Great moments in geographic politics

by Aaron Wherry

A few footnotes to the Trudeau imbroglio.

In 2006, the Bloc Quebecois produced a newspaper ad that read “Don’t let Calgary decide for Quebec.” (Note the cowboy hat over the “r” in Calgary.)

Nine years before that, as Kevin Libin notes in that Western Standard blog post, the Reform party produced a television ad that called for a “voice for all Canadians, not just Quebec politicians.” This drew a bit of criticism. Here is how the Canadian Press reported the story at the time. (Note the former Reform MP who was consulted for analysis.)

Reform ad draws heavy fire
Sat May 24 1997
Byline: Vic Parsons The Canadian Press

A Reform party television advertisement suggesting Canada needs a prime minister to represent all Canadians, not just Quebecers, inflamed the election campaign Friday for the June 2 election. Reform Leader Preston Manning is standing by the ad, but it made him a target for other leaders who accused him of crass and desperate tactics.

The ad calls for “a voice for all Canadians, not just Quebec politicians.” It also features a large red circle with a slash through images of Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Tory Leader Jean Charest, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe and Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard. All are from Quebec.

Chretien accused Manning of extremism, while Jean Charest called it a new low in the campaign. NDP Leader Alexa McDonough called the ad ugly and destructive. ”To resort to that type of publicity is absolutely unacceptable in a democratic society like Canada,” Chretien said in Halifax. ”That Mr. Manning would take such a course is really unbelievable,” the Liberal leader added. “I know the Canadian people don’t buy it. We look at our politicians for what they are, not from where they’re born.”

But Manning told about 250 supporters in Napanee, Ont., that it’s time to let other Canadians have a say on unity, and he equated the Liberals and Conservatives to Quebec sovereigntists. ”The separatists are doing damage by what they do, the old-line federalists do damage by what they do not do,” said Manning, who wants an overhaul of the federation.

Charest told a news conference the Reformers were being divisive and irresponsible by running the advertisement. ”The suggestion that where you were born should determine whether or not you should be prime minister of the country is, to say the least, offensive,” he said. ”Mr. Manning is obviously trying to attract or to inflame the sentiments of those who feel that this argument is a valid one.”

McDonough, while lamenting that the focus on unity is diverting attention from unemployment and social service cuts, called the ad crass politics. The economic and social policies of Reform, Liberals and Conservatives are so similar that Manning needs a way to distinguish them, she said in a Toronto radio interview. ”They are fighting for the same ground and the one way in which he (Manning) proposes to do it is by driving a wedge between different regions of Canada and trying to exploit the national unity issue for his own purposes,” McDonough said. ”It’s dangerous, and I hope as a result of that unbelievable ad that I saw last night Canadians will start to understand how really destructive this is.”

Another Reformer, former MP Stephen Harper, said other parties have played along for 30 years that it’s better to have a leader from a certain region. He cited former prime ministers Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney, as well as Chretien and Charest, who were going to reconcile Quebec to the rest of Canada. ”It’s fairly obvious that this hasn’t solved the problem, so it’s not surprising that someone should make the opposite case that we need a leader from somewhere else,” said Harper, now with the right-wing National Citizens Coalition.

In his campaign, Manning sets out the costs of voting for separation and combines that with a proposal to give provinces more powers over cultural and social affairs. He told a news conference Friday that unity issues have an emotional dimension with voters that jobs and other concerns do not have.

Nine days later, the Reform party won 60 seats while the Liberals were reelected. And five days after the election, an op-ed co-written by Stephen Harper and Tom Flanagan was published in the Calgary Herald.

On the pathway to power: With Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Lucien Bouchard lined up against them, Reformers appear to be on the right side, the side of Canada
Calgary Herald 
Sat Jun 7 1997 
Byline: Stephen Harper and Tom Flanagan, Special to the Herald 

With the Liberal, Progressive Conservative and New Democratic parties now in agreement with the separatist Bloc Quebecois and Parti Quebecois that Reform represents the greatest threat to national unity, it is inevitable that Preston Manning’s party — now a permanent fixture — will break out of the West, argue Stephen Harper and Tom Flanagan in their analysis of Monday’s election.

n the recent federal election, the Reform Party did not make its much-desired breakthough in Ontario, but it certainly strengthened its support in the West. Impressive as the numbers are — 25 of 34 seats in British Columbia, 24 of 26 in Alberta, eight of 14 in Saskatchewan — they do not tell the whole story.

Almost everywhere in the West, Reform has reduced the Progressive Conservatives to a fringe party, running fourth and getting less than 10 per cent of the vote. Except in a very few ridings, the PCs simply don’t matter any more, just as Reform doesn’t matter in Quebec and most of Atlantic Canada.

Moreover, Reform has also displaced the NDP everywhere except in low-income areas of Vancouver, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. The NDP in the West is rapidly becoming a strictly left-wing ideological party, whereas it used to attract a much wider range of anti-establishment voters.

Preston Manning has now created the sort of populist electoral coalition of which he has consistently spoken since his founding speech in Vancouver in 1987. It is still anchored by ideological conservatives, but it is now drawing increasing numbers of voters whose chief characteristic is their distinctly western view of the country, expressed by defiance of Ottawa and particularly by resistance to Quebec’s domination of federal politics.

However, things have not developed precisely as Manning hoped. He wanted a national party with a western base, whereas the Reform party in its present form is a western party with a tenuous foothold in rural Ontario and no serious strength in Quebec or the Atlantic provinces. Although Reform has twice shown that it can get about 20 per cent of the vote in Ontario, it has displaced neither the PCs nor the NDP as it has in the West. If Reform knew how to break into Ontario, it would have done so by now. Manning tried as hard as he possibly could this time, running a well-focused, tightly disciplined campaign. It just didn’t work.

Another irony is that Manning predicted that his populist party would either come to power quickly or fade away, whereas the Reform party is becoming a permanent fixture in western Canada. Its partisans are animated by a fierce and proud loyalty that will not easily transfer to another party, least of all a party led by Jean Charest. So Reform is permanent — and yet has no obvious pathway to power, at least in normal times.

Times, however, are not normal. The conventional political spectrum of left to right is now crosscut by a dimension of conflict over national identity, which was highlighted in the election campaign. Reform, with its slogan of equality of provinces and citizens, espouses the longstanding view of most western Canadians — and many other English Canadians — which John Diefenbaker called “One Canada.” The Liberals and, even more so, the Progressive Conservatives, have embraced “distinct society” as a covert way of defining Canada as two nations. And the Bloc Quebecois, taking matters to their logical conclusion, wants two sovereign nations.

For the past 30 years, the Liberals and PCs have taken turns playing what the journalist Peter Brimelow called the “patriot game.” That is, they have used the fear of separatism, first threatened by Quebec Premier Daniel Johnston in his 1965 book Equality or Independence, to control national politics. A succession of prime ministers from Quebec — Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien, with Jean Charest waiting in the wings — have built their careers on “saving Canada.” They have had several different approaches, and they all quite sincerely claimed to be combatting separatism. Nevertheless, they needed the threat of separatism to justify their political strategies.

Time is running out on the patriot game. It manifestly has not worked; Quebec separatism is stronger than ever.

Moreover, the patriot game has created the Reform party as its antithesis and nemesis. Summoned into life by the Mulroney cabinet’s decision to award the CF-18 maintenance contract to Montreal “in the national interest,” the Reform party rejects the premise of the patriot game — that the highest purpose of federal politics is to ward off separatism by making ever more accommodations for Quebec.

Up to this point, Reform has triumphed in the West, but not elsewhere, because the West loses the most from the patriot game. The dynamic economies of Alberta and British Columbia disproportionately bear the cost of the regional transfers that are supposed to keep Quebec and Atlantic Canada happy.

Meanwhile, the West’s agenda of constitutional reform is put perpetually on hold because central Canadian elites sees it as a threat to their domination of the system.

As time runs out on the patriot game, the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats have entered into a rhetorical alliance with the Bloc Quebecois. They all agree that the Reform party is the real threat to national unity, and they vie with one another to heap abuse on Manning. Epithets fill the air — “bigot,” “civil war,” “party of division” and much more. This intensifies the original line of the three old “national parties,” that the Bloc Quebecois and the Reform party, as “regional parties,” were evil twins, equal threats to Confederation.

This equation of the Bloc — outright separatists — with Reformers, who are loyal Canadians, makes no sense. After all, if Reform did not exist, Quebec separatism would still be an enormous threat to the country.

And if Quebec separatism did not exist, western populism could still be an important political force (as it has been in the past) without imperilling the country’s unity in the slightest.

Events are quite likely to come to a head within the next three years. Lucien Bouchard is now playing off the federal election results to build up to the next provincial election and referendum. Meanwhile, Chretien is reaching out to Charest and McDonough for support. All agree that Reformers are the real problem because they are “anti-Quebec.” Yet the core Reform positions — opposition to distinct society and protection of Canadian interests if Quebec should attempt to separate — are widely supported outside Quebec and even by a significant constituency within Quebec itself.

As all parties continue to attack Reform, voters in Ontario are bound to start asking themselves the questions that western voters have already asked (and answered). Why is Bouchard attacking Reform so stridently? Doesn’t this mean that Reform is the opponent the separatists fear the most? Doesn’t that mean that Reform is on the right side, the side of Canada?

And why do the other three parties appear to be lining up with the Bloc and the Parti Quebecois? Whose side are they on? Who really speaks for ordinary Canadians?

No one has a crystal ball, but the scenario we describe is far from impossible and, indeed, seems already well advanced.

If it continues to unfold, Reform’s expansion in Ontario, which now seems hopelessly stymied, will become inevitable.

Three years later, the Liberals were reelected again, this time beating the Canadian Alliance and Stockwell Day. A couple weeks after that election, the National Post published an op-ed from Stephen Harper, in which it was proposed that Alberta and Canada were on divergent paths and that Alberta could learn from Quebec.




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Great moments in geographic politics

  1. if i were harper,i would be watching his buddies sarcozy and the PM of england closely,because theres an old saying”what comes around,goes around”and it just aint harpers turn yet,but its coming.

    • David Cameron is the name you’re looking for. And I think Romney would be a better example of a failed or failing right of centre leader, because Cameron’s actually do quite well by himself, and will be facing rather weak leaders in the next election.

      • But there’s an internal revolt bewing in Cameron’s caucus but it’s hard to see it happening in Harper’s because he has such a hold over them.

        • Is the coalition still holding up?

          • Which one?

  2. Cons can dish it out, but…..

    • … they can also take it. Was that the sentence you were going for?

      • Oh sorry, no education?

        • ‘fraid not.

      • But with the current Cons it involves bending over.

  3. And Wherry’s point in posting this lengthy oversight of important history would be to tell us that Trudeau still lingers in old Canada while Harper stands firmly within the new?

    But we were told as much a few days ago when PM Harper was declared most knowledgeable by his peers in the House.

    Harper, most knowledgeable. That sums it up quite accurately, according to the members of the current House.

    • Harper, most knowledgeable. That sums it up quite accurately, according to the members of the current House.

      No doubt he’s very intelligent. But, have you ever played Trivial Pursuit with someone who has peeked at all the answers ahead of time?

      He holds all the books, and let’s no one else see them.

      Why I found it humorous. Not to say he is not a deserving winner. He works hard.

      • I’ll take spelling “lets” for a brown pie

      • No, I have never played TP with someone who has peeked at all the answers ahead of time. Only the makers of TP could have played with such a foresight.

        And so, in keeping with your comparison and in keeping with what Wherry has dug up, it is now abundantly clear that Harper is to be considered one of the producers of our current game. Manning could not win over the east because he was ridiculed to no end (did the press care?). Then came Harper and he knew how to put the right cards in the box to make the game an interesting and winnable one.

        Why would Harper, as maker of a winnable game, show all of the answers before the game was even out of the box? What would have been the fun in doing that?

        • “Then came Harper and he knew how to put the right cards in the box to make the game an interesting and winnable one.”

          I’m fairly certain you don’t mean to imply, with your metaphor, that Harper rigged the game.

        • And of course, when things don’t go his way, he flips over the table and leaves the room. That way he makes sure he never loses.

        • Francien – it’s like winning the lottery – you have to buy a ticket. When Mr. Manning presented no candidate in Quebec (except one) did he really think he stood a chance of winning seats in Quebec ?
          Yes, it’s a game, and there is a price for that ticket.

          • LoraineLamontagne writes:” When Mr. Manning presented no candidate in Quebec (except one) did he
            really think he stood a chance of winning seats in Quebec ?”

            So Mr.Manning DID present a candidate in Quebec. At least the Reform Party could, under its founding principles, run candidates in all of the provinces. On the other hand, the BQ, under its founding principles, could never, ever run candidates in any other province other than the province of Quebec. At least the Reform Party has never been exclusive in nature.

            I suppose you could compare the electoral and political process to that of playing the lottery. But then you would have to bring the comparable to its full conclusion. You would therefore have to include the fact that lotteries are won by random pickings. That would mean that all of the winners would be by random selection, which would mean that none of the leaders have any influence over the result of any election. And I, for one, do not hold such as a reasonable explanation of our electoral outcome.

      • There’s a board game with a geographic-historical flavour
        called Ubi … kinda like TP but better, I think. I mention it only
        because I was introduced to it by friends who live in Harper’s
        riding. Spooky.

        • it was actually made the same people who made trivial pursuit. (I recall the ads – Do you know where the Ubi Ruby be? )

      • Re Trivial Pursuit – the term ‘pain the ass’ comes to mind. Must win, has to win, plays only to demonstrate how knowledgeable he is.

  4. Interesting to look back and see the intelligent and insightful writings of Harper prior to his becoming leader of the Conservatives and eventually PM and compare that with a Trudeau who appears to be apprenticing in the boxing ring and doing dark room interviews espousing his abilities ti be PM because he is from Quebec and not Alberta—then topping of the interview with a pratfall, tripping over his tongue.

    He seems more suited at leading the organizing committee for next year`s parade then a serious leader of 35,000,000 people.

    • Are you off your meds? Essentially Harper was doing what Trudeau is now.[ or may be doing?] It isn’t clear yet if it is an intentional strategy. Personally i hope not.

      • Do you really not understand the difference between Harper’s intent within Wherry’s write-up above and Trudeau’s intent within the video interview?

        Well, if you really do not understand the difference between the two outlooks (Harper’s versus Trudeau’s) concerning our nation, then you’ll have your answer as to why support for the CPC and Harper has been growing at a steady pace.

        • Growing – really – where did you get that idea from?

          • Well, growing from two minority governments into a majority government is growth by any standard of reality, not an idea. But if you wish to stand outside of reality, that does not make the real results apppear any different.

        • Go ahead and tell me what you think the real difference is? Harper/Manning thought that putting Quebec at the centre of the national scene has failed to curtail or end separatism; in MHO that’s far too simplistic an anlysis – it has largely worked. Harper’s alternative of open federalism hasn’t worked at all. So young Trudeau is more or less making the same kind of arguments that Harper/Flanagan/Manning used back in the day[ can we say hypocrites anyone]
          Personally i don’t like to see Trudeau go there – and i’ve communicated that to him…not that i think he’s likely to listen to folks like me if his advisers tell him it’s working.
          Let’s be honest. Pretty well the golden rule for politicans at the federal level is …will it work, is it legal and can i get away with it? [ is that 3 rules?]

          • It isn’t/wasn’t Harper’s thought to put Quebec at the center of the national scene. The opposite is true: Harper (Manning) are/were in pursuit of pulling the status of Quebec OUT of that center of the national scene.

            In fact, it is Trudeau who believes/believed that putting Quebec at the center of the national scene is of utmost importance (as stated within the video conversation).

            Reform Party’s slogan had always been: the west wants in. This in direct contrast to what Trudeau says, namely that Alberta is out when it comes to finding ways to make Canada work. Trudeau thinks that only Quebec produced PM’s will have a way for making Canada work.

            Canadians who do not understand the difference between the two men, will be satisfied enough by the half-baked-apology Trudeau has offered. Half-baked because within his apology Trudeau did not even make reference or make a correction in regards to his Quebec Prime Ministerial ‘superiority’ statement.

            People who understand the difference between the two men in regards to national unity, will more likely vote for Harper, whereas people who are not able to see the difference between the two men in regards to national unity will stick with Trudeau and his old style of entitlement politics.

            Trudeau is old style politic while Harper is new style politics when considered within context of national unity.

          • Why bother replying when you can’t be bothered to read the original comment throughly?

          • I’ve read Wherry’s entire posting and I have read Andrew’s initial posting. Which one are you referring to here?

          • The one you’re replying to, mine.Does this ring any bells?

            Harper/Manning thought that putting Quebec at the centre of the national scene has failed to curtail or end separatism…

          • This was the complete quote of yours:”Harper/Manning thought that putting Quebec at the centre of the national
            scene has failed to curtail or end separatism; in MHO that’s far too
            simplistic an anlysis – it has largely worked.”

            What has worked? Curtailing or end separatism by means of putting Quebec at the centre of the national scene???? Please explain further.

      • If you want to change his mind, or the minds of people who agree with him, you might want to avoid starting your point of with a personal attack.

        • Andrew is programmed – the only one that could change his mind is Harper. I think the technical ter is ‘goner’.

          • If that’s true then the goal shouldn’t be changing Andrew’s mind, but people who have similar views as Andrew, and their going to be turned off by “are you off your meds?” as well.

        • Not to worry. Just me and Andrew. We have a thing going. Neither of us like one another

          • Gotcha.


  5. “Another Reformer, former MP Stephen Harper, said other parties have
    played along for 30 years that it’s better to have a leader from a
    certain region. He cited former prime ministers Pierre Trudeau and Brian
    Mulroney, as well as Chretien and Charest, who were going to reconcile
    Quebec to the rest of Canada. ”It’s fairly obvious that this hasn’t
    solved the problem, so it’s not surprising that someone should make the
    opposite case that we need a leader from somewhere else,” said Harper,
    now with the right-wing National Citizens Coalition.”

    How the worm has trurned, hasn’t it one SH?

    Can the last Harper quote signify a sort of retro and inadvertent endorsement of the young Trudeau strategy?

    • Harp isn’t from Alberta in the first place….and he’s only ever been a mail room clerk and then a lobbyist….but he’s certainly bamboozled the rubes. LOL

      • Let’s Out Liberals?

        • Out them from what?

          Cuz there’s lots of Cons in the closet.

          • Office, but that was pretty funny.

    • So for 38 years between 1968 and 2006 we had PM`s from Quebec, except for that unfortunate 9 month period when that awful Albertan, Joe Clark cursed us with his tenure.

      Then 4 years into PM Harpers time Jr. Trudeau proclaims It`s enough of Alberta—-time to get back to the natural leaders from Quebec. That`s 38 years from one province in the Confederation to 4 years for all the others and he says it`s time to go back.

      And you call that turning the worm. I call that bull$hit and I call you a wimp for accepting that. The fact that you can equate Harper suggesting that the Libs and PC`s used Quebec PM`s as a means to win elections for 4 decades with a divisive opportunist like Trudeau blaming Albertans for what he perceives as wrong—that Canadians won`t vote for Liberals—-well, you are in serious need of an all new stream of meds.

      • If i had written…how the worm has turned yet “again”…would it have made it any easier for you to have caught my meaning? What the hell has wimpiness got to do with it?
        I’ve made it clear i don’t think it is right for JT to blame AB, or even insinuate that only Quebecers understand Canadian unity issues.I have zero problem with a non QC PM.
        But it is ironic that Harper said that the, accomodate QC model has failed, and yet his policy of open federalism has got him precisely nowhere within QC.
        Think about it? If you’re going to make a simplistic argument that selling Quebec to the RoC has failed [ harpers view] you should at least concede that trying to shove the agenda of the RoC[a pretty Anglo agenda] down Quebecer’s throats has gone precisely nowhere under Harper…mainly because of his blunders and neglecting to even follow his open federalism model when it suits him.
        I will give Harper this much. With hindsight he probably realizes that his attack – mainly on the Trudeau model of Canadian unity – was way too simplistic. A PM of whatever political stripe has to work really hard on the unity file. And now that the seat counts have changed it is likely that Harper simply can’t be bothered to try again. There’s potentially a great historical irony in all of this, one that i doubt you can be bothered to figure out.

        • kmc2 writes: “I’ve made it clear i don’t think it is right for JT to blame AB, or even insinuate that only Quebecers understand Canadian unity issues. I have zero problem with a non QC PM.”

          But here’s the thing: But does Justin Trudeau have a problem with a none QC PM? THAT is the question which is still unanswered!

          The Trudeau versus Harper is not about your personal opinions. The issue here is Canada and the politics and governing of this country.

          You then state:”If you’re going to make a simplistic argument that selling Quebec to the
          RoC has failed [ harpers view] you should at least concede that trying
          to shove the agenda of the RoC[a pretty Anglo agenda] down Quebecer’s
          throats has gone precisely nowhere under Harper.”

          What??? Selling Quebec to the RoC [Haper's view]????? Where did you find that line of thinking? Coming out of your imagination or coming out of Harper’s train of thoughts? Don’t confuse the two, please!

          • correction : “Selling Quebec to the RoC [Harper's view]” should read:

            “Selling Quebec to the RoC has failed [Harper's view].”

            I apologize for having made the unfinished entry in the first place. I should not have been so careless. I was too rushed when posting my comment. I hope you will forgive me for such oversight and that you will now be able to continue with this discussion.

          • I give up. You seem to lack basic comprehension skills.

          • kcm2: You had given up a long time ago. That’s why I’m grateful for people like Manning and Harper who didn’t give up and haven’t given up yet. As a Canadian, I find it important that at least some elected politicians are willing to fight for all Canadians – equally!

            When the Harper government voted in the notion of “Quebec being a Nation within Canada’ I thought he had gone too far for accommodating Quebec’s interest. I was against such declaration and wrote Harper about that. Yet, it was a move on Harper’s part in showing that he is willing to find a middle ground – that there are always two sides to any Canadian story.

            The only side to your story is to pick up on Wherry’s one-sided story: to try and lessen Trudeau’s missteps by providing us, once again, with a complete misunderstanding of what the Reform Party had set out to accomplish.

            When Trudeau’s understanding of Canada will become more clear over the course of his leadership campaign, Canadians will come to realize how completely wrong he was when saying the things he did.

          • If you keep on chugging that koolaid it’ll likely make you dizzy, or biased or something.

        • I don`t know if Harper has tried to sell Quebec to the RoC. I think he has accepted the fact that Quebec is not going anywhere, tell them they are a nation if that will make them happy. He knows the voting dynamic has switched to the left after years of pandering from all Parties and that has made many of the electorate look for the candidate that will give them the most handouts. Harper knows there is nothing there for him but a few seats around Quebec City.

          Here`s why I use the W word:
          I want someone in the Liberal Party to stand up to Trudeau and tell him that if he intends to lead the Party, he has to do more than pander to the shallow instincts of the particular audience in front of him. If he continues with the no vision—lookin good, popularity contest, there will be no LPC in 10 years.

          If you are a Liberal thinker, there is a candidate recently announced who would be a good choice. She has the best chance to neutralize the attacks from the CPC—but you don`t need me to help you. She may not win you the next election but she will put the dippers in their place.

          • We agree that Trudau needs to decide if he’s going to be a real unifier, or a divider [ which i think one way or another, intentional or not, Harper has become]I like Trudeaus’s chances in the medium to long run, he has the profile, name recognition and all that lucky stuff. So i don’t think MHF has much of a chance. But that’s why they hold races. I too would like to see JT be pushed by good liberal contenders to be a one country unity guy. That means of course working with AB and the west to repare damage from past liberal govts. To be fair to him he has made noises in that direction. What the CPC/sun tv expose has done is to hopefully make him realize in this modern age you can’t get away with saying one thing in French and another in English – that’s a good thing overall.
            We’ll see which way Trudeau moves from here on. If he decides to double down on the divisive stuff we may have an ugly situation in this country come ’15…if he wins the leadership?…which is now going to be tougher than he anticipated now.
            So, in fact i have to regretfully disagree with you… “he has to do more than pander to the shallow instincts of the particular audience in front of him. If he continues with the no vision—lookin good, popularity contest, there will be no LPC in 10 years.”
            It’s not the likeihood of the LPC dying that may continue to drive his team in that direction. It is the very real possibility that it may work. If he were to take QC, a chunk of ON and the maritimes he may win. Leaving Harper with only the west[ and maybe not all of that] Next, comes along the possibility of renewed AB separation movement. Bit far fetched i know. But it is a outside nightmare possibility.
            Most politicians like to win, even badly, rather than lose honourably. We’ll have to see whether JT is just another one of those.

  6. Since Wherry likes long footnotes, here’s one to the Trudeau imbroglio:

    Justin’s apology fell way short of being an apology. He has lots to learn. The following is an example of a real heartfelt apology issued:

    APOLOGY on Behalf of Patrick Martin and the NDP to Mr. Matt Meier and RackNine Inc.

    2012 04 16
    On February 23, 2012, I appeared before the national media to
    speak in response to the important issue of “Robocalls” in the 2011
    general election. At that time I expressed my personal outrage along
    with the outrage of the caucus of the official opposition upon learning
    about the serious allegations of electoral fraud.

    In making my statement on February 23, 2012, I singled out a private
    individual, Mr. Matt Meier along with his business RackNine Inc. and I
    wrongfully accused them of being part of a conspiracy to commit
    electoral fraud. In the days following, I repeated this accusation a
    number of times to the media and on national television. My party, the
    NDP, also raised concerns about the possibility of RackNine having
    committed electoral fraud through postings on its website. The NDP
    indicated on the party website that if news reports that seemed to draw a
    link between the calls and RackNine were true, these activities were
    prohibited by the Canada Elections Act and merited investigation.

    I now know that the statements I made insinuating Mr. Meier’s and
    RackNine’s participation in an electoral fraud conspiracy were wholly
    and unequivocally false. In my rush to express my personal outrage and
    the outrage of the NDP caucus, I jumped to conclusions I now know are
    unsupported by fact. I would like to take this opportunity to correct
    several of my errors in order to clear Mr. Meier’s personal reputation
    along with the business reputation of RackNine.

    To my knowledge, neither Mr. Meier, nor RackNine, including any
    employees of RackNine, has ever been investigated for involvement in
    electoral fraud in the 2011 general election or otherwise.

    RackNine provides a legitimate automated call service similar to services used by many political parties.

    RackNine was merely an innocent intermediary not a participant in electoral fraud.

    I apologize for any damage my statements may have caused to Mr. Meier
    personally or to RackNine, and I have been specifically authorized by
    the NDP Party to apologize on behalf of the NDP Party for any similar
    damage the publications on the NDP website may have caused.

    • A little different when your comments brought on a lawsuit. It’s called mitigating damage, or grovelling.

      • So am I to assume here that you are of the opinion that the purpose of Trudeau’s so-called apology was not to mitigate damage?

        Then why call it an apology? What then was Trudeau’s so-called apology supposed to achieve?

        • He said he was sorry for equating a Stephen Harper run gov’t with Alberta.

          Switch the terms and are you still offended (even though you may not agree)?

          What more do you want? What’s the big fuss? Sheesh. I live in Calgary Centre, never voted Liberal, nor NDP and I’m not the least bit offended.

          • I’m offended that that apology still wont make you vote liberal…are you related to that Anders dude?

          • What a childish remark! Childish because as soon as you are unable to make a valuable counter-argument, you resort to name calling and such – just like children do because children aren’t able to reason properly – yet.

          • It was a joke. Lighten up.

          • I don’t think it was a joke. It’s a complete cop-out to consider kmc2′s comment to be a joke.

            What you are doing is encouraging the process of childish behaviour when being engaged in an adult conversation. So many members of the press engage in that sort of encouragement (short of naming them to be childish themselves). Why the need to encourage it on all sites?

          • That was a joke. It wasn’t even directed at you. That’s why i directed it at DOT – funny how that works.

          • Damn right I would still be offended if the terms had been switched! (Who wouldn’t be?)

            What I want is for Trudeau to clarify the rest of his video statement made, that part which deals with ‘only Quebec PM’s are to be worthy of making Canada work’. Within his apology, Trudeau has NOT touched upon that aspect of his video address.

            It is irrelevant whether you reside in Galgary Centre, nor is it relevant who you have voted for in the past, nor is it relevant whether you were offended or not.

            Damage has been done on two fronts, namely the Alberta exclusive part and the Quebec inclusive part. Only one of the issues was addressed within Justin’s apology.

          • Well, I hope you don’t lose any sleep over it.

          • By the looks of your Canadian outlook, your hopes are too easily met, as in your newly expressed hope: no, I never loose sleep over things being Trudeau.

            As to how to weigh the lack of reasoning skills apparent within these comment boards: perhaps a little overtime will even out the scales……………..

          • Francien, I have been reading this whole exchange and “Wow” came to mind as I read Dot’s entry. I am totally impressed because Dot is precisely the person that Justin was directing the apology to and she states that she is not offended in the first place. I am also completely impressed with Dot’s very objective view of the whole situation. Good for you Dot for being able to take the high road and see the big picture. I am also a former Albertan now living very close to Quebec.

          • :)

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