‘A lot of fear and anger and hatred’


As noted previously, there have been moments in the House this week when the rhetoric and language felt, very literally, dangerous. This isn’t about saying not nice things about one another, or being mean. It is about carelessly, needlessly, inciting a violent sort of fury and division—forces we cannot easily control once unleashed.

Immediately after Question Period this past afternoon, the NDP’s Libby Davies rose and asked that Conservative Dean Del Mastro be made to withdraw various invectives hurled in the direction of the New Democrats. Apparently Del Mastro had referred to Ms. Davies and her peers as “traitors.” 

Del Mastro stood and twice, instead of apologizing, defended his slurs. His fellow Conservatives applauded him.

After Question Period, the NDP’s Nathan Cullen scrummed with reporters and explained that the night previous a sign advertising his riding office in B.C. appeared to have been, in his words, “firebombed.” (David Akin has a picture.)

It is, of course, entirely possible that such destruction is entirely unrelated to the discourse in Ottawa this week. But then the mere possibility of a connection—after an election campaign that included dangerous acts of anonymous aggression—might be enough to justify serious worry for what is being done to this country right now.

After the jump, the full transcript of Cullen’s exchange with reporters.

Question: So I understand that you put up signs in your home riding, advertising your phone number and that sort of thing.  Someone’s interfered with one, is that right?

Cullen: Someone late last night essentially firebombed one of our signs, they, in the middle of the night. We assume the police have begun an investigation to find out if they can determine who did this, but you can see the result of the incendiary language that’s coming out of Parliament that is invoking a lot of fear and anger and hatred. And it’s, I think the Prime Minister has to take some account of this.

Question: Was it completely destroyed or what?

Cullen: Very nearly. We can, we’ll send you some photos to see, but it was, it’s a big thick aluminum sign. They had to spend quite a bit of time and effort to, to burn this up.  It was

Question: Do you think this is a sign things are getting a little bit nasty, or what?

Cullen: I think this is, the economic crisis is where this started.  The Prime Minister has turned this into a political and now a national unity crisis and it’s, we have to pull back from the edge and he’s got to learn to step back from this type of language because it’s having an effect on Canadians.

Question: Let me ask you this. In, in that theme, pulling back from the edge, the Prime Minister sat, prorogued Parliament for two months for a cooling off period, (inaudible) presumably facing (inaudible) gets back. What do you think can happen on, in any party on any side in that two months to calm things down?

Cullen: I think that can start right now, and it doesn’t actually require the Prime Minister shutting out parliamentarians for two months and doing nothing about the economy. He can step up and do his job as Prime Minister of this country. His duty is to this country and this Parliament. It is, it is not for him to determine that a democratic vote may or may not be taken. This is, this has gone beyond anything and any sensible reaction we’ve known from a Prime Minister before. He has to understand that taking two months may make the situation much worse. It certainly will make it economically much worse. 

Question: You don’t think it’ll, it’ll help calm tensions? Then you (inaudible)?

Cullen: I, I very much doubt that the Conservative party is going to spend those two months trying to bring the country together. 

Question: What do you think they’re going to do?

Cullen: I think they’re going to continue their campaign of trying to put, instill fear and rage in Canadians.  And we see it.  We see language like traitor being used by Conservative members.  When I showed my signs, pictures of my sign to members of the government, they said it was, I had it coming.  I mean, these guys are, it doesn’t seem to be in their nature right now when they’re so desperate to pull back from this anger and (inaudible) policy.

Question: I am hearing like anecdotally though (inaudible) there are NDP members who are (inaudible) they are not happy with what you’re doing.  There are some that are (inaudible).  They feel that, (inaudible) the NDP is now going to acquiesce to the Bloc (inaudible) even more money than you did in the last election into Québec.  (Inaudible) what you’re doing?

Cullen: I, I’ve been on the phone non-stop, both with people who are supportive and people who have concerns. Those that have concerns, we’ve been able to have very good conversations and actually correct some of the mistruths.  The government, the government

Question: (inaudible)?

Cullen: Sure. The government, the Conservatives have talked about a constitutional crisis. Not true.  They’ve talked about the Bloc being in the cabinet. Not true. Look at, in this heated political rhetoric, the government has gone so far as to illicit these types of reactions from Canadians. These are, these are, I know these people. These are may neighbours, this is home town. We can have debates. We can have disagreements. When it comes to this, somebody has to take responsibility and tone it down. That screaming traitor over and over again in the House of Commons at elected Members of Parliament, representing their constituents and their country can only lead down one path and that is towards further destruction and ripping up the fabric of this country.

Question: (inaudible) what is the message you’re taking from that (inaudible)?

Cullen: I think it’s an attempt to intimidation, it’s an attempt to bullying me or my staff and to send a signal through the constituency.  I think it will backfire.  I think the rallies that are being held in, in my community and communities across the North of BC tomorrow are going to show them otherwise.  And this is, this is hope winning out over fear and, and we will not bend to this intimidation.  I’ve already received calls from folks back home saying you know, stand strong.  Do not, do not bend down to these guys.

Question: Does this raise concerns for you about (inaudible) when it comes right down to it? I mean, burning a sign is one thing (inaudible).

Cullen: I, I, you know, I think if the Conservative Party continues this campaign of fear, it’s, it’s unpredictable. I think it’s what they are doing. And they’re inciting this type of anger and violence. It seems unreasonable to think otherwise, that they can use this language, they can present this to Canadians and not expect there to be some kind of result at the other end.

Question: It’s unfair. If there isn’t too much (inaudible), do you think this will accelerate these types of acts or (inaudible)?

Cullen: The, the strategy that we’ve seen from the Conservatives is to spread mistruths to invoke anger and disruption in the Canadian people to produce backlash.  They will no doubt continue that.  These folks do not seem at all interested in finding another way, a way of reconciliation with the other parties and (inaudible) is the only way I can look at it.  They way they’re talking about Quebec, the way they’re talking about increasing western alienation.  This is something that they absolutely have no regard for the unity of this country.  And created a unity crisis from a political crisis that started as an economic crisis.  This is absolutely insane that the Prime Minister is doing this.

Question: Can you describe the sign (inaudible) and what actually happened to it?

Cullen: Sure. We can, we can send you photos as well.  Someone in the middle of the night essentially firebombed it. It’s a big thick aluminum sign.  We’ve had them up for years and they just give office information. Somebody essentially burned almost the thing right off.  And they were very determined. 

Question: Are people in your (inaudible) and staff members I guess in your riding, are they quite concerned (inaudible)?

Cullen: I mean we’ve talked to the police of course, and we’re going to have more vigilance about goes on. They’re feeling, some are trepidatious for sure. I mean, if you showed up to work and your company sign has been burned in the middle of the night out of pure hatred, I mean you’d probably have some (inaudible).  (Inaudible) did on your lunch break. 

Question: (inaudible) riding security (inaudible)?

Cullen: We’ve, we’ve talked (inaudible) security in terms of what’s going on.  The topic of (inaudible) and the threatening letters.  We’re now engaged with (inaudible) RCMP to make sure they’re well aware and they’re very supportive. 

Question: (inaudible) and I’m paraphrasing (inaudible) he said it was time for a time-out.  He said things had gotten a little wound up and (inaudible) wondering what you think about all that?

Cullen: Yeah, I’m not sure that

Question: (inaudible) Sure. I just, I just want to finish this and then we can (inaudible).

Nathan Cullen:  I’m not sure if the Conservatives are so invested in this campaign of fear and anger that two more months of this would do any good.  I think they’re quite committed to soliciting this type of reaction from Canadians to, to provoke anger. And I don’t know, I just think it just serves the Conservatives (inaudible) to try to get away from the democratic vote.

Question: So would you be calling for a cooling off period as well?

Cullen: I’m, I’m asking all the MP’s in the House to cool off.  We had, asked a member today of the Conservatives to stop screaming traitor out at the top of his voice.  And he got up and told us to take a hike.

Question: Who was that?

Cullen: Dean Del Mastro. From Peterborough. That’s what he spends his Question Period doing.  And he got up today and defended himself and said he has every right.  So, is this, is this a group of people that look invested in reconciliation?

Question: Thank you. 

Cullen: Not a bit.


‘A lot of fear and anger and hatred’

  1. Are you insinuating Aaron, that conservative supporters are more likely to use violence for political ends than supporters of other parties? Are you insinuating that the CPC encourages violence in its supporters?

  2. Been saying this for a long time.. these guys are dangerous and are setting up Canadians against Canadians. Fear, Hate and revenge is what they are looking for from us, and it is spreading.

  3. They are traitors.

    Did the NDP or did they not have a longstanding secret arrangement — publicly denied — with the Bloc Quebecois separatists to bring down the government of Canada and install a Liberal-NDP coalition, with the Bloc holding veto power over this coalition, with an undefined consultancy agreement?

    Did Jacques Parizeau come out today and pat Gilles Duceppe on the back for his masterful coup in advance of the Quebec separatist cause?

    In all cases, the answer is yes. “Traitors” was the right word. Kudos to Canada’s Conservatives — and loyal Liberals now beginning to break away from this coalition — and for ordinary Canadians who see this for what it is.

  4. Spare us your outrage, Terry.

    It’s not Aaron nor Nathan Cullen that’s stirring up the talk radio boho crowd or robo-calling constituency offices or telling blatant lies about “separatist coalition” or programming dim-bulbs like Del Mastro to yell “traitor” or having their tame two-syllable columnists summoning the four horsemen.

    If you support that crap, fine. But wear it.

  5. Please Christoph, nobody but the rabid the blind and the extremist buys that ‘traitors’ thing. Grow up.

  6. maybe disregard the tone, if not the content, of the last one, please.

  7. If you want to talk about violence against various campaign signs, offices, people… acts of intimidation in the public sphere. We can go there. Go back a couple decades and catalog them all up, and find out which political parties they support.

    Why don’t we actually figure this out rather than the insinuations?

  8. “Well, calling MPs traitors is generally considered divisive. Any reason it wouldn’t be?”

    I didn’t quite say it wasn’t.

  9. Calm down da wolfe,

    that wasn’t divisive but analytic. There IS a difference. Grow up you too, and the use of the F word (twice) doesn’t help your argument but confirms mine.

  10. For the information of Del Mastro and everyone so casually throwing about the term, here’s what it actually means, from the Criminal Code:

    “s.46 (2) Every one commits treason who, in Canada,

    (a) uses force or violence for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Canada or a province;

    (b) without lawful authority, communicates or makes available to an agent of a state other than Canada, military or scientific information or any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document of a military or scientific character that he knows or ought to know may be used by that state for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or defence of Canada; …”

    And for the information of Bob Dechert (who should know, being a lawyer), sedition has the following definition in the Criminal Code:

    “s.59 (4) Without limiting the generality of the meaning of the expression “seditious intention”, every one shall be presumed to have a seditious intention who

    (a) teaches or advocates, or

    (b) publishes or circulates any writing that advocates,

    the use, without the authority of law, of force as a means of accomplishing a governmental change within Canada.”

    So please stop throwing these very loaded terms around unless you have reason to believe that Dion and Layton are gathering an army to overthrow the government. By characterizing your opponents as traitors and of having seditious intentions, you risk encouraging your own supporters to resort to less than peaceful means to oppose them.

  11. “Calm down da wolfe…”

    I’m trying.

    “doesn’t help your argument but confirms mine”

    Not if mine was that divisiveness can be subtle. The Conservatives need to get some fresh air. But it’s the smoothness of painting them like this, the almost sly insinuations about “what they’re doing to the country”. As if there’s nothing to be said about leaving the west in the cold again.

  12. the cons should be critisized for using the word traitor. absolutely. roundly. To think that they’re doing it dishonestly is wrong. And it’s no less divisive. Look at me. I’m actually shaking a little. I’ve been watching this whole thing almost with disinterest. I’m made myself aware that Quebec is very much in favour of a coalition, that it could be good for national unity on that front, telling people here (in AB) that it’s constitutional, that Canadians will get our chance to vote about it sooner or later.

    clever divisiveness or bald divisiveness? I’ll take neither.

  13. High Park had signs vandalized, along with car brakelines cut and graffiti spray-painted..as did Guelph in the by-election campaign.. and now this.

    I accuse no party of organizing this deliberately.. but there’s only been 1 party using incendiary language and calling everyone else traitors and such,, and thats the Conservative Party of Canada (and the first 2 ridings were BEFORE all this coalition stuff.. remember.. Harper called Dion and Jack Layton more or less allies of the Taliban).

    They are trying to whip up emotions as do their Republican counterparts .. and if it gets out of hand.. Harper and the Cons are the ones who will wear it.

  14. there you go again ; )

    Did you know that there was more violence done to Republican offices in the last two American elections? Twice as many incidents in 2000 done to Republicans and to Democrats.

    Always with the stereotypes.

  15. As best I know, the only guy who died in a political attack in the last little while was a Democrat-the chair of the Arkansas Democratic Party.

    There are nuts on every side in politics. This is why it’s important not to use incendiary rhetoric, which is what Harper and Co. have signally failed to do. It’s certainly not that Conservatives are more prone to violence than members of other parties-indeed, I would say that the sort of immature jackasses responsible for most campaign-related vandalism would be supporters of my own side, and the more disturbed people who commit more serious crimes are probably distributed randomly throughout the political population. But when you make your opponents into enemies of the nation, it encourages the crazies.

  16. Perhaps I didn’t use the right words in my first post da wolfe, and the events of tonight are affecting me as well.

    Having say that, you have to admit that the Conservatives are the ones using the word ‘traitor’ against the other leaders, and have lied about flags and the “separatist coalition”. That definitely is going to have an effect in the population, a very negative one.

  17. Sad to say I saw this coming. Fear words are a good psychological tool to gain false support. Deal with the devil, over-repetition of separatist, traitor. These are scary words that the conservatives are invoking, knowing that there is more attention on parliament than anytime in the last 5 years. I don’t support a coalition, but I refuse to let this man and his administration continue to lead this country.

    This political game of Brinksmanship these parties are playing is disgusting, and raises already tense pulses across the country. You add fear words into the equation and you get this senseless violence. This goes beyond members of parliament, when someone has to be afraid to show support for their political affiliation we have essentially lost our democracy. A sign was ‘bombed’ because of the political actions in ottawa, what stops a house from being vandalized or someone from being assaulted because of their political views? This is when we need a leader to step up and say STOP the violence and fear…but our ‘leader’ is invoking much of this fear.

  18. Yesterday, La Presse reported (Karine Fortin, La Presse Canadienne) that (here goes my translation) Conservatives on Wednesday sent to their supporters who own firearms a message asking them to vigorously oppose the coalition of opposition parties which threatens to take power next week.
    The letter, available on the internet site of Saskatchewan MP Garry Breitkreuz, describes an eventual government composed of the liberal and new democrat parties as ‘the worst possible news for those who want to scrap the firearms registry. ….
    ‘Owners of firearms must act now or live with the consequences. Owners of semi-automatic weapons will be considered criminals from one day to the next if the opposition gets what it wants.

    Asked to comment on his colleague Garry Breitkreuz’s idea, immigration minister Jason Kenney confirmed Wednesday that nothing or no one is off limit and that there is no black list of people that we cannot contact.
    (end of my translation)

    I do feel that attitudes like these are at the very least questionable. Yes, we have seen acts of vandalism directed at citizens who displayed their political preference for the Liberal Party – more disturbingly we have not seen the result of police investigations. Hearing my own MP Deichert use such language would make me wary of displaying a sign of the LPC on my front lawn in the event of an election.

  19. Look to PEI in the last election as to who got caught stealing election signs.

    As to traitors, its a very strong word. As to the NDP – Liberal Coalition,

    LIBS 76 seats
    NDP 37 seats

    CPC 143 seats.

    So, the NDP – Lib “coalition” needs the support of those sworn to destroy Canada.
    AND the bulk of the posters here support this. Ideology before Canada, EH!

    And all it takes are few sane Liberals to bring us back from the brink of this nonsense.

    Regardless, the alienation of the West is well under way and the dividing lines are much stronger after this graceless attempted coup.

  20. Who gives a rat’s ass about the “alienation of the West.”

  21. The cat is already out of the bag de wolfe!
    The CPC is actively pursuing the gun lobby to get out and rally in support of the CPC.
    One MP has already sent out communcations saying that if the colation takes power they will reactivate the gun registration laws.
    This is just a continuation of the Alberta / Alliance inspired campaign a few years ago to in effect practice civil disobedience by sending incorrect information to the gun registry so that it would be overwhelmed by repeated processing of the same information – thus pushing costs through the roof!
    For me – that ratchets up the hysteria.
    As for Harper’s use of the wrodcSepratiste – he now has Jean Charest as ticked off with him as Danny Williams already is…because he is inciting nationalist emotions in Quebec at the time of an election there!
    This man is more than dangerous – he is MAD!

  22. If this escalates they’ll be cutting brake lines again soon.

  23. Ladies and gentlemen, the transcript of the Conservatives’ presentation of their plan to protect our economy and repair the rift their previous announcements opened:

    “My fellow Canadians, (inaudible). Thank you, and God bless Canada.”

  24. Harper is the most divisive PM ever, and possibly the most likely to cause actual violence in the streets. I am not condoning such acts, but based on how both sides are essentially equal in strength and both sides always repeating the exact same talking points, I just hope it remains civil.

    We can’t allow Harper to hold democracy hostage by asking for election after election until a majority mandate is given to him. He is a waste of taxpayer money and a waste of our time. Parliament democracies are expected to work with minority governments from time to time. He has not accepted this most fundamental of democratic facts and must resign.

    I hope the GG gives Harper a timeout (not the prorogue though), like the child that he is. As for the rest of the government and the country, we can move on without him.

  25. I hear now the plan is, if they don’t get prorogation, for the entire Conservative caucus to resign–thereby forcing an election.

    Maybe not the absolutely worst thing to happen, given how high tensions have gotten now. Except that it will take me some time to get over my fury that in the midst of an economic crisis, our Government chooses to respond by raising the number and cost of cabinet, and then by throwing 300 million of our dollars after another 300 million for something that initially could have been deferred for another year.

    I understand people not wanting the Coalition. But please, do not reward Mr. Harper for his blatant, contemptuous attack on the will of the people.

  26. Who gives a rat’s ass about the “alienation of the West.”

    Alberta represents 10% of Canada’s population. In the last election, 1.9 million Albertans voted. Of that total, 1.2 million voted Conservative (impressive). So 1.2 million people or 3% of Canada’s population think Alberta deserves a bigger voice in Canada?

    You know what Jack Mitchell — any sane Canadian not from Alberta ought to give Alberta the attention you suggest. Three percent of the population that wants to tell the rest of the country what to do looks parasitic to me. Or could they be labeled ‘traitors’ for wanting to impose their (tiny) minority view on the rest of us?

    Put that in your gun and shoot it, da wolfe!

  27. Add Manitoba, Saskatchewan, southern Manitoba and most of B.C. to that archangel, which means more population and more geographic area.

    Now, if you think that area is unimportant, and you think you can do without it, you can keep screwing it. Just don’t be surprised if they don’t vote for you. It isn’t evil to not vote for people who have no interest in representing you.

  28. Yeah, exactly, archangel. Besides, “Western alienation,” like Quebec nationalism, can never be satisfied: it’s not a list of demands, it’s a mood. If Harper ruled as king for 20 years, backed by every seat in Alberta, when he finally lost it would still be denounced with “we’ve had it up to here with Ontario.” It’s part of the psychology of grievance and whining that you simply equate your own views with your region. Albertans who didn’t vote Tory? They don’t count. Lower Mainland BC? Doesn’t count; not part of “the West,” don’t you know. Winnipeg? Please, those city-slickers? Now they’re trying to dress up the Western populist mannequin as the only true Canadian — otherwise he’ll take his ball and go home, don’t you know. Well, they don’t speak for the West, they don’t even speak for Tory Alberta voters; they just project malevolence onto the whole world. I’m as sick of them as I’m sick of whiny Quebec nationalism.

  29. Jack Mitchell: What are you talking about? There is a whole set of list of demands. Getting rid of the CWB and moving towards a EEE senate might get you quite a few Tory supporters. Also you might want to rethink fighting global warming on the backs of producers and actually have the consumers pay some of it. Stop the bribery money going into Quebec (which Harper certainly failed to do) and actually give transfer payments to those that need it. Move towards private property ownership on reserves to end the single greatest crisis of poverty and standard of living in this country. Scrap the long gun registry. Stop trying to use the powers of government to force people to accept your ideology and make it a crime to speak against it.

    These are the issues that the Tories campaign on in the Tory ridings. So don’t tell me there is no list of demands.

  30. Terry,

    Convince your party to play nice and drop the demagogue Harper — then the ROC might give your guys a mandate to have some of your wishes granted.

  31. wolfe,

    the cons should be critisized for using the word traitor. absolutely. roundly. To think that they’re doing it dishonestly is wrong.

    If this were true, which I can’t believe, I don’t see how this makes it better! To think that perhaps the Tories honestly believe that Dion and Layton plan the violent overthrow of the government, or to give away military or scientific secrets to foreign governments is actually scarier to me than the idea that their using it as a (dishonest) rhetorical flourish to get people riled up.

    da wolfe is basically saying “Sure, it’s unfortunate that they’re calling the opposition traitors, they shouldn’t do that… but they really, really mean it. It’s not like their not honestly saying what they truly believe”

    If the Conservatives honestly believe that Stephane Dion and Jack Layton are traitors, then there’s something much worse going on in the Tory caucus then even I believed.

  32. I think that Mr. Cullen should be immediately shipped off to a “linguistic re-education” camp. He might learn what “firebombing” actually is (http://tinyurl.com/5x4uuc).

    Isn’t about time for a Bic lighter registry?

  33. archangel> Getting rid of Harper won’t solve a damn thing. People said the same things about Preston Manning as they do now about Harper, and he is about as mild and polite a person as you can meet.

  34. LKO> So what do we do about Elizabeth May talking about Harper bringing tanks to Parliament Hill? Or how about Ralph Goodale calling CWB opponents thugs (which is ironic, because his side is the one that fines and jails people who try to work against the system). Not to mention the regular NDP denunciations of conservatism being evil and going to destroy the world.

    This should apply to those people as well don’t you think?

  35. Terry: Wheat Board, long gun registry, etc. = “the issues that the Tories campaign on in the Tory ridings. So don’t tell me there is no list of demands.”

    The Tories have had years now to implement that and they’ve done nothing.

    Anyway, my point is that if it’s not those five then it’s five issues that “Western aliens” pin their colours to and say, “This or nothing! This or we separate! You hear me? You HEAR me?”

    It’s not patriotic. And then they have the gall to complain about the Bloc. Well look in the mirror, populist West, you’ll see the Bloc.

  36. “… Harper, and he is about as mild and polite a person as you can meet.”

    Uh, we must be talking about a different Harper…

  37. I won’t dispute the fact that we aren’t as patriotic as some about the idea of Canada as a centralized nation state, Stephen Harper’s grandstanding notwithstanding. After all, we’re all fine with decentralized federalism. Many of us out west are also fine if Quebec wants to separate, though it would bring a fair bit of difficulties.

    Most of what Harper pushed past the house was paying off some interest or other, so there was a reason besides simple fear of running an election that kept the liberals from voting against them. If they had moved on the issues that really mattered for supporters, they would have just been voted down in the house, and it would have been an election on “Harper’s scary right-wing agenda”. The Harper government also tried to make changes to the CWB, but were shut down by a judge who was a good Liberal. So now my father is in a state of contractual obligation, despite having never signed a contract agreeing that has to sell his wheat and barley to the board in perpetuity, to an agency that has the power of the state but isn’t officially part of the government. Isn’t it wonderful?

  38. As a Peterboroughian, I can’t describe the shame I feel about Del Mastro.

    Sincere apologies everyone for that disgusting behaviour – also for not having worked harder to defeat him last time round.

  39. Terry, I read somewhere that most grain farmers are actually pro-CWB. You’d know better than I, of course, but I can see how there might be two sides to it. Believe me, central Canada as such couldn’t care less how our bloody wheat industry is regulated. Why on earth should we? Seems to me there’s a struggle between different views out West on that.

    C’mon, give me a break — if Harper wanted to change the law, he’d change the law. “Shut down by a judge” — the answer to that is to pass some legislation!! Wheat sales are not a Charter issue! Blame your own guy for that if you care to.

    Glad to hear you don’t really care that much about Canada. So why should Canada care about you again?

  40. Good heavens, Terry. How terrible.
    And what about all these other obligations you have that you never signed up for.. like paying taxes, observing the speed limit, letting the police protect your father’s property from theft or destruction. My god, it’s like you live in a society with other people or something.

  41. “Getting rid of Harper won’t solve a damn thing. People said the same things about Preston Manning as they do now about Harper, and he is about as mild and polite a person as you can meet.”

    I disagree (about the first part; not about the last part). The disagreement about Preston Manning’s Reform Party was with its policies, not Manning’s approach to power. The disagreement here is largely rooted in Harper’s pattern of behaviour of being extremely partisan in his politics, refusing to reach out in conciliation to any of the other parties in this minority parliament. On a personal level, manning had the respect of his colleagues, and a number of non-Conservative Canadians. Through effective appearances on the Air Farce and on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, he showed himself to be a decent human being with a good sense of humour, and that did as much as anything to make Canadians stop and think about what he was saying.

    I honestly believe that Preston Manning was one election away from gaining a majority of seats in the House of Commons, for a number of reasons. One, Jean Chretien’s arrogance was beginning to show. Two, Manning was a known (and respected) entity, unlike Stockwell Day who proved himself to be not ready for prime time. Finally, it was the year 2000, and Ontario hadn’t yet soured on Mike Harris’ Common Sense Revolution — although that time would come very quickly.

  42. He couldn’t summon the support for the legislation in the House of Commons. Even the Bloc wouldn’t support legislation to make the CWB voluntary, even though they don’t run candidates in the West. Duceppe’s former communist party affiliations making him believe that control of the means of production is a good thing? Sheer dickishness? I don’t know the reason why the Bloc supports the CWB. So pretty much a Tory majority is required to make it happen. Otherwise, it would be the perfect bit of red meat to throw to the base. It would cost the government nothing, the opposition parties wouldn’t give two hoots about resurrecting it when its done, and the Conservatives could point to it as an accomplishment to their base.

    As for Canada, it could be good place with a little bit of RREEEFFFFOOOORRRMMMM! But bribing Quebec forever to keep people in Canada who are simply never going to be happy. As for why Canada should care about us… if you can get by without our seats you are welcome to do so. I’d start thinking about trying to develop some sort of party presence in the west though just in case Ontario doesn’t vote Liberal forever. Diversifying your portfolio is generally a good idea no matter what business you are in.

  43. T.Thwim> Let me put it in terms you can understand.

    You are a wage earning professional. However, the government has decided that you will have to work by law through a placement agency who will decide where you work and how much you are paid. You are told that the majority of people support the placement agency, but it is the placement agency itself and political interests associated with it that tell everyone so. When your own political groups and grassroots protests do the polling it seems to be the opposite.

    You’d rather trust the latter because you see in the placement agency rampant nepotism, a dearth of qualifications, and prize contracts being awarded to placement agency supporters. You aren’t actually sure exactly what the placement agency does anymore, since you largely use a job bank to search for your own jobs, and simply give them a cut of what you earn. Even though this placement agency is supposedly “democratically elected” you watch people openly cheating during the vote.

    Now you can’t find work outside the placement agency, or else the government will fine you and take away your laptop, car and anything else you need to work. If you refuse to hand over the fines and accept the seizure of your property, the government will find in contempt and throw you in jail.

    So don’t you goddamn tell me this is just like paying taxes or following regulations. This is about a certain political organizations protecting Liberal jobs with contract parity with CUPE, and good old fashioned socialist ideology.

  44. Terry,

    I don’t think Aaron has to insinuate anything. Do the research, guy. Watch some CPAC. Read the writing on the walls–literally. READ THE WRITING ON THE WALLS OF TORONTONIANS.

  45. Terry: “As for why Canada should care about us… if you can get by without our seats you are welcome to do so.”

    Well, that’s what this is all about, isn’t it? Ultimatum after ultimatum from the Western populists, and finally the rest of the country says, “That’s enough.” Turns out the rest of the country CAN get by without all those seats. But it’s the Western populists who refuse to compromise, who think that their agenda is so friggin’ righteous that it justifies every dirty trick in the book. Thank God the joke’s on you guys this time.

  46. Entirely wrong, Terry. Your father is free to take up any line of work he chooses. He’s chosen one where the legislation is that he must go through a certain agency to sell his product. You don’t like the legislation in your line of work? Change your line of work.

  47. T. Thwim,

    I was just going to tell Terry the same thing, but didn’t have the cajones. Thanks for sayin’ it.

    If you don’t like the game, play another game. If the Wheat Board pisses you off so much, tell them to shove it and do something with your life that makes you happy.

  48. T.Thwim> So in other words, my father should just accept something patently corrupt and unjust or else throw away everything he has ever built.

    Wow, we sure are unreasonable for not supporting people like you!

    Jack Mitchell> I’ll call you “Your Worship” once for every ultimatum that has actually been satisfied that you can name.

  49. Terry

    In a word, yes.

    If I were in any one of the multitude of regulated professions in this country and I didn’t like how the regulatory body ‘interfered’ with the practice of my work, I would have to either suck it up and abide by their regulations or leave that line of work (leaving with it all of the years of training, money, etc. I’d put into it–i.e., everything I’d ever built).

  50. baldygirl> So you wouldn’t engage in any political action at all?

    Wow… I guess we don’t need to do much governing then. We’re just supposed to accept the regulations as they stand, no matter how well they don’t work. I guess people who wanted the right to form unions, or to have better occupational health and safety guidelines should have just sucked it up or found a better line of work too.

  51. Terry,

    Yes, respectfully, I agree that unionization and political action are viable options if there are multiple dissenting voices. And I don’t disagree that the possibility of corruption exists in large federal agencies like the Wheat Board, but would like to *maybe naïvely optimistically* think that most large agencies are fair and impartial to those they regulate.

  52. Baldy> There is an easier way to ensure the corruption goes down. Make the CWB compete for my business. It is supposed to be in the business not of regulating my father, but marketing grain for him. There is no public health or safety issue in the CWB’s mandate.

    If the CWB truly wants to be in the best interest of my father, then it would allow him the freedom to pursue his own interests. If you think I am lying about the corruption in the CWB, it wouldn’t be my father’s concern anymore how corrupt it was if he wasn’t forced to be under its power.

    If the CWB truly has the connections, the resources, and the expertise to get a good price for the wheat, it will have no problem getting customers. Private grain brokers exist across the prairies for other crops, and even the marketing allowed within the restrictions of the CWB.

  53. Terry,

    I didn’t state or insinuate that I believe you are lying. I stated that I try to have faith (possibly naïvely) that most bodies are not corrupt. I didn’t say the Wheat Board isn’t. It may well be, as you certainly believe. And I don’t believe you’re lying.

    Is the problem that your father doesn’t feel he gets a fair price for his wheat, or that he can not sell it period? (This is an honest question–I really want to understand what’s going on, from your perspective).

  54. Terry

    “Add Manitoba, Saskatchewan, southern Manitoba and most of B.C. to that archangel, which means more population and more geographic area.

    Still only one quarter of Canada’s population, even if including the Yukon and the territories. Still think you guys are hard done by? You want 25% of people to lord it over the other 75%?

    I smell a revolution in the air.

  55. Sometimes he can’t get the best price for his wheat, and he can never sell wheat or malt barley outside of the board.

    Once upon a time there was a subsidy called the Crow Rate, which was put in place by the government to ship grain cheaply by rail. The CWB came along later as a government measure to assist marketing grain during the depression, then it was made mandatory in 1943 as a war measure to control the price of flour and ensure a supply to Great Britain.

    The Crow Rate was abolished in 1995 by the Chretien government. Largely a few large corporations exist anymore that buy grain, and the CWB sells to them. There was no incentive for either institution to change the way they did business because the shipping costs fell entirely on to the farmers themselves. So we lost the grain subsidy that was to support Canada’s ports and rail lines, and we cannot choose to ship it to markets on our own south of the border. Things carry on largely as they were before the Crow rate was cancelled.

    While there has been a flowering of smaller companies that have sprung up on the prairies to value-add to secondary crops, but due to the stranglehold of the CWB, there has been no diversification of industry for wheat. This is because the large agricultural corporations don’t see any profit to establishing a domestic base for processing wheat, and farmers are stymied from doing it themselves by rules that state you have to sell your wheat to the CWB and then buy it back again. Since they are paying the same price for their own crop as Cargill does, they can’t price themselves competitively. The CWB has also proved absolutely useless for over 20 years to come up with a system to handle organic farming. It has done so because it is unable to adapt because there are no penalties in lost business for failure. We have to sell to them.

    So the biggest stumbling block to farmer-owned value added wheat products and organic wheat products is the CWB. That’s why we can only look enviously over at Ontario and the Atlantic provinces with what they have been able to accomplish, where you don’t have to sell to a mandatory marketing board.

  56. There is abundant evidence on this blogsite that conservatives proceed from anger and hatred. Their frequent, angry and hateful Quebec bashing make them the real threat to national unity.

  57. Yeah, exactly, archangel. Besides, “Western alienation,” like Quebec nationalism, can never be satisfied: it’s not a list of demands, it’s a mood.

    They aren’t even moods, they are institutions.

  58. So the biggest stumbling block to farmer-owned value added wheat products and organic wheat products is the CWB. That’s why we can only look enviously over at Ontario and the Atlantic provinces with what they have been able to accomplish, where you don’t have to sell to a mandatory marketing board.

    So…. why do people still b_tch about Trudeau asking rhetorically, “Why should I sell your wheat?”

  59. >There is abundant evidence on this blogsite that conservatives proceed from anger and hatred. Their frequent, angry and hateful Quebec bashing make them the real threat to national unity.

    GIve it up. NDP and Liberal supporters say and write hateful things about Conservative supporters, too. For example, while being personally irreligious, I’m appalled at the language directed from “progressive” origins toward Christians. I know plenty of fundamentalists, and not very many who genuinely wish to persecute others for any reason.

    Accusing people of proceeding from anger and hatred is in itself an intolerant remark. Is there a PC manual somewhere that sets down which groups may be named and slagged, and which may not? Throw stones; but don’t pretend there are some who are without sin.

  60. How about this: That french leader doesn’t belong with us.
    Three guesses which enlightened member of the Cons read that statement into the record on Tuesday night.

    I loved that post-Meech period in QC, didn’t you? Awesome, another referendum on the horizon. Although with the death of Responsible Government, we can dispense with the whole Peace, Order & Good Government hoo-haa and just go straight for military intervention. Unless, of course, we could find some smart, well-spoken guy, like a top intellectual or something, take to the airwaves, classrooms & conference halls to argue the case for Canada. I mean, I’m sure we’d show our appreciation for such selfless idealism by fair treatment of him in the English media, even as he gets ripped by the nationalist, not to say, separatist, French media and lives with daily death threats. I mean, after seeing how Dion has been treated, I’m sure there are dozens of such francophones just raring to go. But such fellows should understand that just because the Anglo media doesn’t speak a lick of French, the fact they may speak English grammatically isn’t enough if they’ve got ,horrors!, an accent.

    I am struck by how few Anglos have realised the media treatment of Dion has made the separatists’ case. I mean, if Anglos will treat Captain Canada this way, then what can the rest of us expect? And why would any idealistic federalist ever speak up again, or enter politics? One day, unfortunately, Canada will need Dion or someone like him again, to fight for the country in QC. How many takers do you think there will be?

  61. Gene, would that be western separatism that is fomented?
    Because Quebecers might consider that a minority of whiners
    in their beautiful province is turning an increasing number of
    Canadians cold to the rhetoric. And in the west there is a solid
    CPC backing. And enough cash flow to go it alone.

    And with or without the media Dion has let Layton and Duceppe
    turn him and the Liberal party into a laughing stock.

    CBC neutral indeed.

  62. Point: Cons are setting into motion a movement that could change that minority into a majority. Note: incoherent & hypocritical to bang your chest about separatists and then threaten separation. Perhaps you & your ilk need to come to Montreal and get laid.

  63. Been there…done that…repeatedly
    That said, 40 + years of threats from a minority in Quebec trying to hold les Anglais to ransom.
    It maybe that this sorry “coalition” is enough to push westerners away. No banging of the chest. No hypocrasy. Just people getting to the point where they have had enough abuse from a vocal minority.

    And Dion ooooozes incompetency. One only has to point a camera at him for a demonstration.

    The troika set this in motion when they decided to pull this gambit…prior to the house even sitting.

    Game and Set to Harper. Match is still in play.

  64. Finally some entertainment value in Canadian politics. I’m getting my money’s worth for a change.

  65. me too

  66. @ Pol & Lord Kitchener’s

    Thanks Pol – especially that you would say that without conceding your view, because it’s right. And you LK, pwnd me. Tried to explain where I was coming from here.

    Eugene – yeah I lost all real respect for Harper when he didn’t think twice about pasting the redo question on Dion. The man has no real concern for the country. Sadly the only thing I want less than Harper is a coalition.

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