Election 2015: Harper, Mulcair, Trudeau in the starting blocks - Macleans.ca
 

Election 2015: Harper, Mulcair, Trudeau in the starting blocks

Paul Wells on this weekend … and what comes after


 

I’m told the Conservatives have done market research — focus groups, maybe polling — on voter responses to Thomas Mulcair’s beard. Life never gives us what we want, so I don’t know what they learned from their inquiries. But the nugget suggests the level of mutual fascination and suspicion as the three main parties near the top of the hill up which they’ve been rolling the stone of this majority-government mandate. After this weekend, things will start to move downhill, and accelerate, toward 2015, unless Stephen Harper finds a reason to have an election sooner.

On Sunday in Ottawa, a new Liberal leader will be designated. I’m going to take a wild guess that it will be Justin Trudeau. Also on Sunday in Montreal, the New Democrats will wrap up a policy convention during which they will receive levels of scrutiny they’re not used to. The NDP has slid, not alarmingly but noticeably, in the polls roughly since we, er, put Tom Mulcair on our cover last autumn; part of their response this weekend will be a PR blitz designed to humanize the flinty NDP leader, who does not help mythologizers along by riding bikes and playing guitar the way his late predecessor did. 

The NDP will also debate policy. There are a bunch of resolutions in the book that don’t square well with Mulcair’s efforts to moderate the party so it might permanently replace the Liberals as the broadly accepted alternative to Harperism. A particularly amusing bunch, all submitted by a B.C. riding association that seemed to have been channelling Neil Kinnock, called for half the economy to be nationalized. That got Jim Flaherty hopping mad yesterday (“Radical.. jarring… rip up… forcibly… command economy”; all that hurt-me talk might just be enough to make Mulcair look sexier, although it will be strictly a niche market) , and it kind of rolled right into the prime minister’s remarks today over Alexandre Boulerice’s old blog post on the First World War. A “purely capitalist war on the backs of workers and peasants,” Boulerice had said, clearly banking on an A at UQAM if he ever needed to go back to school. “Outrageous, inflammatory, unacceptable,” Harper said in Calgary.

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Two points about all that. First, most of the truly wacky resolutions will probably be skilfully euthanized before they make it to a closing plenary vote. But they made it to the convention, and they bespeak a general skepticism about markets, trade and large companies that the Conservatives would have to not be Conservatives to ignore. Mulcair has some choices to make, as he is realizing he has had to make for a year now, about what kind of leader he wants to be, and what kind of party he is to lead. A recent Ekos poll shows that barely 56 per cent of declared NDP supporters approve of the job he’s doing as leader. The other leaders aren’t doing fantastically well with their own bases, either — I don’t recall seeing Stephen Harper down close to 70 per cent on that score before — but they’re doing better than Mulcair, and he’s had markedly less success at consolidating the NDP base than Layton did. That’s the measure that Michael Ignatieff routinely trailed on, and it’s a handy proxy for voter motivation. (People who still manage to persuade themselves that Harper is some kind of accidental PM should note his consistently high approval levels among Conservative voters. They don’t vote for his party because they’re stuck with him, they vote Conservative because they’re glad he leads the party.) Mulcair’s sagging performance isn’t fatal, but it puts homework in front of him. Halfway to an election is not too soon to do it. One assumes he knows that well and will begin the work in earnest in Montreal.

The second emerging point is that the NDP gets under Harper’s skin in a different way than the Liberals. With the Liberals it’s cultural — Harper doesn’t like them — and he can have some fun with it. With the NDP it’s philosophical, and he is perfectly humourless about it. His discourse on the NDP so far sounds like the Paul Martin Liberals’ discourse about him — dangerous, extremist, out of the mainstream, boo boo boo — and he will know better than most how ineffective such glowering can be. In his autobiography Tony Blair wrote a bit about how he used to take down all those Tories he defeated:

“So I defined Major as weak; Hague as better at jokes than judgment; Howard as an opportunist; Cameron as a flip-flop, not knowing where he wanted to go. . . . Expressed like that, these attacks seem flat, rather mundane almost, and not exactly inspiring—but that’s their appeal. Any one of those charges, if it comes to be believed, is actually fatal. Yes, it’s not like calling your opponent a liar, or a fraud, or a villain or a hypocrite, but the middle-ground floating voter kind of shrugs their shoulders at those claims. They don’t chime. They’re too over the top, too heavy, and they represent an insult, not an argument. Whereas the lesser charge, because it’s more accurate and precisely because it’s more low-key, can stick. And if it does, that’s that. Because in each case, it means they’re not a good leader. So game over.

Harper defined Ignatieff as an opportunist and Dion as weak, with the results we have seen. He cannot seem to stop calling Mulcair a villain. It’s like he’s lost his touch, and it’s odd.

Trudeau arrives with strong polling support that has now lasted half a year. The fun stops on Sunday. He faces two years eating Mulcair’s table scraps in the Commons, whatever the polls say: third parties usually don’t prosper from Question Period. The challenge for Trudeau will be at least twofold: maintaining an aura of romance in a profoundly prosaic gig, and building a Liberal party culture, if not precisely a set of policy positions, nearly from scratch. He made a bold and significant start today in La Presse, where he said he would hold business and corporate taxes, and the GST, where they are — at 50-year record-low levels as a fraction of GDP. How, then, to fund a more activist government? By not caring much about eliminating the deficit — he told his interviewers in this morning’s paper it’s “irresponsible” of Harper to want to balance the budget by 2015. It will be interesting to see how this position evolves as it receives more scrutiny. At best it’s a tenable middle path between the steady modest Harper cuts and the NDP agenda for larger government at higher cost. (Somewhere Colleague Wherry has a blog post on that subject, which I’ll link when I find it.) At worst it’s a heffalump of a compromise that will last as long as Michael Ignatieff’s early guesses at policy used to.

The progressive constraining of the federal government is Harper’s grand game, and Trudeau’s opening gambit is to plead no contest. In this he more closely resembles the first incarnation of Joe Clark, who offered no serious critique of the then-dominant Trudeau assumptions about growing government, than any true revolutionary. Harper will do what he can to destroy this Trudeau, but I bet today he paused to take pleasure in the way Trudeau accepts the premises on which the next election will be fought.


 

Election 2015: Harper, Mulcair, Trudeau in the starting blocks

  1. Ever notice that every time the NDP’s numbers go up, the Con media start pumping the Liberals? Seems Stevie has realized that he cannot kill the Liberals completely. His history of a divided right won’t repeat itself on the left if the Libs disappear. So now the Lib media raises the Trudeau banner in the hopes of remaining relevant and the Cons join in long enough to help Liberals threaten NDP so that neither can challenge him.

    Such is the game and both Lib and Con collude in freezing out NDP media coverage. Though I suspect Stephen is having his boys build up Justin just so that the take down, when it comes, will be that much more humiliating.

    Both camps make us gag. You know if either of you had focused on doing your jobs instead of playing stupid corruption games, you wouldn’t have to waste your time and out money on ridiculous spin games.

    P.S. Polls are garbage. Polling companies are not independent. Results, at least the published ones, are skewed to fit the needs of the party that purchased them. And media just regugitates as gospel. This brand of politics being practiced by the same people who sell used cars and peddle snake oil. Gag.

    • “Ever notice that every time the NDP’s numbers go up….P.S. Polls are garbage.”

      • “That dog’s like taxes, he just don’t know when to stop”

      • Good catch!

  2. Great post. It’ll be an interesting ride until the 2015 election.
    (Minor point in an otherwise excellent blog post: hold business and corporate taxes, and the GST, where they are… That should read personal and corporate taxes.)

  3. “unless Stephen Harper finds a reason to have an election sooner”..if Mr. Harper smells blood in the Liberal camp over the next year or so I am certain of a snap election since his fixed election date law is meaningless

    • I don’t think he can call a snap election though. He would first have to bring in new legislation that would override his fixed election date law.

      • The law is unenforceable, as Canadians learned in 2008.

        • The law is enforceable, by us voters. Even loyal conservatives would stop voting for Harper in disgust if he pulled that prank.

          • Just as they did in 2008!

        • I thought that was just for a minority government though. With a majority, is the wording not more concrete?

          But I do agree that Harper would attempt it, i’m just not sure he could get away with it like he did in 2008.

          • The law is ironclad… SH cannot call an election! He is apparently still entirely within his rights to walk down the street and ask the guy he appointed to call one.

          • So, (at the very least) he can’t take his time walking down the street, right?
            (please tell me I’m right)

            If so, the irony that Harper would be denied an extra year and half of power is pretty awesome.

          • The law only changed the maximum length of time parliament can sit and fixed the prescribed date, which is the 3rd Monday of the 4th year following the previous election. That would make the next one October 19, 2015. The Governor General still retains the right to dissolve parliament, which is almost always done on the advice of the PM. So therefore, we could still have a snap election before October 2015.

          • Absolutely right. The prerogatives of the GG were not changed and if Harper asks he will get an election. However the backlash would be significant.

          • Nope, that was a lie invented after the fact to try to explain it.

          • Oh, okay.

            Sure would be nice for the media to stop reporting this falsehood then.

          • Harper is not going to call an early election. The party will work on defining Trudeau as an inexperienced effete. The ads started that journey this morning. Trudeau is a sensitive guy and criticism does not sit well with him. He will eventually lash out.

      • The law is a farce. It has no force of law.

        • The courts said so.

  4. A couple things:

    Dion – I don’t think Harper’s attack on Dion did as much damage as CTV’s/The Violator’s dirty unethical reporting on the interview Dion held with them. Didn’t the polls have Dion equal with Harper right before that happened? And that was after months of sustained attacks about him being weak.

    Deficit – steady, modest Harper cuts? Yeah, I’m not sure Canadians will buy into that perception of the cuts. Also, Trudeau does say he favours eliminating the deficit but not at the expense of everything. I don’t think it will be hard for Trudeau’s narrative to take hold and resonate with the public, especially if the economy continues to underperform like it has been.

    QP – I’m not sure this is where Trudeau will make his biggest gains.

    Regardless, it’s going to be interesting couple years in Canadian Politics and its not set in stone the premise of the next election (whenever that will be) will be the deficit or that Harper will even be running in the election.

    • as much damage as CTV’s/The Violator’s dirty unethical reporting on the interview Dion held
      I think you’re giving CTV way too much credit for Dion’s downfall.

      • I don’t think so. If i remember correctly, the Liberals were making gains prior to the hatchet job.

        • Nope. The Liberals’ polling bottomed out at the very beginning of October and then rose (after the debates) until about October 6, when then started to plateau/decline and the Conservatives started going back up. The ATV video (which was a perfectly valid subject to report on, BTW) didn’t happen until October 9.

          • Polls on the day of the interview showed the Conservatives ahead of the Liberals by a margin of between 4 and 10%. I wasn’t a Dion supporter, but I recognized he was a very brilliant person who unfortunately got to focused on the wording of the question rather than just giving a simple “Liberals would do this, Harper shouldn’t have done this” response which was all the question was asking for. Perhaps it was the language barrier, or just plain exhaustion from the campaign. Same thing happened to David Cameron during the UK election in 2010, and that network broadcast the interview in full as well. This is no different than the Robert Stanfield football fumble or Bob Skelly, the B.C. NDP leader who shed tears at a press conference in the 1986 election. Image problems that have befallen party leaders – whether fair or not – have happened to all the parties at one time or another.

  5. For a left leaning rag striving to put a patina on the tarnish of the Conservatives, Mr. Wells appears to have fallen in the barrel he was trying to scrape.
    The Liberals have tried winning with an intellect, a dofus, and now a pretty boy. The readers are waiting with bated breath to see him bring the Harperites to their knees.

    Mulclair, like all self possessed pols has lost himself in his beard. It’s so thick the message is garbled.
    Great leaders aren’t self absorbed and the three stoges up there now do nothing to inspire confidence in the Canadian electoral system.

    • Is Mulclair a dofus or a stoge? I can never tel.

      • A bearded stofus…at least that’s what my bar survey says.

  6. “The progressive constraining of the federal government is Harper’s grand game …. ”

    When does this ‘grand game’ begin, Wells?
    ———–

    -Federal expenditures in 2010-11 totalled $270.5-billion, compared with $222.2-billion in 2006-07 — the Harper government’s first full year in power — according to the annual federal government performance report

    -Leaving aside the military and the Mounties, the public service “swelled by 33,023 people, slightly more than 13 per cent, over five years.” How does that compare with the overall growth in the Canadian population? Under the Harper government, public service expansion has outstripped it by 7.8 per cent.

    -Program spending had only once exceeded $6,500 per capita, in constant 2012 dollars, in all the years before the Conservatives came to power. It has averaged nearly $6,900 over the last seven years.

    – In all, the supplementary estimates reveal that the government’s cumulative ad spending for the fiscal year that ends next March 30 is up to $55.2 million.

    -Federal spending jumped 22% in the first five years the Harper Conservatives were in power, says a government of Canada performance report, released Thursday.

    • Canada’s GDP jumped 36% in the first five years the Harper Conservatives were in power. Sorry you missed the game.

        • I can’t tell if that’s meant to be federal debt to GDP or combined-all-levels-of-government debt to GDP.

          • Total public debt.

  7. I know I would say this but Tony Blair is wildly overrated politician. Blair was only able to win power after 17 years of Conservative rule and Labour had to ditch their socialist clause and Blair/Brown had to promise not to raise taxes – similar to Trudeau’s pledge? – and Blair was eager to have his photo taken with Maggie Thatcher.

    The 1970s were terrible decade economically and US elected Reagan, UK got Thatcher and Canada ended up with Joe Clark. Says it all, really. Canada is very conservative, at least here in Ont, it is battle between socialists and red tories to control Canadians. Proper liberalism has disappeared from Canada, not one party is for the individual.

    • I simply do not recall this promise not to raise taxes. Are you sure you have the right person?

      http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001974/

      Okay.

      I’ll apologize in advance

      No. I don’t know why…….I’m done now.

      • wiki – A manifesto, entitled New Labour, New Life For Britain was released in 1996 and outlined 5 key pledge:

        No rise in income tax rates, cut VAT on heating to 5 per cent, and keeping inflation and interest rates as low as possible.

      • M Thatcher, Inspiration To New Labour:

        Both New Labour prime ministers had the temerity not just to embrace Thatcherism, but to invite the Iron Lady herself into her former HQ for tea.

        It was this refusal to challenge the Thatcher settlement that so enraged most of the Left. Blair not only confirmed many of her policies, but in some respects actually took them further and gave her an intellectual endorsement that went far beyond her original circle of economic monetarists and social conservatives.

        Mrs Thatcher was famously quoted by Paul Johnson as saying, shortly before the 1997 election, that Britain had “nothing to fear” from a Labour government led by Blair.

        The bust-up did not stop Gordon Brown trying the same trick, once he had finally ousted his rival from Number 10. In September 2007, when the new prime minister welcomed Lady Thatcher – going far beyond protocol by escorting her from her car into the building – his inner circle believed he had pulled off a stunning coup.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/themargaretthatcheryears/1895878/Margaret-Thatcher-inspiration-to-New-Labour.html

  8. A lot of people will be heading to their cabins, going boating, watching the Masters, or Hockey Night in Canada.

    I doubt many will even notice the NDP or Liberals this weekend.

    • “…heading to their cabins, going boating…”

      Is that cruel sarcasm or have you looked out the window almost anywhere in Canada? Or, as your digital pseudonym suggests, are you somewhere in the warm spring Appalachians drinking corn whiskey with your sidekick, Bubba?

      • I think this person must live on the West Coast where is it fairly warm and yes, we did race our sailboats today!

        • Half of my time is spent on the land and waters of Beautiful British Columbia.

          • Isn’t it the life!

      • Dog, in the circles I run in we do the cabin and boating thing in the sun, rain or snow, year round, no wimps need apply, only real outdoor types.

        • I take it your boats are icebreakers.

          • The PEI side of Northumberland Straight has been passable for more than a month now, just have to keep a look out and proceed at a safe speed, same in the lower Saint Lawrence.

            At Barrie on Lake Simcoe we used sleds out on the lake for ice fishing.

            Out west ice is never an issue unless you’re on lakes in the interior.

          • [What about his “on lakes in the interior”?] Thank you for editing your post.

  9. It is rather telling (I think) that anyone but the CPC itself, is talking about a replacement for Harper to lead the CPC into the next election. Not difficult to figure out why that would be so.

    • Of course, it’s not difficult to see why the CPC isn’t talking about a replacement: because the CPC has no credible replacement for him, anywhere on the horizon. Harper, himself, makes sure of that.

      • I don’t want Harper replaced by someone else to lead the party because I think Harper is the best leader we’ve had in this country for decades. Many would agree with that assessment. Not you, but Canada is not made up of all empty headers and blind followers like you.

        • You’re entirely welcome to your subjective opinion of Harper’s performance and place in history. He won’t be the leader forever and I was merely commenting on the lack of credible candidates for his replacement within the current ranks of his caucus.

        • Do you suppose that there are any empty headers or blind followers who support Harper?

          • I’m a realist. Knowing that, what would you think my answer to your question would be?

            In any case, neuroticdog’s commenting points in directions of being somewhat empty headed and following blindly. I mean, do you ever read anything of substance in neurodog’s commenting?

          • I really don’t know what your answer would be – I asked because I’m interested. It’s as simple as that.

          • Why, Franny…that’s rather uncharitable of you.

          • She’s a master: after you read through 18 miles of unnecessary and tangential verbiage, you get insulted at the end, also verbosely. I just can’t do it any more with the old Franster.

        • The entire world is shaking their head at Canada right now, wondering what kind of government tries to muzzle their scientists. Harper runs the most secretive, dictatorial, anti-science and knowledge, and downright meddlesome government Canada has ever had, and you call it the best? Everything they used to criticise the Liberals for, they do themselves, if not worse. What’s your perfect government look like I wonder? A God-King who no one is allowed to question or look directly in the eye?

      • Oh puh-lease! Non-sense.

      • Yes, Harper has murdered everyone who might possibly replace him. Or sent them to secret concentration camps.
        I’m not making this up.

        • Now, Bean, I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate. He didn’t murder or incarcerate his potential replacements.

          He just neutered them.

    • I can assure you with 100% certainty he isn’t going anywhere.

  10. “The NDP has slid, not alarmingly but noticeably, in the polls roughly
    since we, er, put Tom Mulcair on our cover last autumn…”

    Well, at least you didn’t put him on a split cover with that QC = corrupt one…did you?

  11. “The progressive constraining of the federal government is Harper’s grand
    game, and Trudeau’s opening gambit is to plead no contest. In this he
    more closely resembles the first incarnation of Joe Clark…”

    Trudeau continues to surprise, even worry me times – sometimes i wonder why i’m a supporter? I wouldn’t have guessed he would take the position that at least CITs and possibly GST should begin a slow upward trend. I just hope he isn’t being too clever by half by trying to outflank Harper. And it may be difficult to square all this with up rooting those egregious OB’s, at least the parts that eviserate environmental regulations. But like many Harper die hards i’m going to have to maybe hold my nose and see if he can pull it off.

    Speaking of unexpected. That is very naughty of you Wells to draw any kind of paralel between youngish Trudeau and Joe who. And that’s the dif i think, no one will ever call JT Justin who? It gives him a lot more latitude for political errors than Joe ever had. No none in the media will try to sling the loser motif around JT’s neck if he should ever send his luggage to wherever Joe’s finally wound up…oh and i can’t quite see how he’s pleading no contest. But then i can’t remember how to get that bloody la presse article translated – help anyone?

    It’s a very interesting strategy from JT and his team though…i [he] can grow the M/C in this country [ presumably without all the boot licking Harper dishes out to the business community] and yet maintain all those lovely national standards that liberals and main stream Canadians mostly feel[ justifiably] proud of. Personally i can’t see him doing this w/o raising at the very least consumption taxes.
    Edit: Maybe he just thinks he can grow the economy better or in a more balanced way than Harper?

  12. “I’m told the Conservatives have done market research — focus groups,
    maybe polling — on voter responses to Thomas Mulcair’s beard. Life never
    gives us what we want, so I don’t know what they learned from their
    inquiries”

    I think i may never understand the up side of doing this – apart from the fact it is petty and says more about the CPC than Mulcair. Do they really think that by finding out a fair number of people have an irrational prejudice toward beards, that will translate into even one voter NOT voting for Mulcair? Iguess they think it may be just the straw that breaks the camels back. [ i recall when Trudeau senior was advised to get rid of his whiskers, if he wished the electorate to take him seriously, when he came back out of the nothern bush in 80 – he did. But this is 2013 for god’s sake!]
    This seems to me to be one of those things you could do if you thought you needed the edge – but you know you shouldn’t – and if the issue somehow came up; but to run focus groups or polling on it! Really, what would be the reaction if a party started to actively, deliberately insinuate Harper was too fat to be PM? It’s childish, and therefore quite believable they might do it.

    • I wonder if deep inside Hr. Harper thinks something like

      “I offered them my beautiful ideological vision of a right wing utopia and they rejected it. I can only keep my place by offering them a watered down milksop version of what I believe, hide the cuts I make to my government, and hope they like it. And the stuff the people who vote for me let me get away with? This week I increased tariffs on ipods in a manner with no essential difference than the blank media levy, and they’re gonna scream it’s not an ipod tax when I do it.

      Spend some money on a survey about beards? Why the hell not. The pollsters guess is as good as mine.”

      • Well, they went after Dion’s inability to speak English clearly, and MI’s inability to NOT talk down to everyone. So, what will they come up with JT. The media thinks it will be his inexperience. But that sounds way to sane to me for these guys. Maybe he’s too hip to be PM? I hope they go after him in this sort of way. It’ll only highlight the generational difference, which will not be to their advantage this time.

    • You think the NDP and Libs don’t do the same type of polling? You live in a dream world if you think otherwise. And yes, I agree, it is petty.

      • You think the ndp or the libs do focus groups on whether SH’s hair is sprayed on or if he’s too fat to govern do you? That was my point.

  13. Trudeau promising not to be “obsessed” with deficit. Welcome to Greece.

    • Give it a rest with the scary references to Greece. It’s nowhere near to being a close analogy and, therefore, totally irrelevant.

      • Since when are you the sensor of what is being said.

        • I think you mean censor. And I didn’t censor, I admonished. It’s allowed on these boards, hollinm, and I believe you’ve been known to do it yourself on occasion.

  14. Harper has come across as a dictator, to Canadian citizens. That is a source of anger, for many Canadians.

    Who is the enabler of bringing in, cheap foreign labor? What country greatly benefits from, Harper’s Omnibus Bill? Harper gave China permission to sue, any Canadians blocking China’s way into Canada. Chinese resource workers earn, $800 per month. China sued in BC to take the mining jobs. 300 BC miners applied for, the 200 BC mine jobs, Harper gave to China. Rumor has it, there are 2000 more Chinese miners on their way. There are nine mines and mine expansions, coming into Northern BC.

    Same in the tar sands. China is bringing over their own, $800 per month workers resource workers. All companies want that cheap labor. Harper is bringing China, into the rich resources of the High Arctic.

    Chinese send their wages home. That money doesn’t even get spent in Canada. China’s minimum wage is, $236 per month. For $800 per month, Chinese families can be comfortable. $800 per month, doesn’t even pay the rent in Canada.

    Now with the RBC bringing in cheap foreign labor as well?

    How does all of that, benefit the Canadian people? There are a great many Canadians, that won’t be convinced. Scores of Canadians are, madder than hell at Harper.

    • Do you buy your commas wholesale?

  15. I fail to see what is controversial about this statement about WWI ” A “purely capitalist war on the backs of workers and peasants,”
    Boulerice had said, clearly banking on an A at UQAM if he ever needed to
    go back to school. “Outrageous, inflammatory, unacceptable,” Harper
    said in Calgary.”

    I am not a marxist historian, but I did minor in history. In my opinion, this is one of the few times that the Marxists actually got it right. WWI was important to Canada, and turned us into a Nation-State (actually, a two Nation State, lols), but that does not mean that it was a just, or even justifiable war. And for the Quebecois… They were an oppressed minority, and I mean literally oppressed, as they were drafted into an Army to fight for an empire they felt no loyalty to. If you think that detracts from the heroism, and great deeds done by Canadians and Quebeckers alike, then what can I say? You are wrong.

    • For me the worst part of Boulerice’s remarks were that, yes it was carnage, but carnage and pointless violence has hardly been something communists have been immune to either.

      • So what? You can hardly call Boulerice a communist. In case you are forgetting, it was the horror and mindless destruction of the First World War that created the conditions for communist revolutions across Europe. Communism sure as hell never killed so many French, English, German, Hungarians etc, and yes, Canadians as did the stupid screwup that WWI was.

        • I guess it doesn’t matter who Communism killed, as long as they weren’t white Europeans.

        • Two wrong don’t make a right bud. Communism drowned in the ocean of blood on its hands and in its own contradictions. But i concede some of yur point. It’s likely a few of those WW1 Canadians were communists themselves.

  16. Trudeau will grow gov’t just like Mulcair. Bring in a Cap and Trade tax for all and I don’t believe him when he said he will not raise the GST – JUST IN will raise the GST and start to cut credits to seniors!!
    We need to get rid of Unions and bring in a flat tax acoss the board!! If we get rid of Unions I think it will bring wages for all back to something we can all manage!!

    • I can’t even tell if this is satire.

  17. I am still waiting for a real leader to emerge from any party who has the vision , concern for average Canadians and clarity of expression. I fear I shall be waiting a very long time.

  18. Neil Kinnock isn’t the right person for the B.C. riding association to be channeling — he started the moderating of Labour that Tony Blair continued, most notably with a speech you can see on YouTube attacking the Militant Tendency. Maybe Tony Benn or Michael Foot as the Labour politicians of that era they might be channeling?

  19. Better a natural beard than a cemented-in-place weave (and a bad one at that)

  20. The comparison with Joe Clark should really be with steve harper – both carry around a turkey for spare parts.

  21. i guess the dirtier Harper tries to sullie Trudreau the more we can see that Harper is afraid of him

  22. Trudeau is not the Liberal leader who Harper can destroy with words.
    What Trudeau has that Harper doesn’t is the popular vote and in the end that is what counts.
    Bye, bye Harper. May you rest in peace.

    • How do you know Trudeau has the popular vote? He can barely get his own young supporters to vote. What makes you think that voters who think on their feet are supporting him?

      • Ah, you tend to forget an election is determined not only by thinkers, but the electorate at large. Harper just does not have those votes and is on his way down. Trudeau in less than a year, leads the popular vote by far.

  23. Elizabeth May, where are you?!

    • In the “irrelevant” column, where she belongs.

  24. ” How, then, to fund a more activist government? By not caring much about eliminating the deficit “. Trudeau is the typical teenager: spend and let daddy and mommy (taxpayers) pay for it’
    I see Macleans and Wells want to be the first media to shape the election. It’s a bit early, don’t you think, to start manipulating?

    • If we spend on the right things.. infrastructure, education, health-care.. it’s not only us who benefit from it, it’s our kids. So that they should have to pay for some of it makes perfect sense, even if you do have some sort of irrational fear of debt, and cross yourself thrice while cutting up any charge card offers that come to your door.

  25. My family, and I, along with many other people in Qc., really wish Mr. Harper, would leave and permanently get off this ship, before this whole country gets swallowed up
    in absolute misery;;people can no longer afford their basic groceries, rents, and basic
    standard of living!! -God help us all! Not to mention the sacrifices, our soldiers did, in
    wars, where we did NOT belong. -G. Smith

    • You seriously think Harper and all his grand power is the direct result of many Canadians not being able to afford rent, grociers ect? Give you head a shake! The entire world is in this exact same prediciment, has nothing to do with Harper or his policies love them or hate them……..you need to educate yourself mister smith and possibly move to a non seperatist province and see your quality of life increase 10 fold, I am a transplant from Qc and would never look back!

      • Nonsense. I’ll bet Harper personally stole this person’s food. Just because he’s such a meanie.

  26. Wells is right on the money. The media feeds right into the hands of the Conservatives. These are online ads but the media are out there flogging the ads, showing them and trying to help Trudeau by offering the context in which his words were used. That doesn’t hold water and it is a fools game. People are going to look at the ads. They will either agree with them or reject them out of hand. Context matters little to them. They could care less about the context of the words. He said what he said and that will be enough for many Canadians.