'Like a Third World despot' - Macleans.ca

‘Like a Third World despot’


Ralph Goodale condemns the latest budget bill.

It’s a complete dog’s breakfast, deliberately designed to be so humongous and convoluted in a single lump that it cannot be intelligently reviewed by Parliament, and any votes will be largely meaningless. Such abusive tactics have been condemned by none other than Stephen Harper himself. But now in power, he behaves like a Third World despot – seemingly afraid of a properly functioning Parliamentary democracy.

That fear of democracy is also evident in Conservative election financing violations (for which they’ve been charged and convicted), robo-call schemes to manipulate voters, and vicious attack-advertising. It’s all beneath contempt.


‘Like a Third World despot’

  1. But…but…but ….Dear Leader shows up at weddings and looks and smiles.

    • Albeit “slightly sweaty.” Ewww, why?

      • HIs spanx are too tight?

  2. Agreed but unfortunately Mr Goodale’s party was guilty of this (though to lesser extent it must be said).
    This is something that needs to be addressed and the only way it will be is if the party in power passes legislation that does not allow this omnibus bills. You want to stop this Mr Goodale? Then your party should make it so. And while you’re at it, you would most definitely get my vote if you proposed to curtail some of the PM’s powers.

  3. I love how Ralph Goodale calls people thugs and despots, but jails people for selling their own property outside of the CWB and oversaw that organization which that he knew was merely a parasite but didn’t do anything because it was good for the Liberal Party.

    • Nobody was jailed for selling wheat outside the CWB. They were FINED for selling their wheat outside the CWB. They were jailed for contempt for believing they were too good to obey the law and pay that fine.

      This has been pointed out several times. Are these farmers morons unable to understand simple concepts, or do they cling to their martyr complex so tightly that facts may not intervene.

      • It’s called civil disobedience, moron, and it has a long and honourable history. Maybe you should look into it rather than spewing off about the intellectual capacity of others.

  4. “Such abusive tactics have been condemned by none other than Stephen Harper himself.”

    Can’t disagree, but that’s pretty much an admission that the government he was a part of used abusive tactics, isn’t it? An admission of wrongdoing is progress, I guess…

    • Ralph just told me you’re out by a couple of hundred pages or so…but you’re sorta on the right track.

  5. Being a non-Liberal/liberal in Canada makes it very difficult indeed to read msm. I often have sensation that I am being punk’d but our journos and pols are deadly earnest about their inane observations. Goodale is good example of vacuous Liberal who’s ‘commentary’ will get picked up by other witless liberals like Wherry and his chums in msm.

    Goodale is projecting, if he’s doing anything at all, when talks about third world despots. Goodale was part of Chretien and Martin cabinets and lets recall some highlights of their admins – laundering tens of millions of $$$ to influence provincial and fed elections in Que, assaulted private citizen who was protesting, cracked wise about pepper on steak, ignored confidence vote so we have coup d’etat for a couple of weeks, shut down Somalia inquiry, …. the list goes on.

    Chretien, and other Liberals, behaved like mafioso. Harper can do whatever he likes, as long as he doesn’t physically assault anyone, and people will say at least he’s not as bad as the Liberals. The new normal was set by Libs and now we reap what we sow.

    • It’s “whose” not “who’s.”

      • I am product of Ont’s public school system, you should actually be impressed that I can spell at all. Also, I love calling people witless while I am making spelling mistakes. Oh, the irony of it all!

        • Truly didnt mean that to be bitchy, Tony; I used to teach freshman English at a local university. I just detest grammar and punctuation errors and feel obliged to correct them (ie: you should not have joined those two clauses with a comma; they needed a semicolon or a period). Cheers!

          • I think you may have just ironied him out cold.

    • Just goes to show we citizens REALLY need to change the system under which our politicians work!

      • I like the system we have, Westminster, I think we need to change who we allow to be pols. I would prefer we have lottery of all Canadians every 4 or 5 years and 350 are randomly drawn to be MPs. I am leery of people who are attracted to politics because they are mainly obsequious cretins.

        I would also abolish parties if I could, MPs think their first duty is to party instead of voters.

        • Eugh.. randomly chosen means that sooner or later we get a parliament dominated by the far end of a bell curve.. which could take Canada to places most of us don’t like, and that it may not be able to come back from.

          While I don’t think there’s any way to abolish the parties, I think we could do a lot if we just lessened their influence.. by giving the power to name candidates back to the riding associations instead of the party leader.

          • We already are at the far end of the bell curve. Did i miss the lottery too?

          • I don’t think so, actually. For all of how I despise Harper for his lying and disrespect of both Parliament and the Canadian people, his actual changes have been fairly moderate. Generally not good, but they could have been a whole lot worse.. and I think the vote is what keeps it that way.

          • I’m not so sure. Little by little he is changing this country. One day we may wake up and say wtf…is this Canada or what! I hardly recognize the place. Too late then.

          • My, what a great rationale for having a national leader…..He’s not as bad as he could be.

          • The hell? Who was talking about us having a national leader or not? Come back once you’ve learned to read.

        • I like the lottery idea but I would try to refine by having a rolling lottery so that we didn’t have a house full of complete rookies in any time period. Make it a 5 year term and replace 20% per year. Pay them very well but make the first instance of graft or corruption cause for immediate expulsion. Outlaw lobbying as well, of course.

          • lgarvin: I agree about staggering elections so there are no rookies, you might also need 4 or 5 non-partisan wise heads around Parliament who are there full time to help our citizen legislators.

            If MPs were paid $1 million for 5 yrs work, I think it would be hard to corrupt entire parliament. Possible to corrupt one or two MPs but they would still have to convince other people to support whatever they are proposing. I agree tho that there would be severe consequences for corruption.

      • “we citizens REALLY need to change the system under which our politicians work!”
        . . . at least until the Liberals get back into power. Then the system will be just fine.

        • Huh. I thought you were better than that, OrsonBean. I certainly thought you had read enough of my comments to know that I don’t support my party when they do wrong (such as prorogue for political reasons, or table huge omnibus bills). But I guess I’ll have to put you down as another Conservative bully, here to trade barbs instead of have a conversation around improving our country’s governance.

          • 2Jenn, you’re a Liberal Party partisan and activist. I seriously doubt that you were marching in the streets protesting about this sort of stuff back when Chretien and Martin were in power. Spare me the civics lesson and the sanctimoniousness.

        • Or we just keep throwing them out.

          They get one term, then not enough improvement, out they go, back and forth until finally one of the parties clues in.

    • Am I correct that you actually went a whole day recently without seizing on some (any) issue as an excuse to launch into another of your unfounded, tedious rants about the evil msm?

      It seemed like such a lovely respite at the time. Too bad it couldn’t last.

      • Be careful or he will use a PJ O’Rourke quote on you.

      • Stop reading.

        • Stop ranting.

          • why would I want to do that?

          • I dunno’…to demonstrate some degree of personal control over obsessional ideation and perseveration of thinking maybe? Just saying.

          • hectoring Canada is therapeutic.

          • Yeah, I thought Rick Mercer wants us all to rant, to demonstrate our Canadianness.

    • And Harper said/promised he wouldn’t follow their example. You forgot the punchline. It’s not funny without the punchline. It’s just inaccurate…your normal.

  6. Ask Goodale about his provincial counterparts shutting down the legislature and enjoy the peaceful sound of crickets.

    Hang it up, Ralph, you’re never going to sit in government again and you are completely ineffective in opposition.

    • Dude, a Regina MP is to be held responsible for the Ontario legislature? Really? I can’t imagine that he has anything to do with it.

      • He’s not responsible for anything except the overheated rhetoric out of his own mouth. If you want to judge his sincerity, test the rhetoric against current events. Ralph Goodale would sooner swallow his own tongue rather than use it to criticize his own “side.”

        That’s the only point I’m making. The problem is not Conservatives or Liberals, the problem is our entire crop of politicians.

        • He IS in opposition, right? Why should he criticize his own side? Who does that? No Cons spoke against Oda during her crises, or Guergis — some kind of loyalty, I suppose. And from the two paragraphs of what he said that are posted here, I cannot disagree with him, and in fact, his rhetoric uses facts in a colourful and pointed way — and it is rhetoric.

          Most of the time, I am on the same page with you, so I am curious about the “current events” you refer to — am I missing something here?

    • Or, you could ask an MP actually from Ontario. Like, say, Mauril Belanger. Google it.

      • I know that Mauril Belanger was critical of the decision, and good on him. But Mauril Belanger is – sadly – not amongst the leadership of the Liberal Party. You could identify the leadership of the Liberal Party by their tomblike silence when McGuinty followed Harper’s example and shut down parliament when things got dicey.

        It’s a simple point I’m trying to make, although I am apparently not making it clearly. If your outrage is selective, then it’s not genuine. Ralph Goodale’s store-bought Outrage has zero credibility with me, and I suspect, with the general public at large.

        • Okay, I see now. I still disagree though: I think that McGuinty’s actions are NOT in any way the responsibility of the fed Liberal MPs, including his brother, and would expect them to shut up about it. From province to province, Liberals and Conservatives and NDP tend to be quite different from their federal counterparts, and I can’t see how badmouthing Liberals in the media helps Liberals, especially when they cannot control those activities of provincial Liberal parties. And I still cannot disagree with what Goodale said.

          • Why did Mauril Belanger criticize the McGuinty action? Because, in his own words, he would be a complete hypocrite if he did not do so. The rest of his party apparently has no fear of hypocrisy and therefore maintained radio silence throughout.

            And it’s not like they were not asked for comment.

            If you believe in a principle then you defend that principle. You defend the principle against your enemies and against your friends.

            Hell, even some Ontario Liberals have been critical of the decision, but federal Liberals (Belanger excluded) have been as quiet as mice dreaming tiny mice dreams. So when they send Ralph Goodale bellowing into the streets raising the alarm about the death of democracy – over an omnibus bill – well, I grow a little weary of this claptrap. I’m trying to give the Liberals the benefit of the doubt, but my charity does not extend that far.

          • I agree with your second paragraph to me–and I agree with Mauril Belanger. But I also agree with Patchouli–it isn’t like the Federal MPs are DEFENDING McGuinty, either. I do take the point that when you have enemies already, it isn’t necessary for allies to also pile on. That doesn’t respond to your Goodale criticism, which is a good point. Except the leadership bit. I figure the Liberal leadership are those with their names in the Liberal Leadership race.

          • The current Liberal leadership consists of Rae (Interim Leader) and Goodale (Deputy Leader).
            And if you think that Rae is not defending McGuinty then you must have missed his eulogy in the Globe & Mail.
            An excerpt:

            Similarly, making the legislature work can only happen if there’s a political will to do it. By taking himself out of the game Premier McGuinty has challenged the opposition parties to rise to the occasion. Whether they will do so only time can tell.
            Premier McGuinty’s decision is wise from many perspectives. It is better to leave on your own terms and timing. He has left with some remarkable achievements in education and health, and as a respected voice in the federation. It is not given to everyone in politics to leave on those terms.
            Anyone can sail in good weather, and Dalton McGuinty has had his share of storms. He took his share of responsibility and has not been afraid to admit mistakes. These are admirable qualities, which others would be wise to emulate. Governing a province through economic turmoil and recession is not easy, but the Premier has worn it well. He can leave with his head high, knowing that a life of service can continue in many other ways.

          • Finding it hard to disagree with Rae’s carefully written prose here too.

            I had an argument with a SK Con (we were working on a project together) about politicians hitting others over the head with their religion — in policy, judgement, you name it. She said to me that a person of faith could not rule without their face guiding them, and that it is hypocritical to think they could park their religion outside while making public policy. That was years ago, and I still think long and hard about what she was telling me.

            Perhaps that applies here: you believe that by not speaking out against McGuinty, federal Libs are being hypocritical; I think that by being quiet, they are keeping their cards close to their chests. Right or wrong, dunno. But I did not consider Paul Martin a hypocrite for supporting gay marriage despite his Roman Catholic faith — I considered he put that faith aside while dealing with public policy, with a public that may or may not be of the same faith. My SK friend, however, would call that hypocrisy and perhaps you would too.

            It is also worth considering that they actually agree with what McGuinty did, and proceeding from there.

          • Oh lord, where I said “face” I meant “faith.” Alzheimer’s is kicking in a little early in my case, but word retrieval is iffy sometimes.

          • It was clear from the context. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

          • It’s my typo-karma for correcting Tony’s punctuation, above.

          • It’s your last paragraph that prompts my concern. Despite the showmanship of Goodale, I have zero faith that a future Liberal government would not skate us further down the road to ruin which both Liberals & Conservatives have been doing for the past decade.

            I am increasingly alarmed and disturbed when people on comment boards – partisans and non-partisans alike – seem to be dismissive of the idea that we should demand honesty of our leaders. “Of course they lie, of course they are hypocrites, of course we can’t trust them, but you still have to pick a side.” The hell we do.

          • There’s nothing inappropriate about the eulogy – that’s pretty well pro forma. What the opening 2 or 3 sentences you quote tell me is that Rae thinks there is a distinction between what Dalton did and what Harper did. I’ve already said i’m with Belanger on this [ said it on the liberal website too, where it seemed to have some support]. But distinctions do matter. Leaving aside the fact that in my opinion[yours too i imagine] Dalton should not have shut the house down for any reason, even if he thought it was a good one,especially when it happened to rather conveniently also shut down various accountability inquiries at the same time. Put that aside for a moment. Is there any truth in Rae’s claim that the opposition in Dalton’s case is really not interested at all in making a minority work; whereas it’s was pretty clear now that Harper, who was also claiming the house was dysfunctional, was simply lying. IOWs are there any real distinctions when you examine the known facts. One can’t simply assume the two cases are exactly analogous. 1)Was the provincial house truly not working. 2) Was the HoCs not working? Does that make a difference if the answer for 1) is yes and 2) is no?
            That said, i don’t think it matters in the bigger picture. IMO more Liberal leaders should have stood with Belanger; taken the longer, wider view, that this kind of behaviour is always bad for democracy.

          • Like you, I don’t think the decision was legitimate in either case. But I am aware that the (fed) Conservatives argue that they were saving Canada from an illegitimate coalition gov’t. I reject that for all the reasons that have been hashed and rehashed previously. In the case of the (prov) Liberals the argument that the opposition was being obstructive is frankly kind of baffling. It’s like the Liberals don’t accept the notion that the opposition can actually oppose.

            So which was worse,IMO?

            They were both worse. There are no degrees beyond first degree and both were first degree assault on our democracy.

          • Pending new liberal tps, agreed…and even then, agreed.

          • Well said, kcm2. I’d have said that in response (only probably incomprehensably) if I could post to this site with any regularity from work. I can’t.

          • I hope Bob Rae wiped his chin after that.

    • Really…a Sask fed MP shut down the Ontario legislature? That’s quite a stretch.

      • Ooops, did I accidently say that he shut it down? (Goes to check). No, I said to ask him about it.
        As stated elsewhere, I don’t trust selective outrage. But there is still another facet to this. If you condemn it when your opponents do it, but ignore it when your friends do it, then it’s pretty clear that – given the opportunity – you would do it yourself.
        Shutting down parliaments at a whim is now the new normal in Canada. And more’s the pity for all of us.

        • I don’t disagree at all about the abuse of prorogation as an increasingly convenient escape hatch for governments of all stripes. However, it makes no sense to hold politicians at one level (federal) accountable for the conduct of politicians at another level (provincial), especially when the politician whose behaviour is being challenged doesn’t even live in, or represent, that province. Many provincial party organizations are like their federal “cousins” in name only (e.g., the provincial “Liberals” in BC.)

          So, as I said, your comment is quite a stretch.

          • It’s a stretch if you think that politicians only have a duty to their parties and no duty towards our system of democracy. If you’re wailing crocodile tears about the death of democracy at the federal level, while studiously ignoring the slaughter of an elephant at the provincial level then I question your sincerity and your concern for democracy.

            And the idea that Goodale is just some lowly MP from another province too humble to offer an opinion about another province is rubbish. Goodale is the Deputy Leader of his party and is speaking on behalf of the party. If you take your jurisdictional argument to it’s logical conclusion then Goodale can’t criticize Harper either, because Harper’s not from Saskatchewan, after all.

          • That’s absurd. Goodale is a federal politician. Harper is the leader of the federal government, regardless of which province he’s from.

            In effect, you’re criticizing Goodale for, in the context of a federal political issue, failing to comment on the conduct of a provincial government. Most federal politicians consider it politically unwise to meddle in provincial affairs. Some federal leaders, depending on the issue, explicitly forbid members of their caucus from doing so because there’s almost no upside to the consequences. Yet, you criticize Goodale for not (wisely) pronouncing on a provincial event before doing his job as a member of the federal opposition?


            Dump on Goodale if it makes you feel better. I’m not a big fan myself. But how about criticizing politicians for events that are within their governmental (if not geographic) sphere and over which they have some accountabilty.

          • No. I am commenting on the fact that Goodale is an empty drum and all his concern for democracy is as weak and as transparent as wet tissue.

            I never claimed that he should speak about Liberal sins against democracy, only that, if he were asked about same, he would clam up tout de suite. Which we are all agreed is the truth of the matter. You think it doesn’t matter, I think it does.
            Let’s leave it there.

          • Yes, let’s. Otherwise, it`ll soon be a hypocritical oversight on his part for saying nothing about the corruption that appears to be engulfing the Charest Liberals in Quebec, too. Goodale’s just screwing up everywhere.

          • Well, it goes without saying that he would overlook that. The scabs have barely formed over their own wounds from adventures in corruption in Quebec. No sense in scratching at those.
            Nope, it just Conservative sins that bring out the moralist in Ralph Goodale. Which tells you all you need to know about the depth of his convictions.

          • Ralph Goodale has always been known as an honourable politician. MacLean’s MP of the Year and all. But he’s sure raised your ire! I think we shall have to agree to disagree on this one. I just don’t think that badmouthing the actions of those well beyond your jurisdiction is a proof of a person’s honesty. And it can’t be healthy for intergovernmental relations for feds and provinces to be too mouthy about each other’s political actions.

          • Wow! And what egregious and opprobrious transgressions in the remaining Liberal provincial governments (BC and PEI) is he implicitly condoning by failing to comment on them. Let’s really out Goodale on this profound moral failure of his.