Starting… now

by Aaron Wherry

Stephen Harper, August 2Harper didn’t stop there, putting in a campaign plug for Ontario’s provincial Conservatives in this fall’s election. ”We started cleaning up the left-wing mess federally in this area. Rob’s doing it municipally. And now we’ve got to complete the hat trick and do it provincially as well.”

Stephen Harper, last Friday. You know I don’t analyse elections, and I don’t get involved in provincial elections. Obviously we congratulate Premier McGuinty on his win. Our governments have worked well during the challenges of the past two or three years, and I look forward to continuing to work with Premier McGuinty’s government.




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Starting… now

  1. Is there a signup process for Ignore Inconvenient Facts Friday? I feel like I might have missed the email with the instructions, as I still seem to pay attention to all facts, unlike just about all politicians.

  2. Ever tie a piece of paper to a string and dangle it in front of a kitten? Really, after a while, even the cat gets bored of the diversion. Maybe this is a tactic on Harper’s part, to be so continually contradictory and distracting that everyone just gives up from fatigue. But that even credits him with the intelligence to know he’s doing it.

    • ‘Maybe this is a tactic on Harper’s part, to be so continually contradictory and distracting that everyone just gives up from fatigue.’
      There’s definitely something to that, judging by my great big yawn after reading the story.

    • Another Harper Catch-22:

      1. Harper congratulates McGuinty, even though he clearly wanted the other guy to win. Folks who don’t like Harper sneer at the supposed “contradiction”.

      2. Harper doesn’t congratulate McGuinty.  Everyone is aghast at Harper’s rudeness, lack of cooperation.

      • Poor baby Harper. Crit lays down the Victim cards and declares a winner.

        • Victim cards?  I was pointing out a fairly obvious Catch-22.  

          • Of course, Harper could have said:
            “As the leader of a Conservative Party, I naturally had some preference for the Ontario PC’s but I respect the will of the people of Ontario and look forward to continuing to work constructively with Premier McGuinty blah blah blah”

            So there was an upfront option that was decided to be not in keeping with the Conservative brand.

            Of course he also lied about not analyzing elections, which is a shame because Harper’s analysis of the response of the electorate at the federal level (as evidenced by some early interviews) is fascinating.  

          • @StewartSmith

            Speaking of Monty Python’s Argument Clinic, you might want to look up what “categorically deny” means if you think that’s what Harper was doing here. ;-)

            I also think it’s fatuous to insist on some sort of caveat to Harper’s congratulatory remarks, as though it’s not patently obvious that the Conservative PM wanted the Conservatives to win.

          • Harper already publicly stated his preference… which was a minor mistake.  I hardly see it as unreasonable that Stephen Harper acknowledge previous statements made by Stephen Harper rather than categorically deny making them.

            Yeesh?  I think anyone reading Harper’s views from a decade ago would be fascinated knowing what he is currently thinking, re say the NDP’s future.  However, it wasn’t a criticism of Harper just a lament that we will not get it.  In my continuing theme of DISQUS sucks, I suggest those that want to understand our PM better look up Monty Python’s Argument Clinic.  

          • I hardly see it as unreasonable that Stephen Harper acknowledge previous statements made by Stephen Harper

            That’s crazy talk!!! 

            I saw that episode of Doctor Who.  Post-2006 Stephen Harper acknowledges that he’s the same person as pre-2006 Stephen Harper and it rips a hole in the fabric of time and space that destroys the universe.

            If Stephen Harper’s going to start acknowledging positions he held prior to 2006, somebody had better call River Song!

          • These catch 22′s are the inevitable consequence of trying to have it both ways on every issue.

          • Of course it is.  Harper is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t, and even when Harper haters use self-contradictory circular logic to criticize him, it’s still Harper’s fault.

          • Before the election, he publicly ordered his party not to involve itself. Notwithstanding that he’d publicly mused about how great it would be if Hudak won.

            During the election, his staff and key ministers involved themselves directly in the election.

            After the election, he tells us he doesn’t get involved in elections.

            This is a man speaking out of both sides of his mouth. He’s not ‘damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t’ – he’s damned because he did when he says he doesn’t.

      • Except the catch-22 was completely self-inflicted. Had he been smart enough to simply stay the hell out of it until the election happened, he wouldn’t be in this predicament.

        Now that he is, the honourable way to handle it would have been to do as Stewart pointed out, acknowledge the difference and promise to do the best regardless, not the dishonourable way he chose, pretending that everything is tickety-boo. 

        Unfortunately, it’s simply not within Mr. Harper’s abilities to acknowledge a mistake.

        • Had he been smart enough to simply stay the hell out of it until the election happened, he wouldn’t be in this predicament.

          What predicament, exactly?  The predicament of being criticized by online commenters for congratulating McGuinty on his victory?

          I think it’s ludicrous that you’re calling Harper “dishonourable” for  congratulating McGuinty without including the caveat “I’d have preferred it if the Conservative guy won”.  

          • So you’re saying a catch-22 isn’t a predicament?

      • I disagree with your premise that this was a Catch-22… Harper could have avoided both (1) and (2) simply by being a little more statesmanlike and not making the remarks at the Ford BBQ to begin with.

        Then, when McGuinty wins, he can simply congratulate him without any contradiction.

        • Yes, how terrible of the Conservative PM to attend a private, partisan BBQ in Ontario and express his hope that the Progressive Conservatives win the Ontario election.

          For shame! How unstatesmanlike!  How outrageous!

          • CR, you’re forgetting the Wherryite Prime Directive:  everything Harper does is bad.

          • Indeed.  How silly of me to forget that.  

            Harper could say “lovely day today” and Wherry would post a link to an old speech where Harper says: “I don’t talk about the weather.”  Of course, this would be red meat for the blog commenters:  Another lie!  A shameful contradiction!

          • In these days of almost every cell phone having a video camera and YouTube being very accessible, the Prime Minster ought to know better (and I’m pretty sure does know better) than to assume any remarks made at a partisan rally are private.

            In any event, you are suggesting Harper fell into a Catch-22, and I am saying the situation was created entirely by his comments, which he should have known better than to assume they would have stayed private.

          • These are not the remarks you are looking for.

      • There is legitimate partisanship, Crit, which you and I both have, and then there’s spending too much time at the Kool-Aid bowl which I think maybe you did over the Thanksgiving holiday.

        Without Wherry’s first paragraph, his entire blog post has no meaning.  So you can’t just ignore that part that where Harper says “I don’t get involved in provincial elections” in the second paragraph, that he already did in the first.  That’s the problem here, not that he congratulated McGuinty or didn’t congratule McGuinty.

        • Fair enough, Jenn, though maybe I just ate too much turkey! ;-)

          Harper’s original comments were intended to be private.  He didn’t intentionally involve himself.  Ironically, it was the Liberal war room that kept flogging the video.  So the Ontario Liberals tried their best to involve the PM in the campaign, even as the PM tried to stay out of it.

          •   He didn’t intentionally involve himself.  Ironically, it was the Liberal war room that kept flogging the video.  

            My face is cracking from laughing.He didn’t intentionally? Who was that at the barbecue?Who buried the video?

          • I think the Liberal war room must have posted dozens of links to that video, complete with scary music, billing it as “the video Harper doesn’t want you to see.”

            You gotta love the irony. 

          • You’re dangling another cat toy.

          • I was laughing at the Liberal war room.  Like, we Liberals can afford a war room!  But, maybe he meant the provincial Liberals, and I don’t know if they can afford a war room or not.

          • @2Jenn:disqus I’m referring to the provincial Liberal war room.  Check out Kinsella’s website if you don’t believe me about the video being posted ad nauseam.

        • Obviously, in 2Jeff world, expressing a preferred outcome is “getting involved”.  I don’t doubt at various points he’s stated publicly that he’d like a Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, so let’s pin that on him as well.

          • Yeah, because Harper would deny having any preferred outcome with the NHL?  Get real, or at least make sense.

          • I’ll dumb it down:

            Gist of Wherry’s quote #1 – I hope Hudak wins.
            Gist of Wherry’s quote #2 – He didn’t, no biggie.

          • Except it wasn’t. It was:

            I hope Hudak wins
            We’ve always liked McGuinty.

  3. So what else is knew?

  4. I feel the need to point out that when he said that, I believe he was gadding about Saskatchewan with premier Wall, giving Wall a boost just as he was to drop the writ for the provincial election here.  Everytime you see a photo of harper and wall, wall is staring with adoration at harp, and harp looks kind of like wall’s a teeny insect he has to be seen with, but he’d rather shoo it away.

  5. Harper made the biggest mistake of the campaign.

    Everybody shuddered, and Hudak took it downhill from there.

    • Oh, good, Hudak took it *downhill*.

      Cause I thought he “took it” a different way.

      • Okay, ‘further downhill’ if you insist.

    • Nothing about the results of the election suggest Harper had much impact on it at all, other than the traditional Ontario contrarian impulse to have the opposite party from the federal government. Especially compared to the impact Hudak had on his own campaign.

      • For the last year Hudak was supposedly at least 10 points ahead of McGuinty. Message boards, particularly at the G&M, were alive with actual hatred of McGuinty and people who declared they ‘couldn’t wait’ to see McGuinty pounded….and even on the street corner selling pencils.

        Funny, no one thought of Ontario being ‘traditionally contrarian’ then.

        Hudak lost the election alright…and his embrace of 2 anchors….Harper and Ford…took him below the waves in the same way John Tory’s stupid school policy sunk him.

        • Well, I think Hudak’s outcome would have been basically the same if Harper had stayed out of it, although I think Ford might have had some small impact.

          • Hudak certainly ran a lousy campaign….but I knew he had lost the moment he embraced Harper and Ford.  It meant he wasn’t just running on his own platform and record [which is non-existent] but on Harper’s and Ford’s as well.

          • I can see it’s really important for Emily to think that the Ontario election was a massive, game-changing repudiation of Harper.

          • I can see it’s really important for OrsonBean to think that policies and direction don’t make a difference in how people vote.

          • “I can see it’s really important for OrsonBean to think that policies and direction don’t make a difference in how people vote.”
            Let’s see, Ontarions firmly support Harper in May, nothing much happens over the summer, but by early October “policies and direction” cause the same Ontarions to now repudiate Harper by voting for McGinty.  Makes perfect sense to me.  Can’t wait for the OE1 explanation about how the outpouring of grief over the death of Steve Jobs is further evidence that Canadians are fleeing the evil Harper.

          • Mmm no, Harper’s base firmly supported Harper in May. The Ontario election only involved Ontario, not the west and eliminated that factor.

          • “Harper’s base firmly supported Harper in May. The Ontario election only involved Ontario, not the west and eliminated that factor.”

            mmm, yes – Harper got 72 seats in Ontario and 72 seats in Man/Sask/Alberta/BC.  However, you’ve never been one to let facts get in the way of another triumphal proclamation about Harper’s evilness and the growing realization of it by Canadians, so have at ‘er.

          • Last time I looked Man/Sask/Alberta/BC was the ‘west’.

            This time it was Ontario on it’s own.

            PS….you guys really should stop calling Harper ‘evil’….you’re not helping him.

          • “The Ontario election only involved Ontario, not the west and eliminated that factor.”

            I keep falling into the trap of assuming your posts derive from rational thought.  When you stated - 

             ”the… (Ontario provincial election that resulted in a Liberal win) …only involved Ontario, not the west …(which, presumably, you regard to be home to the “base” that delivered Harper his majority)…and eliminated that factor …(i.e. Harper’s base, being in the west, couldn’t vote for Hudac)”

             - I thought that pointing out Harper won as many seats IN Ontario as he did in the western provinces combined, meaning his “base” was as much IN Ontario as it was in the west would cause you to revisit your theory.  It did not.  I really should know better.

          • No, you’re simply a busybody that loves to tell everyone else how to think.

            Harper usually gets rural areas…and we have some of those, plus some as-yet-unintegrated immigrants.

            The rest of the vote splits between Libs, Dippers and Greens

            Ontario remained Liberal….Canada is not going rightwing….sorry.

    • I don’t think Harper’s endorsement did that much damage outside of the people (like me) who never would vote for the brothers stupid (Fords) or Hudak anyway.  The racist dog-whistling throughout the campaign probably did more damage to Hudak’s campaign than the BBQ remarks, especially in Toronto and surroundings.  That, and his overall poor campaigning skills.

      • Well, the BBQ was supposed to be private, but naturally it was videoed….and let out.

        Probably by Ford’s people showing off that he and Harper were buds.

        Then the PMO went to great lengths to remove it,  but twas too late….so I think they became aware that talk about a hat trick and this clip wasn’t the best advertising for Hudak

  6. I want to know why we aren’t analyzing the analysts, including the ones who were writing about the potential for Conservative-inflected governments from Ontario to B.C. For instance what about this fellow who was all but predicting Conservative wins in Ontario and Manitoba?
    http://tinyurl.com/4xt7j8k 

    Seems to me the usual pundits are missing a broader trend that moderate progressive conservatives are in ascendance. Hudak shot himself in the foot with neo-con media mistakes, and McFadyen was dogged by, and was forced to formally repudiate accusations of being Mr. privatization,

    Meanwhile it seems that Brad Wall is popular precisely because he’s pragmatic on issues like the potash ownership, and therefore not as scary as some voters thought he might be. Even Alberta Conservatives have chosen a leader from the progressive vs. social conservative side of the party as their new premier.

    Has this escaped everyone’s attention in Ottawa?

  7. Harper’s lame BBQ chatter didn’t change a thing. Well, maybe a bit. But…

    People simply didn’t like Hudak. (The ‘foreign workers’ thing was mortal.) They like Ford less and less (As people realize he’s truly unfit to lead). Many seem to approve of Harper, hypocrisy notwithstanding. In the Ontario End, it was likely a combination of ‘Devils You Know’. And that leaves Uncle Dalt as a pebble-steadied fulcrum betwixt the other Beelzebubs.

    That’s what people wanted.

  8. Not in a category of one who can think outside the box, Harper has an unabashed way of slithering his head out then withdrawing it back in.
    As for his getting rid of the left-wing, no.  They did that themselves.

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