PM Stephen Harper — a.k.a. Mr. Canada — and the power of symbols

Behind the PM’s new focus on history and heritage


Christinne Muschi/Reuters

A year ago, Stephen Harper flew to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum to proclaim an agenda of “major transformations” for the “next generation.” This year Harper skipped the summit in Switzerland and chose to outline his priorities to the first weekly Conservative caucus meeting of the new session with a far more modest message. He listed four priorities, the first three of which—creating jobs, keeping streets safe and supporting healthy families—were unsurprising. But it was Harper’s fourth pillar, an appeal to the Canadian identity, that was something else altogether.

In his speech, Harper foreshadowed the next wave of national commemorations, including the centennial of the First World War in 2014, the bicentennial of Sir John A. Macdonald’s birth the year after that, and planning for Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017. He also waxed eloquent about the importance of remembrance. “We can look back with pride and forward with confidence as part of a Canada standing tall, the best country in the world.”

Harper wasn’t always known for proclaiming his love of country. On day one of the election campaign that would eventually send him to 24 Sussex Drive in 2006, the first question put to the soon-to-be PM was whether or not he loved his country. Harper said a lot of nice things about Canada, but he did not answer directly in the affirmative. The perceived flub didn’t cost him the election, but it didn’t do him any favours, either.

That was then. In the years since, Conservatives have been accused of appropriating the military, the RCMP and the monarchy, among other national symbols, as they’ve built a formidable national vision. Harnessing Canadian pride worked wonders against Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal leader who Harper trounced in the 2011 campaign. The image of Ignatieff  “just visiting” Canada—repeated ad nauseam in attack ads—juxtaposed with a flag-draped Harper helped propel the Conservatives to a majority win.

Expect the Prime Minister to use the same tactic against NDP Leader Tom Mulcair. As the NDP works to change the rules surrounding future sovereignty referendums in Quebec by introducing a bill to repeal the Clarity Act—a reform that panders to the province’s soft separatists, if you believe the plan’s critics—it creates an opening for Harper, says Frank Graves, president of polling firm Ekos. “Mr. Mulcair is going to have difficulties constructing his national identity,” says Graves. “He can’t really come out with his flag on his sleeve to the same extent as Mr. Harper or Mr. Trudeau, because he’s limited to some extent by the fact his success is very much built in Quebec. Frankly, about half the constituency that supported him would be pretty favourably disposed to Quebec as not only a distinct society, but a separate country.”

While many have observed that the Tories haven’t been hard at work defining the new leader of the Opposition like they did with Stéphane Dion and Ignatieff, Harper’s renewed focus on history and heritage could be the beginning of such a campaign. To date, Mulcair is known mostly to Canadians for two things—his comments about Dutch disease, in which he claimed oil exports have led to an artificially high loonie that’s punished manufacturers, and repealing the Clarity Act. Neither plays well in the West, and the Tories may subtly try to define the NDP leader as another 1970s-style Quebec intellectual who doesn’t love Canada in his bones.

Casting a light on Canadian history certainly finds fans in predictable conservative corners. Bob Plamondon, a consultant and former Conservative insider, says reflecting on the country’s past pays dividends. “I have long taken the view that we are stronger as a nation when we understand and embrace our history. This is particularly important in a bilingual, multicultural and geographically disperse country like Canada,” he says. “There is an element of nation-building in what Harper is trying to accomplish.”

Not everyone agrees with that interpretation. Mulcair has dismissed Harper’s focus on anniversaries as an exercise in “political branding and jingoism” and said the government would be “better off focusing on our obligations for the future.”

The government’s critics have often lamented its appeal to only certain parts of Canada’s history. When Heritage Minister James Moore announced the Canadian Museum of Civilization would be rebranded as a history museum and given a refurbished mandate, the opposition cried foul. Liberals predicted the museum across the river from Parliament Hill would become just another arm of the “Conservative spin machine.” There have been complaints about the scant attention paid to the 250th anniversary this year of the Royal Proclamation, which fundamentally altered the relationship between European settlers and Aboriginal people in Canada. And when the government started naming public buildings in Ottawa after Conservative heroes like Macdonald and John Diefenbaker, a Liberal adviser saw a “strong political impulse at play.”

Likewise, as the government ramps up its preparation for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations, opposition MPs on the House heritage committee hoped the feds would set up an independent agency to oversee the celebrations—a body similar to that which administered the country’s centennial. But in December the government rejected that option, a move NDP MP Andrew Cash warns could lead to “political interference” in the planning process. Cash also points out that Harper’s government made no mention of the 50th anniversary of public medicare in Canada. In short, opposition parties are accusing the government of trying to lock in a conservative-minded version of Canadian history to entrench the party’s support.

Still, Harper is only the most recent leader to cherry-pick from history to bolster his party’s image, says Tom Flanagan, Harper’s former chief of staff. “The Liberals had a long run at redefining Canadian identity in terms of bilingualism, multiculturalism, socialized medicine and peacekeeping,” he says. “Now it’s time to undo the damage.”

As Harper continues to wrap himself in the flag as Mr. Canada, it will only make life more difficult for Mulcair. But Graves says the two men’s competing appeals to nationalist pride—with Harper, Canada; with Mulcair, Quebec—leave a glaring gap in the middle for a man like Justin Trudeau, who’s hoping to be crowned Liberal leader in the spring. “It opens an opportunity for Mr. Trudeau, who will be able to speak to at least some of the connecting values that transcend the cross-cutting loyalties in English Canada and French Canada,” he says. Outflanking Harper on patriotism would be no easy task. The PM has spent eight years taking an axe to much of the older Trudeau’s legacy. The fireworks in the House might give the Canada Day light show a run for its money.


PM Stephen Harper — a.k.a. Mr. Canada — and the power of symbols

  1. i bet his face will be on all our money in a couple of years……

    • ………and Russell may have stumbled upon a truth as well, though it may be more than a couple years before PM Harper appears on our currency as past PM`s have.

      I suspect that Harper will be recognized by historians as the leader who got the country back on track for the 21st century during his 20 years as PM.

  2. ‘bilingualism, multiculturalism, socialized medicine and peacekeeping’….except that’s what Canadians want.

    • Not bi-lingualism, not multiculturism, not “socialized medicine”, but a good health system accessible to all, and certainly not the sham of UN peacekeeping where both parties had to agree to our presence. Maybe you want that but what gives you the mandate to say that “Canadians want that?

      • Because that’s what Canadians have worked towards putting in place all these years.

        Did you think we’d give up on something just because it doesn’t always work perfectly, or because some guy wants to return to the old ways of doing things?

      • No one is to say what all Canadians want, that is impossible, lets be honest everyone has a different idea of what their idle country would look like, but we’ve been preaching multiculturalism and preaching this land as a place for immigrants (not always but on the hole, Canada is a place of immigration)… like I said personally I would love to see Canada accept people of all different walks of life and attempt to make a country where all its citizens are happy and comfortable living in a land of diversity :)

    • No, not bilingualism, nor multiculturalism and please no more phoney UN “peacekeeping” missions that required both parties to agree such as when Egypt told Canada to leave so it could attack Israel. Certainly a good health system, but also certainly not “socialized” medicine but an accessible economic health care system.. You have no more mandate to say what “Canadians want” than I do.

  3. Though there may or may not be a “French Canada,” there is certainly no longer anything like an “English Canada.” Rather there is an “English-speaking” Canada. As a proud Jewish Canadian born in Quebec, I always knew that I was 100% part of “English-speaking” Canada. Though a fervent monarchist, mad-dog federalist, and Anglophile graduate of Cambridge University, I have never been an “English” Canadian as opposed to an “English-speaking” Canadian. Good to get our terminology exact in a complicated country like Canada!

    • There are 30 million Canadians and 30 million ways of looking at and defining ourselves. Your method is valid but not necessarily definitive.

      • GFMD, Point taken! But two further observations. Firstly, there are now probably more than 35 million people living in Canada. Secondly, in normal political discourse, there are really just a handful of ways that Canadians employ to define their country and its population. Chock up this particular paucity of viewpoints to the poverty of political thought or to whatever. However, just considering the prominent role of the Scots in Canada’s history causes me to pause before employing the term “English Canada.” Nonetheless, each one of us is entirely free to frame his or her own way of speaking about the country.

  4. Holy mack! Does no politician know our history? I am NOT proud to be Canadian, I am damn happy I was born here so I am able to learn more about the world and my history. Canadian history is not all fun and games of RaRa railroad and yay 1812. We have some major issues unsolved from day 1 in our countries creation. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is a great example and given the Idle No More movement and aboriginal peoples call to the government for something that should have been sorted out much much soon. We preach being a civilized, multicultural nation but more and more I hear and see people being racist or “wishing everyone in Canada had to learn french or english” … If you wanna have a country to be proud of Canada then how about becoming a true, equal rights, multicultural nation where every type of person from all around the world can thrive and exists safely. People come to Canada because it preaches its multiculturalism then most of the population doesn’t seem to be in favour of experiencing different cultures within their own nation… That is one of the few things that I honestly love about being Canadian; I can walk down the street and see ethnicity from all around the globe and call everyone of those people Canadian, illegal immigrant or not, we are Canada and we accept you… to elevate our history to some great nation building triumph is ridiculous and clearly a political tool. We are still building our nation today, we always will be, and if we are not flexible in our approach but instead dwell and pat ourselves on the back for the horrors our ancestors caused in the past, then we’ll never move forward into modernity, into harmony.

    • I agree with most of your comment; however, I am one of those who thinks it is vitally important that immigrants learn the official language that is prevalent where they choose to live.

      First: failure to learn the language of those around you is isolating and self-ghettoizing; second, it puts you at risk of not receiving proper health or other care due to the language barriers.

      There seems to be an increasing belief that hospitals, government agencies, etc. should be staffed with people who speak all the multitude of languages and/or provide translators. That is both costly and – where time is a factor – risky.

      I have no problem with people retaining and celebrating a sense of their heritage. But they should make being Canadian a priority if they want to live here. And if they can’t be bothered to learn the language of the wider community then they clearly aren’t interested in being Canadian. Which begs the question: Why are they here?

      • Hurrah for Keith Bram article.For once someone speaks the truth!

        • Well in California a person can speak Chinese and Spanish all their lives, and never know a word of English. Coming soon to your neighbourhood.

          Nations are artificial….made up to create ‘community’ and armies.

          Economics trumps patriotism every time…..because it too is artificial

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Or ‘Fred’ could stop being stupid, and grow up.

      • KeithBram said,

        “…..I am one of those who thinks it is vitally important that immigrants learn the official language that is prevalent where they choose to live……”

        Of the 250, or so, Indigenous languages the diseased Caucasoids encountered when they availed themselves of the First Nation’s rather foolish North American Immigration Policies, how many do you speak?
        Or is it different now?

        • 1) It is impractical to have 250 or so official languages. There are almost that many spoken now in the Region of Peel, where I live.
          2) The British essentially conquered the indigenous peoples. Not the PC way to phrase it but that is what happened. Are you suggesting we should invite immigrants to do the same to the current inhabitants?

        • In short, yes, it IS different now, if we don’t want history to repeat.

  5. First, what the hell is a “geographically disperse country”? May I suggest Plamondon and/or the editors of Macleans get a dictionary? Second, I agree wholeheartedly with Mulcair that Harper is all about “political branding and jingoism”, and I believe this nonsense will backfire on him. My Canada values the environment and the welfare of future generations. Harper clearly does not.

    • I think future generations may decide, like the Swedes have, that maybe the nanny state is not as benevolent as the left portrays it. Especially when they get the bill.

      • When did Sweden do this?

      • To the best of my knowledge, Sweden remains committed to social equality.

  6. “Tom Flanagan, Harper’s former chief of staff. “The Liberals had a long
    run at redefining Canadian identity in terms of bilingualism,
    multiculturalism, socialized medicine and peacekeeping,” he says. “Now
    it’s time to undo the damage.”

    No offense Nick, but why do journos continue to go to TF for this kind of quote? He’s as predictable as a Harper attack ad… sorry, but this is kinda lazy stuff.

    What Uncle Tom con neglects to mentions is that while it is true liberals have played the national identity game also, he would never point out anything as pertinent as the fact they didn’t try try to actively suppress or wantonly ignore parts of our shared history, liberal or not; nor would he mention the fact that most of the programmes either had a historical connection to our shared past, were exercises in nation building/repair,or were simply what Canadians wanted anyway. It is not that the liberals weren’t partisan, it’s more that Harper is nothing but partisan to the core. His goal appears to be to turn the country into one giant mirror reflecting only himself and his small minded party.

    But the fact that he would largely ignore the Royal proclaimation is really pathetic and shocking.

    • You may have stumbled upon the point of the article in your first paragraph and the word to remember in Flanagan`s quote is ” redefined “.

      Nobody is saying that bilingualism, multiculturalism, socialized medicine, and peacekeeping are not part of the Canadian identity, but the push by the left in the country to have these four goals to unlimited lengths has meant that we have ended up with silly bilingualism rules, an immigration system in bad need of reform, massive waste in health care and an underfunded and confused military. Liberals ” redefined ” our goals with these ideas and strayed far too much to the left of Canadian values, which can be seen in the results of the last election.

      So when Flanagan talks about undoing the damage he`s talking about achieving some balance in these four goals after 40 years of the push from the left.
      It is important in a democracy that there be occasions when governments bring us back to the central goals of the people. Thinking Canadians are grateful that we have a government that will slowly but surely steer us back to the center.

      • This thinking Canadian is thinking about how you spelled “center” in imitation of a nation that ha lost its centre and its way. ie the United States. A rather telling typo…

        • And that typo where you meant to say has but said “ha ” is also very telling—-tells me you are a joker.

          • Ah, the vagaries of a jumpy tablet keyboard….I still have a portable typewriter but the ribbon’s a little thin.

      • Nice try…now read unselectively and include the whole context. TF is saying that the liberals had a long period redefining Canadian identity in terms of those programmes – vey little of which the PC or CPC ever supported initially with the possible exception of peace keeping?? He then goes on to say that it is time to undo the damage. He does not say, contrary to your assertion, that he’s happy with any of them. You’re projecting w/o any actual evidence [at least from this quote] imo. Liberals didn’t “redefine our goals” because core conservatives [ particularly western ones] never did share those goals.
        So no, Flanagan isn’t just talking about achieving some balance of goals he never shared. Presumably he wants to take us off in a whole new [ or return to a so called golden age before 60s liberals] direction altogether.
        I can’t say for sure if my parsing of his comments is any more accurate than yours, but i do know your last para is a silly bit of populous none sense, that wouldn’t look out of place in Pravda. Who gets to “define the central goals of the people”; who gets to say who all those “thinking Canadians” are or what is this centre they are supposedly all hoping for?
        You have nerve accusing liberals of being social engineers or writing the countries history purely to benefit themselves.[ which you’ve done elsewhere] Your whole post attempts to define Canadian values as being some kind of self evident goal or truth that is too sacred to ever be tested or changed. That’s none sense. The fact is the progressive elements of the liberal party, aided and abetted by the CCF/NDP and progressive elements of the PCs fought for and made these programmes a reality; often against a fierce resistance from people like you and TF…even if nowadays you do say you’ve learned to live with them. That wasn’t always the case at all.

        • OK Sheldon, you are absolutely right.
          Flanagan and Harper and all Conservatives want to eliminate bilingualism and multiculturalism and deport all those people back to their respective countries—-no more medicare, take care of yourself, and forget about peacekeeping—bring it on.

          Try to refrain from assuming that only Libs and Dippers have any sense of compassion or humanity.
          Undoing damage. correcting, returning balance—-call it what you like, it needs to be done and Harper will do it.
          The need for those on the left to cry wolf from the side lines every time they are corrected probably means they will stay on the sidelines.

          • Fine then Einstein. You post a link to a decent article that TF has written where he just says he thinks these programmes just have to be adjusted or reined in, cuz i have seen nary a one from him. He doesn’t define what this damage is [unlike you who apparently are able to speak on his behalf w/o a shred of evidence] that he would undo. Perhaps you’re right for once – but i doubt it.
            The rest of your post is a typically childish response to having your reading comprehension called into question …again and again and…
            The original point of this blog in case you’ve forgotten is whether is Harper trying to put the party brand on the bits of our history he likes [ which he is free to do] while arguably ignoring or dismissing the contributions of others.[ which is typically low ball of him.]
            Really, deflecting debate away from any possible negative political fall out for this govt is your MO. You have nothing else to add to the debate at all…beyond trying to label someone whose opinion you don’t like with lame comparisons to fictional tv stars. Try reading a book for a change. Now if i was you i’d be proud to wear the legend Einstein…even if the irony is a little lost on you.

          • Are you catching on to sarcasm Sheldon ?

          • I’m surprised you can even spell it, much less grasp how to use it effectively.

          • Personally, I’m kind of jealous that you got tagged with Sheldon. I thought for sure that I’d get that one.

          • Be my guest. I’ve seen the show perhaps twice and it did sorta look like only someone as dense as Andy would actually think Sheldon was a serious kind of negative insult to chuck at anyone.
            Not my style. I’m holding out more for someone like Relic.

          • I would be very interested in hearing exactly what you mean when you talk about compassion in the context of the Conservatives.

      • “You may have stumbled upon the point of the article in your first
        paragraph and the word to remember in Flanagan`s quote is ” redefined

        “Tom Flanagan, Harper’s former chief of staff. “The Liberals had a long
        run at redefining Canadian identity…”

        Let me help a little more…”redefining Canadian identity” makes it pretty clear to anyone but you [apparently] that he thinks there was an earlier, presumably better one before this awful liberal meddling [ i’ve heard him say as much] particularly when he finshes off with his remedy for this egregious “redefining”…
        ,” he says. “Now it’s time to undo the damage.”

        You couldn’t stumble across your arse if your hands were glued to it Andy.

  7. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/02/07/quebec_referendum_issue_continues_to_be_a_nonstarter_hbert.html

    While Graves posits a conventional take on Harper’s nationalism and its political fall out, there are other more subtle pov. What if he’s trying to play a double game? He’s been very quiet on the unity debate between libs/dippers so far? Difficult to see though how he could really manage to play Cpt Canada in the RoC and also try to squeeze the libs by taking a position closer to Mulcairs than Trudeaus in QC. I bet he’ll try though. Last time someone tried that [Mulroney] it blew up pretty badly in his face. I wont cry if history were to repeat itself in that regard. In any case he’ll probably follow his usual pattern of waiting to see which way the wind blows before taking his usual opportunistically principled stand

  8. Don’t tell me we can now officially hang Canada’s declining reputation and presence in the world on PMSH!

  9. Don’t forget the time he made “Standing up for Canada”! the election slogan in English and then changed it for French.

    I have noticed this author takes liberties with the supposed success of Harper’s tactics. OMG look how well he’s doing! when it’s not necessarily warranted. Nick T-V does a good job of pointing to strategy but maybe not so well evaluating it.

  10. “Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it” – Stephen Harper, 1997

    Harper is nothing more than a calculating opportunist and a patriot of convenience, not conviction.

    • yes, big time shyster

  11. Please come on! before Mr. Harper speaks in the name of all Canadians, he should dedicate more time to a sysmic issue in this country, which is the Segregation in this country between the ethnic groups; for the uninitated: Segregation means the separation or isolation of a race, class, or ethnic group by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area, by barriers to social intercourse, by separate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means! Harper Government is enabling the segregation of ethnic minorities and give free hand for European ethnic backgrounds! Mr. Harper and his politics will not survive in the upcoming 10 years. Minorities in major cities are taking upper hand (already now) and it is only a matter of time to separate and DISCONNECT Canada from the UK;

    • This comment was deleted.

      • Um………. ‘white Canada’ like ‘white America’……is history. So get over yourself.

        • Hmmm, you may want to rethink this….

          • Sorry….no more white man’s country.

          • Not sure what part of the country your from but I guess we will see how things progress in the next 10 years……as im sure you must be an immigrant of colour due to the fact you seem offended by my “white” Canadians comment and now feel threatened hence the comment of no more white mans country, you feel some kind of security or power if you will by implying the white people will be no more, if that is not racist I dont know what is.

          • We already know the demographics. Whites have always been a tiny minority in the world.

            LOL why, did you think you were running things?

            I’m a lily-white Celt from a family here in 1848….so you’ll have to go elsewhere for your ‘fear factor’

            There are no races….we all have the same DNA, and we all came from Africa originally.

          • Yes, i can assume your in eastern Canada and you will assume im in the “red neck” west.

            Whites were and are still not the minority hence the term visable minority, my intentions are not to imply fear at all, its factal.

            For you not to recognize there are races is just plain ignorant on your behalf, and yes white people were and are running things in this part of the world, no different then brown people running things in their part of the world and yellows there and so on, but as soon as a white person mentions “running things” its mis conceived as a power thing or a over ruling thing over other races or a racist thing but when the tables are turned its ok………if you are who you say you are then i can only assume you are riddled with “white guilt” and feel ashamed of who you are and your heritage beacuse you have been made to feel this way for unknown reasons……you have every right to be very proud of your white heritage and backround and not have to feel or be labeled as a racist for saying so, just the same for every other race on this planet.

          • Whites have always been a minority in the world. And no, they have never run things.

            And ‘races’ are a social construct…they don’t exist in biology. That’s not me, m’dear, that’s science. We all have the same DNA. We all came out of Africa. We all have the same IQ.

            Nobody is ‘proud’ of the colour of their skin anymore than they’re ‘proud’ of the colour of their hair.

            Or their eyes. The colour is irrelevant.

      • …becoming less tolerant…?!?!

        • Yes less tolerant, we as humans tolerate every thing we do every day which includes others ways and or beliefs.

          • Your post makes the assumption that “white” Canadians are some kind of natural top dog that all these other minorities threaten with their pesky never ending demands. If you can’t see what is wrong with that picture i guess we have nothing to say to one another.

          • I never once said anything about white people being the top dog, this part of the world is prodominitly white, its true settlers where white, much the same as true settlers of the middle east are brown, the only reason for colour in this part of the world was americans bringing africans over as slaves which i might add I absolutely disagree with… and immigration, why immigrate to a country that you want to turn into the country you left? You left your country for a reason……

          • LOL ‘true’ settlers. FN….’Indians’….are Asian

          • Please feel free to educate me on the meaning “settlers”

          • The original people in North America…..are actually Asian.

            They were the ‘settlers’….not you, whitey. LOL

      • Less tolerant…that will certainly be good for world peace. Guess we should all get our muskets out and sign up as grunts.

        • Im very sorry but give your head a shake, world peace is a farce, it will never happen, so long as there is religion and different colours of skin and different languages humans will always find a way to fight with one another, the world today is more unrested and less peacefull then it was 20 years ago before immigration was at its peak, the world as a whole was much more tolerant of one another when we were segregated.

          • Actually this is the longest best time of peace in all of world history.

          • Please read and do your research before posting this kind of nonsence!

          • Thanks for the link but there are many many more stating the opposite!

            Im far too intelligent to visit any nonsence racist websites, you have exactly proven my point, a coloured person can proclaim their heritage and evrything that goes along with it and its ok, but the second a white person proclaims the same im a racist. If you actually knew me emily im am very far from a racist but thank you for the engaging conversation and proving my point.

          • No there aren’t. ….because there is no basis is science for any of your beliefs.

            Nobody minds you being white. You can’t help it. It’s just you can’t pretend you’re superior because of your skin colour.

          • Yes, I guess you are…a very, very sorry individual. World peace is a worthy goal. Segregation is not.

  12. “When fascism comes to Canada it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross made out of a hockey stick”

  13. “The Liberals had a long run at redefining Canadian identity in terms of
    bilingualism, multiculturalism, socialized medicine and peacekeeping,”
    he says. “Now it’s time to undo the damage.”

    This kind of says it all about Tom Flanagan. Unless you consider his suggestion that a drone missile be used to take out the founder of WikiLieaks. He’s a madman.

  14. In all honesty I believe Mr Harper will go down as one of Canada’s great Prime Ministers. While the rest of the world suffers he directs a good solid economy now and into the future. He’s making changes that need changing and giving Canada a sense of history and culture that leads to identity…something Canada has really lacked over the past 50 years
    He looks at the big picture and never comments on the little sandbox issues that Mr Mulcair and the Liberals do with tedious regularity.
    His party members that become reckless and stupid are always gone within the year such as Bev Oda, Gergis etc.
    Yes he runs a tight ship, yes he has a vision and yes people will vote for him because we are all better off with Mr Harper @ the helm. Canadian Pride is the result.

    • A tight ship? LMAO! Haven’t you noticed he’s digging a tar-sands-sized hole in the hull all the way to China? A hole big enough to fly F35s through? A hole that both the EU and China would like to plug with restrictive trade practices in a “free trade” agreement? And a list of “reckless and stupid” members that grows by the day. That’s just off the top of my head.

      • I agree with some of your analysis especially the reckless members; they will go in the future. The tight ship I’m referring to is the running of the economy, the wholesale restructuring of a more competent immigration system, cutbacks in an overspending federal government and in fact finding better sources for trade by expanding markets. Mr Harper is an Economist, cool headed and not over reactive. This is good for Canada.

        • Er… you know that Harper hasn’t reduced the size of the federal government at all since coming to office, right? He’s increased it substantially. He certainly hasn’t reduced the debt, either.

          Then again, Conservative governments in this country seem to be more or less incapable of producing balanced budgets…

          • Not true. Conservative governments are perfectly capable of producing balanced budgets… they just need a massive windfall of easy-to-get to resources under their feet, and a willingness to spit on people whose paying jobs don’t pay enough to support them.

            Klein, you’ll notice, had both.

        • Harper’s running of the economy has been lackluster, at best. Liberals had built up a surplus and Harper had gotten rid of it before the recession ever hit.

          Then the recession did hit.. to the supposed economist’s total surprise.. and his first instinct was to cut gov’t to the bone. It’s only because he was in a minority position and forced to push through Economic Action Plan by the opposition that our economy didn’t crater harder than the US.

          Now he’s in a majority situation and while government spending balloons, especially on message control in the back rooms, front line services and low level employees are taking the axe. Our central bank is begging for us not to borrow, but they’re forced to keep the interest rate ridiculously low because this government refuses to play an anti-cyclical role, so we’re lacking the productive base that would allow interest rates to creep up without killing the economy completely.

          Harper hasn’t found better sources for trade, he’s found more people who are willing to screw canada up the rear for a few bucks. You want proof? Look at the softwood lumber industry. We had won that dispute, in practically every trade forum we went to. Yet Harper inks a deal that has us bending over, paying *their* legal fees, and sets it up so that a year later the US can come back, sue us again in the court of *their* choosing, and unsurprisingly win.

          Do you have any clue how many BC jobs, how many Canadian lives, Harper simply sold out so he could get a headline saying he “fixed” softwood lumber for a week?

          I’ll grant you he’s cool-headed and not over-reactive. But his goal has nothing to do with bettering Canada as a whole, and more with bettering his own election chances. He has no other marketable skills besides politics, so he’s working his ass off to make sure he can keep this current position as long ass possible.

  15. I agree wholly with the Conservative government, with the exception of bilingualism. A fat money sink that is not positive nor reflective of what Canada is. NB is the only bilingual province in the country and it is broke from lack of work, failing infrastructure and no means to create revenue other than increase taxes. Closing hospitals and beds have become the norm. But, NB insists on doling out $100 million dollars funding bilingual services for a confirmed French unilingual population, which is a mere 10% of the provincial population. So I hope the feds will move away from bilingualism, and as the multi-national face of Canada changes we create one working language, that being English as it is a world language, a media language, Internet language and the most published language. Trim the fat Mr. Harper.

  16. It is ironic that the current federal government espouses the importance of Canadian heritage and culture. Yet, they cancelled a program (begun during the Liberal regime) called the Historic Places Initiative. This had started important work of identifying heritage places all across Canada and was hoping to secure tax incentives (like those available in the US) to help preserve these places. Canada is far behind the US, Europe, and Australia in this. Instead, this work has been ignored in favour of expensive and flashy anniversary celebrations. While these are important, the grassroots of our Canadian heritage should not be ignored either.

  17. everyone i am so happy that celebrating this past Christmas with my
    husband after leaving me for about 5months and i never thought he was
    going to come back again because he was with another woman which he said
    he love so much and ever since my life have never remain the same
    because i love him with all my heart and my kid was not having father to
    call on so one day i saw a testimony on the internet after i have read
    about what many people have said about so many spell cast i just chosen
    to contact ekakaspelltemple@yahoo.com for help and his quick respond was
    very well appreciated by me so he ask me to do somethings which i did
    and after 1day i receive a call from my husband telling me that he is
    going to come back home tomorrow and it was just like a dream to me we
    have been together for 2months and some days now and we are very happy
    together thanks to you Ekaka you are the best..

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