Severe, stupid and spiteful: Or, delivering the Conservative message in Copenhagen -

Severe, stupid and spiteful: Or, delivering the Conservative message in Copenhagen


We here at DMA spend a lot of time trying to avoid using the various ‘S’ words. When writing an English blog for a primarily non-Quebec audience, it can be like holding your breath: you can write all you want about the quaint intricacies and foibles of this delightful place, but sooner or later you inevitably resort back to the blog equivalent of the dinner party question that your drunk uncle from Halifax asks you every time he graces your table over the holidays: “So, is Quebec gonna separate?”

Yes, you feel like saying. We’re going to separate, you vermin Maritime scum, and we’re going to steal all your power and erect a wall of wind turbines on the friggin’ border and make the Miramachi salmon speak French. Oh, Halifax isn’t in New Brunswick? Whatever. Hands off my eggnog, tubby. PS, Rick Mercer sucks.

Which is why I’m pleased to announce that Stephen Harper’s fine team of upright and smart yes men gave us a fantastic way of venting our collective spleen yesterday in a way that involves none of the dreaded ‘S’ words–unless you count severe, stinking, stupid, spiteful, splenetic, surly and/or savage.

To wit: The Yes Men, a rogue band of American pranksters, issued a faux press release, ostensibly from Environment Canada, saying that, actually, Canada was charting an ambitious course to reduce its greenhouse gases by 40 percent of its 1990 levels by 2020. The laugh-out-loud funny notion of the Conservatives reducing anything carbon-related was offset (ha!) somewhat by seeming authenticity of the news release. (Put it this way: I’ve punched in my credit card number into sites that don’t look as real as this one.)

The Conservative reaction to the ha-ha release was textbook, and served as yet another reminder of how venal, petty and shortsighted this government can be. Harper flack Dimitri Soudas, at once enraged at the release and clueless as to its origin, blamed the nearest Quebecer, the greenie and nice Steven Guilbeault of Equiterre. Guilbeault was furious, and not only because he had zilch to do with it–it literally took Radio-Canada 10 minutes to figure that much out, which is about nine and a half minutes more research than Soudas himself seemingly undertook. No, Guilbeault was mad because Soudas wouldn’t apologize; rather, Soudas suggested Guilbeault should stop criticizing Canada, thereby revealing his effective communications strategy of blaming the victim.

The reaction was swift, furious and as predictable as Soudas’ strategy itself. I’ll spare you the acres of outrage in today’s French papers and highlight one salient point: the first notable to jump to Guilbeault’s defense was Jean Charest–the same right-leaning, federalist, increase-Hydro-rates, small(er)-government devil incarnate Jean Charest who Guilbeault has criticized mercilessly over the last six years. The two of them have about as much regard for each other as I have for root canals. Thanks to Soudas, though, the narrative is this: Charest and Guilbeault are allies on the world stage, fighting against the Conservatives brutal environmental record.

This sort of behaviour has bitten the Conservatives in the arse before. It arguably cost them the province, which was theirs to lose. Despite this, the Cons continue to remind Quebecers why this government shouldn’t be let off its leash. With the Ignatieff and the Liberals mired in organizational disarray and the Bloc nearing its second decade of continued existential dilemma, it’s a ridiculous way to act, but there you go. Good luck with that majority, Steve.

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Severe, stupid and spiteful: Or, delivering the Conservative message in Copenhagen

  1. erect a wall of wind turbines of the friggin' border

    the Cons

    Good luck with that majority, Steve

    Was this written by a deranged blogger or an esteemed Maclean's columnist? It's getting harder to tell the difference.

    • Both. It's crowded in this here brain.

      • Far from defending the surly PMO, careful with that Quebecois conceit – they may indeed get that majority sans Quebec. That would be a fundamental shift, to say the least.

    • I thought it was a well-written post. Blog posts are supposed to be provocative.

      Another (and original) Anon

    • It's called humour, Anon. Something not present in the Con DNA.

  2. "effective communications strategy of blaming the victim"

    Governments around the world have been doing this for decades. The problem with Cons is that they are not very good at it, they are too much bull in china shop. They need more artful responses when playing the man instead of the ball.

    However, I do believe Soudas should apologize if Guilbeault had nothing to do with prank.

    • These are the folks who are leading our country, for better or worse, for the time being. Though the "blame-the-victim" strategy may be popular, it doesn't make it right, nor does it make it a kindly regarded attribute in any leader.

      It's high time we Canadians started holding our political and government leadership to a higher standard of class. I'm tired of being repulsed – yet unsurprised – by our PMO, the PM, or any government or opposition MP in light of their vitriolic outbursts.

      • If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

        I agree that a higher standard would be most welcome but I won't be holding my breath, that's for sure. Manners and courtesy are no longer popular traits so this is what we get, I am afraid, and I think it's only going to get worse.

        • Unfortunately, I agree. That said, I don't think it's at all helpful to our democracy if we just sit back and let a decline of courtesy, tact, and respect continue to plague our institutions.

    • Hey, does anybody remember Francie Ducros? Silly outbursts occur with staff in all PMOs. But you are right that Soudas should apologize. It's just common courtesy. I don't know why he hasn't done so already.

      • “For me, I put pepper on my plate”

        It is a bit late to be bemoaning standards today a decade after the Shawinigan Strangler did his thing on Clennett and a year later cracked wise about pepper after he ordered RCMP to pepper spray legal protesters.

        I agree that there are outbursts all the time and not just from staff.

        • You aren't seriously suggesting that Chretien acted inappropriately when a stranger broke past the Prime Minister's RCMP security detail and charged directly at him, are you?

          And you surely aren't comparing Soudas' repeated outbursts directed a individuals, and being 100% wrong in his libel (claiming Iggy said something he didn't, claiming Guilbeault did something he didn't), as being the same as a comment that was certainly insensitive but was not a gutter attack on any individual?

          • "A commission of inquiry into police actions at APEC last November has revealed disturbing evidence of the prime minister's involvement in the violation of protesters' constitutional and human rights.

            A concerted public relations campaign by the prime minister's office (PMO) has challenged the impartiality of the commission chair, putting the hearings on hold, and has led to the arrest of a protester on trumped-up charges, and pulled the public broadcaster's main television journalist from the story for alleged bias."


            "Prime Minister Jean Chrétien is in Hull, Que., on Feb. 15, 1996, to commemorate the first National Flag of Canada Day. But the celebration is upstaged by a bizarre altercation. When confronted by protester Bill Clennett, Chrétien grabs Clennett's throat and forces him to the ground. This un-prime-ministerial response startles everyone especially Chrétien's victim. "He came… and put me to the ground," Clennett describes in this TV clip."


          • If i remember correctly Clennet was stalking Chretien…you're in a minority J . Most Canadians approved of Chretien's reaction.

      • And what happened immediately after Ducros' outburst? She was gone.

        For those who don't remember, she called Bush a "moron" to a group of journalists in an off-the-cuff comment at an international event. That was enough to get rid of her.

        She did not: direct that a party website should show a bird sh***ing on the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, tell the Prime Minister to declare to the world that the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition was attacking Canada at a public conference when it was someone else, libel and slander a private citizen about a climate hoax, etc.

        There is a pattern. Not just of tone, but of accountability, taking responsibility for your actions and your words. Raitt's "sexy cancer" and missing briefcase? Blame and fire the staffer. Nuclear watchdog says there are safety problems? Fire the bureaucrat. Scientific advisors telling you that the world is warming? Censor and fire them.

    • The Yes Men did the deed, because they say they did it.
      Who paid them to do it? that is the question that needs to be answered now.

  3. Frankly, this is what gets me about the newly received view that Stephen Harper is not the maniac the Paul Martin's guys claimed. Of course the PM shows no signs of being a maniac, and likely isn't one; but he has always been, and continues to be, surrounded by more-beast-than-man types like (in Cabinet) Baird and Van Loan and (in PMO) Soudas, Sparrow, Finley, et al. The foaming psychotic rage against all contradiction or even disagreement that you get with these guys is every bit as dangerous (bar the "tanks on the streets") as the Harperphobes portrayed it. The PM, by contrast, is publicly very phlegmatic, but what assurance does one have that, in a majority situation, these quasi-lunatics would not be setting the tone? It's not just Quebec that slips from Harper's grip when that troubling prospect appears, it's the hope of a majority without Quebec. For which the Lord be triply thanked.

    • Frankly, this is what gets me about the newly received view that Stephen Harper is not the maniac the Paul Martin's guys claimed.

      Perhaps, although it was a bit of pot-kettle-black. "Beer and popcorn" was not the result of a reasoned and dispassionate lay of the land.

    • But can we be sure? When one stares into the Vellacotte, should one not be careful lest the Vellacotte stare back into you?

    • The commonly used cartoon analogy of Harper not yet being given the keys to the car springs to mind. These guys are driving their hummer down the highway, hogging the centre lane and bumping off any opposition into the ditch, scaring the kids and playing chicken with on coming semis like national unity and CC. And still they clamour for the governor to be taken off…"so we can really get somewhere man"! Time to revoke their license, take back the keys to the country and pack the kiddies off to remedial civics i say!

    • You're spot on, Jack.

      There's a lot of centrist Canadians across the country who find the ongoing psychodrama that the Conservatives present, with Baird's, Van Loan's, Poilevre's, etc. etc. kneejerk, vitriolic attack mode, highly distasteful and embarrassing. The Conservatives seem to be almost completely incapable of acting like the centrist government most Canadians want (or at least to balance the various political stripes of which Canada is comprised). And this from my point-of-view is a good thing, particularly given their underwhelming record from the last three years.

      • I would say that the Liberals also have their Baird's, Van Loan's, Poilevres as well. Oddly enough, they don't bother Liberal supporters. That's the way of the world. An insult never seems as toxic when it is directed outward.

        I mean when you have people like Ralph Goodale who screams on the campaign trail that people who are against the Wheat Board are "thugs" for example, it comes readily to my mind.

        • Uh, except that the topic here is baseless attacks. Ie. Guilbeault had nothing to do with the prank and was a completely innocent bystander.

          You may not have liked Goodale's "thug" comment, but it wasn't baseless:

          ""The Harper government is tinkering with the rules governing the election of Canadian Wheat Board directors in an attempt to influence this fall's scheduled vote… Late Friday, Ottawa announced it would remove advertising spending limits for third-party interveners in wheat board elections."

          In other words, Canada's New Stephen Harper Government opened the door for Monsanto to spend unlimited advertising dollars in advance of the election. This was intended to tip the election in the direction that Harper preferred. You may agree or not, but for Goodale to call it thuggish is at least grounded in reality.

          Apples, meet oranges. Sh*t, say hello to Shinola.

          • Or you know, it also allows farmer advocacy groups to spend money to influence the outcome of the election.

            Of course, if the lefties were at all honest, they'd respect private property and actually restrict those who vote on the wheat board directors to farmers who actually grow enough of a crop that it is their actual livelihood.

            Largely though, they love the idea of control of the means of production, so they subvert basic decency to keep it in place. It is one the reasons I hate you guys so very, very much.

          • Nice attempt to change the topic. The question was whether Goodale engaged in a baseless attack like Soudas, or whether he had some reason for it. The question was *not* about your opinion of wheat boards.

            "It is one the reasons I hate you guys so very, very much."

            Speaking of severe, stupid and spiteful…

          • It's hard to keep track of all the subject changes, but if we're still on about the CWB, I think it's control of the means of distribution we're talking about.

        • I ain't sayin some Liberals haven't said despicable conservative style things, but if Goodale's comment is your best example you got nuthin'.

          Public perception has always been there are fewer crazies in the Libs and they've always been kept more thoroughly in check. I think there's more than a grain of truth to it.

          • "Public perception has always been there are fewer crazies in the Libs and they've always been kept more thoroughly in check."

            The only reason the 'public perception' is Libs are nicer is due to fact that msm carry their water.

            Scott Reid – Globe/Mail Nov '08

            "First things first: take him out …… their imperative could not be more clear: kill him. Kill him dead. Do not, whatever you do, provide him with an opportunity to extend his hold on power."

            Jean Chretien – Feb '96 – CBC Archives – On This Day

            "When confronted by protester Bill Clennett, Chrétien grabs Clennett's throat and forces him to the ground."

    • To quote Ron Suskind on his encounter with Karl Rove:

      "Inside, Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem in some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him. I paid it no mind and reviewed a jotted list of questions I hoped to ask. But after a moment, it was like ignoring a tornado flinging parked cars. “We will f*ck him. Do you hear me? We will f*ck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever f*cked him!” As a reporter, you get around—curse words, anger, passionate intensity are not notable events—but the ferocity, the bellicosity, the violent imputations were, well, shocking. This went on without a break for a minute or two. Then the aide slipped out looking a bit ashen, and Rove, his face ruddy from the exertions of the past few moments, looked at me and smiled a gentle, Clarence-the-Angel smile. “Come on in.” And I did."

      Foaming psychotic rage seems to be characteristic of the new breed of right-wing True Believers. Remember Doug Finley's little chair-throwing performance at the Parliamentary Ethics Committee?

      • I haven't read the Suskind — was he aware he was being performed to, or did he think he had a scoop?

      • I haven't read the Suskind — was he aware he was being performed to, or did he think he had a scoop?

        • Ah yes – because Suskind's description is so out of line with all the other descriptions of Rove out there.

          (hint: that was sarcasm – Suskind's characterization of Rove is borne out elsewhere. Do some damn research)

          • Okay, so you don't think Rove is self-aware, fine. I was asking you an honest question about the article you read, based on my supposition that someone with a media strategy job is going to be very conscious of what they choose to reveal in front of a reporter. Feel free to be unprovokedly dickish rather than accept the invitation to expand upon your point, though; we are on the internet.

          • What are you talking about? Without having read the article, you jumped to the conclusion that Rove was performing for him, and that such behaviour was out of character.

            My point: Suskind was neither gullible nor "aware he was being performed to". He saw Rove behind the scenes behave as per Rove's reputation.

  4. Hey! There is not a single international gathering that Dimitri Soudas is not capable of making a way off base allegation against a another Canadian at… if you don't wise up you will be next!

  5. dude, some guy did something with numbers and now all the scientists are wrong. Global warming doesn't exist anymore . or at least we should be inactive, under the guise of 'skepticism'.

  6. You're forgetting Rob "Mr Angry" Nicholson, who usually looks as though he'd like to give someone a darn good thrashing.

    • And occasionally as if he's received one.

  7. Very finely written and very funny MP. It seems the Harper govt very quickly resorts to type when under pressure…it just can't help itself. They make Mulroney look like a genius by comparisan.
    Cute picture of our infantile PM by the way.

  8. Clearly Mr. Guilbeault is against the troops.

    I don't even know why Mr. Guilbeault keeps on bringing up the troops other than to smear them.

  9. Yes, nothing spells electoral success in Quebec like being perceived as Anglo Bullies.

    Thanks a bunch Mr Soudas!

  10. I'm no fan and he obviously acted like an ass but I believe Dimitr Soudas is from Québec also (does that make him a Québécois or not?).

    So is this bust up being presented (sous-entendu) as an English-speaking Allophone attacking un vrai québécois?

    • A very good point.

  11. Is anyone else wondering where all of the rage for Atlantic Canada is coming from? I'm fairly shocked to find such hateful and degrading stereotype on the Macleans website.

    • Really? Have you not noticed all the regional rage that passes for debate in all parts of Canada these days?

      We all hate each other and are barely a real country.

      • Hey I want Canada to stay together as long as possible… long enough that we can really stick it to the Frenchies!

    • I think the author of the post was being ironical. Who could hate Atlantic Canada?

  12. How quickly things change in politics eh? Harper was on top of the world a few weeks ago and now, all of a sudden, there are hand grenades going off everywhere.

    He reminds me of Jean Charest in that every time he starts to get breathing room in the polls he shoots himself in the foot. It's almost as if he doesn't really want that majority…or prefers to live in a state of permanent siege warfare.

    Oddly enough though I think this might work to his advantage. A minority govt is probably the best possible scenario for Harper. It keeps him on enough of a leash to not give in to his worse instincts and he has to instead advance his agenda by stealth rather than bold measures (which is probably a recipe for better long-term change). Also when does not give his base what they want he can claim its because of the other parties.

  13. Can someone please explain to me why Soudas still works for the PMO? As the media spokesperson, no less?

    The idiot stood in front of CBC cameras, blaring accusations for which he had absolutely no proof. That Soudas is a first class moron is a well known fact. What I don't understand is why Harper insists on keeping such a liability in the position of media spokesperson.

    What gives?

    • I believe it's called "Cannon Fodder".

      Soudas is useful because if Harper screws something up that he can't cover, he can fire Soudas instead.

      • "Soudas is useful because if Harper screws something up that he can't cover, he can fire Soudas instead"

        Well he had his chance at the last G8 meeting where Harper found himself hurlign false accusations at Ignatief because his first-class-moron media spokesperson gave him the wrong info.

        Somehow, Soudas was given the chance to screw up again.

        • Polls didn't drop significantly. Why use up an asset when there's no great demand to do so?

    • The only way someone of this calibre leaves the PMO is when a Senate seat opens up.

      • Not necessarily. He could move Soudas to a "special advisor" position or send him to work for one of his Ministers. Anything would be better than to keep the buffoon as the point person for media commentary.

        At first I thought that CBC had filmed the exchange without Soudas knowing but the footage clearly shows the moron standing directly in front of the cameraman. He knew he was being filmed and that it would make the news yet somehow, that did not deter him from making those baseless accusations.

        Which begs the question… why would Harper – who is obsessed with controlling the govt messaging – keep such a cretin in such an important job?

  14. DefendConservative6 – there is no story. DefCon5 – blame the media. DefCon4 – blame the Liberals. DefCon3 – blame a bureaucrat or a provincial premier. DefCon2 – blame a staffer. DefCon1 – when things are really bad and the mess won't go away, start talking about Adscam and broken GST promises and NEP, start talking about taxes, use the soldiers as a prop, prorogue Parliament.

    Always pass the buck and never ever take responsibility.

  15. The Conservatives may have more or less written off Quebec after the last election. If they can build additional support in Ontario, they can continue to form a government without Quebec. Given the fickle and emotional nature of the Quebec electorate, it's about time to stop trying to cater to their every whim and instead focus on sensible national policies instead.

    • The Tories cannot afford to write off Quebec. No one can. As for Quebecers being "fickle and emotional," some might suggest that the electorate in that province is more to hip to Harper's games than the rest of the country.

      I, for one, thank God for Quebec because they are the reason why Harper hasn't gotten his majority yet.

      • That's one way of looking at it. of course, it was events in Quebec that gave the Liberals their scandal-ridden downfall, too, so it cuts both ways.

        • No it doesn't. Once again, it shows that Quebecers will not be bought and hold their politicians to account.

    • That sounds like a recipe to go from a Quebec that's a nation within Canada to a nation without Canada. By all means let's give Sovereigntists even more reason to see Canada as a country that doesn't work.

      • I don't think so. The Quebecois had plenty of reasons to be infuriated with the federal government in the 1990s after a failed referendum, the clarity act, and the sponsorship scandal. Support for sovereignty dropped steadily, though, as people began to focus on the economy and its shortcomings relative to the rest of Canada. The sovereignists will always find some cause for outrage in anything that the government does. The trick is not to get pulled into fanning the flames by responding to petty political posturing.

        • "I don't think so. The Quebecois had plenty of reasons to be infuriated with the federal government in the 1990s after a failed referendum, the clarity act, and the sponsorship scandal. Support for sovereignty dropped steadily, though, as people began to focus on the economy and its shortcomings relative to the rest of Canada. "

          Atomic Walrus, I can't blame you for coming to those conclusions but anyone from Quebec will tell you that the only reason why support for sovereignity has dropped in Quebec is because of the Bloc. Not that Duceppe ever intended for this to happen but his party gave Quebecers a way to remain Canadians while maintaining their "distinct society" profile.

          • That completely condraicts the premise of your earlier argument. The strength of the Bloc is exactly what gives the Tories every reason to pursue a majority elsewhere.

      • What's the difference between seeing a country that doesn't work, and being a country that doesn't work? And at what point do Quebec soverignists stop being the sole or most important litmus test for such a question? There's at least as strong an argument that it is the constant post-1982 threats from one province in particular that has rendered Canada a country that 'doesn't work'. Atomic Walrus is mathematically correct. The Tories can form a majority with a handful of seats in Quebec. In a decade they could conceivably form one without any. It would be no less a legitimate government than a Liberal majority with no seats from the prairies.

        • "The Tories can form a majority with a handful of seats in Quebec. In a decade they could conceivably form one without any.'

          Keep dreaming, Richard. If one only relies on math, it is true that a majority can be achieved without Quebec but that math simply will never happen. You might be in denial about this but Harper knows better which is why he's considering putting Bernier back in his cabinet.

          The Tories, like the Liberals and the NDP, need Quebec to achieve a majority. And, as Quebecers have demonstrated to date, a hard-core rightwinger such as Harper will have to do a whole lot more than playing Beatles tunes or proclaiming his love of the french language to fool that electorate.

          • Define "achieveing" Quebec? bernier's re-appointment goes hand in glove with what I said. Harper can win a majority with a handful of seats in Quebec. Bernier's re-appointment is more about securing the little he has, than it is about growing elsewhere in Quebec.

            Harper is a handful of seats shy of a majority right now. He does not need to grow in Quebec, he can do just fine by holding what he has or even shedding a few. And when the new allocation of House of Commons seats comes into play, his need for those seats slips further. Clearly Harper or any other Prime Minister who pruports to act for the whole of the country would be best served by a caucus that was representative of every part of the country, including a respectable number of seats from francophone Quebec. But if he doesn't win those voters over, he still has a path to a majority elsewhere. His current polling numbers may cost him 6-7 seats in la Belle Province, but he has urban seats in BC and Manitoba, as well as parts of Ontario well within reach.

  16. Why waste all those wonderful S words: severe, stinking, stupid, spiteful, splenetic, surly and/or savage

    When there's one that covers them all: Soudas

  17. the "dream" is a majority without quebec or Toronto – aka "a place without pious lecturing from socialists"

    • You dream of a majority government in Canada without support from the 10 million people in Quebec and Toronto?

      Keep dreaming.

      • Downtown Toronto is very different from the 905 (which is all Harper needs for a majority). The 905 enthusiastically supported Mike Harris twice, and isn't exactly a hotbed of socialism. With 20 or so new seats coming to BC, Alberta and Ontario, a majority without Quebec/Toronto will become even more feasible. With few Quebecois having children or getting married Quebec's relative importance within Canada will further decline.

        • That 10 million citizens doesn't include the 905 – just PQ's 7.5M and the City of Toronto's 2.5M.

          It may be technically possible to write off one third of the country and still achieve a majority but it doesn't bode well.

          Also: that same 905 region threw the Ontario Conservatives out when their gross mismanagement became obvious. The Federal Conservatives are, arguably, tracking toward a similar record that could again turn off the soft conservative voters of the 905.

          • Hey – we liberals had no trouble whatsoever writing off one third of the country for our majorities. A Tory government with no representation from Toronto or Quebec is no less legitimate than a Liberal majority without seats in the West. And while we've never quite had either, you can't accept the potential validity of one without accepting the potential validity of the other.

          • When did the Liberals ever have a majority without seats in the west?

            Chretien always had seats in every province.

          • What part of "never" was ambiguous? Re-read the last line of my comment.

          • I was talking about feasibility of attaining a majority, not the legitimacy of a majority.

            The nature of rep by pop frequently leaves various constituent groups unrepresented in a majority of governments. The best you can do is ensure that all elected representatives represent roughly the same number of voters.

          • The best you can do is ensure that all elected representatives represent roughly the same number of voters.

            Which Quebec certainly does not want.

  18. I still remember that an Alberta MP read a letter from one of his constituents about how "that french guy" doesn't belong in power in question period during the coalition scare. I still think he should have been turfed and as far as I know there was no response from his party at all. If Harper doesn't at minimum convince Soudas he should be apologizing I'll be left to conclude his Conservatives are hardly more a national party than the Liberals. I could almost prefer a coalition to that.

  19. Oh, you mean the nuclear watchdog executive that couldn't figure how how to protect safety while at the same time protecting the health of Canadians? That one?

    I guess chewing gum and walking at the same time is too much for an EX in the federal government earning six figures?

    • But the problem is all fixed now that she's gone, right?

    • "Oh, you mean the nuclear watchdog executive that couldn't figure how how to protect safety…"

      I assume you mean Linda Keen, President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Read that again: nuclear safety. She discovered that a nuclear plant was operating without its required backup systems and shut it down, per her mandate. Her mandate had nothing to do with supplying nuclear materials to the market.

      It's one thing for the Cons to have overridden an "independent" safety officer. It was quite another thing for them (and you) to engage in ad hominem attacks on Keen for *doing her job*.

      • The Nuclear Safety Commission does not have the right to ignore the impact of its decisions on health issues. That's why executives get paid big bucks. Otherwise you could have a robot run the place. And the fact that this is still a problem does not change anything.

        • Here, go study the mandate of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission:

          Nothing – nothing – about keeping the market supplied with materials.

          The Commission doesn't have the right to do *anything* but ensure that nuclear facilities in Canada are operated safely. I'm sorry if that doesn't fit your political agenda.

          And the reason the market lacks a reliable supply of materials is that successive governments have been too slow in bringing alternate sources online. Worse – and this is the best part – Stephen Harper has decided, in his infinite wisdom that Canada will exit the business altogether. Never mind TWO serviceable MAPLE reactors were built under previous Liberal governments and are standing by (albeit with outstanding technical issues).

  20. Re: Sponsorship – you have to give the Martin Liberals credit for a thorough, open investigation into the scandal, and for paying the political price. When do you suppose we'll see such a thing from Harper?

    Re: Quebec 1995 referendum and APEC: whatever happened to those allegations?

    And Stronach: you do recall David Emerson, right? Floor-crossing deals do not constitute a "bribe". Offering Chuck Cadman "financial considerations" in exchange for a vote in the HoC: THAT is a f*cking bribe. In the Prime Minister's own words, no less.

    But the real story here: nobody ever called the Libs perfect. But the Conservatives have racked up more shame in 3 years, and shown more disrespect for Parliament and the Canadian public than the Libs did in 13 years. Or anybody else *ever* has, for that matter. And you know it. And you're going to continue to vote for Harper.

    Talk about your sanctimony. Apparently you're just fine with any degree of undemocratic behaviour as long as you can claim that somebody else did it first, kinda sorta, and a lot less.

    • There's been a court case about Cadman, no? I dare you to find the proceeding and show me where the courts have said that:

      Go ahead, prove yourself wrong.

      • There was a settlement between the Libs and Cons over the language over the allegations, and before that an RCMP investigation which didn't go very far. I can't remember if it was before or after the tape came to light.

        So no court case. Just a whole bunch of questions meeting a big stone wall with the CPC logo on it.

  21. Sorry, Trudeau didn't in 1980, but then many had a lot of concern about his national legitimacy for that very reason.

  22. Beautiful writing about a topic that normally I would not read – loved the lead in about that uncle and the "Rick Mercer sucks" petulent ending. Well done!