Harper’s game

The Conservative argument is always the same: if Canadians throw off Harper’s protective embrace, everything we cherish will be ruined

“Friends, remember. The global recovery is fragile,” Stephen Harper told a room full of Conservatives in St. John’s. It wasn’t a big room but it was reasonably well-packed; the friendly audience had the Prime Minister surrounded on every side.

“Yes, Canada is doing relatively well,” Harper said. “But a sea of troubles is lapping at our shores.”

Reporters who’d been travelling with the Conservative leader longer than I had rolled their eyes. “Still lapping,” the guy from the CBC said cheerfully.

“Have you heard about the sea of troubles yet?” the lady from the Canadian Press had asked me that morning in Moncton. Apparently it’s a fixture of the Harper stump speech, although I had managed to miss it so far.

Here was my chance to catch up. Harper described the contours of the trouble sea to his latest audience: “Disaster in the pacific, chaos in the Middle East, debt problems in Europe, and all kinds of challenges — some very serious challenges — south of our border. Canada — this country — is the closest thing the world has to an island of stability and security. And we’ve got to keep it that way.”

So far Harper had been reading from a teleprompter, or perhaps by now reciting from memory, his voice brisk but flat. Now he spoke with real emotion. “What would the world think, were we as a country to suddenly head off in some high-tax economic direction, led by a reckless coalition without a coherent program or even basic national principles?”

This is the Harper pitch for 2011. He varies it at each stop. Sometimes he leaves the sea of troubles out. But it’s always the same argument. Life is not perfect in Canada but it’s getting better. Peril lies all around. If Canadians throw off the protective embrace of Harper’s Conservatives… well… well then the Visigoths will descend, won’t they? And by the time they are done with us, everything Canadians cherish will lie in ruin.

By its nature it is not a cheery message. Earlier in the week, west of Montreal, Harper told another crowd, briskly but flatly, how much he likes to catch up with people on the road and spread the news about his government. “But this is not where I should be,” he added. “All members of Parliament should be in Ottawa working on the economy. We should be working to protect our economic advantage. To keep working on our economic recovery. And to keep working on keeping your taxes down.”

Noses to the grindstone, ladies and gents! Except when parliament is prorogued. Why were the opposition flouting such evident wisdom? “Mr. Ignatieff doesn’t think he needs to win an election. Just hold us to a minority and they will move with lightning speed to recreate and impose their reckless coalition on Canadians. They did it before. They’ll do it again — and next time, if they get a chance, they’ll make sure nobody can stop them.

“Friends, imagine Mr. Ignatieff thinking he can form a government even if he loses the election. That’s not right, that’s not democracy and that’s not our Canada.”

I’ve laid on these long excerpts from Harper’s stump speech because shorter quotes don’t begin to convey how unrelenting Harper’s campaign-trail harangue is. The coalition business is not an odd detour in his speeches. It’s often their only theme. And he is sometimes stark in posing the choice. “There won’t be a Conservative minority government after this election,” he told supporters in St. John’s.

“There will either be Mr. Ignatieff, put in power by the NDP and the Bloc Québécois, or there will be what Canada needs … a strong stable majority Conservative government.”

Some of my colleagues have made a huge fuss over Harper’s refusal to take more than four questions from travelling reporters at each stop. This annoys me too. But in some ways it distracts the other ways the 2011 Harper is different from earlier editions. His tone is dark, his body language weary, his appeals to brighter emotions rote or non-existent. He runs the emotional gamut from bored to angry. “Of course,” his detractors will say. But he truly has has not always been this way on the road.

Early in the 2008 election I wrote about a Harper rally in a barn in Saskatchewan, not because it stood out, really, but because it typified the tone of his first campaign week that year. The barn was newly built, the crowd at dusk hushed and attentive. Harper was positively lyrical.

“Now let me just end with this, my friends. It has been an unbelievable experience, the experience of a lifetime, to be your Prime Minister,” he said on that night two and a half years ago. “You get to travel across the country, to see the true breadth of our country. You get to meet people in every corner and from every background in this great country. And you get to travel the world. And you get to see other people and the situations they live in, and the difference and the advantages that we have here.

“When I come to Saskatchewan, even on a beautiful day like this, I never cease to be amazed. To look out and to think — especially as that cold wind whistles across the prairie in the wintertime — to think how tough the people who came here had it. To break the land and to build everything that we have today. How tough it must have been for the Aboriginal people before that, to live in that environment.

“But I also never forget this: there are very few places in the world where you can look out as far as the eye can see and see land that is rich, land you can grow things on, land you can build your families on, land that is full of potential. That’s what people see in this country when they come from every corner of the earth. They see opportunity as limitless as the horizon of Saskatchewan. That’s what we’re building here.”

At Rideau Hall that year he thanked Canadians for letting him be PM. In Quebec City he thanked Quebecers for putting up with his French. In his ads he wore sweater vests, hung out on HGTV, talked about the importance of family. In Toronto he had breakfast with reporters, or at least he had water while we had breakfast, and took questions for an hour. In interviews he told reporters he preferred to be private but his staff wanted him to open up and share about his family.

All of that is gone now.

So when I started writing this long blog post on Friday night as we flew back to Ottawa from Prince Edward Island, I was setting out to explain why Harper’s darker nature is making him lose this campaign.

Now I’m not so sure.

First, the question I posed last Thursday at the end of my Ignatieff piece still stands: do people actually discard the opinions they have held for years, just because a campaign has begun? Harper was trusted by a sizeable plurality of voters before March 26. Ignatieff’s performance on that score was weaker. Those trends will carry some momentum, so that if each man tosses accusations at the other, Harper’s claims will have greater traction.

Well, what is Harper’s main claim about Ignatieff? It is that Ignatieff’s first signature on a petition to the Governor General supporting a coalition government will not be his last.

And behold, here’s the Ipsos Reid poll that led Global newscasts and Postmedia newspaper coverage heading into the weekend: “Most Canadians would support Liberal-NDP coalition, rather than Harper majority: Poll”

Oh-ho. The tone of the stories, and the conclusion of much of the Twitter chatter about this poll, was that Harper had been hoist by his own petard. He’s threatening a coalition most Canadians want!

Let’s see about that. The obvious question to ask is, “How big is the majority for a coalition?” The less obvious question is, “Do supporters of a coalition support anything at all coherent?” The answers aren’t great for anyone who isn’t Stephen Harper.

Ipsos asked its coalition question a few different ways. When asked whether they support or oppose “the opposition parties forming a coalition government to take over from Stephen Harper and the Conservatives,” it was 48% “support” and 52% “oppose.” That’s an odd majority. When Ipsos offers a binary choice — would they “prefer” to see “Liberals, NDP and BQ forming a coalition” or would they “prefer Stephen Harper and the Conservatives winning a majority government,” the results are 50-50.

Take the Bloc out: do the numbers improve? Yes, and finally they match the headline: “Suppose the coalition is the Liberals and the NDP getting together,” the next question asks. (For that to be possible without Bloc support, incidentally, the two parties would need 42 more seats between them than they had at dissolution.) Now support for the coalition rises to 54%, while support for the Conservatives falls to 46%.

Well. Phrased in the friendliest possible way, the coalition option rallies only 54% of the electorate, leaving 46% for the Conservatives. If people could be made to vote according to their preferences on this one question — a big ‘if;’ they’ll certainly include plenty of other considerations on voting day — it would be fantastic news for the Conservatives. Neither Pierre Trudeau nor Jean Chrétien ever won 46% of the popular vote in any of their elections.

So much for the “majority” for the coalition. Now: how coherent are coalition supporters? Not overly. Ipsos asked respondents which party leader would make the best prime minister if there were a coalition. Fifty-nine per cent want Jack Layton. A little more than a quarter support Michael Ignatieff, the only tenable real-world choice. Support for Layton as coalition PM rises to 70% in the Atlantic. In Quebec, almost one-third of respondents want Gilles Duceppe to lead the coalition.

By now, a lot of readers will be so angry at me they could spit. Why do I go on and on about a coalition since Ignatieff has made it clear he won’t enter into one? What does any of this have to do with the campaign?

Only this. First, as you might have predicted, when Harper says there’ll be an opposition coalition and Ignatieff doesn’t, more respondents believe Harper: 62% to 38%, according to Ipsos. This is fair. Stéphane Dion rejected a coalition until he tried to form one. Ignatieff publicly supported that coalition until it became untenable. Harper’s 1997 interview and 2004 letter to the Governor General are less categorical.

Next, if you’re in the stop-talking-about-coalitions, there’s-not-going-to-be-a-damned-coalition camp, you should at least be clear about a few things.

That means that if the Conservatives win more seats than the Liberals on May 2, Harper will continue as prime minister. And the next couple of years will look a lot like the last five. Probably, to console yourself, you can tell yourself the Conservatives will turf Harper after a third minority. Good luck with that.

I started out, on Friday, believing Harper’s constant, inelegant obsession with the opposition showed a lack of discipline. Now I suspect it’s strategy.

About half of Canadians like Harper. More than half believe him when he says the opposition is plotting. When that’s the question, about half of Canadians say it makes them want to support the Conservatives. The other half, who think this is all bollocks, has no one party and no coherent project to rally around. There’s a chunk of the electorate who like the Conservatives more than other parties but who have been nervous at the thought of a Conservative majority. Rather than take that fear away, Harper is touring the country giving them a bigger fear that trumps it.

This guy’s going to be hard to stop.




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Harper’s game

  1. Will one of the four questions a day be: "If your advice to deregulate banks had been followed, or if you had not been forced by iggy into the econcomic stimulus you yourself credit with saving the country – how devastating would the resulting economic crisis have been?"

  2. '…the Visigoths will descend…'

    Now we have to worry about Germanic barbarians TOO? Ah, geez…

  3. Will one of the four questions a day be: "If your advice to deregulate banks had been followed, or if you had not been forced by iggy into the econcomic stimulus you yourself credit with saving the country – how devastating would the resulting economic crisis have been?"

    • Mike, one could equally ask about former Liberal "advice" to get rid of the GST or renegotiate free trade, both policies which played a major role in bringing fiscal sanity to Ottawa.

      • I suppose, but Iggy would be perfectly legit to say "You should ask the guy who was prime minister at the time." And yes it is true the liberals abandoned certain promises and set out on a rather right wing course of financial planning.

    • yeah right, lets focus on hypothitical questions…

    • Exactly — if Harper had held a majority in the House and allowed changes to our banking system we would be in same position as the rest of the world. Why are the other leaders not shouting this from the roof tops?

  4. '…the Visigoths will descend…'

    Now we have to worry about Germanic barbarians TOO? Ah, geez…

  5. "I started out, on Friday, believing Harper's constant, inelegant obsession with the opposition showed a lack of discipline. Now I suspect it's strategy."

    I've come to the same realization, Paul. Early last week I began to wonder if Harper and the CPC were on the wrong end of a momentum swing; after another few days of the campaign I've come to realize that whatever strategy he's using he's still got the wind at his back.

  6. "I started out, on Friday, believing Harper's constant, inelegant obsession with the opposition showed a lack of discipline. Now I suspect it's strategy."

    I've come to the same realization, Paul. Early last week I began to wonder if Harper and the CPC were on the wrong end of a momentum swing; after another few days of the campaign I've come to realize that whatever strategy he's using he's still got the wind at his back.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • I've found that the "partisan pollster" claim is most often floated by desperate partisans.

        • Indeed. Things are looking dire for the Liberals. I'm pretty blase about it. If a conservative majority is what we need to make it absolutely clear to people what these guys are like, so be it. I'll really enjoy it when they're eventually defeated and someone else is running the show, more unfettered than ever due to the constantly lowered bar on transparency, accountability and respect for institutions. The howls from those who slavishly cheer on the abuse of this team will be deafening. I'll just be said that regardless of which party takes power, we get just awful government. It's pretty depressing–I understand why so many people would rather not pay attention.

          • Can't agree with you, Andrew. I am already in severe financial dire straits because of the advices of Messrs Harper and Flaherty. I am officialy a senior citizen and any cuts to my pension would be devastating. As far as I am concerned, this government is contributing to the great transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to corporations and the wealthy.

          • Can you provide any facts to back up these claims?

    • Don't you mean blowing wind out his backside?

      Scary how many mistake it for perfume, though…

  7. Per your tweet Paul, the opposition had years to kill the coalition talk and now they have a few weeks to combat it in a campaign. It's not like Harper didn't telegraph this strategy either, it's been clear for a very long time that this would be core to the Conservative campaign.

  8. Per your tweet Paul, the opposition had years to kill the coalition talk and now they have a few weeks to combat it in a campaign. It's not like Harper didn't telegraph this strategy either, it's been clear for a very long time that this would be core to the Conservative campaign.

    • It's unlikely that anything any party says would change one iota what harper is saying/lying now.

      • It's not up to the other parties to change what the CPC is saying; it's up to them to influence the way Canadians feel about it. They've basically done nothing on that score (other than having supporters call Canadians who reflexively dislike the idea stupid), and are now paying for it in the polls.

        • I would like to see the CPC exercise less duplicity and outright lying – and I feel Canadians are owed that.

          You may feel differently.

        • The NDP and the Bloc have seemed very willing to talk positively about the virtues of an NDP-Liberal coalition with Bloc support, so you're being a bit unfair to say "the opposition" is falling down on this. Even Bob Rae and Stephane Dion talked about the benefits of such an arrangement…

          • True enough. I guess I just didn't want to seem anti-Liberal by saying they're the ones dropping the ball on this. Even though they are. (Also, I needn't have bothered. Any criticism of any party will get you immediately branded as in the bag for the other party).

        • I agree Andy.

      • well, it definitely shows lack of something, how they have squandered many great opportunities to come out with the wind at their own back, only to allow harper to continue driving the message. lack of vsion and strategy in opposition doesnt really instill confidence for their abilities to govern.

    • the opposition had years to kill the coalition talk and now they have a few weeks to combat it in a campaign.

      Is it possible that the coalition talk was never "killed" (or otherwise dealt with effectively) because the opposition parties continued to see it as a viable option?

      • Without a doubt. When Ignatieff took over he had two options to deal with the coalition question, which had proven immensely unpopular with Canadians following the failed coalition bid. He could have either A) explained the coalition governments are a perfectly legitimate option in a Parliamentary Democracy, then laid out the conditions that needed to exist in order for a Liberal party led by him to pursue one, then spent the intervening months/years convincing Canadians to accept his position. Or her could B) announce that his Liberal party would never pursue a coalition and was more interested in restoring his party to their former glory and explain that his signature on the coalition agreement was a sign of respect to his party's then leadership.

        Instead, he chose C) obfuscate and ignore the question, hoping the whole thing would blow over so he could keep his options open. It hasn't, and now it seems to be a problem.

        • Andy, He did choose C). That has to be the second stupidest move a political party has done in a generation. The first stupidest was entering into the coalition in the first place.

      • Oh, I hope no one minds but I am gloating : )

        Yes, yes, yeeeeeees, I have always said Harper will win over strategy.

        One of the things that I love about Harper is strategy, my life is surrounded by it because of work and he is so good at it but you also have to be focus like a laser beam, don't let nothing distract you and he does it well, not everyone can pull that off.

        This election will be won over strategy no issues, is not that I want to be a cynic and think that issues no matter but we know already what he is all about, the opposition has come a long way to be fair but it is too late for them (only when it comes to organization, the rest it's arguable IMO)

        • CPC supporters: "look how much we degraded Canadian politics and got away with it! We have so much to be proud of! Yay!"

      • This is about the most sensible comment I have seen on the subject. It is still an option, and that is why they won't kill it.

    • As we can see from this discussion, there is always a ready lie. It used to be "they won't deny it, so there's a coalition", now it's "theyd idn't deny it soon enough, so there is a coalition."

      Look, if people are willing to believe Harper on this, the truth won't matter.

      • Could it be that they don't want to deny it, because it is still a viable option? Why does that not factor into you thought process?

  9. This is the same column as usual….all about Harper's brilliant chess game that only you can see….with just a couple of spoonsful of paranoia and hints of 'lying in ruins' thrown in this week for colour.

  10. This is the same column as usual….all about Harper's brilliant chess game that only you can see….with just a couple of spoonsful of paranoia and hints of 'lying in ruins' thrown in this week for colour.

    • I don't know about brilliant strategy, Emily. I changed my perspective based on a few conversations I had over the weekend with people wholly outside of the political bubble. These people had latched on to the "unnecessary election; good economic climate, etc etc" with far more zeal than I had ever imagined. The status quo looks pretty darned good for them, and they have no idea–nor any desire to have an idea–about the contempt charge, or anything else.

      Earlier this week I was of the belief that the momentum was swinging toward Michael Ignatieff, but after having those conversations I realized that he's got his work cut out for him over the next few weeks.

      I must say, though, I was quite disturbed to learn just how much I'm immersed in the bubble here in Ottawa. Is there some sort of antidote I can take to wash it off?

      • Drive East or West until the road system starts to look like a normal Canadian road………then you'll be out of the bubble.

  11. http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/3423
    Friday, 4 February 2011, It was on that date that Obama signed a document titled “Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness.” That agreement, signed by Obama and CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER STEPHEN HARPER, was executed without Congressional authority or American voice, and launched the United States further into the NAU abyss.
    The globalists' agenda and the plans of the power elite behind the scenes, the real power brokers beyond George SOROS, include Zbigniew BREZINSKI, David ROCKEFELLER, and members of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations. Many of the same Trilateral Commission members who served under former President Bush also serve or have served under Obama, including Timothy GEITHNER, President of the New York Federal Reserve from 2003 until 2009.
    The great push toward a NWO!

  12. http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/3423
    Friday, 4 February 2011, It was on that date that Obama signed a document titled “Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness.” That agreement, signed by Obama and CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER STEPHEN HARPER, was executed without Congressional authority or American voice, and launched the United States further into the NAU abyss.
    The globalists' agenda and the plans of the power elite behind the scenes, the real power brokers beyond George SOROS, include Zbigniew BREZINSKI, David ROCKEFELLER, and members of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations. Many of the same Trilateral Commission members who served under former President Bush also serve or have served under Obama, including Timothy GEITHNER, President of the New York Federal Reserve from 2003 until 2009.
    The great push toward a NWO!

    • Alcan thanks you for your patronage of its quality aluminum foil products.

    • The NWO won't matter anyway. We all know that the world's going to end Dec 21, 2012.

    • You and my Dad share the same Kool-Aid.

  13. It's unlikely that anything any party says would change one iota what harper is saying/lying now.

  14. So Paul, what you are saying is, because we have a stupid electoral system, the majority is about to get screwed — again.

    • We do not have a stupid electoral system.

      We have an electoral system that favours broad-based brokerage parties. We have a system which allows for local representation. One which asks its citizens to make compromises in their democratic decision making, to balance their views with those of their neighbour, community and country as a whole. It is one which thankfully discourages ideological hardliners from taking power.

      What voters choose to do within such a system is not necessarily a reflection of the "stupidity" of the system.

      • What you say might be true in a universe where we have a very small number of parties. This is not that universe.

        As the number of parties increases the system awards ideological hardliners more and more. If you can solidify a "base", you don't need to try for a majority, you just need to make sure that those against you are split between the opposing choices. An increase in the number of parties will cause niche issues to increasingly split the vote, until what gets elected is liked by a very few, and very actively disliked by the vast majority, but which will gain power anyway, because the system does not recognize any sort of anti-preference.

        Thus, the system *is* stupid, because it is unable to cope with the multitude of opinion, both positive and negative, that people may have toward any given party. When over 60% of the input into a system is literally wasted, that's a stupid system.

        Even if we ignore proportional representation, our system could be vastly improved by the simple addition of a "negative" vote. Choose the party you most like, choose the party you most dislike, likes are added, dislikes are taken away, top result is who gets in.

        • As the number of parties increases the system awards ideological hardliners more and more.

          You really think so? Where oh where are the "rewarded" ideological hardliners on the side of limited government and individual freedom? They are shaking their heads in profound sadness at Harper, that's where.

          • I suggest that the less realistic the ideology, the more parties it takes.

            By my reckoning, you need another ten or twenty.

        • I think people are starting to realize that there is no such thing as a perfect democracy. The more we try to more to a system that allows everyone a completely equal say, the more we will realize that we are all to different to com together to get things done. Our system might not be perfect, but it is a lot better than most other options.
          The likes and dislike thing is a non starter.

  15. So Paul, what you are saying is, because we have a stupid electoral system, the majority is about to get screwed — again.

  16. HARPER DON'T LOOK NOW BUT YOUR PANTS ARE ON FIRE!!!

  17. Alcan thanks you for your patronage of its quality aluminum foil products.

  18. Go Steve Go

    • Please go!

  19. Go Steve Go

  20. It is part of the framing of the ballot question to punish the failed coalition leaders in 2008. Dion resigned or got pushed under the bus. Now we get to pass our judgement on Layton and Ignatieff for playing footsie with the Separatist party.

    Any idea how that will workout outside Quebec?

    Polls have been with 60% wanting to wait until 2012. At least 30% from the Lib-NDP leaners agreed to 2012.

    The inside baseball stuff will not resonate outside the Queensway. Rushing to the Polls before 2012 will prove a fatal mistake for several opposition leaders. A double digit lead in Ontario for the Conservatives vs 2008 it was 5. Rob Ford election signal a return to Blue Ontario at wipeout of Liberals in GTA. How many will be confirmed on May 2, 2011.

    Liberals brand is damaged in Ontario. See Dalton gang seven years of wrecking our Economy.

  21. It is part of the framing of the ballot question to punish the failed coalition leaders in 2008. Dion resigned or got pushed under the bus. Now we get to pass our judgement on Layton and Ignatieff for playing footsie with the Separatist party.

    Any idea how that will workout outside Quebec?

    Polls have been with 60% wanting to wait until 2012. At least 30% from the Lib-NDP leaners agreed to 2012.

    The inside baseball stuff will not resonate outside the Queensway. Rushing to the Polls before 2012 will prove a fatal mistake for several opposition leaders. A double digit lead in Ontario for the Conservatives vs 2008 it was 5. Rob Ford election signal a return to Blue Ontario at wipeout of Liberals in GTA. How many will be confirmed on May 2, 2011.

    Liberals brand is damaged in Ontario. See Dalton gang seven years of wrecking our Economy.

  22. This comment was deleted.

    • But why the lies?

  23. Harper must be reading from his book of errors as everything he says relates to his prorogued Gov, coalition, economy problems on this one he should be thanking Iggy for the advice! Harper a coalition is not the end of the world but I would bet it to be better then you. After how many years of Cons trying to run a Gov. and when things go bad blame the others get out of town Harper!!!!

    • Obviously prorogation was an important thing to Ignatieff. It doesn't explain why he had the worst attendance record in the House of Commons or why we're having this election now, but keep believing in him if it makes you feel better!

  24. This is not new, It's liberal advertising. If you check the polls the Liberals are falling behind and they should based on the lies they tell.
    Harper is by far the best man for the job and a Majority would be great.
    May 3/2011, By Iggy

  25. Harper must be reading from his book of errors as everything he says relates to his prorogued Gov, coalition, economy problems on this one he should be thanking Iggy for the advice! Harper a coalition is not the end of the world but I would bet it to be better then you. After how many years of Cons trying to run a Gov. and when things go bad blame the others get out of town Harper!!!!

  26. .
    It's been my ongoing theme in comments that Harper has brilliantly exploited a minimalist message, on and off campaigns:

    tax

    And it works.

    At 16, Byrne easily reflected the cognitive abilities of those who haven't time to process 1000+ word vocabularies, multisyllabic words, and complex nuanced syntax.

    tax-cut
    cut-waste
    trim-fat
    tax-credit (a daring foray into disyllables)
    tax-relief.
    job growth through tax cut

    Ignatieff and Layton can't compete with that.

    Their messages are complex, diverse, nuanced, intelligent, and long enough to be easily targeted for real or perceived weaknesses.

    Bolstered by land-line skewed pollster, and now political pundit Nick (the fixer) Nanos, Canadians can only believe that we are really behind our Glorious Dear Leader of the Democratic Milton Friedmann Republic of the Government of Harper.

    And Gaddafi has guaranteed that we really need to dump tax dollars into the American military-industrial complex to pay for those late 20th century spears and arrows, when we could consider funding Bombardier et al to develop leading edge pilotless drones, semi-autonomous robotic defense systems, laser, satellite, and spread-spectrum redundant command and control of them, etc.

    But that would waste tax money on domestic enterprise.

    We can't have that. It confuses the message.
    .

    • That's a great idea about getting our domestic aerospace and high-tech firms to develop drones. We could rebuild the aerospace leading industry we used to have before the Conservatives gutted it in the 50s when they killed the Arrow. The fact that drones are in their infant state of development means no country, even in the US, has advanced the tech so far yet that we couldn't easily catch up. So why are none of our political parties talking about this, especially as an alternative to the gold plated goony bird F-35s the Americans are trying to con us into buying?

  27. .
    It's been my ongoing theme in comments that Harper has brilliantly exploited a minimalist message, on and off campaigns:

    tax

    And it works.

    At 16, Byrne easily reflected the cognitive abilities of those who haven't time to process 1000+ word vocabularies, multisyllabic words, and complex nuanced syntax.

    tax-cut
    cut-waste
    trim-fat
    tax-credit (a daring foray into disyllables)
    tax-relief.
    job growth through tax cut

    Ignatieff and Layton can't compete with that.

    Their messages are complex, diverse, nuanced, intelligent, and long enough to be easily targeted for real or perceived weaknesses.

    Bolstered by land-line skewed pollster, and now political pundit Nick (the fixer) Nanos, Canadians can only believe that we are really behind our Glorious Dear Leader of the Democratic Milton Friedmann Republic of the Government of Harper.

    And Gaddafi has guaranteed that we really need to dump tax dollars into the American military-industrial complex to pay for those late 20th century spears and arrows, when we could consider funding Bombardier et al to develop leading edge pilotless drones, semi-autonomous robotic defense systems, laser, satellite, and spread-spectrum redundant command and control of them, etc.

    But that would waste tax money on domestic enterprise.

    We can't have that. It confuses the message.
    .

  28. Wells reads latest Nanos tracking poll. Realizes Harper is still a strategic genius.

  29. Wells reads latest Nanos tracking poll. Realizes Harper is still a strategic genius.

  30. Stephen Harper:
    Shut down Parliament twice to avoid accountability
    Campaigned against an unelected Senate and then stacked the
    Senate with 38 unelected Conservatives
    Obstructed access to information by media and citizens
    Muzzled Ministers, civil servants, and government scientists
    Politicized arms-length government programs
    Spent your tax dollars on self-promotion
    Showed contempt for the supremacy of Parliament
    – YOUR Parliament!

    • Why dont you hold youre beloved Liberal Party to the same standards as the Conservitives, Asking for our 40 million dollars back they stole from us would be a good start.

      • I find it fascinating that the same people who are so obsessed with with the millions of dollars associated with AdScam are so completely comfortable with a fifty billion dollar deficit.

        • yes one that could not have passed without the support of the opposition, they complain about the size of the deficit, and the next bgreath want to take credit for the idea. MAKE UP YOUR MIND!

      • That is over and might I add that the Liberals cooperated with the investigation. People were held accountable and suitable action taken.

        Harper has free range, does what he wants and then tells people how to think and feel. Many will follow, just because he told them to. He is one great puppet master, not a Prime Minister for Canada

        Hold Harper Accountable! Conservative Party members need to find a leader that will not change who they are and redefine the party as the Harper Party.

        • Mad Hatter is right. What colour is your Kool-Aid?

      • Wardo: "Asking for our 40 million dollars back they stole from us…"

        Nope. You're not even remotely close.

        From Wikipedia: "In the end the Commission concluded that $2 million was awarded in contracts without a proper bidding process, $250 thousand was added to one contract price for no additional work, and $1.5 million was awarded for work that was never done, of which $1 million had to be repaid. The total cost of the Commission was $14 million."

        • im wrong because youre using "wikipedia"? try a real source. I look forward when we finally win our majority and finally get somthing done rather than the constent dithering of the opposition, im sure you hate me, thats o.k. but im not the only one who thinks this.

    • Stephen Harper was
      0) The first person to realize that Brian Mulroney was a slime ball.
      1) Harper was right on Free Trade. Ignatieff was AWOL.
      2) The only major political figure in Canada to stand with Trudeau and Canadians against Charlottetown. Harper had too drag Preston kicking and screaming to oppose Charlottetown. Ignatieff was AWOL.
      3) the person who correctely identified the seriousness of Canada's debt and deficit problem in the nineties, and argued that the budget could be balanced in 3-4 years. Chretien and Martin basically adopted a Harper-lite version of this plan, after having argued that it was ridiculous. Ignatieff was AWOL.
      4) Harper was the first person to articulate the need for the Clarity Act. Ignatieff was AWOL for the 1996 referendum.
      5) Harper was wrong on the Iraq war. But then so were Martin and Ignatieff. Harper had an excuse. Foreign policy wasn't his thing then. What was Ignatieff's excuse for being the most prominent progressive voice in the world for the neoconservative unnecessary war.
      6) Harper managed the economic crisis extremely well. He was non-ideological and adopted mainstream economic ideas about how the crisis should be managed. His stimulus program was smaller, faster, and more effective than Obama's. (Obama's stimulus program was slow and ideologically driven.) Harper held his nose and bailed out GM and Chrysler.

      On the big issues facing Canada for the last 25 years, Stephen Harper has mostly been right. Ignatieff mostly decided that Canada was worthy of his attention.

      Yep…there are a lot of things wrong with Stephen Harper, but his batting average on the things that have really mattered has been exceptional.

      • I can't help but wonder, though, how different things would have been if Stephen Harper had won a majority. Having a minority means not having free reign.

  31. Stephen Harper:
    Shut down Parliament twice to avoid accountability
    Campaigned against an unelected Senate and then stacked the
    Senate with 38 unelected Conservatives
    Obstructed access to information by media and citizens
    Muzzled Ministers, civil servants, and government scientists
    Politicized arms-length government programs
    Spent your tax dollars on self-promotion
    Showed contempt for the supremacy of Parliament
    – YOUR Parliament!

  32. More of the "hahahahahaha look what we can get away with!" camp.

  33. But why the lies?

  34. I think Mr. Harper is headed for a smaller minority. Mr. Harper runs the very real risk of Canadians deciding to vote, if that happens his minority will be much, much smaller.
    I do think that this minority will be the end of Mr. Harper, the long knives will be out. His practice of tightly controlling the party members will make certain that he is given no reprieve, no mercy. The Conservatives are not in "awe" of Mr. Harper any longer, he has proven that he is not popular with Canadian voters. Discarding Mr. Harper is logical, here is Prime Minister who after five years still has to make promises to Canadians regarding his social conservatism, that really shouldn't be necessary. Canadians have developed a distrust of Mr. Harper's agenda. It isn't unusual to distrust someone who consistently makes statements that are difficult to believe. The latest scenario wherein Mr. Harper suggests that he really had no idea about Mr. Carson's background is hardly credible to Canadians, there is Mr. Harper with his hand in the cookie jar again.

    • Wow, David, you sure seem to know what everyone else thinks – CPC party members, Conservatives, Canadians. Your mind reading and crystal ball forecasting abilities are awesome. What numbers do you recommend for this weeks Lotto Max?

      • Hello Mr. Bennett
        Did you miss the words "I think" on purpose or by mistake?
        You may not like what Canadians think but they are pretty clear. Mr. Harper has failed in every bid to get a majority government, do you have any theories or thoughts on that?
        Did you know more than 60% of respondents surveyed believe that we are headed for another minority, which makes sense.
        Everyone is fine with you posting what "you think" about the election.
        I think (<- notice those words there Mr. Bennet) you just don't like the idea of another wasted election, another minority government and the end of Mr. Harper.
        Do you really believe that Canadians think Mr. Harper was in the dark when it came to Mr. Carson's background?

    • I was surprised it took this long for someone to comment on Harper's 'agenda'. How come you didn't use the word hidden? I haven't seen an official paper outlining his agenda. Do you have one available? Or do you just 'think' that he has an agenda that every Canadian distrusts?

  35. The main-stream media are lucky to get 5 questions, after what they did to Mulroney, Clark, Stanfield, Diefenbaker …

    • You forgot Kim Campbell! And they pretty much did that to themselves, thanks.

      • Don't forget Sir John A! Man, those mainstream pamphleteers were zealous back then!

    • I tried to go to the Stephen Harper event in Montreal but I couldn't go because I am not a party member. That is an effective way of stacking the room and ensuring you don't get nasty questions from the citizens you lead. Sad

  36. I think Mr. Harper is headed for a smaller minority. Mr. Harper runs the very real risk of Canadians deciding to vote, if that happens his minority will be much, much smaller.
    I do think that this minority will be the end of Mr. Harper, the long knives will be out. His practice of tightly controlling the party members will make certain that he is given no reprieve, no mercy. The Conservatives are not in "awe" of Mr. Harper any longer, he has proven that he is not popular with Canadian voters. Discarding Mr. Harper is logical, here is Prime Minister who after five years still has to make promises to Canadians regarding his social conservatism, that really shouldn't be necessary. Canadians have developed a distrust of Mr. Harper's agenda. It isn't unusual to distrust someone who consistently makes statements that are difficult to believe. The latest scenario wherein Mr. Harper suggests that he really had no idea about Mr. Carson's background is hardly credible to Canadians, there is Mr. Harper with his hand in the cookie jar again.

  37. The main-stream media are lucky to get 5 questions, after what they did to Mulroney, Clark, Stanfield, Diefenbaker …

  38. This is a strange post with lots of numbers. It's almost as if Inkless threw in a whole bunch of stats in there to justify the disconnect between his opening paragraphs and his conclusion.

  39. I started out, on Friday, believing Harper's constant, inelegant obsession with the opposition showed a lack of discipline. Now I suspect it's strategy.

    You were targeted ages ago. This is what they count on – not preaching to the converted, but converting the preachers.

    Report back after the next shift.

  40. It's not up to the other parties to change what the CPC is saying; it's up to them to influence the way Canadians feel about it. They've basically done nothing on that score (other than having supporters call Canadians who reflexively dislike the idea stupid), and are now paying for it in the polls.

  41. This is a strange post with lots of numbers. It's almost as if Inkless threw in a whole bunch of stats in there to justify the disconnect between his opening paragraphs and his conclusion.

  42. I started out, on Friday, believing Harper's constant, inelegant obsession with the opposition showed a lack of discipline. Now I suspect it's strategy.

    You were targeted ages ago. This is what they count on – not preaching to the converted, but converting the preachers.

    Report back after the next shift.

  43. The majority of any country are not the brightest lights. That is how most of these idiots get into power. All it serves to underscore is that most people are truly ignorant and are loathe to improve their intellectual position. It is the one area where quantity outdoes quality. And therein lies the problem – we breed stupider and stupider.

    • Just because someone identifies themselves with a conservative position doesn't mean they are under educated, or ignorant. In fact such a generalization is extremely ignorant, and there are many conservatives far more intelligent than you.

    • Harper is hardly an idiot and many voting for the Cons are educated with multiple degrees – like me. Your elitist attitude only shows your prestigious and ignorance.

      • What is it about the Conservatives that attracts a voter who takes the online identity of "Cracker"? Do you have any idea of the racist history of that term? Or maybe you don't have enough degrees, yet, to know.

      • Most people with multiple degrees would be able to string together a comprehensible sentence. Perchance do you mean "prejudice"?

  44. There is no consensus majority opinion to get screwed. You do realize that "Anybody but Harper" would not appear on any kind of ballot, no matter what kind of electoral system we had in place? Do you realize that there are some people who vote for the Liberal party who don't feel like the NDP or the Bloc are adequate substitutes?

  45. The majority of any country are not the brightest lights. That is how most of these idiots get into power. All it serves to underscore is that most people are truly ignorant and are loathe to improve their intellectual position. It is the one area where quantity outdoes quality. And therein lies the problem – we breed stupider and stupider.

  46. Trouble from outside our shore?

    More like trouble inside our shore brought on by massive consumer debt caused primarily by the housing bubble. How about the Harper governments pumping of sub-prime lending in the Canadian mortgage market during 2006-2010, allowing RRSPs to be raided to purchase a house, the radical expansion of CMHC leverage etc.

    Of course these issues will never make the headlines because they contradict the official economic narrative.

    We live under the illusion that our economy and our politicians are smarter than elsewhere and that the same mistakes made in Europe, the USA and Japan can not happen here.

    • You must have seen Oscar-winner documentary 'INSIDE JOB' by Charles Ferguson. Agree with you 100%. The bully-gang on the Hill raided the piggy and we'll see the effects when their $56 billion Deficit starts getting bigger if he returns to the power he loves.
      Harper has Mismanaged the economy and wants to spend half our deficit for $30 billion and another 10 bil for private jails. He hasn't heard of the judges convicted in Pa. for jailing teenagers and pocketing $2 million. With his habit of forgetting to vet the ciminals in his office anything is possible. Harper is a sociopath. Economis? The mailroom boy who's only worked for Politicians and never had a real job? Our very own Village Idiot on the world stage…

  47. Trouble from outside our shore?

    More like trouble inside our shore brought on by massive consumer debt caused primarily by the housing bubble. How about the Harper governments pumping of sub-prime lending in the Canadian mortgage market during 2006-2010, allowing RRSPs to be raided to purchase a house, the radical expansion of CMHC leverage etc.

    Of course these issues will never make the headlines because they contradict the official economic narrative.

    We live under the illusion that our economy and our politicians are smarter than elsewhere and that the same mistakes made in Europe, the USA and Japan can not happen here.

  48. Are you saying what you have transcribed above will be written on May 3rd, 2011 by Michael Ignatieff?

  49. Wow. What a depressing indictment of Canadian voters. I wish you were wrong.

  50. Wow, David, you sure seem to know what everyone else thinks – CPC party members, Conservatives, Canadians. Your mind reading and crystal ball forecasting abilities are awesome. What numbers do you recommend for this weeks Lotto Max?

  51. I don't know about brilliant strategy, Emily. I changed my perspective based on a few conversations I had over the weekend with people wholly outside of the political bubble. These people had latched on to the "unnecessary election; good economic climate, etc etc" with far more zeal than I had ever imagined. The status quo looks pretty darned good for them, and they have no idea–nor any desire to have an idea–about the contempt charge, or anything else.

    Earlier this week I was of the belief that the momentum was swinging toward Michael Ignatieff, but after having those conversations I realized that he's got his work cut out for him over the next few weeks.

    I must say, though, I was quite disturbed to learn just how much I'm immersed in the bubble here in Ottawa. Is there some sort of antidote I can take to wash it off?

  52. I wish Ignatieff had have been stronger in saying: I'm campaigning for a majority government just like Harper. If neither gets a majority the one with the most seats gets a chance. If that fails it's in the hands of the Governor General. Now let's move on. And give that spiel over and over and over just like Harper repeats his mantra.
    Ignatieff is running a good campaign but he wasn't strong enough on this and let Harper keep it going with the complicity of a compliant press.

  53. No doubt Mr. Harper is tired. 5 elections in 7 years will do it to you. If he garners another minority, and the Libs "change their minds as is their wont, defeat the government and ask the gg to support their coalition, I am sure he will resign. If he has to lead another minority he will resign up to 2 years later to allow for transition in leadership. In my opinion, even if he should win a Majority government, he will resign before the term is out. That way he can quit while he is ahead, and having accomplished the incredible task he set out to do decades ago.

    I still think its early in the campaign. Its quiescence has drawn out the Liberal platform early. And its easy to pick off. How many families would like an 8B/y break on their income taxes, over giving the government their money to look after.
    No doubt before long we will be seeing bags full of cash again. How can Canadians entrust an extra 8B to a party of thieves, who haven't even paid back what they stole?

    • You're right. He's obviously playing a laid back rope a dope style for the first few weeks relying on the adverts. But I hope the Liberal team is ready for a huge push in the last weeks following the debates.

    • Families won't be getting an 8B/y break on their income taxes no matter who gets elected.

      All that we get to choose is what that money goes to.

      With the CPC, that money goes to corporate executives with some slight amount left over for shareholders, non-tendered planes, prisons, and old folks.

      With the Liberals, it goes to education, old folks, families, and innovation.

      With the NDP, it goes to old folks and small businesses.

  54. Disaster in the pacific, chaos in the Middle East, debt problems in Europe, and all kinds of challenges — some very serious challenges — south of our border. Canada — this country — is the closest thing the world has to an island of stability and security. And we've got to keep it that way.”

    And the leafs are going to miss the playoffs….again!!

  55. No doubt Mr. Harper is tired. 5 elections in 7 years will do it to you. If he garners another minority, and the Libs "change their minds as is their wont, defeat the government and ask the gg to support their coalition, I am sure he will resign. If he has to lead another minority he will resign up to 2 years later to allow for transition in leadership. In my opinion, even if he should win a Majority government, he will resign before the term is out. That way he can quit while he is ahead, and having accomplished the incredible task he set out to do decades ago.

    I still think its early in the campaign. Its quiescence has drawn out the Liberal platform early. And its easy to pick off. How many families would like an 8B/y break on their income taxes, over giving the government their money to look after.
    No doubt before long we will be seeing bags full of cash again. How can Canadians entrust an extra 8B to a party of thieves, who haven't even paid back what they stole?

  56. Paul Wells' noted:
    "This guy's going to be hard to stop."

    I'm sure he will, Paul, but with the majority of Canada's media doing whatever it can to stop him…..it could still be close.

      • Sure, wreck a good anti-media rant with a sober counterpoint. You're such a wet-blanket.

        • LOL don't give me credit for the counterpoint, that goes to Critical Reasoning…

          Not that I think we shouldn't continue a rant against the media (Wells and Coyne excepted, of course)!

    • NO KIDDING…..it is so disheartening to read the partisan drivel from the left media. The CBC HATES Harper as he always poses a fiscal threat to them and they have to be accountable, The Star…who knows where they are really coming from. But McLeans…slightly better, but not much. It is sad when media who are feeling "jilted" are who are influencing an election outcome. I listen to the speeches that Harper makes, they seem reasonable..(he is not an Orator like Obama)….but when i read what reporters have to say about those speeches….I can't believe we were listening to the same thing. I wonder what the media see in it for them to support Iggy….or is it just that there liberal arts backgrounds limit their ability to know better.

      • You DO realize that the Sun chain AND the Canwest papers AND the national Post AND Macleans AND half of the G&M AND much of CTV AND the corus radio network AND … AND … AND … are all conservative? I realize that part of the conservative strategy is to make people think what's up is down and what's down is up by simply making stuff up, but nowadays, people really aren't at stupid as you guys think. At the end of the day, the Cons have oversold their claims about Iggy. The more people see him (and really, after a week nobody is really paying attention yet) the more they realize how full of it Harper has been. The policies will be laid out side by side and they will see him in the debates and everyone will realize the Liberals actually have a plan, while the Conservatives don't and don't WANT a plan because they don't believe in government, except to push people around. They are creating a fend for yourself canada where infant mortality is on the rise, homelesses is increasing, and we're all getting poorer relative to the rest of the OECD. Their plans have produced terrible results in the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand and neo-conservatives (that includes Labour's Blair) all got thrown out — because their policies were based in fantasy and simply failed.

        • You must work for the media. Or the Liberal party.

          • Only a Conservative supporter could look at the conservative media ownership and content and, while forgetting that the Prime Minister is a Consevative from the west, play the victim card.

          • I haven't played any cards. And I'm nto talking about the Sun chain or National Post or Global. The most leftist media outlets are the G&M, CTV and especially the TO Star and CBC.

        • The liberals plan to get their money by raising the corporate tax rate from 15% (which they voted for) to 18%. They claim that this will increase Federal Government revenues by 6 billion. They base their projections on the 2007 corporate tax take. (much lower now – sound like solid financial planning.) A guy from the UofC calculated that the total gain in federal corporate taxes would actually be around 1.8 billion. (After factoring in that corporations invest less when taxes go up.) The really funny thing about it is that the tax increase would also result in a 1.7 billion decrease in Provincial tax revenue. Result: 100 million extra, and up to 200,000 lost jobs. That is how the liberal plan to buy my vote? Sorry, it doesn't seem like they can figure out finances enough to get my vote, but it appears that their dodgy numbers has purchased yours. :(

      • Most employees of media outlets are left of center (largely because of self-selection, I believe). By a wide margin. Some of them are deliberately biased, others don't even know how biased they are. Of course, many people see themselves as the center and everyone around them on the left and right. This is partly why people like Kady O'Malley always deny that there is bias, she thinks her politics are in the center.

        • If only we could all be all non-delusional and unbiased as you s_c_f

          • I never claimed I wasn't biased. I think Liberals are wrong and Conservatives are right about the best direction for Canadians. And I don't work for the media.

    • Who are you kidding? The ajority of the media? The CPC has Post Media, CTV and all Bell Channels, Peladeau newspapers, radio and tv stations, as well as their coveted Sun TV. Puh lease.

  57. Yes, get out more. LOL

  58. Paul Wells' noted:
    "This guy's going to be hard to stop."

    I'm sure he will, Paul, but with the majority of Canada's media doing whatever it can to stop him…..it could still be close.

  59. This article is a brilliant assessment of where Mr Harper is going in this campaign. He is trying to make this a simplistic 3 line campaign. Repeat them like an unemotional robot , hoping that the few political pundits will continue repeating them. Well, it's time for the news media stop repeating harper's harangue because it is not news at all it's brainwashing at its worse. Line 1 " the wreckless coalition will ruin us." Line 2,"We need a strong stable government that only I, Steven Harper the Great, can provide" Line 3,"The majority of Canadians do not want this election because I didn't call it," I don't want to repeat all of the reasons for needing this election now, as it would take up the rest of my alloted words and then be denied my comments to be printed or have all comments closed immediately. In summary Steven Harper has collected around him a sad array of corrupt advisors and lobbyists, he despises our democratic system of government, he uses sneaky, underhanded methods to slip his dictatorial agenda in place, he hasn't stopped his wreckless spending priorities, he is now in meltdown mode which will lead to his demise as leader of the so-called conservative -Reform coalition.

  60. I'd love to get out more, but that's where the sun lives.

    • LOL yeah, the whole thing involves the 'hinterland' I'm afraid.

  61. I'd love to get out more, but that's where the sun lives.

  62. This article is a brilliant assessment of where Mr Harper is going in this campaign. He is trying to make this a simplistic 3 line campaign. Repeat them like an unemotional robot , hoping that the few political pundits will continue repeating them. Well, it's time for the news media stop repeating harper's harangue because it is not news at all it's brainwashing at its worse. Line 1 " the wreckless coalition will ruin us." Line 2,"We need a strong stable government that only I, Steven Harper the Great, can provide" Line 3,"The majority of Canadians do not want this election because I didn't call it," I don't want to repeat all of the reasons for needing this election now, as it would take up the rest of my alloted words and then be denied my comments to be printed or have all comments closed immediately. In summary Steven Harper has collected around him a sad array of corrupt advisors and lobbyists, he despises our democratic system of government, he uses sneaky, underhanded methods to slip his dictatorial agenda in place, he hasn't stopped his wreckless spending priorities, he is now in meltdown mode which will lead to his demise as leader of the so-called conservative -Reform coalition.

  63. I've heard the same comments over the last few days, that Mr. Harper seems flat, humorous, boring, etc. I disagree. My wife and I have watched his basic stump speech a couple of times, tailored to different audiences. Both of us saw him as completely relaxed and confident. In other words, a leader. His current 14 point lead in the polls seems to suggest that others agree.

    • Sigh, sorry you've got -16 thumbs down so far, I think Harper is brilliant and I love to see him every chance I have : )

      Don't let the thumbs down discourage you from having an opinion!

    • You are absolutely right sir… The media are trying to unduly interfere with an election and hijack a win for the Liberals and Separatists. If PM Harper had a ticker tape parade, told jokes, and bought every one french fries, the media would say he left an enviromental mess, didn't take the election seriously and spent money recklessly. The Canadian media are corrupt Liberal shills.

  64. I've heard the same comments over the last few days, that Mr. Harper seems flat, humorous, boring, etc. I disagree. My wife and I have watched his basic stump speech a couple of times, tailored to different audiences. Both of us saw him as completely relaxed and confident. In other words, a leader. His current 14 point lead in the polls seems to suggest that others agree.

  65. Just because someone identifies themselves with a conservative position doesn't mean they are under educated, or ignorant. In fact such a generalization is extremely ignorant, and there are many conservatives far more intelligent than you.

  66. Why dont you hold youre beloved Liberal Party to the same standards as the Conservitives, Asking for our 40 million dollars back they stole from us would be a good start.

  67. You're right. He's obviously playing a laid back rope a dope style for the first few weeks relying on the adverts. But I hope the Liberal team is ready for a huge push in the last weeks following the debates.

  68. I've found that the "partisan pollster" claim is most often floated by desperate partisans.

  69. I would like to see the CPC exercise less duplicity and outright lying – and I feel Canadians are owed that.

    You may feel differently.

  70. We do not have a stupid electoral system.

    We have an electoral system that favours broad-based brokerage parties. We have a system which allows for local representation. One which asks its citizens to make compromises in their democratic decision making, to balance their views with those of their neighbour, community and country as a whole. It is one which thankfully discourages ideological hardliners from taking power.

    What voters choose to do within such a system is not necessarily a reflection of the "stupidity" of the system.

  71. Macleans is, as usual, nothing more than a Fiberal mouthpiece.

    Ignatieff lies about how much he'd have to raise taxes, misleads the Canadian public with regard to the need for supporting our Military, misleads Canadians with regard to the value of the Long Gun Registry and generally just misleads Canadians with regard to his intentions. All Iggy would do is send us back to the economic turmoil of the 1970s — high taxes, high inflation, stagnating economy… bad news.

    • And just last week I kept hearing just how much of a right-wing rag Maclean's is.

      It's the magazine which manages to offend all partisans, apparently.

    • Let me understand this, if we question the party we must be a left wing radical. If the media questions the party they must be a left wing radical news outlet? I guess we should only criticize the "other" parties but never question the PM Harper or the conservative party. Thank God it's not 1940 Germany.

  72. Macleans is, as usual, nothing more than a Fiberal mouthpiece.

    Ignatieff lies about how much he'd have to raise taxes, misleads the Canadian public with regard to the need for supporting our Military, misleads Canadians with regard to the value of the Long Gun Registry and generally just misleads Canadians with regard to his intentions. All Iggy would do is send us back to the economic turmoil of the 1970s — high taxes, high inflation, stagnating economy… bad news.

  73. If the CPC gets away with their strategy, I doubt anything could have worked against it.

  74. If the CPC gets away with their strategy, I doubt anything could have worked against it.

  75. Do you realize that a majority is over 50%. Has any party gotten over 50% of the vote lately? If Harper gets his "majority', his party will get far less than 50% of the popular vote and so, the majority of voters will be shut out of any say in government. If that isn't being screwed, I don't know what is.

    • So you are just going to continue on in deliberate ignorance about the realities of our democratic system, choosing instead to accuse it of being "stupid". Noted.

    • So you would perfer a system with only two parties?This is the way it works, and the more people who vote for fringe parties, the less % the mainstream parties need to govern.

  76. Do you realize that a majority is over 50%. Has any party gotten over 50% of the vote lately? If Harper gets his "majority', his party will get far less than 50% of the popular vote and so, the majority of voters will be shut out of any say in government. If that isn't being screwed, I don't know what is.

  77. "Canada — this country — is the closest thing the world has to an island of stability and security. And we've got to keep it that way.”

    Agree 100%. I would like to see some discussion at least on the development of a seaport in the Arctic. It seems likely that the Arctic will open to shipping and exploration within the foreseeable future. A well equipped seaport with naval ships, nuclear subs, and aircraft will be needed to protect our sovereignty of the Arctic, provide monitoring, and rescue service. I did say nuclear subs because they are they only viable types that can be used in this area. That is to say nuclear powered and not nuclear armed…a bid difference.

    We should engineer, design, build and maintain our own unique subs. This would open up schools to develop engineers and skill that such a seaport will need. These jobs and infrastructure project would supply a much needed economic stimulus to the Arctic and Maritimes. We need to prepare now for the future and should have an up and running strong Navy. We stand on guard!

  78. If all you’re going to do is crticize every word Harper says, then why are you bothering.

    Let the CBC guy (Terry Milewski), and the CP woma(Jennifer Ditchburn), have at it.

    They’ve been bleating about the lack of access the have to Harper.

    Watching Milewski having an absolute hissy fit at one of Harper’s stops tells me all I have to know about Harper doing the right thing.

    When the media grows up, into something of balance, let me know.

    If it’s going to be the usual Conservative bashing, all I can say is, geta life.

    • Good point, denis. I was watching Milewski. My god, he is not a journalist, but liberal political activist. He must go and take with him Peter Mansbridge. They cannot push their liberal political agenda on public TV, funded by taxpayers money.

    • Terry Who? … CB-what? I watch CTV news and read MacLeans.

    • I believe Terry Milewski's the same guy who called the Chretien Liberals "the forces of darkness" regarding the APEC issue quite a few years back.

      He's critical of government corruption and control – he really doesn't have a partisan bone in his body. He's dished it out to the Liberals on several occasions. You need to get over your partisan stupidity. It's blinding.

      • Why then have they not asked Layton and Ignatieff what the Permanent Consultation Mechanism with the BQ stands for?

        The media has not asked that question, but it is one of the most, if not the most important question for this election to be answered.

        Why doesn't the media ask such question? Too uncomfortable for party leaders to answer. Harper has never signed such an agreement with the BQ, but the other two federal party leaders have. And I would like to know what those federal leaders meant by the signed suggestion.

  79. I ignore polls .. especially with weeks to go in the campaign … but media-watching is fun.
    I'm sure a lot of people have seen this by now ..
    http://www.cusjc.ca/?p=1397

    I'm wondering if we are on schedule ? And when will the next wave come ?

    • Nice link

  80. If all you’re going to do is crticize every word Harper says, then why are you bothering.

    Let the CBC guy (Terry Milewski), and the CP woma(Jennifer Ditchburn), have at it.

    They’ve been bleating about the lack of access the have to Harper.

    Watching Milewski having an absolute hissy fit at one of Harper’s stops tells me all I have to know about Harper doing the right thing.

    When the media grows up, into something of balance, let me know.

    If it’s going to be the usual Conservative bashing, all I can say is, geta life.

  81. I ignore polls .. especially with weeks to go in the campaign … but media-watching is fun.
    I'm sure a lot of people have seen this by now ..
    http://www.cusjc.ca/?p=1397

    I'm wondering if we are on schedule ? And when will the next wave come ?

  82. you know for once we finnally have some one looking out for low to middle income families i really dont care if its a sales pitch Harper's selling me somthing i been waiting for years to see out of the NDP/ Liberals does anyone even rember what the liberals did to this country? Harpers been cleaning up that mess ever since and if we as a nation are dumb enough to forget what the Liberals did or how they left us, we definatly desrerve any bad things that come our way, our country is to soft… to liberal… to sum it up for ya WE WHINE TO MUCH…….

    • Yeah the Liberals were awful, what with all the economic growth, surplus budgets, paying down debt, lower personal income taxes, refusing to relax banking regulations…

      What a disaster compared to now where the budgets are balanced, unemployment is low, a coherent policy to deal with climate change in place… Oh wait

  83. you know for once we finnally have some one looking out for low to middle income families i really dont care if its a sales pitch Harper's selling me somthing i been waiting for years to see out of the NDP/ Liberals does anyone even rember what the liberals did to this country? Harpers been cleaning up that mess ever since and if we as a nation are dumb enough to forget what the Liberals did or how they left us, we definatly desrerve any bad things that come our way, our country is to soft… to liberal… to sum it up for ya WE WHINE TO MUCH…….

  84. the opposition had years to kill the coalition talk and now they have a few weeks to combat it in a campaign.

    Is it possible that the coalition talk was never "killed" (or otherwise dealt with effectively) because the opposition parties continued to see it as a viable option?

  85. Michael Ignatieff when it comes to revealing his real agenda to increase the tax burden on Canadians. Michael Ignatieff has long admitted his first instinct is to force taxpayers to pay more. He has described himself as a “tax-and-spend, Pearsonian, Trudeau Liberal.” (Toronto Star, Nov. 20, 2004.)

    • all talking points… good work. did you have that quote handy? perhaps pinned above your desk?

    • Get a grip Len. Ignatieff wants to hold Corporate taxes to 18% so that the savings can be spent on things that are really important to everyday CDNs – health care, jobs, family care, day care and education. Canada already enjoys a very competitive corporate tax rate. It's time ordinary CDNs get a break!

      • Every credible economist out there has pointed out that increasing corporate taxes likely won't provide the funding Ignatieff claims. In the meantime, it has the potential to make life more expensive and hurt the economy. Corporate taxes apply to all manner of businesses, not just multi-billion dollar corporations. To pay the increased taxes, all of those businesses will hike prices – places like grocery stores, gas stations, newspapers, retail outlets. You'll still end up paying for the spending – just through a different channel.

        • How about Corporations paying at least as much as personal tax payers

          Federal – Personal Tax Rates for 2011 are:
          ◦15% on the first $41,544 of taxable income, +
          ◦22% on the next $41,544 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income between $41,544 and $83,088), +
          ◦26% on the next $45,712 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income between $83,088 and $128,800), +
          ◦29% of taxable income over $128,800.
          _______________________________________________________________________________________
          Federal – Corporation tax rates
          For Canadian-controlled private corporations claiming the small business deduction, the net tax rate is:

          ◦11% effective January 1, 2008
          For the other corporations, the net tax rate will decrease as follows:

          ◦19.5% effective January 1, 2008
          ◦19% effective January 1, 2009
          ◦18% effective January 1, 2010
          ◦16.5% effective January 1, 2011
          ◦15% effective January 1, 2012

          • You realize the tax code defines small business as generating less than 500k?

      • Cobourg, where are the savings?
        The liberals plan to get their money by raising the corporate tax rate from 15% (which they voted for) to 18%. They claim that this will increase Federal Government revenues by 6 billion. They base their projections on the 2007 corporate tax take. (much lower now – sound like solid financial planning.) A guy from the UofC calculated that the total gain in federal corporate taxes would actually be around 1.8 billion. (After factoring in that corporations invest less when taxes go up.) The really funny thing about it is that the tax increase would also result in a 1.7 billion decrease in Provincial tax revenue. Result: 100 million extra, and up to 200,000 lost jobs. That is how the liberal plan to buy my vote? Sorry, it doesn't seem like they can figure out finances enough to get my vote, but it appears that their dodgy numbers has purchased yours. :(

  86. I was a bit shocked the way that Ipsos poll was interpreted, even with the misleading headline. Conservatives smile all day long with that result, they never need near a majority to be happy, particularly the regionals.

    No one should ever doubt that the Cons have spents considerable money polling their arguments, which explains why they keep hammering on coalition despite the obvious criticisms we all expouse. One wonders if the coalition is why their numbers in Ontario are as high as they've been SINCE the Dion coalition. Coincidence? Something is afoot, now the question becomes do voters move past the fear and focus on issues. That's an open question.

  87. I was a bit shocked the way that Ipsos poll was interpreted, even with the misleading headline. Conservatives smile all day long with that result, they never need near a majority to be happy, particularly the regionals.

    No one should ever doubt that the Cons have spents considerable money polling their arguments, which explains why they keep hammering on coalition despite the obvious criticisms we all expouse. One wonders if the coalition is why their numbers in Ontario are as high as they've been SINCE the Dion coalition. Coincidence? Something is afoot, now the question becomes do voters move past the fear and focus on issues. That's an open question.

  88. Michael Ignatieff when it comes to revealing his real agenda to increase the tax burden on Canadians. Michael Ignatieff has long admitted his first instinct is to force taxpayers to pay more. He has described himself as a “tax-and-spend, Pearsonian, Trudeau Liberal.” (Toronto Star, Nov. 20, 2004.)

  89. Yeah the Liberals were awful, what with all the economic growth, surplus budgets, paying down debt, lower personal income taxes, refusing to relax banking regulations…

    What a disaster compared to now where the budgets are balanced, unemployment is low, a coherent policy to deal with climate change in place… Oh wait

  90. I suggest people do their own research. An easy way to start is on Wikipedia. There is no media slant there just well documented and substantiated facts about the various party leaders. There may even be information about your local candidates if they have been around a while. Just go to the search engine you use and type;

    wiki Stephen Harper
    or
    wiki Michael Ignatieff
    or
    wiki Jack Layton
    or
    wiki … ….

    It doesn't hurt to know the background before making a choice for the future.

  91. I suggest people do their own research. An easy way to start is on Wikipedia. There is no media slant there just well documented and substantiated facts about the various party leaders. There may even be information about your local candidates if they have been around a while. Just go to the search engine you use and type;

    wiki Stephen Harper
    or
    wiki Michael Ignatieff
    or
    wiki Jack Layton
    or
    wiki … ….

    It doesn't hurt to know the background before making a choice for the future.

  92. The NDP and the Bloc have seemed very willing to talk positively about the virtues of an NDP-Liberal coalition with Bloc support, so you're being a bit unfair to say "the opposition" is falling down on this. Even Bob Rae and Stephane Dion talked about the benefits of such an arrangement…

  93. Mike, one could equally ask about former Liberal "advice" to get rid of the GST or renegotiate free trade, both policies which played a major role in bringing fiscal sanity to Ottawa.

  94. LOL yeah, the whole thing involves the 'hinterland' I'm afraid.

  95. Did you mean to post this in response to Wherry's Jenni Byrne piece?

  96. I understand (and even agree with) parts of your post when examined individually.

    However, together it's a bit of a car-wreck.

  97. " Canada — this country — is the closest thing the world has to an island of stability and security. And we've got to keep it that way"

    Can't get 'V for Vendetta' out of my head now.

  98. True enough. I guess I just didn't want to seem anti-Liberal by saying they're the ones dropping the ball on this. Even though they are. (Also, I needn't have bothered. Any criticism of any party will get you immediately branded as in the bag for the other party).

  99. Stop yelling!

  100. Stop yelling!

  101. " Canada — this country — is the closest thing the world has to an island of stability and security. And we've got to keep it that way"

    Can't get 'V for Vendetta' out of my head now.

  102. Harper is hardly an idiot and many voting for the Cons are educated with multiple degrees – like me. Your elitist attitude only shows your prestigious and ignorance.

  103. Indeed. Things are looking dire for the Liberals. I'm pretty blase about it. If a conservative majority is what we need to make it absolutely clear to people what these guys are like, so be it. I'll really enjoy it when they're eventually defeated and someone else is running the show, more unfettered than ever due to the constantly lowered bar on transparency, accountability and respect for institutions. The howls from those who slavishly cheer on the abuse of this team will be deafening. I'll just be said that regardless of which party takes power, we get just awful government. It's pretty depressing–I understand why so many people would rather not pay attention.

  104. Good point, denis. I was watching Milewski. My god, he is not a journalist, but liberal political activist. He must go and take with him Peter Mansbridge. They cannot push their liberal political agenda on public TV, funded by taxpayers money.

  105. Let me get this straight. Harper claims there are two possible outcomes for this election, but how about a third? Harper lacks the seats for a majority so he enlists the support of the Bloc. Remember the Bloc largely came from the Quebec wing of Mulroney's Conservatives. All that lies between us and a Conservative/Bloc coalition is Duceppe's integrity, because Harper would spin such a deal in some way that his base would eat it up like ice cream.

    • There many possible outcomes.

      harper is simply lying.

  106. Let me get this straight. Harper claims there are two possible outcomes for this election, but how about a third? Harper lacks the seats for a majority so he enlists the support of the Bloc. Remember the Bloc largely came from the Quebec wing of Mulroney's Conservatives. All that lies between us and a Conservative/Bloc coalition is Duceppe's integrity, because Harper would spin such a deal in some way that his base would eat it up like ice cream.

  107. Remarkably prescient piece on Harper's doom and gloom strategy. Scare the living daylights out of enough naive Canadians and you get your precious majority. La politique du pire!!

    As Flanagan says: Politics is War! And Harper is on the war path. According to Flanagan the Harper Conservatives should have won the 3rd Punic War in 2008 but came up short for a variety of reasons. Most importantly Canadians did not trust Harper. Harper's response: Let's get voters to distrust the opposition coalition even more than they distrust me! In short, Harper is the lesser of two evils.

    Harper's low-bridging and bubble approach seems to be working in spades. Why? Because he has convinced a great many Canadians, who are being made to fear for their jobs or who are currently underemployed, that it is ‘Strongman Harper or Coalition Chaos'.

    This is why Harper framed the election around the coalition issue and which the Ignatieff team did not see coming. The idea of a dreaded coalition of immoral liberals and the beyond-the-pale socialists and secessionists, Harper is convinced, will scare the living daylights out of hard-pressed middle-class Canadians.

    Their internal polls confirmed this for the Tories so they based their entire election campaign launch on this scare tactic approach – drive the coalition idea until the big lie is firmly embedded in the minds of fearful Canadians. And it has worked in spades. Better the devil they know, Harper and his contempt of Parliament, than the devil, Ignatieff, they have been convinced is not a Canadian, does not have their interest at heart, and will leave Canada once defeated.

    This was Mackenzie King's very successful mantra in 1935 (Its King or Chaos) against a beleaguered R. B. Bennett's New Deal. King simply ridiculed Bennett, and offered little in terms of a platform except the prospect of freer trade with the United States.

    Politics is 99% perception and therefore has little to do with reason.

    Ignatieff now understands this reality but it just might be too late to attract disgruntled and fearful Canadian liberal-minded voters with a very different emotional message.

    Ignatieff can only turn around Harper's polling momentum if he can convince, using a very emotional approach, NDP and Green voters, and perhaps a few federalist oriented Bloc voters, that a Harper majority government intends most certainly to kill the social service state and to relegate all the left-of-centre parties to the opposition benches for a generation.

    In short, Ignatieff has to turn the table and proclaim loud and clear: "Its Harper and Chaos!"

  108. How are we doing with recovering that payout to Lyin Brian for daring to investigate him for doing exactly what he finally admitted he did — taking money from Karlheinz Schreiber? Why don't you hold the Conservatives to the same standard?

    You do realize that some of us actually want both Liberals and Conservatives to be accountable, right?

  109. I find it fascinating that the same people who are so obsessed with with the millions of dollars associated with AdScam are so completely comfortable with a fifty billion dollar deficit.

  110. I suppose, but Iggy would be perfectly legit to say "You should ask the guy who was prime minister at the time." And yes it is true the liberals abandoned certain promises and set out on a rather right wing course of financial planning.

  111. Without a doubt. When Ignatieff took over he had two options to deal with the coalition question, which had proven immensely unpopular with Canadians following the failed coalition bid. He could have either A) explained the coalition governments are a perfectly legitimate option in a Parliamentary Democracy, then laid out the conditions that needed to exist in order for a Liberal party led by him to pursue one, then spent the intervening months/years convincing Canadians to accept his position. Or her could B) announce that his Liberal party would never pursue a coalition and was more interested in restoring his party to their former glory and explain that his signature on the coalition agreement was a sign of respect to his party's then leadership.

    Instead, he chose C) obfuscate and ignore the question, hoping the whole thing would blow over so he could keep his options open. It hasn't, and now it seems to be a problem.

  112. We are brothers.

  113. well, it definitely shows lack of something, how they have squandered many great opportunities to come out with the wind at their own back, only to allow harper to continue driving the message. lack of vsion and strategy in opposition doesnt really instill confidence for their abilities to govern.

  114. Mr. Wells. I have read your column over the years and I am aware that you are a Conservative supporter and that is your choice.

    I agree with you that Harper has taken a very different approach to this election, he is angry, even more controlling then he has been in the past, his speechs are scripted, his not taking more then 4 questions confirms that he is not really interested in what anyone other then himself has to say and his platform is based on fear and accusations about the evil opposition and the horrible things the other parties represent and will do if elected.

    Two questions for you.

    Are we not involved in a war in Libya the aim of which is to oust an evil dictator who holds the same values and is killing his own people?

    Is this what we you want for Canada?

    • Well, Wells, which is it? Are you cheerleading for the Liberals or cheerleading for the Conservatives? Because the reactions on these forums have me mighty confused.

      "And lemme tell you somethin' — I dig your work. Playin' one side against the other, in bed with everybody… Fabulous stuff, man." – Da Fino

      • Thumbs up from me. And I can get you a toe too, hell I can get one by 3 o'clock!

        • There are ways, Dude. You don't wanna know.

          • Hahaha, Well's ALSO has an evil agenda ….. to be continued : )

    • Wells a Conservative? Which Maclean's have you been reading?

  115. At least he didn't say "HAARP-ER".

  116. Mr. Wells. I have read your column over the years and I am aware that you are a Conservative supporter and that is your choice.

    I agree with you that Harper has taken a very different approach to this election, he is angry, even more controlling then he has been in the past, his speechs are scripted, his not taking more then 4 questions confirms that he is not really interested in what anyone other then himself has to say and his platform is based on fear and accusations about the evil opposition and the horrible things the other parties represent and will do if elected.

    Two questions for you.

    Are we not involved in a war in Libya the aim of which is to oust an evil dictator who holds the same values and is killing his own people?

    Is this what we you want for Canada?

  117. Are you sure that you are both not mistaking or deliberately misrepresenting recent comments about how far Harper was willing to go to form a coalition with the other two?

  118. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/s

    Many of you may have already read this – it's fascinating.Particularly when you juxtapose it with this from PW:

    "Harper's 1997 interview and 2004 letter to the Governor General are less categorical."

    That may be the only really silly thing i've read from Paul. There's real gold in that tvo interview.

    Harper may well be the biggest con artist this country has ever elected…and we may give him a majority No matter, we have APs assurance it'll all work out.

  119. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/s

    Many of you may have already read this – it's fascinating.Particularly when you juxtapose it with this from PW:

    "Harper's 1997 interview and 2004 letter to the Governor General are less categorical."

    That may be the only really silly thing i've read from Paul. There's real gold in that tvo interview.

    Harper may well be the biggest con artist this country has ever elected…and we may give him a majority No matter, we have APs assurance it'll all work out.

  120. And did you bring back any lottery numbers from the future? My retirement kinda depends on it.

  121. you mean Nik Nanos? That shady conservative pollster?

  122. Two things: first, when Liberals carry out what appears to be an inevitable inquest, I suspect the first thing they'll do is ignore Wells' advice (It doesn't matter if Harper beats Martin! Stephen Dion would be the best liberal leader! The liberals should cause an election even if they're behind in the polls because, well, I'll think they're wusses if they're not!) Second, looking at the past liberal leaders turns up Turner, Martin, Dion and Ignatieff. If this is a pathetically unsuccessul group of leaders, it only appears this way in retrospect. At the time no one would think that would be so unsuccessful. I think there are larger trends: since the late seventies there has been a consensus among the media and much of the elite against Keynes and for decentralization. Had it not been for the disintegration of the conservative party in 1993, I think almost every paper in the country except for the Toronto Star would have supported the Tories since 1979. Whether it is against inflation, or for free trade or against the deficit, economic orthodoxy has always gotten what it wants. Even with several surpluses in a row Chretien and Martin got little electoral benefit. And it's foolish to think this will change. a harder line on the deficit and opposition to provincial trade barriers may get Andrew Coyne's support. But most electors aren't economists, and as America shows most economists will happily support a conservative Republican party no matter how fiscally irresponsible it is.

  123. Please go!

  124. I'm surprised that this Harper strategy is a surprise to some, since he's been thumping about it since even before the campaign started. What I'm less surprised about is the fact that members of the media don't like it. They tried to stop him from talking about coalition after the first few days. I knew it wasn't going to work because nothing about what happened a decade ago has any bearing on the choices facing voters today. It's either a Tory majority, or some minority pizza configuration resembling the coalition in some way. And this will be the message whether the media or the opposition likes it or not.

    • I don't think they tried to get him to stop talking about the coalition, in as so much as they really wanted him to also talk about something else. Anything else.

        • Who, the media? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it their job to get a new or interesting angle for their stories? A reporter can't live on approved speaking points alone. It's like trying to stay healthy on a Kraft Dinner diet.

          • What you're suggesting they're doing is making themselves the story. That isn't journalism.

          • I'm not suggesting that they make themselves the story, and what I am suggesting is most certainly journalism.

            What you're suggesting is that journalists should be nothing more than Press Release propagation devices. I think that's a little naive.

      • Yes, some in the media were actively trying to stop Harper from talking about the coalition. That is the wool being pulled over our Canadian eyes by the media. How? – you ask ( maybe?)

        Well, during the first two days of the campaign, Ignatieff could not really make up his mind about coalition forming in this country (and coalition forming in this country is complex enough, for sure) and so they asked him all about it. Ignatieff finally did give some sort of explanation on how he stood in regards to coaltions, but if you had noticed, all of a sudden the 2008 coalition agreement had never happened. According to a lot of media outlets, suddenly the 2008 became none-existent. Instead they moved the focus over to the 2004 agreement Harper has signed together with Layton and Duceppe, but such 2004 agreement amongst opposition parties had never, ever, been a coalition agreement. Yet, for days on end, pressure was taken off Ignatieff, Layton and Duceppe, (or the most likely coalition formers next time around) and moved over onto Harper, for, lo and behold HE would now be repeatedly accused of having formed a coalition in 2004. Yet, we have hard proof of the 2008 coalition agreement, but nothing of proof regarding a colation having formed in 2004!! I have never seen the media trying to mislead the Canadian voter as they have done with coverage of the coalition issue.

        And even now they have not questioned Ignatieff or Layton or Duceppe on the 2008 agreement. Most in the media still pretend that the 2008 coalition agreement never happened. Unbelievable. It's like a watching a sci-fi movie.

  125. I'm surprised that this Harper strategy is a surprise to some, since he's been thumping about it since even before the campaign started. What I'm less surprised about is the fact that members of the media don't like it. They tried to stop him from talking about coalition after the first few days. I knew it wasn't going to work because nothing about what happened a decade ago has any bearing on the choices facing voters today. It's either a Tory majority, or some minority pizza configuration resembling the coalition in some way. And this will be the message whether the media or the opposition likes it or not.

  126. Yeah, perhaps you should read the article.
    It was all about how given the choice between two sides, a majority prefers the other side (ideally without the Bloc) to Harper.

    • The majority may prefer the other side, but the "other side" isn't a valid electoral choice. A voter would still have to choose either Liberal, NDP, BQ, or Green, which would be true no matter what kind of electoral system we had. We could have PR, and you still wouldn't see a ballot giving you the choice between: Conservatives or The Other Guys.

      More over, as this article states, there is no consensus of what this so-called majority would prefer when it comes to a hypothetical coalition. Some like the idea as long as there's no BQ, some like it with the BQ, some want Jack Layton to be the leader, some would like Duceppe to be the leader. Given that three of those things aren't an actual possibility, I'd say that our electoral system has nothing to do with the majority of people getting screwed.

      • "coalition" is not on the ballot either.

        • That's another word for what I just wrote, but precisely. People can't actually vote for coalition, 52% support doesn't mean much once it's divided amongst 4 parties. Particularly since there's no real agreement amongst that 52% of what such a coalition should look like.

      • Run-off votes, ranked ballots….it is super easy to make a binary choice to pare down the options to give voters their best possible MP…..our electoral system combined with much too much party whipping MPs into conformity is why the majority gets screwed

    • Meaning that it's about time for the NDP and the Liberals to get a grip on reality and merge their parties if they're serious about forming a government. Reform and the Progressive Conservatives managed to paper over their differences and form a unified party of the right. If the NDP and Liberals can't find a realistic modus vivendi, it does not speak well for their ability to manage the disparate interests of the country in a coalition either.

      • It might seem like that makes sense, but a lot of Liberal's don't like the NDP's policies, and vice versa. The people in the know feel that it would end up more like a larger NDP party, with the moderate Liberal supporters staying home, or holding their noses and voting PC.

  127. Yeah, perhaps you should read the article.
    It was all about how given the choice between two sides, a majority prefers the other side (ideally without the Bloc) to Harper.

  128. You forgot Kim Campbell! And they pretty much did that to themselves, thanks.

  129. Well, Wells, which is it? Are you cheerleading for the Liberals or cheerleading for the Conservatives? Because the reactions on these forums have me mighty confused.

    "And lemme tell you somethin' — I dig your work. Playin' one side against the other, in bed with everybody… Fabulous stuff, man." – Da Fino

  130. Since Harper is unlikely to get a majority with negative messaging and is campaigning against the threat of a coalition, it is reasonable to anticipate a coalition government formed by the Conservatives and Bloc after the election. Anticipating the opposite of what is campaigned on is the only logical conclusion given the last decade of federal Canadian politics. And really, who seems to be obsessed with coalitions?

    • Liberals are up a river? Denial

    • I think you should check your premise, he is more likely to get one than not given the currect polling trends

  131. Since Harper is unlikely to get a majority with negative messaging and is campaigning against the threat of a coalition, it is reasonable to anticipate a coalition government formed by the Conservatives and Bloc after the election. Anticipating the opposite of what is campaigned on is the only logical conclusion given the last decade of federal Canadian politics. And really, who seems to be obsessed with coalitions?

  132. all talking points… good work. did you have that quote handy? perhaps pinned above your desk?

  133. Based on all the troubles around the world I would think companies would be coming here no matter what the corporate tax rates are.

    Fear for Canada! Fear for Canada!

  134. Based on all the troubles around the world I would think companies would be coming here no matter what the corporate tax rates are.

    Fear for Canada! Fear for Canada!

  135. Paul – Ignatieff has said that he is campaigning to win and will not under any circumstances form a coalition to topple another CPC minority government, should that be the route Canadians choose. That's his committment and I trust that he'll keep it.

  136. What you say might be true in a universe where we have a very small number of parties. This is not that universe.

    As the number of parties increases the system awards ideological hardliners more and more. If you can solidify a "base", you don't need to try for a majority, you just need to make sure that those against you are split between the opposing choices. An increase in the number of parties will cause niche issues to increasingly split the vote, until what gets elected is liked by a very few, and very actively disliked by the vast majority, but which will gain power anyway, because the system does not recognize any sort of anti-preference.

    Thus, the system *is* stupid, because it is unable to cope with the multitude of opinion, both positive and negative, that people may have toward any given party. When over 60% of the input into a system is literally wasted, that's a stupid system.

    Even if we ignore proportional representation, our system could be vastly improved by the simple addition of a "negative" vote. Choose the party you most like, choose the party you most dislike, likes are added, dislikes are taken away, top result is who gets in.

  137. I imagine PW looking forward to his seat in the senate so he can sit next to his honorable colleagues Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy…can you say sycophant?

    • Aw, come on! Welles is no Conservative. He has a good sense of humour.

  138. "About half of Canadians like Harper. More than half believe him when he says the opposition is plotting. When that's the question, about half of Canadians say it makes them want to support the Conservatives. The other half, who think this is all bollocks, has no one party and no coherent project to rally around. There's a chunk of the electorate who like the Conservatives more than other parties but who have been nervous at the thought of a Conservative majority. Rather than take that fear away, Harper is touring the country giving them a bigger fear that trumps it."

    We call it democracy. Funny thing that! More than half makes a majority, who knew!

  139. I imagine PW looking forward to his seat in the senate so he can sit next to his honorable colleagues Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy…can you say sycophant?

  140. "About half of Canadians like Harper. More than half believe him when he says the opposition is plotting. When that's the question, about half of Canadians say it makes them want to support the Conservatives. The other half, who think this is all bollocks, has no one party and no coherent project to rally around. There's a chunk of the electorate who like the Conservatives more than other parties but who have been nervous at the thought of a Conservative majority. Rather than take that fear away, Harper is touring the country giving them a bigger fear that trumps it."

    We call it democracy. Funny thing that! More than half makes a majority, who knew!

  141. NO KIDDING…..it is so disheartening to read the partisan drivel from the left media. The CBC HATES Harper as he always poses a fiscal threat to them and they have to be accountable, The Star…who knows where they are really coming from. But McLeans…slightly better, but not much. It is sad when media who are feeling "jilted" are who are influencing an election outcome. I listen to the speeches that Harper makes, they seem reasonable..(he is not an Orator like Obama)….but when i read what reporters have to say about those speeches….I can't believe we were listening to the same thing. I wonder what the media see in it for them to support Iggy….or is it just that there liberal arts backgrounds limit their ability to know better.

  142. The guy who was Prime Minister at the time would be perfectly legit to say he governing the way the majority had wanted, working with parliament instead of against. Jack Layton says Ottawa is broken, that may be the case. Hopefully this election will fix it.

  143. Get a grip Len. Ignatieff wants to hold Corporate taxes to 18% so that the savings can be spent on things that are really important to everyday CDNs – health care, jobs, family care, day care and education. Canada already enjoys a very competitive corporate tax rate. It's time ordinary CDNs get a break!

  144. Liberals are up a river? Denial

  145. Families won't be getting an 8B/y break on their income taxes no matter who gets elected.

    All that we get to choose is what that money goes to.

    With the CPC, that money goes to corporate executives with some slight amount left over for shareholders, non-tendered planes, prisons, and old folks.

    With the Liberals, it goes to education, old folks, families, and innovation.

    With the NDP, it goes to old folks and small businesses.

  146. Paul's crunching of the numbers is also very enlightening. It mirrors what the Conservative operatives have been doing these past two years behind closed doors. They concluded some time ago that no matter how you did the math, Harper would emerge with a slim majority or, if he can paint the coalition as something worse than a nuclear meltdown, then Harper would get a big majority if the momentum was such that beleaguered Francophone Quebecers would come on side in order not to be left out of Harper much grander coalition.
    This is why the Conservative operators planned over the fall and through the winter for a spring election.
    I tried to convince some journalists that this is what Harper was up to but then they all thought I was smoking pot!
    And I also agree with Paul that if Harper gets a third minority government he will be in the saddle for quite some time to come. There is nobody in the Party that will try to push him out and the party loyalists will not stand for such a coup.
    To a growing number of Canadians Harper is their long sought after "Great White Hope." They thought they had found such a Messiah in Brian Mulroney but he turned out to be a Francophone Quebecer in disguise despite his Irish roots. Harper, many Canadians believe is the genuine thing – a true Christian Nationalist Strongman Messiah who will hold the world at bay, take on the Quebec secessionists if needed, and tackle head on all the domestic and foreign threats that increasingly fearful Canadians appear to be facing.
    English-speaking Canadians have been searching desperately for just such a Messiah for a very long time.
    Canadians are now well into the second act of Harper's grand play. It will be something to watch the 3rd act unfold once Harper gets his majority. Massive retribution and restructuring of Canadian society, despite what Harper says, will get underway in a flash.

    • Whaddya mean despite what he says? It's what he and his party have been promising for years now.

    • If Harper gets his majority will he keep his promise of a fixed election date or continue to abuse it like the governments prior?
      If Harper gets his majority will he keep his promise to scrap the senate or continue to abuse it like the governments prior?
      If Harper gets his majority will he keep his promise to implement government accountability to prevent another $8B abuse or will he just host a G8 and G20 summit in Ontario?

  147. Paul's crunching of the numbers is also very enlightening. It mirrors what the Conservative operatives have been doing these past two years behind closed doors. They concluded some time ago that no matter how you did the math, Harper would emerge with a slim majority or, if he can paint the coalition as something worse than a nuclear meltdown, then Harper would get a big majority if the momentum was such that beleaguered Francophone Quebecers would come on side in order not to be left out of Harper much grander coalition.
    This is why the Conservative operators planned over the fall and through the winter for a spring election.
    I tried to convince some journalists that this is what Harper was up to but then they all thought I was smoking pot!
    And I also agree with Paul that if Harper gets a third minority government he will be in the saddle for quite some time to come. There is nobody in the Party that will try to push him out and the party loyalists will not stand for such a coup.
    To a growing number of Canadians Harper is their long sought after "Great White Hope." They thought they had found such a Messiah in Brian Mulroney but he turned out to be a Francophone Quebecer in disguise despite his Irish roots. Harper, many Canadians believe is the genuine thing – a true Christian Nationalist Strongman Messiah who will hold the world at bay, take on the Quebec secessionists if needed, and tackle head on all the domestic and foreign threats that increasingly fearful Canadians appear to be facing.
    English-speaking Canadians have been searching desperately for just such a Messiah for a very long time.
    Canadians are now well into the second act of Harper's grand play. It will be something to watch the 3rd act unfold once Harper gets his majority. Massive retribution and restructuring of Canadian society, despite what Harper says, will get underway in a flash.

  148. I want to keep banging the drum to warn you of the coalition Harper warns about. French Canada has demonstrated (conclusively) in the last two elections they are NOT voting for a National Government. English Canada IS. The last two election have seen the Liberals and the NDP significantly reputiated by English Canada. They almost certainly will be again. If the Conservatives do NOT get a majority English Canada will face the prospect of being Governed by two reputiated parties, and even then, only with help from those whose goal is to leave our Country. How by any stretch of the imagination can anyone call this (if it occurs) a mandate.

    • This is just more no coalition of losers nonesense. Parliament rules bud, whether you like it or not. Check it out – it's in the constitution.

      • Folks like you will not only lose us Quebec but possibly Western Canada as well. Anybody who believes this would not, create a profound antipathy in the West, does not understand the West at all.

        • I'm a westerner and a supporter of Trudeau's tough line on Quebec. Do try and remember you only speak for yourself.

          • Trudeaus tough line on Quebec? Are you an imbecile! Perhaps you can enlighten us all as to this so called "tough line".

    • It's parliamentary democracy in action. But remember, the coalition you so dislike is not inevitable. The logical twosome, if they stop and think and forgo personality-driven issues, is of the Tories and Liberals. Look at how well they're getting along in the UK.

      • YOu cannot compare the UK coalition with any colition here being formed with the BQ.

        A Liberal/NDP coalition would be comparable to what has formed in Britain. But if Harper wins a minority, then the numbers of Liberals and NDP combined don't add up enough to be higher than Haper's and so the BQ must be part of the Lib/NDP coalition. There would be no other choice. THAT is the obstacle facing our federation.

    • Really? Wow.
      And here I thought I was voting for a candidate.

      oh wait, I am and you're full of crap.

    • I think you meant "refudiated".

  149. I want to keep banging the drum to warn you of the coalition Harper warns about. French Canada has demonstrated (conclusively) in the last two elections they are NOT voting for a National Government. English Canada IS. The last two election have seen the Liberals and the NDP significantly reputiated by English Canada. They almost certainly will be again. If the Conservatives do NOT get a majority English Canada will face the prospect of being Governed by two reputiated parties, and even then, only with help from those whose goal is to leave our Country. How by any stretch of the imagination can anyone call this (if it occurs) a mandate.

  150. Andy, He did choose C). That has to be the second stupidest move a political party has done in a generation. The first stupidest was entering into the coalition in the first place.

  151. The NWO won't matter anyway. We all know that the world's going to end Dec 21, 2012.

  152. A few years back, Will Ferguson wrote a pop-history survey book of Canadian PMs called "Bastards and Boneheads," classifying everyone up until Chretien as the titular one or the other – dictatorial, successful, and extremely abrasive, or uncertain, feckless nice guys.

    Harper's gotten tired of feigning nice. There's not enough reward in it. He's campaigning now, in this cosmology – and I say this with no small satisfaction – to be the biggest bastard since Trudeau.

    • Yes, the biggest, boldest, Bastard ever! He will make Trudeau and every other PM look like boy-scouts in comparison.

      Why? Read my column above. Harper is quickly becoming the self-anointed Messiah.

      This Harper Messiah is emerging in response to the gloomy picture that he is painting of Canada's and Canadians past, present, and future.

      It is a brilliant self-serving prophecy!

  153. And there are those who prefer the Liberals to the Tories, but not if they have to buy off the NDP (and the Bloc.)

  154. And there are those who prefer the Liberals to the Tories, but not if they have to buy off the NDP (and the Bloc.)

  155. A few years back, Will Ferguson wrote a pop-history survey book of Canadian PMs called "Bastards and Boneheads," classifying everyone up until Chretien as the titular one or the other – dictatorial, successful, and extremely abrasive, or uncertain, feckless nice guys.

    Harper's gotten tired of feigning nice. There's not enough reward in it. He's campaigning now, in this cosmology – and I say this with no small satisfaction – to be the biggest bastard since Trudeau.

  156. The majority may prefer the other side, but the "other side" isn't a valid electoral choice. A voter would still have to choose either Liberal, NDP, BQ, or Green, which would be true no matter what kind of electoral system we had. We could have PR, and you still wouldn't see a ballot giving you the choice between: Conservatives or The Other Guys.

    More over, as this article states, there is no consensus of what this so-called majority would prefer when it comes to a hypothetical coalition. Some like the idea as long as there's no BQ, some like it with the BQ, some want Jack Layton to be the leader, some would like Duceppe to be the leader. Given that three of those things aren't an actual possibility, I'd say that our electoral system has nothing to do with the majority of people getting screwed.

  157. Meaning that it's about time for the NDP and the Liberals to get a grip on reality and merge their parties if they're serious about forming a government. Reform and the Progressive Conservatives managed to paper over their differences and form a unified party of the right. If the NDP and Liberals can't find a realistic modus vivendi, it does not speak well for their ability to manage the disparate interests of the country in a coalition either.

  158. Rural Canadians are tired of the "Big Three" and their empty promises. Harper, Layton and Ignatieff pimp themselves out for the ethnic vote and totally ignore rural Canadians. From what I am hearing, no one north of the 407 will be voting for them. The government refuses to put a “none of the above” box or NOTA vote on the ballet because they couldn't justify spending millions of dollars to be told that Canadians do not want any of them. Rural Canadians are voting for the Green Party, not because of Elizabeth May but because it is our NOTA vote. Why doesn't this show on any of the polls? Because rural Canadians are not included in the polls.

    • Everything north of southern Ontario (the 407) won’t be voting for the big three? So you’re predicting a Green party sweep? Does the Green party know this? Liz May will be ecstatic.

      The NOTA option occurs when you spoil your ballot. Some prefer staying home and not voting, but this doesn’t necessarily relay the right message.

  159. Rural Canadians are tired of the "Big Three" and their empty promises. Harper, Layton and Ignatieff pimp themselves out for the ethnic vote and totally ignore rural Canadians. From what I am hearing, no one north of the 407 will be voting for them. The government refuses to put a “none of the above” box or NOTA vote on the ballet because they couldn't justify spending millions of dollars to be told that Canadians do not want any of them. Rural Canadians are voting for the Green Party, not because of Elizabeth May but because it is our NOTA vote. Why doesn't this show on any of the polls? Because rural Canadians are not included in the polls.

  160. I think you should check your premise, he is more likely to get one than not given the currect polling trends

  161. Obviously prorogation was an important thing to Ignatieff. It doesn't explain why he had the worst attendance record in the House of Commons or why we're having this election now, but keep believing in him if it makes you feel better!

  162. Sure, wreck a good anti-media rant with a sober counterpoint. You're such a wet-blanket.

  163. Most often people like Harper will throw out innuendo based on what he is actually planning on doing themselves.

    Harper and what other party will form a coalition and the next government?

  164. Most often people like Harper will throw out innuendo based on what he is actually planning on doing themselves.

    Harper and what other party will form a coalition and the next government?

  165. Every credible economist out there has pointed out that increasing corporate taxes likely won't provide the funding Ignatieff claims. In the meantime, it has the potential to make life more expensive and hurt the economy. Corporate taxes apply to all manner of businesses, not just multi-billion dollar corporations. To pay the increased taxes, all of those businesses will hike prices – places like grocery stores, gas stations, newspapers, retail outlets. You'll still end up paying for the spending – just through a different channel.

  166. Yes, the biggest, boldest, Bastard ever! He will make Trudeau and every other PM look like boy-scouts in comparison.

    Why? Read my column above. Harper is quickly becoming the self-anointed Messiah.

    This Harper Messiah is emerging in response to the gloomy picture that he is painting of Canada's and Canadians past, present, and future.

    It is a brilliant self-serving prophecy!

  167. Paul's ironic, even cynical tone echoes my own diffidence about these stumping speeches. But the fears that Harper is articulating are more than mere campaign rhetoric. A coalition government whose core policies were impacted by NDP ideology would be seriously problematic for Canada. And if, as seems probable, the Bloc were also a coalition partner the result would be unalloyed disaster. In that regard Harper has a point.

    Notwithstanding the Liberals' protestations of innocence, this untimely election is their doing. Had they been willing, they could have debated the 2011 budget and negotiated something acceptable to both themselves and the government. For that reason we can take a grim satisfaction in the polls that show the Liberals slowly sliding out of popular favour.

    Nevertheless our experience shows that a Conservative minority government works better than would an outright Tory majority. The need to win Liberal legislative consent has moderated the wilder Bircheresque tendencies of the CPC's Reform-Alliance fringe. Outlawing abortion and privatizing prisons are measures well beyond the reach of a Tory minority regime.

    Perhaps an election that brings us yet another Tory minority will not be so bad a thing, so long as the Liberals sincerely commit to sharing in the responsibilities of government.

    • That's an interesting question. If harper wins another minority will the libs ditch Ignatieff and seek some kind of reapproachment with Harper, under a new leader? Or has too much bad blood been spilt? If the later then we can see the opposition bringing Harper down almost immediately. And it'll be legit if the numbers are close. It's the very same thing Harper proposed in 04. Now that would be an interesting poll question. Given what we now know about 04, do you believe SH's assertion that he was NOT trying to become PM?

      • I think it depends how good he does at the end of this election, I would ditch him ASAP, but the LPC is naive enough and hold on to him longer, that would be a mistake, as much fun as he seems to be having in this election, that`s all there is, he just doesn`t have it, look talking without teleprompters, being engaging, open to journalists, are good attributes and that`s a good but he still doesn`t have the instincts, the mind of a politician, he is an intellectual but NOT a politician.

        • You just made the case for keeping him.

          • I disagree look at Obama, they talk pretty but that's about it!

          • It was really good actually , thanks!

      • Good idea! My reply would be "Not for a moment!"

  168. Paul's ironic, even cynical tone echoes my own diffidence about these stumping speeches. But the fears that Harper is articulating are more than mere campaign rhetoric. A coalition government whose core policies were impacted by NDP ideology would be seriously problematic for Canada. And if, as seems probable, the Bloc were also a coalition partner the result would be unalloyed disaster. In that regard Harper has a point.

    Notwithstanding the Liberals' protestations of innocence, this untimely election is their doing. Had they been willing, they could have debated the 2011 budget and negotiated something acceptable to both themselves and the government. For that reason we can take a grim satisfaction in the polls that show the Liberals slowly sliding out of popular favour.

    Nevertheless our experience shows that a Conservative minority government works better than would an outright Tory majority. The need to win Liberal legislative consent has moderated the wilder Bircheresque tendencies of the CPC's Reform-Alliance fringe. Outlawing abortion and privatizing prisons are measures well beyond the reach of a Tory minority regime.

    Perhaps an election that brings us yet another Tory minority will not be so bad a thing, so long as the Liberals sincerely commit to sharing in the responsibilities of government.

  169. And just last week I kept hearing just how much of a right-wing rag Maclean's is.

    It's the magazine which manages to offend all partisans, apparently.

  170. Regardless of your political leanings, comparing Harper to Gaddafi is a great way to ensure you won't be taken seriously.

  171. Yes. I'm pretty sure neither of us were saying anything about Harper's comments.

  172. Yes. I'm pretty sure neither of us were saying anything about Harper's comments.

  173. That is over and might I add that the Liberals cooperated with the investigation. People were held accountable and suitable action taken.

    Harper has free range, does what he wants and then tells people how to think and feel. Many will follow, just because he told them to. He is one great puppet master, not a Prime Minister for Canada

    Hold Harper Accountable! Conservative Party members need to find a leader that will not change who they are and redefine the party as the Harper Party.

  174. I don't think they tried to get him to stop talking about the coalition, in as so much as they really wanted him to also talk about something else. Anything else.

  175. Nice link

  176. I agree with Mike T. – the Conservative response to the argument you propose would be "Michael Ignatieff won't disavow a coalition of losers", which would be accurate under the circumstances (still grossly unfair as an attack, but accurate).

  177. I agree with Mike T. – the Conservative response to the argument you propose would be "Michael Ignatieff won't disavow a coalition of losers", which would be accurate under the circumstances (still grossly unfair as an attack, but accurate).

  178. Exactly. Funny how Harper will never work with the opposition in parliament. Except for when he does, then he's been forced into it and he is still somehow evil because of it. All about attitude, I guess? Who knows. I'm prepared for the barrage of answers about how Harper hates Canada.

  179. Exactly. Funny how Harper will never work with the opposition in parliament. Except for when he does, then he's been forced into it and he is still somehow evil because of it. All about attitude, I guess? Who knows. I'm prepared for the barrage of answers about how Harper hates Canada.

  180. Who, the media? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it their job to get a new or interesting angle for their stories? A reporter can't live on approved speaking points alone. It's like trying to stay healthy on a Kraft Dinner diet.

  181. All I know is he leading and going up up up.Shades of the Dion era, who nobody remembers.Bye bye Iggy

  182. Don't know if you're right about the 90's libs? Without adscam Harper would be out of politics by now; even then it took a little help from the RCMP to push them over the edge.

    "Had it not been for the disintegration of the conservative party in 1993, I think almost every paper in the country except for the Toronto Star would have supported the Tories since 1979. "

    Sorry, that doesn't make any sense. :)

    Even sorrier…it does now.

  183. Don't know if you're right about the 90's libs? Without adscam Harper would be out of politics by now; even then it took a little help from the RCMP to push them over the edge.

    "Had it not been for the disintegration of the conservative party in 1993, I think almost every paper in the country except for the Toronto Star would have supported the Tories since 1979. "

    Sorry, that doesn't make any sense. :)

    Even sorrier…it does now.

  184. I could see us winding up with an NDP or BQ government under such a system. The two major parties would cancel each other out (as their supporters would most likely vote the other as their most disliked), leaving the NDP or BQ with the only positive integers.

  185. What you're suggesting they're doing is making themselves the story. That isn't journalism.

  186. How about Corporations paying at least as much as personal tax payers

    Federal – Personal Tax Rates for 2011 are:
    ◦15% on the first $41,544 of taxable income, +
    ◦22% on the next $41,544 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income between $41,544 and $83,088), +
    ◦26% on the next $45,712 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income between $83,088 and $128,800), +
    ◦29% of taxable income over $128,800.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________
    Federal – Corporation tax rates
    For Canadian-controlled private corporations claiming the small business deduction, the net tax rate is:

    ◦11% effective January 1, 2008
    For the other corporations, the net tax rate will decrease as follows:

    ◦19.5% effective January 1, 2008
    ◦19% effective January 1, 2009
    ◦18% effective January 1, 2010
    ◦16.5% effective January 1, 2011
    ◦15% effective January 1, 2012

  187. How could ignatief not see Harper's strategy coming. It was obvious and Ignatief tried to ignore it. What kind of strategy is that? Did Ignatief believe his media friends would play along with the shell game of hide-the-coalition?

    How can Canadian's even consider electing a PM who can't comprehend a simple strategy like that?

  188. How could ignatief not see Harper's strategy coming. It was obvious and Ignatief tried to ignore it. What kind of strategy is that? Did Ignatief believe his media friends would play along with the shell game of hide-the-coalition?

    How can Canadian's even consider electing a PM who can't comprehend a simple strategy like that?

    • I can definitely consider electing Michael Ignatieff as my leader precisely because he is not endowed with the low cunning which has become the currency in Ottawa of late. A leader brings a culture to the job, and I like what Ignatieff has to offer much better than Harper's stuff. In an election we get to choose. My hope for Canada is that we will act collectively in large numbers to put away the bottom feeders and allow a man Aristotle would probably consider a fit ruler to create a better, more just Canada.

  189. Wells & Coyne are desperate contemplating a Harper majority gov't … because that would mean they would have to report on the facts instead of the rumours and slime.

    The Canadian media mavens must be in sheer panic mode facing the inevitability of a Harper majority … and the total collapse into oblivion of their beloved Liberials ….!!!!

  190. Wells & Coyne are desperate contemplating a Harper majority gov't … because that would mean they would have to report on the facts instead of the rumours and slime.

    The Canadian media mavens must be in sheer panic mode facing the inevitability of a Harper majority … and the total collapse into oblivion of their beloved Liberials ….!!!!

  191. What is it about the Conservatives that attracts a voter who takes the online identity of "Cracker"? Do you have any idea of the racist history of that term? Or maybe you don't have enough degrees, yet, to know.

  192. By the way, has anyone noticed the picture. Mrs. Harper has on a pretty grim face. Her body language since the outset when Harper emerged from seeing the Governor General tells us everything that we need to know.

    Perhaps she has been shell-shocked by Harper's high pressured campaign of doom and gloom if voters don't elect him Prime Minister for life! She will become a Prime Ministerial widow, watching from behind the curtain as Harper performs the third Act of his trilogy.

    • She was lovely when we met her, and very very funny.I think you read too much into it.havent seen Mrs iggy

  193. By the way, has anyone noticed the picture. Mrs. Harper has on a pretty grim face. Her body language since the outset when Harper emerged from seeing the Governor General tells us everything that we need to know.

    Perhaps she has been shell-shocked by Harper's high pressured campaign of doom and gloom if voters don't elect him Prime Minister for life! She will become a Prime Ministerial widow, watching from behind the curtain as Harper performs the third Act of his trilogy.

  194. You're both right and wrong, tobyornotoby. What you call "daring to investigate" turned out to be a slander authored by Jean Chretien. We got off cheap on that one. And the proceeds of the settlement went to charity. The Oliphant Commission found Mulroney's deal with Schreiber to be foolish but not criminal or even improper.

    But boy, you're sure right about wanting both Grits and Tories to be accountable. Amen!

    • You're completely wrong. Oliphant was prohibited by his terms of reference from making any detemination about criminality, but he did find that Mulroney wasn't credible when he attempted to explain the difference between his testimony at the defamation trial and his later admission that he met with KHS in private on at least three occasions and took money from him which he hid from Revenue Canada and then disclosed voluntarily after it became known. Oliphant went as far as his terms of reference would let him go.

      The defamation lawsuit hinged on Mulroney's claim that he had only known KarlHeinz Schreiber peripherally, which is a bald faced lie because he now admits he took the money. So where's our $2 million settlement?

      • I’m no supporter of Mulroney but you are misstating some of the facts. The defamation lawsuit did not hinge on Mulroney’s representations about Schreiber but rather on the defamatory RCMP letter published with the knowledge and consent of the Chretien Liberals. The letter purported to allege a kickback on the Airbus contract which was not and could not be proven. That is outright slander and Mulroney’s $2 million settlement was far from excessive. For that reason there can be no question of recoupment. The authors of that misfortune were the Chretien Liberals.

        But I don’t dispute what you say about the limits of the Oliphant Commission mandate. On that you are quite right. Nor do I defend Mulroney’s handling of the cash in the safe. What in the world could he have been thinking? Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of the Oliphant Commission is the fear it struck – however briefly – in the hearts of officials who might otherwise think of slitting the public purse.

        • No I'm not, the case hinged on whether the RCMP had a reason to send the letter .You must not understand that the letter can only be considered defamatory if it isn't true.

          It's perfectly reasonable for the RCMP to investigate allegations even if they turn out to be unfounded, but that's another discussion and it turns out that the allegations were true. Mulroney was a close associate of the man at the centre of the bribery scandal, and now admits that he took secret cash payments from him.

          Mulroney lied in discovery when he pretended he had only a peripheral relationship with KHS. If he had admitted that he had not only met KHS but taken cash payments on three separate occasions his case against the RCMP and the government of Canada would have been in shreds and the government wouldn't have paid the $2million settlement.

      • Who set the terms of the Oliphant commission? Was it not Harper? Just asking.

    • Mother_of_12 wow, how you do that? with three I am on my toes : )

      I do agree with your comment wholeheartedly, do not get me started about Mulroney, what a disgrace!

  195. You're both right and wrong, tobyornotoby. What you call "daring to investigate" turned out to be a slander authored by Jean Chretien. We got off cheap on that one. And the proceeds of the settlement went to charity. The Oliphant Commission found Mulroney's deal with Schreiber to be foolish but not criminal or even improper.

    But boy, you're sure right about wanting both Grits and Tories to be accountable. Amen!

  196. Thumbs up from me. And I can get you a toe too, hell I can get one by 3 o'clock!

  197. Ignatief has denied a coalition if he wins the most seats. If he doesn't win the most seats, what are his plans? He has not said.

  198. Ignatief has denied a coalition if he wins the most seats. If he doesn't win the most seats, what are his plans? He has not said.

    • Yes he has. He's catagorically ruled out a coalition. There are other possibilities; one of which involves gaining the cooperation of the parties issue by issue – as Harper has done.

  199. Nobody knows what's going to happen, yet. We haven't seen any polls yet that reflect people's reaction to the Liberal and NDP platforms. We haven't had the debates, yet. There's still a month to go. Things won't really gel until about 9 to 10 days before the vote, then the last 3 days will be spent getting out the vote. Me, I'm waiting for Wikileaks — the Harper edition. Expect it around April 20th.

    • Yes, bring on the wiki leaks on the Afghan War and Canada's treacherous cover up!

  200. Nobody knows what's going to happen, yet. We haven't seen any polls yet that reflect people's reaction to the Liberal and NDP platforms. We haven't had the debates, yet. There's still a month to go. Things won't really gel until about 9 to 10 days before the vote, then the last 3 days will be spent getting out the vote. Me, I'm waiting for Wikileaks — the Harper edition. Expect it around April 20th.

  201. So you are just going to continue on in deliberate ignorance about the realities of our democratic system, choosing instead to accuse it of being "stupid". Noted.

  202. Yes, bring on the wiki leaks on the Afghan War and Canada's treacherous cover up!

  203. That actually would not be legitimate because it doesn't address the relevatn issues.

    Nice try though.

  204. I'm not suggesting that they make themselves the story, and what I am suggesting is most certainly journalism.

    What you're suggesting is that journalists should be nothing more than Press Release propagation devices. I think that's a little naive.

  205. Either Harper alone, without being held in check by the other parties, is an economic disaster, or he's lying.

  206. This may be Harper's strategy.

  207. Yeah, but you honestly think Harper couldn't foresee what would happen if income trusts stayed legal.

  208. Hello Mr. Bennett
    Did you miss the words "I think" on purpose or by mistake?
    You may not like what Canadians think but they are pretty clear. Mr. Harper has failed in every bid to get a majority government, do you have any theories or thoughts on that?
    Did you know more than 60% of respondents surveyed believe that we are headed for another minority, which makes sense.
    Everyone is fine with you posting what "you think" about the election.
    I think (<- notice those words there Mr. Bennet) you just don't like the idea of another wasted election, another minority government and the end of Mr. Harper.
    Do you really believe that Canadians think Mr. Harper was in the dark when it came to Mr. Carson's background?

  209. Btu the CPC lie would ahve been the same either way.

  210. You DO realize that the Sun chain AND the Canwest papers AND the national Post AND Macleans AND half of the G&M AND much of CTV AND the corus radio network AND … AND … AND … are all conservative? I realize that part of the conservative strategy is to make people think what's up is down and what's down is up by simply making stuff up, but nowadays, people really aren't at stupid as you guys think. At the end of the day, the Cons have oversold their claims about Iggy. The more people see him (and really, after a week nobody is really paying attention yet) the more they realize how full of it Harper has been. The policies will be laid out side by side and they will see him in the debates and everyone will realize the Liberals actually have a plan, while the Conservatives don't and don't WANT a plan because they don't believe in government, except to push people around. They are creating a fend for yourself canada where infant mortality is on the rise, homelesses is increasing, and we're all getting poorer relative to the rest of the OECD. Their plans have produced terrible results in the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand and neo-conservatives (that includes Labour's Blair) all got thrown out — because their policies were based in fantasy and simply failed.

  211. Oh boo hoo. We live in a largely capitalist nation, where corporate-owned, advertiser-funded media couldn't get away with questioning consumption and ownership models if their lives depended on it, but you don't hear left-wingers bleating about that. But lord, every time a Conservative politician is held to the same scrutiny and, sometimes, ridicule that every other politician faces, suddenly we have to listen to wails from the right wing about how "biased" the media is. Oh god! How could the media possibly not side with you all the time?!! How could the media possibly acknowledge that there are people with values other than yours in this country?!! The sense of entitlement is staggering.

  212. There are ways, Dude. You don't wanna know.

  213. There many possible outcomes.

    harper is simply lying.

  214. Can't agree with you, Andrew. I am already in severe financial dire straits because of the advices of Messrs Harper and Flaherty. I am officialy a senior citizen and any cuts to my pension would be devastating. As far as I am concerned, this government is contributing to the great transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to corporations and the wealthy.

  215. If Harper does not gain his majority, and his new minority loses the confidence of the House, I fear that he will loudly trumpet that a "coalition" has overturned his government EVEN IF the new government does not include cabinet ministers from more than one party (which is, after all, the literal definition of a coalition).

    There's a difference between a coalition and a government which is propped up on an issue-by-issue basis, but the Conservatives are likely not to make a distinction between the two.

    • harper will say coalition under any circumstances.

    • …a necessary coalition, not necessarily called a coalition… Liberal Separatist double talk. Translation… Power at any cost.

  216. If Harper does not gain his majority, and his new minority loses the confidence of the House, I fear that he will loudly trumpet that a "coalition" has overturned his government EVEN IF the new government does not include cabinet ministers from more than one party (which is, after all, the literal definition of a coalition).

    There's a difference between a coalition and a government which is propped up on an issue-by-issue basis, but the Conservatives are likely not to make a distinction between the two.

  217. Stephen Harper was
    0) The first person to realize that Brian Mulroney was a slime ball.
    1) Harper was right on Free Trade. Ignatieff was AWOL.
    2) The only major political figure in Canada to stand with Trudeau and Canadians against Charlottetown. Harper had too drag Preston kicking and screaming to oppose Charlottetown. Ignatieff was AWOL.
    3) the person who correctely identified the seriousness of Canada's debt and deficit problem in the nineties, and argued that the budget could be balanced in 3-4 years. Chretien and Martin basically adopted a Harper-lite version of this plan, after having argued that it was ridiculous. Ignatieff was AWOL.
    4) Harper was the first person to articulate the need for the Clarity Act. Ignatieff was AWOL for the 1996 referendum.
    5) Harper was wrong on the Iraq war. But then so were Martin and Ignatieff. Harper had an excuse. Foreign policy wasn't his thing then. What was Ignatieff's excuse for being the most prominent progressive voice in the world for the neoconservative unnecessary war.
    6) Harper managed the economic crisis extremely well. He was non-ideological and adopted mainstream economic ideas about how the crisis should be managed. His stimulus program was smaller, faster, and more effective than Obama's. (Obama's stimulus program was slow and ideologically driven.) Harper held his nose and bailed out GM and Chrysler.

    On the big issues facing Canada for the last 25 years, Stephen Harper has mostly been right. Ignatieff mostly decided that Canada was worthy of his attention.

    Yep…there are a lot of things wrong with Stephen Harper, but his batting average on the things that have really mattered has been exceptional.

  218. You're completely wrong. Oliphant was prohibited by his terms of reference from making any detemination about criminality, but he did find that Mulroney wasn't credible when he attempted to explain the difference between his testimony at the defamation trial and his later admission that he met with KHS in private on at least three occasions and took money from him which he hid from Revenue Canada and then disclosed voluntarily after it became known. Oliphant went as far as his terms of reference would let him go.

    The defamation lawsuit hinged on Mulroney's claim that he had only known KarlHeinz Schreiber peripherally, which is a bald faced lie because he now admits he took the money. So where's our $2 million settlement?

  219. Nik is conservative now? I can't keep track anymore.

  220. Nik is conservative now? I can't keep track anymore.

  221. Yes, if only Scott Brison had thought to email him about it from that Cabinet meeting, instead of just a few bankers…oh well, it all worked out in the end.

  222. Yes, if only Scott Brison had thought to email him about it from that Cabinet meeting, instead of just a few bankers…oh well, it all worked out in the end.

    • Non sequitur.

      • How's that? I'm not following you…Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

  223. As we can see from this discussion, there is always a ready lie. It used to be "they won't deny it, so there's a coalition", now it's "theyd idn't deny it soon enough, so there is a coalition."

    Look, if people are willing to believe Harper on this, the truth won't matter.

  224. Mother_of_12 wow, how you do that? with three I am on my toes : )

    I do agree with your comment wholeheartedly, do not get me started about Mulroney, what a disgrace!

  225. I can definitely consider electing Michael Ignatieff as my leader precisely because he is not endowed with the low cunning which has become the currency in Ottawa of late. A leader brings a culture to the job, and I like what Ignatieff has to offer much better than Harper's stuff. In an election we get to choose. My hope for Canada is that we will act collectively in large numbers to put away the bottom feeders and allow a man Aristotle would probably consider a fit ruler to create a better, more just Canada.

  226. And your point is? Look, if the CPC and Liberals both dislike each other so much, and there are enough of them to move the vote that way, why *should* it be either of them? Give it to a party that has less antipathy toward them and presumably Canadians would be happier.

    And if they're not, perhaps next time they'll stop voting on the sports team analogy and actually start paying attention to policies.

    Strikes me as win-win.

    Certainly better than the farce were in now.

  227. And your point is? Look, if the CPC and Liberals both dislike each other so much, and there are enough of them to move the vote that way, why *should* it be either of them? Give it to a party that has less antipathy toward them and presumably Canadians would be happier.

    And if they're not, perhaps next time they'll stop voting on the sports team analogy and actually start paying attention to policies.

    Strikes me as win-win.

    Certainly better than the farce were in now.

  228. Aw, come on! Welles is no Conservative. He has a good sense of humour.

  229. Harper comes across as very patronizing. It's extremely insulting that he even considers using this tactic because it shows how little he thinks of our intellect. Maybe the fact that people eat it up is actually the sad part.
    He's trying to play the wise religious father figure, come children, gather round and bask in my wisdom, i shall tell you how the world really is and how my sage advice will keep you on solid ground.
    I am not a child or intellectually deficient, Mr. Harper, enough with the pseudo poetry and faintly emotional facial expressions (you know he worked really hard on those). His performances and words are so anticlimatic and discouraging of intelligent debate, although I'm sure now he fancies himself an inspiring orator.

  230. So, let me get this straight…Harper has set up a two-way race, winner takes all. You either vote Harper or Coalition. No other choice. Now, when a majority inevitably vote "coalition", will he concede that "only winners get to form government"? I doubt it.

    If the choices are as laid out by Harper, he could receive a massive parliamentary majority supported by , say 42% of the public and opposed by 58%. Now, that 58% voted for the Coaltion demon.

    Can someone explain to me why losers both form government and don't form goverment?

  231. This election is about the politics of fear (conservatives) and the politics of hope (Liberals). I'm hopeful that my fellow Canadians are hopeful and refuse to fall for the fear mongering.

    • Yeah, nothing sells Liberal supporters more then empty vacuous slogans… "Hope and Change"… "The Just Society"… Wake up dude!

  232. This election is about the politics of fear (conservatives) and the politics of hope (Liberals). I'm hopeful that my fellow Canadians are hopeful and refuse to fall for the fear mongering.

  233. Non sequitur.

  234. "coalition" is not on the ballot either.

  235. he sure as heck is when his findings disagree with my wishes; this isn't complicated NG!

  236. LOL don't give me credit for the counterpoint, that goes to Critical Reasoning…

    Not that I think we shouldn't continue a rant against the media (Wells and Coyne excepted, of course)!

  237. You must work for the media. Or the Liberal party.

  238. The problem with Harper is his base made up of people who have a deep emotional need for an authoritarian leader. They want a king, divinely ordained and infallible, so that they can exult in his power when he and his minions break his own laws, and they can become swords of the lord when ordered to exact vengeance in his name. Take the attack ads. Harper brought back Orwell's 2 minutes of hate. Normally hatred is forbidden in our culture, but King Stephen has told us that it's not only allowed, it is required that we gather around our televisions and revile the scapegoat, the lowly Ignatieff. What's more, there will be lots of prisoners to torment, not to mention refugees to incarcerate and banish. Can unwed mothers be far away? It's emotionally fulfilling to be a Harper supporter. We will get all those guilt-free pleasures hating target groups!

    • Huh, I do vote for Harper and I can assure you that there is not emotional need attached to it, I happen to believe he is a smart, disciplined fellow.

      You read to much fiction , my friend!

  239. The problem with Harper is his base made up of people who have a deep emotional need for an authoritarian leader. They want a king, divinely ordained and infallible, so that they can exult in his power when he and his minions break his own laws, and they can become swords of the lord when ordered to exact vengeance in his name. Take the attack ads. Harper brought back Orwell's 2 minutes of hate. Normally hatred is forbidden in our culture, but King Stephen has told us that it's not only allowed, it is required that we gather around our televisions and revile the scapegoat, the lowly Ignatieff. What's more, there will be lots of prisoners to torment, not to mention refugees to incarcerate and banish. Can unwed mothers be far away? It's emotionally fulfilling to be a Harper supporter. We will get all those guilt-free pleasures hating target groups!

  240. I'm wondering why reporters and columnists have been so willing to forget some key issues so quickly. this man led a his party to a vote of contempt of parliament. This is a man who hires criminals to ensure his strategic victory. This is a man who is allowed to own the economy issue despite putting this country into significant debt. This is a man who continues to lie to create panic with an electorate who is not interested in paying attention. This is a man who has made a joke of the national press core and they continue to write his glass is rosy and half full. Perhaps we should just eliminate the national press core. Let people figure it out for themselves without columnists and writers who live in the bubble and have forgotten what it means to be an average Canadian looking for opportunity and trying to get by.

    • There are many sound reasons for criticizing the Harper Conservatives but you don't mention them.

      The "contempt of parliament" thing was trumped up from the beginning and would never have stood a chance against a majority government. Canada's national debt is trivial compared with most nations, notably the US and UK. The truth or untruth of what Harper says requires proof that you do not offer, etc. etc.

      Why not attack the Conservatives where they're vulnerable? They squander public billions on the F-35 jet before it's even in production, follow a mistaken policy in Afghanistan, cut health and education funding while overspending on the military, their minister make careless mistakes… the list is lengthy.

      Best of all, those points can be reduced to pithy slogans like Arms Race, Guns and Butter, Cabinet Posts For The Stupid, The Forgotten Poor, No Child Left Alive, etc. etc. Keep it simple.

  241. I'm wondering why reporters and columnists have been so willing to forget some key issues so quickly. this man led a his party to a vote of contempt of parliament. This is a man who hires criminals to ensure his strategic victory. This is a man who is allowed to own the economy issue despite putting this country into significant debt. This is a man who continues to lie to create panic with an electorate who is not interested in paying attention. This is a man who has made a joke of the national press core and they continue to write his glass is rosy and half full. Perhaps we should just eliminate the national press core. Let people figure it out for themselves without columnists and writers who live in the bubble and have forgotten what it means to be an average Canadian looking for opportunity and trying to get by.

  242. How's that? I'm not following you…Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

  243. Oh, I hope no one minds but I am gloating : )

    Yes, yes, yeeeeeees, I have always said Harper will win over strategy.

    One of the things that I love about Harper is strategy, my life is surrounded by it because of work and he is so good at it but you also have to be focus like a laser beam, don't let nothing distract you and he does it well, not everyone can pull that off.

    This election will be won over strategy no issues, is not that I want to be a cynic and think that issues no matter but we know already what he is all about, the opposition has come a long way to be fair but it is too late for them (only when it comes to organization, the rest it's arguable IMO)

  244. Yes he has. He's catagorically ruled out a coalition. There are other possibilities; one of which involves gaining the cooperation of the parties issue by issue – as Harper has done.

  245. Don't forget Sir John A! Man, those mainstream pamphleteers were zealous back then!

  246. Most employees of media outlets are left of center (largely because of self-selection, I believe). By a wide margin. Some of them are deliberately biased, others don't even know how biased they are. Of course, many people see themselves as the center and everyone around them on the left and right. This is partly why people like Kady O'Malley always deny that there is bias, she thinks her politics are in the center.

  247. Only a Conservative supporter could look at the conservative media ownership and content and, while forgetting that the Prime Minister is a Consevative from the west, play the victim card.

  248. And somehow the Flames are managing, mmmm, still time Times Arrow, may 2nd we go to the polls : )

  249. And somehow the Flames are managing, mmmm, still time Times Arrow, may 2nd we go to the polls : )

  250. This is just more no coalition of losers nonesense. Parliament rules bud, whether you like it or not. Check it out – it's in the constitution.

  251. Wardo: "Asking for our 40 million dollars back they stole from us…"

    Nope. You're not even remotely close.

    From Wikipedia: "In the end the Commission concluded that $2 million was awarded in contracts without a proper bidding process, $250 thousand was added to one contract price for no additional work, and $1.5 million was awarded for work that was never done, of which $1 million had to be repaid. The total cost of the Commission was $14 million."

  252. She was lovely when we met her, and very very funny.I think you read too much into it.havent seen Mrs iggy

  253. Hahaha, Well's ALSO has an evil agenda ….. to be continued : )

  254. That's an interesting question. If harper wins another minority will the libs ditch Ignatieff and seek some kind of reapproachment with Harper, under a new leader? Or has too much bad blood been spilt? If the later then we can see the opposition bringing Harper down almost immediately. And it'll be legit if the numbers are close. It's the very same thing Harper proposed in 04. Now that would be an interesting poll question. Given what we now know about 04, do you believe SH's assertion that he was NOT trying to become PM?

  255. The coalition thingy was going to be a important factor in that election. Mr Ignatieff knew it, all those remotely connected in the election knew it. But still, on that first morning, in front of parliament, the Liberal leader fumbled a question on the subject. Had he had a categoric answer ready for the sure-to-be question he was going to be asked on the first day, he could have done serious damage to the Tory platform.

    It is too early to speak about a defining moment of the campaign but this was not a good start for the Liberal party.

    • It's odd because Liberals are such good liars. Perhaps Iggo didn't think his allies in the media would ask.

  256. The coalition thingy was going to be a important factor in that election. Mr Ignatieff knew it, all those remotely connected in the election knew it. But still, on that first morning, in front of parliament, the Liberal leader fumbled a question on the subject. Had he had a categoric answer ready for the sure-to-be question he was going to be asked on the first day, he could have done serious damage to the Tory platform.

    It is too early to speak about a defining moment of the campaign but this was not a good start for the Liberal party.

  257. Decima's latest poll has the gap down to 7 from 14. I wouldn't count on a Con majority just yet. It is still early.

  258. Decima's latest poll has the gap down to 7 from 14. I wouldn't count on a Con majority just yet. It is still early.

  259. I’m no supporter of Mulroney but you are misstating some of the facts. The defamation lawsuit did not hinge on Mulroney’s representations about Schreiber but rather on the defamatory RCMP letter published with the knowledge and consent of the Chretien Liberals. The letter purported to allege a kickback on the Airbus contract which was not and could not be proven. That is outright slander and Mulroney’s $2 million settlement was far from excessive. For that reason there can be no question of recoupment. The authors of that misfortune were the Chretien Liberals.

    But I don’t dispute what you say about the limits of the Oliphant Commission mandate. On that you are quite right. Nor do I defend Mulroney’s handling of the cash in the safe. What in the world could he have been thinking? Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of the Oliphant Commission is the fear it struck – however briefly – in the hearts of officials who might otherwise think of slitting the public purse.

  260. I don't know whether i'm disappointed or impressed. Only one call that i can see for Paul to be elevated to the senate. You're obviously not working hard enough sir!

  261. I don't know whether i'm disappointed or impressed. Only one call that i can see for Paul to be elevated to the senate. You're obviously not working hard enough sir!

  262. I think it depends how good he does at the end of this election, I would ditch him ASAP, but the LPC is naive enough and hold on to him longer, that would be a mistake, as much fun as he seems to be having in this election, that`s all there is, he just doesn`t have it, look talking without teleprompters, being engaging, open to journalists, are good attributes and that`s a good but he still doesn`t have the instincts, the mind of a politician, he is an intellectual but NOT a politician.

  263. Huh, I do vote for Harper and I can assure you that there is not emotional need attached to it, I happen to believe he is a smart, disciplined fellow.

    You read to much fiction , my friend!

  264. I like your contention that polysyllabic platform principles risk going over the voters' heads. I think that's a maxim that history has proven over and over.

  265. I like your contention that polysyllabic platform principles risk going over the voters' heads. I think that's a maxim that history has proven over and over.

  266. Good idea! My reply would be "Not for a moment!"

  267. Folks like you will not only lose us Quebec but possibly Western Canada as well. Anybody who believes this would not, create a profound antipathy in the West, does not understand the West at all.

  268. You could be right! Politics can be cruel – and usually are. Stephane Dion's only shortcomings were that he looked more like an auditor than a leader, spoke English with a strong accent and was an avowed citizen of France.

  269. You could be right! Politics can be cruel – and usually are. Stephane Dion's only shortcomings were that he looked more like an auditor than a leader, spoke English with a strong accent and was an avowed citizen of France.

  270. There are many sound reasons for criticizing the Harper Conservatives but you don't mention them.

    The "contempt of parliament" thing was trumped up from the beginning and would never have stood a chance against a majority government. Canada's national debt is trivial compared with most nations, notably the US and UK. The truth or untruth of what Harper says requires proof that you do not offer, etc. etc.

    Why not attack the Conservatives where they're vulnerable? They squander public billions on the F-35 jet before it's even in production, follow a mistaken policy in Afghanistan, cut health and education funding while overspending on the military, their minister make careless mistakes… the list is lengthy.

    Best of all, those points can be reduced to pithy slogans like Arms Race, Guns and Butter, Cabinet Posts For The Stupid, The Forgotten Poor, No Child Left Alive, etc. etc. Keep it simple.

  271. And when Harper fails to get a majority, will he try to form a coalition with anyone fool enough to trust him?

  272. And when Harper fails to get a majority, will he try to form a coalition with anyone fool enough to trust him?

  273. Terry Who? … CB-what? I watch CTV news and read MacLeans.

  274. The fact remains Wells as circuitously as he could finally agrees that the coaltion talk is a strategy. Hello, you are talking about the Conservative party here. They do nothing that isn't thought out when it comes to campaigning etc.
    To suggest that the coalition talk is baffegabb is naive to put it kindly. For parties who three weeks ago voted lack of confidence in the government to suddently have confidence in the government after a 6 week campaign is plain stupid.
    Obviously the polls do not indicate that Harper is hated as much by Canadians as by the Liberals and their friends on this board.
    There is no doubt no matter what Igantieff and the others say there will be some form of arrangement. Call it a coalition or some other name but they will not allow another Harper minority government to survive.

  275. The fact remains Wells as circuitously as he could finally agrees that the coaltion talk is a strategy. Hello, you are talking about the Conservative party here. They do nothing that isn't thought out when it comes to campaigning etc.
    To suggest that the coalition talk is baffegabb is naive to put it kindly. For parties who three weeks ago voted lack of confidence in the government to suddently have confidence in the government after a 6 week campaign is plain stupid.
    Obviously the polls do not indicate that Harper is hated as much by Canadians as by the Liberals and their friends on this board.
    There is no doubt no matter what Igantieff and the others say there will be some form of arrangement. Call it a coalition or some other name but they will not allow another Harper minority government to survive.

    • Strategies can still be a lie. Your last sentence is lacking a point. What you have described is perfectly legit…just ask SH circa 2004.

  276. It's parliamentary democracy in action. But remember, the coalition you so dislike is not inevitable. The logical twosome, if they stop and think and forgo personality-driven issues, is of the Tories and Liberals. Look at how well they're getting along in the UK.

  277. Whaddya mean despite what he says? It's what he and his party have been promising for years now.

  278. Really? Wow.
    And here I thought I was voting for a candidate.

    oh wait, I am and you're full of crap.

  279. I'm just going to keep posting this.

    Here's a link to the 2008 coalition document signed by Jack Layton, Gilles Duceppe and then Liberal leader Stephane Dion. http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/081201_Accord_en.pdf

    Please note the clause in item #3.

    "Furthermore, upon its formation, the government will put in place a permanent consultation mechanism with the Bloc Québécois."

    Let me translate this statement in more practical language. "Furthermore, this Liberal government will legally bind itself to granting the Bloc Quebecois special "consultation" status, meaning that nothing can be passed in parliament without it first being filtered through and disproportionately influenced by Quebec's interests. The rest of Canada be damned; we, the Liberals, want power at all costs"

    This document is legally binding until June 30, 2011. The preamble vaguely suggests that this accord was intended for the non-confidence vote in Jan. 2009, however, the language isn't definite. It really is the height of double-speak to see Ignatieff denying that he'd form a coalition when he's already legally bound to one.

  280. I'm just going to keep posting this.

    Here's a link to the 2008 coalition document signed by Jack Layton, Gilles Duceppe and then Liberal leader Stephane Dion. http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/081201_Accord_en.pdf

    Please note the clause in item #3.

    "Furthermore, upon its formation, the government will put in place a permanent consultation mechanism with the Bloc Québécois."

    Let me translate this statement in more practical language. "Furthermore, this Liberal government will legally bind itself to granting the Bloc Quebecois special "consultation" status, meaning that nothing can be passed in parliament without it first being filtered through and disproportionately influenced by Quebec's interests. The rest of Canada be damned; we, the Liberals, want power at all costs"

    This document is legally binding until June 30, 2011. The preamble vaguely suggests that this accord was intended for the non-confidence vote in Jan. 2009, however, the language isn't definite. It really is the height of double-speak to see Ignatieff denying that he'd form a coalition when he's already legally bound to one.

    • This agreement is no longer valid and has been rendered irrelevant by later events. . Please stop lying.

    • That is an economic accord, not the actual coalition document, which does NOT have Duceppe's signature, Einstein!

      • Guess i spoke too soon. Should have taken a second look. It is the coalition document – note there is no BQ signature. There was a separate economic accord which Duceppe did sign. Conservatives seem not too fond of distinctions when they don't support their spin and bilge.

        • Jeez it says right under the tittle in the sub heading that it is an agreement between the liberal party and the NDP – are you blind?

  281. I think you meant "refudiated".

  282. Finally, a reporter decided to use basic math. This election is all about numbers.

    Forget about the back to the 1970/s Liberal Platform, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place parties having a history of joining together to replace the 1st place party, and the 27 years that Iggy chose to live outside Canada.
    And I did not know what to think of the Lib celebrating over the poll that said that 46% of Canadians would vote Conservative to avoid a coalition.

    The real numbers to be concerned with are 77 and 143—-the LPC and CPC seat totals from 2008. Having shown no signs of popular support greater than 2008 I can not see how the Liberals will close that 67 seat difference.

  283. Finally, a reporter decided to use basic math. This election is all about numbers.

    Forget about the back to the 1970/s Liberal Platform, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place parties having a history of joining together to replace the 1st place party, and the 27 years that Iggy chose to live outside Canada.
    And I did not know what to think of the Lib celebrating over the poll that said that 46% of Canadians would vote Conservative to avoid a coalition.

    The real numbers to be concerned with are 77 and 143—-the LPC and CPC seat totals from 2008. Having shown no signs of popular support greater than 2008 I can not see how the Liberals will close that 67 seat difference.

  284. Everything north of southern Ontario (the 407) won’t be voting for the big three? So you’re predicting a Green party sweep? Does the Green party know this? Liz May will be ecstatic.

    The NOTA option occurs when you spoil your ballot. Some prefer staying home and not voting, but this doesn’t necessarily relay the right message.

  285. If only we could all be all non-delusional and unbiased as you s_c_f

  286. Interesting comments. As soon as the party which seems near to the 38+% threshold of majority government is "Conservative", the voters are stupid and the system is broken and illegitimate.

    The parliamentary and poll arithmetic is simple: LPC + NDP will not – realistically – win enough seats to govern without regular support of the BQ on confidence issues. The only way for Harper to be wrong about the prospect of a coalition is for the LPC + NDP to accept another couple of years of CPC minority gracefully. How likely is that?

  287. Interesting comments. As soon as the party which seems near to the 38+% threshold of majority government is "Conservative", the voters are stupid and the system is broken and illegitimate.

    The parliamentary and poll arithmetic is simple: LPC + NDP will not – realistically – win enough seats to govern without regular support of the BQ on confidence issues. The only way for Harper to be wrong about the prospect of a coalition is for the LPC + NDP to accept another couple of years of CPC minority gracefully. How likely is that?

  288. Paul is spot on. And the simple fact remains that 40% of the electorate will always be stupid enough to swallow this pablum. Harper very much relies on his evangelist background to adopt this "apocalyptic" rhetoric and like most religious gobbledy gook, it sells very well to the feeble minded.

    Personally, I've given up and resigned myself to the inevitable horrors of the coming Harper majority. It may be possible to salvage whats left of Canada if and when we can ever dislodge these crooks and cretins from Ottawa. Tyranny of the idiot minority.

  289. Paul is spot on. And the simple fact remains that 40% of the electorate will always be stupid enough to swallow this pablum. Harper very much relies on his evangelist background to adopt this "apocalyptic" rhetoric and like most religious gobbledy gook, it sells very well to the feeble minded.

    Personally, I've given up and resigned myself to the inevitable horrors of the coming Harper majority. It may be possible to salvage whats left of Canada if and when we can ever dislodge these crooks and cretins from Ottawa. Tyranny of the idiot minority.

  290. Truly said! Orthodox thinking has long been an unchallenged economist's shibboleth.

    Think tanks like the CD Howe and the Institute For Policy Alternatives may be doing excellent work but elections are won and lost not with policy declarations but with catchy slogans.

    But even so, there are good new ideas around that deserve to be heard. An example is John Ralston Saul's call for a national economic strategy. Not a partisan article of faith but rather a recognition that no one has yet done the Really Big Thinking. All we need is to package the idea in words of one syllable.

  291. Truly said! Orthodox thinking has long been an unchallenged economist's shibboleth.

    Think tanks like the CD Howe and the Institute For Policy Alternatives may be doing excellent work but elections are won and lost not with policy declarations but with catchy slogans.

    But even so, there are good new ideas around that deserve to be heard. An example is John Ralston Saul's call for a national economic strategy. Not a partisan article of faith but rather a recognition that no one has yet done the Really Big Thinking. All we need is to package the idea in words of one syllable.

  292. I'm a westerner and a supporter of Trudeau's tough line on Quebec. Do try and remember you only speak for yourself.

  293. I haven't played any cards. And I'm nto talking about the Sun chain or National Post or Global. The most leftist media outlets are the G&M, CTV and especially the TO Star and CBC.

  294. I never claimed I wasn't biased. I think Liberals are wrong and Conservatives are right about the best direction for Canadians. And I don't work for the media.

  295. CPC supporters: "look how much we degraded Canadian politics and got away with it! We have so much to be proud of! Yay!"

  296. harper will say coalition under any circumstances.