The Commons: Stephen Harper and Libby Davies trade howlers

It was a knee-slapping good time

The Scene. Libby Davies rose to list a series of complaints about the Harper government’s general and to take note of a new proposal for child care services. “Now that even the big banks are challenging Conservatives’ priorities, when will the Prime Minister rethink his shortsighted budget choices?” she wondered.

The Prime Minister was obliged here to stand and offer the official assurances. “Mr. Speaker, the policy of this government has been to gradually balance the budget over the medium-term while not raising taxes as the NDP would like us to do and while preserving our payments for vital programs like health care, education and, of course, pensions for our senior citizens,” he reported.

And, in light of yesterday’s news, there was apparently another reason to brag.

“With that approach, Canada has record leading job creation among major developed countries and policies that are highly emulated around the world,” Mr. Harper continued, “one of the reasons I think that somebody like Mr. Carney can be recruited to serve in another country. Canada has a lot to be proud of.”

So apparently Mr. Carney has Mr. Harper to thank, at least in part, for his new job. Perhaps David Cameron might’ve saved himself the expense of hiring a new bank governor and simply renamed his budgets as “economic action plans” and started yelling about how the opposition’s plans to introduce a carbon tax imperil the monarchy. (Oh, the British government has proposed putting a price on carbon? Well, I suppose Mr. Carney’s cause is hopeless then.)

For whatever reason, Ms. Davies thought she saw an opening to turn this around.

“Mr. Speaker, 50,000 more people are unemployed today than before the recession,” she offered. “That is the Conservative record. The global economy is shaky and Canadians need reassurance. Now the Governor of the Bank of Canada has abruptly resigned.”

The Conservatives howled with laughter. Were there not desktops in the way, numerous knees might’ve been slapped.

Ms. Davies was forced by the noise to pause. The Speaker called for order and returned the floor to the New Democrat deputy leader.

“Mr. Speaker, he left in quite a hurry,” Ms. Davies attempted to clarify.

More chuckles were had.

Mr. Harper stood to respond with a smile on his face. “Mr. Speaker, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, who has done a tremendous job and we know will do a tremendous job in a country with much greater difficulties than Canada, has told me he is taking up that job in July of next year,” the Prime Minister offered. “That sort of stretches the definition of abruptly just a little bit.”

The Conservatives laughed once more. The Prime Minister is indeed a stickler for specificity in public discourse.

“The record of this government is that there are 800,000 net new jobs created in this country, more people working now in Canada than before the recession,” Mr. Harper continued. “While there is a ways to go, this is better than the vast majority of developed countries at this time.”

Ms. Davies saw a segue. “Mr. Speaker, the record is that the finance minister and the Prime Minister cannot get their stories straight on whether the budget will be balanced by 2015,” she ventured. “They cannot agree even on whether more service cuts are coming. The finance minister claims he has a plan for another recession, but the Prime Minister cannot tell us what it is. How can Canadians have any confidence in our economy when the Prime Minister does not seem to have confidence in his own finance minister?”

Mr. Harper, rising with a shrug, was happy to convey his admiration for Jim Flaherty.

“Mr. Speaker,” the Prime Minister recalled, “the Minister of Finance has been recognized as probably the best in his job in the entire developed world.”

Indeed, Mr. Flaherty has the championship belt to prove it.

“His record speaks for itself and besides, of course, agreeing on all of the big issues, one of the things we most strongly agree on is that this country does not need the kind of tax increases advocated by the NDP,” Mr. Harper continued.

“We do not need to raise taxes on employers at a time when we are trying to create jobs.”

Well, except for that increase in EI premiums.

“We do not need to raise sales taxes on consumers…”

Which isn’t quite the NDP’s stated position.

“… and we are opposed to a carbon tax on everything as the NDP proposes.”

Well, except that Mr. Harper was both for it and against it before he was against it.

If your knee should be readily available, feel free to slap it.

The Stats. The environment, six questions. The economy, five questions. The budget and national Defence, four questions each. Health care, fisheries and refugees, three questions each. The F-35, foreign investment and museums, two questions each. Pharmaceuticals, unions, science, search-and-rescue and agriculture, two questions each.

Stephen Harper, Jim Flaherty and Peter Kent, six responses each. Peter MacKay, five responses. Jason Kenney and Gail Shea, three responses each. Rona Ambrose, Christian Paradis and James Moore, two responses each. Leona Aglukkaq, Pierre Poilievre, Gary Goodyear and Gerry Ritz, one response each.




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The Commons: Stephen Harper and Libby Davies trade howlers

  1. “Which isn’t quite the NDP’s stated position.”
    – Aaron Wherry

    Notice how Wherry feels that me must inject this
    self added defense for the NDP ? And
    take a look at this partisan jab that Wherry added again the PM

    “Well, except for that increase in EI premiums.” – Aaron Wherry

    Once again Wherry cannot contain himself and feels the need to insert his own partisan
    commentary reflecting of Wherry’s personal political beliefs and in doing so
    exposes himself as being a partisan media charlatan.

    What an embarrassment to legitimate journalists everywhere. Does the NDP really need
    Wherry to constantly add these little nuggets to defend the NDP. Why is Wherry so partisan and unprofessional?

    • You have become a self-parody Bill.

    • Whats the matter Bill, you don’t like to hear truthful facts. Wherry speaks the truth. I would call that non partisan and just making sure that all the facts are out in the story.

      • So basically media should start adding their own personal politician commentaries when reporting on events that occurred?

        Funny how accepting some of you are of partisan media so long as it is politically
        aligned with your own views.

        To me it would be just as wrong if it were on the other foot unless the media source in question openly discloses their own political bias. Wondering why Wherry refuses to do that.

        • How many times have you been told this is a blog Bill?

          • Help me out here. Does this being a blog make
            biased partisan journalism acceptable?

            Clearly I missed the partisan blog class in high school.

          • When you were in high school horses were relatively new.

            Definition of BLOG

            : a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer; also : the contents of such a site

            http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blog

          • Thank you Emily,

            I don’t know what I would do without you ! So basically what we have
            concluded is that this being a blog it is acceptable for Wherry to demonstrate his blatant political bias and partisanship as blogs allow the writer to share personal points of views, which clearly Wherry is doing here.

            Clearly I have much to learn.

          • No Bill, you have much to unlearn.

            Although you’re probably stuck with the low IQ

        • I would hope that uncovering falsehoods stated by political figures is one of the prime roles of journalism. If the CPC misportrays NDP policy, should not journalism seek to make clear the facts: that NDP policy is not what the CPC says it is?

          • I would submit it is up to the NDP to communicate NDP policy and not Aaron Wherry. What Wherry would do if he were a profession member of the media would be to clearly and accurately report both sides of the story – what the Conservatives say and in response what the NDP say – then leave it up to his readers to decide for themselves.

            HoweverWherry has proven incapable of doing that.
            Instead Wherry demonstrates a pattern of playing judge, jury and executioner whereby Wherry feels that he must constantly inject his own personal political views and opinion on what the facts are, according to Wherry. No different then in this article, Wherry once again could not help himself and had to defend the NDP and attack the PM with a snide uncalled for comment. Is it really Wherry’s job to shill for the NDP ? Apparently he thinks it is.

          • Not in this country anybody. The media have taken sides and will use their influence to portray their side in the best possible light. Usually through acts of omission.

      • Genuine question from a new reader: Has Wherry ever quoted a line from the NDP about the Conservative platform and followed it with “Which isn’t quite the CPC’s position”, or something along those lines? Because if it cuts both ways, I have no problem with it.

        • Things only cut one way with Aaron Wherry. There was absolutely no grounds to defend the NDP in his post above and yet he could
          not contain himself and had to throw a dig in at the PM at the same time. Imagine if every journalist did that? Sure it would be a lefty utopia but would it be fair and unbiased? Not a chance. But Wherry could care less.

          • Add this indignity to the Cons’ growing litany of complaints about how they’re always the victims, never the perpetrators, of lies, half-truths, distortions, and biased blogs.

            By the way, It’s a blog, Billy. The Cons have their own blogs.

          • I never suggested anyone was a victim only pointing out that Aaron Wherry is a partisan….that much many agree with. And yes, you are
            correct, there are many partisan blogs, this is clearly yet another one.

          • So this is a Liberal Blog ?——nobody told me.

          • Not surprising…you seem the type that would be the last to know a lot of things.

            I take that back. I try to keep ad hominem comments out of my remarks. But I do wonder why you would feel you’re entitled to being personally informed about any blogger’s partisan orientation.

          • I didn’t realize that Maclean’s doubled as an official Liberal/Dipper blogsite, but thanks for letting me know.

          • Ssshhhhh…Maclean’s doesn’t realize it either.

        • Since you`re new here Josh, let me help you:
          When you see an NDP or Liberal question quoted on this blog—for instance the one above where Libby says Harper and Flaherty cannot get their stories straight concerning when the Budget will be balanced (…can`t imagine why a dipper would care about balancing books ) or which services will be cut, then you should insert the clause ” which isn`t quite the Conservative stated position “.
          After you`ve been here a while, that phrase will automatically appear on the screen.

        • Wherry often points out when MPs say things that aren’t quite the CPC’s position.. unfortunately, it’s usually CPC MPs that are saying it.

    • It’s a blog, Billy…it’s what bloggers do…you know, have a point of view and express it in their, you know, blog. Maybe you need a little primer on the difference between non-partisan reportage and, you know…blogging?

    • Indeed. Most of us who like to think of ourselves as snarky skeptics do so on personal blogs and don’t try to pretend we are actually practicing journalism. But I guess if you can get a government subsidy to be a partisan hack it’s a good gig.

      • MacLeans is getting a subsidy from taxpayers ??????

        • Mmm same as the Fraser Institute.

          • Hardly the same thing. McLean’s is suppose to be in the media business. Not so much the Fraser Institute.

          • The Fraser Institute claims to be a charity, to the govt

            To everyone else it claims to be a ‘think-tank’

            It is neither.

          • News Flash to Emily. It is not a news organization. Got it. That is why Wherry is being criticized. He represents a media outlet and has some responsibility to be balanced. If he wants to show his opinion then he should operate his own personal blog. That’s what Billy is complaining about.

          • Doesn’t matter what it is…it gets a govt subsidy….so stop complaining

            Wherry also writes anti-Lib/NDP stuff….you just never mention it.

            Like all Cons…..you just whine.

          • So I guess you would also have a problem w/ newspaper opinion columns as well then. they are media outlets as well, so by your logic news opinion columns would also have a responsibility to be balanced!

          • “McLean’s is suppose to be in the media business. Not so much the Fraser Institute.”

            Really? Then what’s this on the Frazer Institute website? This same website solicits donations for which it issues tax exemption receipts.

            Magazines

            Fraser Forum is our bi-monthly magazine of critical
            thought offering analysis and perspectives from many researchers across the Fraser Institute on a wide range of issues.

            Canadian Student Review is published four times a year offering articles on public policy and current affairs by both economists and students.

            Perspectives is the Fraser Institute’s French-language public policy magazine published in Montreal.

            http://www.fraserinstitute.org/research-news/research/magazines.aspx

          • Either you are dense or simply won’t accept the fact you are wrong. Fraser institute is a non profit organization which publishes its own magazine. It is not part of the main street media as is McLeans. Wherry is writing his blog as part of McLeans Magazine. As I said if he wants to give his personal opinions then he should write a personal blog like others do. Now give it a rest.

          • Tsk! tsk! always angry at something or someone…lighten up,holly, it’s almost the festive season.

          • Its a problem getting you lefties to accept the fact that the other side may have a point. I am not angry at anyone. I am simply making a point.

          • Stop resorting to labeling those with whom you disagree. It’s an immature way to conduct a debate.

          • This is the
            difference between those on the left and those on the right – on the right we
            have no shame in admitting that we are free enterprise right wingers and proud
            of it. Yet on the left you all like to
            hide and pretend you are really not lefties and are just some non partisan
            politcio’s who just so happen to be anti-Conserative….pretty much exactly what
            Wherry does on a daily basis

          • You go on clinging to your facile, simplistic world-view if it gives you comfort in a threatening universe. Don’t ever be distracted by subtlety, nuance or ambiguity. That’s for grown-ups who’ve gone past the need to label others..

          • The baby on the bus goes wah, wah, wah

    • Of course EI is suppose to suddenly get money from the money tree if it is to remain in place for those that find themselves temporarily unemployed. Who is going to pay for it Wherry? Naturally those that work and will use it if they need to at some point down the road. Of course the left believe the money pit is bottomles and it just magically appears.

      • Yeah, I get that, too. But I also get that we are bending over backwards to help large corporations be “job creators” while everyone actually knows its small business who employ the most. And payroll taxes actively prevent small business from hiring–to the point where they become less able to compete and at the very least stay a small business rather than grow to a medium-sized one. So, I suggest that employer’s portion of payroll taxes be given a re-think to possibly merging with general funds, and the money can come from, let’s say, subsidies to the banks and oil companies–or other big business subsidies.

    • Again, I point out that if you don’t want context, go read Hansard, and stop coming here. You’d feel better for not reading Wherry, and we’d feel better for not reading you.

    • Legitimate journalists doing their job tend not to repeat misleading or untrue statements without pointing out they are misleading and/or untrue. Otherwise they’d be called stenographers.

  2. Sigh….most countries have a govt. We have a comedy team.

  3. I clicked on this link expecting a summary of QP, not realizing that it would hidden under multiple layers of snark and stunningly obvious partisan bias. Then I click on some of Wherry’s previous pieces and realized that this wasn’t an isolated thing. Too bad.

    • Exactly
      that is my point about Wherry….extremely partisan and disappointing that MacLeans supports so political bias in it’s coverage of Canadian politics. I always thought of MacLeans as an inclusive publication until I discovered Wherry’s blog.

      • Work with me, Billy. It’s a B.L.O.G.

        • Yes, it’s a blog. But since Macleans has a section titled “Inside the Commons,” which purports to let us witness the workings of the House, it would be nice to see what’s actually going on there, instead of one journalist’s slanted view. Maybe Macleans needs a second parliamentary blogger to provide a counterpoint to Wherry’s incessant smirking at the government.

          • Or you could just watch the parliamentary channel, which presents the proceedings without comment.

  4. To echo what others have said, Wherry’s problem is that he only cuts one way. Clarifying and stating “truthful facts” is fine as long as you hold all parties to the same standard, which he absolutely does not do.

    • Keep in mind it is only “truthful facts” according to Aaron Wherry. That is the danger of biased partisan journalism – it should not be up to the reporter to decide what is and what is and is not factual. The job is about telling both sides of the story – what Wherry did in this column is shameful. This is hack stuff you would expect form low
      level political partisans. Amazing that a member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery who is representing a major Canadian publication would espouse such low level standards and lack professionalism in such a blatantly obvious way.

      • Knock it off Bill….not even your HQ talking points ramble on like that. LOL

      • It’s not a column, Billy. It’s a blog, that’s blog, as in B.L.O.G.

        Moreover, even if it were a column, most public affairs columnists espouse an easily identifiable political point of view. That’s what they’re paid to do.

        You know that. Stop behaving as if you just fell out of your highchair.

      • That’s a lot of accounts you’ve been writing from today, Bill. Feeling lonely?

    • Has it occurred to you that holding a government’s feet to the fire is a good thing. It makes them raise their game and justify their actions.
      To my mind, QP has become (or always has been) a joke, with the Opposition raising issues in a partisan rhetorical manner and the Government not answering them, also in a partisan rhetorical manner.
      How is the situation improved if no one actually highlights Government hypocrisy or for that matter, Opposition ineffectiveness?

      My feeling is that Aaron would be doing the same thing if the government benches were red or orange; it’s what he does

  5. Gee, Aaron … was it something you said ?

  6. Hey, Wherry…. will we soon be hearing from newly-minted Conservative MP Joan Crockatt after the PM elevates her to a lofty position to give her exposure in QP??

    Now that should sting the parliamentary media mavens where it really hurts.. in their egos..!!!

  7. Please don`t let Libby Davies ask questions anymore. “The Governor of the Bank of Canada has abruptly resigned.”??? WTF? Does she think we don’t follow the news?

  8. If any voters actually paid attention to these exchanges between Libby and Harper, I would give the palm of victory to Libby. But no voters are paying attention, so I won’t explain why I am right to give the palm of victory to Libby.

  9. BTW, did anyone notice that Libby Davies was successfully called out and busted for being a lying piece of crap?

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