The meaning of Peter Penashue -

The meaning of Peter Penashue

The stage is set for a fascinating by-election


Tim Powers considers the importance of Peter Penashue and the Labrador by-election.

But there are other things at play here for Team Harper. This is also a caucus strengthening exercise. Many MPs will, if they haven’t already, take notice of how the Prime Minister has stood by his man Penashue in tough circumstances. That breeds loyalty and that matters when times get tough. Eventually they will for this Prime Minister and backing a vulnerable team member buys him some insurance when the worm turns on him.

Given the 2011 result and the NDP’s burgeoning strength in the province, it’s a by-election that three parties will think they can win—see Alice Funke’s analysis for more insight.

The Telegram editorial board is less impressed with Mr. Penashue and manages to quote Joseph Goebbels in considering the government’s defence of him.


The meaning of Peter Penashue

  1. ‘the Prime Minister has stood by his man Penashue in tough circumstances.’

    Indeed. The message? Break elections law, we’ll stand by you. Order a $16 glass of orange juice? God help you.

  2. Could it also make them question the ethical conduct of their leader, as they stare into the mirror and wonder where their own core ideals have gone?
    I like to think that some of them got involved in politics to actually “serve the people”, not just to win at all costs- principles be damned.
    Just ask Stockwell Day.

    • I tried. he said he wondered if I was a pedophile!

  3. If the Telegram at all reflects the views of the Labrador voters (and there is often a big difference of viewpoint between Townies and others in the province, esp. those in Labrador, so it well may not) then Penashue is toast. My favourite bit:
    The message?
    That the federal Tories will stick to a message no matter how foolish it sounds, just like they’ll stick to a candidate who was caught accepting illegal donations and wildly overspending federal electoral limits.
    Someone we should all keep in mind?
    Joseph Goebbels, the father of propaganda, and this quote of his: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
    Maybe we won’t all believe that Peter Penashue has been transformed into the best thing since sliced bread.
    But it sure does tell you something about those who keep insisting that he is.

    • I loved a tweet I saw about a conversation with a pundit about his view of Penashue’s chances. It went something like this:

      Q. Can Penashue really win the seat back?

      A. Anything can happen.

      Q. Really?

      A. No.

  4. Those Con caucus members who take comfort in Harper’s support of Penashue should, perhaps, be reminded of how he threw Guergis overboard, then ruthlessly pounded on her knuckles with an oar when she clawed at the gunnels to be rescued.

    Or maybe it’s only the women in his caucus who need to be reminded.

    • Where the heck is Bean ?

      We`ve got Wherry reusing an old Goebbels quote—then we have the above blurb that Conservatives must hate women blather, and the usual whine about those nasty Cons from the usual whiners.
      These guys are tossing in softballs Bean. Whack one out.

      • Guergis = malevolent or malcontent (or something…we’ve never been told)
        Penashue = principled, selfless foot-soldier for his constituency
        Juvenile sarcasm invoked to avoid examining Harper’s contradictions and hypocrisy.
        Con job done.
        Business as usual.

        BTW, Wherry didn’t invoke Goebbels in this case, some editorial writer with the St. John’s Telegram did. But never you mind cluttering your little cranium with such distinctions. Facts are sometimes so inconvenient.

    • OK, I`ll do it this one time.

      Harper really hates women.
      Goebbels was a conservative therefore all bad propaganda must be Conservative.
      Kinsella is a sweetheart.
      Powers is the devil.
      Harper is trying to destroy the country.

      OK Matlock, you can have a drink.

      • OMG, Bean has surrogates!

      • You should get a T shirt that says:

        Bean there, Done that

  5. .” Eventually they will for this Prime Minister and backing a vulnerable
    team member buys him some insurance when the worm turns on him.”

    Powers – and this column in particular – is a poster boy for what is, and has been wrong with Canadian [ western world too] politics. The fact that any one even thinks his spin is worth publishing is a sad commentary on the state of both media and politics in general.

    Every party has someone like Powers scribbling away in the cellar somewhere[ they seem to proliferate when in power] – shilling for the team. Results, bringing home the bacon, are all that matters according to his lights. He even has the chutzpa to spin the ethics issue as one of the outsiders telling Northerners how to vote – as if we don’t give a damn about process, sleaze and corruption. As if it is so ingrained as a way of life up here that we’ll just shrug it off.

    It hardly needs saying that were it a non con politician behaved in this way – having nothing but contempt for his constituents – Power’s piece would feature ethics as its centre piece….and that’s the sorriest part of the whole story….it’s all just a game to guys like Powers.

      • You consider the lawyer, who writes award-winning books, leads successful campaigns, and owns his own communications firm is the same as a spokesperson? REALLY? Both are admittedly partisan, but love him or hate him, Kinsella is rather far above Tim Powers. But Powers will be flattered by the comparison.

        • Oh, I love how you reason: both are admittedly partisan, but if one is flaunting his partisan side more by means of books and what have you, we must hold such person as to be far superior…………….to the likes of just an ordinary partisan spokesperson.

          You probably think I’m making a flattering comment now in your regard. Lol

        • Kinsella is the other side of the coin. He’s never seen a principle that he wouldn’t shovel under the mud if it furthered the interest of his party. Agreed that Powers would be flattered by the comparison, though.

      • What’s your point. WK and JT are both probably right. If the NDP or libs don’t at least look like holding the Harper Govt to a minority, or win one of their own,there will be enormous pressure to merge the left after ’15.

        • My point was that I agreed with you when I replied:

          “Every party has someone like Powers scribbling away in a cellar….”

  6. To my mind, this is consistant with Harper’s behaviour over the years. He’s never considered election spending limits to be legitimate; he’s always been a fan of the American “biggest donor pool wins” style of politicking. Never mind that such politicking leads to politicians being in the pockets of their biggest donors (it’s not as though Conservatives aren’t receptive to the wishes of their big donors anyway). So why would he care that Penashue did a little thing like break election spending limit laws? He didn’t do anything wrong, by Stevie’s moral compass, which always points south (deep south…into the heart of Texas).

  7. Why wouldn’t Harper stick by Penashue for using election fraud tactics similar to the ones he used to get him a majority ?

  8. “Better still tell them you’re undecided, then later that you’ll vote
    Conservative. Then vote ABC. That way they waste time and money on you.”

    You have to admire a comment like this one under the telegram article,
    advising some not to merely kick PP off his property when he come
    knocking for votes, but how to twist the knife. Now there’s a
    sophisticated voter. A tactic that Powers himself might be proud of.

  9. About the only right a Canadian has left is to Vote every four years and Harper is even corrupting that last right.

    I went from being disgusted with Harper straight to hating with a passion.

  10. Guess who gave the Penashue campaign $100 a week after the election was over? Some guy from Ottawa named Timothy Powers. Wasn’t that nice of Tim! I’m sure he must have meant to mention that in his article and he must have just forgot.

    • I did a bit more searching and came across a ‘Timothy A. Powers’ in a directory of alumni of the “London School of Economics MSc Media and Communications Class of 1998”. The Canadian email address listed for Powers is ‘’. Funny that Tim didn’t mention his connection with Pennecon. I guess it must have slipped his mind!