Lady Gaga isn’t PM’s happy place

RICK MERCER: While Harper looks awkward and Iggy learns low expectations are his friend, lowlier politicians rejoice

Lady Gaga isn't PM's happy place

Chris Wattie/Reuters

Michael Ignatieff’s campaign is a magnificent triumph! Canadians are seeing a side of the man that they did not know existed and they are excited about what they see. This is according to the people who work for Mr. Ignatieff and whose future employment prospects are tied directly to his success or failure.

The joy permeating out of the Liberal camp in week two reminds me of the joy my parents experienced when my final Grade 8 report card came in. Eyes darted past the C’s and B’s, the F in gym, past the multiple “needs improvement,” past the “still owes $60 to the chocolate almond fund,” and finally settled on the most reassuring words any parents could read: “advance to Grade 9.” They could not have been happier. After a year of lowered expectations, it seemed like a miracle. He doesn’t have to go to summer school! Clearly the boy is a genius. Likewise the Liberal refrain: “Iggy is on fire.”

Low expectations are your friend. I learned that lesson in junior high; Ignatieff is just figuring this out now, but it is working for him. So far he has held his own, hasn’t fallen off the podium or wandered down any strange roads pondering in public about “anticipatory hypotheticals.” While this is good news for Liberals, low expectations will only take you so far. It may be a good strategy if you are trying to avoid being grounded, but it’s a hell of a way to become prime minister.

On the Prime Minister’s tour the word is that the Harper campaign is a disaster! The Prime Minister’s photo ops are coming across as stiff and scripted. This according to people who, I am guessing, haven’t watched a Harper campaign before, because this one is no different than his others and oh would you look at that—he keeps getting elected Prime Minister.

Sure, he doesn’t look comfortable sitting at a piano listening to a child serenade him with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. Can you blame him? Who put that together? “Prime Minister, are you familiar with Ms. Gaga? Good news: turns out she is not a hermaphrodite, that was a wooden phallus she was wearing… anyway she has written a gay anthem and this little girl is going to sing it to you. Some of the lyrics are about transsexuals and drag queens, but she might skip those.”

And putting the Prime Minister on a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle? He doesn’t drive one of those. It’s not fair. That’s almost as ridiculous as putting him on a stage surrounded by guys doing exercises and having him announce that in five years you might get a tax cut if you join a gym, golf club or bathhouse. Oh wait, he did that too.

Personally, I would ditch these awkward staged moments. Harper’s happy place is on stage, talking to the party faithful about all the horrible things that will befall the nation if he is not elected. There he shines and there he connects with Canadians who are sitting at home watching TV and I guess being afraid. Ignatieff, on the other hand, is standing on his stage but has yet to connect. The polls reflect that.

But these men, Iggy and Harper, are the superstars. They are used to seeing their pictures in the newspaper. They are used to the highs and lows of being on the national stage. But there are many races happening in this country, and for those who toil in the backbenches this is their moment.

It’s not very often that you find all members of Parliament and all candidates in agreement, but they agree on this. They view the job of MP as a great public service and they like to remind us it is a noble one. They also agree that campaigns are a tough slog, but it is a sacrifice they are willing to make.

Personally, it’s the families and friends of politicians I feel bad for because God forbid you are related to one, or friends with one, or happened to go to school with one, or even made eye contact with one. They are a needy bunch. It’s like having a drug addict in the family.

They want money from you constantly. And on top of that, they demand your time and energy.

A politician’s hand is always out, especially during, before and after a campaign, and also before the next one.

Imagine if in order to keep your job, every so often you had to call everyone in your family, every friend, your in-laws, everyone in your yearbook and say, “I’m reapplying for my job again, can I have $500? Also, can you take time out of your busy schedule to show up at some long-forgotten Knights of Columbus hall and chant my name over and over again? And when I speak, can you cheer like you are witnessing Martin Luther King recite ‘I have a dream’ even though we both know I don’t have a clue?”

Most of us go through life trying to avoid hitting up our friends and family for money, and while sure, there are times when it may be inevitable, we try to avoid it becoming a habit.

Politicians are that rare breed. This doesn’t bother them. They are missing the dignity chip. A career politician like John Baird has, in his lifetime, asked more strangers for more money than all the squeegee kids in Canada combined. This is a sacrifice he and so many others are willing to make.

So what is it that allows these men and women to swallow their pride and say: yes, I will do this, I will stand for public office? I do not know.

Everywhere they go they have to stare at billboards and posters with their faces emblazoned across them as if they were suddenly transformed into Hollywood stars. They have to do media, sometimes many interviews a day; which, for an MP used to begging to get on local radio, can be exhausting. And then there is the constant barrage of volunteers to be managed, the old and experienced hands who do the heavy lifting mixed in with the young and impressionable keeners—the ones who wear tight T-shirts with your name across the front who never get tired of listening. And yes, there is the chanting and the applause.

Politicians may very well believe in public service, but for the vast majority it is the campaigns they live and die for; it is why they are put on Earth.

It is why, when you hear Stephen Harper saying he wishes there wasn’t an election, that’s like a dog saying he has grown tired of licking himself. It’s not true, not now, not ever.




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Lady Gaga isn’t PM’s happy place

  1. How do you know, Harper could wish that there wasn't an election, out of the fear of being removed from power. That's all it seems he wants, having the power, his comments don't support him too well either.

    • Or it could be that he actually doesn't want an election…..because he wants to govern.

      • His record, and broken fixed date election laws would beg to differ.

        • Perhaps PM Harper should lose the election and then turn around and seize power anyhow, with the Separatists.

          • I wouldn't put it past him.

        • The fixed date only applied to a majority government, Doug

    • Let me get this straight, only a Liberal is allowed to run for office with the intent of being in power? Like him or not even Jack is running with the intent of getting into power. Thats the whole point of all elections. Did Cretien ever say I'm running for second place? If your not in power your political agenda is not likely to go forward.

  2. How do you know, Harper could wish that there wasn't an election, out of the fear of being removed from power. That's all it seems he wants, having the power, his comments don't support him too well either.

  3. "So what is it that allows these men and women to swallow their pride and say: yes, I will do this, I will stand for public office? I do not know."

    I hear that they get pretty good pensions….and there is always that coveted senate seat…..perhaps it is just greed….

  4. Brilliant!

  5. Brilliant!

  6. Welcome to MacLeans.
    I am always looking for a funny point of view that normally is the view of the masses.

  7. Welcome to MacLeans.

    I am always looking for a funny point of view that normally is the view of the masses.

  8. Thank you Rick for telling it like it is. Should you ever decide to run for any seat of government I would support you fully.

    • Me too! Even if you ran in an area far far away, I would write your name in on the ballot.

  9. When I saw the picture of Harper with the helmet on, I thought , my goodness the bubble he's in is about to crush his head.

    • I'm still laughing. Great comment.

  10. Thank you Rick for telling it like it is. Should you ever decide to run for any seat of government I would support you fully.

  11. When I saw the picture of Harper with the helmet on, I thought , my goodness the bubble he's in is about to crush his head.

  12. I think Harper looks stiff because he wears the suit jacket all the time. But without it he looks more like Toronto's Ford.

  13. The more I see Harper speak – especially the little USA based speeches where he calls Canada second rate, and putting down the things that make this country great… well… the more I'm glad I've never voted for him, or any party he's had leadership in.

    • i think your confused about which leader your talking about,iggy is the one speaking american

      • No, I think you are confused…
        ~ In a June 1997 speech to an American think tank Stephen Harper said, "I was asked to speak about Canadian politics. It may not be true, but it's legendary that if you're like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians."
        This from the man you choose to lead our country?

        • "I'm as American as you are"… American Iggo…. and this is the man that you want to run our country.

        • What was untrue about that statement? Most Canadians have little idea of any history, including theirs. (not saying that Harper was right to say it.)

    • You got that right!

  14. I think Harper looks stiff because he wears the suit jacket all the time. But without it he looks more like Toronto's Ford.

  15. The more I see Harper speak – especially the little USA based speeches where he calls Canada second rate, and putting down the things that make this country great… well… the more I'm glad I've never voted for him, or any party he's had leadership in.

  16. The more Harper says… the less I believe him. Man can’t make up his mind.

    Glad to see you at Maclean’s, Rick!

    - FlipFlopHarper

  17. The more Harper says… the less I believe him. Man can’t make up his mind.

    Glad to see you at Maclean’s, Rick!

    - FlipFlopHarper

  18. You aren't wrong Mr. Mercer, but it is the system we have that does this. We are looking for responsible people with diverse life experience and talents to represent us in Parliament. The way we select them is by having an election, a beauty contest of sorts. The result is our elected representatives are usually people who perform the task of winning an election better than any of the tasks they are elected to DO.
    Welcome to MacLeans as well.

    • This type of comment could only come from a "The world owes me a living" lifetime maritime liberal. You seem to have forgotten that your tax and spend hero was not elected but appointed to the position of the leader of the liberal party. You and your lefty pal Mercer could have been twins.

      • "This type of comment could only come from a "The world owes me a living" lifetime maritime liberal."

        Dollars to donuts YOU are an Albertan.

  19. You aren't wrong Mr. Mercer, but it is the system we have that does this. We are looking for responsible people with diverse life experience and talents to represent us in Parliament. The way we select them is by having an election, a beauty contest of sorts. The result is our elected representatives are usually people who perform the task of winning an election better than any of the tasks they are elected to DO.
    Welcome to MacLeans as well.

  20. I've known many people personally who have run for political office; from a Premier to a school board council chair. I don't see them as having “swallowed their pride”. The common denominator between them, regardless of party affiliation, is that they had a burning desire to "make a difference" and "making things better" for their fellow constituents. It's certainly not something I'd like to do but good for them for having the kind of personality that they do. I'm glad someone wants the job! It's the one issue candidates that concern me but the world would be a very different place without any level of Government. And yes I know this could be a long discussion in it's self!

    A few of my friends who have run for office had a very different idea of what "better" looked like to what I would have thought of as better, but at least they were excited about the opportunity to do their best. Something like being a juror but with a much longer time frame and yes, for the most part, the pay is better!

  21. Isn't hat true. Is there anything more bizarre then any of our leaders desperately trying to convince both us and themselves that they can be dancing bears, uni-cyclists and clowns and run the country? As if the dog and pony show and governing have anything to do with each other. Even more bizarre – surreal even – is they know this and so do the vast majority of the public.

    Gotta go…there goes a politician skipping down the road, chewing on something he just got handed off the day old shelf in the local bakery, Yummy! and desparately trying not look pissed off the kids are scewing up his best camera angles.
    We all know it's phony;.but we all clap and smile and make like it isn't. I got some advise for the politicos…ditch the bagmen and the handlers and try authentic for a change. We promise to keep applauding.

  22. Isn't hat true. Is there anything more bizarre then any of our leaders desperately trying to convince both us and themselves that they can be dancing bears, uni-cyclists and clowns and run the country? As if the dog and pony show and governing have anything to do with each other. Even more bizarre – surreal even – is they know this and so do the vast majority of the public.

    Gotta go…there goes a politician skipping down the road, chewing on something he just got handed off the day old shelf in the local bakery, Yummy! and desparately trying not look pissed off the kids are scewing up his best camera angles.
    We all know it's phony;.but we all clap and smile and make like it isn't. I got some advise for the politicos…ditch the bagmen and the handlers and try authentic for a change. We promise to keep applauding.

  23. This comment was deleted.

    • Al, after reading your post, I think you were talking about yourself.

      Let's keep it civil (and realistic)

  24. Me too! Even if you ran in an area far far away, I would write your name in on the ballot.

  25. Canada's notoriously competitive pollsters have some surprisingly uniform advice about the parade of confusing and conflicting numbers they're about to toss at voters ahead of a possible spring election:

    Take political horse race polls with a small boulder of salt.

    "Pay attention if you want to but, frankly, they don't really mean anything," sums up Andre Turcotte, a pollster and communications professsor at Carleton University.
    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/breakingn

  26. Canada's notoriously competitive pollsters have some surprisingly uniform advice about the parade of confusing and conflicting numbers they're about to toss at voters ahead of a possible spring election:

    Take political horse race polls with a small boulder of salt.

    "Pay attention if you want to but, frankly, they don't really mean anything," sums up Andre Turcotte, a pollster and communications professsor at Carleton University.
    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/breakingn

    • Take a look at Laureen's face — what sadness… I would be sad too married to such a lump.

      • I think Laureen's not thrilled to be at the recital, perhaps. They have enough else on their plates.
        As far as the Harpers being separated…personally, I don't believe it. What I do believe, though, is that gossip is a colossal time-waster.

    • In this is relevant because…..

      What a moronic post!

      • Well actually it shows how big a hypocrite Harper is. If they are separated why does he have her campaigning with him? For show? For deception? I only hope he is not paying her to do it!

        • Nadine, It would be beter if you did not go on and on about it, whether it's true or not.

          The Conservatives have been sleazy enough to smear Ignatieff's wife; the rest of us need not descend to that level.

  27. Ignatieff may be a stiff intellectual but at least he *can* think. And he even gives his audience credit for possibly being able to understand him. Yes some of us do know what “anticipatory hypotheticals” means. That is unlike Layton who talks as if his audience were all 5 years old.

    Harper though seems to recite slogans out of the American right's playbook and simply substitute the word Canada for USA. Better get SETI on it to see if there are any signs of intelligent life there.

    • So pray tell us…. What is an 'anticipatory hypothetical'?
      And I do have 2 University degrees, one in Political Science. These types of phrases can be twisted to so many meanings…. Sad!

      I think Harper needs to get human (impossible, as he is a solenoid robot — Google it! it is a joke)

      And Iggy…. Well, Ziggy Iggy is SO FAR far above poor little Canada, that he should stop wasting his time here, and go try run… oh…. I dunno. Do you think Jupiter is high and exalted enough? Perhaps the Rhine Confederation (Google that too, tho' he is a couple of hundred years too late…)

      As for Jumping Jack, well, now… there is a man who wishes he could inspire some confidence… even if only in himself.

      And as for May? YIKES! There is only one word to describe this woman: Scary. (I could think of worse, but I was trying to be kind.)

      Of them all, only Douceppe actually knows, and will tell you what he wants. Not that it is any good for you. Douceppe is the gentle man at the ATM, who smiles and tells you to hand over the withdrawal you just made….

      Paul Martin (no leader himself) was right: Canada does have a severe Democratic Deficit.
      We also have a severe leadership deficit.

      Hey! Maybe we could make a deal creating at least SOME peace in the world. We take Moamar Qadaffy as our leader for 10 or 12 years, and instant peace in Libya. Now Daffy is insane, but at least, he has some leadership style. (Given his age and lifestyle, I don't think the man has more than 10 or 12 years left in him anyway.) In the meantime, we have a new national reality TV show: If you're smarter than a 5th grader… Could you be Canada's next Leader?

      None of the folks we have running inspire me much. Surely, this CANNOT be the BEST we have to offer. This is, after all, Canada. Surely we have some good people in this country????

  28. Ignatieff may be a stiff intellectual but at least he *can* think. And he even gives his audience credit for possibly being able to understand him. Yes some of us do know what “anticipatory hypotheticals” means. That is unlike Layton who talks as if his audience were all 5 years old.

    Harper though seems to recite slogans out of the American right's playbook and simply substitute the word Canada for USA. Better get SETI on it to see if there are any signs of intelligent life there.

  29. "This is according to the people who work for Mr. Ignatieff and whose future employment prospects are tied directly to his success or failure."

    That explains the Ingnatieff love-in over on the National. Even for the CBC, they have really been pulling out all the stops this campaign. Liberal candidate says something racist/sexist? Don't go to the fridge or you'll miss the whole story. But here's Terry Milewski with our day 4 coverage of Rallygate.

  30. "This is according to the people who work for Mr. Ignatieff and whose future employment prospects are tied directly to his success or failure."

    That explains the Ingnatieff love-in over on the National. Even for the CBC, they have really been pulling out all the stops this campaign. Liberal candidate says something racist/sexist? Don't go to the fridge or you'll miss the whole story. But here's Terry Milewski with our day 4 coverage of Rallygate.

  31. Stephen harper's " photo ops come across as stiff & scripted" – That's because even at small backyard gatherings he reads off a teleprompter.It is unlikely he has even scripted them himself. Who is putting the words into his mouth? Corporate Canada?

    • the apparatus that is putting words in his mouth is more than likely long and cylindrical shaped, with a single orifice at it's terminating point. It tends to 'shoot' loads into his mouth in small obnoxious bursts which he angrily spits out at the public… corporate whore i think he is, and a corporate sock puppet he is.

      • he's actually a very very sick and dumb dim-witted shell of a man, so his awkwardness should be expected.

        • A very very sick and dumb dim-witted shell of man who…. DICTATES right now what this country does! And what the future holds for all of us, including you, in Canada.

      • WoW – I am surprise you manage to even write full sentences… let me guess "shoot" is the key action word in your so elocuent statement? 'small obnoxious burst' – did you copy that from an "adult only" book?
        Corporate… look it up! Is the one that makes you pay $1.30/lt of gas right now and you do it without even complaining!!! Tax them more and they'll pass on the tax right to YOU!!!
        Please use your skill to write something more constructive… any good positive ideas you may have, do you?

    • Mostly US Republican strategists hired by the Conservative Party.

      • To combat the self described American, Iggo, who was inserted into the leadership of the Liberal party without being elected.

        • Trudeau lover is a paid troll. Michael lived in the states, Harper takes his cue from the States. It is well known that Harper hired republican strategists. Let me say that again, republican strategists. Copies republican speeches, copies republican ads. And as a Canadian you're OK with that? Well I do not believe you are Canadian. You are an american republlican troll. The name tells it all. Exposed!!!!!!

          • Iggy's stolen just as much inspiration from the American Democrats as the CPC have from the Republicans. And frankly, I don't care, nor do most people. What I do care about is recent life experience. And most of Iggy's recent life experiences were not Canadian.

            Interesting name you have there too, considering I don't think Iggy's ever claimed to be a proud Canadian before returning to become PM. He's declared himself to be a "citizen of the world", he's claimed to be American, and he's voted in Britain. Harper's lived in Canada his entire adult life. Iggy has lived abroad for most of his adult life.

            If you really want to accuse Harper of being un-Canadian, I suppose that's fine. Just be prepared for your hypocrisy to be pointed out.

          • Harper seems very Canadian to me. And he has a vision–he may not call it that–for Canada's successful future as a country we are extremely privileged to be citizens of, and he's not afraid to stand behind it as firmly as he can. I like that. That's what he's Prime Minister for, isn't it?

          • Oh brother.

  32. Stephen harper's " photo ops come across as stiff & scripted" – That's because even at small backyard gatherings he reads off a teleprompter.It is unlikely he has even scripted them himself. Who is putting the words into his mouth? Corporate Canada?

  33. Excellent article Rick.

  34. Excellent article Rick.

  35. It's not just a matter of "low expectations" but the fact that the whole Conservative strategy is built on demonizing Ignatieff. And ifn that is shown to be false then the Liberals get the benefit while the Conservatives lose their sole election strategy.

    • The liberals also know something of demoninzing. Recall the phrases "hidden agenda" and "soldiers–in our streets"? I don't like the conservatives personal attacks on Ignatieff, but he didn't invent this "attack the person of the leader" tactic.

      • Except the Cons did have soldiers in the streets last June in Toronto.

        • You mean riot police, right?

  36. It's not just a matter of "low expectations" but the fact that the whole Conservative strategy is built on demonizing Ignatieff. And ifn that is shown to be false then the Liberals get the benefit while the Conservatives lose their sole election strategy.

  37. the apparatus that is putting words in his mouth is more than likely long and cylindrical shaped, with a single orifice at it's terminating point. It tends to 'shoot' loads into his mouth in small obnoxious bursts which he angrily spits out at the public… corporate whore i think he is, and a corporate sock puppet he is.

  38. he's actually a very very sick and dumb dim-witted shell of a man, so his awkwardness should be expected.

  39. I am, for the first time in years, looking forward to the debates. Stephen Harper has absolutely no sense of humour. The other leaders do. This is going to be fun.

    • man I've seen a lot more real sense of humour from Harper over the years than Ignateiff. No wonder people don't get why he's the most popular federal leader in Canada and continues to be. You're completely blinded by some kind of Bush-lite chimera.

    • One of the best questions of the debate would be, Stevie, whens the last time you smiled!

  40. I am, for the first time in years, looking forward to the debates. Stephen Harper has absolutely no sense of humour. The other leaders do. This is going to be fun.

  41. I suppose I was referring to Federal pols in particular. I didn't mean to paint with that wide a brush. Federal politics has always seemed a little unseemly to me.

    • Yes, the Federal political world is really a world unto itself! It has it's own culture, rules and expectations that don't usually work anywhere else in regular life. I've seen people who were local MLA's from small northern communities, who were fairly well liked and won their riding seats with relative ease, only to be lured into the Federal realm and within two years you would wonder – who is this person? They seem to be different people with a different set of values. Although I don't think it's true for all politicians, it does happen. I have to give my kudos to those who can maintain their sense of integrity and stay grounded while in Federal politics. Regardless, I still try to keep up on what each party is pushing and how they push it!

  42. I suppose I was referring to Federal pols in particular. I didn't mean to paint with that wide a brush. Federal politics has always seemed a little unseemly to me.

  43. Right on Rick – right on the money – they do it because they love it at some deep level. It is not only about the greater good for the public.

  44. Right on Rick – right on the money – they do it because they love it at some deep level. It is not only about the greater good for the public.

  45. Born to depose? In his high school year book, his stated ambition is to 'depose student council'. He's moved his ambition onto a different venue – parliament.

  46. Born to depose? In his high school year book, his stated ambition is to 'depose student council'. He's moved his ambition onto a different venue – parliament.

  47. Mostly US Republican strategists hired by the Conservative Party.

  48. A very very sick and dumb dim-witted shell of man who…. DICTATES right now what this country does! And what the future holds for all of us, including you, in Canada.

  49. WoW – I am surprise you manage to even write full sentences… let me guess "shoot" is the key action word in your so elocuent statement? 'small obnoxious burst' – did you copy that from an "adult only" book?
    Corporate… look it up! Is the one that makes you pay $1.30/lt of gas right now and you do it without even complaining!!! Tax them more and they'll pass on the tax right to YOU!!!
    Please use your skill to write something more constructive… any good positive ideas you may have, do you?

  50. HARPER'S HELMET IS A WINNER……

    in the Global Village Idiot contest!

  51. HARPER'S HELMET IS A WINNER……

    in the Global Village Idiot contest!

  52. At least Ignatieff (or, for that manner Layton, May or Duceppe) cannot embarrass Canadians on the world stage!

    This country bumpkin we are now saddled with as Prime Minister of Parliamentary Neanderthals and Assorted Bullies is an embarassment that is Zimbabwean more than Canadian…heaven help us with this Alberta immigrant mailroom boy who made it to the Ottawa Hill because of his burning hate for Women, Seniors, Veterans and anything spelling "Canadian" Least Canadian PM we've had…

    • I've lived in Alberta for about 1/3 of my life and I don't feel any less Canadian for it. Not for a second.

    • Said the tolerant Liberal drone.

    • I hear so much about Harper embarressing us on the world stage. Aside from being late for a photo op, can you give me concrete examples? I see him with world leaders, and I think he represents the country well.

      I'm also a woman, and I don't think he hates me.

        • That is not an example of Canada being embarrassed on the world stage. That's just a Liberal in another country espousing Liberal values. There's nothing surprising or embarrassing about that.

    • He's an embarrassment because he's had the gall to walk out on bogus international conferences, such as UN 'Human Rights' love-ins which are little more than a soapbox for dictatorial and tyrannical regimes to rant about Zionist conspiracy.

      Or refusing to commit to schemes like cap and trade (revealed to be predicated upon junk science and outright data manipulation. Also, Interpol estimates that over 90% of the current credits traded in Europe have ties to laundering of money by organized crime).

      Or balking at a global banking tax to fund world government (an ideological-driven tax which would have punished our financial sector that stayed relatively clean of the shenanigans that crippled everyone else, and would have been passed on to the customers anyway).

      Or how about sitting out of the invasion of Iraq to stop WMDs? He's a tool of American corporate interests, yet bailed on their imperial conquest. How do we square that circle?

  53. At least Ignatieff (or, for that manner Layton, May or Duceppe) cannot embarrass Canadians on the world stage!

    This country bumpkin we are now saddled with as Prime Minister of Parliamentary Neanderthals and Assorted Bullies is an embarassment that is Zimbabwean more than Canadian…heaven help us with this Alberta immigrant mailroom boy who made it to the Ottawa Hill because of his burning hate for Women, Seniors, Veterans and anything spelling "Canadian" Least Canadian PM we've had…

  54. Yes, the Federal political world is really a world unto itself! It has it's own culture, rules and expectations that don't usually work anywhere else in regular life. I've seen people who were local MLA's from small northern communities, who were fairly well liked and won their riding seats with relative ease, only to be lured into the Federal realm and within two years you would wonder – who is this person? They seem to be different people with a different set of values. Although I don't think it's true for all politicians, it does happen. I have to give my kudos to those who can maintain their sense of integrity and stay grounded while in Federal politics. Regardless, I still try to keep up on what each party is pushing and how they push it!

  55. i'm taking names, one more negative comment and i will find you all on facebook …then we will see who has the last laugh. next june i'll spit on in order of fries or on your burger or maybe be purposely late delivering your pizza…yeah that's the ticket, i'll kick'em where they live

    • So what you're saying is that you're an NDP volunteer and activist too?

    • Good luck with that, Mr. Uber-Hacker, I'm behind 7 proxies.

  56. i'm taking names, one more negative comment and i will find you all on facebook …then we will see who has the last laugh. next june i'll spit on in order of fries or on your burger or maybe be purposely late delivering your pizza…yeah that's the ticket, i'll kick'em where they live

  57. It would appear from the above comments that a growing number of thinking Canadians are finally seeing through the disguises that were once made popular by another "redneck" by the name of Day. Sucking up to the American "right" is definitely not the Canadian way

    • But wasn't Iggy sucking up to the American "right", when he was their primary cheerleader for war in Iraq? Wasn't Iggy sucking up to the American right when he said that torturing prisoners was just fine, as long as it was Americans doing the torturing? Wasn't Iggy sucking up to the American right when he vehemently supported continuing Canada's mission in Afghanistan?

  58. It would appear from the above comments that a growing number of thinking Canadians are finally seeing through the disguises that were once made popular by another "redneck" by the name of Day. Sucking up to the American "right" is definitely not the Canadian way

  59. Or it could be that he actually doesn't want an election…..because he wants to govern.

  60. Al, after reading your post, I think you were talking about yourself.

    Let's keep it civil (and realistic)

  61. is this supposed to be amusing? or is actual political commentary? There is nothing like the smell of victory. Landslide coming..

  62. is this supposed to be amusing? or is actual political commentary? There is nothing like the smell of victory. Landslide coming..

  63. His record, and broken fixed date election laws would beg to differ.

  64. Excellent column; I look forward to many more. You're as good a writer as you are a ranter, Rick. Made me smile, it's good to see someone who's got balance on the political situation, and isn't afraid to say it like it is.

    Finally – we have our Jon Stewart.

  65. Excellent column; I look forward to many more. You're as good a writer as you are a ranter, Rick. Made me smile, it's good to see someone who's got balance on the political situation, and isn't afraid to say it like it is.

    Finally – we have our Jon Stewart.

  66. Dear Rick Mercer, Thank you. I laughed out loud. That last line is the kicker.

    Congrats to Macleans for hiring the best.

  67. Dear Rick Mercer, Thank you. I laughed out loud. That last line is the kicker.

    Congrats to Macleans for hiring the best.

  68. man I've seen a lot more real sense of humour from Harper over the years than Ignateiff. No wonder people don't get why he's the most popular federal leader in Canada and continues to be. You're completely blinded by some kind of Bush-lite chimera.

  69. I've lived in Alberta for about 1/3 of my life and I don't feel any less Canadian for it. Not for a second.

  70. Personally I think America got their Mercer when Stewart showed up.

  71. Is it satire–or bullying? whatever is bothering U should be taken with a grain of salt! He wants 2 govern– & without a majority– none of them can govern– just wait till the others(should we have manority)form a coalition– there will be nothing but–in fighting!!!!! NOthing ever gets done in a coalition– so think about it!!!

    • What most people don’t understand is just how extensive the powers of a minority government really are. — If you start putting the pieces together and see what Harper has done without resorting to parliament you’ll begin to get the picture.

      He gets to set the agenda, set policy for government and the civil service, hire top civil servants, appoint the senate and generally affect in subtle and not so subtle ways, the whole of government up to and including the CBC web site which appears to have been redesigned in look and editorial policy for the election.

      And if the government, minority or majority doesn’t believe in something for whatever reason, the whole issue is off the agenda and nothing gets done. (eg. the most critical environmental issues of our time aren’t on Harper’s radar)

      Yes, a minority government is forced to negotiate on confidence points such as the budget if they don’t want to go to an election and they can’t get everything they want passed, past the opposition unimpeded. — If you go back and look at Harper’s party policies, history and trajectory in politics, not being able to pass legislation unimpeded should be regarded as a good thing.

      For what little it’s worth ….In a world where political voices all seem to be hardening down party lines and power is concentrating more and more in the PMO/PCO I’m all for minority governments and coalitions forever.

  72. Is it satire–or bullying? whatever is bothering U should be taken with a grain of salt! He wants 2 govern– & without a majority– none of them can govern– just wait till the others(should we have manority)form a coalition– there will be nothing but–in fighting!!!!! NOthing ever gets done in a coalition– so think about it!!!

  73. i think your confused about which leader your talking about,iggy is the one speaking american

  74. Pictures like this an those of every other celeb he has been photographed with reminds me of this little clip from him.

    "Meeting celebrities isn't my shtick," he added. "That was the shtick of the previous guy."

    By the "previous guy," Harper was referring to former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin, who met with Bono several times.

  75. Pictures like this an those of every other celeb he has been photographed with reminds me of this little clip from him.

    "Meeting celebrities isn't my shtick," he added. "That was the shtick of the previous guy."

    By the "previous guy," Harper was referring to former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin, who met with Bono several times.

  76. When I saw Mr Harper with his helmet and ATV I was reminded of Stockwell Day and his Seadoo. Well done Mr Mercer.

  77. When I saw Mr Harper with his helmet and ATV I was reminded of Stockwell Day and his Seadoo. Well done Mr Mercer.

  78. Perhaps PM Harper should lose the election and then turn around and seize power anyhow, with the Separatists.

  79. To combat the self described American, Iggo, who was inserted into the leadership of the Liberal party without being elected.

  80. Said the tolerant Liberal drone.

  81. So what you're saying is that you're an NDP volunteer and activist too?

  82. No, I think you are confused…
    ~ In a June 1997 speech to an American think tank Stephen Harper said, "I was asked to speak about Canadian politics. It may not be true, but it's legendary that if you're like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians."
    This from the man you choose to lead our country?

  83. Take a look at Laureen's face — what sadness… I would be sad too married to such a lump.

  84. Mercer:
    You and your ilk (Jon Stewart et all) are a big part of the low-turnout of voters, especially young potential-voters who would likely vote center or center-left.
    Despite whatever you might say to the contrary about the importance of voting, your smear-all-sides-alike in sarcasm just convinces people not to bother. (with the exception of the die-hard-cons who get riled up by your insults and redouble their efforts)

    • Really?! It's Rick Mercer's fault that Canadians haven't fallen in love with the NDP? Wow, that's out there.

      I think it's probably the other way around. Rick's funny because he's in touch with what the public feels on any given issue. I think one of the main reason's he's been so successful is because he doesn't imposes his views on his audience.

  85. Mercer:
    You and your ilk (Jon Stewart et all) are a big part of the low-turnout of voters, especially young potential-voters who would likely vote center or center-left.
    Despite whatever you might say to the contrary about the importance of voting, your smear-all-sides-alike in sarcasm just convinces people not to bother. (with the exception of the die-hard-cons who get riled up by your insults and redouble their efforts)

  86. This type of comment could only come from a "The world owes me a living" lifetime maritime liberal. You seem to have forgotten that your tax and spend hero was not elected but appointed to the position of the leader of the liberal party. You and your lefty pal Mercer could have been twins.

  87. I am staying off fast food, look up

  88. I am staying off fast food, look up

  89. Rick, if you rin firnoffuve Iwould vote for you and I proomuse not to give you any money.

  90. Rick, if you rin firnoffuve Iwould vote for you and I proomuse not to give you any money.

  91. "I'm as American as you are"… American Iggo…. and this is the man that you want to run our country.

  92. In this is relevant because…..

    What a moronic post!

  93. 100% agreed!!

  94. 100% agreed!!

  95. I wouldn't put it past him.

  96. "This type of comment could only come from a "The world owes me a living" lifetime maritime liberal."

    Dollars to donuts YOU are an Albertan.

  97. The liberals also know something of demoninzing. Recall the phrases "hidden agenda" and "soldiers–in our streets"? I don't like the conservatives personal attacks on Ignatieff, but he didn't invent this "attack the person of the leader" tactic.

  98. I hear so much about Harper embarressing us on the world stage. Aside from being late for a photo op, can you give me concrete examples? I see him with world leaders, and I think he represents the country well.

    I'm also a woman, and I don't think he hates me.

  99. You got that right!

  100. Mr. Mercer,

    My 85 year old friend Mildred just got a new telephone. She keeps getting calls from those pesky pollsters and Jack Layton how she will vote. They call her all the time, yet she can't call out because she has arthritis. It's difficult for her to turn the crank on the phone. Perhaps Jack can offer Canadian seniors better phone-care.

  101. Mr. Mercer,

    My 85 year old friend Mildred just got a new telephone. She keeps getting calls from those pesky pollsters and Jack Layton how she will vote. They call her all the time, yet she can't call out because she has arthritis. It's difficult for her to turn the crank on the phone. Perhaps Jack can offer Canadian seniors better phone-care.

  102. "Sure, he doesn't look comfortable sitting at a piano listening to a child serenade him with Lady Gaga's Born This Way. Can you blame him?"

    I thought it was kinda like the Bush looking out the window at New Orleans after the earth quake … a moment in time when even Mr Harper realized that maybe he has gone too far using a kid as a PROP and not just any kid.

    Who put that together?

  103. "Sure, he doesn't look comfortable sitting at a piano listening to a child serenade him with Lady Gaga's Born This Way. Can you blame him?"

    I thought it was kinda like the Bush looking out the window at New Orleans after the earth quake … a moment in time when even Mr Harper realized that maybe he has gone too far using a kid as a PROP and not just any kid.

    Who put that together?

  104. The fixed date only applied to a majority government, Doug

  105. No, I think it is all about power – power to do things, power to be the boss.

    • You clearly dont know that many people in politics do you? There are many that manage to hang on to their sense of duty and integrity in nearly every field of politics.

  106. No, I think it is all about power – power to do things, power to be the boss.

  107. He's an embarrassment because he's had the gall to walk out on bogus international conferences, such as UN 'Human Rights' love-ins which are little more than a soapbox for dictatorial and tyrannical regimes to rant about Zionist conspiracy.

    Or refusing to commit to schemes like cap and trade (revealed to be predicated upon junk science and outright data manipulation. Also, Interpol estimates that over 90% of the current credits traded in Europe have ties to laundering of money by organized crime).

    Or balking at a global banking tax to fund world government (an ideological-driven tax which would have punished our financial sector that stayed relatively clean of the shenanigans that crippled everyone else, and would have been passed on to the customers anyway).

    Or how about sitting out of the invasion of Iraq to stop WMDs? He's a tool of American corporate interests, yet bailed on their imperial conquest. How do we square that circle?

  108. Good luck with that, Mr. Uber-Hacker, I'm behind 7 proxies.

  109. I'm still laughing. Great comment.

  110. Well actually it shows how big a hypocrite Harper is. If they are separated why does he have her campaigning with him? For show? For deception? I only hope he is not paying her to do it!

  111. Trudeau lover is a paid troll. Michael lived in the states, Harper takes his cue from the States. It is well known that Harper hired republican strategists. Let me say that again, republican strategists. Copies republican speeches, copies republican ads. And as a Canadian you're OK with that? Well I do not believe you are Canadian. You are an american republlican troll. The name tells it all. Exposed!!!!!!

  112. One of the best questions of the debate would be, Stevie, whens the last time you smiled!

  113. Said the American Republican plant!

  114. You clearly dont know that many people in politics do you? There are many that manage to hang on to their sense of duty and integrity in nearly every field of politics.

  115. What was untrue about that statement? Most Canadians have little idea of any history, including theirs. (not saying that Harper was right to say it.)

  116. Except the Cons did have soldiers in the streets last June in Toronto.

  117. No knock on Mr. Mercer, but I wish Feschuk had beaten him to the photo. That thing's begging for a caption contest.

  118. No knock on Mr. Mercer, but I wish Feschuk had beaten him to the photo. That thing's begging for a caption contest.

    • Your complaint has absolutely no merit, unless posted with accompanying caption. It doesn't need to be officially sanctioned to be funny, you know.

      • 'key doke. Thought balloons over each Harper's head. Inside each of them, "I'm so lonely."

  119. Do I really need to remind you that it's Michael Ignatieff who's on record saying "I'm an American Democrat", or referring to the USA as his country? Ignatieff would be signing us up to be the 53rd state by the 4th of July.

  120. Iggy's stolen just as much inspiration from the American Democrats as the CPC have from the Republicans. And frankly, I don't care, nor do most people. What I do care about is recent life experience. And most of Iggy's recent life experiences were not Canadian.

    Interesting name you have there too, considering I don't think Iggy's ever claimed to be a proud Canadian before returning to become PM. He's declared himself to be a "citizen of the world", he's claimed to be American, and he's voted in Britain. Harper's lived in Canada his entire adult life. Iggy has lived abroad for most of his adult life.

    If you really want to accuse Harper of being un-Canadian, I suppose that's fine. Just be prepared for your hypocrisy to be pointed out.

  121. That is not an example of Canada being embarrassed on the world stage. That's just a Liberal in another country espousing Liberal values. There's nothing surprising or embarrassing about that.

  122. But wasn't Iggy sucking up to the American "right", when he was their primary cheerleader for war in Iraq? Wasn't Iggy sucking up to the American right when he said that torturing prisoners was just fine, as long as it was Americans doing the torturing? Wasn't Iggy sucking up to the American right when he vehemently supported continuing Canada's mission in Afghanistan?

  123. Really?! It's Rick Mercer's fault that Canadians haven't fallen in love with the NDP? Wow, that's out there.

    I think it's probably the other way around. Rick's funny because he's in touch with what the public feels on any given issue. I think one of the main reason's he's been so successful is because he doesn't imposes his views on his audience.

  124. Your complaint has absolutely no merit, unless posted with accompanying caption. It doesn't need to be officially sanctioned to be funny, you know.

  125. 'key doke. Thought balloons over each Harper's head. Inside each of them, "I'm so lonely."

  126. How do we support the public servants and politicians who ARE ethical? I'm sure there are emotionally healthy people in Ottawa who could probably use some support right now for daring to do their jobs in the face of so much bullying from politicians and public alike.

  127. How do we support the public servants and politicians who ARE ethical? I'm sure there are emotionally healthy people in Ottawa who could probably use some support right now for daring to do their jobs in the face of so much bullying from politicians and public alike.

  128. Said the paid Liberal party drone!

  129. Nadine, It would be beter if you did not go on and on about it, whether it's true or not.

    The Conservatives have been sleazy enough to smear Ignatieff's wife; the rest of us need not descend to that level.

  130. Harper is already doing that.

  131. Harper is already doing that.

  132. So pray tell us…. What is an 'anticipatory hypothetical'?
    And I do have 2 University degrees, one in Political Science. These types of phrases can be twisted to so many meanings…. Sad!

    I think Harper needs to get human (impossible, as he is a solenoid robot — Google it! it is a joke)

    And Iggy…. Well, Ziggy Iggy is SO FAR far above poor little Canada, that he should stop wasting his time here, and go try run… oh…. I dunno. Do you think Jupiter is high and exalted enough? Perhaps the Rhine Confederation (Google that too, tho' he is a couple of hundred years too late…)

    As for Jumping Jack, well, now… there is a man who wishes he could inspire some confidence… even if only in himself.

    And as for May? YIKES! There is only one word to describe this woman: Scary. (I could think of worse, but I was trying to be kind.)

    Of them all, only Douceppe actually knows, and will tell you what he wants. Not that it is any good for you. Douceppe is the gentle man at the ATM, who smiles and tells you to hand over the withdrawal you just made….

    Paul Martin (no leader himself) was right: Canada does have a severe Democratic Deficit.
    We also have a severe leadership deficit.

    Hey! Maybe we could make a deal creating at least SOME peace in the world. We take Moamar Qadaffy as our leader for 10 or 12 years, and instant peace in Libya. Now Daffy is insane, but at least, he has some leadership style. (Given his age and lifestyle, I don't think the man has more than 10 or 12 years left in him anyway.) In the meantime, we have a new national reality TV show: If you're smarter than a 5th grader… Could you be Canada's next Leader?

    None of the folks we have running inspire me much. Surely, this CANNOT be the BEST we have to offer. This is, after all, Canada. Surely we have some good people in this country????

  133. Let me get this straight, only a Liberal is allowed to run for office with the intent of being in power? Like him or not even Jack is running with the intent of getting into power. Thats the whole point of all elections. Did Cretien ever say I'm running for second place? If your not in power your political agenda is not likely to go forward.

  134. I think Laureen's not thrilled to be at the recital, perhaps. They have enough else on their plates.
    As far as the Harpers being separated…personally, I don't believe it. What I do believe, though, is that gossip is a colossal time-waster.

  135. Oh brother.

  136. Harper seems very Canadian to me. And he has a vision–he may not call it that–for Canada's successful future as a country we are extremely privileged to be citizens of, and he's not afraid to stand behind it as firmly as he can. I like that. That's what he's Prime Minister for, isn't it?

  137. You mean riot police, right?

  138. What most people don’t understand is just how extensive the powers of a minority government really are. — If you start putting the pieces together and see what Harper has done without resorting to parliament you’ll begin to get the picture.

    He gets to set the agenda, set policy for government and the civil service, hire top civil servants, appoint the senate and generally affect in subtle and not so subtle ways, the whole of government up to and including the CBC web site which appears to have been redesigned in look and editorial policy for the election.

    And if the government, minority or majority doesn’t believe in something for whatever reason, the whole issue is off the agenda and nothing gets done. (eg. the most critical environmental issues of our time aren’t on Harper’s radar)

    Yes, a minority government is forced to negotiate on confidence points such as the budget if they don’t want to go to an election and they can’t get everything they want passed, past the opposition unimpeded. — If you go back and look at Harper’s party policies, history and trajectory in politics, not being able to pass legislation unimpeded should be regarded as a good thing.

    For what little it’s worth ….In a world where political voices all seem to be hardening down party lines and power is concentrating more and more in the PMO/PCO I’m all for minority governments and coalitions forever.

  139. Fantastic! Welcome to Macleans!

  140. Fantastic! Welcome to Macleans!

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