The Commons: Uncontrollable democracy

When he’s not precipitating elections, Stephen Harper likes to lament how unnecessary and reckless they are

The Prime Minister looked a bit frustrated. He had concluded his prepared remarks and invited questions and now various members of the mob before him were shouting various queries in his general direction. This was not as Mr. Harper prefers it. No, when Mr. Harper has his way, those who wish to ask a question of him are to present themselves to a member of his staff beforehand. Once the Prime Minister is ready to entertain other voices, a member of his staff then calls on the questioners by name and employer. After the Prime Minister has finished responding, the next questioner is called by name and employer. No follow-ups are permitted.

Here the woman from the Prime Minister’s Office called out the name of the journalist assigned the first question, but the mob was unwilling to cooperate. Amid the shouting, she called out again, to no effect. The Prime Minister seemed at a loss, obviously unused to being treated like a common politician. Eventually, after a few uncomfortable seconds, he pointed in the direction of a TV newsman to his immediate right. After a perfunctory response, the shouting returned. Mr. Harper managed to point out a francophone voice in the crowd. Another question, another response and then he turned on his heels and took his leave.

It is rare to see the Prime Minister without control. And it is obvious the Prime Minister does not much enjoy the feeling.

“Our economy is not a political game,” he had lamented upon arriving at the podium set up for him in the foyer of the House of Commons. “The global recovery is still fragile. Relative to other nations, Canada’s economic recovery has been strong but its continuation is by no means assured. Many threats remain.”

Indeed, the threats are apparently legion, from “turmoil in the Middle East” and “disaster in Japan” to “European debt” and “global economic uncertainty.” All are well beyond Mr. Harper’s control (and responsibility, mind you) and all are imperilling the economic recovery on which his government has spent all its precious time.

“The budget that the Minister of Finance tabled yesterday, the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, is a low tax plan of critical importance to jobs, growth and the financial security of hardworking Canadians,” he raved, holding the budget book up for the cameras like a Price is Right spokesmodel. “It is unfortunate for Canadians that the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois seem to have a different priority and that is to force an unnecessary election.”

When he’s not precipitating elections—in 2005 it was Mr. Harper’s motion of non-confidence that upended the Liberal government and in 2008 it was Mr. Harper who asked the Governor General to dissolve Parliament—Mr. Harper is fond of lamenting how unnecessary and reckless they are. Mind you, if his fixed election date law had been worth more than the paper required to print it, the country would be compelled to conduct an election every four years, no matter what international calamities were occurring at the time.

Perhaps Mr. Harper wishes elections would simply come when properly called upon by a member of his staff. Perhaps he wishes people would just listen. ”From coast to coast to coast,” he said, “Canadians expect all parliamentarians to be working together to finish the job of securing our economic future.”

Of course, by “working together,” the Prime Minister seemed to mean “voting together,” namely in support of Mr. Harper’s budget. ”Let me be very clear,” he clarified. “This budget, the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan is designed to ensure the continuation of Canada’s recovery. The opposition parties have a choice between two priorities—their ambition for an unnecessary election or our important measures to support Canadians and the economy.”

But however unreliable and selfish those conspiring opposition parties, Mr. Harper had not lost hope in their ability to capitulate. “Notwithstanding their declarations,” he said, “the opposition parties still have the opportunity to put Canadians’ interests first.”

All this invoking of “Canadians” and “Canada’s Economic Action Plan” and “Canadians’ interests,” might’ve seemed more selfless if the distinction between the country and the current Prime Minister hadn’t already been officially deleted.

A short while after Mr. Harper had managed to take two questions from the mob, it was Michael Ignatieff’s turn to face the TV lights. Flanked by a dozen Liberal MPs, he seemed altogether enthusiastic. “This is where you come to choice time,” he announced after once again declaring his dissatisfaction with the government’s budgetary abilities. “You can have those Conservative priorities or you can have compassionate, responsible Liberal ones. Those are the choices.”

But if Mr. Harper was still focused on the choices of the opposition parties, Mr. Ignatieff was apparently already looking past the 40th Parliament. ”We believe that the moment has come for Canadians to make a choice here,” he said.

And so they soon will. The control is about to be taken away from these two men and this place and bestowed upon whoever wishes to exercise it.




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The Commons: Uncontrollable democracy

  1. May Harper find his perdition — hot, cold, or lukewarm, whatever.

  2. "Let me be very clear" translated seems to mean "now let me dazzle all y'all with some ol' bullspit"

  3. Harper thinks that we will be having an unnecessary election because we are supposedly in an economic recovery. What happens if we wait until Harper's fixed election date and we are still in a economic recovery phase? Do we delay the election forever?

  4. Holy hell.
    Media doing their job? Not politely kow-towing to the whims of the politician?

    What happened?

    Oh right.. election. Sounds like a few of them suddenly realized Harper needs them as much as they need him. Hopefully they'll hang on to that realization throughout the campaign.

  5. If one even tries to make sense of this need to be careful, cautious and prudent in these perilous times meme then perhaps we should look at the very recent action by the PM to commit our forces to Libya. (A decision, I agree with btw)

    Still, does anyone know where to look in the budget for the line item that accounts for such an expense? I mean if this is the government to see us through what is coming, should they not have fiscally accounted for the incremental cost of this major operation they just decided to join? Should they not have a contingency for the next one?

  6. Never mind that Ignatieff answered one of the questions by stating that the Conservatives have spent less on "senior citizens in a year than has been spent on the G-20 summit in one day."

    For you infomation, Mr.Wherry, Mr.Ignatieff told us a lie. It is not true what he said. In fact, he should have said 'additional spending on senior citizens….."

    Did you, or anyone else, question Mr.Ignatieff on that statement, taking into consideration that Ignatieff is fully in favour of follow-up questions??

    Or did no one from the media feel the need to question the incorrect statement Mr.Ignatieff had just made? Are you not concerned when a Libeal leader tries to stand tall by defending the state of our democracy and then tells an outright lie?

  7. Ah, I think I know your problem. It isn't Wherry's glasses but your own. You must be wearing the "Conservative" glasses that I have seen most people wearing out here in the west. Let me guess, you are probably from Alberta. They have been wearing them here for the last 40 years or so, and most have a hard time seeing anything without them on.

  8. Quoting Harper ,“Our economy is not a political game,”

    I laughed aloud when I heard this line from Harper and this is what I said to my TV; "You win some, you lose some, Mr. Harper."

  9. Hallelujah!

    The press gallery finally found it's collective backbone.

  10. "Flanked by a dozen Liberal MPs, he [Ignatieff} seemed altogether enthusiastic."

    Darn right he looked enthusiastic. Who wouldn't? He has something to look forward to. He was thinking about how well the media had served Stockwell Day by singing along with Doris Day, and so now Michael's turn has come.

    What song would best work for Michael, you think…..

  11. The Prime Minister attends these media events by way of hologram. Today represented a Canadian technological first in that a Prime Ministerial Hologram took TWO questions. Never before has this nation's most senior and powerful Hologram taken questions.

    If voters are lucky, they may benefit from additional holographic meetings with The Prime Minister during the upcoming unnecessary campaign.

  12. Hail to the chief?

  13. I do see your point, and it is unfortunate that no one was able to ask a suitable follow up question to Mr. Harper after this statement

    ”From coast to coast to coast,” he said, “Canadians expect all parliamentarians to be working together to finish the job of securing our economic future.”

    If I were a journalist seeking the truth I may have pressed that if this is the expectations of all Canadians, why then has he closed the door on amendments before even taking the time to read them.

  14. I would love to see the media refusing to publish anything from an "anonymous source" or an unnamed "senior [party] official" unless there was a truly legitimate reason for secrecy.

  15. About as many journalists as those who questioned Flaherty after he said that the opposition demanded massive tax increases and a carbon tax leading up the budget in his address in the House of Commons…

    OH WAIT, sorry, I'm screwing with the whole 'lefty media' thing you guys rely on so damn much. Must be nice to have a catch-all excuse to explain away everything you don't like. Convenient as hell.

  16. I'm at -3 already at this post. Must be doing something right! :)))

  17. I'll help.

  18. I'm sure he'd like that.

  19. Well you Bolsheviks might like it.

  20. Spelling — Hollowman, not hologram.

  21. So, what you're telling me that all politicians make mistakes unquestioned?

    But why then not hold them ALL in contempt?

  22. Shorter Wherry:

    The media and Iggy are on the same team.

    Harper, on the other hand is on the "other side".

    Iggy and the media elites on one side.

    Harper and everyday Canadians on the other.

    This one won't even be close.

    Not even close.

    BTW, it's nice that the media appears to be removing the pretext that they are neutral perveyors of fact, content now to be more open about their role: propadandists advocating for the "correct" side.

  23. Learn the difference between "mistake" and "purposeful witholding of information demanded by the House of Commons."

  24. I have to admit, I'm almost envious about your total lack of conscience when it comes to lying.

  25. Waa waa

    Poor poor widdle conservatives. Everyone is always picking on them.

    God forbid they be accountable for their actions or anything. That is just what they want poor people to do.

  26. Now surely THIS you must be making up??

  27. And so, back in 2008, after Jack had agreed to join the coalition and to agree to the Liberal corporate tax cuts, one of his most western NDP MP's was still confused. And so Jack said:

    "What? What are you still confused about? We get the coalition. What's not to like?"

    "Well" so said the most western NDP MP in question, "Why would we overthrow the Conservatives if they are also for the tax cuts, just like the Liberals are . Now we join the Liberals in the forming of a coalition by agreeing to the tax cuts, but we must overthrow the Conservatives first because they are in favour of the very same tax cuts??How does this work, Leader Layton? "

    "Hey, we get the whole Bloc as a bonus!" Jack explained further.

    "But ……."

    "Never mind!" Jack said. "Don't think so much!."

  28. So, approximately 28 minutes after Franciene calls Ignatieff a liar for not including the words "the additional" in his off the cuff response to a question, she starts a written post with "Overheard just a few months ago during a Liberal caucus meeting:" and completely lies with every word thereafter. Come to think of it, since this wasn't something overheard at all, the entire post was a lie. And she had the time to think about it.

  29. They say that after you do it long enough it gets easier and easier.

  30. Go back to reading the Sun. I believe that you will find them more to your liking.

  31. Wow, not a single true word in that post. That's kind of impressive.

  32. A campaign drinking game for chet's poetic expressions should be proposed!

  33. I would agree…but I fear my liver wouldn't make it through the month :)

  34. I mean, you even got the details of the Conservative Smear wrong…that takes some effort – kudos!

  35. But I like Duceppe the best when it comes to understanding how surreal Canadian politics has become (and I'm not making this up; you can backtrack Evan in conversation with Duceppe on March 22, 2011)

    Duceppe was questioned by Evan by him saying that in a sense Duceppe had an advantage for only having to campaign in the province of Quebec, and that all other party leaders will have to cover the entire country.

    But not so, said Duceppe. It could be seen as a disadvantage for him, because he doesn't have the distance to travel, you see, and he has to engage with voters all the time, while the other leaders can spend some time in an airplane or bus, you see………….

    Duceppe is at a disadvantage during Canadian 'federal' campaigns.

    I love it how the media has no come back to that sort of answers given by Duceppe.

    Surreal indeed!

  36. This coming from one fiction writer to another! Oh, how the world is changing.

  37. You are a desperate man. Your pathetic team with its equally ridiculous leader? is going down. Get used to it.

  38. He's not lying. He hears those voices.

  39. Oh, and Jenn, who is Franciene?

  40. The Sun isn't afraid to tell 'm how it is. They haven't bought into the surreal surrounds just yet! To put in other words: they haven't been bought by the surreal just yet!

    Catch the difference, if you can!

  41. Oh, cooper, cooper. I would be a desperate man if I were a man!

  42. Given his posts over the past couple days:

    1) One drink for every time he says "it won't be close".

    2) On election day, finish the bottle if the result actually isn't close.

    Any others?

  43. Well, question Dion. Or, question Ignatieff. Or question Jack.

    Perhaps someone at Macleans wants to ask the questions for you. That is: if you, or anybody else out there, wants to have some answers…….

  44. Oh Chet. Still parroting those lies?

    They were debunked as bad spin pretty quickly. It didn’t help the Cons when the government’s – sorry – The Stephen Harper Government (TM) own website said he arrived in Canada with nothing.

    Unfortunately, I can’t even offer you a “nice try” for such a feeble effort at Harper talking point regurgitation.

  45. True but that would cut all the party's off at the knees. Either that or begin having a few journalists admit that their secret source is coffee shop banter.

  46. David Suzuki, sound-alike does Tory ad?
    Has anyone noticed that the narrator of a "tough on illegal immigrants" ad, picturing a boatload of regugees, sounds a lot like David Suzuki. Co-incident? I doubt it.

  47. (Tip to Evan Solomon: next time Duceppe takes over your show, let him know that the federal party leaders need extra time spent on buses and airplanes just to be able to collect their thoughts for keeping up with the various complex issues facing this entire country.)

  48. My books have a little thing on the first page that says "This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the authors' imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental."

    Admittedly, this would tend to kill any humour you were trying to get across with your post, but maybe you could have shortened it, and put it at the end.

    And, am I spelling it wrong? I remember it wasn't Francine, but it was similar. Two n's?

  49. Isn't that the CN Tower?

  50. If that's what Canadians expect, then why have the Conservatives written the book – literally – on how to obstruct the work of committees?

  51. Aha – that IS you, Harper!

  52. Chet:

    Mike Duffy.

    You're welcome.

  53. Has anyone noticed that the latest CPC political ads are identical in style and colour scheme to Government of Canada ads?

  54. So, how do explain away in your own fevered brain the fact that Harper initiated similar collusion among the opposition (including the Bloc) in 2004? Was that OK with you at the time?

  55. Honest Ed's

  56. I thought it was Casa Loma…

  57. Not only that:

    Ignatieff's youngest son lives on welfare and shoots up at a free methadone clinic out west

    Ignatieff has plans to secretly fund satanic camps, training an army of thugs to attack seniors in their homes

    Ignatieff has horrible burns on his legs – from constant, uncontrolled lying

    Ignatieff gives free dope to kids for putting up his election signs, then sells them into prostitution when they're hooked

    Forget that cheap, baseless coalition contempt attack. This Ignatieff creep is a monster

    ————————or—————————-

    It's the fault of the press Michael Ignatieff that Stephen Harper won't answer unscripted questions.

  58. "OH WAIT, sorry, I'm screwing with the whole 'lefty media' thing you guys rely on so damn much. Must be nice to have a catch-all excuse to explain away everything you don't like. Convenient as hell."

    The fun part will be when SunTV launches; their own very existence will require them to work overtime to drive the whole "lefty media" thing, just to maintain their own positioning as lone speakers-of-truth and underdog victims. An immunity to cognitive dissonance will be a job requirement.

    I'm assuming, of course, that the whole 'Fox News North' approach comes to pass (hiring Ezra F'ing Levant is an ominous sign). I hope to be proven wrong.

  59. "And Iggy has the nerve to portray his father as a penniless immigrant?"

    Closer to the truth than Harper calling himself an economist…by far.

  60. Something interesting to note to you, Jenn. Coyne just let it be known that Ignatieff is quite the story teller (when he gets going, or so Coyne said – see video Coyne/Wells)

    Well, now it must all make sense when listening to Ignatieff. Perhaps he's like me, thinking that he doesn't need to notify the public when he talking fiction or none-fiction. Ooops, I think we have a problem. If you, as a writer, cannot distinguish between fiction and none-fiction when reading my posts, how will the voter be able to tell whether Ignatieff, the story teller, is talking fiction or none-fiction?

    Would you be so kind and alert the voter when Ignatieff tells fiction un-announced? :)

    Oh, and it's Francien

  61. Seems like you're reading into things. Better ask Jenn how to deal with that!

  62. Ha, not bad, I like number 2… as who knows, it could be a Harper landslide. Can't say I have much faith in Igantieff.

    I would be propose; One drink for every mournful cry about "today's tolerant progressive left". But Richard might be right…

  63. "Closer to the truth than Harper calling himself an economist…by far."

    it's not even close ;)

  64. Thanks for the laugh, Joe! I reeeaaallllyyy needed it!

  65. That's a good point, but not FV's point.

  66. short for Francienstein?

  67. The whole five years of Harper's excuse of a government is that it's been nothing but a game to him. Just the sight of those stupid rah rah siss boom bah "Economic Action Plan" signs is a glaring reminder of the *Game*.

    He's been playing us like cheap fiddles.

    Oh, and two thumbs up to Mr. Jack Layton for not biting the poisoned apple. May he get well quick–and stay well.

  68. Dude, he's a SEA monster!!!

  69. Unscripted? That should be good for a giggle.

  70. Restoring accountability will be one of the major priorities of our new government. Accountability is what ordinary Canadians, working Canadians, those people who pay their bills, pay their taxes, expect from their political leaders

    Stephen Harper

  71. Thank you for the name correction. I did not mis-spell it on purpose, as to make fun or anything. I shall endeavour to remember it is sans an e.

    I think Coyne is great, although I disagree with him frequently. However, I try not to blindly take the word of anyone (Coyne, Ignatieff, you, anybody) without something to back it up. Sometimes that something is my own impression of the matter, which is dangerous, I admit. Still, I try. So I'll wait to see Ignatieff go into fictional story-telling myself instead of just taking your word of Coyne's word for it. And if I ever do see it, I promise to post an alert here. But it has to be a whole story, not omitting two words which would be generally understood by the audience, in an off the cuff response to a question.

  72. Sure it is my point.

    I am saying: how dare the opposition parties name the Conservatives to be in contempt only.

    That is my point exactly!

  73. In a film, that scene would symbolically mark the moment the character in question begins to lose power.

  74. I'm picturing chet and FVerhoeven in the same basement suite. Every so often chet pulls out of his drunken stupor long enough to type a few sentences, then collapses on the ratty old couch again, while FVerhoeven bounces off a few walls, then types furiously, then starts doing jumping jacks.

  75. Hey, at least he's creating entry-level jobs for Canadians.

  76. Jenn, I haven't been completely honest with you: I am also working on my thesis.
    The title of my thesis shall be: Beware: from Dippers to Drippers.

    You see, I will try and prove that an omission or two here, and an addition or two there – one drip here and another drip there – will add up to a complete change, but a complete change unnoticed. Unnoticed is the key word here, but you understood that, right Jenn?

    Such is the power of the drip. And so, while our old instincts may still be on the lookout for the dangers as being presented by the Dippers (duh!), we must now be on the look out for the Drippers.

  77. By then, he will have shut down Elections Canada and we won't be able to have one.

  78. Very original there FV, a Russian joke. Are we going to siffer these for the next6 weeks because they're already old. I begs a response in kind.

  79. Problem is that Hollow Harper answered the question before it was asked? Can that be fixed because it's bound to be noticed out on the trail?

  80. Starting to think FV is kid Kory. Same MO. Really tedious.

  81. We will now be hearing about Adscam or Quebec dairy farmers, at length.

  82. Hmm. I think maybe you should read Paul Wells and his sometime series on understanding Harper.

  83. There's not a joy the world can give that it takes away
    When the glow of early thought declines in feeling's dull decay,
    'Tis not on youth's smooth cheek the blush alone, which fades so fast,
    But the tender bloom of heart is gone, ere youth itself be past."

    'Count' Byron

  84. Surrounded by stacks of Con ten percenters they were supposed to fold and get into the mail.

  85. I am crying and now have to go clean my glasses. Thanks, I needed a good yuck!

  86. If our economy is not a political game, Mr. Harper, then why are you playing politics with it ? … You are the one who is saying my budget and only my budget my way … and if y'all don't like it, go hang … brinksmanship, sounds like a political game to me.

  87. No, see, that's where I think you don't understand me at all. I think I have understood Harper always.

    I don't need Wells for me to understand Harper. Far from it. Perhaps Wells should read my posts instead for better trying to understand Harper.

  88. From The Canadian Encyclopedia:

    "Michael Ignatieff is the scion of two distinguished families. He is grandson of Count Paul Ignatieff, Imperial Russia's last minister of education, and Princess Natalie Mestchersky. Through his mother, Alison, he is a descendent of two principals of UPPER CANADA COLLEGE (grandfather William Lawson Grant and great-grandfather George PARKIN) and one principal of Queen's University (great-grandfather George Monro GRANT). Philosopher George Parkin GRANT was his uncle.
    Ignatieff's early childhood was spent in New York, Washington, Belgrade, and London, the capitals where his father, Canadian diplomat George IGNATIEFF, was posted. The young Ignatieff completed his secondary schooling at Upper Canada College "
    http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?…

  89. According to Iggy's book:

    The Ignatieffs were powerful players in the czar's dictatorship. When the Russian revolution succeeded, the Ignatieffs fled the country.

    But like so many, they were able to squirrel away money. The Ignatieffs fled to London in 1919, where they had
    £
    25,000 waiting for them in a bank. That's worth more than $2 million in today's currency.

  90. Compare Iggy's common man story:

    The Liberal Party has released new TV ads featuring Michael Ignatieff talking about his family.

    It's heartwarming stuff : Ignatieff describes his dad as an immigrant who "came off a boat in 1928 without anything" and worked his way "up the ladder one rung at a time."

    "Nothing is ever given to you, everything has to be earned."

    Ignatieff told CTV his "family lost everything in the Russian revolution. They started over again in Canada. They came here with nothing."

    Iggy's recent poor immigrant story,

    and reality,

    couldn't be further from the truth.

    Couldn't be further.

    But I'm a "liar!!!!!!" here for pointing out the obvious.

    The truth hurts. Especially when the truth means your savior the CPC will be decimated in the upcoming election.

  91. One of the reliable Con techniques is to bring the discussion back to ground zero over and over again so the rest of us just give up trying to untangle the lies.

  92. From wiki, on Harper:

    "Later, he would advance to work on the company's computer systems. He took up post-secondary studies again at the University of Calgary, where he completed a bachelor's degree in economics. He later returned there to earn a master's degree in economics, completed in 1993."

    In Liberal partisan land, calling Count Ignatieff of Russian Royalty, wealthy gentlemen and world travelling diplomat a "poor immigrant" is equivalent of calling Harper, who was an economist….an economist.

    Oh…..and Iggy's going to win the election too…in Liberal partisan land, that is.

  93. chet exposing his Marxist-Leninist sympathies….

  94. More evidence of our surreal government, FV.

  95. Well, I live in Calgary and I have no problem seeing things as clearly as Wherry does. Neither do several other people that I know here – in smaller towns. Seems like the tip of the Titanic's iceberg to me.

  96. Or both at once, perhaps, milking adscam for all it's worth.

  97. Oh please. Lame. Lame. Lame.

  98. I have a nice recipe for crow pie, if you need one.

  99. Pretty sad to read a journalist boast about disrespectful behaviour of National press Gallery.

  100. Only in Harperland, does one with a master's degree get to call himself an economist.

  101. I lourve this article. LOVE IT. I love media today ♥♥♥

    Stephen Harper vs. The Press

    By Global National May 23, 2006

    The parliamentary press gallery launched its latest salvo Tuesday in an ongoing cold war with the Harper government over media access and procedures for reporting on federal politics.

    Prior to the start of a news conference, reporters simultaneously got up and left in an act of defiance.
    http://www.canada.com/globaltv/national/story.htm

  102. This is hilarious the media in the Ottawa bubble doing its job? What kind of a world do you live in?
    Thank God for the Net. The Boonies are available there 24/7 in every part of the country. Especially the talk shows and as Don Martin said this evening – they often can give you a better feel for what's happening across the country than the Lame Stream Media. You want to know what's really happening across the country? Google! It will surprise you because it's not the crap you get on here.

  103. Mr.Wherry, it's just been confirmed: Calgary has no problem.

    That's what we've been trying to tell Jack and Michael for years! Years!

  104. Maybe that's the shift Nanos was referring to.

  105. Excellent post, Nadine,

    The article quoted is from May 23, 2006. Let's see, it's now March 23, 2011.

    But I'll have to give you credit; at least you're not going as far back as 1915.

  106. Well, I freely admit to not understanding you at all.

  107. If only they hadn't caved we might not be in the situation we are today.

  108. To freely admit that is a always good thing: I'm free, that's all that counts, Jenn, really.

    But didn't you come to same conclusion the last time we had a more-than-one-posting-interaction? I believe the conversation then was all about reason and emotions. I would love to pick up on that old conversation with you. Specially tied into politics and all…..

  109. If there is an election, I really hope the PMO sends out some folks more clever than FVerhoeven and chet to write blog comments. Otherwise it's not going to be very entertaining around here.

  110. You mean doing their jobs finally?

  111. Wow. And if Ignatieff had called HIMSELF a poor immigrant you might have a point.

    But he didn't, so, as usual, you don't.

    you know, when you have to make stuff up to make your point, it generally means you don't have one.

  112. Wow. According to you his "fortune" doubled in just a few days.

    Anyhoo, if Ignatieff had claimed that his father arrived in England with nothing you might have a point. But he didn't, so you don't.

    Yet again chet/biff loses. It is good you don't mind looking foolish though. Probably helps you get through the day.

  113. Hey – you know what's funny?

    Not a single one of you lies changes the fact that Harper has been caught flat footed, about to enter into an election he really does not want.

    ha ha ha ha ha

  114. Oh no. Poor, poor litte Stephen Harper. How can anyone be so mean as to expect him to answer questions!

  115. Here's another one – how many times has HarperCo championed the 'hard working, taxpaying citizens' who he claims to represent. I am reading tonight that Bruce Carson is what I would generously describe as a person who seems to habitually be trying to avoid paying his taxes.(legally or illegally). How did he get anywhere near the PMO.
    *this is of course separate and apart from all this 'Envirnment Ministry 'adviser' stuff.

  116. Well Mr. Harper congrats. The election you contrived is upon us!

  117. Talk shows will tell you what the demographic that listens to talk shows is thinking. You'd probably get a better feel for what's actually happening across the country by sticking your head in a toilet and pulling the handle.

    And you'd emerge cleaner to boot.

  118. Harper latest attack has a new tag line about why Ignatieff called an election.

    “That's because it's always about Michael. Always has been, always will be.”

    Now that's just Stevie projecting his own "it's all about me" personality on his opponent.

    Who named the government after himself?
    Stevie

    Who has the longest motorcade in Canadian history?
    Stevie

    Who spent a million in taxpayer money so he could be photographed standing on an ice flow?
    Stevie

    Who's hired more "spin staff" for the PMO than any other PM in history?
    Stevie

    Who spends millions on attack ads coz he has nothing positive to say about himself?
    Stevie

    Who wants to be a cowboy and pretends he's from Calgary?
    Stevie…. "Scarborough, Ontario" Stevie

    Who says he's an economist, but has never worked as an economist or published any papers in the field?
    Stevie

    Who muzzles staff and lets them only utter approved talking points?
    Stevie

    Who likes to think he's the smartest in the room?
    Stevie
    (well a CON caucus or an empty room maybe…)

    Who's running a campaign based on his "personality cult"?
    Stevie

  119. Harper – what an underachiever. NDP Joy MacPhail graduated from the London School of Economics..

  120. And the Bruce Carson just gets better and better and better.

  121. But that makes her less Canadian and therefore less qualified. Studying abroad, tsk, tsk!

  122. Is this photo of Harper issued by the PMO? Or is taken by Marclean's photographer?

  123. The hair is definitely PMO issued.

  124. MONTHS of consultation beforehand.

  125. Gayle that is remarkably unfair. Stephen Harper is simply taking a page from US presidents (both flavours), in which it is recognized that giving good answers is very important, yet challenging. As a result, considerable time and effort is put into formulating the correct answers. Even the delivery, down to shrugs and hand chops are considered crucial in getting a precise answer conveyed accurately to the public. Our PM takes his responsibility for providing those answers so seriously that he has been known to practice in front of a mirror for hours. This has caused him to be late for some photo-ops and led to some good-natured kidding from his international counterparts, but SH takes that in stride as part of the cost of doing the job well. So as you can now see, with so much effort going into the answer, it is completely irresponsible for the press to ask the wrong question.

  126. It's hilarious to hear a blog commentator get all sanctimonious about the inferiority (and filth?) of talk-show callers.

    Little tip for you, Thwim. They are us.

    The only difference between a talk-show caller and a blog commentator is a bit more courage on the part of the talk-show caller.

  127. you forgot the part where everyone laughed, because Duceppe was making a joke, and not a bad joke at that. We can probably agree that the economy is not a political game, but that doesn't mean that political games shouldn't be fun from time to time.

  128. And the pre-screening of the caller…

  129. For a more recent example (one who has yet to be elevated to the chamber):

    Evan Solomon.

    You're welcome.

  130. Watch a debate with Duceppe and the other leaders. He routinely mops the floor with all of them. In English! The guy is probably smarter than Harper, Ignatief, and Layton combined. It is a shame all of his intelligence is being wasted in a regional separatist party.

  131. From my experience, screening is done only to ensure that you actually have a point to make, not to screen out any particular point of view. Talk shows thrive on controversy so there is no advantage to the radio station in screening out a less popular point of view. Quite the opposite.

    My point is that people who phone talk shows are simply people who want to express an opinion to a wider audience than just their own spouses, offspring and pets. Same as you, me, Thwim and the rest of the tweeting, blogging and social media pundits.

  132. Generally, when one write a thesis, he/she starts with a thesis, then titles it, rather than create a title and try and shoe-horn the idea to support it.

  133. I am in the west as well…..but unless something really strange happens ..it will go Conservative….however I have heard several folks at work and at the coffe shop say they plan on staying home…that there is nobody to vote for…interesting

  134. Ah, feel sorry for you FVerhoeven. Harper has all but abandoned you westerners. Nary a westerner to be seen within spitting distance of Harper's circle of influence.

    Of course, his must most trusted sidekick is a homosexual from Ontario. Must make you proud to be an unquestioning Con…

  135. Richview High.

  136. Check out the New York Times policy on anoymous sources. Would totally change political reporting in Canada if the major publications (ahem, Jane Taber G&M) even held themselves to half of this standard.
    http://www.nytco.com/company/business_units/sourc

  137. Well, they've both got Dutch surnames. My mother always said that it was mostly the "nutty" Dutch that emigrated to Canada (and she's from The Netherlands).

  138. O'Leary.

  139. You misheard Steve. He spoke to the "Moths of Consultation." His dresser/soothsayer regularly uses this method of divination.

  140. Obviously.

  141. even older…

    ADSCAM!

  142. What's all the complaining about then?

  143. Even if that was at all relevant to my point, which — as I didn't mention internet commenting as being in any way superior — it wasn't, it's demonstrably untrue, because the bulk of talk-shows are populated by males of the "middle-age and above" demographic — and almost exclusionary to any others. Don't just believe me though.. go ahead and check demographic reports on media consumption.

    Sure, the theory is they could be populated by anybody. The reality is that they aren't.

    The internet has a larger swing toward youth, true, but the bias is far less prevalent, and getting less so as the technologies become more pervasive and less complex.

    That aside.. even if we ignore the facts and just go with your statement. Is there any particular reason why you feel the opinion of meeker people is not relevant?

  144. In SK, when the current conservative government got in, they made a few mistakes. One of them was sending an email notice to the U of Regina's School of Journalism asking for the names of people who would like to let their names stand on newspaper letters to the editor and for call-in radio talk shows.

    It's obvious that people here deliver government talking points, and they do it for talk shows and print media too. Everyone on here is not a real person and not necessarily posting their own ideas. It's up to all of us to try to separate the real comments and ideas from the propaganda.

  145. Yeah because the media has been so gentle and kind to Ignatieff.

  146. It's a candid action shot of our great leader in action — it looks like his lips are moving, so he's lying.

  147. It's bloody obvious he's referring to incremental spending FV. The spending initiated by previous governments do not count.

  148. And it was bloody obvious that Minister Oda had made an honest mistake. And it was bloody obvious that she had apologized for any misgivings she might have caused. And it had been bloody obvious to CIDA what Minister Oda had intended when inserting the 'not' – CIDA has said so itself!! CIDA understood what Minister Oda had signed off on – It had been the opposition parties who wanted to fabricate another story.

    Has that been bloody obvious to you?

    And its bloody obvious that Pat Martin wanted desparately to have a preordained answer out of Minister Oda, one he couldn't get even though he tried bullying, and bullying and bullying. And then bullied some more.

    If you are proud of NDP Pat Martin and his bullying tactics, go for it!

    It's not my style.

  149. And I suppose that you believe that Fox News is "fair and balanced" as well. :p I know that if you say something long enough some people will start to believe it, but you Conservatives think that if you tell the same lie over and over it will become true!

  150. Is there any particular reason why you feel the opinion of meeker people is not relevant?

    Hardly. I myself am one of those meeker people and I obviously feel that my opinion is a national treasure on the order of Algonquin Park or the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

    But your argument seems to have shifted from the scatological to the merely demographic all of a sudden. Are phone-in callers filthy and stupid based only on their age and gender? Or is there something more elemental that makes them untrustworthy?

  151. I never, ever watch Fox news because I hear it doesn't talk about Canadian politics. I like to discuss Canadian politics.

    But if you can bring forth another argument, you know, like a valid one, I would like to hear it. I would like to discuss Canadian politics. I will tell you over and over again that I would like to discuss Canadian politics. If that sounds like a lie to you, than go on believing the lies. Eat 'm up. Swallow it.

    Here I go again: I would like to discuss Canadian politics!

  152. Metaphors are a difficult concept for you, I gather. Point noted.

  153. No, I grasp metaphors fairly well, I think.

    I think the metaphors you choose actually reveal a lot about your attitudes. As such, I was taken aback at your hostility towards phone-callers and I only intervened to point out that people like them are really quite similar to people like us.

    I don't wanna hector you or anything, but your defensiveness about the thing is just kind of interesting. If you don't wanna talk about it, that's okay.

  154. In 2008 Harper asked the Governor General to dissolve Parliament and call an election just when it was obvious to everyone with any economic sense we were in a recession and government was needed tor react properly. Now that Harper claims the recession is basically over in Canada, Harper claims it would be reckless and destabilizing to call an election.

    It is this Prime Minister who is reckless and unstable, not the opposition or the electorate.

  155. I wouldnt worry, lost of bloggers on here will enjoy some crow pie pretty soon( grin)

  156. This election is on, just like a fat kid in a Tim Hortons LOL!!!

  157. They should do that to Harper the moment the election is officially on and for the duration, or until his head explodes in public.

  158. Replacement Cats! No, I don't want to know what you did with the original one.

  159. What, John, you don't care much for an honest, straigthforward style?

    "We" accuse the politician of playing games, of not being serious enough, only to say that we must be entertained while the elections are on?

    Strange connections you make.

  160. Ah, I get it. Every country in the world is seriously affected by global economic uncertainty. So, according to Mr. Harper all democratic elections in every country should be suspended until Mr. Harper gives us the "all clear," if we extend his reasoning. This is the claim made by every despot in history who has seized power in a previously democratic country.

  161. Yes, yes I did come to the same conclusion the first time, and yet tried it again. Clearly, I'm a glutton for punishment. But even I am not so masochistic as to pick up that conversation again.

    Don't get me wrong, it would be an interesting debate if we were both on the same world. But, we're not.

  162. <I think it's interesting to consider the world from various perspectives. Most writers would, I think, thrive on it.

    I feel I am 'in' this world, not 'on' it, as you would put it.

    What a great lead-in to a further discussion that could have been. Alas, till next time, my friend.

  163. But my thesis could be summed up within the title itself, it's just that it would be very difficult for others to read it in such compact way, so I enlarged that which is beheld within the title.

    :)

  164. “The budget that the Minister of Finance tabled yesterday, the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, is a low tax plan of critical importance to jobs, growth and the financial security of hardworking Canadians,” he raved,…

    Hey, Aarron, look up the word “rave”, Liberal shill.

  165. HARPERS American Dream REGIME
    Un presidented deficiets at 56 billion
    Un presidented dept at 500 billion
    Un presidented Contept for democracy
    Un presidented financial, criminal and sleazy scandals

    ON MAY 2

    UN PRESIDENT HARPER!

  166. Funny how tories always say the opposite of the truth. The Canadian press is owned and controlled by tory business and any educated, plugged in Canadian can easily see that. We know that you continually say the press in not on your side (a bad ploy) but if the Canadian press were any further up the tories behinds they would see ATVs news anchore Steve Murphy's feet! For instance the CTV network or Conservative Television Network have more Senators than any other company in Canada. Pam Whalin? Mike Duffy, Minister Bev Oda and if thats not enought to convince the Canadian voters that our press is controlled by tory business did you ever ask yourself how Ben Mulruiny got his CTV job! I will end with this "the CTV reporters do not aspire to be great reporters, they aspire to be Senators!
    PS. Why do you think Tories want to kill CBC? Its the only press they dont own!

  167. Its not the reporters its the media owners. The reporters are just there to collect data and then the owner controlled editors spin it and publishes it or not. Sad things is that most reporters dont realize this and really think they matter. What a sorry state we are in…

  168. BRAVO! when you surf the net you get an overwhelming rejection of Harper. What Canadians really think about him.

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