Stephen Harper and Canada, a love story (II)

by Aaron Wherry

After Paul Martin’s campaign mocked Mr. Harper’s response to a question about love of country, Jason Kenney demanded an apology for the attack of Mr. Harper’s patriotism. He then cast aspersions on Mr. Martin’s.

A Tory MP holding up a Liberian flag as a prop ripped into Paul Martin for calling into question Stephen Harper’s love of Canada. The war of words over patriotism continued yesterday, with Paul Martin’s corporate past coming back to haunt him. ”When the prime minister was the owner of Canada Steamship Lines, when he was the president and CEO of CSL, he took down the Canadian flag off those ships and put up flags of convenience for the Bahamas, Liberia and other tax-dodging regimes,” recalled Jason Kenney. “So why is it the prime minister is all full of fire and brimstone when it comes to questioning the patriotism of his opponents, but he’s all too ready to treat the Canadian flag like one of convenience when it comes to protecting his own financial interests?”

Mr. Harper responded himself in a speech to supporters. The following is from Susan Riley’s account at the time.

Martin was merciless, commenting that, unlike Harper, he has no trouble with the question: “I love Canada,” he roared. “Le Canada, c’est mons pays.” … In an attempt to clarify, a more animated Harper later rounded on his critics at a rally for Conservative candidates on Merivale Road. Liberals believe, he said, that “people who don’t vote Liberal, don’t love their country. This is what we’ve got to expect. It is mean and it saddens me. I believe Liberals do love this country, but they love power too much.”




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Stephen Harper and Canada, a love story (II)

  1. harper should love Canada. He's never had an opportunity outside of it. In fact, he's never really had much opportunity outside Alberta politics, has he? Oh yeah, he ran a website for some group that said there should be firewalls around Alberta or somethin…)

  2. " I believe Liberals do love this country, but they love power too much.”

    Words that don't mean too much from a PM that used prorogation 3 times to avoid confidence votes that would have thrown him out of power

  3. Stephen Harper doesn't love Canada – he loves wrapping himself in the flag as a shield.

    He doesn't love the private sector (he's never had a real job) – he loves the right-wing think tank version of the private sector, because that's all he knows of it from working at think tanks to destroy our national civil and social institutions instead of actually earning a paycheque.

    He doesn't love hockey – the guy can't even skate!

    Whatever Harper says he loves needs to be really examined carefully, because it's usually some lie hiding some weakness.

  4. I remember when Team Martin started to question Harper's patriotism. It was a month before they ran those fearmongering "hidden agenda" and "soldiers in our cities" ads. As the Liberals slipped in the polls, the tactics became more desperate, and the fearmongering became more ridiculous.

    It culminated in Paul Martin's surprising debate announcement: He revealed an unexpected plan to amend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to bar federal use of the notwithstanding clause, implying that it was necessary to protect the rights of women, homosexuals and minorities from Harper.

  5. Surely you meant to say "made" the soldiers ads. they never actually "ran".

  6. Even Dion ran a better campaign than that one.

    It was baffling to me. I still think he would have been a decent to good PM had he won a minority. I do believe he would have spent a lot of time reconnecting Ottawa with Alberta/the West and making a lot of other sound decisions for the future and not tomorrow's headline.

    But the campaign baffled me. Not only was it a regurgitation of the "hidden agenda" campaign that had not worked 2 years prior, but it had nothing else but that. No hope or vision. A lot of ugly and awful mean-spiritedness that fed directly into the themes Harper was working regarding entitlement, arrogance, disconnectedness.

    So dumb on two fronts: dumb campaign strategy and dumb to have been planning for 2 decades to become PM and to have nothing.

    (By the way, CR, they never did "run" the "soldiers in our cities" ads. Small technicality.)

  7. It was an awful campaign. As noted before dumb all over and worse than Dion's.

    It is that kind of negative campaign that is driving Canadians away from the polls and politics altogether as we see in the declining number of votes.

    Not to raise a bugaboo again with you, but the lowest three support levels in our history have been (1) Harper 2008 with 22%, (2) Martin 2004 with 23% and (3) Harper 2006 with 24% of support among eligible voters. That is not a sign of acceptance of the status quo, but of disgust without a viable alternative.

  8. Sour grapes

  9. I think Harper's done a great job, and I want everyone to know it!

  10. "Two can play"

  11. On what, exactly?

  12. Must be an election coming, Coyne's wrapping himself in the Tory flag!

  13. what a pathetic post. I suppose because I can't bobsleigh (and I'm sure you can't wither) I don't love the sport. Your just another harper hater with nothing constructive to post then your silly jabs. I love how people like you always bring up that he's "lying" about something and his so called "hidden agenda" sorry…that dog just won't hunt.

  14. My view of Paul Martin is that he was a good finance minister, and a terrible prime minister. If you get a chance, have a look at some of what Paul Wells was writing about Martin back then. PMPM vacillated so much that the "Mr. Dithers" label didn't do him justice. He set Canada-US relations back years by lecturing them about "global conscience" and climate change, even though Canada's Kyoto record was worse than the Americans (who hadn't even signed the accord). This even prompted an official diplomatic rebuke.

    Also, I believe the "soldiers" ad did air before it got yanked. It certainly got air time in Quebec: http://www.cbc.ca/story/canadavotes2006/national/

  15. Seems to me that we don't all love the same things about Canada and that our political class would like to define the things that we love.

    For one thing our political leaders don't seem to trust our tendency to want more independence from the United States in trade and foreign policy.

    The Liberals herded us toward the FTA, the PC.s negotiated the deal without regard for our input, and the Conservatives are now negotiating continental security arrangements without any mandate from us to do so. All 3 have abandoned a Canadian approach to security in the mid East at some point or another, and fallen in step with the US over many of our objections.

    A made in Canada climate change policy seems still born, our energy policy is governed more by export to the US than stability for Canada, and for some reason we are maintaining a high dollar policy that has decimated our competitive edge in manufacturing. I sometimes wonder if we weren't better off with a British governor than politicians more eager to please the US than us.

  16. poor old steve the boys arnt playing nice,grow up stevie you are in the real world,,this guy just wants total power,he would step on the neck of any of his mps to get what he wants,,yes mr kenny yours to ,,this man is sick ,and should not be allowed on public office,when a man has as much hatred as he has,he should be comitted,,,,,sorry

  17. love story ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,the hated harper,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  18. LOL.. I usually don't worry about thumbs, except to occasionally thumb up someone who I think's been unfairly thumbed down, but at a certain point you have to wonder.. a thumbs down on a question? Is the idea of a question that threatening to you, oh anonymous IDer?

    And if so, perhaps you might want to examine why that is.

    edit: Heh.. I don't know which is funnier.. that the question was thumbed down to begin with, or that now it's thumbed up even higher while this one drops (and later bounces? We will see, dear reader, we will see..)

  19. new love story ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,poor ole sick steve,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  20. if you like conservatives then you like republicans, not much difference between them, both are power hungry and greedy, harper has no vision except the destruction of our country, people dont vote no more cause they are sick of the lies and BS from our leaders, since when do we see lawyers as leaders, what a joke, politics is for the rich to sponge off the middle classes and suck from the poor, we vote so they do our bidding but once they are in power we are helpless to make them accountable and in the dark as to thier agendas and sociopathic policies. we need a real person to follow not lawyers, someone who has had a real job and knows what reality is instead of the fantasy world politicians ( lawyers ) live in

  21. Thank you Shawn. Tell us your secret – what are you smoking?

  22. That is not a sign of acceptance of the status quo, but of disgust without a viable alternative.

    All we know for sure is that it's a sign of declining voter turnout. I'm suspicious of claims that declining voter turnout is caused by "disgust", etc., because I think the real reasons are more complex than that. You also have to consider things like demographic factors.

    The declining turnout trend has been ongoing since the 1990s, and a lot of it has to do with younger voting demographic.

  23. How much can be attributed to a "younger voting demographic" when the largest single cohort in history (boomers) are on the cusp of senior citizenship?

  24. God save Canada from Mr. Igantieff.

  25. If the Conservatives weren't governing as caricatures of Evil Liberals Past, maybe they would have a majority by now. But when you emulate most of everything you despise, your messages to the contrary won't resonate with many people. They will group you in the "another grandstanding politician" category, and for good reason (I single the Conservatives out because they are the party in power but the idea applies just as easily to any hyperbolic dullards).

    Not getting caught up in the partisan bickering over patriotism is part of our national identity I think.

  26. If my memory serves, the ad never made it to TV as a paid advertisement. It did show up virally on the web, and it was on TV, played as an item in a newscast.

    On a related note, maybe the advertisement was predicting the outcome of the G20 in Toronto?

  27. It would be hilarious to see Iggy test drive this same drive-by smear.

  28. Actually the ad-that-never-was is the first thing I thought about when I saw, from Central America, the footage of what was happening at home last summer.

  29. Anyone can name a leader, other than Harper, of a presumably federalist party who declared that it didn't matter whether Canada ends up with two, three or more national capitals?

    Never – NEVER – would a French-speaking federalist politician be trusted after saying something like this.

  30. Oops, national governments, not national capitals…

  31. That's a new one, must be the Russian spelling?

  32. … In an attempt to clarify, a more animated Harper later rounded on his critics at a rally for Conservative candidates on Merivale Road. Liberals believe, he said, that “people who don't vote Liberal, don't love their country. This is what we've got to expect. It is mean and it saddens me. I believe Liberals do love this country, but they love power too much.”

    What happened to that Harper? When power and politics is through messing with him that guy'll still be there like the ghost in the machine.

  33. Face facts. He lies about many things.

  34. All the Conservative communications staff are on the job, thumbing away merrily. Our tax dollars at work.

  35. Hey Polar, I'm not one to question your all around intelligence, however, even Harper's enemies know he is not a Lawyer, but an Economist. Gee, I wonder if maybe that isn't the RIGHT person to have as P.M. right now??

  36. Those are some very acute observations.

    Watch nowfor the Conservative communications staff to swarm over here and accuse you of being anti-American…

  37. wow! what a revelation!! A politician who lies!! I suppose Cretien was mis-quoted when he promised to eliminate the GST ! Face Facts…ALL POLITICIANS LIE!! They would tell you they'll eliminate winter to get your vote.

  38. ~ donning rhetorical helmet and shield ~

  39. Come on now. It is the Liberals who are power hungry. The Conservatives have power and are governing and have been for the last 5 years. Ignatieff is the one so desperate for power.

  40. I know me and my young family are better off now than we were 5 years ago. Our future is much brighter. But I know that it is not that way for everyone. There are many unemployed or under employed people out there. Unfortunately decades of socialist mentality has led to a large part of the population that is unwilling to sacrifice and really work hard at bettering themselves for the future. I have personally met hundreds of unemployed people who expect that the government owes them something because they have nothing. Regardless of their own contribution to their situation.

  41. my, my…how does a simple, sincere question about demographics garner a bunch thumbs down? Boomers techy about their age, maybe?

    Odd and bewildering.

  42. What's funny though is that both the question and my subsequent response are politically neutral.

  43. Sometimes the rightwingers just thumb up or down the first post in a thread, while the rest of the thread ihas very different voting patterns.

  44. Maybe your name is on a list for the Conservative communications staff to watch for.

  45. I don't know, but I'm not sure what you were asking with your question. The older generations are much more likely to vote than the youngest eligible voters.

    As older voters die off, they aren't being replaced by younger voters because for whatever reason, the 18-29 cohort generally isn't "tuned in" to stuff like politics. Maybe they should start teaching civics in schools again.

  46. He didn't see the recession coming, so he's not a competent economist. He got a degree, but he never earned any money by practicing as an economist.

  47. Agreed, but the huge boomer cohort's advancing age should nudge the average age of the population upward with it. And since voting is correlated with older age, one would expect the percentage of the general population who vote to go up, accordingly.

    In addition, the birth rate has declined to the point that we're not "replacing" ourselves and we need net in-migration to sustain our numbers.

    So, I didn't understand your comment about the decline in voter turnout being related to a "younger voting demographic" when young people represent a decreasing percentage of the national population.

    If anything, one would expect demographic factors to contribute to an increase in voting behaviour.

  48. If anything, one would expect demographic factors to contribute to an increase in voting behaviour.

    It's illogical to think that voter turnout should increase just because the average age of the population is increasing.

    Consider that Canada's population as a whole continues to increase, and the number of eligible voters continues to increase.

    Meanwhile, the number of Canadians who actually cast a ballot is stagnant or declining because the pre-baby boom generation of faithful voters (who generated >80% turnouts in the fifties and sixties) is succumbing to old age, and this group is being replaced by a new group of eligible voters who are much less likely to vote.

  49. Couldn't have got wide circulation in AB that one.

  50. "It's illogical to think that voter turnout should increase just because the average age of the population is increasing."

    Agreed. But it's equally illogical to attribute the decline in voter turnout to a "younger voting demographic" (your original comment) when, in fact, the population is aging.

    What I would suggest is that the decline can be attributed to a change in the behaviour of each successive demographic cohort, despite the aging of the population.

    Splitting hairs, perhaps, but not the same as "a younger voting demographic".

    We're probably not really disagreeing here. Thanks for the exchange.

  51. What I would suggest is that the decline can be attributed to a change in the behaviour of each successive demographic cohort, despite the aging of the population.

    That's exactly what I'm saying. You misunderstood what I meant by "younger voting demographic". I was referring to the most recent demographic cohort that is able to vote. This cohort has a different voting behaviour than the preceding demographic cohorts.

    I'm glad we were able to sort out the confusion.

  52. Remember when he said there were some good buying opportunities in the stock market? Turns out he was right about that.

  53. If we are all agreed that it is beyond the pale to question the patriotism of our prime ministerial candidates, why was Harper even asked "do you love Canada" by the media?

  54. "Butt-scrum" never made it officially into the dictionary, and more's the pity.

  55. "It's generally better to buy stocks when they're low than when they're high." – Halo

    Any university wanting to send my honorary MBA by mail can contact me privately.

  56. I would call it fair to hold politicians to the standards they set for their opponents.

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