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Why the Conservatives’ contempt of Parliament and spending on fighter jets is suddenly old news

Where’s the outrage?


 

Where's the outrage?To kick off the campaign, Stephen Harper made his first big policy announcement in front of a crowd of supporters in Esquimalt, B.C. He said that if the budget is balanced by 2015, Canadian families with children will get a tax cut through income splitting. Afterwards, a reporter asked how he would deal with the fact his party was found in contempt of Parliament the week before. “The only democratic outrage is…” he began to say, before pausing: “Well, the economy is what this election is really about.” He went on to explain why he thinks he’s the best leader to watch over a fragile economy. Democratic outrage, it seems, is so last week.

Turns out it was, according to the 2011 Federal Election Newspaper Analysis Project, which is tracking which policy issues are written about, and the tone of the stories, through the campaign. (Maclean’s will feature the results every week.)

Between March 21 and 26, the word “contempt” came up 129 times in coverage and the word “jets” (Liberal code for Conservative overspending on F-35s) appeared 65 times in the eight English-language newspapers under study. But it wasn’t enough to prevent the debate from shifting to the question Harper prefers: which candidate will make the best economic steward? “I don’t know if that’s about successful redefinition of the campaign by the Conservatives,” says Stuart Soroka, a political scientist with the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, which spearheads the project, “or whether the other parties are holding back in order to focus on policy.”

Either way, when it came to coverage of 14 campaign issues, economic themes filled stories more than anything else last week (March 21 to 26). Soroka expected the economy to be a theme as the budget came out, but not nearly to the extent that it was. More than half (52 per cent) of all news stories last week mentioned the economy, up from 34 per cent the week before. Conversely, health and education policy, two of the main issues Michael Ignatieff was talking about in the frigid Ottawa air the day the government fell, only made it into 17 per cent of stories. In newspapers, Harper was more frequently mentioned first than his rivals. He garnered 69 per cent of first mentions, well ahead of Ignatieff (18 per cent), Jack Layton (13 per cent) and Gilles Duceppe (one per cent).

All this focus on the economy and Harper is good news for the Conservatives, especially when combined with the results of an Ipsos Reid poll this week. When asked who they trust most as an economic manager, 52 per cent chose Harper, 22 per cent picked Layton, 18 per cent said Ignatieff, and seven per cent gave Duceppe the nod. “But don’t think the Conservatives own the issue,” says Soroka. “It’s all about the counter-argument. The [other candidates] can say, ‘Harper’s squandering money, he’s not a good manger, you’d be better off with us.’ It doesn’t take magic to counter.”

Perhaps that explains Ignatieff’s first major policy announcement. In Oakville, Ont., this week, the Liberal leader promised that, if elected, his government would contribute a minimum $4,000 to each child’s Registered Education Savings Plan. “You might think this is about education,” he said, looking directly into the TV cameras. “But it’s actually about the economy.” Like, it seems, pretty much everything these days.


 

Why the Conservatives’ contempt of Parliament and spending on fighter jets is suddenly old news

  1. Why are political pundits always surprised that "I'ts the economy stupid"!

  2. Why are political pundits always surprised that "I'ts the economy stupid"!

  3. We all have contempt for Parliament. Why should Harper be any different?

  4. We all have contempt for Parliament. Why should Harper be any different?

    • bingo. these guys live in such a bubble, they are clueless.

    • Because he's leading it in that direction.

  5. bingo. these guys live in such a bubble, they are clueless.

  6. How many of you actually watched the Special commons committee on the contempt ? check CPAC Mar 21 2011 . it was all a show to bring the goverment down so Ignatieff could make a run for the leadership . Sure Hope he is GONE after this waste of money

  7. How many of you actually watched the Special commons committee on the contempt ? check CPAC Mar 21 2011 . it was all a show to bring the goverment down so Ignatieff could make a run for the leadership . Sure Hope he is GONE after this waste of money

    • Donna, that is ignorant. The Speaker of the House found the Conservatives in Contempt of Parliament. He is probably the foremost authority on the power and authority of the House of Commons. That means that the Conservative government was abusing their power. When that happens, how can you expect to have the confidence of the house? You need to be more concerned about all the criminal investigations on Conservative party members and the realization that some of them would warrant the dissolution of the Conservative party as a whole.

  8. Because he's leading it in that direction.

  9. Very unfortunately for them and all Canadians, the Liberal Party's federal election platform ignores many loopholes and flaws in the federal good government system. So they clearly do not want to high the issue of good government in the campaign.

    Even if the Liberals were elected and kept all their promises, it will still be legal in federal politics: to be dishonest and
    excessively secretive, to lobby secretly and unethically; to make secret, unlimited donations to some types of political candidates; for Cabinet ministers and government officials to make decisions in which they have a financial interest, and; for Cabinet to make patronage and crony appointments and to call unfair snap elections.

    As well, whistleblower protection will remain too weak, and lapdog good government enforcement agencies and the Senate will continue to be ineffective and unaccountable.

    MPs will also still lack key powers, will still be too dependent on their party leader for their job, and many will not be very
    representative of voters in their ridings.

    If the Liberals think that voters will trust them with power again without them making titanium-clad promises to ensure they will exercise power with integrity, they are only fooling themselves.

    Canadians deserve better than how the Conservatives have governed in the past five years, and how the Liberals are promising to govern.

    Both parties still have plenty of time left this election to give Canadians what they deserve, and if they want power they better make more, and stronger, good government promises.

    Hope this helps,
    Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch http://www.dwatch.ca
    Organizer of the CoffeeParty.ca movement http://www.CoffeeParty.ca

  10. Very unfortunately for them and all Canadians, the Liberal Party's federal election platform ignores many loopholes and flaws in the federal good government system. So they clearly do not want to high the issue of good government in the campaign.

    Even if the Liberals were elected and kept all their promises, it will still be legal in federal politics: to be dishonest and
    excessively secretive, to lobby secretly and unethically; to make secret, unlimited donations to some types of political candidates; for Cabinet ministers and government officials to make decisions in which they have a financial interest, and; for Cabinet to make patronage and crony appointments and to call unfair snap elections.

    As well, whistleblower protection will remain too weak, and lapdog good government enforcement agencies and the Senate will continue to be ineffective and unaccountable.

    MPs will also still lack key powers, will still be too dependent on their party leader for their job, and many will not be very
    representative of voters in their ridings.

    If the Liberals think that voters will trust them with power again without them making titanium-clad promises to ensure they will exercise power with integrity, they are only fooling themselves.

    Canadians deserve better than how the Conservatives have governed in the past five years, and how the Liberals are promising to govern.

    Both parties still have plenty of time left this election to give Canadians what they deserve, and if they want power they better make more, and stronger, good government promises.

    Hope this helps,
    Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch http://www.dwatch.ca
    Organizer of the CoffeeParty.ca movement http://www.CoffeeParty.ca

  11. Fiscal conservatives. Can't trust them.

    The next Government (hopefully not the spendthrift 'Government of Harper') should contract with Bombardier, et al, to design and produce leading-edge robotic, remote, and semi-autonomous airframes and solutions, keep the cash as much as possible in Canada, and stop buying 20th century spear and arrows from U.S. military-industrial complex con-artist salesman.

  12. Fiscal conservatives. Can't trust them.

    The next Government (hopefully not the spendthrift 'Government of Harper') should contract with Bombardier, et al, to design and produce leading-edge robotic, remote, and semi-autonomous airframes and solutions, keep the cash as much as possible in Canada, and stop buying 20th century spear and arrows from U.S. military-industrial complex con-artist salesman.

  13. Why does this graph prove that the F-35 fighter purchase is old news? What economy is going to pay the estimated $40 billion price tag for their purchase? Oh yeah the Canadian economy…

  14. Why does this graph prove that the F-35 fighter purchase is old news? What economy is going to pay the estimated $40 billion price tag for their purchase? Oh yeah the Canadian economy…

  15. Donna, that is ignorant. The Speaker of the House found the Conservatives in Contempt of Parliament. He is probably the foremost authority on the power and authority of the House of Commons. That means that the Conservative government was abusing their power. When that happens, how can you expect to have the confidence of the house? You need to be more concerned about all the criminal investigations on Conservative party members and the realization that some of them would warrant the dissolution of the Conservative party as a whole.

  16. Tax and spend is looking a lot better now than, lie and buy, which, with this announcement and his massive list of transgressions against Canadians, Harper has obviously made an official part of his campaign, LIE AND BUY – Harper's style.

  17. Tax and spend is looking a lot better now than, lie and buy, which, with this announcement and his massive list of transgressions against Canadians, Harper has obviously made an official part of his campaign, LIE AND BUY – Harper's style.

  18. The Conservatives latest 50 million dollar lie is now headlines:
    http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20110411/ag-

    Harper and his crew have done absolutely nothing for the economy that every other country in the world has not tried. In effect they have been treading water hoping beyond hope and election would not be called until the world economy improved and that didn't happen.

    The fighter jets mentioned are not in production, nor is the armaments for that jet. It's design is of a single engine aircraft not suitable for flying over broad expanses of water; a desert fighter which leaves me wondering the US and Canada are lining themselves up for a future Arab war? The purchase is a pig in a poke – that is economy.

    Harper has already turned the export of bulk water over to the provinces and in still a mindless mode he made it legal for ground water (aquifers) to be exported. If elected again he will open the NAFTA agreement and put bulk water under that agreement there by raising our local water bills in some cases 500% because, under NAFTA we cannot charge the Americans more than we are paying. -That's economy!

    The US is fighting lower corporate taxes too. Tax drops but nothing is returned to the economy or employment.
    http://www.startribune.com/business/119496914.htm

    I'm hoping for a complete Conservative melt down and a Liberal/NDP coalition.

  19. The Conservatives latest 50 million dollar lie is now headlines:
    http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20110411/ag-

    Harper and his crew have done absolutely nothing for the economy that every other country in the world has not tried. In effect they have been treading water hoping beyond hope and election would not be called until the world economy improved and that didn't happen.

    The fighter jets mentioned are not in production, nor is the armaments for that jet. It's design is of a single engine aircraft not suitable for flying over broad expanses of water; a desert fighter which leaves me wondering the US and Canada are lining themselves up for a future Arab war? The purchase is a pig in a poke – that is economy.

    Harper has already turned the export of bulk water over to the provinces and in still a mindless mode he made it legal for ground water (aquifers) to be exported. If elected again he will open the NAFTA agreement and put bulk water under that agreement there by raising our local water bills in some cases 500% because, under NAFTA we cannot charge the Americans more than we are paying. -That's economy!

    The US is fighting lower corporate taxes too. Tax drops but nothing is returned to the economy or employment.
    http://www.startribune.com/business/119496914.htm

    I'm hoping for a complete Conservative melt down and a Liberal/NDP coalition.

  20. Harper has involved Canada, in two wars. The cost so far is $36 billion. There will billions more cost., Harper extended Canada's time in Afghanistan. The fighter jets with no engines, will be $40 billion. Harper also had harsh words for Iran. That will be Harper's next war. Canada has been a peacekeeping nation, since WW11. We assisted civilians in war wrecked country's. , Canada did not bomb innocent civilians, until Harper.

    Google: Harper delivers his plan on, Global Governance for Canada. Everyone who heard his speech, were shocked. Harper said, Global Governance has been planned, since WW11. This is Harper's evil agenda. He is giving Canada to the, giant, wealthy corporations he works for. If Harper wins, kiss Canada good-bye.

    Everyone should read, The Water War Crimes. Clean drinking water, will eventually be more valuable than oil. Canada is sending our water to, some of the States and Mexico. The sea, water, rivers, lakes and streams, are being contaminated by, mines, oil and gas fields. Eventually drinking water will become gold. The eco damage done by the dirty Alberta tar sands, is so horrific it makes a person ill. Believe you me, we can't drink oil. We can't use lake water, with toxic mine poison dumped in them. But, corruption and greed governs, and our senseless, stupid, government just keeps on poisoning our eco system. The greedy, huge corporations say, to hell with the eco system, they want trillions upon trillions, in their off shore tax free accounts. And, they are who Harper works for.

  21. linda, your over-use of commas is atrocious and distracting.

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