My God, my God, what have I done? -

My God, my God, what have I done?


A. Satirist, Jan. 10

So Parliament will be dark the next two months. Can anyone say they will miss it? … This country has a lot of important decisions to make: about the economy, the Afghanistan mission, global warming, you name it…

In the present state of perpetual brinksmanship and uncertainty, it is hard for governments to plan for the long term or tackle tough problems like the deficit. Freed from the tyranny of Parliament, we should at last have the “majority” government everybody craves.

Stephen Harper, Jan 11

“The games begin when Parliament returns,” he explained. “The government can take our time now to do the important work to prepare the economic agenda ahead.”

“That said, as soon as Parliament comes back . . . the first thing that happens is a vote of confidence and there’ll be votes of confidence and election speculation for every single week after that for the rest of the year. That’s the kind of instability markets are actually worried about.”


My God, my God, what have I done?

  1. This is not our beautiful house.

    • Same as it ever was.

  2. And here you thought you were writing satire.

  3. kinda validates Narnia

  4. Coyne wins the prize for "best satire of the week", and Harper wins the prize for "dubious rationalization of the week".

    • Except you can't call it satire anymore

    • Agreed, a terrible rationalization. BUT…..what part of it isnt true.

      • What part of Coyne's article isn't true or what part of Harper's rationalization isn't true?

        I'm not sure there is any truth at all to what Harper says.

        He tells us he needs to shut down accountability and Parliament in order to plan, but then tells us there will not be anything big in the throne speech or budget and Flaherty says the budget consultations will be the same as any other year.

        He tells us democracy has a negative impact on the markets, but that our markets are recovering better than any other nation on earth, to say nothing about the stability of places like Germany which has seen a decade of minority goverment and a decade of solid growth.

        • Harpers terrible rationalization. Not the parliament makes us unstable, thats a spin….but that there are numerous opportunities to vote non confidence in the government that go along with a new session. Typical harper to smash it back to the other side of the net.

          The complaint is that this boils down accountability to confidence or non confidence…..which isnt true, but let us not forget this is how the opposition was making the case for the previous session, and one I dont agree with. But tactically this is where opposition rhetoric has allowed the government to go. Offer alternatives to call the governments bluff.

          I dont like the shifting explainations for proroguement but that should tell you the government feels a little vulnerable, as the perhas should. I dont think its that big a deal, since the new seesion is clearly marked. But this session has lasted longer than average, so I dont think its an unnatural cuttoff.

          • I agree: our democracy is not a binary system – accountability or no confidence. The PM is not just accountable on election day.

            But I do not agree with your statement that this session lasted longer than average. I believe they sat for 108 days or so and the average over the last 4 decades has been about 150.

      • Harper leaves out the part about his actions leading to Parliament's current state.

  5. Here I thought you were fair and balanced… turns out you really are a Tory strategist! I'm crushed..

  6. Someone better get that copy of "Modest Proposal" out of Harper's library, just to be safe.

    • While you're in there, can you pull "Art of War", "The Prince", and "1984"?

      • Does it seem to you that Harper interprets "1984" to be a guidebook instead of a warning?

  7. Very funny, Andrew. But you can rest assured this has nothing to do with you.

    This is the same dubious rationalization we've had from Harper before. If I remember correctly, he claimed the opposition's election threats were damaging the economy back in the fall, or perhaps it was prior to that.

    • No no no..the economy was fine then. If there was going to be a recession if would've happened by then.

  8. Once upon a time
    In days near past recall
    The pols pledged they would serve us
    They serve us not at all.

    No ayes or nayes we'll hear
    Till Harper so decides
    So now we live in fear
    of who next he'll deride
    and what he'll next decide.

    When public service changed to the public serves us
    Something went awry

    • Wonderful!

  9. Mr, Coyne, I'm sure the cheque's in the mail for your consultancy services.

    • Andrew Coyne is no Ari Fleischer.

      • Ari Fleisher: what PSH and Mark McGuire have in common. Oh, and that habit of being dishonest.

  10. Maybe Harper does read Canadian…

  11. There'll be votes of confidence and election speculation for every single week after that for the rest of the year.

    It's almost as though the PM who's government decided to insist on making every vote under the sun a confidence matter just can't understand where on Earth all of these confidence votes are coming from!!!

  12. If there is a vote of confidence hanging over parliament it's because Harper has prorogued the session. The Throne Speech is always a confidence vote. That uncertainly that Harper has created will be hanging over parliament until March. By his own logic, Harper is the cause of instability in the market.

  13. I thought that Mr. Harper's comments yesterday were the clearest indication yet that he will be gunning for an election this Spring.

    This really had the tone of a trial balloon for an election campaign narrative. i.e. A majority government is needed to rebuild the economy and eliminate the deficit.

    And if that happens, in a way, Andrew can say he helped precipitate the 2010 election. Kudos

  14. I am beginning to wonder if this latest excuse – democracy = instability – is Harper's Belinda Stronach moment. Remember that press conference when Martin announced Stronach was crossing the floor and it had nothing to do with the vote? I pretty much felt that the Liberal days were numbered before then, but when the media burst out laughing that that feeling was confirmed as certain.

    When they stop taking you seriously, there is too much water to bail. As Jeff Jedras puts it today "Indeed, in the context of the growing narrative that Harper's prorogation is the latest in a string of moved by this government to thumb its nose at democratic accountability, Harper's comments actually serve to underline and reinforce that developing negative narrative: he's implicitly saying I prorogued because those pesky MPs elected by the people in Canada are getting in my way. He's making the opposition's case for them."

    • I know you are hoping that the public will treat Harper like they tossed out Martin in 2006 but the opposite will probably happen. Don`t forget in 2005 Harper was already a capable politician and a responsible opp. leader. Ignatieff acts like a rookie and the LIberals act more like a hysterical opposition ( NDP) then a gov`t in waiting.

      So to avoid this constant bickering about confidence and proroguing and coalitioning, the public will see a CPC majority as the best option.

  15. Huh. Well, I sure called that one.

  16. Ignorant of Canadian history, Canadians have turned to illiteracy for comfort.

    Harper DID NOT SAY that there would be a confidence vote every week. He DID say that there would be election speculation every week, if there wasn't an actual confidence vote.

    And this surprises anyone? Certainly nobody who has paid attention for the last five years – not a single week of which has gone by without election speculation.

    • By proroguing Harper certainly made sure that there is a confidence vote in March and Harper on top of this admits that he purposely caused instability in the market by adopting a policy of making every vote a vote of confidence two years ago. What an idiot! He chose to create instability in the market in order to support his anti-Frenchie NOT-A-LEADER attack campaign.

      • You may not be aware of it because the Media aren't very helpful, but there was already a confidence vote scheduled for March.

        And whoever told you that every vote was a vote of confidence since the past two years basically lied to you.

        • When Dion was leader of the LPC two years ago every vote was a vote of confidence for a period of time – and Harper admits he did this while purposely creating instability in the market.

          If you don't trust the newspapers, watch the proceedings on CPAC.

  17. How about if I was being sarcastic?

  18. I'm just saying that your original statement, taken at face value, is an example of fallacious reasoning.

    • If little A, then little B. If lots of A, then lots of B.

      I don't follow your argument, but then again I'm no philosophy "elite".

      Definition of corollory:

      1. A proposition that follows with little or no proof required from one already proven.
      2. A deduction or an inference.
      3. A natural consequence or effect; a result.

      • No, i think it's that the corollary requires a reversal of the terms.

        So, If A then B
        if not B then not A

        Reversing the terms is crucial, I think.

  19. Don't feel bad, Andrew, you couldn't know. However, now that you do know, it is time to make improvements. First, tags. We need tags even in the print version, specifically pointing out things like "column of satire,"
    "sarcasm=2nd paragraph," and "not a suggestion, PMO."

    I'm a great believer in incremental changes, so let's see how that works before making other changes.

  20. HoC = House of Clowns. Who needs it?

  21. That's right Werner – we should get to vote once in a while, and otherwise the whole government can run quietly out of the PMO. Who needs all that accountability and messy debate?

    I'm sure you'll feel the same way when the Liberals are in power.

    • "Liberals in power"? Don't make me throw up my lunch!

  22. Peter K is correct. They should really teach this stuff in high school, or at least first year university.

    • My logic: If you work little (A), you remain poor(B). => If. you work harder(A+), you get richer (B+)

      Your logic, as I understand it: If you work little(A), you remain poor (B). If you're not poor (not A), then you didn't work little (not B).

      Sorry, I'll stick with my logic.

      • I'm just trying to educate you, Dot. Consider this example:
        …IF my car is running, THEN there is gas in the tank.

        Here's the faulty contrapositive (negation without reversing):
        …IF my car is NOT running, THEN there is NOT gas in the tank.

        The above statement could be true, but it doesn't logically follow that it MUST be true, so it's not a corollary.

        Here's the correct contrapositive (and therefore, a proper corollary):
        …IF there is NOT gas in the tank, then my car is NOT running.

        If the original statement is true, then the above statement must also be true.

        • Boy, you're real stubborn aren't you?

          Jack makes a comment, you immediately jump onboard, and now you won't admit you misread my original statement.

          I can now see that you don't know the difference between contrapositive and corollory. You think they are the same thing "Here's the correct contrapositive (and therefore, a proper corollary)"

          Here's the online definition for contrapositive:

          n. Logic
          A proposition derived by negating and permuting the terms of another, equivalent proposition; for example, All not-Y is not-X is the contrapositive of All X is Y.

          Here's the thesaurus for contrapositive:


          That which is diametrically opposed to another: antipode, antipodes, antithesis, antonym, contrary, converse, counter, opposite, reverse. Logic contradictory. See support/oppose.

          Where's corollory in the list, Socrates?

          • Where's corollory in the list, Socrates?

            You're pulling my leg, right? Surely you're just pretending to be this thick. Not only do you not seem to understand what "corollary" means, despite having just posted its definition, but you can't even figure out how to spell it properly.

            Contrapositives and corollaries are both logical propositions. If something is a valid contrapositive, then it is also a valid corollary because it has been inferred immediately from a proved proposition.

          • So in other words, a contrapositive is a subset of a corollary. Shall I draw a Venn diagram for you? Corollory is the big circle. Contrapositive is the smaller one inside of it.

            Therefore, a contrapositive is a corollory, but a corollory is not necessarily a contrapositive.

          • You got it! :)

          • And therefore, I accept your apology.

            Mine was a corollory, not a contrapositive- which it was never intended to be.

          • The whole point is that your original statement wasn't a valid corollary. And you still don't know how to spell it.

            Just when I detected a faint glimmer of comprehension… you've failed me yet again, grasshopper.

          • I give up.

          • The whole point is that your original statement wasn't a valid corollary.

            look up sarcasm, would you sometime? Harper's argument was silly and bs. So was mine. Geez.

          • Your comment was obviously sarcastic, but your misuse of the word "corollary" obviously wasn't.

            I'm not nit-picking here. The whole reason this apparently futile discussion even started was because you wanted to understand why your logic "didn't follow".

          • So, would you agree with me that my statement (however absurd) was a logical extension? Because I think it was.

          • In case you come back later, here's what I suggest you do. Take that Venn diagram. Draw a big circle. That is a corollary. Now, draw two circles inside ther bigger one. Label one "contrapositive". Label the other "logical extension".

            Now, step back and stare at the picture. If you've drawn it correctly, my circle (logical extension) is completely separate from yours (contrapositive) yet both are subsets of a corollary.

          • Against my better judgment, I came back. Please, I beg you: learn something about formal logic, then get back to me. Unless you can demonstrate how then sentence below can be justified using formal logic (as opposed to intuition or assertion), then I'm not really interested in pursuing this point further. I'm just trying to help you understand what a corollary is, and what a logical fallacy is.

            Here's the sentence again:
            "If minority gov'ts are by their nature unstable, disruptive, and not condusive to long term planning, then the corollory surely must be that the most stable gov'ts are the best at long term planning."

          • Stick to what you excel at – blind, illogical partisan hacking for Harper, especially if it has anything to do with the military, part of your heritage.

          • Wow… looks like someone soiled his diaper! ;-)

            Normally I'd bite back, but I'm really quite fond of you, Derek. Have a wonderful day.

          • "formal logic"

            1  /prɪg/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [prig]

            a person who displays or demands of others pointlessly precise conformity, fussiness about trivialities, or exaggerated propriety, esp. in a self-righteous or irritating manner.
            1560–70; formerly, coxcomb; perh. akin to prink

    • They do teach this stuff in high school.

      • not the one i went to. had to take a BA in philosophy for that one.

        • Well, you can get this from several possible sources, such as logical propositions in a philosophy course, logic in a mathematics course (boolean algebra), or logic from a computer science (logic gates and circuits) course. It would be covered in an introductory manner (such as a contrapositive) by high school mathematics, but you'd need a university course for more depth.

  23. If minority gov'ts are by their nature unstable, disruptive, and not condusive to long term planning, then the corollory surely must be that the most stable gov'ts are the best at long term planning.

    So, how has Canada's most stable gov't performed on that basis? Speaking of Alberta…

    Klein admits government had no plan for boom

    Should be an interesting debate in a couple of weeks on many topics.

    • That doesn't follow.

      • How not?

        • If A, then B. If not A, then not B. That's not a corollary, it's a logical fallacy – a bad contrapositive. You negated the terms without reversing.

          • Or are you saying not planning was a good thing?

          • Does anyone else think that formal logic courses need to be mandatory in high school? I sure could have used one. Anyway….

            So, a proper contrapositive proof should be, If A then B, which is equivalent to if Not B then Not A?

            So the only conclusion we can draw from If (Unstable Minority Government) THEN (Bad Long Term Planning) is that
            If NOT (Bad Long Term Planning) then NOT (Unstable Minority Government)

            If there is good long term planning that means there is a majority (or stable minority) government.

            But that the reverse isn't necessarily true. Correct?

          • Now if we could just find an example of NOT (Bad Long Term Planning), we could test the deduction.

    • Gee, now I feel insecure and guilty that I understood what you meant, Dot.

      Well, except for the part about the interesting debate.

      • Philosophy courses apparently changed in the 80's/90's. And here I thought I was proving the null hypothesis…

        • More sarcasm, I trust. One never proves the null hypothesis; one only fails to reject it.

        • You should take a course in formal logic, or at least read up on the subject online. It's never too late to educate yourself. Anyway, when you use ten-dollar words like "corollary" it's probably best to understand what they mean.

          • Which online dictionary do you recommend? How about Miriam Webster?

            Main Entry: cor·ol·lary
            Pronunciation: ˈkȯr-ə-ˌler-ē, ˈkär-, -le-rē, British kə-ˈrä-lə-rē
            Function: noun
            Inflected Form(s): plural cor·ol·lar·ies
            Etymology: Middle English corolarie, from Late Latin corollarium, from Latin, money paid for a garland, gratuity, from corolla
            Date: 14th century

            1 : a proposition inferred immediately from a proved proposition with little or no additional proof
            2 a : something that naturally follows : result b : something that incidentally or naturally accompanies or parallels

            Perhaps the Calgary debate should be extended to the sad state of education at U of C's philosophy dept. c 2000

          • Dot, we're all super impressed with your ability to use an online dictionary. Your comprehension needs a little work, though.

          • Do you agree with this quote (ie a logical extension is a corollary)?

            First advanced in May 1904 and later expanded in his annual message to Congress in December, Roosevelt stated what would become known as his corollary (logical extension of) the Monroe Doctrine.

          • Merriam Webster.

          • Which coloured pie wedge did you get for that?

          • Must have been brown for "arts and literature", the one that I always find hardest to get.

  24. By Harper's logic, the coalition envisionned in December 2008 would have been more stable and therefore would have caused less instability in the market than the Harper government.

  25. I like the passive voice he uses in "The games begin when Parliament returns." instead of saying 'We Conservatives will resume our petty partisan gamesmanship.'

    Meanwhile Arthur Kent reports on what is really going on in afghanistan, as well as how the Government of Harper works:

    "…“The PMO spends more energy trying to control people than accomplishing goals,”…"


    "…“The PM and his advisors treat every issue as if it's his own, as if it's personal. It's just very strange, and it results in a management style that blocks every door, including the ones that might actually take the government forward.”…"

    • The games begin whenever Pierre Poilievre stands up.

  26. I trust you will put this right.

  27. I sort of liked Coyne but it appears that he is watching his P's and Q's while waiting to be made a Reform Con senator. Really sad when you consider that he has mroe intelligence then being a Con Parrot.

  28. Depends