Oh my goodness oh my goodness oh my goodness


He’s grounded her.

August 26, 2008
Ottawa, Ontario

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario to Represent Canada at the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that His Honour the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will represent Canada at the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, to be held on September 6, 2008.

The Lieutenant Governor will travel to China instead of Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada.


Oh my goodness oh my goodness oh my goodness

  1. Wow.

    By the way, I saw your question on the fixed election date law, and it prompted another in my mind.

    Is the proposed reform to the method of choosing senators (i.e. after consultative elections) meant to work in the same way as C-16? Could a PM, after the consultative vote, still exercise the right to advise the GG to call someone other than the winner of the vote to the Senate?

  2. Big question:

    Are the Liberals going to look at this announcement and decide they better get their ground game up and running? Because as of today it still looks like they haven’t.

  3. This is just getting better and better!

  4. David Onley is DISABLED!


  5. Perhaps he’s just currying favour with Her Excellency.

  6. And like the Prime Minister, apparently I didn’t figure that out until today.

  7. It begins.

  8. It’s on.

  9. Didn’t figure what out, Wells?

  10. nothing to see here, move along.

  11. Somewhere, Bob Rae is cackling….

  12. Stephen – you may enjoy googling C-20 and some of the testimony given at the Senatorial committee.

    Yes, if C-20 had become law, the prime minister could have completely disregarded the list of elected senators. He could choose the loser if he wanted to. The power of the prime minister to recommend elevation to the Senate by the Governor General is constitutional and cannot be changed by a simple law. But do look further into the testimonies at the Senatorial Cpmmitte on C-20 – Marc Mayrand’s in particular, available on EC site and it will be quite the eye opener, I promise. Passing a law on electing senators, like a law on fixed elections dates, is a sham.

  13. Anon on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 7:25 pm:

    “Somewhere, Bob Rae is cackling”

    Ya at Iggy’s house…

  14. Paul,

    Will networks like CBC and CTV begin their shows like Politics and Mike Duffy Life next week if they believe an election is coming?

    It strikes me that if Harper calls the election next week, the media will be just as unprepared as the Liberal Party?

  15. That leads me to another question. Campaigns need confirmed candidates, ground teams, provincial co-chairs, planes and buses. I am wondering if any party really has those ready for an election call next week?

  16. The Prime Minister is going to create an international incident by sending the LG of Ontario instead of the GG of Canada to the Paralympic Games in Beijing! Sino-canadian relations may never recover!

    Stéphane Dion’s next talking point.

  17. Nice fake from Harper…sending a disabled LG instead of the GG can be interpreted in any numbers of ways…

    Let all the pundits…er…pundit away…the ways I sees it, seems like Harper has got the media wrapped around his finger…


  18. One surprise after another.

    Harper acts. Dion re-acts.

  19. Harper acts. Dion re-acts.


    Harper is a dog chasing his tail. I guess that is “acting”. He’s trying to get everyone caught up in his little king-of-the-castle sob story, and this thing with the GG is just a part of it. Disabled LG to the paralympics? GG stays home. Open-ended story.

    Frankly, this is all quite amusing to see the media still become unwitting participants in this theatre…


  20. Everyone’s watching the DNC this week, anyway.

  21. Oh Christ, I hope the Jays make the post season so I won’t have to listen to all the political TV attack/counter attack ads. Then again , that(Jays post season) is as unlikely as Harper getting a majority………..

  22. I take it the Conservatives still haven’t figured out how to use that fax machine that came with the office.

  23. Sign outside Dion’s office at next week’s caucus meeting:

    For faster service, please take a number

    Now serving Nervous Nellie number [ 63 ]

  24. Can’t the GG just say STFU, I’m your head of state and I’ll go where I want (okay, yes, representative of the head of state, but you get my point)?

  25. Everyone who wants to hear the GG can turn down the PM’s requests is invited to read Mr. Coyne’s column. I’m afraid I’ll be no help on that front. That’s what ex-GGs’ memoirs are for: complaining about the PM who served you by telling you what t do.

  26. Some of you Con Kool-Aid drinkers seem to be presuming the Liberals aren’t in election readiness mode. That’s a big presumption.

  27. Well alright. Finally we’ll get a chance to get back to power, after Dion flops and Iggy becomes leader! :p

  28. Can someone explain the very tiresome and lame “Kool-Aid” reference I often come across on blogs I no longer frequent.

    Is it the Jonestown thing? I’m hoping it’s something a little more profound.

  29. But the GG is entirely justified in saying NO. It’s not like a 2 year old parliament where the GG just says no. She (or a Supreme) can say, no way, I gave royal assent to a bill that you, Mr. PM, was all about fixing election dates, and sure, I get the chicanery of “no this doesn’t impact the GG’s power”–because that would be unconstitutional, but I get that the bill still prevents you from asking, and there is certainly no constitutional requirement for me to say yes when you yourself had said no.

  30. “But the GG is entirely justified in saying NO.”

    NO, she’s not.

  31. I haven’t been right about everything this summer — I was up here 10 days ago telling everyone that Harper takes his own election law seriously — so Dean P may be right. As a rule I don’t spend a lot of time arguing about the future. It’ll happen and we’ll see. But Wells’s First Rule (For any given set of circumstances, Canadian politics tends toward the least exciting outcome) exists precisely to gently calm the ardour of theorists of elaborate crisis.

  32. Steve W: I think we’re in a far greater constitutional crisis land where the GG can permit a PM to disregard a lawful statute passed by the current parliament just because the PM decides it’s not convenient any more. Andrew Coyne is right–it limits his discretion, not hers.

    Yes, technically all executive power is vested in the GG and she technically can do whatever the hell she pleases. But we’re in some rabbit hole if we get to a place where she can countenance the Prime Minister passing a law which is of no effect at all.

  33. Paul: My guess is that Jean doesn’t have the fortitude that Clarkson had.

    I can only imagine the howls of outrage from Conservatives about a GG who was vaguely suspected of being a separatist ignoring the will of a [minority] Prime Minister.

  34. No constitutional crisis. Read the start of C-16. The whole notwithstanding bit.

    Plus, how could an unelected, celebrity or past politico, be entrusted with the poltical future of the country? It’s not like she’s in the Senate..

  35. This is where it might have been nice if we’d appointed somebody with real gravitas to the job — a revered national icon, respected by all, whose judgement would carry real weight with the public.

    Don’t get me wrong: I think Mme Jean has done a pretty good job, and I’ve said so in print. And I mean no disrespect when I say she should never have been appointed.

  36. I think the GG should jump on a plane and go seek some advice from Betty. She seems to have some unexpected time on her hands.

  37. I believe the Kool-Aid analogy is from a death cult, whose leader convinced all of the members to drink poisoned Kool-Aid as a method of mass suicide.

  38. Dean P:

    “But we’re in some rabbit hole if we get to a place where [the GG] can countenance the Prime Minister passing a law which is of no effect at all.”

    That’s the history of this whole Parliament, where the opposition has been passing bills that the government objects to! By now I’ll settle for the GG not undermining the fundamental mechanisms of democracy. It would be the first sign of constitutional sanity in several years.

  39. “AC — so are you backtracking on this? Or did I miss the sarcasm in this column?”

    AC was at the National Post back then. Conrad Black was still a free man. People still paid attention to Bush, and Hillary was checking out drapes for the White House.

    Come on, Potter, get with the times.

  40. As I thought, Anon (actually I had since googled the term).

    There should be a Godwin Law equivalent for the Kool-Aid reference on political blogs.

  41. “This is where it might have been nice if we’d appointed somebody with real gravitas to the job — a revered national icon”

    Like who..Mark Garneau? At least he likes Iggy! :)

  42. Not backtracking at all. She gave a great speech, and a courageous one. As a critic of her appointment — in three previous columns — I felt obliged to say so.

  43. I think Joe Clark would have been a formidable Governor-General, had he not taken such a partisan role against the merger of the Conservative and Reform parties.

    Someone like Kim Campbell or, to get away from the whole ex-Prime Ministers… Someone like Preston Manning or Ed Broadbent.

    I am naturally inclined to go towards politicians.

  44. Will the G&M be carrying an Op-ed from Clarkson soon on the issue? I for one wouldn’t be surprised to find one soon.

  45. This entire charade is amateur night until someone figures out a way drag the queen into it. Go big or go home.

  46. Jack–I disagree. Jean putting her foot down would be a blow for constitutional democracy.

    But then what do I know; I live in the US. At least the Canadian government tells you when it ignores its own laws.

  47. AC, in the last 100 years, there have only been two instances of a GG taking action against a PM’s advice — once here and once in Australia. Here, the PM got his way anyhow; in Australia, the GG (Kerr) ended up a pariah and went into voluntary exile.

    Further, say the GG said no and Harper immediately resigned as PM. It’s far from clear that any of the other party leaders could govern, especially since the Conservatives would already be in no mood to play nice. We would go to the polls anyway and the entire affair would be reduced to a farce.

    So even if a GG taking unilateral action doesn’t make you feel queasy, it makes no sense from a pragmatic standpoint.

  48. Didn’t you all hear, GG Jean left this morning on month long vacation to a undisclosed location. She wanted some private time for her and her husband.

  49. So it appears that the left is once again content to propagate a meme that is factually incorrect:

    “Harper’s breaking the fixed election law”. One doesn’t need a lawyer and a magnifying glass to figure out that Harper’s more than within the law,

    no, one only has to read it plainly, and then honestly describe what one has read.

    Given that all here are capable of basic reading comprehension, it appears the answer lies with the honesty part.

    It’s amazing how fear and loathing (in this case mostly fear – of a near certain Harper victory and a substantial possibility of a Harper majority) causes the partisan liberal to not only lose objectivity, but the ability to be honest as well.

  50. Kody–it’s tories who are being dishonest. The whole point of the law was to stop the PM from calling an election when it was convenient or when they were high in the polls. Sure, Harper’s within the letter, but he’s way outside of the spirit–the spirit which he himself set.

  51. Everyone is assuming this will be a five week campaign. But will it be ?

    Paul Martin made the last campaign run seven weeks. The Liberal spin doctors at the time said that the more people see of Stephen Harper, the more they will dislike him.

    Hmmmm, could Harper be thinking the same thing about people seeing a lot of Dion ? And do the Libs have enough money, planned events, platform ideas, etc. to make it through seven weeks ?

    Also, Tom Flanagan in “Harper’s Team” noted that one big headache in preparing the last election was that they had to prepare two campaigns–a short one and a long one.

  52. And actually this is even more dishonest than Chretien’s calling elections when it suits him. At least Chretien didn’t do it a few days before he was going to get spanked in 4 by-elections.

  53. What is it with these Liberal leaders, always scared to face the electorate. Martin had the look of a first-time sky-diver on the eve of last election and Dion looks like he wants to do anything but go on the hustings this go-round. For Mr. Dion the time is apparently never quite right to go to the people.

    Memo to Liberal delegates for the next leadership convention coming soon): next time pick someone who has the intestinal fortitude to actually go out to the public and try to get a mandate to govern. If I was canvassing for the Liberals I think I’d have a brown bag over my head to cover by shame.

  54. fear of being “spanked in four by elections”

    Ahh yes, the “Harper’s fearing losing the by elections” theory.

    Let’s examine that one shall we?

    So, Harper’s doing so poorly, and hence fears doing badly in the by-elections, that he not only has elections in those ridings,

    but in every other riding in the country.

    He’s only canceling the “by” part of the by elections.

    That’s like saying a guy who doesn’t just want a bite of the sirloin but rather wants to eat the whole steak, “fears eating meat”.

    It’s amazing how fear and loathing (but mostly fear) causes liberal partisans to lose even the most basic ability of logical thinking.

  55. Kody, I think the point is that a strong showing for Dion would give Dion momentum that Harper doesn’t wish to lend him.

  56. Yeah, well Andrew, based on the Libs performance in Outremont, the Northern Saskatchewan riding and Vancouve-Quadra last go-round, I don’t think that’s a very persuasive point. Actually having the words “strong showing” and “Dion” in the same sentence stretches one’s credibility, methinks.

  57. Andrew,

    to build on that,

    I think the point is that the Liberals ONLY WANT liberal strongholds to hold elections right now.

    Those ridings will go to a vote very soon, but so will all the other ridings, which is what the Liberals fear.

    There are good reasons for the Liberals to want to stay safely in their bubble.

    But Harper just popped it, and they’re going to have to face reality – they’re going to lose:

    two seats in BC,
    one in Manitoba,
    eleven in Ontario,
    twelve in Quebec, and
    three in Atlantic Canada.

    For a majority.

  58. Kody,

    I don’t think Dion is really afraid of an election. I get the impression he wanted it to be a bit later so that some more damaging info could come out from the various scandals surrounding the Harper government. A vote sometime in November, perhaps. Beyond that, I find Harper’s sudden urgency strange. Why can he note wait for a vote of no confidence to confirm that Parliament can no longer function? As it is, he has to claim it doesn’t function even though none of his significant legislation has been defeated. A vote of no confidence would be a position of greater strength. Harper could induce it to be on a question with more favourable optics than spitting on the spirit of his own election law.

  59. I’m at a loss to figure out where these people who are predicting a Harper win come from. Either they’re simply trolls, or just plain simple.

    They keep forgetting that the only way Harper got this smallest minority government ever was in the middle of the Liberals being embroiled in two scandals. One from Adscam and the other the NDP initiated investigation into Ralph Goodale. They got this minority government with the benefit of a Liberal campaign that only started half-way through, and was lackluster are that point. And they got this minority as a newly minted combined party that had no baggage attached to it.

    I honestly don’t see how people think that these soft supporters, who basically decided to give the Conservatives a trial run to spank the Liberals, are still feeling the same way after RCMP raids into conservative headquarters, talk of conservatives trying to rob taxpayers through in-and-out financing, talk of bribing cancer-ridden MPs to try to get votes, an increasingly gloomy economic outlook, actively pursuing the opposite of what was promised with elected Senators and Michael Fortier, actively engaging in the opposite of what was promised with softwood lumber, the revealing of their “dirty tricks to stall parliament” book, and perhaps soon, going against what they themselves campaigned on about their fixed-election law.

    That’s a lot of brand new baggage the party’s taken on. Does anybody have any reason why that soft support would vote for Harper again in spite of all that?

  60. Kody, can you point out which extra eleven seats the Tories are going to win in Ontario? I am looking at the electoral map and I just don’t see them (especially given that the tainted meat story really resonates here).

  61. “Does anybody have any reason why that soft support would vote for Harper again in spite of all that?”

    In two words: Stéphane Dion.

  62. Andrew,

    the answer to why have an election now is very simple, and it the very thing Harper has been talking about in nearly every public appearance:

    the Green Shift.

    Normally a dramatic rise in tax that will exacerbate a huge economic problem, is something that a political party would ATTEMPT to accuse the other side of, with the other side vociferously opposing. It is a pure political gift: one that Harper will capitalize on to gain what was once a somewhat difficult majority, into a fairly easy one,

    denying Dion the next several months trying to turn the page.

    Another prediction in addition to the seat counts:

    you will hear of Dion’s plan for a carbon tax, far, far more from Harper, than from Dion: THAT my friends is a sure sign your idea was a bomb.

    As for where the seats will come from, without going into specifics:

    That rich 905 belt where folks are feeling a summers worth of pain every time they fill up their cars, and every announcement of auto cuts which they intuitively know would will be exponentially worse off if that very heavily carbon based industry is presided over by the greenly academic intellectual.

    Again, this election won’t even be close.

  63. If the Liberals lose 11 seats in Ontario, I’ll eat my hat. That’s just a RIDICULOUS thing to assume. If anything, the Liberals are more popular in Ontario than they were in the last election, not less. They may not gain seats, but to LOSE 11 seats they’d actually have to send Dion around the province begging people not to vote Liberal.

    As for the supposedly huge problem with the Green Shift “tax increase”, I think it’s only a problem if voters do what the CPC tells them to and simply ignore the large income tax REDUCTIONS that are also a part of the Green Shift plan. The word SHIFT is there for a reason you know. It’s a plan to SHIFT the tax burden AWAY from income, and on to pollution causing activities. It’s really not that complicated, unless you’re a conservative.

  64. Also, as for the “auto cuts” in Ontario, while everyone panics about things like that, and it makes a great headline, let’s keep in mind that these cuts are GM cuts, not “auto” cuts. Sure, we’re losing GM jobs, but that’s because GM make sucky cars that no one wants to buy.

    Toyota meantime is opening NEW plants in Ontario.

  65. Dot/Anon: The “Kool-Aid” reference is more likely to Ken Kesey’s Merry Prankster’s. Read Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test for the fun background.

  66. wtf? Pranksters

  67. The new Crop poll which came out this morning explains why Gilles Duceppe and Stéphane Dion are heading for the hills and leaving their cell phones at home do they’re incommunicado:

    Cons 31
    Bloc 30
    Libs 20
    NDP 14

    That’s right folks, the Conservatives have overtaken the Bloc in popular support in Quebec.

    How is Stéphane Dion doing in his hometown of Quebec City? Libs at 14%, I’m told that the dislike for him there is palpable.

    Pundits in Quebec are saying that Duceppe is Dion’s only hope to stop the Conservative wave developping there. It appears they’re already co-operating together. The old federal Liberal/separatist symbiotic relationship rears its ugly head.

  68. I note this froma week or so back:

    Conservative caucus members, candidates and about 400 party activists from across the GTA attended a party barbecue at the Croatian Parish Park in Mississauga and cheered as Harper boasted of his own government’s record of cutting taxes, toughening criminal laws and consumer safety regulations, and pouring money into infrastructure.

    I guess that “consumer safety” thing might need a bit of reworking.

    – JV

  69. Consider me dumbfounded! In my wildest dreams, I never believed that Harper would go to such lengths to avoid the by-elections.

    That being said, if we Canadians allow him to get away with this at the polls, we deserve everything that is sure to come our way as a result.

  70. Lord Kitchener: “I think it’s only a problem if voters do what the CPC tells them to and simply ignore the large income tax REDUCTIONS that are also a part of the Green Shift plan.” — Umm, that would be just like the Liberals going to cancel the GST? If anyone actually believes there will be meaningful tax cuts to offset the Green Shift nightmare, they would have to have been born yesterday. Among other things, Greenshift raises prices by increasing fuel/transportation and heating costs. EVERYTHING costs more, including heating for schools, hospitals, etc. which are funded by taxpayers. Implementing Green shift will also cost money . . . so how could one possibly reduce income taxes to offset these significant cost increases? Does not work.

  71. LindaL, stop lying.

    First, equating the Liberals of today with the Liberals of 3 governments ago is akin to someone equating the Conservatives of today with the Reform Party.

    Second, if you read the plan rather than just the Conservative talking points, you’d know that the Green Shift imposes no tax on gasoline for transportation, for one. Of course there’s going to be overhead, but you’re talking like there isn’t any overhead now, despite there being changes made to the tax code every year.

    Third, the price will go up on those items that create a lot of unwanted pollution, true enough. Fortunately, we have the choice whether to purchase those or not, and the tax will encourage companies to find ways to avoid polluting so that they don’t have to pay it and can give us lower prices.

    Fourth, compare it to the Conservative or NDP plans. Their plans will also raise the price on everything, it’s just that theirs don’t come with any income tax break. Given the choice of having to pay more and getting an income tax cut, or just having to pay more, which would you prefer?

    So stop lying and do some research so we can talk intelligently about the problems with the Green Shift (and there certainly are some, but they’re not the ones you’re going on about)

  72. What the hell kind of carbon tax doesn’t impose any tax on transportation?

    Why don’t they come right out and say it’s the Return of the NEP?

    Thwim, the lying LPC are the lying liars here. Give me a break. “green shift” – they can’t even come up with an original name. They should just call it Holy F*ck the West.

  73. So you’re admitting you don’t know anything about it, Steve?

    To answer your question, the kind of carbon tax that realizes that gas is already taxed at a very high level.

    If it was the return of the NEP, then there wouldn’t be additional returns built into it for Alberta to help compensate for the extra burden everybody knows we’d be undertaking for it. (And I’m not even going to get into the truth about the NEP, I’ve already dealt with my fair share of Albertans who simply prefer to blame somebody else than face up to the uncomfortable fact that an economy based on the production of a single resource is inherently unstable)

    Seriously, try reading up on what you’re talking about.. before talking about it.

  74. If it was the NEP the Liberals would have to tank world oil prices again. Works for me.

  75. Seriously now, does anyone outside of that “firewall” zone buy this Green Shift = NEP nonsense?

  76. Based on the fixed date election law, does the PM have to have a “crisis” to ask the GG to dissolve parlimant. If so, can his presumed crisis be challanged in a court of law?

  77. I’m not sure many folks in the DMZ bought much of the NEP nonsense in the first place.

    Nothing’s changed besides the length of terms. Any need to be in crisis is strictly political.

  78. DMZ = demilitarized zone, btw. outside the firewall. its sort of the tech crowd’s idea of an inside joke.

    sorry about that. lingering lingo.

  79. Cancelling her trip is a personal, degrading insult. The crass, low life politics we expect. They’re just getting better at it.
    Welcome to Giornoland, bye bye the friendly clubby confines of Parliament Hill.

  80. I can’t believe Mr.Onley will actually go there since China has a forced-Abortion policy where Mobile slaughter Houses tour the Country sides for pregnant Farms People that already have a child and must enter the vehicle to kill the baby.

    Today we are seeing more and more Abortions to stop the Disabled from every being born as a “Favour” to the child that will suffer a life of Shame by all the Able-Bodied bigots that are intolerant of the Disabled.

    If Mr. Onley goes to this event I will lose all my respect for him as a Crusader for the Rights of the Disabled.
    I say this because I’m very close to marketing a series of Universal-Design inventions for Accessibility by the End-Users from several disadvantaged groups , I oringinally thought he could endorse my Inventions and be given a free Unit to test in his Home to prove it really works and improves his Quality of living with a Disablilty .

  81. You guys are harping on Kody’s 11 Ontario Liberal seat losses, but not paying any attention to his 12 Quebec Liberal seat losses?! The first is in the realm of possibility … might not be likely, but it’s possible. But the Grits going down to 1 seat (I’m assuming Kody means 12 down from the last election, seeing as they only hold 11 at present) in Quebec would likely signal the end of the world! These are seats where the Libs could run insects as candidates and they’d still win by 10,000 votes.

    I would think the Grits could lose more than 3 out East, and more than 2 in B.C., given recent polling numbers coming out of that province.

    11 seats in Ontario? Let’s see, Huron-Bruce, Oakville, Garth’s riding, Welland, Guelph, Oak Ridges, Brant … that’s 8 off the top of my head. Everyone always says that only the Libs and NDP can win in Toronto, and it’s a fairly solid bet, but let’s remember it’s the CPC and not the NDP that runs 2nd in Toronto (2nd most votes city wide).

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