“He’s hiding!” “Who said that?” “The guy crouching in the flower pot, I guess”


Conservative war room malarkeygram of the day:


During the French language debate Stéphane Dion barely mentioned his signature policy — the Green Shift carbon tax.

Blah blah blah blah not a leader blah not worth the risk blah blahzzzzzzzsnarf

Now here’s the thing. I picked up a copy of the Liberal platform the other day, and the Green Shift was the entire first chapter of that document, which you can get online if you’re that rare soul who is unable to find election material during a campaign. Now, if I’m trying to bury a policy, I almost never make it Chapter 1 of my policy book. Because that almost never works.

Then I picked up a copy of Stephen Harper’s Leadership Matters Family Is Everything Look I Know How to Hold a Cello platform and….psyyyyyyyych. There is no Conservative platform. The guy who wanted the debate stretched out so we could discuss the economy won’t tell us what his economic policy for the next Parliament is.

What’s the problem? Staff cutbacks in John Howard’s office since he got turfed from power?


“He’s hiding!” “Who said that?” “The guy crouching in the flower pot, I guess”

  1. meow.

  2. “Blah blah blah blah not a leader blah not worth the risk blah blahzzzzzzzsnarf.”

    Now THAT was funny.

    (So was the Howard comment.)

  3. I wondered what Kody was up to the past hour or so…

  4. It couldn’t have been Kody. There’s less than 14 spaces between each line.

  5. Yes, Paul, we all watch debates to hear them say nice things about their neighbours and when we want to know what their policies are we go to policy books. If Dion thought Green Shift was a winner, he would have mentioned it far more often.

    I do agree with you, though, on Harper’s craptastic attempt to explain his economic policies and why they are the best for the country. Harper has lots of examples around the world at the moment for dire economies but he doesn’t mention them nor does he talk up Canada’s economy, which is doing pretty well compared to other G8 countries.

    Harper just makes assertions, not arguments.

  6. The Harper support team (war room, whatever) don’t even make assertions. They put on displays of asshattery and then wonder why the media doesn’t take them seriously.

  7. Mr. Dion is not, but my candidate Bryon Wilfert is. I received his campaign info the other day and there is not a single mention of the Green Shift or of a Carbon Tax or of Mr. Dion. Nothing. He does mention that his plan, “Bryon’s plan”, is to lower income taxes by 10%. But it does not speak of any increase in taxes.

    In addition to not making any reference to the leader of the Liberal Party, Mr. Wilfert is endorsed by Paul Martin, “Former Prime Minister & Minister of Finance”. We thought that was strange.

    I was more than a little disappointed. I thought Mr. Wilfert was a big supporter of Mr. Dion.

  8. Paul,

    It’s no wonder harper doesn’t need to release a platform or comment with substance on the economy – why? b/c all the reporters are doing this election is commenting on the polls and the polls are driving the stories…a circular chain of events almost self fullfilling…its funny to listen to CTV or read national post or even the globe and mail comment on regional polls on a daily basis with 7 , 8 or 9 % margin of errors..but do we see a discussion on the issues..or do you ever see mike duffy or rosemary brown asking the leaders especially the conservatives ..hey what is your position on this issue??? hmmm i guess it is reflection on the direction of journalistic quality in canada ..sadly

  9. Ouch, snap.

    The spin from the Tories this morning reveals a kool-aid drinking hangover of remarkable proportions.

  10. Isn’t harper running the classic in the lead campaign of lots of (creepy) smiling and not providing any real policies lest he is attacked. I mean the only policies i can think of are the youth crime thing and the arts cuts (I guess that wasn’t an election policy) and he was slammed pretty hard on them.

    I seem to recall Chretien not really putting out much policy in the elections after he was PM (yes I remember the red books).

  11. “Isn’t harper running the classic in the lead campaign of lots of (creepy) smiling and not providing any real policies”

    Absolutely. Which is what makes the charges of Liberals “hiding” policies a bit rich.


  12. Sunny: Pretty much. The amusing part is that both the youth crime thing and arts cuts are clearly intended to be “motherhood” issues that are guaranteed vote-getters. He wasn’t counting on the Bloc seizing on them to regain the nationalist vote, and quite possibly denying him any hope of a majority.

    (Indeed, if things keep going the way they are, with the Tories as embattled and defensive as they are right now, they might see their seat count reduced. Especially if that “Liberal bounce” everybody talks about kicks in.)

  13. Paul, calm down. Drink one less coffee.

  14. I thought the media was under direct orders NOT to talk about the Con’s non-platorm?

  15. I checked the Conservative web site. They have been saying that the Green Shift has been dropped by the liberals since SEPTEMBER FOURTH.

    you think they’d get a clue it wasn’t working.

  16. Harper’s powder-blue sweater, caring dad schtick appears not to have resonated with many Canadians. Instead, we’ve been treated to his version of scary Uncle Bad Touch with those menacing eyes and smary attitude.

    Stevie, where’s your platform?

  17. Paul, the debate may have been day 25 of the election for you. For the rest of us who have a life it was the first time to listen to Dion. It was weird he wasn’t talking to us about the 1st chapter of his policy book?

  18. And Francesco you’re right, you don’t see Rosemary Brown asking anybody much about anything these days… I guess that’s since she DIED in 2003.

    Rosemary Thompson is a CTV reporter, perhaps her?

  19. sorry yes rosemary thompson…my mistake….apologize

  20. Speaking of listening to Dion. The only site I could get the Debate was the CTV site and it was with english translation. I would like to hear the self proclaimed “eero” speak in his mother tongue as I would like to listen to Ms. May in her second tongue. I couldn’t get it on CPAC or Radio Canada last night. Any suggestions?

  21. I don’t know what everyone is talking about. Dion did mention his carbon tax shift plan. It isn’t his only policy, and as such I’m not surprised he was talking about other things.

  22. I got the debate on CPAC in French, real time streaming half a world away on a clanker of a broadband connection. It was on the main site, http://www.cpac.ca.

  23. Radio-Canada has full video of the debate on their website (www.radio-canada.ca). Click on the election logo, and look around.

  24. And forgot to add: read the macleans.ca bloggers (real comedians, all Daily Show wannabes) while May was speaking/screeching & afterwards. Funny, funny stuff.

  25. So I’ve been really busy at work today and didn’t get a chance to do a full roundup of all the media on the debates but…

    … is it me or no one is talking about Harper accusing the CMA of being a Liberal group?

  26. Patience, children. It seems to me that since the failure of their dawn patrol the Chuckies put out whatever they hope we’ll take seriously later in the day. Unlike a lot of us, they have the weird idea that the real election takes place on television. At supper time. Where they have their proper filters in place.

  27. Blah blah blah blah not a leader blah not worth the risk blah blahzzzzzzzsnarf

    Hey, blah, blah is what I use to diss T-guy! Plagiarism! :)

  28. Wells said in the liveblog something like “4 gang up on Harper” was the best headline Harper could ask for.

    I think “Opposition leader holds up ‘No Two-Tier Health Care’ sign” would be better.

  29. HEY, can’t Dion have a hidden agenda too? He just hid it IN the platform – delightfully Straussian (shout out to catherine)

  30. Paul,

    What are your thoughts on Gilles Duceppe? He seems to have (unfortunately) gotten a free ride. He did several about-faces in the past 2.5 years, and no one really talked about them or held him accountable.

    He considered voting against the Québécois nation motion, he trivialised the UNESCO seat (would he like to see it revoked, if he feels that strongly about its mere symbolism?), he voted for a motion containing “a strong and united Canada” in it, he never talks about sovereignty… He even quit as leader of the Bloc for a weekend.

    There is plenty of worthy attack material, and yet… Disappointing. So disappointing. The recent resurgence of the Bloc makes me sick.

    If Chrétien was there, he would surely have taken Duceppe down several notches.

  31. I watched the first hour of the debate and I heard Dion say “Green Shift” at least four times, as well as well as attempt to explain it for longer than I thought was good for him.

    I can understand the Con War Room saying whatever suits them – but those here in the comments trying to explain why Dion didn’t talk about the Green Shift must not have watched the same portion of the debate I did.

  32. Sorry, I realise my last post doesn’t fit into the general discussion, so I’ll add something witty relating to the subject:

    “You think it’s easy to hide priorities?”


  33. I think Duceppe came off this strong because Harper performed really poorly.

    I understand that Harper wanted to appear cool, calm and collected so as to undo the bully image he has built for himself but he went to the other extreme.

    That he was being ganged up on is a cop-out. I remember clear as day when Chretien and Martin faced off with opposing leaders. They still manage to fight back with aplomb.

    I personally feel vindicated in as much as I have been saying for ages that Harper was overrated and Dion was being caricatured into an imbecile.

    Everyone expects Dion to flounder tonight because it will be in English. One only has to look as far back as the LPC leadership debate to understand that they are, again, underestimating the man.

  34. If there is anyone hiding his environmental plan, it is Stephen Harper and his “Turning the Corner”, which everyone says will cost us money although many people think it will have little impact on GHGs. Harper has buried reports relevant to comparing his plan to others and has stated that he will not release any details on the cost of his plan until after the election. That is hiding.

  35. I should also add that Harper’s plan quotes a number of $65/ton (although only in ~2012) and no corresponding tax cuts. No one seems to worry about paying those increased bills though. Perhaps no one expects Harper to follow through on his promises.

  36. Good God, I’m printing this post and putting it on my wall.

    Forget what Caffeine Free says, if there’s any correlation between caffeine and these kinds of posts, hook up a damn IV drip.

  37. As a classical liberal, I can’t really endorse any of our statist parties. I confess, however, to a certain delight in knowing that four more years of Harper government (yes, it’s happening, one way or another) will cause unbridled, apoplectic rage among some of the more amusing “journalists” in this country. Bring on the venom! (Or is that just drool?)

  38. This begs the obvious question:
    If the green shift is the entire first chapter of the Liberal Platform, why didn’t Dion talk about it in the debate?

  39. “and no one really talked about them or held him accountable”

    Was anyone held accountable last night? Were we, the voters, held accountable?

    How are we to believe we can make this world a better place if policies such as proposed by May hold relevance within a debate, knowing full well that her unrealistic vision of target setting are out of this world.

    Yet, we seem to hold her views as realistic as those expressed by a PM who actually has to implement and oversee ALL aspects of an economy, not just the ‘Go Green or die’ attitued flying us into lala land.

    Who are we as responsible citizens to agree with such setting? It’s absurd, to say the least.

    Dion’s Green Shift should be talked about in depth, and soon we shall see the underlying difficulties present within his outcome.

    The approach by Harper, to go cautiously, may not politically play well, but for the future of our country it might the only possible choice.

    Why is it that reporters/bloggers of Maclain’s Magazine haven’t done some indepth reporting on the Green Shift. Dig a little deeper and one shall find!

  40. SF – He did – at considerable length, even. I have to say I am somewhat baffled by this line of criticism – “Stephane Dion is denying the Green Shift exists!” – when it is so obviously not true. I mean, why not criticize the plan itself? The permanent tax on everything! $10 heads of lettuce! Soylent Green Shift is people! At least those talking points make for an interesting debate. Denying reality, on the other hand, is just frustrating to anyone who has to take the contrary position.

  41. Let me paraphrase. How are we to believe we can make this world a better place if [insert policies I don’t like] such as proposed by [insert leader I don’t like] hold relevance within a debate

  42. I am getting a little tired about all this “catastrophic economic news” and Harper’s “lack of an economic policy.” I agree with the “steady as she goes approach.” Policy decsions made in haste tend to be bad decisions.

  43. There are many scandals here. Why did Harper refuse to talk about the fundamentals of the economy? Where was Layton’s mustache? Why did Elizabeth May refuse to raise her voice?

  44. First of all – the leaders had to respond to the questions asked, and Green Shift wouldn’t have fit into the “crime/arrest of 14 year olds”, gun bans, etc.

    Secondly, Dion DID talk about the Green Shift.

    And, Harper is so obsessed with the Green Shift…why? Perhaps because it’s working well in Sweden and Denmark and, sorry Jack, these countries have lower corporate taxes.

    A hurried partisan nasty attack means “instant” worry to me.

    So, if a journalist calls it like he sees it, the CPC supporters accuse them of being Liberals…pretty weak, pretty whiny and pathetic.

  45. Terry: You mean like fixed election dates? Or do you mean like ignoring the fixed election dates law? Oh, I know, perhaps you meant like a policy to not tax income trusts — or was that to tax income trusts once you’re in?

    “steady as she goes” typically involves not doing 180 degree spins on your policy as Harper repeatedly has.

  46. Re Dion talking/not talking about the Greenshift … Could it have anything to do with the liscencing agreement he has with Jennifer Wright ?

    Maybe Dion (and Lib MPs like Richmond Hill Girl’s MP Wilfert), has to pay a royalty to Wright every time they use the phrase during the campaign ?
    Unfortunately, we don’t have any details of the agreement. But we can assume the Libs are strapped for cash.

    And Ivision reported a few days ago that Lib Central may cut off funds for Dion’s campaign in the final days. So that kind of makes sense–Lib Central is calling the shots; fewer mentions of Greenshift, fewer plane trips, more use of YouTube, more cheap websites like bushharper, more targeted advertsising.

  47. Kady:

    Its not surprising that you are baffled by criticism of Stephane Dion, or his attempts to avoid the Green Shift. Here’s the thing: he actually tried to pretend that it wasn’t a major piece of his platform and accused the media of making it up.

    You then go on to suggest that everyone move onto other “talking points”, when in fact you are the personification of a Liberal talking point.

  48. The PM totally is trying to get all the way to the election without a platform.

    Think he’ll manage it?

  49. “The approach by Harper, to go cautiously,…”

    Turning the Corner is a scam.

    and a pig

    and a dog

    and a money pit.

    in its favour at least its not a trap. unless you chase the pig.

    The only thing cautious about it is making sure his oil buddies have something to show for it in 2020.

  50. comment by Ben on Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 1:22 pm: “…Think he’ll manage it?”

    He’s got decades of consumer enculturation working in his favour. You’d have to give me odds.

  51. Brian, you are simply repeating falsehoods. The Toronto Star published a “news” story saying that Dion said the Green Shift was not a central part of his platform but a couple days later they published a correction on page A2, saying that Dion never actually said that and in fact had said it was important and a foundational part of the platform.

    I realize it is difficult to get these things straight when one day a newspaper blares something on page one and then writes a retraction later on page two.

  52. What’s with this nonsense about Dion not talking about the Green Shift last night?

    Here’s a hint: Green shift is Tournant Vert in french. Now read through the debate transcript again and stop spouting nonsense.

    Is this really all that the Con War room could come up with?

  53. GtL: “He’s got decades of consumer enculturation working in his favour. You’d have to give me odds.”

    No odds, simply a prediction/guess —

    1. Is Harper trying to make it to the election w/o releasing a platform?

    2. If so, will he succeed?

  54. The bullying from the New Conservatives is sad.
    Not having a platform to defend in the first place is also sad.
    Only we political nerds are paying attention, while Mr. and Ms. Canada barely scan the headlines, which is sadder still.

  55. WHEREAS the incumbent party holds a comfortable lead in the polls at the time of the election call;

    WHEREAS said party appears not to have been penalized by breaking the spirit of its fixed-election call;

    WHEREAS opposition parties are splintering the political spectrum naturally aligned against said incumbent party;

    WHEREAS the lead opposition party leader has been mercilessly mocked by incumbent party so that this theme is the prevailing wisdom among the electorate;

    WHEREAS the main plank of the lead opposition party, whatever its possible merits, has been politically DOA, so that said lead opposition party is now rivalling third place opposition party for popular support;

    WHEREAS the incumbent party’s main campaign message is “we’re not them”;

    WHEREAS said incumbent party has the resources to get out the vote, unrivalled by any other party, given its broader grass-roots support;

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that said incumbemt party would rationally conclude that the absence of a platform is the preferred option in this election campaign.

    Only in Canada, eh? Pity. For Canada.

  56. Why isn’t Harper talking about turning northern Alberta into a mega-Springfield, complete with three-eyed frogs seeping from the shadows of the nuclear reactors? That’s the whole central part of his ‘environmental’ ‘energy power’ plan, after all. C’mon Mr Burns, talk about the green goo!

  57. Last word in Whereas #2 should be “law,” not “call.” Sorry.

  58. “I don’t read the Toronto Star”

    Imagine. Life absent the enlightenment of Tom Walkom, Linda Diebel, Linda McQuaig…….

  59. I’m waiting for Catherine and Kady to get back to me from clever clever land.

    In the meantime, I have a zip file to upload full of talking points for my Con-bot 3.0 operating system.

  60. Brian – If, at this point, you are still absolutely certain that you are correct when you assert that Dion is trying to pretend the Green Shift is no longer a fundamental part of the Liberal platform, I’m not sure if there is any evidence that could convince you otherwise. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  61. MYL has it dead on. The “conservatives” don’t want to rock the boat, as they like the course they see, and not enough Canadians are jumping up and down to get the course changed. Unless Harper does extremely poorly in the English debates, it’s unlikely you’ll see any policy change.

    Hell, let’s be honest, the conservative party did the bulk of their campaigning while they were in power, using untold amounts of taxpayer dollars for polling and campaign advertising in the form of 10 percenters. Now they’re just hoping all that government funding pays off and brings them to power again.

    If we, the electorate, don’t wake up and start taking a look at their Harpocrisy and waste, it’ll not only work, but it’ll cement it in the politicos heads that that’s the most effective way to do things.

  62. comment by Ben on Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 1:57 pm: “…1. Is Harper trying to make it to the election w/o releasing a platform?…”


    he needs his mandate

  63. Kady: I agree to disagree. I do agree with Wells point about how the conservatives shouldn’t throw stones from glass houses when they haven’t released a platform.

    T. Thwim: I also agree. The part you are missing is that the CPC is copying directly from the Chretien playbook, without the racketeering and laundering of taxpayers money into party coffers.

  64. Brian: Other than the in-and-out racketeering and laundering you mean.

  65. I guess thats the real choice in this election T.Thwim:

    Do you want a party that will steal and launder their own money, or

    Do you want a party that will steal and launder your money.

    You decide.

  66. So Brian, you do agree that the CPC laundered money, yes?

  67. Brian, the CBC article you link to originated from Mr. Brennan in the Toronto Star. I don’t know if CBC published an correction as well, but here is the correction on the original article.

    Toronto Star
    Pubdate:September 21, 2008 Page: A2 Section:News Edition:
    Liberal Leader Stephane Dion did not insist on Friday that the carbon tax is not a major part of his election platform, as was reported on Page A1 yesterday. Rather, in reply to a reporter’s question whether it was “the centre plank,” Dion said he never said it was, but in the same exchange Dion also said the carbon tax was an “important” policy and likened it to “the foundation” of the house.

  68. boudica: I left my wallet in my pants once and washed them. In doing so, I laundered my own money.

  69. WHAT?!? Wilfert’s literature doesn’t mention the green shift?

    I may be incorrect, but I thought that Jason Cherniak was Wilfert’s campaign manager. I am STUNNED that it wouldn’t be mentioned. Cherniak is about the only defender the green shift has.

  70. Brian: When Elections Canada pays back local campaigns for expenses they didn’t incur (but that the National Campaign did) that’s them laundering MY money.

  71. Brian, it was stealing our money. Since campaign expenses are partially reimbursed, their attempt to fraudulently exceed the cap was an attempt to get Canadians’ money back into CPC pockets.

  72. Thwim called it. The difference between the Conservatives and everybody else is that while they’ve been campaigning for a month or so, Harper’s bunch have been campaigning since, essentially, 2005.

    That’d almost be admirable, were they not using taxpayer’s dollars to do it, and were Canadians probably not terribly enthusiastic about America exporting her “permanent campaign” there. But that’s what they got. As it is, it just shows that the public financing doesn’t go far enough, because it ignores funding disparities in the inter-election period.

  73. Thank you catherine! I never saw that correction. I did see the original story and the CBC’s story-about-the-story that Brian just trotted out.

    What was particularly odd about both stories was that they began with a quote that was an answer to a question, but totally failed to give the question, itself. That, right away, made me suspicious.

    The other odd thing was that the Liberal platform was released two days after that and, as Paul points out here, it features The Green Shift as chapter 1.

    But boy, the Conservative war room really pumped the idea that Dion was abandoning the Green Shift, and media really ran with it. I’m sure Brian wasn’t the only one who was left with this false impression.

    Now we find out that the Star somehow accidentally forgot to mention that Dion actually described the policy as “important” and “foundational.” Oops.

    This is one of the most striking examples of the utter failure of the media in covering this campaign.

  74. Here is what I can’t reconcile: the people who are so convinced that Harper and the CPC are a band of thieves because they disgree with some legal interpretation of election law are the same people who are willing to defend and vote for the Liberal party. To do so, they have to either subscribe to the notion that “all politicians are crooks”, or look past blatant criminality.

    There is nothing in the in-and-out non-scandal that is morally equivalent to what the Liberal party did:

    – set up a program (ie. racket) to use taxpayer money (ie. steal) to hire their friends and senior party members (ie. cronies) with fake contracts where little or no work was performed (ie. fraud), and these friends would return the favor by donating (ie. launder) bags full of the stolen money back to the Liberal Party.

    If you leave out the harleys, eye patches/wooden legs and good pasta – the Liberal party is a criminal enterprise no better than biker gangs, pirates, or the mafia. I will concede that Stephane Dion is an honourable man, but cannot vote or and forgive him or his party — at least not until they return the $40 million they owe us.

    For all the talk of the CPC having an electoral advantage by transferring their money from national to local campaigns, the liberals have see no irony in the fact that a)they financed two campaigns with money they stole directly from taxpayers, and b) they, like all the other parties, have been using the same in-and-out routine for years.

  75. Kady,

    what would be your response be to the following (directly quoted out of the Green Shift “literature”):

    “Canada faces a very real threat from other countries that are increasinly studying whether to impose tariffs on Canadian goods so that their carbon content is taken into account. This threat to our competiteveness comes from failing to act, not from acting. We need to stand with the world’s green leaders rather than stand with environmental laggards facing new trade barriers.
    We will build carbon pricing into our stategy for international trade, endeavouring where possible to ensure that goods from countries that are not pricing carbon will face a tariff reflective of carbon content.”

    And how do you see this as being consistent with the Liberal stand in Bali?

  76. Yesterday, we discussed that it was reasonable for a group or person to challenge on another person’s action in court (court challenge to the fixed election’s law).

    Surely, the Conservative party of Canada has the right to challenge Elections Canada in our courts, not?

Sign in to comment.