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Stephen Harper’s last chance to lead

After Senate scandals and a backbench revolt, Harper loyalists are looking for an agenda from the prime minister


 
Last chance to lead

Chris Wattie/Reuters

It wasn’t expected to be this way for Chris Alexander. Four years ago, the Tories recruited the celebrated diplomat—who, at just 34, had been named Canada’s ambassador to Afghanistan in 2003—to be a star candidate. After he won a southern Ontario seat in the 2011 election, he seemed destined to be a voice of foreign-policy expertise in a Conservative caucus better known for no-frills populism. Lately, though, he’s been deployed as an all-purpose defender of a government under heavy fire. As the Senate spending scandal raged, Alexander appeared often on TV to take the heat. When Edmonton MP Brent Rathgeber quit the Tory caucus last week to sit as an independent, Alexander was tasked with making the case that the government doesn’t mistreat its own backbenchers. He says he’s happy to pitch in as a “team player.” But he also talks tellingly about how Prime Minister Stephen Harper must soon reclaim control of the political agenda after months of coping with controversy.

In an analysis echoed by many Tory MPs and strategists, Alexander says revelations of improper spending by senators, along with rumblings of unrest among backbench Tory MPs, wouldn’t have so thoroughly dominated the news if the Conservatives were pushing fresh policies interesting enough to compete for attention. “The government has to pivot at this point, from focusing on the platform we all ran on in 2011—which I argue strongly we’ve done a lot of work on—toward framing up a new set of priorities, a new agenda we would take into the next election,” he told Maclean’s. In fact, Harper is widely expected to try to do just that in three steps: a major speech at a Conservative party convention late this month in Calgary, followed by a cabinet shuffle sometime this summer, capped by a Throne Speech in the fall that will reframe the Tory agenda heading toward the fixed date of Oct. 19, 2015, for the next federal election.

It’s a plan. And if all Harper had to do was outlast the uproar over some senators’ dubious expense claims, those three strides might look more than sufficient to carry him into the clear. But his troubles have worsened in ways that transcend the Senate’s woes. Two previously undoubted strengths of Harper’s governing formula are now being questioned as never before—his inner circle’s ability to manage sensitive files, and his hold on the loyalty of his own MPs. The Prime Minister’s Office looked almost farcically fallible over Nigel Wright, Harper’s powerful chief of staff, having to resign after cutting a $90,000 personal cheque to pay back Sen. Mike Duffy’s improperly claimed expenses. Then Rathgeber’s indignant exit set off unprecedented grumbling among sympathetic Tory backbenchers. (He quit after his own party’s leadership gutted his private member’s bill on public servants’ pay, legislation that would have required the government to publish senior bureaucrats’ salaries.)

Still, Harper loyalists, and they are legion, keep telling each other not to panic. Alexander points to a Canadian economy that continues to outpace those of countries such as the U.S., Britain and even Germany. Indeed, Statistics Canada reported 95,000 new jobs created in May, the best monthly total since 2002. Looking ahead, he touts initiatives designed to speed the path to jobs for students, immigrants and Employment Insurance recipients, and to the government’s ambitious trade agenda, including drawn-out negotiations toward a Canada-European Union trade deal. He’s far from alone in banking on economic themes resonating with voters long after the scandals have faded. “Of course, the top issue remains jobs and the economy,” says New Brunswick Tory John Williamson, one of several Conservative MPs who, earlier this spring, argued for more freedom for backbenchers to speak as they please in the House, without always being subject to party discipline. “This is the public’s top concern and it will remain ours.”

But NDP MP Charlie Angus, a prominent question period performer for the official Opposition on integrity-in-government issues, says Conservatives hoping to revert to back-to-basics economics messages fail to grasp what matters most about their own political brand. “They were elected on accountability,” Angus said, referring to the no-holds-barred Conservative assaults on the Liberals over the so-called sponsorship affair in 2004 and 2005, which led to Harper’s first election victory in 2006. He adds that Harper showed he’s lost touch with the sensitivity of his core supporters to ethics issues by having his officials defend Wright—even praise him—for several days before he accepted his top aide’s resignation. “They told ordinary Canadians, ‘Oh, it’s perfectly ethical for somebody who wanted to help to write a secret $90,000 cheque,’ ” Angus argued. “But average Canadians don’t know anybody like that—certainly, the Conservative base doesn’t know people like that.”

On parting company with the Conservatives, Rathgeber took the classic tack of blaming the Prime Minister’s advisers, rather than Harper himself, especially over the handling of Wright’s entanglement with Duffy. He said “the Prime Minister’s Office seems to be accountable to nobody, not even the Prime Minister,” and that PMO staffers in their 20s operate “opaquely and routinely without adult supervision.” Harper can’t afford to allow the perception to take root that he governs through a highly centralized coterie of unelected aides, dangerously disconnected from the rest of his own party. His next big chance to prove he’s still able to connect directly with Tories off Parliament Hill will come at the Conservative convention from June 27 to 29 in Calgary. While his speech hasn’t yet been officially slated, he’s expected to set the tone with an address on the opening evening of the three-day confab. Party delegates will have a chance to vent at sessions closed to the media on the second day, with policy resolutions coming to the floor for an open session on the final day.

Coming after such a bruising spring political season, the convergence of Tory true-believers on Calgary is taking on greater importance than is typical for this sort of policy convention. A veteran Conservative who has worked closely with Harper in the past, who asked not to be quoted by name, predicted the Prime Minister’s team will be working overtime to keep any dissent from erupting into the open sessions. “I expect it will be very tightly managed, in terms of what the media see,” he said. “What goes on behind closed doors is another matter.” He doubts Harper will announce anything particularly dramatic at the convention. “He will be inclined to ride this out, then shuffle his cabinet, prorogue Parliament and come back in the fall with some new policy positions and direction.”

As for any further backbench revolt in the wake of Rathgeber’s departure, senior Conservatives say even those MPs who harbour private grievances have good reason to maintain discipline. For a few, there’s the possibility of a promotion in that widely anticipated summer cabinet shuffle. Others are being reminded that, despite Rathgeber’s anger over the government’s handling of his public-sector salaries bill, backbench Tory MPs have been unusually successful in seeing their private members’ legislation actually passed into law. They range from a bill outlawing people from wearing masks during riots, to another allowing consumers to ship wine they’ve bought across provincial borders, to an act now before the Senate that would force unions to disclose details of their finances to public scrutiny. “It kind of runs counter to the theme of MPs as nobodies,” says Tory House leader Peter Van Loan. As for those MPs who remain agitated, some insiders shrug that off as unavoidable for a party that’s been in power for more than seven years. “We’re in our third term,” says one Conservative strategist. “It doesn’t surprise me that there’s some discontent.”

In the end, Harper’s ability to maintain control will probably depend on whether his troops continue to see him as their best bet for winning the next campaign. He’s being seriously tested. Polls have put the Liberals in first place since Justin Trudeau won their leadership in April. NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair scored the praise of pundits, at least, for his question period interrogations of Harper on Wright’s personal bailout of Duffy.

It all adds up to a watershed moment for Harper’s Tories. Alexander predicts Calgary will showcase the “strength of our organization and of our ideas.” Both look urgently in serious need of some mid-term refurbishing.


 

Stephen Harper’s last chance to lead

  1. It could be argued that the Conservative agenda is becoming a liability. The government ads depicting Canada as primarily a resource economy betrays the intent to sell our natural assets to the first customer through the door rather than leverage our collective natural wealth into a vital, modern economy. This is indicative of an increasingly myopic, naive policy direction continually exhibited by Harper and his crew. They are stripping the nation of the building blocks for a strong economy all the time saying how brilliant they are.

    • The opportunity the conservative agenda will miss can be found in the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. The reason conservatives, reactive thinkers, miss such opportunities can be found in the book. The way liberalism, reasoned thinkers, should undermine conservatives can be found in the book. There is no right or left, a mythical continuum with a make belief centre. There are two thinking processes, reactive that makes us common with all animals and reasoned thinking that separates us. These are like parallel lines, lines that by their nature can never meet.

      • It’s always nice to read self-serving comments that describe people like yourself as “reasoned” and people who disagree with you as “reactive”. I mean, it’s so much easier to dismiss people that you think are somehow “animals” and it makes it even easier to dispose of those you don’t agree with when the time comes. The great dictators of the world would be proud to see you’ve taken the first step towards joining them.

        • That is not my intent, to give some psychopath the ability to manipulate. My intention is to do the opposite. Reactive and reasoned thinking are habits. Warren Buffett practices the good habit of reasoning. He avoids the bad habit of reactive thinker. He uses the bad habit that creates false fears and false expectations of reactive thinkers as opportunities to profit. There, I think, is only one choice we have to make something of our selfs. That is to practice the good habit of reason, and avoid the default of reactive thinking. Reactive thinkers are predictable and therefore easy to manipulate. The best in class manipulators are of the 300,000 Canadian “Snakes in Suits, When Psychopaths Go to Work”, at $300 to $1,000 an hour for the Conservative Party of Canada to manipulate the typical Conservative, a reactive thinker.

          • Donnie: There is another book on this: “Fight the Right” by Warren Kinsella. He believes that Conservative thinking is based on fear. i.e.

            1) they get into Wars and give unconditional support to Israel because they fear Arabs.

            2) they build mega prisons even when the crime rate is dropping

            3) they resist the science of Global Warming because of fear and distrust

            4) they won’t do anything useful to help the Aboriginals because they fear change.

            Brian Mulroney was not a true Conservative because he introduced new ideas like Free Trade and the GST.

            Stephen Harper who is actually from the Reform Party is more Conservative than Joe Clark and most other Conservative leaders from the past.

          • Yes, it is habit they can change if they want to. I was under the false notion fear and flight were somewhat equal as we scanned with our background thinking. Kahneman points out for the good of all species flight trumps fight. A rat does not look like John Baird confounded by reason until the rat is corned after trying to flee. Our reactive part of the brain can’t be reasoned with. False fears are dealt with the same way as real threats. We flee. Too often we flee over some proverbial cliff consumed by the false fear. That is a reason using reactive thinking is a bad habit. But unless we work at it we will deal with the proverbial tiger by fleeing and if corned calling it a liberal securalur atheist bringing at end to western civilization. Reason is also for dealing with the tiger, not by fleeining but by confronting the tiger. The US army write, unwittingly, about our practicalar species advantage. Google “confronting the tiger” “small unit cohesion”. We confront the tiger not as the mythical self reliant individual but as a unit of half a dozen inter-reliant individuals. If we do that our DNA, if we contribute in a meaningful way in a small team, a book club, our DNA will have us smile. Understanding that is appreciating “the art of getting up in the morning”.

          • But Donnie, as I mentioned in a separate post, the Liberals who are not so burdened are pretty short of constructive ideas an policies.

          • How do you introduce new ideas when neo-conservatives have daily confirmation that a percentage of the population are so easily manipulated by lies? The conservative base have the bad habit of reactionary thinking so easily manipulated by Stephen Harper. So the lies that conservatives use to bash and bash some more make it impossible to introduce any new ideas.

          • Donnie: I am talking about the Liberal Platform not legislation in Parliament. In the last election, Michael Ignatieff had a lot of ideas about spending money on education, infrastructure and other things and somehow this was all going to be paid for by a delay of the corporate income tax cuts. And they had no policy on Global Warming.

            I think the Liberals have to come up with a better platform that includes balancing the budget and they have to take a stand on Global Warming.

            I am concerned that Justin Trudeau may be a little young for explaining all this in 2015. I think Thomas Mulcair may do a lot better than people currently expect.

          • I agree with you that the Liberals have been unable to use liberalism as a substrate of prosperity. As for Trudeau I he is ready. Being a teacher and river rapids guide is far better than Stephen Harper jobs that only required the ability to bash and bash some more. .

          • Donnie: I don’t think background is the issue. Its what you are inside. Inside, Stephen Harper is a bully and Inside, Justin is a person with very few convictions.

            Now Justin is young and convictions often come from life’s experiences which have been limited for him. What scared me about Justin was he said he was not against the Northern Gateway Pipeline in principle, he was simply against the route which was going through pristine wilderness.

            If you accept the science of Global Warming, we must severely curtail our oil sands production because the burning of the oil in China, US or elsewhere will lead to unstoppable, catastrophic global warming. See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/opinion/game-over-for-the-climate.html?_r=0

          • Yes, at about 666 ppm we will be at the event horizon. Into a black hole of climate chaos our species is ill equipped to survive in. But the psychopaths, many with a vengeful God on their side, who manipulate the reactionary thinkers to accept climate change is a money making hoax by scientist are in control of America and Canada. Convictions based on reason makes you an easy target for psychopaths.

          • I think we should be prepared to exploit the resources of bitumen. I don’t understand the rush. The cost to turn the crap into saleable product is something like $60 a barrel. The market price is $100 a barrel. Why don’t we wait until the market price is $300 or $1,000,000 a barrel so there is some decent gross margin to cover the true cost. Harper said a few weeks ago that the oil industry was fining it hard to make money at current market prices, depressed by gas fracking, so why the rush? I don’t get. Harper acts like a psychopath sometimes. They reuse what worked by chance once without appreciating it works only rarely.

          • If we have to deal with that tar sand crap at all, lets be smart and refine it ourselves and get the value added out of it. Shipping out raw just means we lose all around

          • No one will invest in such a high risk project. The butimen is too expensive. It cost $60 to turn into a marketable product with a market price of $100. If you added the cost to built facilities to processes everthing in Canada I assume the cost would increase from $60 to $100 a barrel. In a market that will pay $100 per barrel and a soft market because of the new entrant, natural gas. Only a conservative government would see opportunity where there is none.

          • Merlin: We could create more jobs with refining in Canada but no matter where it is refined, it releases carbon to the atmosphere when burned.

            I don’t think carbon emissions and global warming have got much attention in the Northern Gateway hearings, but this is actually the fundamental issue, see http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/opinion/game-over-for-the-climate.html

          • I can’t argue with you on that point. But the tar sands is already a major ecological disaster. Piping it to the coast isn’t a solution that is for sure. Sending it anywhere else means we lose all control over how its used where it used and whether its used ethically if there is any such thing with petrol carbons of an kind.
            And we lose ot on the value added which we could push back into green alternative like industrial hemp.

          • Merlin: We have to leave it in the ground. Well not exactly, the IPCC says the global carbon emissions must drop at 5% per year starting in 2015. See http://www.yourhealthandmine.net/GlobalWarming1.jpg

            If we could just get our heads around the 5% figure, we likely will find we don’t need any new pipelines.

            And the mind set has to be that our economy should be converting to nuclear, wind and other green energies, improved building insulation and more efficient cars to create employment opportunities for those laid off in the oil sector.

          • The problem is politicians work with a 4 year time horizon. It doesn’t matter which party.

            Stephane Dion tried the Green Shift and the Conservatives jumped all over it and we saw what happened.

            But I think people have since seen what’s happening to our northern ice caps, they have seen Katrina and Sandy. They have seen the record wild fires in Colarado, the droughts in the mid west, the record flooding of the Mississippi, Red and Assiniboine Rivers. I think people are ready for legislation to curtail carbon emissions.

            Its not all gloom and doom. A carbon tax refunded to the provinces would stimulate thousands of new jobs for nuclear, wind, solar and bio fuel power plus jobs for more efficient cars and improved building insulation. The positive impacts must be emphasized to get people to accept a carbon tax. A carbon tax of $40 per ton works out to about 8 cents per litre at the gas pumps.

          • Stephen Harper’s buddy in Australia John Howard with the assistance of Rupert Murdoch could not deny climate change when the farmers, conservative rural voters as is in Canada and the US, livelihoods were at risk from climate change. They will say there is no change until it hits them in the face. Will that be too late? Is there anything that can be one but to wait for that event?

          • Donnie:

            The issue is the power of the special interest groups and lobbiests. The lobby groups pretty well run the US and they are starting to take over Canada as well. I mean not just the government but also the media.

            So lets say you want to introduce a carbon tax. Now remember the CBC, CTV, the Toronto Star, the Globe etc. gets a lot of advertising money from CAPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers). So the media will be luke warm to your idea.

            Now the Conservative government is totally committed to oil production and is supported by CAPP, so you can guess the reaction there.

            So the Liberal Party has to tell a populist story about the long term impact on our grand children and their grand children while emphasizing the new green jobs.

            It can be a difficult story to tell if you don’t seriously understand the impacts of global warming. I myself am concerned that other than Kirsty Duncan (who is pretty much kept out of sight), there is no one in the Liberal Party to go to bat on this topic.

          • As we saw with Dion “they” have no scruples. A man we should honour for his involvement in preventing deaths from skin cancer they destroy because he is deaf in one ear so an easy target when being interviewed. I have to assume “they” are right out of Robert Hare’s book “Snakes in Suits, When Psychopaths Go to Work” at Hill and Knowlton. Karl Rove would say take a components assts and turn into his vulnerability. Harper is exposed as an innately flawed leader. He would not grasp the opportunity for Canada in “Thinking, Fast and Slow” and even if we could authoritarians and the psychopaths authoritarians attract can only manage reactive thinkers at the cost of crushing reasoned thinkers. Some one, other than me, has to see the shift from making money using reactive thinking to reasoned thinking Canada is in a perfect place to exploit.

          • I heard that Trudeau in a speech talked about getting the best out of kids. That point alone trumps Harper.

          • I think with 2015 2 years away its s bit too soon for JT to let the cat out of the bag so Harpo can try to smear him some more. We don’t need more crap like Dion and Iggy took.

          • Merlin: You are right, the Liberals are past masters at releasing their platform in dribs and drabs during the campaign and that is probably a good idea.

            The bigger issue unfortunately is delivery. Michael Ignatieff had problems looking straight at the camera when stating his convictions. He also had a habit of saying “This is what Canadians want” rather than saying “this is what the Liberal Party wants”.

            I unfortunately feel the same way about Justin Trudeau. He went through the leadership campaign without any planks in his platform and I think he got elected because of his good looks and nice way of discussing things. But in an election campaign against the Conservatives there has to be serious conviction to the platforms. You can’t say that you want to study it further.

          • Yes well I voted for Joyce Murray myself. I thought there were better choices then JT. However he has to be smart and not give the CONS idea’s they can co-opt or trash talk.
            Its a pretty hard line to walk. And since we are (unless we get lucky) 2 years away from an election and we’ve just seen the CONS latest attempt to smear him backfire in their face he might want to lay low till the timing is right.
            I guess we will see soon enough.

      • Donnie:
        Have you seen much reasoned thinking coming from the Liberals since Stephane Dion?

        The Liberals have little regard for Global Warming. They still talk about National Day Care which the provinces (except Quebec) cannot afford. They don’t seem to have an economic plan. Most of their ideas involve spending more money on the Aboriginals, Education, Health Care and Infrastructure without regard for where the money is going to come from.

        I just don’t see any signs of reasoned thinking. Did the book have any examples from the last 5 years?

        • There is a recent survey about assisted suicide that show conservatives, reactive thinkers are easily confused by words. They will support assisted suicide if the words used are not assisted suicide. Reasoned thinkers, liberals seem to understand the concepts behind the words. It makes sense if you appreciate the opportunity the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” opens up for a country like Canada. Opportunity for more wealth creating jobs. But it won’t happen under authoritarians with a Christian conservative mission. The opportunity will be lost by people reacting to words and so misunderstanding the concepts groups of words mean. What ever Martin Luther hated about reason has to be embraced by any political leaders if Canada is going to tun the chance opportunity that “Thinking, Fast and Slow” represents. Any one who agrees with Martin Luther that reason is the devil’s whcre is a risk and should be marginalized. That includes Stephen Harper.

    • Canada is a resource rich country and those resources are in demand. Do you want to make national parks our main resource? It is the one strength we need to emphasize; especially, in global trade. Do you think Canada can out manufacture the world globally. Myopic would be not to use resources that are natural to Canada. We have much technical expertise that can also be sold and that expertise is primarily based in resources.

      • Amazing….we’ve gone well over a century without doing that

      • I did exactly what you say Canada can’t do.

      • jobs are moving back to the US because of cheaper energy ( makes sense )

        parks attract tourists ( $ )

      • What ever country that comes up with a competitive non-food bio fuel or a nuclear reactor that can burn spent plutonium or thorium will make trillions.

        These are things that China and India are working on. Canada wants to build pipelines so we can export oil that some other country will burn and contribute to global warming.

        We have SNC Lavalin, Bombardier and Acres Engineering who are working in China and Stephen Harper does not even know they are there because they are not from Alberta.

        We have an educated work force who can do a lot more than help some foreign company extract our resources.

    • Totally agree. We have Bombardier, SNC Lavalin, Acres Engineering and others exporting high technology to China, India and elsewhere but Harper is pretty much blind on this. He sees the China Free Trade deal as an assist for China to setup mines and refineries in Canada (mainly Alberta) to plunder our resources.

  2. Authoritarians, like Harper, can’t lead. Leadership is for people who can stand out side their business and look toward it knowing they are not needed. Wanted yes, but not needed.

  3. Once again despite the issues facing the government Canadians will be faced with three choices in the next election; the socialist who will tax us to death with a carbon tax or cap and trade system which will increase inflation, resulting in higher interest rates and job losses. The ordinary Canadian will see his standard of living drop. Coupled with that Mulcair leads a predominately kiddie caucus who have no life experience, are simply activists and some are Separatist sympathizers. If he won government Mulcair would be faced with appointing the Vegas woman as say Minister of Defence. Scary thought.
    Then you have the pretty boy overgrown teenager trying to lead the moribund Liberal party. It has no ground organization. Its leader knows little about running anything and keeps putting first his left foot then his right foot in his mouth. The Libs may take some Quebec seats but winning 140 seats will be next to impossible. Then you have the guy who has done a reasonable job despite all the warts. Canadians are not going to vote against their own self interest. Dion tried it with his green shift and both the Libs and NDP are on record in respect to a carbon tax or some form of cap and trade tax. Never underestimate Stephen Harper.

    • You damn your own favourite leader with faint praise — you think he will win again because he has “done a reasonable job?” Maybe Canadians, if not now then by 2015, will want more than reasonable. Maybe by then, after years of being threatened and told how bad things are and watching the PM defend those who have defrauded the taxpayer, maybe we taxpayers will want some positivity and optimism — hope, not fear. Maybe we will demand more than advertising as action.

      I agree that one should never underestimate Harper, but that is more due to how nasty he is willing to get than it is on any policies I have seen him produce and implement.

      • And who’s that alternative going to be? Trust Fund Trudeau, who’s been busying running around the country telling people what a fine fellow Mac Harb is, even if he is on the hook for $200k in illegal expenses?

        Or Muclair and his merry band of separatists with zero experience actually governing?

        Pretty sure Canadians will stick with “reasonable”, as opposed to the other unreasonable options.

        • From what i’ve seen, the Cons have shown close to zero experience in running things too. What a gong show.

        • Actually he has been saying that the decision will be made on the determination of guilt or innocence.

          • Harper is guilty of fraud and contempt, both proven.

            Heave Steve!!

        • You’re suggesting Trust Fund Trudeau is less honorable than Income Trust Harper?

          Arguable, to say the least.

        • time to vote independent parties

    • hollinm redux: We suck, but we suck less than the other guys. Vote Conservative!

      (…and the chant goes up… ‘WE SUCK LESS! WE SUCK LESS!’)

      Kinda moving. Where do I get a lawn sign?

      • You did not dispute my interpretation of what the 2015 election will come down to. You simply made some inane comment. Perhaps one day you will grow up and actually make an intelligent comment.

        • Hardly inane, or unintelligent — it’s precisely the point you were making: Harper sucks, but he sucks less than the other guys. And, you’re right, that strategy will probably work.

          • You could have made your comment more intelligently. However, I am glad you agree.

          • Well, I completely disagree with your name calling and fear mongering. Kiddie caucus? Overgrown teenager? You’re no better than the ‘Harper haters’ you dismiss, and hardly in a position to declare someone else’s comments as unintelligent. You’re exactly the same as them, you just cheer for a different team.

            Further, if your re-election platform is ‘we suck less’, you can forgive me if I’m not particularly inspired. It’s no wonder more and more people are turning their back on politics.

          • Tell me… the majority of the NDP caucus is from Quebec. The majority elected where activists, students and party loyalists and some even Separatists. Few of them have any experience in the real world. In fact most of them were surprised they won. Tell me once you drill down past the top 15 Dippers what is the average age of those elected particularly from Quebec which makes up the majority in the caucus. This is who you think should form the national government?
            You honestly can’t tell me you don’t think of Trudeau as a overgrown teenager. He dresses like my kids. He has done little in his life which would qualify him to lead anything let alone a country. Can you actually see him sitting in a high level international meeting with foreign leaders and being taken seriously. He would remind them of their kids.
            Yes at this point I support the Conservatives but I am a realist and look at the choices on offer and must say the two opposition leaders are not in the running. That may change one day but not in the next election.

          • So… young people don’t deserve a voice in politics? We shouldn’t listen to Trudeau because of the way he dresses? Yeah, that’s elevating the debate. Sheesh. I might have to revise my prediction if these ugly, outdated and stereotypical viewpoints are reflected in the Conservative re-election platform.

          • Running a government is serious business. As responsible citizens we really need to look at the choices on offer. We do not need a leader on a steep learning curve. The problems and issues don’t wait. I don’t think you can convince me that Trudeau has a grasp of all the issues let alone seriously thought about them before becoming leader. If his name wasn’t Trudeau he wouldn’t have been given a second look by the party. He lacks substance in my opinion.
            Once again you and I can go around the circle all day. I believe in these tough, complicated times we need somebody who has been around the block a few times. Neither Mulcair or Trudeau fit the bill at this point.

          • Well, the whole ‘we’re in troubling times and we need a leader with experience’ line is going to be used by every incumbent leader, regardless of political stripe. Far too convenient. That said, I share your skepticism of the opposition. However, I do hope the Conservatives come up with something a little more substantial than simply demonizing the other guys. ‘We suck less’ is not compelling to me or a lot of other people, nor should it be.

          • I’ve noticed hollinm fighting a multi-front argument here on this thread, seems public opinion is running against your analysis of the situation. Problem with Harper and his gang of thugs is that he doesn’t appear to give one damn about what people are saying or suggesting, he only cares about his agenda and to hell with the rest of opinion. That sir is an autocrat and a dictator. Which is exactly what I don’t want in my government.

            PLease, make an argument that Harper is democratic. I dare ya.

          • Harper had never been out of the country until he started to travel on the taxpayer dime…..his wife said she was disappointed with him because he saw no pint in travelling. Harper has priceless little experience before he started and shows he has learned little since, with his current situation.

          • Not true he went to republican training camps in the summer with Tom Flanagan…..

          • That whole argument was true of Harper just a few short years ago. And what “real world” experience did he have before becoming PM?
            Sometimes people want change badly enough to take a risk…

          • TROLL ALERT. more BS

          • actually he dresses like GQ and has vision. He had met more leaders and shakers than you ever will by the time he was 10. He is what young people are looking for and they are not just our future, they are our present….clean your bifocals

          • I find this argument “He has done little in his life which would qualify him to lead anything let alone a country.” really strange since Trudeau has more experience in the ‘real world’ than Harper did when he became leader of the Conservatives. So, I have to ask, do you not know this, or do you know it but think nobody else will remember?

          • Harpers only job working in the mail room on a job his daddy got him. Oh yeah that some resume.
            Unless you want to add summer camps with the Repulican youth and Tom “the pedo” Flanagan.

          • Exactly. gottabesaid has got it right.

          • don’t think so….true Canadians are retless and so is his base

        • but that is exactly what you wrote….not up to much but better than the rest IYO

    • I would take three thousand flawed Liberals over one Harper CON any F*35ing day … ANY DAY

      -00-

      • Of course that’s your choice. However, many Canadians value their jobs and their standard of living and want it protected. So go ahead and vote who you want to vote for. That is your right. However, I suspect most Canadians are more level headed.

        • If Canadians value that, they won’t be voting Con.

          • Wishful thinking once again Emily. You must be very disappointed in your fellow citizens.

          • 60% of them didn’t vote for Harper in the first place…and at the rate he’s going he’ll be lucky to get out of this without pitchforks and torches.

          • When desperation sets in the old canard that 60% of Canadians did not vote for the Conservatives. Votes are not fungible. People vote for different parties for different reasons. Adding up the negative votes is silly. Few governments have ever won 50%+ 1 particularly with five parties running. Pitchforks and torches? Get serious.

          • “When desperation sets in” Hollinm shows up to run the old memos, rants and talking points one more time.

            Nobody’s buying, sorry

          • Nobody buys your crap either Emily.

          • LOL oh why didn’t you add a ‘nyah nyah’ to that….it woulda been perfect.

          • Jesus, hollinm, give it up. nobody’s buying it. Reasonable people don’t want an unflexible arrogant leader, for Christ sakes he reads Stalin for his leadership inspiration, umm… yikes!

          • hollinm bathes in the koolaid….absorbs it. He really believes it

          • I buy her crap :)

          • count your likes hollinm and then count others

        • I have had a much better standard of living in the Liberal years.

    • How many times am I going to see this retreaded rant? Is it a talking point you found somewhere or have you cross-posted it?

      • He hasn’t checked his memos lately, so he’s still posting the old talking points

      • Don’t like it don’t read it. Its simple. Of course you can’t dispute what I am saying. It is a fact. I am not predicting the outcome of the election in 2015 but this is the reality that will face the electorate. However, I take the opportunity to remind the Harper haters who are gleefully enjoying the current Senate scandal of their choices come the next election.

        • The current Senate scandal is NOT a gleeful situation for anyone. It is pathetic.

        • Hollinm has been going for years. I haven’t looked in on comments in GM or Macleans or any of them until lately – and there he is. Still droning on about how wonderful Harper is. Still ignoring the writing on the wall, so to speak.

          Harper is an incompetent fool, supported by other people, always, always supported by other people and placed in safe places – starting with his daddy’s pick of a job in Calgary, to his very safe riding in Calgary, being surrounded by people who agree with him – an agreeable wife, a fawning core – and on it goes. The man himself is an idiot, and Hollinm is one of the reasons, he’s one of the types of people who hold Harper above the ground so he doesn’t hurt himself, or face reality.

          • Such vitriol but little substance.

      • hollinm = paid Robocon

    • fascinating analysis. The conservatives have had budget deficits since they were first elected after first disposing of the surpluses the liberals had been running for a number of years. Their policies of gutting the environmental assessment act and the navigable waters act show their total disregard for the citizens who must cope with foul air and water. Their approach to oil and gas is the industry can do anything it wants foul the air foul the water the government will pick up the tab no matter just get the oil out. they continue with a policy of jailing everyone instead of any form of rehab and their latest trick of shutting down treatment for mentally ill inmates is plain stupid and suggests a return to the 1890’s when the concept was lock them up and throw away the key, this law and order policy continues in spite of the fact that it has been proven not to work in other countries notably their mentor the US. their economic policies are dependent on stripping the country of natural resources without any consideration for infrastructure or the growth of other industries that would broaden the economic base. They are secretive and provide little data and for a democratic country that is dangerous this flies in the face of their so called accountable and transparent government, one of the major planks that got them elected in the first place.

      • Have you forgotten how many elections have been held and the Conservatives have gained in the number of seats they have won. The people have spoken whether you like it or not.

        • Seriously?? Have you no shame, man? Does court proven election fraud mean nothing to you? This “tough on crime” party refuses to hold an inquiry, has cut the Elections Canada budget by 7 million, will not increase the investigative powers of EC to the degree requested by EC themselves, and in fact initially voted AGAINST giving them ANY additional powers.

          You should be outraged like the rest of us and shouting from the rooftops in memory of the people who died for our democracy. Instead, you defend these cheaters who hire the American Republican party advisors to twist our elections (isn’t it great that they outsource Canadian jobs). You yourself should be lighting the torches and buying the pitchforks as penance for voting for these crooks. And you have the nerve to say they continue to gain seats to say nothing of the blind support regardless of all the scandals?

          It was even mentioned in British Parliament yesterday that our government has issues. How embarassing for us all!

          • I remember the long dark days of Liberal rule. Yes they were the epitome of democratic reform. Not! Nobody is shouting from the rooftops other than the sore losers. The Canadian people have spoken. They are the final arbiters of who should govern the country. I guess like everything it is in the eye of the beholder.

          • you have to have some degree of sight tho’ and you are politically blind

          • The Canadian people have not spoken – the election was rigged – a judge heard the evidence and stated it as fact. Canadians were robbed of a fair election, and here you stand defending the cheaters.

          • As I write this, 12 out of 66 comments here are from you. So exactly who is the “sore loser” shouting from the rooftops, hollinm? Yes, Canadians will speak again and hopefully next time, the government won’t defraud us in the election.

        • Harper Cons are slow learners, but they are making up for it now

          • And some people are just slow learners.

        • election fraud doesn’t mean they won anything. They cheated.

          • Prove it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Chinese hacked into their CIMS system :-)

          • wow you really are a sad sad little man like Captain Steve.

          • So you admit the election was rigged – why aren’t you calling for a new election, then?

          • What universe do you live in where you would think my comments suggested the election was rigged? It was not rigged no matter how badly you Harper haters want it to be so. There have been at least two court challenges and the judges have ruled that there was insufficient evidence to overturn the results in those ridings. I guess that doesn’t matter to somebody with little common sense like you.

          • 1) “Prove it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Chinese hacked into their CIMS system :-)”

            2) The judge’s own words: “there was an orchestrated effort to suppress votes during the 2011 election campaign by a person or persons with access to the CIMS database.”

            What other evidence do you need that the election was rigged?

        • unfortunately, they weren’t clear, people who voted for them didn’t expect a secretive self absorbed government, as I recall they promised accountability and transparency, unfortunately, they lie cheat and use the back benchers as so much dead wood to bolster their plans to destroy the environment , the waterways and anything else that suggests that the most important things are commerce and their pals in banks and oil which I might add they still subsidize. Their interest in the people who pay the bills other than the “entitled” they ignore

    • What a load! Are you kidding me? “Reasonable job”? Yikes, what is your definition of a job well done?

      Off the top of my head let me think about how Harper and his goons have screwed up.

      1.) Omnibus bill (part I and II) wherein 400+ pages of legislation was rammed down our throats with the barest whisper of scrutiny by our elected officials

      2.) Silencing our smartest minds on what they do best, study environmental sciences and climate change (apparently Joe Oliver and Peter Kent are climate scientists and know better on how to avert pollution problems??)

      3.) Crime bills and tough on crime agenda when statistics show crime is actually going down?

      4.) 3.1 billion dollars that he misplaced? (hey, I could use a few grand, but instead why don’t we lose it?? or even better give it to a senator, lord knows they are hurting for cash…)

      5.) Well, at least they are being “accountable” to us and being a transparent government like they promised when they were elected… oh wait. well, scratch that.

      6.) That old Kyoto treaty thing, I suppose that probably wasn’t a good idea anyways…lord knows we can wait a few years before it becomes critical to start taking action on climate change, latest science has 2017 as the cut off point… plenty of time!

      7.) Who needs public broadcasters anyways? Bunch of whiny liberal minded elitists at the CBC, not like the elitists we have in office right now. Let’s replace them at the CBC with SUN, cause they care about the little guy!

      8.) I guess it’s ok to appoint a wife-beating senator as well as a few Senatorial hogs who can’t get enough cash to feed at the Conservative teat. Who cares that we cover our senators bills under the table. Nothing to see here folks, just accountable transparent government. What expenses??

      I’m getting carpal tunnel writing out all of the CONservative’s mis-managements, yes, let’s vote them in another time!

      Maybe the answer is no political parties, they all suck. Period.

    • as usual hollinm sees his narrow world through honey glazed deep rose tinted glasses
      Harper has caught himself in a blind.

    • If you had sole power to frame the narrative as you have above. i.e., to satisfy your own myopic partisan objectives, you’d be absolutely right.

      Fortunately, you don’t have that power and, as time passes, neither do the Cons, who appear to be in free fall in the polls. So your analysis is nothing more than spin and wishful conjecture, unencumbered by any inconveniences like facts.

    • “… both the Libs and NDP are on record in respect to a carbon tax or some form of cap and trade tax.”
      So are the CPC – though they try hard to pretend it ain’t so.

    • Demand better, hollinm.

    • Stephen Harper has made it on the Economy and Balancing the Books. Its true these are weak points for the Liberals and NDP.

      I am guessing that those Conservative principles are still attractive to many Canadians. But now we have Robocalls, the F-35, Duffygate, secret China Free Trade Deal and a host of other warts that are turning people against Stephen Harper particularly when he answers questions with a stone wall.

      I agree with your points about Justin Trudeau.

      The NDP are separating themselves somewhat from the trade unions. If they could demonstrate that they are not going to rob the Treasury, they could have a good chance in 2015.

      • Wow you sound just like a conbot. BS talking points. sorry Mike that was meant for the CON hollinm.

        • Could you clarify what you mean here?

  4. The Bay Street “Wonder Boy” Nigel Wright DOES NOT
    GIVE AWAY HIS OWN MONEY! Not a single
    dime came out of Wright’s pocket!

    It would be a simple matter of Nigel INVOICING the “Conservative
    Fund of Canada” account (the money raising arm of The Conservative Party) multiple
    times for some type of phony “Financial Consultant Fees” to accrue back
    the $90K. CPC treates that Fund’s coffer
    as their private “Honey Pot.”

    Are there any conversations between Conservative Senator
    Irving Gerstein (Harper’s bagman) and the PMO about Nigel getting paid back
    from the “Conservative Fund of Canada” — the federal party’s war chest Gerstein
    once chaired.

    Or, the money came out of Alberta, where there is no
    shortage of it.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/social/MyTake/mike-duffy-nigel-wright-unanswered-questions_n_3314315_254934263.html

    • Keep linking to the Huff Post and keep your credibility low.

      • At least she has some, yours is like Harper in the minus range.

  5. Geddes and Wherry pretend they are allies of Rathgeber and Warawa, who are closer to the roots of the old Reform Party then many Conservatives.

    The only thing Geddes and Wherry like about those two MP`s is that they are making things difficult for PM Harper. There is nothing about the principles of those Members that even closely resembles the liberal bias of these hypocritical journalists who search endlessly for a reason for Conservative revolt. There should be no surprise that there is divergent views within the Conservative caucus, and some may choose to leave. Don`t worry about dissent–watch how a pragmatic and cool leader deals with it over the next while.

    Listen, Harper will handle these minor issues just fine. I would expect he will come out of the upcoming convention as a confident and respected leader. He may not be the leader Geddes and Wherry would like—-maybe they would prefer Liz or Justin, or Tom—-but I would at least expect them to acknowledge that he is by far the most successful leader of recent times considering the state of the conservative movement when he took over.

    Oh, and really you devoted a full paragraph of your treatise on Harper`s leadership to the views of Charlie Angus————-Charlie Angus———-did you really expect an objective view from him ?
    Next time ask Maggie Trudeau.

  6. I do not remember any party, Liberal or Conservative, that did not have its scandals. Ihave been voting 50 years and its always the same story; find a small hole and make it bigger. Like the old death by a thousand cuts syndrome. If we look at the bigger picture, I would press the Conservative agenda for more austerity. We still run deficits and it is time to correct that problem or Canada will look like Greece or worse like Ontario. I would also acknowledge that some debt was incurred to bolster the economy during the big crash of ’08. Of the choices today, PM Harper is still the cream of the crop. Mulcair who? Justine look at me, I am beautiful? Or we can accept the steady bland one we have. I do not mind boring as long as the ship stays afloat.

      • Do you ever think that by associating yourself with a crazy like Alex Jones, you might be putting yourself in the crazy zone ?

    • The only problem we have is people like you that spew mindless nonsense with no connection to the facts.

    • Harper only governs for his core the rest does not matter in fact they are to be destroyed. He legacy is being the nastiest government in history which has divided Canada.

    • So you are around 70 years old and still think it is clever to feminize a man’s name?

      I don’t want a ship that merely floats: I want to actually get somewhere in that boat. Harper can’t get anywhere because he keeps taking in water and Kenney pulled the bailer out on him. And Byrne and MacDougall keep rowing off in the wrong direction.

      Is Harper’s boat that you speak of called Titanic, by any chance?

      • I’d look at the name of the commenter and compare that to the claims made.
        It’s a troll.

        • No, it’s just another poster who’s a lot smarter than you are.

          • Ha ha okay then

    • Good now maybe you can tell us where the lost 3.1 billion dollars is? How about the lost environmental laws? Human rights. G20 abuse of right to assembly…the list is endless have you been on drugs a very very long time?

  7. Last
    Friday Harper published gung-ho job numbers. BUT the economy DID NOT
    create 95,000 new jobs last month. In fact, the employment tally in
    Canada indicates a steady loss of about 5,400 jobs monthly. That’s
    certainly more in keeping with the reality most people see.

    http://www.greaterfool.ca/2013/06/10/hold-on

    • Hahaha. If you have to link to Garth Turner’s blog, you know you’re spouting complete garbage.

      • Considering that you think that and given your past record in terms of veracity, I’ll start using Turner as an authority.

  8. Harper will be fine, actually the odds for a bigger majority are more on his side than against him. Perhaps instead of predicting his doom, you guys should flip the coin and wonder why does people connect with him.

    • Rather a bit of an assumption that people do connect with him, isn’t it? I mean, given the opponents he had in each election.

    • Dream on. He doesn’t have the substance or the character to withstand the scandals, and the fact that finally the blood is in the water. Harper is insubstantial, supported by those around him. He’s an unattractive person, with an unattractive personality, if you can call it that. He doesnt have what it takes to make it on his own. He’s toast.

    • Drank the koolaid did you? Forgot to take your meds maybe?

  9. Don’t you think he looks tired?

    • Yes the big lie is failing him.

  10. Perhaps a new agenda will distract the populous from the CPC short comings, but is this not the whole problem when a Government gets into power under the guise of open and honest and falls so very short on both counts? Is changing the agenda to distract the voter not the anathema of open and honest?

  11. “Polls have put the Liberals in first place since Justin Trudeau won their leadership in April.” Could this be the reason that the Conservatives have been trying to smear Justin Trudeau today with false allegations of financial wrongdoing?

  12. As far as I’m concerned he’s done a great job. Geddes is complaining that Harper is not a Liberal. As if that’s news. We know he’s not a Liberal – get over it.

    • Disclosure now, how much are you being paid to post this BS?

      • Less than you.

  13. I think the elephant in the room may be Global Warming. Both the US and China are now taking steps to reduce carbon emissions over the next 10 years. Canada stands pretty much alone with an agenda to increase oil production to the detriment of the atmosphere.

    Extreme weather is hitting the US, Europe, India, Australia and many other parts of the world. When extreme rainfall and droughts come to Canada in the next few years, Stephen Harper’s legacy will be that he was the man who did nothing about it.

    • You really do not know what you are talking about – what flavour is your koolaid?

        • I do not care Mikey – you wanted someone to do this – that is why you had the references ready – just waiting. Isn’t it? You keep drinking that koolaid – we will get you some help when things get too bad for you to carry on. I am sure there are a tonne more crackpot references you could provide – but you have obviously not left the nest for a while. I will not waste my time chasing references to counter your references – there are a tonne of them as well – in the end you are so tiny as to not even matter.

          • Exactly how many of my links did you read?

            You almost sound offended with science. Hmm, that reminds me of the entire Conservative Party.

            If you read nothing else, watch the results on the grain crops in the US mid-west this summer. How many crop failures will it take before you start re-considering your point of view?

          • Those crops are looking pretty good right now you hoser – science my buttocks – you are still a fake – go and cash that welfare cheque that you get from my tax dollars – in fact the crops right outside my door are looking darned good. Guess you will be eating food again this winter. I bet that bugs you doesn’t it? But – you preach long enough you will hit a home run – after all even a blind squirrel finds one or two acorns in the woods now and then. By the way I am not a conservative – I actually have voted for the other parties.

          • Well, those crops are still looking good hoser – so much for your false science and doom and gloom – time for you to take those meds and start looknig for a full care home – you seem unable to look after yourself now. LOL Are you going to be able to afford it or are Liz May and that lieberal leader Whiny Wynne going to give you some extra cash so we can be sure you will be fed and washed? LOL Have a good one

          • Mike Smith –

            I was reading on cleantechnica.com how you were recently bullied by Bob_Wallace for supporting nuclear energy.

            Bob is a moderator who routinely fights with and bans nuclear proponents on unsubstantiated grounds. Cleantechnica is not led by the goal of lowering emissions in the most practical way possible, their goal instead is to promote the “renewable energy” overall all other solutions. I worked in the PV industry, Bob has not, he has no engineering background or energy industry experience whatsoever.

            I wouldn’t waste too much time discussing with Bob. He continues to say that solar PV is cheaper than nuclear, when that is not at all true according to the US Energy Information Administration, or virtually any other National or International Energy Information Department.

            He also greatly downplays the costs involved with compensating for intermittency, and spreads false information about the cost, safety, and subsidy for nuclear energy.

            If you are looking for a factual source on energy information refer to government published statistics.

            And if you want to really learn about why nuclear is factually the most practical clean energy choice in the majority of the world, visit http://thebreakthrough.org

            http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/how-fast-are-the-costs-of-solar-really-coming-down/

          • Tony:
            Thank you for your note. This is helpful background for me.

          • Yea no problem,

            and I really do recommend the site I linked above if you want some factual comparisons between clean energy sources and what is happening globally. I disclose that it is a pro-nuclear site, but the data provided is solidly based in fact.

            Good day!

          • Tony:

            Thank you very much for your link to “How fast are the costs of solar really coming down. Its an excellent article.

            Thank you very much.

          • Yea glad you liked that one.

            The entire site is filled with solid information that stands up to fact checking.

            I like discussing this kind of stuff and getting down to the brass tacks, because the public needs to know so we can vote and make decisions based on sound policy. Too much misinformation floating out there currently.

            Just give me a shout if you want discuss any of this stuff further, like I said I have worked in the solar PV industry too and have some insight there as well.

          • Exactly, there are advocates in every area, ultimately you will have to do your own fact checking and make your own conclusions.

            Personally I find the data and logic on breakthrough.org to be much more sound than thinkprogress.org

            for instance: The Capacity factor of Germany’s fleet of Wind last year was 17%. Any wind advocate (such as Bob_Wallace) will claim that 30% is a given for in-land wind and 40% is possible…..

            Their solar fleet had a capacity factor of 11%. Most solar advocates trumpet off a 20% capacity factor number as though its a given in all locales…..

            http://www.bdew.de/internet.nsf/id/3EDCA15529136B0AC1257AFD0035A2F6/$file/130110%20BDEW%20Entwicklungen%20der%20deutschen%20Strom-%20und%20Gaswirtschaft_englisch.pdf

            Germany’s remaining nuclear fleet meanwhile had a capacity factor of 94% in 2012. These facts, plus the considerable workarounds necessary to incorporate large amounts of variable generation swing the pendulum heavily in favor of nuclear energy for any practical emissions reduction efforts.

            And the scalability for wind turbines to create as much power as nuclear in the first place is questionable:

            http://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2013/02/rethinking-wind-power

            Yes we should use some wind and solar, but expecting them to cost-effectively power developed nations at this point is unrealistic. Germany spent $130 billion on their solar Feed in Tariff and related subsidies in the past decade. An equal investment in even the most expensive Nuclear projects would have yielded multiple times (~8x!) the emission reduction and clean energy generation.

            The problem is that the general public sees solar and wind as more appealing than the scary idea of nuclear, and that the fossil fuel industry is much less threatened by renewables which are reliant on fossil fuel backup than they are by large baseload nuclear plants. The result is that Nuclear energy is largely being unfairly characterized and smeared by both the Renewable energy industry and the fossil fuel industry. I’m coming from the solar industry and I’m telling you, the more you dig into this the more nuclear is clearly the best answer to create large amounts of clean energy.

          • Tony:

            I found an excellent page at the US Energy Information Admin at http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/electricity_generation.cfm

            This looks forward to 2018 energy coming on line. This gives an excellent prospect for wind. A good prospect for nuclear and a poor prospect for solar.

            Further, the way wind may get built could mean high transmission costs which could wipe out its advantage over nuclear.

            I have sent this to Bob Wallace. He has given me his email address and I find that with email correspondence he is not so abrasive.

            Thanks for your tip about this site.

          • Yes, nuclear is listed at 10.8c/kwh in 2018 with wind at 8.6c and solar PV at 14.4. Though omitted in the estimations are land costs, transmission costs, and the costs of variable generation.

            And also the note below the estimates is very important:

            “Note: The levelized costs for non-dispatchable technologies are calculated based on the capacity factor for the marginal site modeled in each region, which can vary significantly by region. The capacity factor ranges for these technologies are as follows: Wind – 30% to 39%,Wind Offshore – 33% to 42%, Solar PV- 22% to 32%, Solar Thermal – 11% to 26%, and Hydro – 30% to 65%. The levelized costs are also affected by regional variations in construction labor rates and capital costs as well as resource availability”

            Its all location, location, location with renewable energies. Iowa’s fleet of wind turbines do quite well, with average capacity factors hovering around 30%, but other areas can fall way short in wind resource as has been demonstrated in the real world (Germany). and of course the solar resource in many northern latitudes makes solar PV a totally uneconomical solution, whereas in Arizona the prospects for it are much greater.

            Nuclear Reactors do need a body of water, but the capacity factor will remain above 90% regardless of geographic location, and the transmission and land costs will be significantly lower than for a massive wind farm which creates an equivalent amount of energy. Also there is no need for as much redundant back-up capacity with nuclear or the emissions releasing idling of nat gas or coal plants as they wait to ramp up to compensate for a lack of wind or sun.

            Another huge consideration is the fact that Nuclear plants will typically last 60 years (especially newer ones). Whereas wind and solar are estimated for the 25-30 yr range though that is questionable in the case of many solar panels with all of the recent cost cutting and quality issues:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/business/energy-environment/solar-powers-dark-side.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

          • Hi Tony:
            I just checked for Ontario and in 2009 we were running under 30% on wind capacity.
            I think one thing that is overlooked on nuclear is that you can keep your costs under 8 cents by refurbing what you have. We spent several billion on 8 reactors at the Bruce Nuclear Plant in Ontario and they are still pumping out power at 5.8 cents.
            We have huge resistance to wind in Ontario and our Liberal government almost lost the election 2 years ago because the farmers don’t like looking at wind turbines.
            I think Gina McCarthy will be a good thing for green energy. It will be interesting to see how she stands up to the oil and coal lobby.
            Thanks for the story on the solar panels. There is so much pressure to cut costs; quality is bound to suffer.

          • Yea I think wind and solar are good, and am in favor of any measures to cut emissions. But nuclear energy is done a total disservice by the media in general, and as things stand it is a very very good option.

            The Chinese have 28 reactors currently under construction, mostly in partnership with Toshiba/Westinghouse for the AP1000 design. They have finished construction on one of the first plants and the construction costs were reported $2/kW. This price is less between 1/2 and 1/3 of what it costs to construct a similar plant in the US or Europe. Part of the reason for the cost reduction is a decrease in labor costs. Another big reason is the lack of construction delays and superior coordination.

            Nuclear is now more expensive than it was in the past when it competed head to head with fossil fuels, but there is little reason that it cannot become cheap again with renewed interest and investment spurred by the implications of global warming. The US DOE has a small modular reactor program that is just starting which intends to begin the licensing and development of reactors that are smaller (less capital expense and a bigger market), modularly built (less parts, largely assembled in factories, less construction-time and delay), and inherently safe (passive cooling, underground containment).

            When one considers the shear economic potential of various clean energy sources (excluding Hydro and geothermal), there is really nothing that can compete with the economic case for nuclear power which would potentially require much less labor, maintenance, and raw material per unit of energy delivered compared to wind, solar, tidal, etc. Humanity would really be ignorant to ignore a source of fuel that has 1 million times the energy density of coal and is clean. We definitely have to make sure its safe, but we really must use it if we want to avoid global warming because continued development and industrialization is not going to stop to protect the natural world.

          • Hi Tony:

            I have subscribed to “Breakthrough” and maybe we can continue these discussions in their blog.

            We have a huge anti-nuclear lobby group called the Ontario Clean Energy Alliance (http://www.cleanairalliance.org/ ). They push natural gas and do it largely by bad mouthing all the problems we have had with nuclear in Ontario.

            We have Clean Technica that I thought was neutral but I now find that they are anti-nuclear while pushing solar and wind.

            So if you are a politician, you have to listen to these groups who are giving you a jaded story.

            One thing that has slowed nuclear down is the economy. We have handled our electricity demand quite well in Ontario with nuclear refurbs and conservation. We got through a terrible hot spell 2 weeks ago with plenty of spare electricity.

            The US economy may never rebound to what it was before the mortgage meltdown.

            Certainly the China success stories will help but the US needs its own success story with 3rd generation nuclear to show it can be done.

            There is another angle on nuclear, i.e. Extreme Weather. I am thinking here of wind. If we start getting more hurricanes and tornadoes, this could be damaging for the wind farms. Nuclear is not going to be susceptible to weather events except for the storm surges. I am assuming most plants can resist storm surges.

          • Thanks for the response Mike, and I will subscribe to Breakthrough myself, I think it will be a good idea to continue the discussion there. And also my email is tonyymontagna@gmail.com

            It is amazing how ill-informed these anti-nuclear lobbies are. People that have absolutely no education on the risk of radiation exposure protesting over totally negligible radiation leaks (when nearby coal plants pump out 1000x the radiation in inhalable form). People speaking about the ‘enormous volume’ of national nuclear energy waste as though the 50 year production total couldn’t easily fit inside one average size wharehouse. People that believe living near a nuclear facility increases risk of cancer despite research from the national cancer institute, the world health organization, and various academic bodies concluding that there is no such increase. Anti-nuclear lobbies are largely anti-science.

            “One thing that has slowed nuclear down is the economy”

            Yea its hard to find justification for the capital costs of these multi-GW size nuclear plants in the US and Canada where energy growth isn’t extreme and cheap natural gas generation is readily available in much smaller bites. That’s one reason we need the small modular reactors.

            “The US economy may never rebound to what it was before the mortgage meltdown”

            The US economy may not get fully back to where it was, but it is certainly rebounding and doing it almost entirely on the back of natural gas. It is amazing how significantly the price of energy affects economics. Because the cost of energy has such an enormous impact on economics our only hope to take real steps toward combating global warming is by having the cost of clean energy approach fossil fuel energy, because no free-market society is going to willingly lose large economic standing even for such a noble cause. Not an easy task but it is virtually the only viable solution.

            That is a good point you made about extreme weather and wind farms. The Onagawa nuclear plant in Japan withstood a 9.0 earthquake and 40 ft tsunami which it was directly exposed to. Fukushima would have done so if it were not for pure operator negligence (no seawall or working back-up generator). Now that we have learned our lesson from Fukushima, Nuclear plants should be able to withstand even the most extreme of extreme weather events.

          • Read something from you? Hardly – I can already predict what it says. Bottom line the crops are good despite your warning and you are wrong again and so is your junk science.
            So – go tell the Chinese to stop polluting and enjoy the fruits of the labours of others while you spend your welfare cheque.
            Crops are good and the food is there – you can relax now – go take your valium – we will be sure you get fed tomorrow. LOL
            What a guy – you just do not give up – even when the food on your plate is fresh and home grown – you must have been hard into the dope as a tenager. If you run out of cash the food bank is always there for you as well.

          • If anyone is doing any drinking, it isn’t MikeSmith. This person cannot read, he’s just reciting phrases he’s picked up from somewhere on the internet – not even as smart as a robot.

          • Con troll alert, that would be you~

    • Exactly. I’ve thought the same thing myself – that climate change is going to pull some surprises on Harper. China and the US have agreed on climate changed, signed an agreement. Germany has pulled companies out of the oil sands, because of massive public condemnation. Harper is the only buffoon on the world stage who actually doesn’t think climate change exists, and that money can fix everything.

      There’s that ages-old character in our mythology, Loki in Scandinavian myths who always overturns the applecart, or Coyote/Trickster in First Nations myths, who exists just to remind mankind that they don’t have control over anything – and Puck in English/Celtic mythology plays the same role.

      Harper would do well to pay attention to human history, and start acting as if he knows the forces of nature can overwhelm all of us. Unfortunately for us and for him, he’s a great big baby, coddled from childhood right up to being bubblewrapped by his caucus to believe that he’s the “smartest guy in the room”.

      “Unseen in the background, Fate was quietly slipping lead into the boxing-glove.” (P.G. Wodehouse)

      • Elizabeth: The problem with Harper and his buddies is their policies are based on ideology not rational thinking. So scientific studies or world events don’t influence them very much.

        Canada is pretty much alone giving unconditional support to Israel. Canada is becoming alone on denying Global Warming. We lost our seat on the UN Security Council because our policies are too far out.

        But they won a majority in the last election because people did not like Michael Ignatieff. I hope next time around that either Mulcair or Trudeau can rise to capture voter interest.

  14. I had high hopes for Harper – even voted for him in the last election. I have no extra coins jingling in my pocket as taxes are still going the wrong way. I see no extra jobs – in fact I see less as the Chinese are bringing in their own workers, I see an aloof PM who may be a fine man but has no ability to relate to the working man, I see a sense of entitlement that is growing in Ottawa when I had hoped it would decrease with a management change and a majority government, and I see much more.

    I could never vote for Tru-doh!! that lazy azzed, entitled, failure of a drama teacher.
    I could never vote for the Citizen of France as he has divided loyalties and promises the world knowing full well he will never have to deliver.
    I could never vote Green as they are for the most part living off the avails of the donation.

    Where does that leave a tax paying, hard working, never getting ahead, family man who has not been able to afford a vacation in 20 years. The man who is struggling to get his kids through school and paying bills that are always a month late because of the uncertainty of employment. The man who drives a 10 year old car that he personally maintains because he has no money after all is said and done on pay day?
    It is no wonder there is so much apathy out there about voting – it is essentially a waste of time as the “leaders” who are actually our “employees” get rich and live well off the backs of people who bust their azz each and every day just to survive.
    It is very disappointing as life has not improved despite working even harder.
    I am very disappointed in Harper.

    • Well said, the sense of entitlement is sickening and there’s no reason to think a party change would help unless there is more accountability which is a word Harper tosses around a lot but has failed to show any himself

  15. Compulsive liars have a tendency to turn people off.
    Harper is a liar.
    It’s time to prorogue the government – again.

    • I believe you have a compulsive hate complex rather than a logical outlook. Have you looked in the mirror lately? Your attitude and your lack of comprehensive thought makes you more than easy to dismiss as a crackpot. Why not try again and come up with a thoughtful response? I am sure you can do better.

      • Talking troll alert!

  16. The conservatives are finished; all we need is an election I don’t think Harper will make opposition!

    • I agree – unfortiunately it will be Tru-Doh!! – a failed drama teacher and a man who we just saw is willing to rob from senior citizens – not much in the line of ethics there – so – not much there for hopes in Canada with an entitled liberal.
      As for the citizen of france – he can promise the world as he will never have to deliver
      So where does one turn?

      • Conseal barking

  17. He’s toast. Let the party plans begin, let the books start to roll off the presses. It will end.

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