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Recent history and Harper’s TV address tonight


 

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One way to assess Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s television pitch tonight will be to compare it with the last performance of its sort, Paul Martin’s April 1, 2005 TV address.

Like Harper now, Martin was pleading then for popular support over what was essentially a parliamentary problem. His minority Liberal government, bloodied by the sponsorship scandal, was in danger of being felled by an opposition that smelled its chance.

Three elements stand out, and Harper might choose to offer his own version of them:

1. Plead for time. Martin asked to be allowed to survive until Justice John Gomery completed his report into the sponsorship scandal, and promised to call election within 30 days of its publication. Harper might try a variation: let me deliver my promised Jan. 27 budget, and if you still don’t like me, defeat my government then. It sounds good to emphasize that you aren’t asking for an open-ended right to govern.

2. Show a little contrition. On the sponsorship affair, Martin said Liberals “had to be held responsible, and that includes me.” He apologized for not being more vigilant. If Harper had it in him (I don’t think he does), he might help his cause by admitting he shouldn’t have provoked the opposition in his economic update. Promising to be more conciliatory in future would be a nice touch, too. (Highly unlikely.)

3. Throw it to the people. “They warn we will pay a price in the next election,” Martin said. “And perhaps we will, but I trust your judgment.” Solid lines. Harper should do something like this. His trump card is that he can boldly declare his willingness to face the electorate; his opponents would rather not, just yet. That gives him a powerful rhetorical advantage. Canada is a democracy, after all.

In the end, Martin’s TV appearance didn’t save him; holding Independent MP Chuck Cadman’s vote and getting Belinda Stronach to cross the floor did, for a few months. Still, Martin’s bid for public support wasn’t bad, and it’s the closest thing we have to a template for this evening.


 

Recent history and Harper’s TV address tonight

  1. They’re probably reading your blog right now, and proceeding to throw out the version that refers to the other parties as “a bunch of terrorist, pedophilic traitors…”

  2. How many Canadian flags will be behind Harper?

  3. You think he can see them better when they’re behind him and not in front of his face?

  4. Has to be more than three!

  5. how the hell did anyone get a picture of Harper not doing the pointy finger thing?

  6. I think he will opt for option number 1 and plead …but he won’t plead as its not his style – he will demand more time. He will expect the G.G. to bow to his will and prorogue but in my view that will start a dangerous precedence for other minority governments to run and hide. She will have agreed to interfere with the democratic parliamentary system. Harper must play his game out and face the non-confidence vote.
    Why should Harper be allowed to spend millions of dollars to create a ‘public opinion’ to prop himself up with? He ran his campaign weeks ago and he did not win a majority. He had the confidence of the house once and now he has lost it – allow the majority to form a coalition government. This is my Canada too – Harper should not be allowed to buy his way back into governing Canada.

  7. Has to be more than three!(Canadian flags).

    LOL

    Too true! Anything less than 4 Canadian flags behind Harper and I expect at least one question in the House as to why Harper couldn’t acquiesce to a greater display of patriotism than Gilles Ducceppe!

  8. I just saw l’il Brad Wall on the Braaaawdcast. Maybe Harper should have pictures of him winking and blowing kisses in the background?

    What a toady.

  9. They’re probably reading your blog right now, and proceeding to throw out the version that refers to the other parties as “a bunch of terrorist, pedophilic traitors…”

    Not throwing out, so much as saving for a more opportune occasion.

  10. So what makes Brad Wall a toady, and Elizabeth May or Jacques Parizeau not a toady?

    Oh right, you aren’t actually presenting anything of value to consider again but merely insulting someone for their political positions. You were doing so well all afternoon too.

  11. So what makes Brad Wall a toady

    He was parroting CPC talking points. He used the word “separatist” a number of times. Don Newman sounded like he wanted to cut the little tyke off.

  12. Yeah, if this is about talking points, he still doesn’t distinguish himself from Elizabeth May or Jacques Parizeau. You might also want to mention why you find what Brad Wall is doing is distasteful, rather than just putting up the insult. I actually might want to know that Brad Wall is parroting talking points, and where they came from.

  13. ” Promising to be more conciliatory in future would be a nice touch, too.”

    Would the other parties ever be dumb enough to believe him?

  14. rather than just putting up the insult.

    I didn’t insult you, Terry…or Saskatchewanians or Albertans or indeed all of Western Canada, for whom you speak. So I didn’t really need to explain myself to you.

    If Toady Brad Wall feels insulted, too bad.

  15. Would the other parties ever be dumb enough to believe him?

    Maybe. What’ll Harper be wearing tonight? The blue sweater vest is out. He appeared once in a fetching taupe/olive green business casual ensemble accessorised with glasses that was so scientifically persuasive that I myself maxed out my credit card donating to the CPC before I came to my senses.

    That might work.

  16. If Harper were to use nuclear option he could tell Canadians the whole truth about electoral fraud commited by Liberals and their moles at Election Canada during last federal elections, fraud that denied Conservatives their well deserved majority.

    I am quite sure that such speech would deal fatal blow to LPC.

  17. In that photo he has the frumpy grey look of an early 1980s Soviet minister.

  18. I’m beginning to thing that “Karol” is in fact the alias of a particularly underutilized staffer at the LPC offices on Metcalfe. She has to be. I only hope the snickering that descends over that row of cubicles as each entry is punched in isn’t interrupting anyone else’s work in the office.

  19. I dunno – I’ll see your Brad Wall and raise you two Danny Williams.
    I’m wondering – having seen how Haper is collapsing on himself this last 72 hours – how the 24 hour Makeup gal is going to cover the dark hollows around his eyes so the wolf like pale blues show through?Match sticks carefully touched up with pancake makeup perhaps?

  20. “Karol” is a guy’s name, Tom.

    I believe our Karol is “Karol Karolak.” Google and all will be revealed.

  21. I dunno – I’ll see your Brad Wall and raise you two Danny Williams.

    Point taken, but I don’t remember Danny Williams making a unity crisis out of this. For the most part, Williams argued that the province of Newfoundland and Labrador was being treated with contempt by Harper.

    What’s Brad Wall got to worry about with separatists? Are the residents of Gravelbourg and Ponteix planning an insurrection?

  22. Tom

    I’m beginning to thing that “Karol” is in fact the alias of a particularly underutilized staffer at the LPC offices on Metcalfe. She has to be. I only hope the snickering that descends over that row of cubicles as each entry is punched in isn’t interrupting anyone else’s work in the office.

    Karol is probably a hermaphrodite, so it’s possibly OK to tell him/her to go f**k him/herself.

  23. Those who say Harper is gone…are indeed right… the knives are out.. big time, those taking his side are not doing so with the Canadian Constitution in mind. A previous GG made it clear and simple in English to Don Newman “The Prime Minister must have the confidence of the house to govern it is just that simple”… (Full Stop… Over and Out) and it really is…all this other stuff is theatre from Harper as “A Coalition” is one constitutional option as all MP’s arrive in the House via the same fair route… ALL.. get it ALL

    How many years was the BLOC the official opposition and sat on who many committees and how many times did then Reformes vote along with them….. many, many, many times! Why beause their votes counted… did then, do now.

  24. Thanks, Ti-Guy. I never thought to Google Karol’s name. The 2005 letter to the queen about Canada’s baby breeding farms leaves me speechless.

  25. Right on the money David Bakody!!!!

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