because…it must be true. I’m off . Floored by such devastating logic!*

    It’s just the facts, kc, no one disputes the left-wing bias of the news media anymore.

    • Just like nobody disputes flat earthers anymore either.
      It’s not because they’re right, but because intelligent people realize that trying to convince a brick wall of something is a waste of time.

    • no one disputes the left-wing bias of the news media anymore.

      Oh, c’mon. Even *you* don’t believe that. You’re just diggin’ in.

      • two for one –

        *Just like nobody disputes flat earthers anymore either. It’s not because they’re right, but because intelligent people realize that trying to convince a brick wall of something is a waste of time.*

        so, to suggest that the media is biassed is REALLY THE SAME AS SAYING THE EARTH IS FLAT? c’mon, you don’t really believe that?

        *Oh, c’mon. Even *you* don’t believe that. You’re just diggin’ in.*

        No, the media is biassed toward the left. To suggest otherwise is digging…

        • Learn how to spell “biased” if you’re going to assert it so relentlessly (and baselessly).

          And look up Dunning-Kruger while you’re at it.

          • little guy – `biassed’ conforms to the British Empire way: like `labour’, `savour’, `defence’, etc etc.

            `biased’, on the other hand, is the American standard.

        • little guy – `biassed’ conforms to the British Empire way: like `labour’, `savour’, `defence’, etc etc.

          Even the BBC doesn’t use it. But I admire your purism. I’ll be looking out for when you have cause to use the words “jail” and “tire” or the suffiix “-ize” (which even I don’t use).

          • *Even the BBC doesn’t use it. But I admire your purism. I’ll be looking out for when you have cause to use the words “jail” and “tire” or the suffiix “-ize” (which even I don’t use).*

            well, I’m not much for following the standards of the bbc; I learned to spell `biassed’ as such, I don’t know why you’re so exorcised about it, Little Gar. Is it because you have nothing to say?

          • That’s EXERCISED about it. Can’t anybody write proper English anymore?

          • ..orr French. That’s gars, mon ami.

          • oh my g*d, you’ve not descended to who is spelling things correctly are we?

            some news: it’s the freaking internet! people misspell all the time.

            my heavens.

          • Serves me right for launching a spelling flame. I managed to horribly mangle “or.”

          • “it’s the freaking internet! people misspell all the time”

            So the medium really IS the massage then, I suppose?

  19. Conservatism…Liberalism….I don’t really care too much. I supported the Conservative PARTY…because the Liberals have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have NO PRINCIPLES other than self enrichement. Until Harper and his Party are caught stealing from us hand over fist like the Liberals have done for years…he has my support.

    Those folks who still vote Liberal….and claim that the party is only “A little bit Corrupt”….give your heads a shake. Saying the Liberals are only a “little bit corrupt” is like saying Jeffrey Dahmer has a “little bit of an eating disorder” Or that Paul Bernardo wasn’t a murdering rapist scumbag….he just had “Intimacy issues”

    Anyone who supports the Liberal Party today knowing that they are mostly crooks and gangsters (Liberano’s anyone?) are no better than the crooks themselves.

  20. @ thwin or something

    *It’s not controversial at all. It’s just wrong. Private media are biased, almost by definition, toward the mainstream of the country — those that aren’t tend to go out of business (see Western Standard, Natl. Post, and CanWest’s troubles for reference).*

    ummm… Nat Post is still publishing; the idea that Canwest is `right wing’, is again, completely ludicrous; globemedia is also in trouble – as are all of the news media, regardless of their biases (which are 90% toward the left).

    • Still publishing, yes, but having significant troubles.. (so much so that they’re not really “National” at all now) The idea that CanWest is *not* right wing is completely ludicrous. I realize that the fact they do not parrot the party line makes you feel that they must have a left wing slant but I would suggest that this points more toward your personal biases than those of the media.

      Personally, I tend to believe that our beliefs about the “bias” of the media in general speaks more toward our own personal bias in relation to the mainstream of our nation. For instance, I tend to feel that most media (with the exception of the CBC and KSPS) are slightly right-wing. Examining this more leads me to realize that the truth is that I am slightly left-wing compared to most people in society.

      You seem to feel that our media are biased far to the left. So what we’re really seeing here is simply evidence that your own beliefs are far to the right of the general bias of the country.

      The problem with assuming otherwise is that you’re essentially saying that the rest of Canada is dumb for not seeing this bias, and you’re the only one with any smarts. That’s not only insulting, it’s obviously incorrect. There are a lot of smart people out there, with biases to either side. So to suggest that they’re all dupes of the media is foolish.

      • Still publishing, yes, but having significant troubles.. (so much so that they’re not really “National” at all now)

        Yes, and so are all the print media. Do you say that all the media are right-wing?

        *The idea that CanWest is *not* right wing is completely ludicrous. I realize that the fact they do not parrot the party line makes you feel that they must have a left wing slant but I would suggest that this points more toward your personal biases than those of the media.*

        so, they’re `right-wing’ – but they don’t parrot the party-line! What makes them right-wing then? Because they don’t parrot your line?

        I mean seriously, aside from the Nat Post, which daily paper among CG is right wing? The citizen, the gazette, the windsor star, the regina leader post, the vancouver sun, which ones?

        I live in ottawa: i can tell you that the citizen is not right wing. the gazette? no way.

        *I tend to feel that most media (with the exception of the CBC and KSPS) are slightly right-wing. Examining this more leads me to realize that the truth is that I am slightly left-wing compared to most people in society.*

        ah, revelaton!

        *You seem to feel that our media are biased far to the left. So what we’re really seeing here is simply evidence that your own beliefs are far to the right of the general bias of the country.*

        Well, I haven’t discussed my beliefs, have I? You simply don’t know what they are. I could be a raving lefty and still believe the media is biassed. To pick an issue: i believe strongly in drug legalization. I perceive a bias toward my pov in the media. And I agree with it. Is it right? No its not.

        *The problem with assuming otherwise is that you’re essentially saying that the rest of Canada is dumb for not seeing this bias, and you’re the only one with any smarts. That’s not only insulting, it’s obviously incorrect. There are a lot of smart people out there, with biases to either side. So to suggest that they’re all dupes of the media is foolish.*

        I’ve never made any of these claims: what I do claim is this, for the vast majority that is not politically engaged – and not because they are dumb, but because they find politics boring, juvenile, silly, uninteresting, etc etc, – to make an informed decision about politics is almost impossible – again because of the bias toward the left that I assert exists throughout the media.

        In fact, the only faction that I see who regularly label swathes of the public as `dumb’, come from the left (ie. when the public is silly enough to vote for conservative politicians).

    • So what do you want, state subsidy of right-wing (or, depending on one’s POV, ultra-right-wing) media, to achieve balance? Or shall we just let a) the market prevail and b) the people decide?

      The real problem for people of your purswazion is that the country is rather middle-of-the-road and, above all, rejects radical change (from right or left, up or down). It’s just hard for anybody to sell an ideology-driven platform to Canadian voters. As Thwim says, that’s why the National Post is in serious trouble (I intuit that Canwest has other sorts of problems).

      • purswazion? What are you, a latter day spellng reformer?

        *So what do you want, state subsidy of right-wing (or, depending on one’s POV, ultra-right-wing) media, to achieve balance? Or shall we just let a) the market prevail and b) the people decide?*

        I’ve never suggested anything of the type; I have no programme for it all; it’s just a fact that I bemoan.

        *the country is rather middle-of-the-road and, above all, rejects radical change (from right or left, up or down). It’s just hard for anybody to sell an ideology-driven platform to Canadian voters. As Thwim says, that’s why the National Post is in serious trouble (I intuit that Canwest has other sorts of problems).*

        there’s no such thing as `middle of the road’; it is just what people who have no interest or aptitude for politics believe. I mean, `middle of the road’ is just what exists between the left and right, which again changes over time.

        • “there’s no such thing as `middle of the road’; it is just what people who have no interest or aptitude for politics believe”

          Are you saying that MoR doesn’t exist, or that people who take that as a stance are inept or uninterested? Or are you positing that the left and right butt up against one another at the middle? If so, you have a perception of where parties are on our spectrum that does not agree with mine.

          I think any reasonable student of party leanings in Canada would agree that the Liberals campaign from just left of the centre and govern from just right of centre. I mean that’s so cliche it’s hackneyed. They tend to straddle the centre of the spectrum, and that, I believe, would qualify as middle of the road. I make that observation with no particular praise or condemnation.

          • *I think any reasonable student of party leanings in Canada would agree that the Liberals campaign from just left of the centre and govern from just right of centre.*

            I don’t think Trudeau’s economic programme was `governing from the right’; Chretien was forced to govern from the right, because he had no choice (the debt, deficit and all); in regard to social matters, the `Liberals’ are far to the left – simply a neo-socialist, multiculturalist party now.

          • Only, I fear, if words no longer have any meaning.

          • Only, I fear, if words no longer have any meaning.

            That’s pretty much a given these days, as more and more people appear to be, not just under-educated or under-exposed to information, but frankly pre-verbal.

  21. kc –
    *Ok DRs, you clearly don’t need any coo-aid. Since you can already detect liberal bias through that antenna on the top of yr head, you know the one you have tuned to Mars.*

    really? I thought that was your method. I mean, somehow you’ve ascertained that the media has a conservative bias, after all…

    • DR
      Busted! Caught you in yr first deliberate lie. I never asserted any consevative bias at all. And try to be a little more original in yr come-backs then: same to you. It takes all the fun out of it .

      • *Busted! Caught you in yr first deliberate lie. I never asserted any consevative bias at all. And try to be a little more original in yr come-backs then: same to you. It takes all the fun out of it .*

        you’ve not `busted’ me for any `lie’. You clearly believe that there is a conservative bias in the media. to quote:

        [kc: A tory friendly network replays a flumb by a campaigning pol with a known difficulty in his 2nd language. Does anyone think that CBC or the original reporter would have done the same thing to Harper?]

        what is this left-wing propensity to turn every disagreement into your opponent `lying’? It’s getting old.

        as for the `quality of comebacks’ – if the shoe fits, why make a new shoe? I mean, what is this, a quip competition?

      • Mentioning” a tory friendly network” or reporter is hardly evidence of my arguing in favour of a consevative bias in the media generally. I doubt for instance if CTV is always biased all the time, just in this particular case. It’s you who been asserting blanket bias from the get go. If you can’t argue honestly then why bother at all?
        As to the come-backs, don’t worry there free of charge. But you really should put some effort in.

        • alright kc, have it your way.

          I think you’re putting water in wine (instead of accusing me of lying) because you forgot that you made a blanket statment about ctv.

          I mean, `A Tory friendly network’ is hardly the same `the ctv is maybe, kinda biassed some of time…’

          • Well, well we agree on something. Yes i forgot i made that blanket statement and yr correction would more accurately reflect my pov. Unlike you i don’t think the media is intentionally biased all the time [ for me its either way, for you not ] Is that a clear enough statement of my pov as regards the media in this country? Whatever bias there is there, tends in the main to reflect the actual bias of the majority of its citizens. And no i don’t think that automatically means we are all libs. Far from it. I believe the old rule basically holds true. We’re fiscally conservative and liberal in the main otherwise.

  22. “gave up everything they stood for”

    I would contend, they NEVER stood for anything, apart from reacting to the Liberals. This entire new Conservative movement was predicated on hatred for the Liberals, that’s what it gave it oxygen, most policies found their inspiration doing a compare and contrast. Harper’s Conservatives never had any ideas really. Oh sure, a few concepts, but let’s keep it real, it was always about the anti-Liberals, rather than a philosophical expression of anything substantial. You’ll note, these guys ran out of legislative steam only a year and a half after their election. The Conservatives actually had to re-tool and come up with new ideas, absolutely amazing, given their 13 years in hiatus.

    Andrew feels betrayed, but I think many were guiltly of attaching their own “vision” onto what amounts to nothing more than a negatively fuelled resistance to the “natural governing party”. It was always about trying to differentiate from the Liberals, rather than a true ideology. I’m not surprised they’ve sold their soul, as far as I’m concerned it was always CHEAP to begin with.

    • You would concede that a principled Conervative party is a must in this country, even for die hard liberals like myself?

    • They had one idea I liked…cutting corporate welfare. But that wasn’t enough to mitigate all the whack-ass wingnuttery they also advanced.

    • “I would contend, they NEVER stood for anything, apart from reacting to the Liberals. This entire new Conservative movement was predicated on hatred for the Liberals, that’s what it gave it oxygen, most policies found their inspiration doing a compare and contrast. Harper’s Conservatives never had any ideas really. Oh sure, a few concepts, but let’s keep it real, it was always about the anti-Liberals, rather than a philosophical expression of anything substantial. ”

      That’s not fair, SteveV. They did use to preach anti-immigration, pro-life, big-government-boogeyman, criminals-under-every-bed, damn-those-frenchies policies, don’t you remember?

  23. My main feeling with all that has happened, slowly or abruptly depending on your Coynian or your suddenly-disaffected-Tory persuasion:

    Better to stand for something and lose, than to stand for nothing and ultimately lose even worse.

    Andrew is completely correct: there is no small-c conservative party in Canada, and Canada is worse off for it.

    • Better to stand for something and lose…

      Even if what you stand for is irrational?

    • “Better to stand for something and lose…”

      Are you sure about that? After all, that is the motto of the Greens and the Dippers. Is that what you aspire to?

      Mind you, I’d have more respect for the CPC if they did hold true to who they really are but again, you can’t take that kind of stand and expect Canadians to give you power.

      Not going to happen so you have to choose. Harper chose power.

      • PolJunkie, I am absolutely sure about that. As a small-c conservative voter I would far rather support a party I could trust even if it might not win power. Indeed, see Greens & Dippers. Why do you think people keep voting for these parties? Because they agree with the policy thrust, and they hope that the vote will influence policy debate, even if their chosen party will not (ever?) be in power.

        My last federal vote was far more anti-lib than pro-CPC, although I voted Conservative, and believe me I am still mighty pissed at them right now. What good to the country is a party that won’t stand for anything? You just get the master Chretien and his pupil Harper. Blech.

        • But you’ll vote for them nonetheless, yes?

          • By “them” do you mean the Harper CPC’s? Why should I?

  24. This tension inside the CPC between pragmatists and true believers is very destructive. The party would do better to kick out the true believers let them become the mirror image of the NDP; as it is, the true believers shackle the party to a bunch of policies that ensure the Tories will never get a majority. (Flat tax, abortion, gay marriage spring to mind, but the point is not the specific policies but the segment of the political spectrum they represent.) The CPC could then become a moderately-right-of-centre party and win; as it is, it’s being kept afloat by zanies.

    • But then it just ends up looking and sounding like the Liberal Party, which takes us all back to the top I think.

      • If we take what Coyne cited as the noblest of Reform ideals, you’ll notice that the Reformatories never argued them in a way other people found particularly persuasive, They seemed to like putting more energy into asserting that anyone who didn’t initially share these ideals was morally bankrupt or depraved. My exposure to Reformatory discourse has always been to come away feeling insulted

        Maybe that’s something they can rethink? Who knows? I don’t care anymore at all.

        • I agree, but there is a lot of moral grandstanding on all sides our current political system, and it is singularly unhelpful. The Reform Party was never the right basis for a conservative movement, since just showing up in Ottawa seemed to be an act of betrayal for them.

          The conservative party really needs to emerge from a wrecked liberal party, since there are a lot of small c conservatives sheltering under its capacious umbrella, but the prospect of power keeps them there. I mean, wasn’t Martin a small c conservative? Goodale, Manley and several others would have been just as happy in a conservative party as a Liberal one.

          • “I mean, wasn’t Martin a small c conservative? Goodale, Manley and several others would have been just as happy in a conservative party as a Liberal one.”

            But we need two parties that can responsibly and competently govern, so that when they cease to do so there’s an option for Canadians who want a change but don’t necessarily think we should embrace radical ideas.

            The danger of not having two competent parties is amply illustrated by today’s Conservatives. With the exception of Harper himself, and maybe a few of his ministers, it’s basically amateur hour. And even Harper and Flaherty are subject, for unknown reasons, to spasms of utter ineptitude: eg. the FUFU.

            I’m not a Conservative, but I desperately want the Conservatives to emerge as a group of serious people. It is just unacceptable to entrust billions of dollars in spending — deficit spending, moreover — to a Cabinet in which the average IQ is about 95. Getting rid of the zealots might not accomplish that overnight, but it would send the signal to the base that emotionally balanced people are welcome.

        • The conservative party really needs to emerge from a wrecked liberal party,

          That makes sense. The answer to failed political conservatism is to destroy the Liberal party.

          *rolls eyes*

  25. So we’re all crabby about it. But I fail to see how Coyne can be part of the arm-chair MSM brigade and whine about what Harper is doing. In case you hadn’t notice, the road blocks in the way of real conservative are many – the media being the largest (and I’d say our union-run propaganda warehouses we refer to as schools don’t help either.) Add to that Quebec politics (and attitudes) and a minority government, just what do you expect?

    How about giving some advice about how you stay a “true conservative” while simultaneously GETTING F’ING ELECTED. Especially in a country where over half of the “citizens” (and I use the term lightly) are either on the dole directly or working for governments and their subsidized clients?

    Just how would you get it done, smart guy? Right now, you get to bitch, moan and complain without having to do anything. You’re no different than the NDP. What good is the conservative version of the NDP? We had that already. It was called the “reform party.” I believe you held it up as an example of a great conservative party. It wasn’t elected to govern so what good was it?

    Harper has had ZERO time with the ability to do anything conservative. Even running a watered down version of centresque semi-sort-of-conservative government, he still hasn’t broken into majority territory. So how is jigging right going to help?

    Come on, Coyne, tell us what you’d do that’s different AND EFFECTIVE.

    • Warwick, did it ever occur to you that the problem isn’t the media or our education system (you had me laughing at that one) or welfare recipients?

      Have any of you Harperites stop to think that your problem is your leader and the fact that most Canadians either can’t stand the sight of him or don’t trust him as far as they can throw him?

      How about looking his way for a change and stop blaming the world for your problems?

      Do you not think that a different leader with a less prickly demeanor would have won a majority against Dion in the last election?

      And do you hear yourself when you talk? And then they wonder why Harper gags 3/4 of his caucus…

      • So the key to implementing a truly conservative agenda in this country is to have a “less prickly” leader?

        Warwick is right. The social constructs and institutions that make up Canada are diametrically opposed to many core small-c conservative values; so deeply integrated that no political party could ever hope to dislodge the country from its inherent and pathetic reliance on the state.

        In other words, the Conservative Party of Canada is constantly playing someone else’s game on someone else’s field. They might have won the last few games, but they have never and will never enjoy home-field advantage. That belongs squarely to the Liberal Party of Canada.

        Any true conservative party that emerges is immediately and harshly branded “un-Canadian” for daring to propose reforms to bloated and wasteful government programs or having the nerve to question the accepted social norms. We can’t even have those debates in Canada. In this country, to be conservative is to be unpatriotic. It means your ideas aren’t worth the time of day. Try getting elected like that.

        • the social constructs and institutions that make up Canada are diametrically opposed to many core small-c conservative values

          Used to be conservatism meant support for established social constructs and institutions.

          • Seriously. If people do want to promote Whiggery — i.e. the autonomy of the individual and the inherent right to property — they should call it what it is, namely radical innovation (“a new vision for Canada” or something). There just never was a time in Canadian history when institutions were not more important than individuals; there’s nothing to “hark back” to in that respect. The upshot is that the use of the word “conservative” to describe radical Whiggery sounds foreign — as sir john a. says above.

          • I’m not really comfortable with “radical whiggery” either.

            For one thing, the group we’re talking about has an autonym and it is “conservatives,” regardless of whether they resemble Edmund Burke or the comte de Maistre – besides which, the neoliberalism-in-every-aspect flavour of conservatism isn’t by any means the only strain of thought in the group. Nasty Maistrian relish for social heirarchy hasn’t gone away just because it isn’t on the pamphlet anymore.

            And whiggery is a respectable part of mainline Liberal intellectual history, [i]in opposition to[/i] what Mill called the stupidest party. The continuity of “the stupidest party” itself makes a whig label as problematic as anything else.

          • The life of parties is long, of human beings short. So when the “situation on the ground” (love that phrase) changes as completely as it has in the last 250 years, people who formerly would have been Tories might choose to become Liberals and vice versa.

            For me, the kicker is “social justice.” There wasn’t much of it around 250 years ago, but what there was of it was in the hands of the Benevolent Landlord (or the Malign Landlord). So those who, like Oliver Goldsmith, cared deeply about the poor, and wanted social justice, tended to be Tories: the Whigs represented the covetous merchant class that didn’t give a fig for Sacred Social Contracts. Of course the Tory attitude went well with preserving the power of the Squires, but no one was challenging that power from the bottom so it didn’t really matter.

            With the advent of technology, though, the game changed. Technology offered the masses the hope of a decent standard of living; it also threatened the established order. So the interests of the merchant class and the poor now coincided; meanwhile the old Tories diversified their wealth. That gave shape to 20th C liberalism, and suddenly people with a social conscience were Whigs / Liberals instead of Tories, while the Squires (a dying breed) were entirely subsumed in the party of property by New Men.

            Nowadays, though, classic liberals and social justice have again parted company. Therefore it seems to me quite legitimate to point out that the conservative point of view was in favour of social justice (tel quel) and liberalism opposed to it. J. S. Mill lived just when the changeover was taking place so he can be quoted by both sides; but I think Burke would nowadays be a man of the left.

          • Eh, I still prefer my continuities. Burke, although very intelligent, was making a case for traditionalism, aristocracy and the stupidest party; one thing about conservatism that -isn’t- continually changing is its reflexive yearning for the days of yore before the troublemakers ruined everything, regardless of whether those days were fictional or the course to be adopted (The Canadian Reform Party, the supply side new right, eg, or the Confederate secessionists) was objectively radical and revolutionary in the context of the existing social, economic or constitutional context.

            The stupidest party, to my mind, has always been backward looking (if imaginatively) with a yearning for organic and irrational (or transcending rational) answers that transcend the smart-mouthed reasoning of the progressives of the era. They know what they know and what they don’t, wheras our foolhardy arrogant rationalism – be it that of liberals, free-thinkers, jacobins, marxists, secularists – will lead to dissolution of the organic good and various catastrophes.

            You can still poke a conservative and get more or less that tirade.

        • “So the key to implementing a truly conservative agenda in this country is to have a “less prickly” leader? ”

          You mean you didn’t get the memo? The measure of a party is no longer based on the issues they bring forth. It’s all about the leader. If your leader is deemed “unfit,” it doesn’t matter how great your policies are, no one will listen.

          Ask Dion.

  26. I strongly sugest you do an in-depth interview with Meili Faille, Bloc MP for Vaudreuil-Soulanges who defeated Liberal candidate Marc Garneau two elections ago then defeated Conservative candidate Fortier in the last election. Both major parties parachuted “Star” candidates into the riding and were clobberd by her. An interview unbiased with a view to understanding her views as a legitimate representative of the ‘soft-nationalists of Quebec might help to promote understanding among Canadians rather than the constant Anglo knee-jerk reaction.
    I am a Quebec born Anglo of Liberal persuasion, however, I do feel when Quebec elects 50 MPs to Parliament, Macleans has a resposibility to promote tolerance and understanding of our co-citoyens!

  27. Andrew give your head a shake. A conservative Prime Minister is running a minority government in a notoriously leftist country. I don’t see how any of the conservative tenants you enumerate could transpire under the present circumstances, i.e. look what happed when the Prime Minister tried to end public funding of the political parties, reform the Senate or even balance the budget. Canadian zeitgeist has to change before policy ever can. This is a sad fact of life Prime Minister Harper clearly understands.

    • You’re right, James. Not until a solid majority of Canadians become private property absolutists who scorn this one-person-one-vote nonsense, and replace it with Coyne et al.’s Austrian School ideology of untrammeled one-dollar-one-vote absolutism, will any Canadian PM be able to take the dramatic steps necessary to ensure that Canada’s laws are changed to ensure that the riches of the rich are sacrosanct and ever-growing, rather than partially taxed (in Austrian School terminology: taxed = stolen) and redistributed to worthless poor folk or used for building “public” infrastructure. The very word “public” is an abomination. People should have to pay for every single service they receive – only that way will we achieve the Nirvana of “economic efficiency”. Everything should be regulated by the private marketplace. One dollar, one vote. Can’t pay? Fuck off, loser!

      That’s what you want, right? That’s exactly what your ideology implies. Think about it. You support plutocracy, not democracy.

  28. Not all of us conservatives bought into what the Conservative Party was doing. But when we raised our voices in protest, the party was quick to slap us down.

  29. We get it Andrew : you are not a happy camper might I suggst writing one big article and then just linking to it so we can see if it has been updated this would save copius amounts of posts all saying the same thing. I tried a thought experiment and substituted another PM’s and Party’s name on their second terms and guess what it works – strange indeed are canadian politics considering we have a Liberal Party that isn’t Liberal and now a Conservative party that isn’t Conservative – what next a NDP party that isn’t NDP come to think of it,that would be accurate as neither the NDP or the BQ really stand for anything at all as they are quite simply against anything the gov’t in power does. So let’s sum up the logical conclusion to your point = none of the political parties at present are acting as their central philosophy suggests or at least shoud? Well as Preston Manning and Steve Harper say if you don’t like it start a new party.

  30. R You Jack?

  31. You’re wrong about about one thing, at least, Coyne. Not “everyone…to the lowliest envelope stuffer” bought in. Many (like myself) opted to support the Conservative MP in our own riding on the grounds that they support what we stand for. In the end one votes for an MP after all, not a party or a Prime Minister.

    Many of us have come to lose all respect for Stephen Harper and much of our respect for the CPC, but our own MP’s may be quite good.

    Also, this may be anathema to you, but some issues easily trump budget deficits. Abortion, for instance. A pro-life MP who votes for a bad budget will still get my support. Lives matter more than money.

    • Equal Rights for Zygotes!

      It’s time we forced every drug-addled, FAS-child-bound, penniless knocked-up-during-a-random-fuck ho from Flin Flon to Vancouver, and back to St. Johns, to carry their pregnancy to term, regardless of whether the father was a drunken deadbeat, rapist, or just not Mr. Right. Abortion is an absolute evil. If necessary, we should put the bitches in jail until they give birth. So what if a zygote has no neural system? Life is life. I like my principles simple, like my conception of reality.

      Or not.

      • Perhaps (although judging from your tone, I doubt it) one could begin by recognizing that the baby one day prior to birth should have all the same rights as she does the day after birth. That would be a step forward in Canadian law. Then we could admit that babies actually have rights well before that, and a “neural system” from the first trimester.

        And perhaps, just perhaps, we could try admitting that yes, child-murder does trump balanced budgets as a national issue, avoid ridiculing those who assert it, and start supporting politicians who support it.

        • Ok, without getting into the abortion debate itself, this is an interesting illustration of one of Harper’s main problems: the “Hidden Agenda” monkey on his back. I respectfully disagree with your position Gaunilon. You would rather vote for an anti-choice MP regardless of his fiscal votes, as is your right. Similarly, most (not all, but more than enough) Canadians would rather vote for pro-choice MPs without much regard for their fiscal votes, as is their right. Hence Harper does this base-distancing dance (deficits & subsidies, short leashes for backbenchers etc.) in hopes of getting a majority that he’ll never attain.

          • Agreed.

  32. Is it just me, or is anyone else’s head exploding over the glib oxymoronic phrase, “A federation of equal provinces and citizens.” How are Canadian citizens supposed to be equal if PEI is given equal power in the federation with BC or Ontario? Everyone’s equal, I guess, except PEI residents would be 100 times more equal than Ontario residents. D’oh.

    You can’t have extreme provincialism and a strong Canadian nation of equal citizens both at once.

  33. The question as I see it is not whether Canada can ever elect a conservative government — the question today is whether Stephen Harper is the person who can do it.

    Could a more likeable, (seemingly) principled, less angry Conservative leader take the party where Harper has failed three times now?

    Would a David Cameron have more traction here in Canada among right leaning Liberals?

  34. Och, laddy, yer makin’ a hash o’ the language, ye rilly are. The list of core Reee-form Parrrdy aims (in Preston’s inimitable nasal exrpression) has nothing to do with conservatism. Those principles were a prescription for radical reform, not for *conserving* anything.

    Conservatism is about accepting what is, and being deeply suspicious of change, resisting it wherever possible.

    Coyne, you aren’t a conservative, and you never have been. You’re a nineteenth-century liberal, an economic religionist, a market-god worshipper. None of that is “conservative”, and it’s quite odd that these doctrines ever became core items in the modern Conservative Party canon. The Austrian and Chicago economic schools aren’t about conserving anything; they’re about the obsessive worship of money power and private property… the equation of untrammeled ownership of money with all that is good and right. Private property, in this thought-system, becomes the only human right.

    None of that has much to do with conserving an established order, or old moral commitments to chastity, respect for law and established authorities, and so forth, which are the hallmarks of real “conservatism”.

    And you’re right: radical free-marketeerism is a tad out of favour right now. You know why? It’s not because Stephen Harper is a cold, unprincipled opportunist and narcissist (though he is that).

    It’s because free-market fundamentalism is a f**king stupid ideology that doesn’t work, an ideology that, whenever it is implemented, leads to massive disparities in wealth based not on merit but on familiarity with how to manipulate the mechanisms of financial markets, widespread poverty, and states which are weak, corrupt, and ineffectual. Look at the evidence, Coyne. In the real world, the economies that do the best job of generating widespread prosperity are high-tax jurisdictions in which the private sector and the State are in roughly equal balance, as measured by GDP. Look at the *evidence*, forget the *ideology*, and you’ll see why parties, once in government, wind up taxing and spending heavily. It’s because it works.

  35. Seems to me that the recent stage of the progression that AC so (correctly) laments is more a failure of Harper than of ‘conservatism’. Harper chose to play footsie in Quebec; Harper chose to be a belligerent rather than a leader; Harper chose to tolerate and disguise the social conservatism that is anathema to many Canadians rather than excise it; Harper chose to push stupid ‘please-the-base’ policies in place of making the hard case for fiscal conservatism.

    Harper perceived there to be an easy path to power – a path that didn’t require the PM to actually be the leader of a democracy. Instead he grabbed the prize fumbled by Martin and went to ground with it. Leadership is more than managing a leak-proof PMO and being a prop in PR events. Harper does not get that.

    The conservative principles AC laments in their passing are fiscal. I continue to believe that with the right leader, Canadians can and will support fiscal conservatism. Harper has failed conservatism and Canada.

  36. An honest and truthful evaluation. Thank you.

  37. Anyone want a federal conservative leadership review?

  38. Those new Conservatives who complain about individuals such as Andrew Coyne should consider one thing: he is one of the few self-proclaimed right wingers that has been consistent. He clearly defines what he considers “right wing.” For that I respect his opinions even if I don’t agree with them.

    I don’t even necessarily agree with how he defines right wing. I define it as being the facilitator and protector of the economic establishment. Hence, corporate bailouts belong to the right wing corporatism, which is the version of right wing ideology that Harper promotes (e.g. using corporate CEOs to establish government priorities). Under that version of right wing ideology deficits are acceptable as long as they are focused on protecting the capitalist and not promoting the well being of society in general.

    That is where I believe Coyne’s principles differ from the corporatist right wing.

    In order to facilitate the corporatist agenda, in a democratic state, it is necessary to at least pretend to be concerned about the common good. Remember that before coming to power the Reform right denied that there was such as thing common good, only self-interested individualism.

    The contradiction that has become apparent in right wing ideology is that it is impossible to have any form of democracy and still adhere to the kind of economic elitism that is inherent in the philosophy. The only means of establishing that kind of hierarchical concept of government is to impose absolutism, which is inconsistent with democracy and the rule of law. The government’s own abuse of law reflects the belief that the cream that rises to the top should be above the law. (Alan Greenspan was a firm believer in this principle and an opponent of placing any restriction on financial capitalists. Since they rose to the top based on reputation that was all that was required because it meant they were trustworthy. Bernie Madoff is a good example of this principle in practice!).

    Mr. Coyne is a right wing idealist, like Greenspan.

    The electorate has put the Conservative Party on a short leash for good reason.

    A “Progressive” Conservative

  39. Coyne Overblown.

  40. Who would have thought the hidden agenda crowd was correct all along!
    They just got wrong one detail, the ideology behind the hidden agenda was one in line with the NDP, not one in line with Reform.

    RIP, Canadian conservatism. We never knew ye.

  41. Excellent article. Coyne has nailed it. It is this well detailed list of sell-outs and abject failures (if you score Harper on original goals stated) that illustrate why Harper has quite likely been the worst PM of a generation. Even Joe Clark, in his short stint, made fewer blunders (mostly just one big one), and did nothing that hurt the quality of government as Harper has. Even Kim Campbell’s word was more reliable. John Turner more consistent. The Conservative party would do well to replace Harper as early as possible, certainly before the next election.

  42. A lot of commenters in this thread seem to think that Canadian media is either 90% biased in favour of the Conservatives or 90% in favour of the Liberals. The truth is that the media usually does a pretty good job at what it does. The sad truth is that we see bias in everything because we always want things to conform to our own point of view and when we see something that doesn’t fit our worldview we bring out the ol’ bias card thinking that’s the source of all the problems. Plenty of studies have shown confirmation bias to exist and it simply can’t be avoided.

    Good journalists will put aside their biases and focus on the facts, hopefully. Ask any journalist, especially political ones, about bias and they will probably tell you that they get the same amount of angry letters from people on both the left and right of the policitcal spectrum claiming bias. And a story can’t be biased towards both viewpoints can it?

  43. P.S. Why are these comments so civil compared to a large Toronto newspaper’s website that I visit often?

    • Why are these comments so civil compared to a large Toronto newspaper’s website

      I think you’ve answered your own question.

      • Maclean’s is based in Toronto and the G&M is a national newspaper (supposedly) so that doesn’t explain it.

  44. I have to make it public. It’s suppose to be secret, however most people in Austin, Tx knows about it. The government not up there, but your regular police department has a machine that can give you the urge to do things. Sexually impulses, anger, and all sorts of other feelings can sent into your body. This means it can cause a girl to feel a certain way so their friends can get rape them with the girl thinking shes likes it. There are a lot of people all over the United States knowing about this machine that can read and manipulate your mind. Just talk about it and start thinking about how the government has given the police department a weapon to commit not only one of the biggest civil rights violations of all time, but to commit crimes such as rape and getting their victims to like it.

  45. Let me say a little bit about the Reform party because I want you to be very clear on what the Reform party is and is not… The Reform party is very much a leader-driven party.

    S Harper

  46. It is almost incredible to watch Mr. Harper self destruct. Here is a man that had it all……strong communicator, good looks, intelligent, personal charm, bilingual, advocating all of the right things while in opposition……then he blew it.

    Demeaning attack ads, bullying, shorting the truth, denial, blame game, secretive, vindictive, no transparency, little accountability, shunning of the press, and so on. A sharp turn to ideological right of center right wing philosophy and back again.

    Had this guy performed the way he appeared to while in opposition – during his first term …centre of the political spectrum, he would now be a Prime Minister with a majority. He did not need all of the above negatives, but applied them anyway. Politicians have to learn that you can’t win the electorate over with those kind of tactics. We may be fooled some of the time, but as the old saying goes – but not all of the time. Too bad, I think we had the right guy earlier on, but somehow in my opinion he went off course, and now the big question is WHY?

    • WHY? I don’t know. But I suspect the fact that he is more motivated by destroying than creating has something to do with it.

      Also, while Harper has excellent self-control, what he has to keep under control inevitably gets the best of him at times. Just as a couple examples, his chair-kicking rage years ago at the leadership convention and his jabs at artists at galas more recently. Most people don’t have to exert such tremendous self-control because they have made more peace with who they are and what they are doing.

      Finally, the eerie self-portrait gallery (where pictures of all past political leaders have been removed and replaced with pictures of Harper) and related episodes of self-portrait-obsession suggests something lurking there that doesn’t lurk in most people.

  47. “They’ve given up everything they ever stood for, and what have they got in return? Nada.”

    Andrew, are you saying that they have not been drawing their MPs and cabinet ministers’ salaries for the last 2 years, nor have they been appointing any party cronies or other associates to any positions in government departments, agencies or crown corporations, they have not been listening to any lobbyists with Conservative Party connections, nor have they, under the influence of such lobbyists, steered, directed, nudged or otherwise influenced the awarding of multimillion dollar and multibillion dollar contracts and subsidies for things such as (but not limited to) ethanol, manufacturing, energy development, and military spending?

    If so, then I agree – they have got absolutely nothing for their trouble. Sucks to be them.

    Otherwise, I humbly suggest that it is not the Tories who have lost the plot.

  48. Where is the opposition in all this?

    I have generally been supportive of the Conservatives, but no party is going to stay sharp without strong opposition.

  49. Catherine – after scanning through all of the above I commend you for having stated so succinctly WHY SH has failed. Your observations lie at the core as to why Canadians have refused (and will continue to) entrust him with a majority.

    I have never heard of the “self portrait gallery”. Can you elucidate or direct us to more on that?

    As to the many posts re bias: Those who think MSM exists as a benevolent public information entity deserve what they get. They indeed exist to deliver consumers to advertisers. And both the proprietors and their advertisers can count. They know that 62% of Canadians do not support Stephen Harper so they have had to temper their bias so as not to alienate the majority of their readers.

    Defenders of Canwest’s “balance” above curiously only mention Izzy Asper and that he ran as a Liberal. They ignore the poodle like behaviour the Princes adopted after he passed.

    I quail to think of the blatant far right bias they would bombard us with should Harper ever attain a majority..

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