Stimulus for the mind


On the strength of one Canadian Press story, today’s speech by the Prime Minister in Brampton might already be the most highly touted of his tenure.

He wrote it himself apparently. Plus, there will be Power Point.

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Stimulus for the mind

  1. It feels vaguely reassuring that we have a prime minister capable of writing his own speeches.

    • Is he? I thought they were written in Australia?

  2. People seem to forget that the Prime Minister’s academic background is economics.

    For those who don’t know, Harper has a Master’s degree in economics.

    That I find very reassuring in the midst of this period of economic turmoil.

    • I hope, for your sake, you weren’t so reassured as to actually follow his advice. A Masters degree is no replacement for good judgement.

      • My,my the Liberal partisans are awake early this morning. And what, pray tell, does the pompous Mr. Ignatieff say about what is to be on the economic front. He doesn’t know, and it isn’t his job he says, he’s only leader of the opposition. Now that’s leadership!

      • Agreed. I got an A in economics, and I still managed to max out my credit card (several times).

        Economics is a theory based subject, financial management is something different.

    • You feel reassured that the PM is an economist? In the middle of a recession? Are you mad?

    • Linus used to find his blanket reassuring, as well.

    • “For those who don’t know, Harper has a Master’s degree in economics. That I find very reassuring in the midst of this period of economic turmoil.”


    • Harper isn’t an economist, he’s a political lobbyist and politician.

    • According to Don Martin; as Captain of a sinking ship Harper was looking to be the first one into the lifeboats. He had to be coaxed to stay aboard, apparently.

      That’s reassuring.

      That’s leadership.
      Conservative MPs only now feel comfortable disclosing that a downcast Prime Minister Stephen Harper entered a critical caucus meeting in early December quite prepared to let his government fall and Mr. Dion take the top job. His caucus insisted he do everything possible to preserve power, so Mr. Harper successfully prorogued Parliament.
      Found at:


      • Well, that explains a lot. Harper was forced against his wishes, by his caucus, into continuing to pretend to govern Canada a while longer. Poor guy. He could have been off writing about hockey and stoking a cat by now.

        • Do you stoke a cat in the same way that you would stoke a fire?

          • only if you can’t spell

    • I find it reassuring that Harper used to work in the mail room at Esso and is working on a hockey book. He seems so folksy and sweater-guy-ish ™.

      Call me nuts but I think the sweater ads would work again, especially if they were shot in a mail room and Harper was holding his hockey book and maybe a cat.

      When is he going to finish the book? He can bang off a speech, how hard can a book be? The rumours that he has been working on this speech since January 2006 are untrue BTW.

  3. The possession of a Master’s degree does not necessarily imply greater than average wisdom or knowledge. Trust me on this.

    I’m curious about this speech, given that Mr. Harper apparently wrote it all by himself. Will there be lots and lots of partisan attack doggery? And how will he paint a rosy picture of the economy, given that the news has all been bad lately?

    • He wrote a master’s thesis on why governments should not use government money to stimulate the economy. Seriously. You can look that up.

      He has never published a single economic paper or ever held a job as an economist. In fact, he has been a lifelong pundit and politician who has never held a “real” job that was subject to the ebbs and flows of the economy. (In fact, Ignatieff has more governing experience now than Harper did when he took over the Conservatives.)

      I have a master’s in history. I would never call myself a “historian” in anyway that would leave the impression I am a professional or practicing historian. That would be deliberately deceptive. Harper doesn’t have those qualms.

  4. Is it an important speech or a high school presentation?

  5. “…today’s speech by the Prime Minister’s speech…”

    I look forward to his speech speaking. A refreshing change from the norm.

  6. Power Point. How very prime ministerial. Just think how Churchill’s or Kennedy’s drab utterances would have benefitted if they’d had it too.

    On a non-snarky note, it’s good to see Harper wants to get out and communicate, and show a flash of leadership. I don’t even care if he’s simply aping Obama – we need a positive and visible federal voice to help offset the grim psychological mindset that seems to drive these recessions as much as anything.

    But Power Point? Really?

    • All the graphs will be upside-down. Happy now?

    • I agree!! A Powerpoint! Americans get Obama and inspiration and we get Harper and the Powerpoint to reassure us that the economy will recover.

    • I’d be interested to hear what others think about this, but it seems to me that we haven’t had a strong modern history of Prime Ministers using their position to symbolically and rhetorically inspire Canadians. Chretien came close at times (his position on Iraq, Team Canada missions), but in terms of oratory, he was more of a one-liner kinda guy.
      I know we shy away from American-style patriotism. And that it’s hard to be heard over the constant chorus of regional bitching and parochial biases. But I’d like to see a little more inspiration out of our PMs, instead of the current discourse which seems to vascillate between the conservative “everything-is-fine-and-there’s-nothing-government-can-do-anyway” and the liberal “everything-is-crap-and-only-government-can-help” positions.
      Neither do much to instill our days with a shared purpose and optimism. And I don’t think Harper is responsible, so much as doing what most PMs have done for a long time. I hope he borrows a page from Obama and starts to beat the Canadian drum a bit (which can still include acknowledging how tough things are right now).
      But I’d like to know what others think!

      • (ok, the above was divided up into paragraphs, not a run-on rant. What the heck has happend to the blog interface?)

        • It’s been de-Cody-fied.

    • That is frigging funny. I understand Harper’s team has some cool graphics cooked up. A giant puffin labelled “world economy”, an umbrella labelled “Canadian banking system” below it, and other compelling stuff like that…

    • The Lincoln ppt made me laugh out loud, especially the gratuitous chart on slide 5.

      • Well, something is gratuitous about that fifth slide. I tried over & over to get Excel to handle “four score and seven” for the PowerPoint bar chart and I keep getting bizarre error messages. How’d Honest Abe manage to pull out 87 like that? Did he use the back of an envelope or something?

  7. I felt reassured when I didn’t follow the Prime Minister’s advice to see the stock market last October as a “great buying opportunity” when we hadn’t bottomed out yet.

  8. I think it’s smart for the PM to get out there and make speeches to reassure Canadians. However, I think the optics of going to Brampton and tell Chrysler workers they never had it so good are bad. PM should choose somewhere else to give this presentation.

    • Don’t worry. It is just a photo op. They’ll have cardboard cutouts for the audience, not real, unemployed people who have nothing better to do that to show up for Harper’s speech. He could hold this in his living room, with the right props.

  9. I hope someone in the media is astute enough not to buy into his desperate spin and distracting graphs.

    Canada is not doing better than the US because our economic fundamentals are stronger. Canada is doing better than the US because our economic results lag behind the US by about 6 months, generally speaking.

    What was Harper saying 6 months ago? Hmmm, let me see if I can remember. Right, here it is:

    – “This country will not go into recession next year.” Stephen Harper, Oct. 10, 2008

    – “Canadians are not worried about their jobs.” Stephen Harper, Oct. 3, 2008

    – “My own belief is if we were going to have some kind of big crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now.” Stephen Harper, Sep. 15, 2008

    – “All the fundamentals of the Canadian economy are good.” Stephen Harper, Sep. 26, 2008

    – “I think there’s probably a lot of great buying opportunities emerging in the stock market as a consequence of all this panic.” Stephen Harper, Oct 7, 2008 [Ed note: imagine if poor soul had actually listened to him!!!]

    – “We have not been following the same policies as the US. Those policies have been irresponsible. We are in surplus, not adding to our debt.” Stephen Harper, Oct 2, 2008

    – during the election he said that his government would never allow a deficit and that the only way there would be a deficit is if the Liberals were elected

    – as late as November 27, 2008 he was still predicting a surplus, even though his own budget chief reported that Harper’s reckless spending and tax cuts had already put us in a $13 billion deficit

    So can you really trust anything, especially any economic analysis or any prediction, that comes out of the mouth of this self-described “economist”? He does not have a clue and people should stop simply regurgitating his dangerous and wrong assessments of the economy. The only jobs that they are designed to save are his own and his party’s.

    • You know, at some point we’re going to have to get over this parlour game of “residual sin.” His recent conversion may be of the deathbed variety, but the point is he’s somewhat reflecting the will of the Canadian people these days (and I don’t even like most of the stimulus plans, but I’m a member of the Coynesian minority on that front). If we want our politicians to exhibit flexiblity and intelligence, then we can’t continually bash them over the head with past mistakes or shifts in position (I’m thinking equally of the Iggy-on-Iraq-and-torture discourse too). The point is, are we getting the leadership and direction that we need, today?

      • Agreed! I It’s helpful though if they do in fact admit past errors! I know it’s politics, but we shouldn’t just pat him on the back and say:”way to go boy, now ya got it right.” A grudging acceptence of his deathbed conversion is enough in my books. Good point though!

      • Sean, you’re not being nearly partisan enough. Please try harder.

      • Actually there are positions and their are analyses and judgements.

        Positions on whether to run a deficit and whether to break core promises can be judged based upon context and changing circumstances.

        Analysis and judgement though are not “shifting positions”. Telling Canadians that there will not be a recession, that we won’t be affected by the US recession, that we are not worried about about our jobs… is a matter of judgement and extremely bad judgement at that since nearly all financial analysts were screaming about a major major downturn in the international economy.

        And it is that very judgement and analytical ability that Harper is asking us to blindly trust once again. But when has he ever been right about the economy?

      • Hear hear, Sean. I’d rather have a flexible politician who reflects the will of the people and adapts to a changing economic situation.

      • you find this to be a game? disconnected; FAIL.

        unfortunately, this Chris Brown/”wife-beater” type of “residual sin” apology doesn’t fly; abusers of power need to own up–cuz history has a way of repeating itself. another example, you don’t put your *child* (trust) back in the hands of a known abuser unless you’re a pimp or something. course, you could just tell your wife/husband or child that you’re sorry and expect that to fly like cowards do.

        the conservs are the worst i’ve ever seen in a political party–even worse than Mulroney’s Progressive Conservatives; no other party compares to or pwns political ambulance chasing/gutter politics like they do.

    • To paraphrase WC. “Some prediction ; some economist”!
      You make a good argument for SH being a fairly accurate barometer of what is “not” gong to happen!

  10. Excellent news and I for one can’t wait for the speech as no doubt the web forums as usual be filled out by what I call all the usual suspects or the anti-harpercrites as some call them. It must really suck to be a NDP, LPC or BLOC nowadays when think of it just a few short months ago the future was sunshine and rainbows with a coalition safely in place and Dion as PM = ROFL LMAO (thank god stevie por-rogued) – One thing I really enjoy about canadian politics is how fast things change and this brings us to today and the latest LPC numbers are down several points in the last month alone (see Strategic Poll out today) -> oops the honeymoon over for the new LPC leader – then again a leader who allows his MP’s and Senator’s to go all rogue on him and vote against a budget, suggest setting up a separatist BLOC and attend terrorist rallys usually has a short shelf life. I thank our lucky stars that we have Harper as PM as can anyone honestly imagine how things would have been had the coalition actually worked?

    • no Wayne, you are the one that clearly knows how to suck. there are more of us out here who have no allegiance but are smart enough to realize these ppl are beholden to us…the saw doesn’t human; the human saws.

  11. “We are doing the best of the industrialized world right now,” Teneycke said

    Duh! We are doing the best in the world “despite”a consevative govt, Mr T!

  12. Does anybody believe he wrote it himself? Come on. Where have you been?

    • There’s a rumour he tried to get George to write it for him, unfortunately – or not – he’s just ran out of crayons. Necessity must i guess!

    • Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to highlight Canada as a bright light in a world gone dim by economic troubles

      bright light in a dim world? That sounds like Harper’s writing. That and a few profanities thrown in and we will know he wrote it.

  13. I’ll wait for the ‘american media’ version because it is apparent that Harper saves the best and most ‘candid’ pre-scripted speeches for CNN or Fox. We can also be assured that while he may have wrote the words himself, he had a professional dress him. My guess he’s going to pronounce the recession as ‘unwinnable.’
    That’s leadership.

  14. i noticed he did a lot of “swallowing” during this speech; not unlike the way he swallowed his “no deficit” response to May’s question during the *fraud*-election debates last year.

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