Pop quiz


What is the number one priority of Stephen Harper’s government?

Afghanistan? Arctic sovereignty? The environment? Cutting taxes? Fighting crime? Bringing greater accountability and transparency to government? Reforming federalism? Restoring pride in our nation? Improving relations with our North American neighbours? Spreading democracy and human rights throughout the Western hemisphere? Seeing the country through the current economic crisis?

The correct answer—courtesy of Pierre Lemieux during this afternoon’s Question Period—after the jump.

“Mr. Speaker, food safety has been and continues to be our number one priority.”

Adjust your expectations accordingly.



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Pop quiz

  1. And I was certain it was holding onto power.

    • And I was certain it was writing a book on the history of hockey.

      • Good point!

  2. power at all costs which is what he espoused in his young days when he said economic conservatives must bind with social retards err conservatives in order to achieve power.

    power or scorch the earth.

    steven harper 2009

  3. Sorry, Aaron. You’re going to have to specify date and time. And , it seems, place.

  4. What’s with this – “after the jump” Aaron, are we pretending to be aboard the battlestar galactica? I keep on grabbing for the edge of the desk everytime you spring it on us?
    Gd piece. Can we assume that expectations are being lowered all over, or is everything now a top priority a la Martin? It’s difficult setting priorities after all!

    • I miss the days when every single file was very, very important. These days they’re just very, very full of BS.

      • No, silly, expecting a government to manage all of its responsibilties is a sign of weakness and dithering. The five step plan is all! After which… um…

  5. I just love the line of Harper and his bobbleheads about the economy – we’re doing better than other countries…..it’s like being very sick as opposed to be very, very sick.

    Hey, “and we gettin the job done”

  6. Wow – stop it there – that’s more than five.

  7. I hope everyone got the dual meaning of pop in the title.

  8. Do you think it’s easy making priorities?

    • Damn. Sandi beat me to it.

      But what is with the rest of you here? Aaron’s post went up at 11:30 last night and it takes almost 12 hours before someone writes this comment?

      Were you too busy trying to figure out if Harper is the reincarnation of :

      – Lyin’ Brian Mulroney (In and Out Scam, Cadman bribery, Casey accusations, senate appointments, etc. etc.)

      – Chretien (everything is partisan all of the time and promises only useful to get elected not for governing)

      – Martin (everything is a super priority, no focus, not getting anything substantive done, more focus on demonizing the opposition than on governing)

      – or Dion (you think it’s easy making priorities?)

      • Once and for all the whole “You think it’s easy to make priorities” thing was taken out of context and twisted by the Conservative adds. Unfortunately it has now become the common perception.

        At the Toronto Leadership debate, M. Dion won the exchange because he was pointing out how another leadersip aspirant had absolutely no experience in government and did not know the first thing about the government decision-making process and moving ahead on various files.

        If a government is taken up with a couple of major files (e.g. – defeating the deficit and national unity) then other objectives, no matter how laudible, will not get the attention (or funding) necessarily required to move them ahead.

        The gist of the statement in its original context was not that it is difficult to make priorities but that once priorities have been set then it is not always possible to add others that are major in scope.

        Any good government of course needs to be flexible and be able to deal with changes on the ground and different issues as they arise but having a couple of major priorites tend to suck up most of the energy and oxygen of a government.

        This also shows why a governments that either have no priorities or make everything a priority tend to flounder.

        And lastly, having major files that take up the majority of a govenment’s energy is different from having a few piddly priorities (how about 5?) that can be ticked off for show without anything having really been accomplished.

        • “(how about 5?) “

          Especially when you can’t even check off more than 3 after 3 years.

          • True dat.

  9. Here is the number one priority: “Tories, Liberals escalate standoff over $3B stimulus”.

    Remember the HRDC $1B “stimulus” program? Remember how a billion cold ones simply vanished mostly into Liberal ridings, with zero to show for it? (except for a lot of temporary makework and shuffled jobs in the beneficiary ridings and a lot of permanently lost jobs among the taxpaying businesses who were ripped off to pay for it all). Remember the fraud and the arrests?

    I don’t think the Libs are concerned about the amount of money at stake, and history shows that they have no aversion to screwing over profitable businesses to buy votes from losers and fraudsters.

    minority Tory government will happily provide full disclosure – “after the fact” – about how the money is spent

    Prolly the Libs will quietly accede as soon as they’re allowed to earmark for their friends what they consider to be a sufficient slice of the pork. Then you’ll never hear of either the money or the jobs again … until the next round of accusations and arrests …

    • Do you bake your own pretzels, oompus, or do you buy them?

      I take it from your comment that, like the Liberals and most Canadians, you oppose Harper’s election sabre rattling and brinkmanship over his personal $3 billion slush fund. But somehow you can’t find it in you to criticize Dear Leader so you have to blame this on the Liberals? The party that is trying to put the breaks on this slush fund?

      • I can’ t stand Harper or his $3B slush fund. I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression that I have a special dislike for Libs. They are no more crooked than their partners/competitors in crime.

        All of these programs are wasteful, corrupt and ruinous. Not accidentally because of the way they are implemented or because of which party is controlling the funds, but by design.

        The reason why politicians REALLY love this type of program, and the reason why they are fighting so strenuously over who gets to control the pork, is that this is NEW money. The fed’s existing, crooked vote-buying scams are more or less carved in stone and are not going to significantly change in the next few years – transfers, equalization, EI, etc. It’s very difficult to use them to buy whole new ridings or to enrich one’s johnny-come-lately cronies with them. But come up with 3B new dollars to fling about, at literally anything desired, and watch the fur fly as the weasels try to all get their teeth and claws into the dough at the same time.

    • If you’ll recall, Jane Stewart’s ambitions were put to an end by the so-called “billion-dollar boondoggle” where ineffective accounting practices at HRDC allegedly left millions of dollars unaccounted for (subsequent accounting reports revealed that only $85,000 were left unaccounted for). While the problems at HRDC mostly date from the time of her predecessor, Pierre Pettigrew, Stewart took the brunt of the attack. Both MPs are long gone.

      And according to Lisa Raitt, on numerous occasions, public safety is the government’s number one priority.

  10. Pretty sure I’m missing some sort of canadian in-joke there with the headline, but at the risk of seeming a terribly earnest American, I wanted to point out that food safety is rising amongst our domestic policy concerns as well: http://www.newsy.com/videos/is_the_fda_broken/

    So, while power politics may have been the concern of the young PM, the responsibility of keeping people safe from something that seems to be worrying quite a few people in a position to know quite a bit may have trumped ambition for the time being.

    • HMS:

      Food safety has been very much in the news in Canada of late. Not only is there the Chinese dairy issues which would have been covered in the US, but we had a severe listeriosis outbreak recently and there appears to be a fair bit of government bungling of the matter, plus they made jokes about it, and then there is a story in the papers today about Bisphenol A in soft drinks.

      So because it is in the news, it becomes the Conservatives Number 1 priority this hour, until the reporters move off to something else. We’ve seen the same rapid shifting of priorities whenever the polls shift – we saw it with the environment, the economy, the war in Afghanistan, crime, etc.

      It is difficult to believe but Harper has more #1 priorities than Paul Martin did.

      Don’t like what Harper is saying about the economy? Don’t like the direction of his government? Wait a minute.

  11. “Mr. Speaker, food safety has been and continues to be our number one priority.”

    He just mouths words that he thinks will voters think he cares.

  12. The number one priority of the Harper government is to hold onto power while it slowly and systematically, deassembles anything remotely progressive. Harper was the fat kid in your class that was always teased and ignored. We are witnessing his revenge.

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