Cabinet shuffle over, now the war is on

Stephen Harper will come back fighting, writes Paul Wells


 
The war is on

Photo by Blair Gable

The most important thing that happened this week in Canadian politics was that Stephen Harper didn’t quit. For a while in the spring, it was fashionable to predict he might. Chantal Hébert called the Prime Minister’s resignation before Labour Day “less and less far-fetched.” Her colleague Tim Harper said the Conservatives “might need fresh leadership.” It might be time for “change at the top,” Michael Den Tandt wrote. “The arrival of Justin Trudeau as Liberal leader has changed the political dynamic,” Lawrence Martin announced, “meaning there are new risks in Mr. Harper’s trying to go for another win.”

I counted eight such predictions in the print or web pages of reputable news organizations. What happened instead was that Harper overhauled his cabinet, promoting eight rookies to the ministry—thus winning their personal gratitude—and giving new homework to a dozen incumbents at the heads of new ministries, reducing the number of idle hands on Parliament Hill. To the rest of us, he promised a new Throne Speech in the autumn to outline a new, or at least tweaked, governing agenda.

After all that, I suppose he could resign at the Conservatives’ rescheduled Halloween policy convention in Calgary. But that’s not the way to bet it. The Conservative leader looks more like a man preparing to stay and fight.

“Fight” is the operative word. In a cabinet shuffle that sent new bosses to the departments of Justice, Defence, Industry, Immigration, Health, Canadian Heritage and Public Works, one of the most talked-about promotions was relatively minor. Pierre Poilievre, the 34-year-old MP for the eastern Ontario riding of Nepean-Carleton, entered the cabinet for the first time as a minister of state for democratic reform. This was noteworthy because “democratic reform” sounds as though it should embody the electorate’s fondest wishes for better politics, and Poilievre kind of enjoys being a jerk.

I’ve always enjoyed my occasional conversations with Poilievre, whom I find intelligent, funny and no more partisan than the opposition MPs whose daily attacks he takes great pleasure in blocking. But the reviews after his cabinet promotion were scathing. One columnist called Poilievre “thuggish”; another preferred “oily.” Together with Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan, who kept his job even though the papers were full of predictions that he’d be dumped, Poilievre’s new role suggests that, whatever Harper thinks his government’s faults are, a combative tone in Parliament isn’t among them.

This is not the first time Harper has sent Poilievre to fight when another leader might have sent someone else to make peace. In the spring of 2009, Michael Ignatieff was the new Liberal leader, enjoying a honeymoon in the polls and determined to make Employment Insurance eligibility a winning issue. Ignatieff met with Harper and they agreed to strike a “working group” to study EI reform. Each leader named three representatives. Harper appointed Poilievre. The choice showed he would rather see the whole process collapse than give an inch to the Liberals.

In the end, the working group failed to work, just as Harper had intended. When an election finally came in 2011, Conservative intransigence on EI had nothing to do with the result, which was better for Harper than for Ignatieff.

Nor, despite what you may read in the newspapers, is Harper the first prime minister who ever dug in his heels. Five weeks after he nearly lost the Quebec secession referendum of 1995, Jean Chrétien appointed a Montreal university professor named Stéphane Dion to lead his national-unity effort. Dion disagreed with just about anything the near-victorious “Yes” campaign believed in. Chrétien decided the key to victory wasn’t to agree with his opponents, it was to disagree with them more effectively. It’s always an option.

Harper also demonstrated the uses of creative immobilism this week when he kept Joe Oliver as minister of naturalresources. Oliver was the second-oldest man in this cabinet and, now that Gordon O’Connor has been given the heave-ho, its oldest returning member, at 73. Sending Oliver packing would have been an easy way to enhance the impression of a fresh start. He has been a beacon of belligerence, mocking U.S. Democrats and domestic environmental groups for their opposition to oil-pipeline expansion. But the only change Harper made on energy and the environment was to replace Peter Kent—a relatively spry environment minister two weeks short of his 70th birthday—with Leona Aglukkaq.

In more than four years as health minister, the soft-spoken Aglukkaq—the adjective is perhaps superfluous, as would be a reference to “the dusty Sahara”— made no memorable comment about Canada’s national health care system. By keeping a loudmouth at Natural Resources and appointing a mime to Environment, Harper ensures that the conversation between the two portfolios will come to resemble Penn and Teller’s stage act.

All of this is not to say Harper’s massive cabinet overhaul was an exercise in obstinacy. By moving Jason Kenney to a new jobs portfolio and James Moore to Industry, the Prime Minister promoted two ambitious activists to key economic posts. Kenney, in particular, is constitutionally incapable of holding a job without attracting attention, controversy and the enthusiasm of the Conservative base.

Between elections, of course, we usually hear more about the anger of Harper’s opponents than about Conservative enthusiasm. Yet every time Harper has led the Conservative party in an election—four times since 2004—the Conservative vote has risen from the day of the writ drop to voting day. That trend cannot be eternal, but it’s been pretty robust, so it’s always useful to listen to Harper’s speeches for clues about how he’d run a future campaign.

He was all set to drop a bunch of clues in his highly anticipated speech to the Conservative convention in June, but Calgary’s floods washed it out. Much of what he’d prepared seems to have found its way into his remarks to a Calgary Stampede barbecue in July. It’s a familiar script: Conservatives as pillars of responsibility, everyone else as the deluge.

“Their instincts, both of them, on these matters are all bad,” he said of the NDP and Liberals. “Tax-and-spend inclinations that are so extreme, if we took any of their suggestions literally, we would have a budget that would make the worst European budget look solid in comparison. They’ve got big-government inclinations to build bureaucracy at the expense of families and communities, and to always put the concerns and the welfare of the criminal ahead of the interests of law-abiding citizens.” Throw in the other parties’ “constant need to pit region against region in a game where, when they play the game, Alberta is always put at the very bottom of their little pecking order,” and to Harper, at least, the conclusion is obvious. “What I’m telling you, friends, is that with the Liberals and the NDP, what you see is what you get: dangerous ideas on the one hand, vacuous thinking on the other. And all of it would reverse the progress we have made.”

The hand-picked Calgary audience ate it up. The rest of the country will be a tougher crowd. The Senate spending scandal, still far from resolved, dealt Conservative confidence a body blow. Harper has decided the party’s best chance for a comeback lies in holding its ground and sticking to the style that got it this far. Will it work? I haven’t a clue. But this is the week Stephen Harper got tired of running and turned to fight.


 

Cabinet shuffle over, now the war is on

  1. Some people will write anything to stay off Richard M. Harper’s Enemy List!

    • All of the leftwingnutz will be crying in their corn flakes again in 2015 when the Conservatives and Stephen Harper win another majority.

  2. I can’t believe how far out of touch Wells is with Canada. It reads like ‘name me a Senator, Steve”. Not a word on “enemies or us”. Not a word on the failings of Harper and his various ministers. Inkless seems to be clueless.

    • If you followed Paul Wells’ writing whatsoever, you’d realize you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • Frankly I don’t because what I have read of his drivel puts me off. Perhaps you could take up your own challenge and tell us why we are wrong.

        • You should not expect other people to correct your lazy ignorance.

          • Dirty Pot calling kettle????

        • IMO, Wells is a political realist and is not listing Harper’s scandals. Wells is stating that the PM will show no no contrition for his missteps, and is about to turn up the attack machine and damn everyone else. Those looking for a more humble Harper, one ready to reach out to backbenchers, to embrace and reunite…. they will be disappointed.
          Harper is betting it all that he can continue to control the message and the public will either tune out the scandals, or be swayed by the relentless messaging to vote Conservative lest the country slip into the swirling economic abyss that the opposition, unthinking fools that they are, would heedlessly jump directly into.

          I’ll add to that that that the Opposition, especially Trudeau’s Liberals, don’t have to win a majority. A minority Conservative win in 2015 would hobble Harper considerably and put an end to sprawling omnibus bills and the invocation of closure etc.

          Brace yourself for the endless attack ads

        • To be fair, I’m sure some of my drivel would really pep up your day. It’s just a matter of wading through the rest.

          • Go ahead. Make my day. Let’s hear some real penetrating criticism of the Harper agenda and its impact on the progressive Canada that got us to #1 with UN ratings in the years before Harper. Blow me away with your analysis of the disappointment of Canadians with Canadian foreign policy (Israel, environment, UN).

          • Annnnnnd silence from the peanut gallery.

          • Actually Paul Wells is usually worth a good read whereas others on LDS provide the laugh of the day. Myself who has read many of Paul Wells articles but not all fifty-five, I say Pickngrin sums this one up pretty well. And for sure the game plan of Richard Harper is on. Interesting times in the next two years. Pass the popcorn.

          • Give him some time.. he’s got to sound out all the new words.

    • So, Paul, if you’re casting Stephen Harper as standing his ground, who are you casting as Trayvon Martin?

  3. I think Mr. Wells is conflating “calls for” with “predictions.” There’s a significant difference between the two: the first is the ideal that an individual thinks *should* happen, while the second is the ideal that an individual thinks *will* happen. I suppose it’s an easy mistake in interpretation for a person to make…if he or she has a somewhat fluffy sense of definition.

    • Help a fluffy definer out here. Are you saying Den Tandt, Tim Harper, Chantal Hébert and the Paikins were “calling for” Harper to quit? That would be a little out of character for… almost all of them.

      • See my response, Paul.

    • I totally agree!! Most intelligent people, even his ‘enemies,’ know Harper well enough to predict that his pride would never allow him to throw in the towel so soon and sudden! Calling for resignation is more of a public declaration of what you find unacceptable more than anything in this case. It’s speaking out and telling people that these things matter!

      • I’m in a madhouse here. You’re saying Chantal Hébert was pleading with Stephen Harper to give up his job, as a public service. Seriously.

        • Den Tandt, Harper and Hébert carefully avoid making an actual prediction of when a resignation will actually happen. They’re speaking more in theoretical terms of ‘the odds are getting higher that eventually there’s going to be some kind of turning point.’

          • You’re twisting in the wind. Say something that makes sense.

          • Actually Hebert left the distinct impression that Richard Harper would step aside this year but for sure before the next election.

      • It may also be touched with a sense of political reality. On one hand, Harper is beginning to look like a loser with some seriously disappointed friends with agendas, and on the other the CONs are nothing without him. Maybe it is just as well that the CON convention had to be cancelled in Calgary. You never know – perhaps ordinary party members, in the secrecy of a polling station, would have sent a message like Hebert was voicing.

        • That is right, the Cons are nothing without a Con Leader and why we need a Justin Trudeau leadership path because its what will embark ALL OF US on!

          • In what way is Justin not just another puppet in a different suit? His agenda looks to me like just a slightly different conga-line step over the cliff.

          • Yeah, Baby Trudeau’s definitely not in the same IQ range as his Dad. Junior may be somewhat of an insentient little elitist, but at least he’s not heartless and may be Canadian enough to act in Canada’s best interests, instead of selling us out to the Koch Bros., etc.,., as the Cons have done.

        • Alas, they didn’t hold the Con convention in Alaberta during the floods:( An opporunity lost! Their dumb luck, I guess, and Canadians’ bad luck.

  4. It is well known that Canada’s economy is the envy of the world, and outperforming most other countries, including our southern neighbour the USA.
    We should all thank the Conservatives for their solid economic management.
    The Liberals and NDP would have bankrupted Canada, Their answer to everything is more taxes.

    • Typical Conservative’s ‘logic’ – if you can’t argue a point, change the topic – but be sure to make it sound authoritaive and informed – even if there is an echo associated with emptiness.

    • Amazing. Libs were in control for 70% of the 20th century, and yet we never went bankrupt.

      In fact PM Martin in the 21st century had a huge surplus that Harper promptly blew.

      Canada’s economy is not the envy of the world, that’s just a Harper talking point and you fell for it.

      • Yes, actually Canada’s economy IS the envy of the world. For a person to think that it is not ….. well they must have blinders on.

        • Most of us live in the real world….not the propaganda one Harp spews.

          • …says the Ontario separatist who spews propaganda all over this web site all the time.

          • Harper is crashing badly I know….don’t take it out on me, sonny.

          • …says the Ontario separatist who spews propaganda all over this web site all the time.

        • “Yes, actually Canada’s economy IS the envy of the world.”

          “After suffering through devaluations, three years of economic contraction and a banking crisis in the 1990s, Sweden has learned how to handle financial turmoil.

          The country cemented its status as a haven from Europe’s debt crisis last year, after posting the biggest economic rebound in the European Union in 2010 while keeping its budgets in surplus. Sweden boasts the lowest default risk in the world, after oil-rich Norway, credit derivatives suggest, and has managed to produce some of Europe’s best-capitalized banks.”

          http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-05/sweden-a-crisis-casualty-no-more-shows-how-haven-appeal-is-won.html

        • Pardon me for having glasses on. I use them to read that my Florida real estate has almost doubled in the last 2 years. I understand that increased demand is driven by the returning jobs which Bush lost because of lack of mortgage regulation (Reagan’s policy actually which Martin refused the Canadian banks, thus keeping a sound banking system which Stevie Blunder inherited.) Under Obama’s free spending ways (just like Keynes predicted) the US economy is up and running (witness our falling dollar re US). In fact its so heated that their central bank has to shrink the money supply.
          So …. as Hester Eastman has said we are neither the toast of the world —- or doing better than the US. Sorry to tell you.

          • Ya, that “free spending” Obama is about to hit the “fiscal cliff” again. The US has much larger deficit, much larger debt-GDP ratio, much higher unemployment, and in many states much higher taxes.

            Canada’s deficits are shrinking, the US’ are growing. But hey, glad to hear your property in Florida has gone up in value, that must make all the unemployed Americans very optimistic.

          • It also spent a great deal on a war that Bush and company lied to the American people about. Cost billions a day and the Iraqis are now a puppet state of Iran. (BTW Canada’s Liberals refused to be involved (as Harper proposed) and we didn’t waste the money.)
            Please don’t weep for unemployed Americans. There are proportionally less of them than in Canada – especially in Florida. Save your tears for those Canadians living on reduce EI, those who can’t get started in life because of the filthy accumulation by those using housing speculation and tax dodges.
            And besides my neighbours are tickled pink to be finally ‘above water’ as they refer to their house being worth more than they paid for it.
            My neighbours love Obama as a man of the people as opposed to (fill in Republican candidate name, past or future here) who represents the business and regressive factions alliance.

        • This observation, based on relativism, is moot. What one should compare is the previous government’s stewardship of this country with the current government and the current government doesn’t stack up. See my response to rrrain, with all the facts of Harper’s leadership.

          • Comparing a government that’s had to govern through a recession to a government that governed through good economic times is moot. The Liberals governed by over-taxing Canadians. The Conservative’s got the country through the recession by lowering taxes. It worked wonders compared to the way the Liberals slashed spending at every level.

          • So what happened to all the jobs that the ones who got the greatest tax reduction benefits were supposed to create? The tax reduction for middle class Canadians was peanuts per person and is certainly not worth the loss of social capital these fascist ideologues promote. Great for their friends, though, who already have lots.

        • Thanks to the Liberals

        • Don’t forget to put the gas masks and water filters on along with the blinders. Who’s looking after YOUR water?

      • It’s amazing how easy it is to run a surplus when the government’s policy is to over-tax Canadians. Harper didn’t “blow” a surplus, he simply gave us proper taxation levels. Running a surplus is the clearest indicator that the government is over taxing the population.

        • While I agree that running a surplus could be viewed as over taxation, it could also be argued that not enough spending went on in terms of infrastructure, education, and health care…(I understand this is very arguable depending on ones political outlook).

          However, I would maintain that running a deficit and increasing debt, puts future generations at risk. This in my opinion is more irresponsible. We can look at the US, Europe, and other places that lived great for awhile, and then crunch time…have the public pay back what previous generations owed without today’s generation having a job.

          Just a thought.

        • If it produced a surplus, something handy on a rainy day, then it wasn’t overtaxing. It was good financial planning.

          Harper definitely blew the surplus…he wasted it on trivia, and installed a structural deficit instead.

          Running a surplus is the clearest indicator the economy is in good shape, and prepared for problems should they arise.

          • The government doesn’t need a rainy day fund. It needs to budget properly, and execute accordingly. Why do you think governments need a slush fund to buy votes with taxpayers money? You wouldn’t have a problem if Harper started stashing away $1b/year to disperse just before election time?

          • When you have a rainy day fund, Rick….you ARE budgeting properly. It’s a savings account.

            Had Harper not blown that surplus he would have had money to prime the economy without creating the biggest deficit in our history when the financial crisis hit.

            You guys are so obsessed with ‘taxes’ that you can’t even see straight anymore.

          • Richard Harper wasted the surplus on Action Plan ads, which kept his Sun News afloat for years past their best due date.

          • Heh….the whole ideology is well past it’s due date.

        • “… he simply gave us proper taxation levels.”

          Heh. “proper taxation levels” being levels insufficient to cover spending.

          • Actually Richard Harper gave corporations and his rich buddies, you know, the 1% tax cuts while the ROC’s middle class disappeared. Sucks to be us.

        • Running a surplus means the corporation paid their share of taxes. Harper gave the shop away.

      • Well said!

      • PM Paulie Sweatship Martin stole $54 million from the unemployed in this country and gave to the already rich, AND he created his own offshore tax haven In Eureba or whatever it’s called. He has a lot to answer to his employees, for firing them and leaving them stranded in foreign ports, while he took on ever cheaper workers. If there’s a hell, he’ll be going there—and so will his CEO Prefontaine.

        • Oh do stop with the crap. You just look stupid saying stuff like that.

    • Sorry to disappoint you but what economic strength we have is a result of tough banking regulations that were defended by the Liberals, a relatively solid balance sheet (that was actually a Liberal surplus before Harper’s ill-advised GST cut), and a wealth of natural resources that no political party can really take credit for; they’ve been here a while.

    • So in your view,
      Liberal Surplus=bankruptcy
      Harper blowing the surplus BEFORE the recession by lowering the GST and corporate tax rates, and increasing spending = “solid economic management”

      • Better that “surplus” returned to Canadians rather than having the government come up with creative and useless ways to waste it.

        • So you oppose the F-35 and the Senate, I take it. Or is it things like healthcare and education that you oppose?

        • The thing about having that extra cash is that it is there for emergencis OR you can use it to pay down debt. You know – that huge elephant in the room that Harper seems to think is imaginary, or a legacy to leave for his replacements.

    • Some facts for rrrain:
      Flaherty’s record under Harper’s stewardship:
      Harper blew the $13 billion surplus he inherited from Paul Martin during the economic boom between 2006 and the spring of 2008. By April 2008, months before the recession hit, Canada was running a $517 million deficit. This happened because Harper decreased both the GST and corporate income tax rates.

      In September 2008, when the recession started to hit, Harper claimed no recession was taking place in the United States, even though the recession hit that country in December 2007. He also stated that Canada would not experience a recession. Proof: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2008/09/15/canada-harper-recession-idUKOTW00013320080915

      Canada’s fiscal year 2008 deficit – the first in 12 years – reached -$2.25 Billion triggered by lower corporate income and sales tax revenue, and higher spending.
      http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aRW8grLX_h3E&refer=canada
      The Financial Post concurred: http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=1643280

      So not only did Harper blow a surplus and create a deficit before the recession, he denied the existence of the recession when it did hit.

      Flaherty has never balanced a budged in his political career. What’s more, the debt is the highest it has ever been. When Paul Martin left office the National Debt was $470 Billion. Today, after Stephen Harper has been around for just 7 years, the National Debt exceeds $614 Billion.

      This is your idea of excellent stewardship.

    • The Liberals under Chretien were responsible for changing the deficits inherited from Mulrony into black ink as far as the eye could see. Who was the person who said we weren’t ever going to go into the red again (Flaherty) and who is the person who hasn’t managed to balance the books one year (Harper). You waste and spend Conservatives are all the same.

    • The Liberals…would have bankrupted Canada…

      Are you referring to those same Liberals who routinely booked surpluses (which the Cons managed to pretty much blow even before the economy cratered in 2008) and who put in place the regulatory regime that saved the nation’s banking system from itself during that collapse?

    • rrain, don’t remind yourself of the truth. Conveniently forget the 1994 to 2006 years of Liberal rule and paying off the deficit, paying down the debt and leaving Richard Harper a huge surplus.

    • The liberals gave us a surplus Harper is bankrupting us and selling out the job.

    • I’d rather my taxes employ nurses, scientists and teachers, improve the quality of all of our lives, and help small businesses, instead of shovelling them into corporate banksters’ wheel barrows, paying off free trade speculators’ bad investment ideas, and blowing them on a military to supposedly protect what they are at the same time turning into an unhealthy industrial wasteland. Where’s the multiplier effect on offshore accounts?

    • What Friedmanical crap! The economy is a system–not an athlete, and it’s an immensely flawed system, considering the state of the globe’s environment from which all wealth comes from, and which the superrich think they can take from the planet forever. Hello? The planet is finite! You cannot keep expecting to rape it forever and expect growth forever! Wealth cannot be “created”–only taken–from other people (their money from their wages,), from workers’ labour (which is worth more than what corporate-types pay them), from other species and their habitat and the environment we all share, and from the future when the mother earth cash cow is too depleted to contribute anymore. Capitalists (all narrow-minded–actyually, even damn stupid!) are squeezing the neck of the goose who lays the golden eggs, and these idiots are squeezing her neck harder to get those eggs out faster, but the eggs are getting tinier, more quartz than gold– and all of a sudden, there are no more eggs as the goose winded up strangled to death. Capitalism is a ponzi scheme at best. Mother Earth demands balance.

    • If you could actually make a few examples of policies that were created by the conservatives and not held over as legacies from the Libersls that have helped Canada’s economy I would be pleased to know.
      you can not call a couple of free trade agreements with Columbia and Honduras actualy progress I hope!
      Of course you can always comment on how the record deficits have solidified Canada’s position as the best run economy in the world.

  5. Wow. An almost level headed article by the Justin lover. I see all the Libby commenters are quite upset you stepped off the talking point reservation. Don’t you know you’re supposed to drone on about Duffy and the enemies list like ALL the other MSM?

    I live in a province where our Liberal premiere has blown BILLIONS on E-health, Ornge, wind energy and gas plant cancellation. But we need to hear more about the Duffster and PMO emails. Grow up people.

    • Liberal errors in Ontario are just loose change compared to the social costs and lost efficiency associated with Harris. A return of ‘uncommon stupidity’ under Hudac is a certain death of good government as displayed under the Liberals when they were not being deceived by the heads of E-Health, Ornge and companies they thought they had settled with re lost building contract.

    • How about as a country, the atrocities, that Harper has already apologized for in the residential school. Now we find that their children where experimented on, as well. Nothing this man says means a single thing. Lets put this new surveillance to work. No more trust for persons managing our trusts.

      • I’m all for blaming Harper for his screw-ups. But the experiments on reserves that just entered the news? Harper wasn’t even born! It’s a national shame we all wear. Regardless of political stripe.

    • Strange how the CPC was lining up right behind the Liberals to spend hundreds of millions on cancelling those gas plants, ain’t it? Mighta been the perfect time for a fiscally minded conservative to say “maybe these plants aren’t optimally placed, but they’ll get the job done and let’s not waste astonomical sums pulling up and staring from scratch”, wouldn’t ya think?

      • Or maybe the PC’s wouldn’t have placed the gas plants in the worst possible location in the first place. The Liberals screwed that project up twice, not just the once. They only covered up their corruption the once.

        • This comment was deleted.

          • I tend to follow what you say on these boards quite a bit, GFMD, and while I don’t always agree with your views, you typically get me thinking and reconsidering my own viewpoint – which is rare, considering most comments on here are typically vacuous, non-sequiturs, and the like… Kinda like your comment above, about how the PCs should have mentioned how the gas plants aren’t optimally placed, but it’s the least-worst option at the moment. It’s a smart thing to point out, and I agree with it…
            But then you go and call people “idiot” and that level of respect that other commenters (like myself) have towards you and your opinions drops ever so slightly. It’s best not to get too emotional on these comment boards, IMO.

          • that’s fair in general, but c’mon, it’s Rick Omen, here.

        • Yes, the Liberals may have made a mistake in the placing of the plants (&/or underestimated the degree of nimbyism in the vicinity), but the fact remains that the PC’s spent a fair amount of money on robo-calls during the election indicating they would cancel the plant. So the PC’s were just as prepared to cancel the plant as the Liberals OR they were lying – take your pick.

  6. On the other hand, i recall Mr. wells writing not too long ago that a big aspect of Harper’s style was that when pushed, he steps back. this seems to take the opposite view though on different issues.

    Must be buy “the Longer I’m Prime Minister” to solve this quandry?

  7. “I counted eight such predictions in the print or web pages of reputable news organizations.”

    I thought those predictions that Harper was just going to quit this summer were idiotic. One major problem was that none of the journalists had any actual solid reasons why Harper would just quit being PM half way through his first majority government and when he’s likely to win the next election. It would not surprise me at all to learn that Harper has notions of trying to overtake PM King as Canada’s longest serving PM.

    Guardian – Apr 2012:

    But the left’s real problem, according to Haidt, is that it does not understand the motivations of the right. Drawing on everything from advertising to anthropology, he argues that liberals are driven by a morality based on compassion, the desire to fight oppression and, to some degree, fairness. Conservatives have a broader set of six “moral tastes”, sharing such concerns but balanced by the binding foundations of loyalty, authority and sanctity.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/apr/22/righteous-mind-jonathan-haidt-review

    • Yes the history loving PM shut down a Canadian historic site, Mackenzie King Manor in Kitchener. Elevated the first simulated Native to be historically significant for the Kitchener area.

      #HarperHistory = propaganda

      Loyalty, authority and sanctity have limits. Do not drink the cool-aid!

  8. “Kenney, in particular, is constitutionally incapable of holding a job without attracting attention … ”

    In theory, Kenney should have more important, higher profile Cabinet position if he’s one of the Conservative party’s big players. It seems to me Kenney does more work for the Conservative Party than he does for Canadians in his portfolios.

  9. Mr. Harper is always fighting… Too bad it’s always with Canadians…

  10. How the world has changed since Harper was first elected back in 2006. We have seen most of Europe collapse financially, (with Greece being the Canary in the coal mine)…we have seen the USA debt balloon to 16 Trillion and counting up fast…we have seen an attempted coup by a coalition of the LIBS, NDP, and the BLOC TRAITORS, because Harper did not include billions on “stimulus spending” in his budget just after the World Banking Meltdown(which never happened in Canada BTW)….we see a mountain of phony “news” articles by the left leaning MSM, attempting to discredit the Harper Conservatives…..we see Duffy(Conservative) spattered all over the MSM news about 90,000 in inflated housing expense claims, while Marc Harb(Liberal) amassed 233,000 with nary a peep from the same MSM…What is a Country like Canada with it’s tiny (almost insignifigant) population to do when facing such worldwide financial calamity…and yet Canada is the Envy of every Country in the World right now…but of course…according to the LEFT LEANING MSM, Harper has failed to provide strong leadership…they say so every chance they get with their Yellow Journal “News” articles…..When, in recent memory, has any Canadian Government faced so much global turmoil in such a short period of time?….My hat is off to the Harper Government with its steady rudder steering through it all.

    • Remember that the 70% plus – including the MSM, the opposition, the bureaucracy, civil rights groups, unions, etc etc are your ENEMIES. And if you think that your faulty logic will sway them, have another drink. But rejoice, because the lefties who are so ‘misguided’, don’t consider you anything but mistaken.

      • Reality bites…I have no Illusions as to who reads this Yellow Rag, and I am thankful that the overwhelming majority of single digit IQ commenters here DON’T VOTE…..

        • I suggest you treat it immediately.

        • ” the overwhelming majority of single digit IQ commenters here DON’T VOTE….. ”
          The facts disprove you. Harper keeps winning more seats, and the single-digit types are his core supporters. So clearly they manage to find their way to the voting booth.

          • You’re a supporter of Harper? I never would have guessed.

          • Shhh! Keep it under your hat! ;-)

    • There are a lot of points that I would like to address, but I’ll stick to one right now: Duffy and Herb. The reason that the Duffy scandal has grown to the level that it has is NOT because of the stolen funds, but because a member of the PMO repaid him while he was undergoing an audit. At best, this is a massive misjudgment and morally bankrupt, at worst — criminal. ANYONE that steals funds should be prosecuted, however the involvement of the PMO is what set the two situations apart and makes them, in my eyes, incomparable.

      • Exactly….you the TAX PAYER did not…Harb is fighting repayment, so you the TAX PAYER will be stuck with the bill….

        • ….. You’re kidding, right? You support the PMO meddling in financial audits and covering up (alleged) financial crimes?

          • As long as I am not stuck with the bill….sure….phony expense claims by Liberal Senators has been happening for decades, so get used to it….

          • So you support officials using unethical and illegal behaviour in order to protect themselves from being held accountable for their misdeeds? Just so I understand your position correctly – please do correct me if I’m wrong.

          • Hey you don’t like it…go vote in the next election….oh!! I forgot you probably don’t do that!!

          • ZING!!!

            I vote in every election: municipal, provincial, and federal. AND, my vote changes depending on the platforms and who is running, I never vote for a party because I identify with them. This is why I’m still confused as to why you brought up the case of Liberal senators actions in the past — actions that I would be critical of had you supplied proof to this irrelevant point (I suspect on that point we would agree to criticise the Liberal senators, but disagree in criticising the Conservative senators…). Although, it is interesting that you didn’t bring up Brazeau or Wallin when you wrote about Herb….

            To reiterate, the REASON Duffy is at the forefront of the news is because the PM may have been involved in an illegal act in giving funds to a sitting Senator and meddling in an audit investigation. This has nothing to do with parties (or any other conspiracy junk) and EVERYTHING to do with where this money originated: the PMO.

            I am actually really confused as to why people don’t understand this.

          • When Nigel wrote the cheque there was no investigation into Duffy expenses being anything more than erroneous reporting, no one in the PMO had even an inkling that this was outside the usual norm of payback and adjustments to expenses.
            Trudeau skipping votes and collecting fees from non-profits and publicly paid organizations is just as bad imo.

          • But the whole point is that it was unethical and arguably criminal for him to have written the check. His writing of the cheque allowed Duffy to stop participating in the audit, thereby limiting what Canadians could find out about his behaviour. The fact that this potentially criminal act originated in the PMO, likely with the knowledge of the PM (which is currently being investigated by the RCMP), is where the scandal lies.

            I’m so confused as to why you have brought up Trudeau. What does he have to do with this discussion? Maybe I voted Conservative in the last election? Maybe not, but it’s irrelevant to this discussion.

            A point I’m not really interested in discussing here, I still find it very funny that he’s supposed to perform his services for free because it’s a non-profit. Do you also feel that hotels are supposed to give them rooms for free, restaurants are supposed to feed a non-profit for free, gas stations are supposed to let them fill up for free, etc…..

    • What planet do you live on? We are not the envy of the world, I live outside of Canada as an Expat…we are not even on the radar for most of the world…except for “isn’t it really, really, cold there” and “do you come from Toronto or Vancouver?”

      • I live on the planet where the Silent Majority still VOTE for Strength of Leadership…instead of week kneed pretty boys like JT for example.

        • Strength of Leadership:

          A prorogation of parliament took place on December 4, 2008, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper recommended Governor General Michaëlle Jean to do so after the opposition Liberal and New Democratic parties formed a coalition with the support of the Bloc Québécois party and threatened to vote non-confidence in the sitting minority government, precipitating a parliamentary dispute. The Governor General, however, did not grant her prime minister’s request until after two hours of consultation with various constitutional experts. Upon the end of her tenure as vicereine, Jean revealed to the Canadian Press that the delay was partly to “send a message—and for people to understand that this warranted reflection.”[7][8] It was also at the same time said by Peter H. Russell, one of those from whom Jean sought advice, that Canadians ought not regard the Governor General’s decision to grant Harper’s request as an automatic rubber stamp; Russell disclosed that Jean granted the prorogation on two conditions: parliament would reconvene soon and, when it did, the Cabinet would present a proposed budget, a vote on which is a confidence matter.[2] This, Russell said, set a precedent that would prevent future prime ministers from advising the prorogation of parliament “for any length of time for any reason.”[9][10] Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, wrote of Harper that “no Prime Minister has so abused the power to prorogue.”[11]

        • Just like the Germans voted for a strong leader in 1932, or Ontario voted for ‘simplicity’ with Mike in 1995?
          ‘Strong leadership’ in the wrong direction is a major failing of under-connected voters – unconnected to each other for political decisions and mutual values recognition but strongly connected through the media for ready-made decisions easily propagated by nefarious, self-serving political and media-ownership classes.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • My, my.

        • He wasn’t so weak-kneed when he cleaned Brazeau’s clock in the boxing ring.

          • Yet when asked if he thought it was wise to talk to the Taliban, Trudeau’s eyes glazed over and he accused the CBC reporter of being from Sun news, like it was a trick question.
            The reporter had to repeat the question, a Dion do-over.
            Trudeau’s answer was lame.
            Trudeau’s strength starts and finishes in the boxing ring, weak as a kitten in the political arena.

          • We’ll see.

          • I am glad you mentioned the Dion do-over. As you may not care to relate, that was a CON dirty-trick, orchestrated by Stuffy Duffy – for which he was fined by the CRTC – and rewarded by Harper with a Senate seat. It says so much about Harper for standing behind a journalist who would set out to embarass a man in his second language and violate public broadcasting rules by using out-takes. What’s $90k when protecting an old trooper who almost single-handedly turned the 2008 campaign around for you.

          • What drugs are you on…

          • 7th son, you display the same mentality as those south of the border who also buy into this fascist crap – when confronted by the truth, you get evasive, throw up straw men, call names, anything but deal with it. You are the poster child of how the Canada I was born into 6 decades ago no longer exists, instead now filled with indebted sheeple who will not accept responsibility for themselves, much less the actions of those who they vote for.

        • Apparently it’s an innumerate planet.

        • I believe in voting for a strong leader and I did but Harper stole the election. FRAUD!

        • Sorry 7th son, the planet you live on got punctured like a balloon and is fizzing out fast. Those who vote conservative (and their provincial equivalents) are under the mistaken notion that they’ll get to join in the party, but unless you’re one of the little gang, they’ll leave you in the dust along with the rest of the planet’s occupants. Do you think any of your supposed leaders really give a damn about YOUR water? Sure doesn’t look like it to me … and it used to be a blue planet – what colour is yours? Gold?

      • You should find some smarter friends.

        • Please tell me about your full knowledge about…mmmmm..let’s say Guatemala? Cities, people, culture…or better yet Sumatra? Or better yet..Estonia???

          My friends are pretty smart, they know their own country, like you may know Canada and the US….

          But, our hillbillies at home have a lot less knowledge about the rest of the world, than the world has of us.

          It’s your ego to think that 30million Canadians in the second largest land mass on earth, have the impact that…oh say…3 Billion Asians have, they stop buying…you lose your job.

          • Sumatra is not a country you twit. You can’t even tell the difference between a country and a region.

            “But, our hillbillies at home have a lot less knowledge about the rest of the world, than the world has of us.”

            That is completely and utterly false.

            What the heck do you want to know about Guatemala?

          • Is stand corrected.. you are right about Sumatra, I guess I was just too fast and hot at the key board.

        • I take it you’re very smart, so when you meet someone from Surinam, or from Tunis, or from Indonesia…you know everything about their country, economy, politics, etc.

          Our ego as Canadians (Please don’t say pride)..sometimes shocks me, since the 30 million of us, make the same sort of impact as say Asia’s 3-4 Billion. The only reason we have a good economy is the vast wealth of natural resources and the sparse populace.

          Those Asian’s stop buys and/or selling…we’re all out of jobs, genius. Oh, I’m sure you can tell me all about how Indonesia’s 4-7th size cities and their climates are? (In contrast to the analogy I made above.)

          Also, you’re assumption that most Canadian’s can name the number 2 and 3 people in power in Mexico, after their president (Our closest North American neighbor after the US)…oh wait…I’m sure your “smart” friends can.

          • Just because you and your friends are less than intelligent doesn’t mean you should assume the rest of Canada is just as dumb.

          • Again, I stand corrected, I am less intelligent than most of my friends and family at home.

          • You can’t even spell these places correctly. It’s “Suriname”.

          • Correct again, I can’t believe how dumb I am.

          • Mexico is not the closest North American neighbour after the USA, you twit! There are several closer:
            -St Pierre and Miquelon (part of France)
            -Bermuda (part of Britain)
            -Greenland (part of Denmark)

            How many errors can you make in a single comment? It’s two so far.

          • These above are all true and I am very dumb. I guess we Canadians are the smartest and best at everything (except for those of us who make fast replies). Also, I stand corrected…our economy is so fantastic because of our genius leaders…again…I guess the reports of fraud and corruption are all false, because of my ignorance.

            Ultimately, Stockwell Day is one of the smartest people we have to show the world, like Baird, Harper, and I forgot about my good friend Peter McKay…didn’t he shake the hand and commend a fantastic Colonol (Major)…Whatever…before you start correcting my dumbness. That guy was another stand up Canadian, like Rob Ford.

            I do appreciate the correction… (When I said Mexico, I meant in terms of impact and economy…not geophysically…I’m sorry I was too dumb to explain).

          • “When I said Mexico, I meant in terms of impact and economy…not geophysically”

            You’re lying, and it’s pathetic. In fact, that entire comment is totally pathetic.

          • Pathetic. The fact that Stockwell Day , Baird, and Harper have resumes…that equal…”I’ve done nothing but make friends in my life..please hire me and pay me more money than every one else…so I can put my personal agenda and values on all Canadians” You’re right, once again…Genius….”Pathetic” Let’s pay off some more senators, but some more fighter jets to go and kill more people of colour in desert caves that have less than 5 cents…Pathetic….Oh, and may be we should blow another 3.1 Billion on a g20 summit, or just stop government when there is a no confidence vote.

            Prorogue = Pathetic
            Question Period = Pathetic
            Harper and his Corrupt Goverment = Demise of Canada
            Oh yeah….First time in our history

            Charter of Rights down the tube.. No right of Habeus Corpus…from our Supreme Court…..

            I can’t wait until we start making fire in the caves and drag off women and children with our clubs…I guess we should be idealogues who think that we have a monopoly on good basic values.

            Pathetic = Love it.

    • 7th son you are naive – if Canada didn’t have the natural resource wealth, it would be worse off than USA already, but then again, we wouldn’t have the money boys stealing our government, because it wouldn’t be worth their while. That would be the true test of what kind of a country Canada was, but instead, history dealt us the Banana Republic hand, and Canadians just follow along blindly with the neoCon/neoLiberal hijacking of the world’s resources to benefit their own little cabal. WWII was a fight against fascists but wow, they snuck in again right under our noses, cheered on by the likes of you. The economic system is past its due date, it’s obsolete and so are all of those who buy into it. Too bad there are still so damn many, because things will have to get worse before they get better, and if you pay attention to what’s going on outside your cities, you would know how bad it’s getting. 7th son, who’s looking after YOUR water? Do you even know? Do they know you?

  11. I’ve never gotten any sense Prime Minister Harper was going anywhere. While you would have been laughed out of the internet for saying so a decade ago, he’s the party’s best asset. Given Canadian political history, incumbency matters a great deal, and he probably (rightly) thinks he’s got a pretty good chance to win again (or certainly the best chance of any Conservative winning). Four times in Canadian history has a rookie Opposition leader knocked off an incumbent Prime Minister who had previous campaign experience. Given those odds (and the recent slate of provincial elections) he probably likes his chances.

    • I agree. Given the behaviour of the voters in 2011, one would not want to risk much that they can actually find their natural intelligence in a fan-full of smear propaganda. And with the left-centre (NDP-LIB) fighting to advance themselves individually rather than the county collectively, they may yet again let down the 70ish% who are appaled that Canada has fallen under the CONs.

      • The best shot the opposition had was some form of merger/alliance, but that has been dismissed by both parties. Harper will now play one against the other and come straight down the middle, whether we like it or not. FPP strikes again and again and again

        • I agree – see above.

        • The classic fascist tactic, divide and conquer.

  12. Stephen Harper didn’t even know how to smile when he started. Hitler never smiled either. Take a look at the first few years of Harper smiling and how his smile has evolved immensely as he’s obviously worked on it huge. I seriously don’t think he has real emotions.

      • If brains were water, you’d be a desert.

        • If? Your brain is water.

      • My favourite is Hitler holding a laptop. Did he foresee the rise of Godwin?

      • Special thanks to the seven readers who got the joke.

    • Any mention of Hitler in a discussion on politics means your argument loses any credibility it may have had

      • I mean, seriously. Hitler = paranoid evil mass-murdering maniac whose actions led DIRECTLY to the deaths of tens of millions. Harper = not a paranoid evil mass-murdering maniac.

        • It’s just a substitute for the word ‘dictator’. Most people don’t know the names of many dictators even though we’ve had lots of them. You’re being too literal.

        • Give him time, he’s apparently well on his way but his numbers are still low. But let’s get real, he’s not the one with the power, he’s just a puppet, like Ronnie was.

  13. Just what Canada needs, Harper spending the next two years campaigning or as pundits on his team now call it, “fighting”.

  14. Does Paul Wells think the cabinet shuffle was more significant than his colleagues have expressed? I don’t attach much significance to the shuffle because I agree that the faces there don’t matter nearly as much as the guy telling them what to do and say. Will it many any difference to policy, or is it just some younger, prettier faces to belie the fact that the doughy old white guys are really still totally in charge (mostly one doughy white guy, aging rapidly but not old).

    What I am really interested in is this power behind the scenes in PMO — I’m thinking here of the Pierre Polievre/Jenny Byrne dynamic — a powerful couple in Ottawa these days, and making enemies inside and outside the office. And what about Dimitri Soudas and Eve Adams — I read he’s back advising in PMO and she did NOT make the cabinet — so are they a flailing power couple?

    Since PMO seems to have so much clout about what happens in Canada — as per Brent Rathgeber and a handful of other backbenchers, they would appear to have more than the MPs and perhaps more than certain ministers — then I would like to read more about the people who work in there.

  15. A trove of Harper cult members parrot the usual: “our economy is the envy of the world” meme. This observation, based on relativism, is moot. What one should compare is the previous government’s stewardship of this country with the current government and the current government doesn’t stack up.

    Here is the actual record with evidentiary links:

    Harper blew the $13 billion surplus he inherited from Paul Martin during the economic boom between 2006 and the spring of 2008. By April 2008, months before the recession hit, Canada was running a $517 million deficit. This happened because Harper decreased both the GST and corporate income tax rates.

    In September 2008, when the recession started to hit, Harper claimed no recession was taking place in the United States, even though the recession hit that country in December 2007. He also stated that Canada would not experience a recession.
    Proof: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2008/09/15/canada-harper-recession-idUKOTW00013320080915

    Canada’s fiscal year 2008 deficit – the first in 12 years – reached -$2.25 Billion triggered by lower corporate income and sales tax revenue, and higher spending.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/
    The Financial Post concurred: http://www.financialpost.com/s

    So not only did Harper blow a surplus and create a deficit before the recession, he denied the existence of the recession when it did hit.

    What’s more, the debt is the highest it has ever been. When Paul Martin left office the National Debt was $470 Billion. Today, after Stephen Harper has been around for just 7 years, the National Debt exceeds $614 Billion.

    This is not “excellent stewardship”, and even though other countries fared worse because of Randian deregulation of finance which brought on a meltdown.

    Harper has also spent ridiculous sums of money on unsupportable things like religious freedom offices, panda bears, armoured cars he didn’t need to airlift, expanding the size of the HoC, gazebos and fake lakes. He can’t account for a whopping $3.1 billion.

    It can easily be argued that Canada would be in better shape with a Paul Martin-style leadership.

  16. I doubt if this article can be considered a fair assesment of where the Conservative party currently stands. Harper has chosen to fight and not quit because such a move will leave his party where the PC party was after Brian Mulroney’s resignation in 1993 and Kim Campbell’s total downfall at the polls. Harper knows that even if he wants to quit, he must run in the next election, get for his party whatever seats he can and then resign. Its exactly what our beloved premier here in Ontario did. McGuinty knew the party was headed downhill, he also knew that if someone like Kathleen Wynn was the leader of the party during the election no Ontarian of sound mind would vote for her. So he ran in the election got the libs what he could and then dipped leaving everything to our now absent premiere who appears the odd time to make important announcements on the governments own tv channel TVO. In terms of a solution, we need there to be an end to the partisen political bickering that has made parliament so dysfunctional in recent years. However, this will require some level headed individuals to enter politics and lead us in that direction, something which seems implausible in the current tallent deficit for qualified polticians we are currently experiencing.

    • Why wouldn’t people have voted for Wynne?

    • We need a revamp of the political system, away from the institutional fascism called party democracy and to some form of proportional representation, where we can vote for individuals with proven credentials in important sectors such as energy policy, transportation, housing, etc. Some geographic representation is important, but what we have in Canada has evolved downward to very unrepresentative government, to the extent that most of them act on the assumption that the citizens don’t matter until an election. Then the money comes out to buy the media and the conditioned populace gets motivated by fear and reacts. I favour a system where the citizenry gets more responsibility in issues that really matter to them. In my opinion, looking after the water is far more important than whatever point was supposed to be made by glorifying the War of 1812. Who the hell voted for that?

  17. It was wishful thinking of the liberal media, that PMSH would back down from a fight with a Trudeau.
    Harper will win another majority in 2015, the Opps ( all from Quebec) just are not up to the job.

    • Nobody ever expected Harper to stop smearing Trudeau – if he could. Now public opinion has so turned against him and his dirty tricks that he’s stuck with duking it out in a civilized manner – and he and his friends have no advantage in keeping their punches up. Witness Brazeau – a tough guy who couldn’t fight smart.

      • But Harper has a overflowing war chest and Trudeau has vowed not to run attack ads.

        I dislike Harper, but the next election is his to lose and there’s no doubt he’ll spend all the money it takes to smear his way to victory.

        And just wait till his new book on hockey snows everyone into believing Harper is just a regular Timmies drinking, rink rat Joe Canada……

        If you want Trudeau to stand a chance, I suggest you donate often to the LPC and pray JT wises up and runs the attack ads

        • Let’s go another way. Let’s make both Trudeau and Mulcair aware of what a pair of self-interested losers they both will be by refusing to at least strike some electoral agreement (eg a non-compete where one cannot win, and balance off ridings where they historically split the vote and both lose.) It’s pretty hard to blow a 70 to 30 lead if you are concillitory, but you can manage it by ego and stupidity. The big loser is really the progressive Canadian.

  18. I can’t disagree with any of Wells’ points.But I think the PMO Duffy payment is more serious than Wells has acknowleged.
    Imagine if the senior staffer in Obama’s White House offered a secret 90 thousand dollar payment to a member of Congress?
    Obviously if Obama had knowledge of the payment it would be at the level of what the Americans call “high crimes and misdemeanours”.
    Now American democracy is far more robust than ours, with a much more powerful and inquisitive media.
    So perhaps, Harper, even if he has knowledge of the payment, can escape censure. In the US of course, the President under those circumstances would be finished.

    • You’re very naive if you think that doesn’t go on at all in the States!

      • Yea and the former Governor of Illinois is in the crowbar hotel as i recall.

  19. Re the Dion-Poilievre comparison:

    “Chrétien decided the key to victory wasn’t to agree with his opponents, it was to disagree with them more effectively”

    Dion disagreed with logic, reason and evidence; all without being disagreeable. It was quite effective. Poilievre disagrees with smugness, venom, vitriol and the cheapest of talking points. His raison d’etre is to be disagreeable. It is not effective (for the median voter, I’m sure the base laps it up).

    No doubt he is a fine chap to shoot the breeze with in private. But as a politician he is defined by his public persona. He has, through his conduct, eviscerated his own credibility with those not imbibing the Conserva-blue drank.

    All of which to say, I’m not sure the comparison is apt.

    His appointment does signify that the triangulating strategy continues unchanged. The Conservatives’ war on non-believers is still on.

  20. Wells tends to be the most arrogant columnist in Canada, and this is another example of it. He always goes out of his way to show how he thinks his rival commentators are wrong and he is right. Most commentators did NOT predict that Stephen Harper would give up and step down this Summer. They said it was a possibility that Harper would leave before 2015, and that still remains a possibility, particularly if the RCMP investigation of Duffy-Wright continues to cause damage and if the other scandals involving robocalls, electoral fraud, Arthur Porter, Saulie Zajdel, Michael Sona, and various other Conservative folks continue to get out of hand.

    Wells is certainly correct that Harper won’t go down without a fight and that there’s no evidence that he’s going yet, but most objective commentators out there never suggested otherwise.

  21. What a lot of people do not realize is that harper’s true brilliance is that he is a counter puncher – he allows his opponents to attack him then uses their energy to take them out – he has permanently retired several oppostion leaders so far and no doubt will continue this. Since 2006 I being a contararian by nature love going to web forums and reading the sheer idiocy and rants of those who he affects so deeply and that is the mark of a great leader – great leaders do not lead by consensus or feel good singing kumbaya supporters – great leaders are unpopular by their very nature and they get re-elected ? why is it that in Canada we have two types of PM’s boneheads and bast$rds – and invariably the collective wisdom of the average canadian at the polls is to get rid of the former and re-elect the latter!! So the worse harpers numbers are now the more likely he will be re-elected

  22. A note to all the people who post ridiculous accusations about Paul Wells in this space: In Ottawa, there is no shortage of reporters, columnists, lobbyists and partisans who write volumes about the failures of Stephen Harper. The reason I read Wells is not because I support Harper or think Wells is a partisan, it is because Paul Wells is virtually the only journalist in Ottawa who bothers to consistently assess Harper’s short and long-term strategies, their intended goals, and their success rates. He points out when things have gone bad AND when things have gone well. The problem for a lot of people is that they can’t admit that there HAVE been any successes. Yet, as Wells often points out, Harper remains Prime Minister. Surely, it can’t all be by fluke? If not, then shouldn’t there be some serious journalistic study of why/how Harper has been successful? I look forward to the next book.

  23. Harper can prepare to battle his way out of office. He can fight all he wants – fight to brainwash us and it is not going to work. We have Canadian leaders who are more than interested in accountability and transparency and building a new path! personally, I will continue to follow Justin Trudeau because he really is working hard to build us a path for leadership unlike Harper path for control.

  24. Right-wingers think that they have a tight grip of the world …that is foolish thinking. With stubborn high-unemployment and shrinking middle-class paychecks, it is a matter of time that there will be a national wakening of what is bloody wrong with our society. And inevitably, the target will be the rich and their cheerleaders, the right-wingers.

    • How are things in Detroit.

  25. Reading several major Canadian newspapers a day, I’ve not seen a single hint of any pondered resignation by Harper. Any imagined gesture of Harper turning to walk away is a fallacy and media propaganda. Hardly an underdog, Harper is a tiresome dog with growing scandals dragging from its collar.

  26. Harper is betting it all that he can continue to control the message
    and the public will either tune out the scandals, or be swayed by the
    relentless messaging to vote Conservative lest the country slip into the
    swirling economic abyss that the opposition, unthinking fools that they
    are, would heedlessly jump directly into.

    web design london

  27. Perhaps Mr Harper has never, in his heart of hearts, seen himself as PM. His government continues to run as if it were in opposition. Winning governments don’t need to attack the opposition, it’s a waste of time and energy.

  28. harper now has a really bloated government ( at high public expense ) and a highly bloated
    senate ( at high public expense ). he always stated that he was in favour of smaller more efficient gov’t. now we know the truth. the man loves his hand picked subservient senate and will do NOTHING to change the status-quo. Why this guy is so tied into the senate I’ll never know, they have made him look entirely stupid. Remember, hold your nose and vote
    N. D. P. the next time around, they are the only party to promise to do away with the hated senate and their cheating members !

  29. harper is pro hyrofracking–he should watch the documentary gasland part 1 and part2–it is about homes have gone to zero value because these gas companies who of course deny everything have drilled using a process called hydrofracking and theirwater is so contaminated it actually lights on fire–there is a engineering prof from cornell university who says that at least 1 in 20 will fail immediately other with time –once the ground water etc is contaminated it takes decades to fix this problem most of these people have to pay to have water trucked in–but hey you are right harper it is economical well at least for the gas company—harper will sell Canadians out for big business yes we need fuel but hydrofracking has ruined thousands of lives –why can harper not find other ways or just tell them to risky and stand up for canadas people that is what we voted you in for—if he does not stop selling us down the river and put Canadians first and stop kissing the US rear I will not be voting for him–

  30. On the come back, I doubt very much . Your party burnt your bridge Mr. “H”. Not much to choose from now. Liberals suck , Conservatives suck, NDP sucks. I guess the Block or Green can’t do much worse than what we had.

    • Keep sucking.

  31. Harper will come back fighting..for what? His survival? For the Canadian people?

  32. Harper and his international Corporate backers are the tax and spend group. Harper taxes the people the max tax, and the corporeate billionaires much less. He and his govvie tax regular folks to death–not the foreign corporations or the offshore tax haven people. Even worse, Harper and so the lovely and talented Mulroney and Paulie Sweatship Martin gave GRANTS and tax breaks of millions and millions to those who don’t need them and gaves tax breaks also to the filthy rich who also don’t need any tax breaks. Harper allows foreign scabs to undercut and take our jobs. Take a look at our country! I’m old enough to know what it usd to look like before we allowed forreigners to own and rape our natural resources, taking them raw to other countries for processing, and our jobs with them. These people are against Canadians.

  33. I have no doubt that he will be fighting for his job. I only wish that he spent as much time fighting to make our country a better place.
    Instead he spends most of his time reminding us how he is the boss.