It wasn’t raining icebergs when the guy who built the Titanic built the Titanic


“As you know, in spite of my age I’m quite a veteran of these constitutional wars. I think I’ve learned a lot from them. And I think we’ve demonstrated pretty clearly that we’re moving this in the right direction. I don’t think it’s been moving in such a positive direction in a very long time. Who would have thought, even 25 or 30 years ago, we’d have a Parti Québécois that doesn’t even want to talk about a referendum on sovereignty, let alone sovereignty, and a so-called sovereignist leader in Ottawa who now says he’s campaigning for federalist votes, and who doesn’t want to talk about sovereignty. I do think we’re moving this in the right direction. I know a lot about what happened before, and I think we’ve learned from it. It will always be something that requires careful management, but I really do think on this one we’re on the right track.”

— Stephen Harper, in an interview with Maclean’s three days into this campaign

“Also in the platform, the Tories have upped the stakes in their bid to remake the Senate, vowing to abolish the chamber if they are frustrated by Senators in their bid to bring in term limits and an election process for the Upper House.”

Globe and Mail report, today

“[Quebec constitutional-affairs minister Benoît] Pelletier said the Senate, intended to represent the provinces in counter-weight to representation by population in the House of Commons, was ‘part of the essential conditions presiding (over) the birth of Canada.”

“As a result, he said the chamber can’t be significantly changed without the approval of the provinces.”

— CTV news, May 23


It wasn’t raining icebergs when the guy who built the Titanic built the Titanic

  1. Meech Lake? Last one in’s a dirty, rotten egg!

  2. There was a great editorial cartoon a while back of Harper wearing a “Brian Mulroney” mask.

    The caption was:
    “Isn’t it a bit early for Hallowe’en, Mr. Harper”?

  3. Steph: I don’t think he visited Charlottetown when he was in PEI last month, though.

  4. I wonder if the Senate thing is to throw a bone to his supporters because they must be going out of their minds about now. All that pandering today is pretty pathetic and is not going to impress many of his supporters. Harper’s slogan for the party should be “Vote for us, we’re slightly less socialist than the other parties!”.

  5. As another aside… I thought the arts and culture cuts were to save Canada from immoralistic hordes.

    Throwing it out there – is there one principle Harper claims that he actually holds true? Or is everything negotiable?

  6. jwl: I’d expect so. With these types of polls, Harper has to be looking at his political future, and the Conservative Convention isn’t that far behind the election.

  7. Paul,

    It looks to me that the voters are reverting to their regional tribes: Quebec-First Nation (Bloc), Buffalo-First Nation (Alberta and Saskatchewan — Reform), Ontario-First Nation (Liberal), BC and Manitoba -First Nation (Reform-NDP)and Atlantic-First Nation (Anybody who will provide the handout).

    The media, french and english, gave Duceppe the tools to get the re-entrenchment started but others will quickly follow suit. The voters will get the balkanized House they deserve and this time it could be ugly — what would keep Buffalo from going alone — Quebec is proving they don’t want to be part of a bigger plan unless they are bought. It is time to face our demons — we are not a workable nation so it’s every First Nation for itself.

  8. “what would keep Buffalo from going alone”

    Their handlers need the 49th to keep the pond small.

  9. Holy smokes – what would you write if you got some caffeine! Just one mention of Meech and the nation explodes like a glass egg – aieee!

  10. Full Disclosure: Today, Caffeine Free means that I didn’t pay for my own coffee.

    Duceppe is no fool. He knows how to play with fire and the media has handed him the matches and the hydrocarbons. The other First-Nations should wake up and do what they can to protect themselves.

  11. Oh you are clever. Excellent title!

  12. “[Quebec constitutional-affairs minister Benoît] Pelletier said the Senate, intended to represent the provinces in counter-weight to representation by population in the House of Commons, was ‘part of the essential conditions presiding (over) the birth of Canada.”

    The question for me is – does the Senate of 2008 perform that function in its current state? I would answer that question in the negative. I imagine so would at least a few provinces, large and small.

  13. I’m pretty sure they’ve used the “reform or abolish” line before.

  14. Oh I’m sure it WAS raining iceburgs. Trudeau felt the weather when he was on the east destroying the fisheries.

  15. Andrew – this seems a rather stale story all the way round and it is surprising that this is having any effect on the election, if indeed it is. Quebec likes to claim veto on everything so why is that news. The Senate has been in Reform’s sights for year so why is that news. Harper’s views have not changed but there is no sign he will bet his government on this issue.

  16. Karen, are you telling us that Trudeau destroyed the fisheries? I thought it was the Spaniards.

  17. sincical, the last fishies were culled by Canadians. And then there were no more. And the wise fisherman of Newfoundland who warned Trudeau’s Minister of Fisheries that the scientists were wrong :: he can likely take his rusty boat out for a days journey and hover over the spot where the Titanic now rests.

  18. Karen: You do of course realise that for all the “wise fisherman” who warned Trudeau’s Minister that the scientists were wrong, there were other fishermen who were the ones pressuring the government to use the largest of the estimated numbers when making up the quotas. Right?

  19. “Raining Icebergs”.

    Good Norwegian power metal band name, that.

  20. I love your headline, Mr. Wells. Almost keeled over laughing. Noah’s probably getting a chuckle too.

  21. Karen, it wasn’t so much Trudeau (he didn’t know or care from fish) as it was the sainted ex-Senator Michael Kirby in one of his early public manifestations who farmed the fish out to his private sector buddies.

  22. Of all the rackets run by the feds the senate is the most inexpensive and harmless, and the least likely to ever be reformed or abolished.

    This tiny sardine is being dangled in front of the Conservative base in order to distract them from the large, knobbly, steel-toed boot aimed at their backsides in the form of the new Conservative NEP.

  23. Let’s look at the text, shall we?

    The Conservatives and Stephen Harper believe that the current Senate must be either
    reformed or abolished. An unelected Senate should not be able to block the will of the
    elected House in the 21st century.
    As a minimum, a re-elected Conservative Government will reintroduce legislation to
    allow for nominees to the Senate to be selected by voters, to provide for Senators to serve
    fixed terms of not longer than eight years, and for the Senate to be covered by the same
    ethics rules as the House of Commons.

    They state their beliefs, but they promise a modest increment. I bet they stick to the “at a minimum,” which is what they were pretty much proposing pre-election: allow for election of nominees, PM nominates, extracting a promise of a fixed term. None of that needs a Gatineau lake or a small-town speck of a provincial capital.

    That won’t stop the usual suspects from shrieking “Constitution!” to spook the usual scaredy-cats…

  24. You know things are bad when a charter member of the Kiss-Harpers-Big-Arse, jwl, starts to diss him. We’ll know it’s really over when Kody and Jarrid join in.

  25. Sisyphus, I take your point and make another that Harper didn’t mind giving Senator Kirby an important government policy job in Healthcare when he appointed him to the Mental Health Commission. If Harper is in favour of 8 year terms for Senators why does he turn around and create a Mental Health Commission appointing an old school liberal to head it when by Harper’s own reasoning that retired Senator has enjoyed his fair turn in government? Contradictions of this nature by Mr. Harper always leave me thinking that he truly does not understand the administrative side of government. In the maclean’s interview Harper says “I’ve left virtually every single seat in the Senate vacant, to give ourselves the option of putting in some elected senators” but he did appoint Bert Brown in the summer of 2007 and with that partisan appointment of an Albertan he so publicy contradicted his own senate policies. To leave the senate seats of some regions vacant while he appointed an Albertan senator was a political move without honour.

  26. Bert Brown was elected by over a million votes to be Alberta’s “Senator-In-Waiting”. Twice.

  27. Chris, so what? Those elections were in Alberta and Harper’s claim was that he would reform the Federal Senate.

  28. To save any embarrassment for Karen, could Blog Central quietly make her last comment disappear? We can then give her a chance to read up on the story of Bert Brown and the Senate.

  29. madeyoulook, I don’t mind explaining further. Consider that at this time Ontario gets 22 seats in the Federal Senate and BC gets 6. Is that fair? I don’t think so. At this time 3 of those BC seats are vacant due to Harper’s negligence to fill them. So BC has 3 seats to Ontario’s 22. How does Harper justify this kind of record? He claims that he was “leaving himself room to put in some elected Senators”. Not good enough! Especially when you consider that he DID appoint an Alberta Senator. Yes, yes, Alberta does Senate elections. Big deal. Harper’s task is to reform the Federal Senate. If he has one province’s agreement that still leaves him a long way to go.

  30. Too late – Karen Krisfalusi has embarrassed herself too many times.

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