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The campaign-trail contrast: will Harper adjust?

Compared with Ignatieff’s openness, Harper’s risk-averse approach is looking brittle


 

Stephen Harper’s tightly controlled election run of 2011 will inevitably be compared and contrasted with Pierre Trudeau’s so-called “peekaboo” campaign of 1980, the classic of the genre.

John English wrote in Just Watch Me: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Vol. II: 1968-2000, about how Trudeau toyed with the frustrated press, who petitioned him late in that campaign for reasonable opportunities to ask questions. During one stretch, Trudeau’s main way of interacting with the media was apparently to drop parody references to famous poems into his statements and see if one of the reporters could identify the original.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the tension building between Stephen Harper and the media he holds at bay these days won’t find release in a similar form of intellectual sparring.

Harper’s 2008 campaign was a pretty tightly wound affair too, and I recall the Trudeau ’80 parallel being drawn then, too. Having watched Michael Ignatieff’s freewheeling show in London, Ont. last night, however, I think there’s a key difference this time.

When Harper was up against Stéphane Dion—as when Trudeau ran for the second time against Joe Clark—it was a bubble campaign against a floundering campaign. I suspect it’s far easier to sustain several weeks of very limited access to the media, and few or no unscripted interactions with voters, if your main opponent isn’t putting on a compelling, open show up against you.

It’s not that Ignatieff is much more available to the media and the public than Dion was. It’s that the way Ignatieff handles himself in an exposed situation—talking without text, taking lots of questions, including hostile ones—commands attention in a way Dion, or Paul Martin before him, just couldn’t muster.

Ignatieff looks fully at ease doing politics-in-the-round. He stood in London on a platform at the centre of a crowd of a few hundred, told some jokes about Harper, riffed through his policy lines, and then answered a bunch of questions. Many came from Liberal fans, and they were mostly easy. A few were quite tough, though, including one about why he didn’t want to buy our military the fighter jets they need.

Harper is much stiffer in a similar setting, relying heavily on his teleprompter and not taking questions. Yet it’s more than possible he’ll merely ignore the Ignatieff contrast. Elections aren’t won or lost based on stump style; there’s advertising, debates, platforms. As well, many Conservatives, it seems to me, like the way Harper comes across—at his best he conveys (as I write in Maclean’s this week) an average-guy quality that matches his messaging.

Still, Harper’s risk-averse approach is bound to look increasingly brittle for as long as Ignatieff maintains the style he’s set in the early going. It’s not the contrast the Conservatives will want to start defining the campaign.


 

The campaign-trail contrast: will Harper adjust?

  1. Brittle was a very well chosen descriptive.

  2. Brittle was a very well chosen descriptive.

  3. Stephen Harper is nothing if not average.

    (Yes, yes, he has his Masters in Economics and his is a pretty sharp political strategist and able to actually sound intelligent when discussing weighty topics but in so, so many ways he really is average.)

  4. Why do you assume it is not the contrast Harper wants? It seems to me that he is going after the angry, frightened, paranoid vote. He wants people to fear for our "fragile economy", fear a coalition which exists mainly in his mind, fear the press with their supposed liberal bias, fear the CBC political compass.

    Some of the CPC insiders have even said his fights with the media will help him get a majority, because it feeds into the feared conspiracy against conservatives. Seems to me this IS Harper's strategy and I'm curious why you are assuming otherwise.

  5. Stephen Harper is nothing if not average.

    (Yes, yes, he has his Masters in Economics and his is a pretty sharp political strategist and able to actually sound intelligent when discussing weighty topics but in so, so many ways he really is average.)

  6. Why do you assume it is not the contrast Harper wants? It seems to me that he is going after the angry, frightened, paranoid vote. He wants people to fear for our "fragile economy", fear a coalition which exists mainly in his mind, fear the press with their supposed liberal bias, fear the CBC political compass.

    Some of the CPC insiders have even said his fights with the media will help him get a majority, because it feeds into the feared conspiracy against conservatives. Seems to me this IS Harper's strategy and I'm curious why you are assuming otherwise.

    • Because in Canada we simply don't have that many 'angry, frightened, paranoid' people who see conspiracies everywhere.

      • But does Harper think that? I really think almost everything he is doing, right from coming out of the GG's office, is meant to cater to and stimulate that kind of person. I suspect he has a behind-the-scenes election machinery which captures the crowd that doesn't pay any attention to media. But the public persona he is displaying openly is obvious and I have a difficult time believing it is not with intent. Harper can put on his sweater vest and pet kittens when he wants to. That clearly is not what he thinks he should be doing right now.

      • Have you read the Sun lately? Check the comments some time. (Well, except for Ezra who does not allow them.)

        • Yeah, we have a small bunch of that type who are more Americanized….most often from Alberta…or the west generally….but they aren't a majority. They are not even the norm.

        • Mr. Free Speech doesn't allow comments? That is hilarious. I can't read him, he spikes my blood pressure.

      • Could it be that apathy can play out in two ways with the undecided vote?
        In Canada, I think we have a lot of people tired of political turmoil. A way of not dealing with the issues is to skip voting and accept the results, whatever they are.
        Another is to consider a majority vote. With a majority in office, all the furor dies down and they can forget about all the annoying political decisions they are supposed to be considering. It's four years of not having to pay attention.

        Most people who blog here will vote with gusto. But there is a great big sea of undecideds who could truly hold the hammer. Will they engage?

        • The 'undecided' vote seems to have been going up for some time…..and a lot of people are just now engaging because there is an actual election this time….so while Harper and Ignatieff both have their bases it's the swing vote and undecided that will be coming into play.

          Canadians say they love minority govts as they're more responsive….but that hasn't worked this time and all indications are that people want a majority to end the political turmoil. Whether they want either Harper or Ignatieff is another matter. The rest, NDP etc, aren't even in the running.

          Anyway with a majority they can then go back to grumbling about dictatorships and so on. LOL

    • I think it really hardens his core, but leaves more reasonable people with serious questions.

  7. Because in Canada we simply don't have that many 'angry, frightened, paranoid' people who see conspiracies everywhere.

  8. But does Harper think that? I really think almost everything he is doing, right from coming out of the GG's office, is meant to cater to and stimulate that kind of person. I suspect he has a behind-the-scenes election machinery which captures the crowd that doesn't pay any attention to media. But the public persona he is displaying openly is obvious and I have a difficult time believing it is not with intent. Harper can put on his sweater vest and pet kittens when he wants to. That clearly is not what he thinks he should be doing right now.

  9. If it IS Harper's strategy, he's in trouble. Look back over the landscape of the last 6 years. Liberals and Conservatives, give or take a few points, can count on about 35% of the population apiece. The other 30% is neatly gobbled up by the other parties. In the case of Dion, many of the 35% didn't show up. When Harper polls above 35%, he's appealing mostly to Liberals who aren't happy with the Liberal Party. If he continues the way he is, he'll drop back to 35%, if not a few points lower – and the Liberals will pick up the slack, along with a few NDP points along the way. Those swing voters that I just referenced are not typically angry, frightened, and paranoid. In truth, the angry, frightened, paranoid voter is in the untouchable base of Conservative supporters that would vote for Harper even if he were caught eating live kittens in public. This is similar to the challenge the Republicans face. You can rant about lower taxes and whip up fears of terrorism, and you can slyly appeal to the anti-immigrant, anti-gay sentiments of voters, BUT you're only going to be attracting people who vote Republican anyway.

  10. Have you read the Sun lately? Check the comments some time. (Well, except for Ezra who does not allow them.)

  11. Well Harper is not an original, he's imported everything he's done….the majority of it from what Foth used to call the 'Excited States of America'. Americans are always in a flap about SOMEthing, but Canadians are more laid-back, more skeptical…maybe it's a touch of the old British reserve….but we don't stampede as easily as Americans, so most of Harp's moves don't get him anywhere. Even 5 years on he's still a minority.

    I don't know if Harp is doing it on purpose, or if that's simply his character….but in general it doesn't appeal to Canadians. What we've been lacking is a counter-weight, an alternative, and perhaps Ignatieff is now supplying that.

  12. I would disagree. I may not like him but he is a very intelligent man. Also describing someone who has spent his life in politics and special interest groups as "average" seems a little odd.

  13. Yeah, we have a small bunch of that type who are more Americanized….most often from Alberta…or the west generally….but they aren't a majority. They are not even the norm.

  14. Anyone who has taken a personality test when being interviewed for a job, or has studied organizational behaviour will be familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality tests – based upon self reporting as to how you would react to certain situations. An overview: http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory

    I would classify Harper as INTJ (introverted/extraverted, intuitive/sensing,thinking/feeling,judging/ perceiving)
    Here's one profile of the INTJ personality type http://typelogic.com/intj.html

    The point being, he has a certain personality type, and he will play to his strengths/avoid his weaknesses. Whether or not that is the type of person to lead the country at this time of prosperity is debatable (I would suggest this type of personality is better suited to desperate times requiring desperate measures).

    All of this caolition debate /problems of a dysfunctional parliament has a lot to do with the unwillingness to cooperate at the PM level.

    Not science, but interesting. Try the test.

  15. Anyone who has taken a personality test when being interviewed for a job, or has studied organizational behaviour will be familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality tests – based upon self reporting as to how you would react to certain situations. An overview: http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory

    I would classify Harper as INTJ (introverted/extraverted, intuitive/sensing,thinking/feeling,judging/ perceiving)
    Here's one profile of the INTJ personality type http://typelogic.com/intj.html

    The point being, he has a certain personality type, and he will play to his strengths/avoid his weaknesses. Whether or not that is the type of person to lead the country at this time of prosperity is debatable (I would suggest this type of personality is better suited to desperate times requiring desperate measures).

    All of this caolition debate /problems of a dysfunctional parliament has a lot to do with the unwillingness to cooperate at the PM level.

    Not science, but interesting. Try the test.

    • If Mr. Harper would care to consult me, I'd be happy to help him get over his hangups.

      — INFJ

  16. People may think that Harper is actually unwilling to disclose his agenda. He may be wise to rethink about fencing in the journalists and avoiding their questions.

    Journalists may well destroy his campaign and the campaigns of many deserving candidates if they are not allowed to have answers.

  17. People may think that Harper is actually unwilling to disclose his agenda. He may be wise to rethink about fencing in the journalists and avoiding their questions.

    Journalists may well destroy his campaign and the campaigns of many deserving candidates if they are not allowed to have answers.

    • And then Harper will blame the conspiracy of the left wing biased media against Conservatives.

    • Is it just me, or do those fences have G20 echoes?

    • He can say that the "left-wing" media is trying to destroy him, but Sun Media is angry too. The best thing would be for the media to stop covering his stops, at least for the next week or so.

  18. "Still, Harper's risk-averse approach is bound to look increasingly brittle for as long as Ignatieff maintains the style he's set in the early going."

    Why is Harper bound to look brittle, exactly? Is there any evidence at all that Canadians like, respond to, Iggy's 'freewheeling' style.

    Iggy has been leader for a couple of years now and he has taken support for Libs, and him personally, lower and lower and this all going to magically change now, why? Maybe Canadians like 'brittle' because they at least get an answer, while Iggy likes sound of his voice too much and talks without actually answering question.

    I know it is hard for msm to understand this but not all that many voters care/base their vote on how many questions PM answered today and msm is in danger of making this election about itself.

    If msm/journos were made of chocolate, they would eat themselves.

  19. "Still, Harper's risk-averse approach is bound to look increasingly brittle for as long as Ignatieff maintains the style he's set in the early going."

    Why is Harper bound to look brittle, exactly? Is there any evidence at all that Canadians like, respond to, Iggy's 'freewheeling' style.

    Iggy has been leader for a couple of years now and he has taken support for Libs, and him personally, lower and lower and this all going to magically change now, why? Maybe Canadians like 'brittle' because they at least get an answer, while Iggy likes sound of his voice too much and talks without actually answering question.

    I know it is hard for msm to understand this but not all that many voters care/base their vote on how many questions PM answered today and msm is in danger of making this election about itself.

    If msm/journos were made of chocolate, they would eat themselves.

    • 'Maybe Canadians like 'brittle' because they at least get an answer,'??

      But they don't get answers….that's the whole point.

      And if you want evidence and like polls….the polls are changing, and we're only a few days in….

    • The Liberals got 26% of the vote in the last election. They are currently polling at 32%. How exactly has he taken support for the Liberals "lower and lower?"

      • This is the second time in his time as leader that the Liberals have had anything but dismal polls that I know of.

        • general comment (not specific to Ignatieff's past or future performance in the polls): there's no advantage to peaking early.

          • True; and maybe – here's hoping – Harper peaked pre-election.

  20. 'Maybe Canadians like 'brittle' because they at least get an answer,'??

    But they don't get answers….that's the whole point.

    And if you want evidence and like polls….the polls are changing, and we're only a few days in….

  21. Sorry, but I find him to be shallow but clever. I knew many students who devoted their time to creating 'gotcha' moments for the teacher using false logic. At the moment it looked smart, but was merely contrived – it lacked substance and had all the value of an April's Fools prank. Post the shock, a moment's reflection revealed the nature of the sport and an appropriate response.

    At a deeper level, I do have serious concerns about people who subscribe to discredited economic theories and evangelical fundamentalist Christianity. These belief systems select for people that do not quest intellectualy, but are prepared to accept received wisdom based on perceived authority. I do recall Yan Martel trying to get Mr. Harper to read from the great literary treasure that is our heritage, and which devotes a lot of its energy to coming to terms with the human condition in a large, open discussion where ideas are postulated and debated ad infinitum – as often as not without resolution. Such is life.

  22. I think it really hardens his core, but leaves more reasonable people with serious questions.

  23. Sorry, but I find him to be shallow but clever. I knew many students who devoted their time to creating 'gotcha' moments for the teacher using false logic. At the moment it looked smart, but was merely contrived – it lacked substance and had all the value of an April's Fools prank. Post the shock, a moment's reflection revealed the nature of the sport and an appropriate response.

    At a deeper level, I do have serious concerns about people who subscribe to discredited economic theories and evangelical fundamentalist Christianity. These belief systems select for people that do not quest intellectualy, but are prepared to accept received wisdom based on perceived authority. I do recall Yan Martel trying to get Mr. Harper to read from the great literary treasure that is our heritage, and which devotes a lot of its energy to coming to terms with the human condition in a large, open discussion where ideas are postulated and debated ad infinitum – as often as not without resolution. Such is life.

    • I think you've pegged it. That's precisely the kind of 'argument' Harper, and Cons in general, use.

      Something that got them attention in high school, but had no substance. 'Gotcha' efforts.

      • I think for the next few weeks we will se plenty of 'Gotcha' from all sides, but that might depend on perspective.
        I see the Liberals using the one on one debate as todays 'Gotcha'

        • We've had gotcha-politics ….or an attempt at it….for the last few years.

          I don't think Harp's reneging on a challenge as a Lib gotcha though, since they didn't set him up for it. Harper kinda 'gotched' himself on that one.

    • So you dislike "gotcha" tactics, and then you proceed to site one of the worst attempts at a "gotcha" prank this country may have ever seen. Yes, that is exactly what Yann Martel's little stunt was. Interesting, sure. Did he really expect the PM to read all the books that he so selflessly selected and sent (complete with a personal letter and all!)? C'mon. He knew he wouldn't, he knew he could use it to say "Gotcha"!

      Well, at least that's how this reporter used it: "Maybe if it wins, Harper will read the book. Naw, he's probably too busy cooking up new attack ads." http://communities.canada.com/montrealgazette/blo

      And this site (which I use): "…soundly ignored by the politician, who remains no fan of the arts…" http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2011/02/01

      And, in Martel's own words: "I enjoyed it. I learned that I lived in a democracy [and] that I can tease my prime minister for four years and not be arrested. That was a good thing to know." http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/

      By the way, the worst part about this is that you, as a result of Martel's "gotcha" stunt, now go around assuming that Harper has never read anything from the "great literary treasure that is our heritage." Your right, people who "do not quest intellectualy [sic], but are prepared to accept received wisdom [in this case, that would be you] based on perceived authority [in this case, that would be Martel]" are quite sad.

      • I did not say I do not like 'gotcha' tactics, just that I found that the proponents of those tactics were less than full participants in the academic process; so preoccupied were they with their little games. Usually, the same students when confronted with complex problems with many variables would look hard for the trick that would save them the work of thoroughly working through the permutations and combinations of the solution. I rather enjoyed the 'aha' moment when I realized that I had been played.

        • As to Yann Martel's motivation in sending books to Mr. Harper, it is revealing that you perceive it as being a 'gotcha' stunt, rather than an attempt to understand better the man through a dialogue. Why not consider him a 'petit prince' who wishes to understand the world and those who matter to him? Also, I can see the exercise as an excuse to take time to revisit the works that he sent Mr. Harper and work a new book out of it. Many authors like to record their reading and combining it with a regular exercise makes the job much more pleasurable.

          Thank you for noting my spelling mistake on intellectually. It will not happen again – must type slower, must type slower.

          • As for my receiving wisdom from Yann Martel, I do not infer that Mr. Harper doesn't read from the great heritage from because of the Yann Martel saga, but because of his attachment to failed economic theories and his blind faith in his religion. When these are combined, they imply a mind that has not embraced the full gamut of human thought. But I cannot know, only infer, because he refused to engage Yann Martel. Maybe Mr. Harper is much too concerned with matters of consequence. Hi ho.

  24. Could you explain what "the norm" is to me or can i assume that you mean 'like you' ?

  25. I think you've pegged it. That's precisely the kind of 'argument' Harper, and Cons in general, use.

    Something that got them attention in high school, but had no substance. 'Gotcha' efforts.

  26. If Mr. Harper would care to consult me, I'd be happy to help him get over his hangups.

    — INFJ

  27. I thought I had, upthread….

    'Canadians are more laid-back, more skeptical…maybe it's a touch of the old British reserve….but we don't stampede as easily as Americans, so most of Harp's moves don't get him anywhere.'

  28. I thought I had, upthread….

    'Canadians are more laid-back, more skeptical…maybe it's a touch of the old British reserve….but we don't stampede as easily as Americans, so most of Harp's moves don't get him anywhere.'

  29. The Liberals got 26% of the vote in the last election. They are currently polling at 32%. How exactly has he taken support for the Liberals "lower and lower?"

  30. This is the second time in his time as leader that the Liberals have had anything but dismal polls that I know of.

  31. Could it be that apathy can play out in two ways with the undecided vote?
    In Canada, I think we have a lot of people tired of political turmoil. A way of not dealing with the issues is to skip voting and accept the results, whatever they are.
    Another is to consider a majority vote. With a majority in office, all the furor dies down and they can forget about all the annoying political decisions they are supposed to be considering. It's four years of not having to pay attention.

    Most people who blog here will vote with gusto. But there is a great big sea of undecideds who could truly hold the hammer. Will they engage?

  32. Geddes is absolutely correct by saying that Ignatieff's style of campaigning differs from Harper's style.

    Perhaps Harper does seem a bit more uptight in this election campaign, but has Geddes (or any other Canadian for that matter) ever considered that there could be reasons for Harper being overly worried (I see a worried look on his face).
    Could it be that the Canadian inherent problem is being played out in a most strange fashion? Whereas in years gone by, the Quebec demands of being separated from the ROC has always been played out in the open, whereas now the Quebec demands of being one nation standing beside another nation – that being the ROC – is being played out behind the scenes and is being played out without the Canadian voter really understanding what is being played out in front of them?

    It should give Harper many reasons to worry when, as recently as two nights ago, a CBC documentary aired by declaring that the BQ's involvement in the 2008 coalition was bogus. And once again, last night on At Issue, the panelists and the host, all declared in unison that the 2008 coalition agreement was not inclusive of the BQ.
    When so many spokes persons in Canada no longer understand what precisely BQ's involvement would be in case a similar coalition is to be formed, then we all should have enough reasons to worry.

    Let's take the Lower Churchill announcement of yesterday, in which Harper offered financial support for the project. Now, let us suppose the announcement had been made by a Lib/NDP coalition government as prescribed in 2008. Would the signed on partner, the BQ, still support such a coalition government's decision?

    According to the CBC's voice, the BQ had no role to play in the 2008 coalition, but I will bet that the BQ would not have supported the Lower Churchill decision and would have dropped it's support for the coalition government in a heart beat. Which would leave us where? A coalition government with less seats combined than the other federal votes sitting across from them? Are we now to suggest that the federal parties with the least votes in the House combined, should form government? No, it only would mean that if the BQ seats are not to be counted as a voice for our federal outlook, than a coalition between the Liberals and the NDP could not have been formed.

    And since Harper can find little or no reporting on such basic facts, the worry shines through on his face.

  33. Geddes is absolutely correct by saying that Ignatieff's style of campaigning differs from Harper's style.

    Perhaps Harper does seem a bit more uptight in this election campaign, but has Geddes (or any other Canadian for that matter) ever considered that there could be reasons for Harper being overly worried (I see a worried look on his face).

    • That's not quite they said. They said that the BQ was not part of the coalition, but has promised to support it.

      On the other hand, I frankly find it hilarious that you think Harper is worried about Duceppe. I think separatism is waaaaaay down the list of his concerns at the moment. Indeed, he's fanning the flames of alienation and sending Quebecers into the BQ's arm.

      • So tell us, Andrew, what does such BQ support mean? Would it mean that the BQ would support the NDP/Lib coalition government as outlined in 2008, if a Lower Churchill federal financial support would come to a vote in the HOuse?

        Please tell us all how you think about such things, rather than leaving us in the dark.

        In case you haven't noticed: it is precisely the topic of complete separation being used by Duceppe to gather votes to then be able to hold the balance of power in a federation he campaigns against, time and again. But what exactly is your view on that and such things?

        • You're changing the subject.

    • Yes Harper is such a troubled soul. The weight of Canada on his shoulders. He has my sympathy vote. ˄NOT

  34. The 'undecided' vote seems to have been going up for some time…..and a lot of people are just now engaging because there is an actual election this time….so while Harper and Ignatieff both have their bases it's the swing vote and undecided that will be coming into play.

    Canadians say they love minority govts as they're more responsive….but that hasn't worked this time and all indications are that people want a majority to end the political turmoil. Whether they want either Harper or Ignatieff is another matter. The rest, NDP etc, aren't even in the running.

    Anyway with a majority they can then go back to grumbling about dictatorships and so on. LOL

  35. I think for the next few weeks we will se plenty of 'Gotcha' from all sides, but that might depend on perspective.
    I see the Liberals using the one on one debate as todays 'Gotcha'

  36. We've had gotcha-politics ….or an attempt at it….for the last few years.

    I don't think Harp's reneging on a challenge as a Lib gotcha though, since they didn't set him up for it. Harper kinda 'gotched' himself on that one.

  37. general comment (not specific to Ignatieff's past or future performance in the polls): there's no advantage to peaking early.

  38. That's not quite they said. They said that the BQ was not part of the coalition, but has promised to support it.

    On the other hand, I frankly find it hilarious that you think Harper is worried about Duceppe. I think separatism is waaaaaay down the list of his concerns at the moment. Indeed, he's fanning the flames of alienation and sending Quebecers into the BQ's arm.

  39. I know the media wants to promote Ignatieff this time round, but anyone who observes Ignatieff can see that he has a very hostile over-the-top way of presenting himself. When he's not hostile, he appears to be uncertain and artificial. He is not a man at ease on the podium–like say, Jack Layton.

  40. I know the media wants to promote Ignatieff this time round, but anyone who observes Ignatieff can see that he has a very hostile over-the-top way of presenting himself. When he's not hostile, he appears to be uncertain and artificial. He is not a man at ease on the podium–like say, Jack Layton.

    • I agree. Jack Layton is the most natural campaigner.

    • Layton has such a corny used car salesman style it makes me groan. He sounds sky-is-falling hysterical half the time.

  41. Campaign-trail contrast? Well of course there is a contrast – geeeeez. Harper's has to be defensive where as all the others are offensive.

    They can throw every cheap shot they want at Harper because he has a track record, where as all they have to do is make promises.

    Trudeau's distain for the press gallery was a major pain in the butt for reporters. Maybe Harper should have a "name that tune" segment, lol!!!

  42. Yes Harper is such a troubled soul. The weight of Canada on his shoulders. He has my sympathy vote. ˄NOT

  43. So tell us, Andrew, what does such BQ support mean? Would it mean that the BQ would support the NDP/Lib coalition government as outlined in 2008, if a Lower Churchill federal financial support would come to a vote in the HOuse?

    Please tell us all how you think about such things, rather than leaving us in the dark.

    In case you haven't noticed: it is precisely the topic of complete separation being used by Duceppe to gather votes to then be able to hold the balance of power in a federation he campaigns against, time and again. But what exactly is your view on that and such things?

  44. I agree. Jack Layton is the most natural campaigner.

  45. Will Harper adjust to what? To this:

    Yesterday, the following question was posed to Harper by Mr.Milewski, of CBC news:

    “My question concerns the sense that you are campaigning in a bubble, sir, where you never meet a single voter who hasn't been preselected by your campaign.” http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/

    Really!

    And Mr.Milewski, whose "sense" would you be "representing" within the question? And also, do you have proof that Harper has never met a single voter who hasn't been preselected by his campaign?”

    If I were to find proof to the contrary, would you then publically and openly apologize to Harper for having asked such un true question?

  46. Will Harper adjust to what? To this:

    Yesterday, the following question was posed to Harper by Mr.Milewski, of CBC news:

    “My question concerns the sense that you are campaigning in a bubble, sir, where you never meet a single voter who hasn't been preselected by your campaign.” http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/

    Really!

    And Mr.Milewski, whose "sense" would you be "representing" within the question? And also, do you have proof that Harper has never met a single voter who hasn't been preselected by his campaign?”

    If I were to find proof to the contrary, would you then publically and openly apologize to Harper for having asked such un true question?

    • Yeah, that's the kind of government we want. One where people have to apologize for asking questions.

    • Wow, a whole new level of toadying. Apologize? This is parody, right?

  47. You're changing the subject.

  48. Also, as Harper is the PM (yes I know, all is off during election), is there more of a security risk? His not doing a street walk and pre-screening rally attendees. Just asking.

    There was a bomb scare a couple of months ago but it appeared to be some nutbar.

  49. Also, as Harper is the PM (yes I know, all is off during election), is there more of a security risk? His not doing a street walk and pre-screening rally attendees. Just asking.

    There was a bomb scare a couple of months ago but it appeared to be some nutbar.

  50. Mr. Free Speech doesn't allow comments? That is hilarious. I can't read him, he spikes my blood pressure.

  51. Canada Greatest Prime Minister ever and perhaps the Greatest World Leader Ever who even has the Americans on their hands and knees when he speaks …. will win a major majority …100% sure thing, all Conservatives have to do is show up on Election Day … Done Deal …. Why? because he like no other man in history knows how to spend our money, $13 Billion in savings GONZO! $3 Billion in an Emergency fund GONZO. $30 Billion for unproven aircraft … en route to GONZO! …. Tough on Crime ( incarceration in Canada costs 90-$120,000 ea/yr) $40 Billion en route GONZO! plus the $40-$60 Billion spent in less than 5 years really GONZO!! add to this supply and services c/w prime real estate … sold out and rented back …. GONZO! and much, much more lined up on books for GONZO!

    And who remains #1 in polls? King Steve of Canada … the Greatest PM ever …. think not? check the polls for yourself.

    And lets not forget our MSM who have thrown all their pride out the window along with any professional talents they had and bow daily to The King and his court waiting only to run his wish for day.

    In the middle east men, women and children are putting their lives on the line in hopes for a better future … while here in Canada ….most Canadian voters (strange most do not understand the massive collective power they have) will stay home and not vote. (turn out could be as low as 54%)

    All said and done I believe politics is an honourable profession … somehow it appears as mentioned by many others, we yes we (voters) have allowed a good system of government to fail us all.

    This could be lowest turn out ever and our new leader (King Steve) will prevail having only had to win …. ready for it? approx 30% of the 54% who show up on election day. Stop and think just who has won from most of the spending listed above …. (and they will turn out to vote)

    Dam smart modern day politics eh…. again the Greatest PM ever will win by three lengths with all the other horses not even in camera range.

  52. Canada Greatest Prime Minister ever and perhaps the Greatest World Leader Ever who even has the Americans on their hands and knees when he speaks …. will win a major majority …100% sure thing, all Conservatives have to do is show up on Election Day … Done Deal …. Why? because he like no other man in history knows how to spend our money, $13 Billion in savings GONZO! $3 Billion in an Emergency fund GONZO. $30 Billion for unproven aircraft … en route to GONZO! …. Tough on Crime ( incarceration in Canada costs 90-$120,000 ea/yr) $40 Billion en route GONZO! plus the $40-$60 Billion spent in less than 5 years really GONZO!! add to this supply and services c/w prime real estate … sold out and rented back …. GONZO! and much, much more lined up on books for GONZO!

    And who remains #1 in polls? King Steve of Canada … the Greatest PM ever …. think not? check the polls for yourself.

    And lets not forget our MSM who have thrown all their pride out the window along with any professional talents they had and bow daily to The King and his court waiting only to run his wish for day.

    In the middle east men, women and children are putting their lives on the line in hopes for a better future … while here in Canada ….most Canadian voters (strange most do not understand the massive collective power they have) will stay home and not vote. (turn out could be as low as 54%)

    All said and done I believe politics is an honourable profession … somehow it appears as mentioned by many others, we yes we (voters) have allowed a good system of government to fail us all.

    This could be lowest turn out ever and our new leader (King Steve) will prevail having only had to win …. ready for it? approx 30% of the 54% who show up on election day. Stop and think just who has won from most of the spending listed above …. (and they will turn out to vote)

    Dam smart modern day politics eh…. again the Greatest PM ever will win by three lengths with all the other horses not even in camera range.

  53. So you dislike "gotcha" tactics, and then you proceed to site one of the worst attempts at a "gotcha" prank this country may have ever seen. Yes, that is exactly what Yann Martel's little stunt was. Interesting, sure. Did he really expect the PM to read all the books that he so selflessly selected and sent (complete with a personal letter and all!)? C'mon. He knew he wouldn't, he knew he could use it to say "Gotcha"!

    Well, at least that's how this reporter used it: "Maybe if it wins, Harper will read the book. Naw, he's probably too busy cooking up new attack ads." http://communities.canada.com/montrealgazette/blo

    And this site (which I use): "…soundly ignored by the politician, who remains no fan of the arts…" http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2011/02/01

    And, in Martel's own words: "I enjoyed it. I learned that I lived in a democracy [and] that I can tease my prime minister for four years and not be arrested. That was a good thing to know." http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/

    By the way, the worst part about this is that you, as a result of Martel's "gotcha" stunt, now go around assuming that Harper has never read anything from the "great literary treasure that is our heritage." Your right, people who "do not quest intellectualy [sic], but are prepared to accept received wisdom [in this case, that would be you] based on perceived authority [in this case, that would be Martel]" are quite sad.

  54. Yes but Iggy is a good B.S.
    Please, don't compare Iggy with our Prime Minister. One has class and the other needs a kick in the a–

  55. Yes but Iggy is a good B.S.
    Please, don't compare Iggy with our Prime Minister. One has class and the other needs a kick in the a–

    • I think you made a Freudian slip there – or at least a grammatical one. Following the order of the first sentence, it appears you're saying Iggy has class and Harper deserves the kick. And while I 100% agree with that assessment, it doesn't jibe with the first line – or your post below.

  56. Did you hear the "Whining Screamer" complaining today about Mr. Harper saying things about him and his Parents.
    Who gives a sh– about him or his Par—- that he has been trying to pass off as Royalty one day and destitute the next day.
    This guy is the biggest phony whiner I have ever come across.

  57. Did you hear the "Whining Screamer" complaining today about Mr. Harper saying things about him and his Parents.
    Who gives a sh– about him or his Par—- that he has been trying to pass off as Royalty one day and destitute the next day.
    This guy is the biggest phony whiner I have ever come across.

    • Trash supporting trash. No big surprise.

  58. I did not say I do not like 'gotcha' tactics, just that I found that the proponents of those tactics were less than full participants in the academic process; so preoccupied were they with their little games. Usually, the same students when confronted with complex problems with many variables would look hard for the trick that would save them the work of thoroughly working through the permutations and combinations of the solution. I rather enjoyed the 'aha' moment when I realized that I had been played.

  59. As to Yann Martel's motivation in sending books to Mr. Harper, it is revealing that you perceive it as being a 'gotcha' stunt, rather than an attempt to understand better the man through a dialogue. Why not consider him a 'petit prince' who wishes to understand the world and those who matter to him? Also, I can see the exercise as an excuse to take time to revisit the works that he sent Mr. Harper and work a new book out of it. Many authors like to record their reading and combining it with a regular exercise makes the job much more pleasurable.

    Thank you for noting my spelling mistake on intellectually. It will not happen again – must type slower, must type slower.

  60. As for my receiving wisdom from Yann Martel, I do not infer that Mr. Harper doesn't read from the great heritage from because of the Yann Martel saga, but because of his attachment to failed economic theories and his blind faith in his religion. When these are combined, they imply a mind that has not embraced the full gamut of human thought. But I cannot know, only infer, because he refused to engage Yann Martel. Maybe Mr. Harper is much too concerned with matters of consequence. Hi ho.

  61. Evidently Trudeau had more fun in the bubble than SH is currently having.

    mmm, maybe Steve might want to reconsider, give Yann a call – see if he's got a couple of poetry primers on hand?

  62. Evidently Trudeau had more fun in the bubble than SH is currently having.

    mmm, maybe Steve might want to reconsider, give Yann a call – see if he's got a couple of poetry primers on hand?

  63. Remember, Ignatieff doesn't have to convince Conservatives to vote for him – he has to convince those million-odd Liberal votes that stayed home in 2008 to come out of hiding. A free-wheeling, confident campaigning style will likely go a long way into convincing those disaffected Liberals that the LPC has its swagger back.

  64. Remember, Ignatieff doesn't have to convince Conservatives to vote for him – he has to convince those million-odd Liberal votes that stayed home in 2008 to come out of hiding. A free-wheeling, confident campaigning style will likely go a long way into convincing those disaffected Liberals that the LPC has its swagger back.

  65. I saw Ignatieff in London last night. It takes a lot to impress me. Frankly I was blown away by his utter integrity. Nothing pretentious or even remotely superficial about the man. What you see is what you get. Contrasting this with the recent video of Harper deflecting questions from the media, safely sequestered 20 meters behind a security barrier. My god. How it is even possible that someone would vote for the walking joke that is Stephen Harper is beyond all worldly comprehension. Ignatieff will EVISCERATE Harper in the debates.

  66. I saw Ignatieff in London last night. It takes a lot to impress me. Frankly I was blown away by his utter integrity. Nothing pretentious or even remotely superficial about the man. What you see is what you get. Contrasting this with the recent video of Harper deflecting questions from the media, safely sequestered 20 meters behind a security barrier. My god. How it is even possible that someone would vote for the walking joke that is Stephen Harper is beyond all worldly comprehension. Ignatieff will EVISCERATE Harper in the debates.

  67. Trash supporting trash. No big surprise.

  68. And then Harper will blame the conspiracy of the left wing biased media against Conservatives.

  69. Yeah, that's the kind of government we want. One where people have to apologize for asking questions.

  70. The paranoid are in my street

  71. The paranoid are in my street

  72. Brittle? perhaps,
    but recently Harper reminds me more and more of a pinata

    funny most of the comments on this thread are from the (paid?) con bots but they are all neg thumbs

  73. Brittle? perhaps,
    but recently Harper reminds me more and more of a pinata

    funny most of the comments on this thread are from the (paid?) con bots but they are all neg thumbs

  74. Yes, we know our national media are Harper-haters,
    and if PMSH was all happy and Iffy-like,
    they would accuse him of being arrogantly over confident of winning.

    There is NOTHING Harper can do or say, that the Libluvin media can't turn into a smear.

    Harper is still Prime Minister.
    so when he isn't being attacked by the media, and the visiting professor and Jack and Gilles and Charest and 50 different special interest groups,
    he's talking to world leaders and NATO about our military in Afghanistan and Libya.

    While Ignatieff clinks glasses with his media groupies,
    PMSH spends his evenings running a government and country.

  75. Yes, we know our national media are Harper-haters,
    and if PMSH was all happy and Iffy-like,
    they would accuse him of being arrogantly over confident of winning.

    There is NOTHING Harper can do or say, that the Libluvin media can't turn into a smear.

    Harper is still Prime Minister.
    so when he isn't being attacked by the media, and the visiting professor and Jack and Gilles and Charest and 50 different special interest groups,
    he's talking to world leaders and NATO about our military in Afghanistan and Libya.

    While Ignatieff clinks glasses with his media groupies,
    PMSH spends his evenings running a government and country.

    • If he's so awesome, he should be able to campaign and govern at the same time. Other politicians manage it.

    • "There is NOTHING Harper can do or say, that the Libluvin media can't turn into a smear."

      I never knew it was this bad. Most in the media now openly report against Harper, no matter what he says or does. This is not longer about Harper's word directly; all is now being interpreted by the media. I really never knew it was this bad.

    • "PMSH spends his evenings running a government and country."

      We all saw the commercials dude. And he's doin all by himself too!

  76. My choice for the Conservative plane name: No Questionnaire/No Question Air.

  77. My choice for the Conservative plane name: No Questionnaire/No Question Air.

    • Sorry for the double post.

  78. Sorry for the double post.

  79. Globe and Mail reported this week:

    – Tamil broadcaster Ragavan Paranchothy (“returning officer” for National Council of Canadian Tamils) is being considered as a Conservative candidate Scarborough-Southwest;

    – a link between National Council of Canadian Tamils and Shan Thayaparan, a former Liberal who tried to run for NDPs before surfacing as Conservative candidate for Markham-Unionville.

    In April 2006, Harper Conservatives added Tamil Tigers (“Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam”) to its official list of terrorist organizations for its use of suicide bombers and child soldiers. A spokesman for Harper Conservatives (Sakach) said National Council of Canadian Tamils is a “peaceful separatist group”.

    How many more Harper Conservatives are closet separatists?

    FYI

    Quebec provincial Parti Québécois leader Marois called a conference for April 2011 to affirm sovereignity (ie Quebec rule) by charter (ie politicians…not electorate referendum).

    Quebec federal Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe responded "I firmly support Mme.Marois”…and repeated his position that the sovereignist side should not discuss its strategy in public (montrealgazette.ca).

    Bloc Québécois is exclusively a Quebec provincial party. Ex-Mulroney Conservatives were founding members. The Conservative Mulroney govt must have quietly amended Canada Election act(s) to allow a provincial party to run for federal election in 1993, thus altering Confederation representation which has existed since 1867, without referendum or other electorate endorsement. The party is now funded 80% by the federal govt and has a self-proclaimed mandate of “adoration for Quebec” and “secession from Canada”.

    These two Quebec separatist parties are confusing for some because provincial Parti Québécois and federal Bloc Québécois frequently share political candidates, and support each other during election campaigns (Wikipedia).

    It is only a matter of time before minority separatist coalition groups seize sufficient power to assert a Nation of Quebec … without referendum.

    ***
    [X] NO MORE Harper Conservative “Contempt of Parliament"

  80. Globe and Mail reported this week:

    – Tamil broadcaster Ragavan Paranchothy (“returning officer” for National Council of Canadian Tamils) is being considered as a Conservative candidate Scarborough-Southwest;

    – a link between National Council of Canadian Tamils and Shan Thayaparan, a former Liberal who tried to run for NDPs before surfacing as Conservative candidate for Markham-Unionville.

    In April 2006, Harper Conservatives added Tamil Tigers (“Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam”) to its official list of terrorist organizations for its use of suicide bombers and child soldiers. A spokesman for Harper Conservatives (Sakach) said National Council of Canadian Tamils is a “peaceful separatist group”.

    How many more Harper Conservatives are closet separatists?

    FYI

    Quebec provincial Parti Québécois leader Marois called a conference for April 2011 to affirm sovereignity (ie Quebec rule) by charter (ie politicians…not electorate referendum).

    Quebec federal Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe responded "I firmly support Mme.Marois”…and repeated his position that the sovereignist side should not discuss its strategy in public (montrealgazette.ca).

    Bloc Québécois is exclusively a Quebec provincial party. Ex-Mulroney Conservatives were founding members. The Conservative Mulroney govt must have quietly amended Canada Election act(s) to allow a provincial party to run for federal election in 1993, thus altering Confederation representation which has existed since 1867, without referendum or other electorate endorsement. The party is now funded 80% by the federal govt and has a self-proclaimed mandate of “adoration for Quebec” and “secession from Canada”.

    These two Quebec separatist parties are confusing for some because provincial Parti Québécois and federal Bloc Québécois frequently share political candidates, and support each other during election campaigns (Wikipedia).

    It is only a matter of time before minority separatist coalition groups seize sufficient power to assert a Nation of Quebec … without referendum.

    ***
    [X] NO MORE Harper Conservative “Contempt of Parliament"

  81. Layton has such a corny used car salesman style it makes me groan. He sounds sky-is-falling hysterical half the time.

  82. Wow, a whole new level of toadying. Apologize? This is parody, right?

  83. If he's so awesome, he should be able to campaign and govern at the same time. Other politicians manage it.

  84. Yeh that 11 point nanos lead for PMSH looks pretty brittle!

  85. Yeh that 11 point nanos lead for PMSH looks pretty brittle!

  86. Is it just me, or do those fences have G20 echoes?

  87. True; and maybe – here's hoping – Harper peaked pre-election.

  88. I think you made a Freudian slip there – or at least a grammatical one. Following the order of the first sentence, it appears you're saying Iggy has class and Harper deserves the kick. And while I 100% agree with that assessment, it doesn't jibe with the first line – or your post below.

  89. "There is NOTHING Harper can do or say, that the Libluvin media can't turn into a smear."

    I never knew it was this bad. Most in the media now openly report against Harper, no matter what he says or does. This is not longer about Harper's word directly; all is now being interpreted by the media. I really never knew it was this bad.

  90. During his time in office Harper has become more and more controlling. It wouldn't be a surprise to find out that, like many politicians, he has become more detached from the reality of lives of ordinary Canadians. He is now surrounded by people who defer to him and as he is so convinced that the so-called liberal media is against him that other than being more angry at his portrayal by them, he is not very ;likely to change his campaign style.

  91. During his time in office Harper has become more and more controlling. It wouldn't be a surprise to find out that, like many politicians, he has become more detached from the reality of lives of ordinary Canadians. He is now surrounded by people who defer to him and as he is so convinced that the so-called liberal media is against him that other than being more angry at his portrayal by them, he is not very ;likely to change his campaign style.

  92. "PMSH spends his evenings running a government and country."

    We all saw the commercials dude. And he's doin all by himself too!

  93. The media whining is pathetic. Typical Liberals. There is a stark contrast with the media coverage of the Liberal/Separatist cause and the Conservatives. The Liberal lovin media were bound and determined to become part of this election by taking an activist approach to PM Harpers campaign, while soft peddling American Iggo. The Liberal lovin media decided that when the coalition forced this election that they ( the media) would become an activist arm of the Liberal party by shouting and screaming at the PM in a belligerent, over the top attempt at controlling the Conservative campaign and setting the agenda. Aaron Wherry wrote about the fun and games the media were having screaming and yelling at the PM and thought that behaving like a pack of stalking, screeching hyenas they could take the Conservative campaign off the rails. The belligerent activist approach taken by the media has backfired and they are now being treated accordingly. The all sunshine and lollipops tour of American Iggos campaign is a stark contrast indeed. The Liberal media campaigning with American Iggo lob softball questions that really aren't questions at all, but rather an invitation to repeat liberal talking points and opportunities to attack PM Harper. The Liberal media campaigning with Igg blindly and duti-fully accept anything and everything Iggo says and then loyally regurgitate the Liberal narrative like good little Liberal party drones. The media making themselves "the story" of the Conservative campaign is merely sour grapes by a group of Liberal party media activists that so far have been unable to control the agenda and out of frustration at not being able to define and control the Conservative campaign are acting out and whining about it. There is absolutely nothing that PM Harper could do that would please the media, other then conceding the election to the Liberal/Separatist coalition… And as far as the media is concerned there is absolutely nothing that Iggo and the Liberals could do or say that would be wrong. The Conservatives are trying to win the camapign and understand that letting the media control their agenda would not be helpful to that outcome. If the media hadn't had a preconceived pre co-ordinated agenda to try and control the Conservative campaign and instead behaved like real journalists, and showed even a modicum of respect towards the PM, I'm sure there wouldn't be an issue. The media can whine all they want, and not accept any responsibility, but there is nothing that says PM Harper has to play the media game of getting the Liberals elected. My advice to the media is to stop whining and accept the responsibility that your actions and adversarial, activist approach towards the PM and the Conservative campaign has created the situation you find yourselves in.

  94. I actually read all of these run-on sentences and have concluded these are the ravings of someone not at peace with their inner self.

  95. I actually read all of these run-on sentences and have concluded these are the ravings of someone not at peace with their inner self.

  96. Conservatives lead over the Liberals increased to 14% as of April 4.
    This would be Iggys' last election, ane that commie Lytons' too !

  97. Conservatives lead over the Liberals increased to 14% as of April 4.
    This would be Iggys' last election, ane that commie Lytons' too !

  98. It's not that he's average. The argument is that he comes across as average to an average voter. Such as, "he comes across as if he's one of us", an average Canadian.

  99. He can say that the "left-wing" media is trying to destroy him, but Sun Media is angry too. The best thing would be for the media to stop covering his stops, at least for the next week or so.

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