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So, Stephen, which one’s the half?


 

Isn’t it fun that both the current opposition and government leaders were doing interviews on referendum night in 1995?

In the video below, Stephen Harper answers a question about whether the rest of Canada is willing to recognize Quebec, “not as a distinct society, but as a people”:

“I have some difficulties with that. I have some difficulties with the idea of a people within a people. I prefer to build a new federation. I have difficulty imagining the constitutional structure of a country-and-a-half.”


 

So, Stephen, which one’s the half?

  1. “I have difficulty imagining the constitutional structure of a country-and-a-half.”

    What about Belgium?

    • Everyone always forgets about Belgium, and for good reason.

      • I thought it was that everyone always forgot the Spanish Inquisition….

        • Belgium’s got pretty good beer. But they also got a pretty nasty constitutional crisis lately; I mean, a real one…

          • Great work horses too!

  2. Lets be fair here.

    Harper’s “nation” motion was a purely defensive move, forced on him because Ignatieff couldn’t keep his big mouth shut about Quebec nationhood, and because of that Duceppe was planning a motion which said only that Quebec was a nation (without mentioning the “United Canada” part.

    That motion cut Duceppe off at the knees, got near unanimous approval as I remember it, and he’s kept true to the spirit of his word in 1995 by not doing anything further about it. :)

    • I love how the party that claims to hold as a core value that individuals need to take responsibility for their own actions, rationalizes such issues as Harper’s nation notion (“it was forced on him”) or the deficit (“it was forced on him”).

      Harper always had a choice and he chose to flip flop on these two issues in order to get votes.

  3. From a purely superficial perspective neither his French (not bad but not great) nor his hair have changed since then.

    • I’d say his hair has gotten marginally less French and his French has gotten marginally less hairy.

      • LOL. Good one.

  4. Is there a principle, policy or position that Harper held before the 2004 election that he has not jettisoned for the sake of political expediency?

    I suppose you could say crime, but I’m not sure he ever made as big a deal about crime issues before he was running for Prime Minister.

    – Spending? went out the door with his first budget that shattered spending records, let alone what has happened since
    – Elected senators? he chucked that one on his first day in office by appointing Fortier, let alone what has happened since
    – Fixed election dates? gone
    – Accountability? long long gone with staffers becoming lobbyists, spending taxpayer money almost exclusively on Conservative ridings, In and Out scam, Cadman, no bid contracts, record breaking breaches of disclosure and information requests, etc etc etc
    – Income Trusts? gone some $30B ago
    – balanced budgets? gone before the recession
    – confidence votes only on budgets? for purely partisan gain, chucked almost immediately and never looked back
    – capital gains exemption? why bother

    The list is too long to repeat here.

    So we’ve found another flip flop, this one on how he views Quebec and what he says about the fundamentals of the country to get some more votes in Quebec. Add it to the list.

    • “Is there a principle, policy or position that Harper held before the 2004 election that he has not jettisoned for the sake of political expediency?”

      Obtaining and retaining power is the only “principle” I can see that he’s remained faithful to.

    • So we’ve found another flip flop, this one on how he views Quebec and what he says about the fundamentals of the country to get some more votes in Quebec. Add it to the list.

      You’re just adding that now. Please try to keep up.

      Also, Ted, I assume that this epiphany will prevent you and your fellow travellers from screaching about how Harper’s ReformaCON principles are such an existential danger to the left-of-centre wonderland that is Canada. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: one cannot at once be at once an uncompromising, raging right-wing neo-con ideologue and also a malfunctioning political weather vane.

      Pick which ever attack line suits your fancy and stick to it, SVP.

      • “one cannot at once be at once an uncompromising, raging right-wing neo-con ideologue and also a malfunctioning political weather vane. “

        Which is why I criticize Harper for being incompetent, directionless, flip floppy with no moral compass, desperate to keep power at all cost and not for being the extreme right wing ideologue he was (and could become again, who knows, he changes so much). I have never attacked him on “hidden agenda”, in fact. I had a lot of respect for Harris because he said what he was going to do and did it.

        But I do not think that the two accusations are mutually exclusive. On some issues, he is strictly screw-the-facts-of-reality dogmatic, like with crime.

        Also, while he is clearly willing to quickly sell out his base and his principles for a few votes – which is my problem with Harper – as his own supporters continually claim he is only doing this so that he can get a majority and finally have the freedom to implement “real” conservative policies.

        • Fair enough there Ted. I’m not saying he can’t be stubborn, but do you really think that his crime stance is about conservative dogma? You don’t think he (rightly) sees votes in a “tough on crime” approach? Hell, Jack Layton sees votes in a tough on crime approach. I’d say we’re still firmly in the votes-at-any-cost territory.

          In any case, I probably shouldn’t have accused you of this particular inconsistency: it’s just something that one comes across so often with anti-Harperites, I just assumed (wrongly it turns out) it applied to you as well. Plus I never pass up the opportunity to beat a dead hobby horse. That’s my way of apologising without doing so explicitly and thus putting my manhood in question. :)

          • I believe Harper in some respects has earned the flip-flopin dogmatic label.

            I think that in his fight for a majority, Harper has believed he had two advantages to exploit.
            1) virtual absolute control over his entire caucus
            2) a dominant position in fundraising
            The first has been the most important since it has allowed him to make “brilliant” stategic moves at a very rapid pace that goes soundly against the grain of his core.
            To protect the second, he periodically has to bring in some small piece of legislation that the other parties find offensive, (It really ain’t no fun if no one complains) put it into a budget and ram it down their throats.

          • It is the one place where conservative dogma is an across the party lines vote getter, especially with the silent non-partisan majority. So it is an easy principle to stick to for Harper. Which came first for him on crime – the vote-getting policy or the principled policy that also happens to get votes – I don’t know. He certainly did not make a big deal of crime issues before politics, as he did all of the fiscal conservative positions that he has now abandoned.

            Keep beating those dead hobby horses though. There is life in them yet! Because many indeed criticize Harper for being both unprincipled and too dogmatic, just as Conservatives criticize Liberals for being too far left while at the same time claiming they have no guiding principles and the NDP criticize the Liberals for being too far left while at the same time claiming they have no guiding principles.

            Politics is fun, isn’t it!!

  5. Harper has changed – take a look at the video and photos of him now – his nose is longer.

    Funny, in the video he looks like Frank Luntz and today he looks like Mike Harris.

  6. Vachier Harper!

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