Adam Radwanski on the same section of the Prime Minister’s speech.

For 90 per cent of today’s speech, Harper managed to stick to the former. Then, out of nowhere, he proceeded to announce that he’s “been very frustrated with the opposition since the election,” took a trip down memory lane to attack the coalition and encouraged his audience to tell the dastardly Liberals that it’s time to “stop the political games.”

This was possibly the sincerest part of Harper’s speech; he absolutely loves this stuff. But it also undermined everything else he was trying to accomplish.

Set aside that his attacks weren’t all that grounded in reality (without the coalition, this vaunted economic plan would not have been produced), since every leader takes liberties in bashing his or her opponents. The real problem here is that when these broadsides land like a lead balloon at the end of his text, they serve to cast the entire thing in a different light.

Suddenly, it’s no longer about rallying Canadians around a common purpose; it’s about positioning himself against his opponents, about scoring points that nobody should be tallying right now.

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  1. I have a feeling that Radwanski checked out the Maclean’s blogs to help provide an early sense of the reaction to Harper’s speech.

  2. I have a feeling that our current PM is becoming increasingly irrelevant to Canadians. His comments are sad and predictable.

    Can the attack ads be far off?

    • Can the attack ads be far off?

      We either have a soothsayer in our midst, or Transcanada read the newspaper last week. Somehow, I find the latter more implausible.

    • irrelevance when you treat others as irrelevant? karma is somethin aint it?

  3. So what else is new with Adam whenever he offers an opinion on Harper. you may as well just scaqn to the punch line The only person that couldn’t resist their slagging anyone is himself = they doth protest too much. I think that the pundits out there who have already laid their money down are getting antsy as they are starting to see the trend line and it isn’t good for them not one bit. The Pundit class has written Harper off and by any usual reckoning they would be right. After all what other PM could take the global economic hit like Harper and still be beating the Lib’s .. this is almost … no change that … not almost but completely unheard of.

    • Wayne, Adam and the Globe endorsed Harper in the last election. Problem is, he’s squandered all that support.

  4. So let’s distill this speech.

    1. Despite what you think and what you see and what you know, this recession is OK because there are some who are worse off. (In fact, he’s not quite right about that either: http://www.liberal.ca/pdf/docs/090310_JusttheFacts_en.pdf

    2. This recession (which he said we would never have) is actually a great opportunity for Canadians. (He was reading Orwell when he wrote that).

    3. This recession is out of everyone’s control so don’t blame me.

    4. Even though I said we would never have a recession because our economy was sufficiently independent from the US, this recession can only be fixed by Obama (and not me).

    5. Even though I’ve just told you that (a) there is nothing anyone can do and (b) we can’t get out of this unless the US fixes its economy, it is still partially the Liberals fault.

    This is leadership?

  5. Speaking of antagonism, unless there was a coup in the last hour (wishful thinking), can’t someone get Harper to stop issuing these kind of press releases:

    Canada’s New Government (press release) – ‎20 minutes ago‎

    • No link Catherine.

      • No link? Who cares? I didn’t bother looking at the press release. I just want him to drop the new label.

        • Missed that. Good catch.

    • So now the violent overthrow of a democratically elected government is within the realm of wishful thinking?

      I suppose it has the merit of addressing the recent low voter turnout, but I would like to think your sort of thinking is out of place in this country. Heck, even the sunny Central American countries have given up on your wishful thinking, catherine. Please, think it over.

      • Now, now, have a sense of humour.

        Did you learn nothing from the Prime Minister’s speech today?

        • Yah, he’s not much better at speech-writing than his speech-writer.

      • Do you and your leader share the same sense of humor?

        • Who’s my leader? If you mean the PM, hate to break it to ya, he’s your leader too.
          As for sense of humour, try this on: Drop dead, catherine (wishful thinking). Ha! Ho! Hee! Hey, catherine, where’s your sense of humour?
          Disclaimer: the above tasteless statement is an example only and in no way reflects myl’s wishes regarding myl’s wishes towards catherine’s health, safety or well-being. MYL wishes nothing but the best in all three of those domains.

          • I don’t think you have the hang of this humor stuff yet, MYL. You have to connect to something. Harper sent out a release informing us that we had a new government as of 20 minutes ago. I don’t think he mentioned me dying. Think about it.

          • Guess your right. The desire for the violent overthrow of a democratically elected government just kind of falls flat for me in the comedy department. My bad. Never should have dropped out of clown school, I guess… oh, make up your own damn joke, people…

          • Best complete overreaction of the day myl!

          • Aw, kc, that might be the nicest thing you’ve ever said about me. Mama always said you gotta be the best at something.

          • I’m less impressed by myl’s STUPENDOUS overreaction abilities than I am by his ability to put words into catherine’s mouth.

            Catherine never said ANYTHING WHATSOEVER about violence. That’s all in your head. Hell, I can point to many Tory MPs who accused Stephane Dion of fomenting a coup, and Stephane Dion couldn’t beat my little sister in a fight.

          • Don’t give up, i’m sure you’ll get there!

      • I’d also point out that a coup doesn’t technically have to be violent.

        According to many Tory MPs, we just avoided a coup back in December by the skin of our teeth.

    • They meant Canada’s Gnu Government — you know . . . bull-headed.

  6. I’m so excited by this recession now!

    Recessions ROCK!!!

    If I’d known recessions could be this great five months ago I would have complained bitterly when the PM told us all we weren’t going to have one.

    • First prize to LKO.

      • Why thank you!

        Actually, I thought my comment over at Feschuk’s was better.

        That speech was basically “Prime Minister Strangelove” or, “How I learned to stop worrying and love the recession”.

        • I agree. You topped yourself.

    • Recession is SEXY for sadists.

  7. Adam made one good pt. Does anyone think SH’s even in Chretien’s league as a poitical operator? If he had delivered this sort of speech he would have omitted the partisan stuff and given that role to someone else. But Harper just can’t help himself. As i said some time ago, he’s a fanatic [ in a partisan sense] and eventually like all fanatics he’ll eventually torch himself.

    • Like I’ve said before, Trudeau, Mulroney, Harris, Chretien – all strong leaders, all strongly partisan, but they leave you with a better impression of leadership and statesmanship because they left the garbarge and mud for others to fling.

      That’s just for show of course because even the mud is orchestrated, but it allows a leader to connect with everyone in a way that a mud-thowing leader cannot. It allows him (cause these are all hims) to endear themselves to the public.

      Had Harper observed any of the basics of political leadership and not relied so exclusively upon a weak opposition and a Canadian public fed up with the Liberals, he would have had his majority a long time ago.

      • Yeah, i tend to agree. The fact that Harper hasn’t sealed the deal on a majority speaks volumes about him, and at least as much as it does about the quality of his opposition. It’s not as if he doesn’t have some good mud-slingers in his party. It’s that old hatred of the liberal party i guess. Personalizing politics is certainly a sign of an immature outlook on life i’d say!

  8. In case any of you missed it, be sure to catch PM Harper doing the U.S. business tv interview tour. He is masterful dealing with economic issues.

    The reality is this:

    Canadians trust Harper to lead us through these tough economic times.

    Conversely, there is zero chance Canadians are going to change horses mid stream, particularly when the other horse is another academic Liberal elite, who may fit in nicely at the Harvard faculty lounge but belongs nowhere near Canada’s economic controls.

    All the rest is petty sniping and political fluff.

    • In terms of a “Harper majority”,

      I suggest you do a graph of Harper’s support over the past three elections.

      From losing, to winning a bare minority, to winning a strong minority. The trend is steady. And it’s been rising.

      Once considered a fringe player with little support outside of Alberta, he’s made signficant gains in every province, with every demographic. The party base has grown exponentially, and the party coffers continue to brim with cash. But for Quebec vote parking with the Bloc he would have a solid majority locked up.

      Conversely, the Liberals are a shell of an organization, who have as their leader, one who actually LOST the only leadership vote he ever faced, but was annointed out of fear and panick. Their support has dwindled to a handful of urban ridings. They are shut out of large swaths of Canada, and their grass roots financial support is virtually non-existant. In short they are broke, both financially and from a policy perspective (they haven’t even had a policy conventions to establish what they believe in).

      Iggy will continue to vote in support of Harper because he is in a position of incredible weakness and he knows it.

      The Liberals only asset is their bretheren in the mainstream press, who offer condolences in the form of sniping at Harper, but even that is fleeting, and serves only to raise false hopes in Liberal supporters in between election cycles where fanatasy can replace the cold reality.

    • So, Kody, you’re telling me that Harper makes snide remarks about Harvard while talking to U.S. media?

      What a brilliant man.

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