Inside the Prime Minister's Office - Macleans.ca
 

Inside the Prime Minister’s Office

How Stephen Harper is preparing for 2015


 

Adrian Wyld / CP; Blair Gable

Stephen Harper resigned his seat as a Reform MP in the House of Commons in January 1997, five months before that year’s election. But it was during that campaign that two of the central figures in his rise to power first met. Ray Novak and Jenni Byrne encountered each other that spring as passengers on the party’s youth bus, a caravan of young Reformers who travelled Ontario, riding to riding, to knock on doors, hand out literature, make phone calls, cheer on their party and jeer at their rivals.

Sixteen years later, Novak and Byrne are at the top of the organizational chart at the Prime Minister’s Office, and they are at the Prime Minister’s side at a uniquely crucial time. Together with a recently refreshed PMO—three changes were announced last month, while a new director of communications was named last week—they are charged with moving the Harper government past its most difficult year to date, helping guide a new agenda, fending off Justin Trudeau and, two years from now, winning the Prime Minister a rare fourth mandate. “They’ve got a huge job to do,” says one strategist of the PMO. “They’ve got to figure out a reason to get re-elected.” Of some of the staffing changes, a former government official says, “It is about getting ready for a fight. We may end up losing that fight, but at least we are going to start fighting it.”

On the eve of a Throne Speech that’s meant to give new direction to the government, the Conservatives are trailing in the polls, and much of the hardship Harper has faced in recent months originated in the very office that has been retooled. The details of a secret $90,000 payment from former chief of staff Nigel Wright to disgraced Sen. Mike Duffy helped transform what was yet another story of senators behaving badly into a crisis for the Prime Minister himself. Even without that scandal, though, history would suggest Harper has a daunting task ahead. Only four prime ministers—John A. Macdonald, Wilfrid Laurier, William Lyon Mackenzie King and Pierre Trudeau—have managed to secure four mandates, and not since Laurier, in 1908, has a prime minister won four in a row.

Novak, who famously once lived in a loft above the garage at Stornoway when Harper was leader of the Opposition, became the chief of staff after Wright’s resignation over the Duffy cheque. Novak has been by Harper’s side for more than a decade now, first as his executive assistant and later as principal secretary. In that most recent post, he took a particular interest in foreign relations and foreign policy. “The biggest challenge as chief, of course, is convincing people that what you’re saying and your actions are speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister. And nobody ever doubts that with Ray,” says Derek Vanstone, a former deputy chief of staff in the PMO who describes Novak as a “sweetheart of a guy.”

Byrne, who previously worked in the PMO, has been touted as Harper’s best political organizer. A tough partisan—“She’s got a reputation as a bit of a bruiser, but she’s brilliant,” says Vanstone—Byrne managed the Conservative campaign in 2011 and has overseen the party’s operations for the past four years. She now joins Joanne McNamara—a former chief of staff to two cabinet ministers who has been at the PMO for a year—as a deputy chief of staff. “[Byrne] has an intuitive understanding of the Conservative base that’s better than pretty much anyone I’ve ever met,” says Kory Teneycke, a former director of communications at the PMO, who was in charge of that Reform party youth bus and is now vice-president of Sun News Network. “[She’s] from small-town Ontario, and her experience growing up and her cultural touchstones are very much in tune with most people who are part of the Conservative movement.” As director of the party, she acted as a conduit between it and the PMO and also helped facilitate relations between the PMO and the Conservative caucus.

Byrne and Novak could be particularly well positioned to make peace with a restless backbench that distracted the Tories last spring. “They have a history of being there, calling people back and working through issues,” says Jason Lietaer, a Conservative strategist. “They’ve been around. You’re not getting a call from somebody you’ve never spoken to before or that doesn’t have any credibility.” Adds Vanstone of Byrne: “Caucus recognizes that Jenni is, to a large degree, responsible for our national campaigns, and the national campaigns are what most of them credit for winning. So she’s able to knock heads around, because she’s got that credibility.”

Joining Byrne and Novak are three up-and-comers: Alykhan Velshi, Joseph Lavoie and Lanny Cardow.

Cardow, 34, rejoins the PMO as the manager of government advertising and marketing. Previously an executive assistant to Ian Brodie, one of Harper’s former chiefs of staff, Cardow has a master’s degree from George Washington University’s graduate school of political management. He worked with Navigator Ltd., the Canadian public relations firm that once employed former PMO strategist Patrick Muttart, before spending a year in the United States as a “senior language strategist” with Luntz Global, the firm led by Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster and messaging guru. (Luntz has been credited with, among other things, styling Barack Obama’s health-care reforms as a “government takeover” and the estate tax as the “death tax.”) “The office has been a little shy of people with advertising and research experience,” says Lietaer. “That’s what Lanny brings to the table.”

Leading two of the office’s major departments will be former aides to two of Harper’s best ministers. Velshi, a former aide to Jason Kenney who had been the director of planning in the PMO since December 2011, is the new director of issues management, the department that traditionally deals with the day-to-day headlines. The 29-year-old holds a law degree from the London School of Economics and is the founder and former president of EthicalOil.org, an organization created to promote the idea, advanced by Ezra Levant’s book of the same name, that Canada is a more virtuous source of crude than the alternatives. “He’s a very strong partisan, very effective at quick response,” says Lietaer, who worked with Velshi in the Conservative campaign’s war room in 2011. “He knows the gallery and their tendencies, knows who would be likely to write this [or that] story and [with] what kind of angle.” Velshi, says the former government official, “is very aware of those situations that play poorly in Ottawa but well everywhere else”—for example, the government’s changes to the way refugees and asylum claimants are handled.

Lavoie, 29, a former aide to John Baird, is the new director of strategic communications, a position that has been vacant since May. He held a similar position in Baird’s office, handling social media and web design and helping lead some of its digital diplomacy initiatives, for instance the Foreign Affairs department’s attempt to reach out to Iranian communities through the Internet. Lavoie, who also spent time with Navigator and has sporadically maintained a blog in which he muses about food, fatherhood and social media, is a former winner of Magna International’s Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister competition. It was there that Lavoie first impressed former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who, along with Kim Campbell, Joe Clark and Paul Martin, judged the finalists. “I can remember being quite emphatic in my view that he had been by far the best contestant and performed extremely well,” Mulroney says. Months later, after Karlheinz Schreiber had revived questions about the German lobbyist’s dealings with the former prime minister, Mulroney contracted Navigator to handle his public relations, and Lavoie became one of his spokesmen. “He performed extremely well,” Mulroney says. “He showed maturity and good judgment and discretion. I think these are all qualities that Mr. Harper would value.”

Reflecting back on the reorganization of his own PMO in 1987, a year before his campaign for re-election, Mulroney says the strengthened and reinvigorated office was key to his victory. “An important part of that is the solace the Prime Minister gets from knowing that he has entrusted his well-being on the policy side and the political side to good people who are devoted to the welfare of Canada, the welfare of the government and his welfare.”

It can be argued that what the government needs right now is change. But Vanstone sees an important message in the presence of Novak, Byrne and McNamara. “It sends a stabilizing signal for the system,” he says.

And if trust is paramount, it is perhaps fitting that Novak should assume the top post and that Byrne should rejoin the PMO at this particular moment. “They’re both fiercely loyal, if there’s one thing that you would say about those two that ties them together,” says Lietaer. “There’s a reason why they’ve both been around as long as they have.”

They have, either figuratively or literally, been there for the entire ride with Harper. And now they’re more important than ever in determining how much further it can go.

 


 
Filed under:

Inside the Prime Minister’s Office

  1. In other words they’ve been with the illegitimate PM since they were in nappies and played a role in the in and out scheme that the party was charged in court with. Harper can’t seem to find people that haven’t been involved in all of the scandal that surrounds him like the dust that surrounds “Pigpen” in the Peanuts comic strip.

    • How could Harper possibly pick good people? Look at himself? Harper was Policy Chief for his, Northern Foundation of 1989. He had hired Wolfgang Droege and his Heritage Front as, security for Preston Manning. That should have been our first clue, as to what Harper really is. Harper most certainly, is no Conservative.

      Harper used every dirty tactic in the book to be re-elected and to hide his cheating to win.

      Justice delayed, justice denied. Chief Electoral Officers said. Harper is responsible for the delays in Harper’s, robo-call election fraud.
      May 28/2013
      news.nationalnews.com

      The robo-call ruling? Have we hit bottom yet?
      May 24/2013
      ipolitics.ca

  2. It brings to mind the caution that the PM’s office needs adult supervision. All those bright young minds lead to attack ads involving kittens… being eaten!

  3. Excellent team, PM has good people. However, Harper doesn’t have much to worry about, he truly has no opponents for 2015, and it seems that Mulcair doesn’t either, JT not doing so well in Quebec anymore, he is in a pickle.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/20/tom-mulcair-ndp-quebec-poll_n_3961597.html

    Harper and Mulcair are seasoned politicians that will take a not so bright one for a ride, everytime!

    • Good People?, lets take a look at the people who Harper has surrounded himself of late, or chose to work for him. Carson, Wallin, Duffy , Brazeau, Penashue, Wright, Del Mastro, Porter etc etc All under criminal investigations of some sort..

      If you think harper will have no opposition in 2015, are you suggesting the conservatives plan on more voter fraud?

      • That amazes me too. Harper’s list of degenerates is, as long as his arm. All Dictator have their degenerates and criminals, to do their dirty work for them. Harper’s favorite henchman is, ex BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell. Harper rewarded him the, cushy post as, High Commissioner to the U.K. Campbell had done a lot of dirty work for Harper. Campbell was also arrested for drunk driving. He was so drunk, he even drove on the wrong side of the road.

        The Campbell/Clark BC Liberals, obviously work for Harper. Christy Clark hired another one of Harper’s degenerates, Boesenkool. He did some serious misconduct, to a female staffer, while very drunk.

        Yep! Harper is sure a winner, is he not?

        • Brilliant attempt to smear Harper because he appointed a Liberal a diplomatic appointment. Just like Harper should be denounced for appointing Manitoba’s NDP premier to be US ambassador. Because nothing says corruption like Liberals and Dippers. Oh ya, let’s talk about how partisan Stephen Harper is again.

          • Harper is an opportunist. He has been a member of so many political parties it’s hard to keep track. He only stopped once he had enough really crazy people to support his psychopathic need for power.

          • I don’t know if you’re playing dumb, NotRick, but Campbell isn’t a Liberal, he’s a BC Liberal, which has about as much to do with the LPC as the Australian Liberals do.

      • No, I’m suggesting that Mulcair never will get the confidence of Canadians to form a government and Justin Trudeau has a long way before Canadians give him a shot.

        So yes, Harper will be PM until 2019. Get used to the idea!

    • I am sure all Canadians will back Harper up when, he hands Canada over to Communist China, for a minimum of 31 years. Seems Harper signed a deal with, the Communist China Army as well.

      • Perhaps you should wipe the foam from your mouth. It’s distracting.

      • Yes, everyone should remember that doing business with other nations is selling out Canada. We should seal our borders and pretend that the outside world doesn’t exist.

        • There’s no need to seal our borders but trying to sustain an industrial civilization is not in anyone’s best interests.

        • People are too broke, too in debt, too union brainwashed or have no faith in investing in Canada.

          Me, I am a no faith, after the “Trust” screwing, I invest all new money offshore. Always factor in government and union tax greed when investing in Canada.

      • China beats us as our economy is tax inflated for government and union bloat. China is productive like Canada was int eh 1800s as they have less children in government to support.

        With so many unproductive government children, domestic productive people are not having enough future taxpayers (children of their own).

        But hey, always easy to blame someone else for a made in Canada screw up. We penalize the productive middle class to support waste in this country.

    • JT’s been leading Harper in the polls now for longer than any other opposition leader. To simply write that off as simply lucky , signifying nothing at all to worry about is bizarre.

      • Nobodies saying Trudeau’s been lucky so far, it’s a well thought out strategy for sure. The problem is that the strategy is to hide his incompetence and inexperience for as long as possible.

        Is that a strategy that will defeat a 3-term PM? Are Canadians so distraught with our current state of affairs that they’d toss the guy who got us here in favour of a completely inexperienced guy with a big trust fund, nice hair, a marijuana habit, and a teaching background?

        If this article says anything, it’s that the PMO is filled with people who have vast amounts of experience not just winning elections, but succeeding as leaders.

        Weather Trudeau likes it or not, he’s made the next election about Marijuana vs. the Economy. He’ll undoubtedly try to spin his dope policy as an economic one, but nobody will see the government as Chief Weed Dealer of the country as a viable long term economic vision.

        • Harper had no experience when he ran for PM but then again his party was charged with cheating to take power in Canada.

        • Me, in the absence of any real leadership of value for the middle class productive people, I am hoping for a minority government on a three way split.

  4. I look at some of the negative comments on here and I wonder how do the authors ever expect to win elections in main stream Canada? Do you folks really think this kind of nastiness gets the public’s attention or support? Or that they would support parties that have people like you posting on their behalf. One has to hope that Trudeau and Mulcair have better than you to make their arguments for them. Bloviating haters are not going to cut it in 2015. We saw the same kind of thing from you folks on the chat lines prior to 2011 and where did that get you?
    2015 – 4 more years!

    • If the majority of Canadians saw, and judged, political parties based on what their supporters said on line, Harper would disassociate himself from the website “Blogging Tories” in a heartbeat.

      So I suspect neither the LPC nor the NDP are too concerned about what their supporters say about Harper on this site.

      • Of course not. The fact that most Liberal supporters are espousing bat shit craziness all over the internet should be of no concern to the Liberals. Nothing says “vote for me” like irrational populist partisanship.

        • you’re hilarious. You really can’t see what you look like can you?

        • Heh. Have you read what goes on over at the BT blogs? Because if you have, and you call what some people write here as “bat shit craziness”, then you have a different definition of “bat shit craziness” than the rest of the world.

          • Canadian blogs have 50 shades of bat shit craziness. Some bats are just crazier than others. Or more articulate.

    • so the sun and national post, don’t write or allow negative comments about opposition parties. macleans has some of the most balanced and fair journalists as any other news organization. you should take off them rose colored glasses.

      • Watachie is taking a line often taken by conservatives, which holds that everyone but them has to observe higher standards of conduct. This allows them to take the low road while criticizing others for not taking the high road.

      • NP won’t permit neither facts nor links. So about all you get is a, silly little juvenile, name calling board. The Sun is the worst for blatant bias. That is so boring, they are not worth reading.

        Most people want all sides of the spectrum reported. What do you learn from, a biased news outlet?

        I agree, this the best comment board.

        • I agree, this is the best comment board for Liberal and NDP hacks to pleasure one another, remind themselves how innately superior they are to those with whom they disagree and rain down vitriol on evil, contemptible conservatives.

        • The NP, also, doesn’t write articles, with excessive, unnecessary, and grammatically, incorrect, commas.

    • Better take a speed course in, Chinese Mandarin then?

      • Brilliant rebuttal. Thanks for reminding people about the evils of learning a foreign language.

    • Bingo. Liberals simply can’t figure out why Canadians don’t vote for them, despite the fact that members of the MSM think they’re just swell. The media have absolutely no insight about the average Canadian. How well can you understand Canada when you only leave Ottawa for campaign events?

      • When you write this stuff, it is hard to figure out if you are trying to convince your fellow readers, or if you are just trying to convince yourself…

  5. harper and his cronies have raised the bar so high(its never been so high in Canadian history) with breaking rules and corruption, that if the cons loose the next election, they will never be able criticize the next government in power(its going to be the libs). we have the con government today because of the dippers. libs will be elected in 2015 as a minority government and the dippers will have the chance to right a wrong they blew by supporting the cons in 2006 and support a liberal government in 2015.

    • Yes, let us deride the Conservatives for “raising the bar”. They should lower the bar for breaking rules and corruption. We need a Liberal government to lower that bar, so that corruption and rule breaking can be as easy for the average Canadian as it is for the average well connected Liberal.

      Also, could you point to where the NDP were “supporting the cons in 2006”? Because by my recollection it was the Liberals that propped up every minority government while in opposition. I seem to remember laughing at the Liberals while they were voting for CPC budgets while at the same time trying to deride them.

  6. These people should be serving long jail terms for undermining the authority of our elected representatives.

    And they will be.

    • Silly, silly person.

    • Agreed. Nothing says “healthy democracy” like jailing members of an opposing party. How can we possibly hope to grow as a country with free and open debate?

      • Free and open debate is precisely what the stranglehold of PMO has stifled. There WILL be legal consequences.

  7. We subsidized the living arrangements of one of his aides?

    • Excellent critique. Justin Trudeau was raised in government subsidized housing, and aspires to live in government subsidized housing in the very near future, once again. It’s political brilliance to attack a guy who lived on top of a garage.

  8. h.l.mencken – Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage
    ———–

    We love you Arsenal, we do,
    Oh Arsenal we love you!

  9. Wherry takes a totally different tone when writing about Harper than he does when writing about Trudeau. He’s all respect around Harper, and ridicules Trudeau.

    • That really isn’t true Elizabeth .

      • that’s polite way to put it – i wonder how often Wherry gets accused of being soft on Harper and unfair to Trudeau? I don’t think Elizabeth is regular reader of Wherry.

      • Pisses me off having to thumb-up you :)

    • Yes. Wherry is a Conservative hack who just writes spin for the PMO. Thumbs up if you hate Conservative’s and are non-partisan :)

  10. The appointment of such callow individuals to virtually all the key positions in the PMO raises one crucial question: who will manage affairs every afternoon during nap time?

    • Nothing as “callow” as experience and real-world knowledge in LIberal-land.

      • Empirically, that doesn’t appear to be provable. The frat boys in the PMO are callow and your response is shallow.

  11. ” manager of government advertising and marketing ”

    Does not belong in the PMO. That’s part of the Civil Service. They might as well call that Department oc CPC Propaganda. Thats partisan advertising using public money.

    • Totally correct. The Prime Minister of Canada should be a figure head who doesn’t actually control any part of the government. We should actually acknowledge that, in a proper democracy, the opposition is more representative than of the populace than the party that won the most votes.

      • I think the point is that, more than ever in the past, the roles of impartial governance advisors and officials and those of partisan operatives in the PMO and even the PCO have been blurred and conflated. They are now little more than extensions of the CPC.

      • Indeed. the opposition represents 60% of voters.

  12. As campaign manager, Jenni Byrne is the one who will be in the hot seat responsible for all of the election fraud.

    • Yes, the campaign manager of the CPC campaign should be held responsible for the fraud’s perpetrated by the Liberals and NDP. Why? Because.

      • Rick Omen – do you work in the PMO or just shill for them?

  13. There’s lots more scandals to come
    1) The RCMP investigation of Wallin is not done yet. Repaying the expenses does not make the investigation go away
    2) The RCMP investigation of Duffy and Wright is not done yet. It’s pretty hard to avoid charges in the case and that’s going to keep the scandal in the news.
    3) Sona will get a deal. Lets see if he talks and what he has to say.
    4) The Elections Canada investigation is still ongoing. Who knows how or when that will end. Sona may still have some input.
    5) The suite at the Chateau Laurier will hit at some point. I don’t care about the Harper personal lives, and i comend the media for not going there, but who’s paying that bill of at least $150,000 a year.a) it’s a taxable benifit. b) If it’s private money that’s influence peddaling. c) If it’s billed through the PMO or the RCMP, it’s still public money and we have a right to know. Stay tuned.
    6) The FIPA deal with China is going to be a hard sell.
    7) Keystone and Gateway are going to cause a lot of hard feelings. It’s a wedge issue and I’m not sure Harper is on the thick end of the wedge.
    8) The EU trade deal puts supply management in play. That’s not many dairy farmers but rural is the CPC base.
    9) Pot is another wedge issue. How far will Harper bend?
    May we live in interesting times.

    • “5) The suite at the Chateau Laurier ” intrigues me.

      It is in everyones interest that blips, indiscretions etc etc.. in a politicians “so called personal ” lives be revealed. Why? Consider the fact that if it is worth hiding from the public, it makes the person a target of blackmail or worse.

      When you enter politics, you have no personal life, but if you have a skeleton in your closet, you put the entire country at risk if it can be used against you!

      If Laureen has left Steve, and he doesn’t want to Shatter his Family Guy image, Harper could be the biggest threat to all Canadians trying to keep his dirty little secret.

      • I know where you’re coming from on the one hand, but do we really want the kind of smear campaigns that leads to. Dion and Ignatief faced enough personal attacks. Politics is a blood sport, but do we need to drag it through the sewers. As Flanagan put it “It doesn’t have to be true; it just has to
        be plausible.”

        • Flanagan was echoing L.B.Johnson and a thousand other ward-heelers stretching back to Ur. Johnson famously had an opponent accused of obtaining carnal knowledge of swine (though put more colourfully). When his aide protested that no one would believe it, he responded, “Who cares? Make him deny it.” You want serious politics, think War of the Roses. Ottawa drama is a bagatelle by comparison.
          Harper again in 2015, your list of sins notwithstanding. What entertains is knowing many of you on these boards, in your hearts, apprehend the same likely outcome, all things remaining the same.

      • I completely agree, we should dissect every aspect of politicians lives. Like why the hell did Mulcair take out 9 mortgages on his home? It’s strange for a guy making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

        Or better yet, when Justin Trudeau was smoking weed as a high school drama teacher, who was he buying it from? I just think it’s interesting that a guy could be so “transparent” with the public yet not disclose the drug dealer that was facilitating his own law-breaking.

        I mean, if Trudeau’s grand plan for Canada is to keep marijuana away from kids, he might start by narc’ing on his own drug dealer.

        But I guess that might get messy if it’s discovered that Trust Fund Trudeau’s dope dealer was also donating to his campaigns.

        • Or what if his drug dealer turned out to be Rob Ford?

  14. Harper just never learns. Those folks are undoubtedly bright, but every last one of them is partisan to the core – yes men and women one and all. Harper hasn’t had adult supervision in the pmo since Beardsley left. This is pretty much the same crowd that brought on the govts present troubles; they’ll do it again. As Coyne says, these are the Harper principles; what you see is what you get.

    • Ya. If only Harper were to hire staff from opposition parties, like every government before his has done, then surely his government wouldn’t be having such “troubles”.

      I know you’re a hardcore Liberal partisan, and that your parties success has always come from saying one thing and doing the opposite. But the present government has been successful because they do what they say they’ll do.

      Trying to paint the people in the PMO as partisan, when the article clearly illustrates them as experienced and successful is just plain stupid. Did Jean Chretien or Paul Martin have a non-partisan office? Does being a Liberal party member make one non-partisan?

      It honestly baffles me how you Liberals consider yourselves to be non-partisan, and you try to use the word as a slur against Conservatives. You’re the most partisan people in the land. You slander every member, or even supporter of, other parties as “partisan”, yet you somehow are above it.

      • Omen you really take the cake. I don’t like any political party as I think they are just a coverup waiting to happen. Every one of them has the benefit of a party lawyer to cover their corrupt asses. My dislike runs pretty equal across the board but your attempt to tell people that the illegitimate Harper government is doing what it says has not been my observation. In fact I think it’s become very clear that if Harper or anyone in that illegitimate government is telling us something then we can logically read it backwards to get the truth. Kind of like those old lps people said you could hear the devil talking in if you played it backwards.

      • You really have a problem putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with anything other then 5 don’t you?
        You won’t find a single comment in my profile where i’ve claimed to be non partisan or claimed liberals aren’t. So sorry to kick over your little straw man – it really wasn’t that hard.
        The point, since you clearly don’t grasp it, is that Harper’s pmos tend to be staffed by nothing but hard core partisans. Previous liberal and PC govts have been far from perfect in this regard, but they’ve invariably managed to provide adult supervision.
        When you stock your political office with nothing but yes men and women, you shouldn’t be surprised if it backfires. But stupid is as stupid does.

  15. This is a sure fire sign that Harperland is heaving and its time to payoff the last of the lemmings.

  16. I hate Wherry’s petty little personal blog posts. But when he actually does real reporting like this, it’s quite informative. It clearly kills his Liberal base, but they’re the same people who only read Wherry for his trusted Liberal bias.

    • Not as much we hate your petty trolling and vacuous commentary.

  17. This comment was deleted.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • My my, so much nasty homophobia bubbling just below the surface of the anti-Harper types. We shouldn’t be surprised.

        • Jenni and Ray are the authors of so much vile and personal attacks against the opposition leaders and their spouses. You can dish it out but when it comes back it’s dirty? I have gays and lesbians in my circle of friends.

          • And yet you and other anti-Harper types in this thread go around trying to start rumours that Harper is gay, and promoting paranoid conspiracies about gays running the PMO.

            Jerry Falwell called — he wants you to tell everyone that Harper hired the Purple Teletubby, too.

            BTW, the claim that Laureen moved out is also a vicious lie made up by the left, but you already know that.

          • Norman Spector who was Chief of Staff for Mulroney brought it up. I guess anyone not of your political persuasion is a ( loonie ) lefty. Us lefties are much more tolerant of “alternative” life styles. As for Laureen’s digs, who’s paying the tab? That’s $ 150,000 a year minimum. Makes Duffy and Wallin look like amateurs

  18. I am a small c conservative but I will never again vote big C Conservative. Harper is a neo Con, nothing conservative about him. Have more government spending more money and more debt. Even lies to Candians investing in Canada on “Trusts” as well as a long list of deception.

    Reason you don’t hear so much from Harper is someone might ask about his lies and deception. Such as why if the US Navy has ditched defective F35s, why is Canada subsidizing US ilitary manufactures? Why not ditch the program of waste.

    As for waste and government, is there any part of Ottawa running efficently, effective and economical? We have the most bloated government in Canadian history!!! Health Canda doing Monsanto favors, CFIA not inspecting meat, CF losing billions without answers, 4500+ AANDC and no audits? Why not add we got bombs for Libya while disabled live in poverty, or the 2 million able (various groups) on one social assistance program or another not working and contributing?

    Fact is Ottawa is big CF (and I don’t mean the forces) of wasting and over taxing up in income and spend taxes you never hear off. Did you know food is tariff taxed in tax inflated Canada?

    You pay more for cheese in Canada than the USA as it can be taxed up to 283%. We have become economic slaves to the city/prov/fed/FN/welfare (corp, prov and personal) tax systems. Did you know most countries only have two layers of government to support and we have 4 or 5?

  19. I am the epitome of conservative in the way I live.

    But I didn’t vote Harper last time, and I will not next time.

    Me, in the absence of any real leadership of value for the middle class
    productive people, I am hoping for a minority government on a three way
    split. None of the parties represent stream non-government middle class workers, to them we are just tax sheep to pay for war, bailouts, buddy deals, huge excessive inefficient wasteful governments.

    None represent less income and massive hidden spend side tax reductions. Amazing how much food is taxed if you crack open the CBSA tariffs, duties, excise and taxes you never heard of. Gotta get the poor at the grocery store. So much taxes, even if you have a poverty level income, you get taxed good.

    We are brainwashed from CBC and grade one, never question the most expensive item in almost everayones life, the cost of government bloat. Even makes us less competitive in the word for depressed wages in a costly society….

    We support so my bickering government children, we domestic middle calss no longer have as many children of our own, less than 1.5 future taxpayers per middle-class family.

    Yet we fail to hold our over taxing, most expensive cost to accountability.

  20. Ray Novak: Steve
    Harper’s Closet Confidant

    He used to live above Steve Harper’s garage. Now he may be the second most powerful man in
    Ottawa.

    “Ray is effectively the Prime Minister’s closest confidant,”
    enthuses one government official. “Not only as a member of his staff, but as a
    personal and intimate member of the Prime Minister’s life.”

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/07/20/who-knows-what-harper-is-really-thinking-ray-novak/

    -00099887-

    • For nearly four years while Harper was opposition leader,
      Novak, then with the title of executive assistant, lived in a small loft above
      the detached garage at Stornoway—the opposition leader’s official
      residence—eating meals with the family and growing close to Harper’s two young
      children.

      This is the detail that has come to define an aide who, by
      some tellings, knows Harper better than all but the Prime Minister’s wife and
      mother. “Ray was with him more than anybody else for years and years and
      years,” says Brodie, who served as Harper’s chief of staff for three years.
      “They were literally hardly ever apart.”

      In addition to living with the Harper family at Stornoway,
      he oversaw Harper’s tour operations, coordinated with his security detail and
      served as the Prime Minister’s envoy to the families of the Air India bombing. “Ray will get it done,” says a former member
      of the PMO. “And he will do so with
      total discretion.”

      When Harper returned to federal politics in 2001 to pursue
      the Alliance leadership, he tabbed Novak as his assistant.

      As principal secretary, Novak travels with the Prime
      Minister abroad…

      • Makes you wonder. Bromance ?

  21. Part of the flaws of parliamentary feudal system is you are stuck voting for the back room man when voting. MPs don’t represent us, they represent the back room chosen leader that money bought.

    Democracy is a ruse in Canada, no one represents the non-government middle class, we are just tax sheep for the fleecing. Reality is governments are the most expensive item in our lives, yet we are bully trained by CBC and public schools from G1 not to question big government statism.

    On statism, all parties on my ballot were only big state statism managing us. Not a one, not a single option for less government picking out pockets.

    While we call ourselves a democracy, it is really a ruse, a farce, its why they all lie to deieve us out of our money and provide very little value for all the income, spend taxes they snag from us, to buy other peoples vote and support of statism.

  22. I notice Byrne’s name on a lot of the deceitful fundraising messages that get mass emailed. I realize that these letters aren’t aimed at informed voters and that the CPC prides itself on shading the truth, but if this person believes even half of the crap she writes she’s a truly disgusting human being and Canada is much better off without her anywhere near government.

    Ethicaloil ain’t much better.

  23. Harper’s plan is to call and election then retire. April or so next year he is eligible for a full pension, 10.4% rate of return on the pension, all the perks and benefits you could ask for. He already passes the 6 year service rule for a full pension, and needs be only 55 to collect on it.

    • Harper has a majority. Calling an early election would be political suicide.