Dion v. Harper, Crack-up in the Commons


I’d read about the sound that comes from a boxing crowd right before a major fight, but I didn’t fully understand it until I covered a fight (Mike Tyson’s last as a professional, oddly enough). There is a barely concealed blood-lust to the noise that rises up—a palpable, common desire to see someone grievously injured, an anxious excitement at the prospect of what violence may unfold before our eyes. It was, in my single experience, legitimately frightening.

The cacophony in the House of Commons this afternoon wasn’t quite like that. But that this afternoon was even vaguely reminiscent of that sound is probably enough to conclude that we are now in a dark, and perhaps dangerous, place.

“It was a fine day to be a parliamentarian,” Chuck Strahl said afterwards, selflessly surrendering his claim to be among the reasonable members of this government.

It is impossible to assign blame without being slurred as a partisan—at some point we decided there would be no facts, only arguments—but whichever party you pray for, there surely must be some agreement that we shame ourselves when we casually invoke the flag.

Jon Stewart has a joke about how casually comparing someone to Hitler demeans not only the source, subject and object of such an attack, but also demeans Hitler. Invoking patriotism has roughly the same result. It demeans those whose patriotism is being questioned. It demeans those who are questioning the other’s patriotism. And it demeans patriotism.

Love of country has too often been a source of debate over the last year. Never mind its dubious inclusion in the debates over Afghanistan and the treatment of military detainees, at one point in this fall’s campaign even the Liberal party’s proposed carbon tax was billed as a threat to national unity. If you believe Stephen Harper to be an intelligent man—and you should—it is impossible to believe he believed such a thing. But he said it. Just as he said so much today.

Someone in another thread asked this evening whether I thought Mr. Dion and Mr. Harper hated each other. For the record—based on available evidence—I don’t think they hate each other. I think they dislike each other a great deal. I think Mr. Dion may respect Mr. Harper’s abilities as a political opponent. I don’t think Mr. Harper has any kind of respect for Mr. Dion. I think Mr. Harper’s toughness is consistently overstated. I think Mr. Dion’s toughness is consistently underrated. I think, given his political career, Mr. Dion takes this very personally. I think Mr. Harper, given his personal ambitions, takes this nearly as personally. I think they’d sooner be rid of each other. But whereas Mr. Dion might have an entirely different relationship with a different Conservative leader, I’m not sure Mr. Harper would engage another Liberal leader any other way.

All of that informs what happened this afternoon. The Conservatives were primed for a show of force from the outset (and, by the sounds of it, had a bit of a pep rally in the government lobby afterwards). But it wasn’t until Mr. Harper made indisputably false claims about the flag and Mr. Dion that the proceedings truly turned. At that point, for all intents and purposes, Question Period ceased, giving way to a remarkable clash between the two men who seek a claim to high office. Dion could barely maintain the control necessary to form words, screaming across the aisle at the Prime Minister. Harper challenged and goaded him on.

No matter your perspective and whatever comes next, it is difficult to imagine these moments not proving pivotal.

Here then, for the record, is the official transcript. Full translation won’t be available until the morning, but I will replace this with that when it is made public.

L’hon. Stéphane Dion (chef de l’opposition, Lib.): Monsieur le Président, j’ai donné ma vie pour l’unité de ce pays, pour mon amour envers le Canada. Avec cette entente, le Bloc a accepté d’avoir 18 mois de stabilité politique au Canada. Voilà ce qu’obtient le Canada par le biais de cette entente.

Le très hon. Stephen Harper (premier ministre, PCC): Monsieur le Président, aujourd’hui, la chef du Parti québécois a dit que cet arrangement démontrait la nécessité de la souveraineté. Les députés du Bloc québécois ont applaudi lorsque je l’ai citée. Mr. Speaker, if the leader of the Liberal Party believes in the country, he will walk away from this document and admit it is the worse mistake the Liberal party has ever made in its history.

Hon. Stéphane Dion (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the one who is dividing Canadians more than anybody else is this Prime Minister. I will show him that again. He is saying that we Liberals are selling Canada to the separatists. His Quebec MPs are saying that the separatists are selling their souls to the Liberals. He needs to choose between these two lies. Canadians are fed up with these lies.

The Speaker: Order, please. I am not sure what statement the Leader of the Opposition is referring to, but I am sure it was not the Prime Minister’s statement. The Right Hon. Prime Minister has the floor.

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, there are two very clear choices. The Canadian people made a choice to elect the Conservative Party to govern, without the support of the separatists. If the leader of the Liberal Party wants to become Prime Minister with the support of the separatists, he needs to put that option to the people of Canada.

Hon. Stéphane Dion (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as a democrat, I know that when a government is elected as a minority government, it has the responsibility to behave accordingly. The Prime Minister has failed to address the economic crisis. He has failed. If he was a democrat, he would allow the House to show how much he failed.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

The Speaker: The Right Hon. Prime Minister. Order, please.

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party–

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

The Speaker: Order, please. We will have a little order. I know members are enjoying engaging in a vigorous debate during this question period, but we do have to be able to hear the questions and the responses. The Prime Minister has the floor.

Right Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party failed to convince Canadians in the wisdom of his platform or in the sufficiency of his judgment to be Prime Minister of this country. If he wants to take the unprecedented step of scrapping the results of an election campaign and forming for the first time in Canadian history a government entirely dependent on the support of separatists to run this country, then he has the responsibility not to hide behind parliamentary niceties or deals, but to go to the people of Canada.

Hon. Stéphane Dion: Mr. Speaker, when this Prime Minister was fighting to put firewalls around the province we all love, I was fighting for clarity for this country.

Le Président: À l’ordre s’il vous plaît. L’honorable chef de l’opposition a la parole maintenant.

L’hon. Stéphane Dion: Monsieur le Président, quand le premier ministre se battait pour mettre un mur autour d’une province que nous aimons tous, moi je me battais pour l’unité du Canada. Tout ce que je ferai pour mon pays, ce sera pour le renforcer, jamais pour l’affaiblir, jamais pour le diviser, jamais pour autoriser les députés du Québec de dire l’inverse de lui, aujourd’hui même, en cette Chambre.

Le très hon. Stephen Harper (premier ministre, PCC): Monsieur le Président, ce Parti conservateur défend les pouvoirs du fédéral et les pouvoirs des provinces. C’est l’histoire de notre fédération que ce Parti conservateur a créé. This has nothing to do with federal-provincial powers. It is very simple. The leader of the Liberal Party wants to turn his back on the results of the last election. He wants to turn his back on the traditions of his own party and he wants to form a coalition with the Quebec separatists. He should either walk away from that or take it to the people–

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.


Dion v. Harper, Crack-up in the Commons

  1. “There is a barely concealed blood lust to the noise that rises up—a palpable, common desire to see someone grievously injured, an anxious excitement at the prospect of what violence may unfold before our eyes. It was, in my single experience, legitimately frightening.”

    Although I’m a fan of hockey fights and not so much of the instigator rule, I felt that once, at a hockey game.

    Harper’s blood is in the air. Nothing else matters.

  2. If I may put my partisan hat aside, I can say I’m ashamed for Canada, for our country. It should never have gotten to this. But I suppose when one leader makes a game out of attacking and denigrating the accomplishments and integrity of his rival, for partisan reasons, there is anger, too. oops, partisan hat back on.

  3. Definitely. I think that’s why they’re so eager now, for once, Harper’s weak, most people think he made a mistake, and the other leaders scent blood.

  4. Harper absolutely has to go. I understand that Conservatives are understandably angry at the prospect of being turfed from office less than two months after an election, but not only does he not command the confidence of the House now, I can’t see how he’ll ever be able to get it. And I can’t see how this man will ever be able to win a majority in the House.

    If the Conservatives turn on him in the next two days and replace him with someone new, I, speaking as a partisan of the left, would see the argument for giving the party that won the election another chance to make Parliament work. But it isn’t going to happen, and he has absolutely forfeited his right to continue to govern.

  5. Lefties on this blog continue their feeding frenzy despite the obvious fact that their main contenders just got knocked out.

    I guess this lust for power does not begin and end with Three Stooges and their lackeys.
    It seems to me that lefties have wisdom and mentality of school of Piranha smelling blood in the water. Once they start madmess of their feeding frenzy it never ends, for lack of prey they will keep consuming each other.

  6. Someone please explain to me how carte blanche support of the first two coalition budgets is a threat to national unity.

  7. Harper hatred derangement syndrome makes any rational discussion with partisans nearly impossible, but what the heck. If I concede all the personality flaws that the left ascribe to him, (to save any who might respond the keystrokes) than if you are rational, you ought to concede one thing. PM Harper, has since taking office consistently taken actions which weaken the Bloc and the separatist cause in Quebec. Equalization, The Quebecois as a nation, UNESCO, for examples. The Bloc is now reduced to running for election with the explicit promise that formal separation is off the table, now they run as a de factofederalist party, albeit a regional one. They do this because PM Harper has virtually destroyed separatism as a viable force in the province. Ask Ms. Marois for her list of enemies, the PM will be high on it.

    The arguement that it helps his electoral prospects is weak beer, it helps the Dippers as well. It does make the Liberals earn votes in Quebec, is that wrong? No matter how you ascribe motive, Quebec separatism is at it’s lowest point in a generation. PM Harper did that.

    This coalition deal breathes life into that corpse, and weakens the federation dramatically. To argue otherwise is useless, the facts are there. M. Parizeau will today put his seal of approval on this, putting paid to the counter-argument. In case any of you are baby Grits, he came within 1 point of destroying Canada, in 1995. My wife and I flew to Montreal for the massive Canada rally, I know who my country’s enemies are.

    Perhaps Mr. Wherry, if you can get past your partisanship for a moment, you might consider that the PM actually means it. M. Dion will, in years to come wonder WTF he was thinking when he let that used car salesman from Toronto talk him into this. To watch the tape yesterday, I think he may already be wondering.

  8. The paper trail leads back to the Canadian corporate media, which has been reporting false economic news for some time now. The coalition, if you read there agreement, exists to fight an economic crisis that simply does not exist, except in the media. Without the coordination and cooperation of the media, the socialist bloc would never have credibly been able to seize power.

    This is collusion, as gross a breach of public trust as can be conceived, and it implicates specific members of the media, right here at Maclean’s. At least one Maclean’s reporter wrote before the election there was already a coalition deal, which raises the likelihood that the media and socialist bloc have been secretly co-operating and colluding against the peoples’ party, the Conservative party, for some time, as the Krista Erikson episode illustrates so well.

    It is, for a few days at least, still a free country, and as a Canadian I am still free to express my opinion that this constitutes high treason and that anyone involved in this breach of public trust should be dealt with like they are in high functioning countries like China – they should be executed, for attempting to steal $30 billion from the taxpayers of Canada.

  9. There’s an interesting piece about the current slagging going on in Parliament, citing Justin Trudeau (of all people) in the National Post (of all places). In part:

    … The surge in support for sovereignty that led to Quebec referendums in 1980 and 1995 coincided with hard economic times in Quebec, Mr. Trudeau argued. “The best way to deal with strengthening the country is to create a strong economy and to make sure that Canadians in every province are reassured, have the confidence that their future is in good hands.”

    He accused the Conservatives of hypocrisy in their denunciations of the Liberals for teaming up with the Bloc. “First of all, the separatist party in our House of Commons exists because of an alliance between Conservatives and separatists, between Lucien Bouchard and Brian Mulroney,” he said. Then, in 2004, Mr. Harper was prepared to ally with the Bloc to unseat Paul Martin’s minority government. …

  10. “Some hon. members: Oh, oh.”

    Aaron speaks of bloodthirst, yet this is how the mood of the House is reported for the public record. The idiosyncracies of Hansard have never appeared more quaint.

  11. Questioning someone patriotism, other than separatists, isn’t really helpful I agree but I can understand where Cons/Harper are coming from.

    For years, Libs/libs have been telling me I am a bad Canadian because I don’t support whatever policy they are proposing this week. I am a bad Canadian because I don’t support our health care system. I am a bad Canadian because I didn’t think Kelowna Accord was a good idea. The list is endless and now fire is being returned.

  12. Congratulations Aaron for a well written post, one of the best I have seen here.


    If there is one emotion that we will remember about Stephen Harper government, it is Hate. He managed to get worst of all of us out to attack each other. He also “was able” to “inspire” the radical right and other weirdos to come out of their caves and plague the internet and in some cases to go as far as committing dangerous and criminal activities to private property, In Toronto, cars were hacked and left without brakes overnight.

    It is time for him and his followers to go before it is too late. Hate has no place in this country.

  13. Someone please explain to me how carte blanche support of the first two coalition budgets is a threat to national unity.

    It isn’t, which is what makes the Tory spin so disingenuous (and dangerous). They’re trying to convince people that the Liberal/NDP Coalition has agreed to support the monetary policies of the Bloc, while in reality, the Bloc has agreed to support the monetary policies of the Coalition. This is evidence by the fact that many nationalists in Quebec are up in arms at the idea that Duceppe has sold out to two federalist parties. The only difference between the Bloc supporting the first two budgets of the Coalition, and the Bloc supporting the first two budgets of the Conservatives is that the Coalition got the Bloc to commit their vote before hand, so they can concentrate on dealing with the economic crisis without having to worry about whether or not the Bloc will support their budgets.

    It’s the Bloc that’s committed itself to supporting the Coalition (on confidence votes only, and as was said above the Coalition doesn’t plan to having every vote on when to break for lunch be considered a confidence matter) not the Coalition that’s committed to supporting the Bloc.

    Of course, the Tories could always vote with the Coalition too, if that’s what’s best for the country, or even vote with the Coalition to out vote the Bloc on non-confidence votes. However, as many commentators here have asserted, it looks like it’ll be a cold day in Hell before they do that. And if it comes down to voting with the separatists to bring down the government, you can bet the Tories will embrace the Bloc as legitimate democratic partners once again.

  14. Dian is passionate about Canada. That shows through in his statements and I am glad to see it. The newest smear campagin the Conservatives have launched will fail, just as the one launched well before the election did. The Canadian Coaltion has the confidence of the house – the Conservatives do not. Dion is the right choice to lead, at this time, and there is no time to waste. The Coaltion should be given the green light by the Governor General and the work to deal with the economic crisis (yes, folks – there is one) should begin immediately.

  15. “Harpers blood is in the air, nothing else matters.”

    Sums up the actions of the left of late quite nicely I’d say.

    Reviving Seperatism – doesn’t matter

    Giving Seperatists a seat at the government on which their mandate is to destroy – not a problem

    Aligning with a socialist party that Dion just weeks ago said would be economic disaster – okey dokey

    Putting in a leader that Canadians decidedly said in a democratic election they DIDN’T WANT – so what

    Destabalizing our country by effectively having three governments in an economic crisis – no biggie

    Power at any cost? Obviously.

  16. So what if we accepted, for a moment, to put this “coalition to the people?” I’m about to propose a hypothesis that could be considered if the PM actually convinces the GG to force an election … and I know, everyone is about to tell me how crazy it is.

    What if, for the sake of the country, the three parties in the coalition agreed to the following:

    1. No matter what the outcome, the Liberals and NDP agree to abide by the terms of the coalition agreement for 18 months, even if one of them were to win a majority in the potential election — in other words, the NDP and Liberals will form a coalition government even if one of them had enough seats to form a majority on their own. And they agree, in writing, to consult and preserve a link to the Bloc Quebecois in order to ensure the interests of the Quebecois and Quebecoises who voted for them — WHO ARE NOT ALL SEPARATISTS, in case Conservatives need to be reminded that they are, in fact, Canadians — are represented.

    2. On a one-time only basis, because of the economic situation, the parties would put aside partisanship in an election to follow the following rules:

    a. No party in the coalition would run in a sitting MP’s riding in the coalition, i.e. all Liberal MPs, NDP MPs, and Bloc MPs would face only a Conservative in their riding when they seek reelection.

    b. The party that finished second in a riding would get the sole chance to run against the Conservative MP elected in that riding, i.e. if the NDP finished second, they would have the sole candidate against the Conservatives this time. The Greens, therefore, would be running two candidates who would likely win and become MPs, including Elizabeth May.

    c. After this one-time only election and the expiration of the agreement, we can all go back to vicious partisanship in spite of the fact we’ve shown how to make Parliament work, etc.

    That way, the coalition is, in fact, being put to the people, so the 62 per cent who voted against the Conservatives would have one option to vote for, and we could, in fact, reduce that party to a rump, driving them out of Ontario, Manitoba, B.C. and Saskatchewan through an end to vote-splitting, and utterly eliminating the Conservatives from Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

    What does anyone think of that?

  17. Alienating the country west of Toronto – I’m not listening

    Taking out the party that has the broadest support accross the country, by a long shot – so

    Putting into power a party who elected MP’s in only a few isolated ridings in Eastern cities – la la la la

    Including in government a party that didn’t win a single riding – election esmection

  18. Pol
    My confused friend, lefties in Toronto were so desperate that they did all the mischief all by themselves. Toronto Police conviniently never found any perpertrators and quickly closed their investigations. Liberals as far as we know stole four seats at HoC (three from Conservatives and one form Bloc) in blatant acts of electoral fraud. Nobody is looking for over 600 votes that went missing in Vancouver South riding. Please give your head a shake man bebore you start spouting total nonsense.

  19. I think Peter gets the “pot calling the kettle black” award for his comment “Harper hatred derangement syndrome makes any rational discussion with partisans nearly impossible”

    I love how the followup was hyperpartisan. Enjoy the award

  20. Karol er Kory, could you please provide links to proof of your allegations?

  21. Kody, I probably shouldn’t respond, but…
    You know, Canadians rejected Stephen Harper and the Conservatives in this last election as well. They gave him less than half the seats in the House, and only 37% of the vote. Obviously, this has been the third election in just a little more than four years, and none of those elections has given a party a majority.
    Putting aside the constitutional issues, which I talked about a little yesterday, in practical terms we have two options: keep having elections until someone wins a majority (which would be expensive and divisive), or try to make this Parliament work. Now I don’t think anyone comes out of a Question Period like yesterday’s looking like they’re terribly dignified or altruistic, but, really, someone has to start trying to govern. To govern, they’ll need the support of a majority of the House of Commons. And it seems pretty clear who’s got that at this point.

  22. I wrote about the West a while ago, too. The Libs+NDP+Greens got a majority of the vote in BC, a plurality of the vote in Manitoba and were within a couple of points of the Tories in Saskatchewan. Hard to see how those provinces are going to be all that angry about the coalition. Divided, yes, but certainly not united in their anger at Dion. Northern ON voted pretty heavily for the NDP, too.
    So rather than talk about “the country west of Toronto,” it would be more accurate to talk about “the country between Lloydminster and Valemount.” And “rural and small-town Ontario.”

  23. Karol,

    Your hate for the “lefties” is getting the worst out of you, be careful and please don’t lie. I guess my post hit a spot.

  24. Harper’s a psychopath. It’s futile to try to figure out what he really believes.

  25. taking from power the party that was 12 seats shy of a majority, not as the result of a one-off fluke, but after three sucessive elections of significant gains – hey look at the pretty birdie in the tree

    putting in power the party that lost miserably, not as the result of a one-off fluke, but after three successive elections of significant seat declines – hey let’s go shopping

  26. taking from power the party that recieved the confidence of the house in the acceptance of the throne speech – and your point is

    putting in power the party that voted in confidence of the party sought to be taken out……and every successive confidence vote for over a year previously – does this shirt make me look fat

  27. Peter spoke of “Harper hatred derangement syndrome

    This particular dismissive retort to anyone criticizing H. is right out of the Bush/Rove playbook. The GOP went on and on for years about how criticism of Bush was rooted in some bizarre psychosis, rather than being based on a correct reading of the reality of his disastrous administration.

    I see that CPC supporters have now adopted the same rhetorical tactic.

    Surprising? No. But it is noteworthy that they are once again adopting GOP-style smear tactics to discredit and dismiss critics. That’s exactly why Harper has failed as a PM to win the support of most Canadians.

    – JV

  28. I don’t see why Wherry is being so squeamish. These are big issues and much depends on the outcome of these debates. If this does not stir the emotions, then nothing will. We need to see more of Harper and Dion going at each other; only then will the country see what they are really made of.

    Dion is holding up ok but he needs to get control over his voice and body language. He really looks like he is about to jump up and down and squeal…it is detracting from his arguments.

    Harper looks colder and colder by contrast, and appears to be losing his connection with his surroundings. Nonetheless, his jibes about separatism are meaningful.

  29. Ottawa Researcher,

    Not bad. Here’s how I would handle this crisis. We need to bail out the political system before we bail out the economy.

    1) Harper resigns as PM and resigns his seat immediately
    2) Dion and Layton resign as leaders of their respective parties and resign their seats immediately. None of the 3 are ever seen in the commons again
    3) Interim leaders are appointed (I would nominate Strahl, Cotler, and Comartin) with the CPC to lead a caretaker government with executive powers (appointments, etc.) curtailed. Government would pass whatever is needed for supply and recess, to be recalled for emergency only.
    4) All 3 parties hold an abbreviated leadership convention. Liberals move up the date of theirs. Special one time only funding of $2M is provided to each party to conduct their convention.
    5) As soon as the 3 leaders are in place, dissolve parliament and hold a general election with reduced spending limits ($9M). On a one-time only basis to avoid financial default by any player, this election will be funded by the government. CPC, LPC, and NDP each get 9M. BQ and Green parties get whatever they spent in the last election.

  30. I don’t think the question about who the Canadian people elected works for either side of this argument.

    The People’s House is made up of their local representatives. Those representatives speak for their community and are asked to choose form among themselves their “first among equals”.

    We have Responsible Government. The Government must maintain the confidence of the House to conitnue governing. Political scientists liek to get into readng the tea leaves after elections and talk about mandates and the dominant reasons why peole vote. That simply doesn’t matter. What matterrs in the system we have is that the Government continue to have the support of the majority of the House for its core agenda.

    If it doesn’t, then the GG must look for an alternative. Depending on convention she will either consider an election or another possible combination of representatives in the House. That’s the way it works and anything else is wishful political posturing.

    Read David E Smith’s book on the People’s House. You are all very passionate and care about the way in which your country is governed. The system we have devised is actually quite elegant and has proven to be more successful in developing democracies than the congressional model. It breaks down when we try to import concepts foreign to the model.

  31. Pol
    Why would I lie to you?? Visit Blogging Tories and find Vancouver South Recount tread go to page five and start reading and you will find all the details of electoral fraud during last federal elections.
    I made a report to Commissioner of Election Canada and they are looking into it.

  32. Karol, I’m starting to think you’re an NDP agent provocateur.

  33. If we have to have an election, and I would say that proroguing the House would be the worst possible choice at this time, then the Coaltion should work out a deal to put up one Candidate for each riding.

  34. Visit Blogging Tories and find Vancouver South Recount tread go to page five and start reading and you will find all the details of electoral fraud during last federal elections.

    Can you go somewhere else to post your nonsense, you lunatic?

  35. Great post! Thank you for your reasonable and thoughtful arguments.

  36. I just wonder how long will it take after “Three Stooges Rebellion” is put out before we start “The Great Purge” of Liberal Nomenclatura???
    Where is Senator Joseph McCarthy when we really need him??

  37. LKO: “It’s the Bloc that’s committed itself to supporting the Coalition (on confidence votes only, and as was said above the Coalition doesn’t plan to having every vote on when to break for lunch be considered a confidence matter) not the Coalition that’s committed to supporting the Bloc.”

    Its a pity the stovepipe press has now or ever will have any intention of spelling that out.

    Fear, after all, sells.

  38. Karol – JS Mill may have had you in mind:

    “The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”

    He would ask you to be more open minded and he would ask those who dismiss you to do so as well. And, finally, he would point to the pure venom and malice in your posts and say that it proves his point: colliding with what you say only clarifies.

  39. Ti-Guy
    I hate to write this and burst your bubble but as you type on your computer your blasphemy your IP address is being traced and conservative goons are on their way to pick you up.

  40. oopsy

    Its a pity the stovepipe press will now or ever have any intention of spelling that out.

    Fear, after all, sells.

  41. my kingdom for an edit button

    Its a pity the stovepipe press will NOT now or ever have any intention of spelling that out.

    Fear, after all, sells.

  42. I’m quite convinced none of these men are worthy of leading our country. Harper, Dion, Layton, Duceppe……none of them. Just make them all go away!

  43. Brad
    Please do not accuse me of having closed mind. I studied Marxism and Leninism at graduate level. These people do not even have a clue what is the meaning of a word “Nomenclatura”.
    I find their ignorance of basic concepts of socialism very troubling to say the least.

  44. Karol,

    I say, based on both academic and real world expertise in these matters, that you are a charlatan. If you had the slightest understanding of what nomenclatura (and today’s siloviki) means, you would never draw such a comparison to Canada’s parliamentary democracy. How many journalists have been jailed in Canada for covering these debates? Who has been “medically detained” to a psychiatric ward for counterrevolutionary thinking? Which newspapers have had their presses smashed? Exactly how many of our provincial premiers and legislative assemblies have been hand-picked by the federal executive without benefit of a public vote?

    Yesterday you were saying on these posts — in a celebratory manner — that Harper would roll tanks onto the streets of Ottawa.
    Today you call for a return to the Red Scare and McCarthyism.
    Now you suggest that another poster’s IP address is being tracked, so he’d better watch what he says or “conservative goons” will “pick him up”.

    If you had an ounce of decency you would apologize for the threatening remarks you have posted here and retreat further under your slimy rock.

  45. JV, I include myself in the partisan reference.

    “This particular dismissive retort to anyone criticizing H. is right out of the Bush/Rove playbook. The GOP went on and on for years about how criticism of Bush was rooted in some bizarre psychosis, rather than being based on a correct reading of the reality of his disastrous administration.”

    Have you nothing on the substance of the argument?

  46. M. Harper is walking a very thin line. Whatever the outcome the damage he’s done to unity in this country may be irreparable. Merci.

  47. It is, for a few days at least, still a free country, and as a Canadian I am still free to express my opinion that this constitutes high treason and that anyone involved in this breach of public trust should be dealt with like they are in high functioning countries like China – they should be executed, for attempting to steal $30 billion from the taxpayers of Canada.
    Somebody note the time and date – the rhetoric has cleared the stratosphere and has entered orbit.

  48. Patriot, meet Karol.
    Karol, meet Patriot.

    So the 30+% drop in US auto sales for Honda and Toyota and the 40+% drops for US makers are just fiction? The 72% drop in the value of pension funds is a liberal media conspiracy? (PS: The G&M, NatPost, CTV, Global, 15 of 16 newspapers all endorsed Harper, so I guess it’s a pretty small conspiracy, eh?)

    So you want people executed like in China — and that makes you a patriot?

    Maybe you and Karol could pool your resources and buy a small island on which to set up your high-functioning tin-pot dictatorship.

    As for “breech of the public trust”, isn’t that a fair way of describing a minority party attempting to govern without the consent of the majority of the people’s representatives in the House?

  49. Karol: “Visit Blogging Tories and…”


  50. Ottawa Researcher is suggesting what Mackenzie King did to defeat Conservatives. In the west Liberals did not run against the progressives in certain ridings. This was excellent strategy then and would work again.

  51. What’s funny is, from my point of view, if we DID have an election, there’d be nothing to stop the Liberals and NDP from entering into an agreement such as what Ottawa Researcher proposes. No running against the other’s incumbents, and whoever placed second to the Tories in the last election doesn’t get a challenger from the other party. Normally, the Liberals would never go for this, but if an election is forced NOW, what with their monetary and leadership situation, they’d probably go for it. I think the NDP would go for it too, especially if there were an agreement to still enter into a Coalition for, say, 2 years, even if the Liberals somehow managed a miracle and won a majority of seats (I know, I know, but still…).

    Frankly, if I knew for certain such a plan would be enacted I’d be ALL OVER calling an election now.

    I can see why the Tories would want to run in an election right now against the Liberals and the NDP. I’d be less sanguine if I were them about running against a Coalition of the two.

  52. Aaron: I love Paul and Kady, but you are my favourite writer here. Really great stuff.

    I find over the past few days when I am out and talking to people about this whole debacle, even those with dissenting opinions (from mine) are decent and respectful and able to make their points quite coherently, while patiently hearing mine.

    It’s really only here — in these faceless and anonymous blogs — that the true crazy vitriol is flowing. Well, here and in the HoC.

  53. One thing that I take from all of this is the sense that maybe electoral reform isn’t dead. It’s not so much, it occurs to me now, that people like the system we have now. It may very well be that people oppose electoral reform because they don’t have the slightest rudimentary understanding of how our political institutions work.

    One potential positive out of all of this is that it’s exposed the stunning lack of understanding among Canadians about the basic functioning of our parliamentary democracy. The ignorance is shocking, but ignorance, once exposed, can be cured.

  54. Sadly, the leadership race conventions won’t allow it, but it would be nice if Dion would sit down for a while and let Rae deal with the guy.

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