Who are you, and what have you done with Stephen Harper? - Macleans.ca

Who are you, and what have you done with Stephen Harper?


“As you know, as part of our economic action plan, one of the things we’ve of course done is to step up government advertising. One of the purposes of that has been to support media outlets during the recession that have been particularly hard-hit.”

— Stephen Harper, A-Channel Ottawa, Jan. 11.

As part of its scandalous disinformation campaign against our prime minister, the Liberal party is currently putting about this obviously fabricated quote. Is this what our politics has come to, that this sort of dirty trick would be tolerated? The idea that Stephen Harper, of all people, would publicly confess to such a ridiculous policy, is beyond absurd, and no serious person would believe it.


Who are you, and what have you done with Stephen Harper?

  1. This is a joke right?!?! No seriously, Harper didnt say that did he?

    • Yes he did. This is also the same guy who said that he prorogued parliament to because democracy and responsable government are bad for the markets or something to that effect. The conservative message always was a bit weird but this is becoming downright bizarre. Suspicious liberals are starting to think he is saying these things to discredit them. If we criticize him for making these statements everyone will think we are lying because no public figure would make such obviously spaced out pronouncements (George W. Bush excepted of course).

    • If Harper can say what he said on BNN yesterday, I believe that the above is not at all farfetched.

  2. I do wonder, often, what Stephen Harper 2005 would say to Stephen Harper 2010 if the former were ever came back from whatever rock island in the North to which he was banished and the two Stephens ever met.

    • Heck, what about Stephen Harper in 1995! Now *that* would be a fight.

      • If pre-2006 election Harper ever met post-2006 election Harper it would cause a rip in the space-time continuum. I think the results of such an event would be akin to mixing matter and anti-matter.

        It'll never happen though, as post-2006 Harper (aka "Jean Chretien") has destroyed pre-2006 Harper but good.

        • Warf experienced this in an episode of TNG. I don't think we have the technological capacity as the Enterprise to reset the continuum and send him back to the Harper to which he belongs.

          …At least not yet.

          Hmm. Maybe there's something in there to explain the science and technology funding changes?

      • I reckon the '95 harper is rolling over in his grave when he hears the '10 harper speak.

    • If Stephen Harper ever met the anti-Stephen Harper, there would be a massive gamma-ray burst, and then an eerie quiet.

      • Ah but which one is the anti-Harper and which one is the real one? The 1990-1999 Stephen "Reform Principles" Harper? The 2000-2005 Stephen "Conservative Principles" Harper? or the 2006-2010 Stephen "Principles are nice campaign platform decorations" Harper?

      • Eerie quiet? Once all those backbench MPs realized they aren't muzzled anymore? What are you smoking?

  3. Coyne is the new Feschuk,.

    • Feschuk is the new Wells, and Wells is the new NAC conductor. It's very complex.

  4. Perhaps this really the "sanctimonious twaddle" that Peter Kent was referring to and he was just quoted out of context?

  5. "These are his words and it's perfectly fair to quote his words and cite his deeds." – Pierre Poilievre; in defense of May 2009 attacks ads against Michael Ignatieff.

    (http://www.cpac.ca/asx/show_scrums_may13-09_eng.a… 2:20)

    "My message to Mr. Ignatieff; put aside the election ads and the smears, and work with us to build the next phase of the EAP." – Pierre Poilievre; in response to January 2010 attacks ads against Stephen Harper.

    (http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/Politics/ID=138305… 24:00)

    • Dear Nepean:


  6. Hey the Liberals agreed to give Mr. Harper more Economic Action Plan advertising money in December. A little rich to complain about it after voting for more advertising dollars just over a month ago.

    • If everything is the Liberals fault – let's get them back in – so we can turf them out then. We seem to be stuck with a government that isn't responsible for anything.

  7. Sure thing Pierre! The Oppoistion will be there will bells on at the Finance Commitee this week…oh wait…..

  8. One has to be careful with Coyne these days; you don`t know if he`s serious, he`s joking; it`s a satire, it`s a rant; he`s buying, he`s selling.

    On the chance that Harper actually made this statement, I suppose he might have more use for the business model that is a media outlet that keeps people employed. then he does for certain media ( not Coyne ) who spend all their time creating and aiding the opp. in these phony scandals against the government in the past year.

    • Exactly right.

      This is obviously completely made up because it is such an absurd statement and one a conservative would never make and no one could agree with. To boot, there is no way that any conservative would or should provide corporate welfare to any business just to dig us out of a recession, especially one that is constantly out to undermine Harper and our democracy. He should take a big stick to the media and cut all funding and tax breaks to them all.

      On the other hand, if he did in fact make this statement, it is yet another brilliant example of how Harper is the greatest PM ever and is working hard to help every sector of the economy in order to save jobs and dig us out of the recession. To boot, it is a great example of how Harper is playing chess while others are playing checkers by offering up a carrot to the media and showing them that he wants to work with them to save their jobs because the media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

      • ted: Welcome over from the dark side.

        • You like?

          Let me try it again. I seem to be getting the hang of this conservativespeak.

          Andrew Coyne is showing his a**-licking Liberal bias and pathological hatred for Stephen Harper by implying that the Prime Minister would ever utter such an absurd, self-serving, facile, obvious invention of an excuse. Harper is too smart to say something like that.

          On the other hand, if Harper did in fact say that, Andrew Coyne shows his a**-licking Liberal bias and pathological hatred for Stephen Harper by implying that the Prime Minister's statement is an absurd, self-serving, facile, obvious invention of an excuse. Harper is too smart for you all to understand.

          How's that?

          • Good enough for use in any attack ad.

          • Stop it! Stop it! I'm laughing so hard I can barely type!

          • Well ted, I know the recently converted tend to be the most enthusiastic, but you might want to tone it down a bit.

            Seriously, when I first saw Coyne`s reaction and I thought the media outlet`s in question were The Star or CBC then I thought it was absurd. However after listening to the interview, I can see how it would not be inconsistent for this gov`t to help out an independent TV station in a small community. After billions of stimulus ( pleaded for by the Liberals) plastered around the country in the past year, a few bucks to an indy media outlet is not so surprising.

          • Listen again, then CM. The ads he is referring to were being blasted at us hourly on prime time ads on CTV, CBC, TSN, Global, etc. Some $60 million or so if I recall correctly.

            I doubt very much they spent much money on "independent media outlets".

          • Harper gave about a 30 sec. answer to a question about the possible mass-closings of local TV stations in small cities. The answer reflected the question.

            Personally my enthusiasm for this type of gov`t spending is on par with the auto bailouts and propping up lucrative pension plans.

          • Tedbetts, that was scarily accurate; hilarious!–and made moreso when common man continues to out-contradict himself.

          • call it newspeak and you would be nearer the mark.

          • that was the best satire I've on this whole dreary episode in Canadian public life

            best part is that the "common man" is either gets your joke and plays along in the best deadpan-comment-ever or is so oblivious that even blunt satire doesn't seem to penetrate his inner sanctum….
            one for the books indeed

          • Don`t worry, I got it, and I`ve got you pegged as well.

      • And on the third hand, if the statement is deemed unrecoverable in the spin cycle, I'm sure a Liberal somewhere at some time said something similar that totally justifies it.

    • …. So, you're saying I can verify sources better than Coyne!?

      • Sure, you`re the best verifyer.

  9. May 13, 2009 and Jan 11, 2010, respectively.

    (Also, remove the comma at the end of the CPAC link)

  10. "As you know, I've recently prorogued Parliament. One of the purposes of that was to support stores and bars in small communities throughout Canada by sending MPs home with spending money and lots of leisure time. Also, it will help media outlets by providing the Liberal party with fodder for some ads."

  11. If this is sarcasm, might be a touch dry, because I have NO idea if you're being serious or not???

    • Success at last! I've hit the sweet spot!

      • Might be time for Harper to apply his MP gag rule to himself. He's not helping.

      • We've all been transported down the black hole to the Imaginarium of Dr Coyne, where nothing is real but the surreal!

    • Excellent! AC's complaint last time was that half the commenters got the joke, and he found that a bit too high.

      • I still don't get it. I don't know if it's a joke or not. I can believe Harper would say that, because he is literally saying anything to anyone to get his arse out of this sling. But, for the "challenged" among us, can someone Dick and Jane this one.

  12. You're gonna have to stay up til 2 to watch Carson Daly now.

      • Nope. I'm staying at 11:35. Or else I go to Fox.

  13. Parliament wasn’t sitting the last time an election was called, was it?

    • I don’t think it would be wise for them to do it again this time.There’s no ‘dysfunctional Parliament’ meme, which wouldn’t make sense anyway, as we know that Parliament just finished putting out the wonderful, magical, superfantastical EA!P.

  14. Parliament wasn't sitting the last time an election was called. However it was not prorogued – it was in recess.

    This quote is indeed on the LPC site – so if it's a joke, Harper will sue their pants off.

  15. No wonder Flanagan was so ticked off yesterday!

    • Wasn't that a thing of beauty? The PM's excuse was, apparently, not even plausible.

      • but perhaps for Peter's sake it was FRANK!

    • But that wasn't Flanagan, it was an imposter.

  16. You're in the pocket, that's for sure! The quote is good.

    • Oh yeah, baby. Four minutes in.

    • Really, are you going to believe your own eyes and ears over the image Harper wants to project? That interview has probably been doctored just like the CPAC wafer tape was doctored.

      • Conservatives have their own reality as defined by the almighty Steve. They certainly should not believe anything he has not proclaimed as dogma even if if their senses tell them it is objective reality.

    • This interview is disturbing not only because of the absurdity of our PM's comments around the 4 minute mark, but also because this is one of the most softball interviews I've ever seen. Is this seriously what journalism has come to in this country?

  17. I called it. Long ago. The whole multi-year hate propaganda campaigns have been lucrative (relatively speaking, since they're desperate) for media as well.

    Donate more to the party of your choice, people. Whoever can flush more money into our amoral media enterprises wins and gets to be Canada's Next Prime Minister!

    You can't do anything about the abuse of public funds, however.

  18. Andrew, this policy has been obvious for some time now. The only joke is the fact that the media required the PM to admit it before they would believe it.

  19. Harper called it his "Save the National Post Campaign".

  20. I recall an MP mentionning this but I would have never thought this was actually a government policy.

  21. You're killing independent Stephen!

  22. It will be interesting – one day – to read how we got value for our money on this government initiative. What criteria were used to dish out the manna?

    • From the quote it would seem the criteria used was the money went to the media most in need….kind of like the so-called socialist welfare schemes that Harper has always spoken so highly of.

      • Come to think of it

        that would have been Asper

        • P-K Péladeau too I would imagine.

  23. Help, I'm somehow trapped between two layers of sarcasm and irony and I can't move or think.

    Oh wait, I'm getting word now from our Ottawa bureau that this suffocating miasma is "our democracy at work"! I feel so much better now– gurrrk blublubblub–

  24. good god, what's he doing?

  25. What a joke

  26. Harper said it. There's video later in this comment list. However, it is so far away from anything he would have supported 4+ years ago that Andrew is joking that he must have been replaced with an imposter (his headline), or that the Liberals clearly made it all up (his content). Two jokes for the price of one!

  27. “As you know, as part of our economic action plan, one of the things we've of course done is to step up government advertising. One of the purposes of that has been to support media outlets during the recession that have been particularly hard-hit.”

    "…yet a further part of our plan was to lend support to the tottering billboard industry…i believe our efforts here have been particulary successful."

    • I'm sorry, I've read this quote three times now, and I just can't get the voice I use for Feschuk out of my head. It's like the caption challenge but we don't have to supply the caption, or the picture!

  28. OH MY GOD.

    They actually have no clue how to govern nor do they even realize that they sound like complete idiots.

    The country is adrift with no leadership just a schoolyard bully with the penny jar.

    I may just leave Canada so I won't have to pay all the wastage back.

    • Better idea, run the SOB right out of Canada and the problem is solved and we can all stay and rebuild the Canada we once had before the cult lunitic Sh came on the scene.

  29. Just out of curiousity, and not as a defense, what's the difference between supporting the media and advertising companies of Canada as compared to, say, the automobile industry? Because I'm not really seeing one.

    • Well, GM ads don't come with a subtle "don't forget how AWESOME the government is" message.

      It's the difference between the government giving GM taxpayer money to advertise how great their cars are, and the government giving GM taxpayer money to advertise how great the government is.

    • Well, Harper didn't come to power on the heels of an automobile-sporting scandal

  30. Why is it that every time there is an economic-instability-inducing confidence vote impending in the House of Commons — like on some b.s. crime bill — federal government advertising on the TV and radio suddenly spikes?

    It's like a scam or something. One related to ads. Now, only to come up with a clever and catchy name to describe this incipient scandal…

      • Ad… scam… Yes! Adscam! It's the assonance that makes it.

  31. Yep, he said it all right. For those of you who don't want to go through the agony of watching the whole interview (posted by Harold Hansard) you'll find the statement around the 4:15 mark. Man, he really has lost the plot. Andrew, how are you coping?

  32. Is it possible that Harper is making a threat?

    In other words, he's telling the media bosses — especially CTV and Canwest — that if they cover prorogation any more, he's going to turn off the EAP ads?

    That couldn't be it, could it?

  33. Sounds like a veiled threat. Is he saying play nice or the money stops?

  34. Harper will not be suing anyone for this quote.

  35. Hey Maclean's, stop lying.