In the magazine: When ideology meets evidence -

In the magazine: When ideology meets evidence


After setting himself up for years as the little boy who cried Commie, Stephen Harper shouldn’t be surprised that no one trusts him even when he’s doing the right thing…

That’s from my column this week, about why Harper’s doing the right thing for once but doesn’t deserve any real credit. Available for a limited time only in a scarce, natural, and nostalgically authentic limited-edition print format. Get it before any old square can read it online.

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In the magazine: When ideology meets evidence

  1. " … why Harper's doing the right thing for once but doesn't deserve any real credit."

    Have not read your column yet, so I have no idea of topic, but generally speaking I think people should get credit for doing the right thing regardless of why they did it or how long it took them to make the decision.

    "Get it before any old square can read it online."

    Will do, daddy o.

    • generally speaking I think people should get credit for doing the right thing regardless of why they did it or how long it took them to make the decision.

      What if they did it accidentally because they made a mistake in trying to do the wrong thing?

      Not Stephen Colbert for Devil's Advocate: vote early, vote often.

  2. I think he's on to you Wells.

  3. What's your definition of "doing the right thing?" The opposite of doing the left thing?

  4. I refuse to buy the magazine until I at least get a better teaser on what's in it.

    • Trashy daughters!

      • Yep, you're right Wells. The quality of Macleans writing just gets better and better! I guess next week we can expect a cover headline of "Hot Summer Sex Tips: 10 New Ways to Please Your Partner". I can't imagine why people would think Macleans contains large reservoirs of crap…

        • And yet, here we both are.

          • @LynnTO: Oh, have you recently bought a copy of Macleans? I haven't done that in years…

          • You don't know what you have missed ; )

          • Apparently, trashy daughters and non-fact based editorials on G20 protesters.

          • It really doesn't matter as MacLean's or thj Post Office has decline to deliver my mag for three weeks. Thank goodness I can read the important parts here (!!!!). It is a hot dry summer.

        • Either Dee is making a principled, courageous boycott of Macleans in print on the basis of poor research, dogmatic editoriliazing, and raw vulgarity… orrrrrr she just reads it online for free.

      • LOL,

        I thought that was a joke!

  5. This comment will be posted once the author posts his column on

    • Can you then please persuade jarrid, hollinm and others to follow suit.

      Then, we can ask Geddes to never post his columns on line ever again.

      Then we can begin to have some exchanges approximating thoughtful debate.

      • Oops . . . Potter, not Geddes.

  6. Frankly I don't think politicians should get credit for doing the right thing or a good job: that's what they're supposed to do!

    Instead I think we should bring back tar and feathering for doing the wrong thing.

    And if we invest a little in updating the infrastructure, we could ride them out on a rail too.

    Ah, the good old days.

    • Or tar and feathering when the do the right thing, because you don't think they deserve any credit for anything at all, because you voted for someone else!

    • Ah yes, vigilante justice – what fun times we had.

  7. I'm not surprised you'd write an article stating that whatever Harper has done that is good, he deserves no credit for it.

    • …whatever Harper has done that is good, he deserves no credit for it.

      The vast majority of Canadians appear to feel the same way, S_C_F. Presumably, the "populist" take on the situation is that they're just stupid.

      • There you go with you false claims of majorities again.

        You seem to insinuate that because Harper's party did not get a majority of votes in the last election (which has almost never happened in Canadian history), that you can attribute to all other voters (who voted for a variety of parties for a variety of reason) all sorts of opinions that you have generated yourself.

        This may be an easy talking point, but it's also certainly false, and it's the kind of thing critics like to attribute to the government itself.

        • Nice try, s_c_f. I'm referring to the most recent Ekos poll, where about 70% of Canadians said they would not vote for Harper. Is 70% a "vast majority", or is it not?

          • Nice try. You've tried to equate "stating that whatever Harper has done that is good, he deserves no credit for it" with "said they would not vote for Harper"

            This is what I mean by inserting into your 70% figure"all sorts of opinions that you have generated yourself".


    • I'm not surprised you'd write a comment stating an opinion about an article you haven't read yet.

      • I did not realize that commenting on this blog post was forbidden otherwise.

  8. Thanks, Andrew, I feel special now.

    Interesting perspective. I don't know enough about foreign aid, but I did think abruptly cutting off countries who relied on us was cruel. I mean to say, perhaps tell them that we would no longer fund in that country in two years time or something, it would give them a chance instead of just pulling the rug out. Also, just not responding to funding requests has got to be the most cowardly of any possible policy, as well as deliberately, intentionally cruel.

    • Jenn, you need to understand that the CPC follows the proverb "charity begins at home"—without the "charity" part.

      • "Sixteen months ago, Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, published "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism." The surprise is that liberals are markedly less charitable than conservatives.

        If many conservatives are liberals who have been mugged by reality, Brooks, a registered independent, is, as a reviewer of his book said, a social scientist who has been mugged by data. They include these findings:

        • Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

        • Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood. " George Will, March 2008

        I don't have the numbers for Canada, I know Macleans wrote editorial recently pointing out conservatives give more time and money than others, but they are similar. Liberals and progressives like to think they are compassionate or caring but it is just talk, no actions.

        • I don't have the numbers for Canada…

          Of course, you don't.

          • Obviously it is a universal trait. George Will is always right.

        • "a social scientist who has been mugged by data"

          Oh, you mean an elitist who values evidence-based research?

          Why would we listen to him! :)

          Seriously, I think you are right–and I do tax returns. However, if you take away the amount given to churches and religious entities, I expect it would work out about even. Which is not to say that churches don't do good works, of course.

        • Anyone that believes that an individuals charitable activities are tied to their political viewpoint, was Mother Theresa a Conservative or Liberal?

          Did Brooks divide up households amongst those with split votes? Did he assume the "man" was the "head of house"? Does your father's political viewpoint still effect your donations and volunteering?

          Charitable people do charitable things because it feels good. Selfish people do selfish things because it feels good. Charitable Liberals and Conservatives want what's best for this country. Selfish Liberals and Conservatives want want's best for their party.

          • Mother Teresa was very much a conservative. If you believe Christopher Hitchens, or Penn Jillette, Mother Teresa was dogmatic to a fault. She held the traditional view of suffering as a gateway to God, she focused a significant amount of her time / funds on proselytizing, and took a strong stance against contraception / abortion.

        • Did giving money to a corrupt religious institution count as charity, because that would throw the old numbers off a bit…

          • How about giving money to an institution which actively helps pedophiles? Is that charity? Or is it a criminal conspiracy?

        • well if george will said so….

  9. I think charity is part feeling for others and part how much room there is in your budget. The religion point is valid too. Since my charity targets no longer includes the church the others benefit. So maybe the church roof doesn't get fixed or the furnace renewed.

  10. Dammit! I was hoping not to get any replies to this, then edit the comment to put some extreme right wing sentiment and leave Potter to wonder how such a comment could get a +26 on these boards.

    • Curses! Foiled again!

    • Haha! Interesting plan!

  11. Who says nobody trusts him? God, some of you journalists really do take it upon yourselves to tell us what we think, don't you. Then you wonder why Harper and others fights back so hard.

    For the record, Mr. Andrew Potter is the one who cried that Dion won the election because Mike Duffy exposed his nonsensical answers to important questions in the dying days of the campaign.

    Hey, with that kind of credibility, I guess we should be hanging on every word, shouldn't we.

    • Apparently some of us are.

      • Why, you gonna read the article?

  12. Brian and LynnTO:

    I've had a subscription to McLeans for years now. I actually think the writing has gotten better (in part due to Paul Wells….even though I disagree with him on many occassions) over the last few years.

    I am beginning to wonder when Mark Stein's coming back though…missed him in the last couple of issues.

    No surprises that I'm actually putting my money where my mouth is and supporting the magazine. I'm a Conservative.

    Liberals ……always after the freebie.

    • Personally, I'm not going to read the print version — but not because I'm a Liberal or because I'm cheap. I'll gladly pay for it online. Nobdoy seems inclined to charge me though.

      • Oh, they do have an electronic version. You have to download this software called Zinio, then you get the formatting, pictures, etc. just as if it were the print version. You get it earlier than waiting for the mail, and you can click on the table of contents to go right to the article. You can click a Zinio button to get back to the table of contents, or just flip pages with a click.

        If you are like me and prefer online news, this is pretty good.

    • Um, I think that was specifically insulting to me, since I am a Liberal. I am also the first one to comment on the substance of the article, which you'd know if you read the thread down to your post. Obviously, I, too, subscribe.

      But, (I took the tutorial on this last week, let's see how I do) But typical Conservative response in providing misleading information in an effort to make themselves look better.

      Normally, I'd say "typical JamesHalifax behaviour", or much more likely "your comment provided" but you Conservatives have a whole book out on how to do this, I understand, and this does seem to be the number one tactic.

      • I think its the NDFPee-ers who have a separate site to tell them what blog to swarm

  13. Did I spell that right? MacLeans….ahh…there we go.

  14. If you call your column the right thing you are extremely off-based, in fact cutting money to foreign aid is one of the worst things Harper has done. I was shocked and appalled by your column and might even stop reading you all together, since there are so many columns in Macleans that tend to lead me to want to throw the magazine across the room in disgust.

    • You obviously just read Scott Gilmore column in the Ottawa Citizen and decided to just ahead with the same ridiculous ideas, I have a feeling you have no idea what CCIC does or the essential useful service they provide the international development community. Exactly the same argument as him without any real understanding that development "lobbying" as you see it can not be compared to the defense industry lobbying. In a time of a financial recession, when all ngos are having a really hard time raising funds to cut out the center (CICC) is ridiculous move but if you want to destroy the international civil society movement in Canada. Now is not the time to say raise your own funds but that is how the harper govt is saving money, by cutting international development now and way into the future.