Repeat anything enough it starts to seem true

By the time the last Liberal leader was disposed of, his full name was Stephane Dion Notaleader. The Conservatives have attempted to do the same with Mr. Notaleader’s successor—first it was Just Visiting, until that was neatly turned into an attack on immigrants and expats, now it’s Just In It For Himself.

And so now, perhaps having taken the last few years to observe the effectiveness of this phenomenon, the Liberals have finally decided to respond in kind. At Wednesday’s QP there were 12 references to a Conservative “culture of deceit.” At Thursday’s session there were 14 references. This morning there were a dozen.

And all of this has quite upset Tom Lukiwski, the parliamentary secretary to the government’s house leader, who rose with the following point of order after QP on Thursday.

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order concerning a question asked by the member for Toronto Centre in question period earlier and directed to the Prime Minister. I would suggest that the member for Toronto Centre used unparliamentary language when he directed his question to the Prime Minister and said that the Prime Minister should bear some responsibility for the culture of deceit of the Conservative government. I would remind you, Mr. Speaker, not that you need reminding, that any time one points a question at an individual, as opposed to the government, and uses unparliamentary language, that member is usually called upon to withdraw those remarks. I have provided you with copies of the blues in both languages, Mr. Speaker, and I would ask that you review them at your earliest opportunity and rule accordingly.




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Repeat anything enough it starts to seem true

  1. I shall take your headline to heart.

    I am going to win the lottery.

    • Unfortunately there is a difference between seeming to be true and actually being so.

      Don't start spending money you don't have ; )

    • The Liberals motto, they sure like to repeat themselves over, and over, and over….

      • I try to bring some non-partisan levity to the conversation, and here we go again with the slagging.

        It's an equal opportunity sport, folks.

        • And you did, it was funny!

          But to me, the headline right away took me to QP ( I am a QP junkie) this week, couldn't help it, It was a sad week to watch, the same questions over and over and honestly, that's what I thought, that if they repeated them enough it will become the truth.

          • Oh, Claudia, you're the only Con I tend to like here but I gotta ask ya — how on earth was in any different in QP this week than any other week? Because the Cons were under attack instead of attacking?

          • Well thank you Patchouli, I like you too!
            And I do agree with you with some Cons Ministers, they do tend to over do it and sometimes they make me cringe in horror with some of the things that come of their mouths. But I gotta tell you, the Liberals sure blew it with a great opportunity, the ball was in their court 100% and Iggy over did it, he killed it, so it is hard to like him and I do try (I always voted Liberal, until this last election, first time I voted for the Tories, I never thought that would happen in my lifetime, as a matter of fact is a running joke with family and friends, they just can't believe it!) This is a big problem with Iggy he repeats himself like a nagging wife, and it is not good, he needs to really change his wording and attitude and prove that he is smarter than Harper and more civilized and he can make huge changes, he needs to stop making it about Harper and focus on him and his party, that's when things will change.

      • You sure nailed it Claudia – notaleadernotaleadernotaleadernotaleader, supportthetroopssupportthetroopssupportthetroopers, continue ad infinitum…

        • Hahaha and they do seem to say it this fast, don't they?

    • I have strong personal discipline and am productive creatively.

  2. The funniest part of this Point of Order was the Speaker's reaction (Aaron perhaps you could find the exact quote, I do not have the blues handy) with a somewhat amazed expression, to the effect at how impressed he was at the swiftness of the member's ability to produce the document (i.e. the blues)! Quelle irony.

  3. What happened to Stephen "I can take a punch" Harper?

    • Just can't take the sound of tables turning, I guess.

    • He's off writing a book about hockey.

    • He never existed.

  4. I think what it really means is that the libs have the same guy writing all the questions for Question Period, my guess is that it is Frank Graves.

    • Now if only the Cons had ONE guy who actually answered questions.

    • My guess is that you're wrong, given that Graves isn't on the payroll.

        • And that you spend way to much time with the epistemic closure of smalldeadanimals

  5. S Homeboy has more than just the same initials as Steven Harper.

    • Sask Homeboy = Brad Wall, harp's best lap dog.

  6. Culture of deceit isn't that catchy and it uses language that only appeals to the base (i.e. hoity toighty downtown Toronto types (i.e. me)).

    Maybe: "Does not know the difference between right and wrong – wrong again Mr. Harper"…

    • Come on… admit it! You're just trying to start a culture war between latte sipping ivory tower elites and real Canadians!

    • It's no clunkier than, say, 'culture of entitlement.' Which is the horse the current bunch rode in on.

  7. It seems like something got under Lukiwski's fingernails.

    • Yes, he is a stickler for good grooming as well as a model for temperate language, as we all know.

    • Where'd my comment go? I someone goose-stepping through the comments section again with their finger on the delte button?

      I''ll try again:

      Yes, Mr. Lukiwsky is a stickler for good grooming not to mention a model of temperate language, isn't he?

      • Nice way to double down on ignorance and blame external forces.

        • ?

          My first comment did disappear for a while. But this jerry-rigged comment system is pretty wonky (it sits on top of WordPress's native comment system) so I shouldn't be surprised.

          • Yep, it is wonky. Mine has just disappeared too.
            I posted a reply apologizing for my double down comment because that kind of thing has happened to me, where I reposted something that just took its sweet time appearing, thus double posting as well. I got nothing against cheap shots, but I threw that rock right through one my house's windows.

  8. if it appeals to hoity toighty downtown types like you and I, why is it that neither of us find that language appealing?

    • I'm a hoity toighty downtown type too, and I don't like the language either. The intention is good; but the execution isn't.

  9. The right is so much better at language.

    Bush et al. write a law to take away freedom and civil liberties and they call it the "Patriot Act." The Dems' healthcare bill was called the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." They should've called the "Save America" act or something even catchier that I didn't just think up.

    "Just visiting" is much clearer and simpler than "culture of deceit."

    • You are making me hungry for some freedom fries.

    • "Just visiting" is much clearer and simpler…"

      …and more deceitful? Yes, it is.

  10. first it was Just Visiting, until that was neatly turned into an attack on immigrants and expats,

    Neatly? It wasn't neat at all. It required some jaw-dropping logical distortions. Apparently, if you criticize the guy who wants to run Canada for choosing to spend almost all of his adult life outside the country, it's the *exact same thing* as attacking immigrants.

    • Hey you know what they say: you have to fight jaw-dropping logical distortions with jaw-dropping logical distortions.

      • hee hee

  11. It's been amusing to watch the Liberals try to flog their "culture of deceit" line. I don't think it's working very well, though. Better luck next time.

    • Now you're in outright denial. Is everything OK?

    • The problem with the line is it's too clever for the common Canadian( immigrants?). None of them remember Harper's "culture of defeat" line. It's probably why they only use it in the House of Commons; as a way to unnerve Harper. They's be more successful if they called him Swedish Chef.

      They should with something more direct, poignant, and widely usable: Harper – Deceitful.

    • Or the other one from last summer, I think it was "We can do better", that didn't work. I remember watching Ignatieff talking and he repeated it so many times it sounded like a joke, like a Rick Mercer sketch, and a rip off to Obama's
      "Yes, we can"

      • Yeah, that was the line from the Narnia ads. The fatal flaw with that line was that Iggy, at the time, had provided absolutely nothing, idea-wise, to demonstrate how he could do better. The ads were a disaster, and most people were not impressed. Perhaps not coincidentally, Iggy started his long descent in the polls right around that time.

        • It's really a shame that you think Canadians are that stupid.

          I'm pretty sure the decline at the time (since reversed) had more to do with election speculation than a few teevee commercials.

          • It's really a shame that you think Canadians are that stupid.

            It's really a shame that you got that from what I wrote, Tiggy. On the contrary, I think that Ignatieff's dismal 14% personal approval rating is evidence that Canadians are collectively much smarter than Liberals usually give them credit for.

            I wasn't implying a direct causal relationship. However, I'm also pretty sure that Iggy's crappy ads didn't help him very much. They certainly didn't project competence, which is what Iggy so desperately needed.

          • You seem to go from polls on leadership to polls on voter intention willy-nilly, depending on what makes your argument look stronger.

            Do you know you do that?

          • Willy nilly? Since Ignatieff is the subject of this conversation, and we're talking about his personal credibility and about advertising in which he appears, I don't think it's unreasonable to talk about his personal approval rating as well.

          • I thought political advertising/messaging was the topic of this conversation.

            I bet if Harper had appeared in that sun-dappled glade and read the same script Ignatieff had, the Conservatives would have judged it pure genius.

          • I like Harper best when he talks substance. He does, at times, you know. It all depends on if you're listening. Or not.

          • All of them are preferable when they talk substance instead of talking points.

            Any thoughts on why Harper doesn't take advantage of more opportunities to talk substance?

          • Any thoughts on why Harper doesn't take advantage of more opportunities to talk substance, you mean, for instance, each and every time he wants to talk senate reform? How many times now has he tried to bring the issue to the forefront? And how many times has he been taken seriously by a significant enough group of the MSM to let him bring his point over into a discussion?

            It just doesn't happen. And you know why? I truly believe that if "they" would give Harper a chance to state his argument, he would make too much sense, and that truly is his strong point, hence the opposition in the HOuse or in the media won't give him a chance to sound reasonable. That would undermine the opposition's strenght.

            You know, the time when Harper took time out of politics, he could be heard on political shows to do some commentary and he was good, very good. But then of course, the opposition at large wasn't concerned about a man doing commentary…………how times have changed.

          • I have vague memories of Harper as a commentator, and my (initial) reaction to that version of Harper is more positive than negative (more of an Andrew Coyne, less of a Tim Powers).

            And, to be honest, I wasn't thinking about Harper's thoughts about senate reform, although, again, my initial reaction is to agree with you about that particular issue – Harper tends to speak substantively about senate reform and his thoughts do not get as much traction as they deserve.

            But the substantive Harper seems to be quite a bit more elusive these days compared to his days as a commentator. These days he tends to speak substantively about things that interest him, but might not interest others, and ignores topics that others have questions about.

            Harper might find that he could make a bit more progress if he could buckle down and provide substantive answers in QP and held some press conferences.

          • Completely agree.

          • "How many times now has he tried to bring the issue to the forefront?"

            Fewer times than he's stacked the Senate with his cronies, that's for sure.

          • If you can put aside the discrepancy between Harper's deeds and his words wrt Senate reform, what do you think about his ideas for senate reform?

          • That's a bet you'd lose, at least in my case.

          • Crit_Reasoning,

            I'm trying to catch up in points – 109 versus 72

            (make that 73 )

  12. they are not allowed to say – bunch of lying so an so's

    Conservaitve chicanery?.
    Con cons?

  13. I still like "Say Anything Steve" or "Deceivin' Stephen", a moniker from several years ago. Interesting that the same theme has dogged Steve-o from the beginning.

    That theme can be traced to a lot of not what this government tends to do, but to what this government is about. Wells touches on the same sorts of things in his most recent article and he wrote that before this tag line.

    The Conservatives have gone out of their way to deceive Canadians and to lie about what the opposition are doing. The clearest example is Stephen Harper standing in front of a room of reporters a month or so ago and saying that the Liberal senators had delayed one of his crime bills when, in fact, the senate passed that bill without amendment even faster than the House did and then it sat there waiting for 4 months before Harper moved it to get Royal Assent. To say nothing about brazenly breaking the Access to Information Act for years, etc.

    It will work because it has a lot of fertile grounds of evidence to support.

    • Harper's culture of deceit dates all the way back to the PC-CA merger days.

      I liken the conservatives' relationship with Harper to that of siblings to a problem gambler. There's bound to be a better day … someday.

  14. To be fair, it has happened to me too and I reposted the same thing, so I apologize for the double down remark.

  15. No argument from me but that's not the point.

    The Republicans in particular (the Conservatives are trying) are excellent with syntax. The Liberals/Democrats have to get much better about their messages. It's one of those political realities we are stuck with.

    • Why are we stuck with deceit?

  16. IntenseDebate Notification <DIV dir=ltr align=left>I meant stuck with having to massage language – we should not tolerate deceit.</DIV> <DIV>

    • But from the examples we have about what works and what doesn't, massaging language and deceit seem to be the same things.

      I'm all for a pithy phrase or a catchy slogan, but at some point, we have to insist on accuracy. Anything less is either irrelevant or downright deceitful.

      You should listen to how quickly Frank Luntz gets himself all tangled up when, on those occasions, he agrees to discuss his genius with strategic language, like on an edition of NPR's On the Media a few months ago. Which is a big part of the problem; the media isn't in the habit of analysing the content of these messages as much as it is in simply passing them along, like the good stenographers they are.

      • "when, on those occasions, he agrees to discuss his genius with strategic language, like on an edition of NPR's On the Media a few months ago"

        Sorry, I didn't quire finish that thought. It should have ended "and how he didn't have much of an answer to the question of whether his 'frames' could be described as accurate."

  17. The Adscam party talks deceit! LOL
    Do yah really think Canadians have forgotten all those phoney ad contracts, money stuffed into brown envelopes and money laundering to funnel cash back into Liberal part coffers?

    • Or the hundreds of thousands in envelopes from Karlheinz?

  18. ARRRRGH!!!

  19. This whole "culture of [X]" phrase is getting pretty hackneyed. I think it was coined by Pope John Paul II with his "culture of life" speech in 1993. Since then it's been coined by the Democrats ("culture of corruption") to tar their opponents and now by the Liberals to tar theirs.

    It's all just a cheap knock-off of someone who was wiser, focused on greater things, and more articulate than the pastel politicians of our time.

    • Don't forget "Culture of Entitlement"….

  20. You know what: you are absolutely right. We should simply hold everybody to a higher standard. Love or hate Obama, he still hasn't resorted to the mudslinging most other US politicians have.

  21. Culture of deceit in layman's terms:

    "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

  22. how about

    they are sustained by secrecy and deceit (still too uptown?)

    they rule by secrecy and deceit

    • It's like that Monty Python sketch in which the Germans are looking for an English version of the "killer joke:"

      "Two vngnuts vere valking down ze street. Van vas assaulted…vingnut!"

      Yes? No? Ok…

  23. Wow, a whole lot of good juicy commentary froth, over what is just really a question of possible unparliamentary language.

    • Yes, but remember who this is coming from: Tom "homosexual f*ggots with dirt under their fingernails" Lukiwsky.

  24. The "culture of deceit" list is full of holes because

    Iggy the "bookworm" has been at it!

  25. "Culture of deceit" isn't particularly catchy, but referring to the Conservatives as "opportunistic liars" would probably get them sued.

    Speaking of which: whatever happened to that lawsuit against Stephane Dion? Has it been quietly thrown out?

  26. pot…kettle?

  27. Not as good as Justice Gomery's characterization of the Liberal's "Culture of Entitlement"

    • Harper successfully used 'culture of entitlement' — two syllables longer. If people can understand the concept of entitlement, they can understand deceit. It affirms what they already suspect of the Cons.

  28. Culture of S&M

    (smoke and mirrors ;)

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