Reform is truly dead, part XXXVII - Macleans.ca
 

Reform is truly dead, part XXXVII


 

In which Dave Staples asks questions that may or may not be meant rhetorically:

Is it really possible that the Harper government could fund a $400-million arena in Quebec City, having made noises that it will not be funding a new arena in Edmonton?

Is it possible that the supposedly budget-slashing Harperites could consider such a move, which would essentially amount to a transfer of Alberta revenue to build an arena in Quebec?

Oh well. At least they’re not giving CF18 maintenance contracts to a Quebec firm. That would be the last straw.

oh, wait.

Anyone know what Preston Manning is up to these days?


 
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Reform is truly dead, part XXXVII

  1. Who knew we elected Stephen Brian Jean Harper as Prime Minister.

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    We really should have known from the first day in office when he broke at least two campaign promises by appointing an unelected senator with no mandate from the people and appointed him into cabinet with no accountability to the House of Commons.

    • "broke at least two campaign promises by appointing an unelected senator"

      Ted, I hear this argument all the time, I even make it from time to time, but seeing as only a couple of provinces have made the effort to "elect" senators, how long should he have waited? How empty would the chamber have to be before we would "forgive" Harper for breaking that promise?

      That said, I think he would have done better to follow Paul Martins example and appoint senators based on representation in the house, i.e. Paul actually appointed Progressive Conservatives during a minority government.

      • You can have those discussions about his many other appointments – all of which break the same promise and for which he did not make any effort (did he ever meet with or even consult the provinces on this? No. Did he ever offer to pay the provinces for these federal elections? No. Did he ask the SCC for a reference to determine the constitutional issues? No.) – but that is not the point of my post.

        On his very first day in office, he appointed a backroom Conservative fundraiser and organizer Michel Fortier who even said, at the time, he had no intention of running for office.

        So in answer to the question "how long should he have waited?" surely at least a single day before breaking a fundamental promise is not too much to ask.

        • Thanks!

      • but seeing as only a couple of provinces have made the effort to "elect" senators, how long should he have waited?'

        Frankly, that he did it the day after his transparency / accountability campaign makes it particularly galling.

        Worst case scenario, it should have waited until after he could establish conditions with the provinces. If they don't want to elect someone, fine. But, given his campaign, they should have been given the opportunity. It was only made worse that this was a clear case of patronage (something he campaigned hard against).

        • Also quite bad was the Ottawa media's marvelling at his great ability to commit a complete 180 degree flip instead of calling him on it.

          I think that presaged their being buffaloed by Harper for these past four years.

          • The Ottawa media? I tuned in to Rutherford just to hear him lose his mind. Not a peep from that toadie.

      • …but seeing as only a couple of provinces have made the effort to "elect" senators, how long should he have waited? How empty would the chamber have to be before we would "forgive" Harper for breaking that promise?

        You're getting senate appointments mixed up. Ted is referring to Fortier being appointed to the Senate and Cabinet. So in that regard, it would have been nice if Harper had waited for the ink to dry on the ballots before shamelessly breaking his promise.

        • When Fortier was appointed to the Senate the Liberal representation in the Senate was almost 3 times greater then the Conservative. If the Liberals had treated the Senate as something other then Reward Palace for their loyal members then they might have reason to complain about Harper using it as a means of getting a cabinet minister for Montreal.
          And, by the way, if having a politican like Manning who "says what he will do and does what he says" is so important to you guys, how could you be voting Liberal all these years.

          • If the Liberals had treated the Senate as something other then Reward Palace for their loyal members then they might have reason to complain…

            ***

            But Harper campaigned to end EXACTLY that practice!

            And you knew that.

          • Is it your argument that the appointment was necessary because of that imbalance? Was it a surprise to the CPC to discover the imbalance or that a number of vacancies were available to be filled?

            And I love how you have deflected the question of doing what you say you will do from being an awkward question for CPC supporters, whose party campaigned on that very virtue, into somehting the Liberals should be explaining. If CPC supporters bought into th message of intergrity as strongly as they seemed to have, why is it wrong for anyone to ask them what they have done to hold their own party's feet to the fire?

          • Oh, I`d love to be able to vote for a Party whose policies reflected my thinking and they carried out those policies diligently. Now, who do you suggest I vote for and don`t say Liberal–been there–done that.

            So what do we do ? Take some water with our wine, hold your nose sometimes, be patient, it`ll happen sometime.
            And I can guarantee you if the Liberal Party is serious about Senate Reform, and they propose to make the Senate democratic and they will have cooperation from the provinces, and Harper refuses to cooperate —-you`ve got yourself a Liberal Government.

          • Blue: It was his very first day in office!

  2. Cons have at least a century of history of being the gang that can't shoot straight so I don't see why things should be any different now.

    Surely there is some nice symmetry for someone to write book about. Harper and his chums blow up Con Party twenty years ago, the split allows Chretien three majority governments to implement policies that make cons/Cons absolutely bonkers, and now Harper is governing a lot like the people he loathed a couple of decades ago.

    What was the point of Conservative infighting if it was all for naught?

    • It wasn't all for naught for the man we now call Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

    • "What was the point of Conservative infighting if it was all for naught?"

      I doubt the present Conservative party would agree that it was all for naught. They did, after all, obtain power. And their dismal record on policy suggests that it's not their priority.

      • They had power. They had 2 back-to-back majorities and could have had a 3rd until Reform tore the party apart.

        • Yeah, things were going swimmingly for Kim Campbell before that horrible Reform Party came along.

          LOL

        • classic example of your selective recollection, – Bloc Quebecois ring a bell?

          • I remember an attack advertisement that sparked a wave of revulsion across the whole country and – IMO – gave the Liberals the massive landslide they enjoyed in that election.

            I guess I'm remembering it wrong,eh? Apparently Kim Campbell was well on her way to a majority government until those Reformers snatched away her rightful victory. She was so distraught that she didn't even ride her Unicorn for a whole month.

          • Our Official Opposition? Oh yes.

            More 'help' from Reform.

            Kim Campbell was the most popular PM in history over the summer she was in. Then Reform blew up the party.

          • It had nothing to do with that nasty ad about Chretiens tic then?

            John Tory will be relieved.

    • They loved the infighting. they'd still be doing it if the financial backers told them to make one party or they'd get no $.

  3. You guys aint seen nothing till you take a look at this.

    City of North Bay Mayor Victor Fedeli and the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry and Member of Parliament for Parry Sound-Muskoka, unveiled a new plaque commemorating projects that benefited from the Gas Tax Fund in North Bay.

    Yes, you're reading that right. Clement unveiled a plaque to commemorate government spending.

    • "We are gathered today to pay tribute to the Action Plan sign, standing proud and tall these years, showing the Federal Government's love for (insert city name). We will now unveil the plaque for the sign. If my parliamentary assistant could just get a shot of the newly installed plaque in front of the sign for the database?"

  4. Well if Preston was still leader of the Reform Party, he would be leader of the third or fourth Party in Parliament and we would still be stuck with a corrupt Liberal Government.
    And you would be writing articles about him accusing him of not understanding the " all for one–one for all " nature of our Confereration.
    Preston would have told you it`s as foolish to finance a hockey arena so the public can pay $200 to watch a second-rate team as it is to finance an auto company to build second-rate cars.
    Then everybody would have howled about those racist and narrow-minded Reformers and then there would have been another Liberal majority government and that would have been just swell.

    • wow…..that is a pretty impressive crystal ball you have there

  5. The Reform movement was started precisely to stop this nonsense.

    Stephen Harper must be a desperate, desperate man to do something like this. It goes against everything that the Reform movement faught for.

    This guy makes Chretien look like Von Hayek.

    • If only one of them could be made to look like Salma Hayek,.

      • Okay.. now that's an image I did not want intruding on my fantasies.. ugh.

  6. People wonder why fewer people vote… here's a big reason. Many non-partisan, non-ideological people voted Tory a few years back in the hope of a sea change in the way government did business. They were fed up with the Liberals, and the Conservatives promised to clean things up. Now, it's come to this… throwing money at a popular project in order to shore up the party's fortunes, and in doing so completely turning the party's back on the principles that got it elected in the first place. Again. Political expedience beats principle. Again.

  7. I`m somewhat amused by the convenient nostalgia some Ontario people have for the Reform Party.
    When Ontario first had the opportunity to vote Reform in the `93 and `97 elections, they sent only one Reformer to Ottawa in 202 attempts while sending 199 Liberals back for another round. You wanted Liberal governments–you got it.
    So I don`t have much time for people who wonder why Harper does not govern by his Reform ideals. If you wanted Reform policies including Senate reform you could have had it. But now you hysterically oppose even minor changes in the census and long gun registry.
    You want Harper to govern like a Liberal—well you got it. Except without the corruption and he does seem to be more competent.

    • People aren't saying the want Reform policies, they are saying they want a government that has some principles.

      • Exactly… ideology is one thing, but spending taxpayer dollars to shore up votes isn't a matter of ideology. It's a matter of cynical government. The Tories are proving they can do it as well as the Liberals.

    • Yes, well, you see us oh-so-liberal Ontarians didn't vote for a conservative party because we were too busy getting Mike Harris elected to a majority and then elected to an even bigger majority (both seats and popular vote) because he was (a) fiscally conservative (b) competent and because he was not (a) pushing social conservative values on Ontarians and (b) letting yahoos and bigots in to run for elected office.

      Manning was not defeated in Ontario because of his policies. He was defeated because of his followers. Why do you think Harper has spent so much time silencing our Conservative Members of Parliament? or not even allowing them to talk to anyone during campaigns? The Rob Anders of the party are still there, but they remain silent (and protected for riding challenges, that's the quid pro quo).

      But Harper has abandoned by the principles, the policies and the styles of Reform, as well as the leadership style of Manning. All is just in the pursuit of power though, eh, Blue.

      • Ted, who's your favourite Harris minister who made the transition from provincial to federal politics?

        • "Favourite" would be putting it too strongly, especially after their performances since getting elected as government.

          Baird has got his role – hatchet man, defender in chief of everything, spinmaster, etc. – and every government needs one and he does it better than anyone. But he is so toxic, and was at Queen's University when I was there with him, that I could never see him as anything positive in government for Canadians.

          Tony Clement I actually did like and had hopes for but his performance is so substandard and so over the top. He's trying to be the ultimate Baird like blowhard and spinmaster but I don't think it is in his personality so it kind of flops too much. He's also messed up the handling of a bunch of files.

          • [Won't let me edit for some reason so I'm continuing here]

            Flaherty is doing to Canada now what he did to Ontario: huge debt, tough for the sake of appearing tough on crime laws that don't actually fight crime, being deceptive about our finances. Still, I know enough about him that I think I can read in between the lines enough on where he is struggling with Harper's direction (like his views on a GST cut or stimulus) but that came from the PMO and he doesn't control where the pork goes. The huge opening of a US style subprime market (eventually shut down because it was such a disaster in the making) was his idea so I question his judgement in a lot of ways. I like his persistence in pushing the HST on BC/Ontario and for a national securities regulator (shoulda been a Lib policy), so that would be enough to tip the scales for a "favourite" I guess.

      • You`re right—Harper became leader of the Conservatives in order to eventually become PM.
        Manning had the right policies but circumstances prevented him from gaining power.
        Harper has similar policies and circumstances and a proper bit of pragmatism will allow him to stay in power.
        The end result will be similar–the country will be changed for the better.

        Also, had Mike Harris been running as a provincal Reformer instead of a PC he would never have won even if his policies and candidates were identical.
        There has always been a distrust and a kind of smugness from Ontarians toward anything that originates from the West. That`s one of the reasons that it became acceptable when Reform became Conservative.

        • Just curious – where are you from?

          • Canada

          • Great!

            More specifically, in which province do you currently reside? Was this the province in which you were born? If not, in which province were you born?

          • Nowhere near Ontario, that's for sure.

        • Sometimes, I read things like this from Blue and feel that westerners are the biggest whiners and myth-makers after Quebec separatists.

          But I know too many westerners to accept that is the truth and know that western whiners and myth-makers like Blue, while loudest, are nothing like the real westerners who are much more practical, objective, hardworking and take responsibility for their own success or failure.

          The biggest problem for Manning was not even the bigots and yahoos. It was that no one with any success in business or government was on his team, including Manning himself. Had people like Mike Harris (a former cabinet minister before being Premier) run for Reform, then they would have had a realistic shot at convincing people they might be competent.

          That was the second biggest reason (biggest by far was Adscam) why Harper won in 2006. His bench strength was extremely extremely thin (still is), but several of Harris' team were able to convince Ontarians that they wouldn't completely screw things up.

          • I agree with your last 2 paragraphs and it would have been unrealistic for the Big Blue Machine to switch over to the Reformers in 1993 even though the PC`s were in obvious disarray, but I still believe there is a certain provincialism and hesitancy to Ontarians to accept that which is not from here.

            I`ve never thought of the West as being whiney. Economic and Political power is moving west. Hard-working Westerners are patiently watching this.

          • I've never thought of the West as being whiney either. As I said. But posts like yours are definitely proof that some can whine and pass the buck with the best of them.

            The certain concern about "provincialism and hesitancy" had nothing to do with the fact that they were from the west. Obviously, since the MP candidates in Ontario were… from on Ontario.

            It was concern and hesitancy, if you want to put it that way, of the competence and provincialism of these particular candidates.

          • I'm from B.C., lived here all my life, apart from a couple of years going to school in TO. It's the Western Reform types that are the whiners.

    • It should be noted that there are plenty of us from Alberta who are just as mad. All I want is a little of what I voted for: a government that runs on the principles of honesty, accountability and transparency, and runs a balanced ship.

      Mr. Harper has been so busy gaining – and consolidating – power that he has forgotten why he was elected in the first place.

      • Unfortunately our country is not of a design "that runs on the principles of honesty, accountability and transparency, and runs a balanced ship." We have regions, provinces, and interests that require the opposite of these things in order to stay at the table. Our federation is imperfect and to maintain power requires knowing how to game/work the system in as accountable a manner as possible under the circumstances. We all want to live in harmony and peace but we each want our "fair share". Funny how what's "fair" depends on where you are sitting.

        • So, what you are saying is that Canada is a patchwork of dishonesty and corruption? And, that good government is about being only as corrupt and dishonest as you have to be?

          In my mind, and I'm sure in the minds of many others, electing the Conservatives was about changing that. If it couldn't be done, it shouldn't have been promised. And, if they were simply lying from the beginning, how can anyone be surprised when people call them on it?

          • No I'm simply saying self-interest trumps altruism and in a federation the levers of power are limited. Parties can only promise "more" transparency, honesty and accountability. That's what the Conservatives offered- they believe they are delivering it. You disagree.

          • At this point, I don't believe that they believe it either.

      • No, he hasn't forgotten why he was elected at all. He just doesn't care. And if you look up the history of the man, it's not hard to come to the conclusion that he never did.

  8. Principles are just hollow words when they are not backed up by deeds.

    Just in it for himself
    Just visiting (his principles)
    Not a leader

    How's the mirror looking this morning Stephen?

  9. Nobody voted FOR Harper, they voted against the hash Martin was making of the job.

    It had nothing to do with principles or the long dreary adscam.

    Canadians vote for competence, and to a degree, likeability. It means trust.

    Had Martin kicked adscam to the back burner and gotten on with governance he'd probably still be PM today. But he dawdled and he drifted and constantly apologized, and made a big deal of a minor matter that Canadians didn't give two hoots about.

    Harper got placed on a short leash, and everyone fully expected the Libs to come up with a new competent likeable leader, and then they'd be back in again.

    But Libs have now had 3 leaders in a row who haven't come across as either competent or likeable. Harper doesn't appear to be those things either.

    So we have a stand-off. Canadians don't like any ot the choices. And there's no point calling an election until that changes.

  10. First, it makes sense to extend the existing contract for the CF-18's, which are gradually being phased out. This way, the CF-18's will continue to be maintained by the same 400 experienced employees in Quebec and Alberta.

    Second, I find it a bit amusing that everyone seems to be bashing Harper for something he hasn't actually done yet (funding part of the proposed Quebec City arena). Reform has been killed off and resurrected many times, depending on which interpretation is most convenient for Harper's detractors.

    • I'm finding this a bit confusing. This report appeared in the G&M.
      From the article:
      Conservative MPs and ministers from Quebec donned vintage Nordiques sweaters in a show of support for a proposed $400-million arena in Quebec City that depends on Ottawa for nearly half of its funding.

      Conservative MP and Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn is all for providing funding for this, though he feels it should be done in partnership with the private sector. Has the Minister slipped the leash, speaking without Mr Harper's consent? Is this just a photo-op? It seems like a dangerous "game" if Mr Harper hasn't given his approval.
      Am I reading this incorrectly?

      • Yes, I read that report. Obviously, the Quebec City MPs have been representing the nearly unanimous desire of their constituents to have a new arena and to resurrect the Nordiques, and these MPs clearly been pushing for federal involvement for quite some time now. Harper probably gave that Nordique jersey photo-op a thumbs-up because he likes having seats in Quebec City.

        However, I'm pretty sure that the Conservative caucus is divided on this issue, and Ottawa has rejected calls to fund arena infrastructure in other cities. No decisions have been made yet, and I think it's premature to assume that Harper is about to cut a cheque for $180 million just because his Quebec MPs staged a photo-op.

        • if he's gonna try to take the credit for some form of support, he also come in for the crticism.

      • And in equally shocking news Vancouver MP`s are lobbying for a new fish hatchery and southern Ontario MP`s would like a bailout for tobacco farms.

        • I agree, it's shocking that MPs across Canada are lobbying on behalf of their constituents' interests.

        • But you have to admit this is a little different. This has the endorsement of a federal Minister, in a government known for having a "message" controlling PM.

          • To a large extent this " message " controlling PM is an invention of those who would like to pin a dark and cold image on Harper.
            Granted, I doubt if he has much time for fools and if an MP screws up ( hello Helena ) they`ll pay. But I doubt if he`s any more controlling than a Trudeau or a Chretien.

          • unless Harper wanted a trial balloon that had the added benefit of a nice photo op danby. one thing that has been perfectly clear with the current gov is that are often more concerned with what they appear to be doing (wearing jersey, lining up on side) than what they actually do (we shall see).

            albeit, that he would still need to have to deal with fallout if they money is not there and things fall through for the team, but that often seems like a secondary consideration in a manner that is surprisingly effective for them.

  11. "Nobody voted FOR Harper"

    Another revealed truth from Nola. Do you have a burning bush there in your command center?

    • Another post attacking me, instead of discussing the topic. This and all others like it will be ignored.

      • Yes, and you're doing a great job ignoring it.

        • I love the idea of discussing the topic.

          Be it resolved that Nobody Voted For Harper.

          Ignoring all available data, all logic, all forms of reason, ignoring math, science and history, hell let's even throw out spelling, grammer and reading comprehension too. I still can't make a lick of sense out of that "topic." To call Nola ignorant would be a slur against the genuinely ignorant. It takes a lot of work and will to come up with something as monumentally stupid as that…

          I'm just getting tired of pretending this person has a valid point of view…

      • How about ignoring all threads in which I participate then… just to save us both a little time.

        • Wait for it, she'll be telling you to get a room next…..

        • Larry, you were responding to Nola . Try to keep up.

          • She doesn't need to ignore it until after I post… I was going to say that I understand your confusion, but that's not really true.

            PS. Nola is pretending to be someone named Emily – so just play along with that if you could.

      • "Had Martin kicked adscam to the back burner and gotten on with governance he'd probably still be PM today. But he dawdled and he drifted and constantly apologized, and made a big deal of a minor matter that Canadians didn't give two hoots about."

        That you make that assumption clarifies how out of touch you are with the rest of the contry outside your little echo chamber. It was not a minor matter and Martin was screwed either way, JC saw to that. Canadians were not ready to ignore it any longer, the evidence was piling up and it was clear that the stink was on the party and the leader.

        Furthermore the arrogance that you display in the post above deserved the retort you got whether you choose to admit it or not.

        • So you do agree the Liberals were voted out then.

  12. You are sooo going to be left freezing in the dark, buddy.

    • Empty threat. Ontario imports much of it's oil from overseas.

      • It's not a threat. I was making a humourous reference to the infamous "Let the Eastern bastards freeze in the dark" anti-NEP bumper sticker from the early 1980s. I guess I should have typed a smiley to make it clear I was kidding.

        • Ahh okay…my bad. Sorry.

      • Over very small freshwater seas…

    • Yeah, I'm told that's McGuinty's energy policy anyway…

      • No, it's been that way for eons.

        • For us to freeze in the dark? How could our provincial overlords be so cruel? I'm told McGuinty's policy is to shut down Ontario's generating capacity and replace it with, um, energy each Ontario family will make in their own homes…

          • We really need smilies on here.

          • Are you suggesting that the incredibly expensive incentives to install Solar PV in a northern climate that gets half as much sun as the southwestern US (where solar PV is still not economical) were a bad idea?

          • Can we not get an incredibly expensive subsidy for any energy we generate at home, as long as we sell some of it back to the grid? I have been misbehaving all year to get a good stockpile of coal from Santa. Has that all been in vain?

          • I'm afraid so. You can only get incredibly expensive subsidies for incredibly expensive forms of homemade power. That way, everyone wins! (Except for electricity consumers. And taxpayers.)

          • Those dam Europeans.

          • Not exactly a novel concept, is it? Humans have heated confined spaces using body heat for hundreds of thousands of years.

          • Often innovation is inspired by related natural occurrences. No need to poo-poo it just because its the French.

          • Even without indulging in ugly stereotypes about cheese-eating Frenchmen, that sounds gross. I could, I suppose, read the article and discover why it isn't gross. But I have all these ugly stereotypes about the French I need to burn off.

  13. How'd the bidding process go this time?

    • Seriously, was there even a need for a bidding process this time? The CF-18's are being phased out, so doesn't it make sense to keep using the same experienced maintenance crews at the same facilities? Wouldn't the switching costs be ridiculously high and unnecessary at this late stage in the game?

    • Swimmingly, I hear!

  14. Bristol in Winnipeg was British owned.

    At that time it was important for contracts to go to Canadian firms wherever possible.

    But in spite of everything Mulroney had done for the west, this one contract was seized upon and blown into a 'cause'.

    • Can you share that list of "everything"?

  15. Yeah it's in their constitution. However it could be short-circuited if Iggy 'decided' he wanted to spend more time with his family or some such.

    • Judging by the way he got the leadership in the first place, I don't think they're too worried about their constitution.

  16. yeah, Preston is busy shilling for the CPC. principles it seems are evaporating everywhere (else).

    There are, of course, two broad categories of political coalitions: “principled coalitions,” which are based on some agreement on common values and policies such as that established by Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay when the Conservative Party of Canada was created out of the Canadian Alliance and the old Progressive Conservative Party; and “coalitions of expediency,” which are formed solely for the sake of seizing some short-term political opportunity such as that briefly entertained by the federal Liberals, Bloc Québécois and NDP in 2008.

  17. "Now!?! Mr. Harper started behaving like the Liberals the day he took office, and hasn't stopped."

    You are preaching to choir. I didn't mean now as in today, more about his admin for the past four years compared to twenty years ago.

  18. Harper has, in essence, rebuilt the Mulroney coalition. He will need to keep them all happy doing the same things Mulroney did.