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BTC: Mississauga Goddam


 

First, to Mississauga. Specifically to a park adjacent to a narrow river that just so happened to have a gaggle of Canadian geese bobbing down it quite mythically shortly before the Prime Minister’s fleet arrived. On the menu: hamburgers, chicken, steak and pork shish kabob. Organizers pegged attendance at 1,000. But CP’s guess of 400 was probably more accurate.

The PM was about a half hour late to the stage (in fairness, traffic on the QEW was typically messy). He was introduced by Wajid Khan and arrived with Jim Flaherty by his side. Dean Del Mastro was also nearby, standing ready to laugh hysterically at even the slightest sign of a joke.

What followed was another lecture in tax policy and Stephane Dion’s various personal failings. With a couple notable exceptions.

First, Harper made a mildly amusing attempt at flipping the “hidden agenda” meme, suggesting the Liberal carbon tax was indeed evident of some long-held, but barely concealed, secret plan to tax the Canadian public into poverty (or at least socialism). Look forward to a future issue of Maclean’s with Mr. Dion on the cover under the headline “How Scary?”

Second, Harper made a rather novel claim to compassionate conservatism. Forty-four percent of Mississauga-Erindale’s population identified as a visible minority for the 2001 census and the crowd tonight reflected that. The Liberal MP (Omar Alghabra) was born in Saudi Arabia. The MPP (Liberal Harinder Takhar) was born in India. The Conservative candidate, Bob Dechart, is resolutely not a visible minority.

But here’s the spin. The Conservative party is the party of multiculturalism.

To paraphrase the PM, the first female prime minister was a Conservative. As was the first female member of the federal cabinet. The first Chinese MP? The first Japanese MP? The first Sikh MP? All Conservatives. (As was, for the record, the first Black MP.) Giving women the vote? That was Borden. The bill of rights? That was Diefenbaker. 

A couple of those gains, mind you, were indeed Harper’s. But otherwise this was a claim to the Tory legacy—which seems a bit rich given Harper’s past and path to power. (Never mind the small matter of almost all power players in the Harper government being both white and male.) Richer still is a man with the support of a third of the population claiming to have properly united a country that was ruined by division until he took power.

Harper though understands very well that it doesn’t matter so much what he is, or who he is, as much as it matters what he can convince you he is, has done and plans to do. That’s elementary politics, sure. But there’s something to be said for mastering the basics.

Coincidentally, in the wee hours of Monday night, CityTV was replaying clips from a 1984 broadcast of Pierre Trudeau’s farewell in Ottawa. Pierre Elliott stood on stage and mused, quite similarly, of all the Liberal strides toward equality. He made a greater show of it—all dramatic pauses where Mr. Harper charges onward. But the argument was essentially the same. 

And it’s at the exact moment that Stephen J. Harper and Pierre E. Trudeau begin to sound alike that one should probably begin to question everything they believe to be true.

(Related coverage: National Post, Toronto Star, Mississauga News, Canadian Press.)


 

BTC: Mississauga Goddam

  1. Nice to hear that Harper is speaking a little more about why he dislikes Green Shift and I like this ‘hidden agenda’ gambit.

    So far, Dion has only been specific about tax cuts and has not explained how his plan will reduce emissions and, at the same time, eliminate child poverty.

    I hope more attention is paid to Dion’s ‘plan’ because everyone will see it is typical liberal strategy: promise the world but actually do very little.

  2. Similarities between Trudeau and Harper hmmmm I will have to think about that one however there might be more here than at first meets the eye. What is brilliant though is the is re-directing the scary hidded agenda theme I hope they keep that up that might play. It is good to be reminded though of Conservative history as too often of late there seem to be a few people who watch too much american tv and seem to link their Republican’s to our Conservatives which is way too much of a stretch and I am speaking as a right wing Canadian Conservative who if down in the states would be considered a socialist leftie.

  3. Really Wayne? I would have taken you for a Reformer, in which case you’d fit right in.

  4. YEah, Wayne? Not so much a socialist, I’m thinking. “And it’s at the exact moment that Stephen J. Harper and Pierre E. Trudeau begin to sound alike that one should probably begin to question everything they believe to be true.”
    Oh, heaven save us all.

  5. I loved the headline.
    The Globe’s headline, however, should have read “Harper afraid to govern?”
    But agree with Maestro – that theme of ‘Who me?’ with the hidden agenda is really hilarious. From the party of promised openness (secret cabinet meetings), protecting Canadians finances (welcome Income Trust tax!) and equality (cuts to you, women’s groups, arts groups and anything smacking of science-based!)…

  6. Half the population is under average intelligence, that’s math Harper can understand.

    How that can ever translate into a Harper majority government, however, requires advanced mathematics and the use of imaginary numbers:

    http://mathforum.org/dr.math/faq/faq.imag.num.html

    Trudeau had a real intellect, Harper’s is imaginary – as amply demonstrated by Wayne and jwl’s trance when Harper dangles his car keys in front of their eyes.

  7. Trudeau: “Reason over Passion”.

    Harper: “Ideology over Facts” (see Conservative stance on InSite issue, for one of far too many examples).

    Comparing Harper to one of the greatest PMs Canada has ever had is laughable.

  8. Those who carried Trudeau’s bags were/are much smarter than Harper.

  9. I miss Nina too Aaron.

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