This year’s national unity crisis

Stephen Harper, 2008. The Liberals’ carbon tax plan will plunge Canada into recession, sparking economic unrest that will revive Quebec’s separatist movement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says. Harper revived the ghosts of regional divisions today as he painted the Liberals’ greenhouse gas strategy as a costly folly whose impacts will reach far beyond the country’s economy. ”By undermining the economy and re-centralizing money and power in Ottawa, it can only undermine the progress that we have been making on national unity,” Harper told a breakfast audience this morning.

Stephen Harper, 2011Stephen Harper urged voters Sunday to elect a Conservative majority government as the best defence against a renewed drive by Quebec separatists to break up the country … “He has said that they are moving towards, they are walking towards his objective — the sovereignty of Quebec and another Quebec referendum,” Mr. Harper said of Mr. Duceppe. “And he says step one to achieve that is to stop a federal Conservative majority government in Ottawa. Step one is to weaken the country, have a weak government in Ottawa, and that is another reason why Canadians, we believe, must choose a strong, stable, national Conservative government.”





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This year’s national unity crisis

  1. And he makes these contradictory statements without batting an eyelash.

    • A well-curled-and-mascaraed eyelash.

      • LOL and just as rigid as the rest of him.

        • It's the only way a repeat liar can survive. Instead of trying to keep all of his lies consistent with each other, just tell new ones and pretend he never said the old ones.

          It would be better to just tell the truth, but he won't or can't do that.

          • I don't think he knows how.

          • Can't, I think.

  2. And he makes these contradictory statements without batting an eyelash.

  3. Harper in power is a separatists dream. An angry westerner with weak french and a history of quotes like "i don't care if Canada becomes one country or ten." If I were the PQ in power, I'd definitely want the third referendum to be under his watch,

  4. Harper in power is a separatists dream. An angry westerner with weak french and a history of quotes like "i don't care if Canada becomes one country or ten." If I were the PQ in power, I'd definitely want the third referendum to be under his watch,

  5. Furthermore, Harper has shown that there is nothing he won't do for short term political gain. I could easily see him deliberately losing a referendum on the hope he could get more seats in a non-Quebec Canada.

    • that's pushing it a little bit. I agree that he wouldn't be an ideal federal leader during a referendum; he would probably be so offended at the notion, he'd try to take a controlling, hard-line stance on Quebec's demands, say something mean-spirited and practically hand the province to Marois.

      Still, I don't see how losing a referendum would help him gain seats in the ROC. Even if it would, I don't think he's so cynical. At least I hope not.

      • Hint: Try work out the number of seats Harper has not including Quebec. That is all he cares about. Frankly he doesn't much care how many different governments we end up with.

      • i wish I could agree. I think it is extreme and Harper would not do it likely, but I also think he is capable.

  6. Furthermore, Harper has shown that there is nothing he won't do for short term political gain. I could easily see him deliberately losing a referendum on the hope he could get more seats in a non-Quebec Canada.

  7. Worst "argument" for CPC support so far … Stephen Harper's majority would just be another reason for Quebec to leave …

    We need strong leadership with finesse to address the approaching PQ surge, not a bully who can only say "I have the most seats everywhere else" – so what little Stevie? You and your unaccountability antics happen to be one of the main reasons the Bloc remains as popular as it is …

  8. Worst "argument" for CPC support so far … Stephen Harper's majority would just be another reason for Quebec to leave …

    We need strong leadership with finesse to address the approaching PQ surge, not a bully who can only say "I have the most seats everywhere else" – so what little Stevie? You and your unaccountability antics happen to be one of the main reasons the Bloc remains as popular as it is …

  9. Well,Harper could never hold it together like Chretien and he certainly has no Stephane Dion to create a Clarity Act or whatever needed to put the brakes on.
    His Albertan supporters would likely seize the opportunity to go, too.

    • The one fly in that ointment is that some have argued that many of the elements in the Clarity Act were argued by Stephen Harper.

      I would imagine that if he was laying out such measures it would have been more out of anger at Québec instead of love of Canada.

      • But since the Liberals did the bill they get the credit.

        • Generally, the party in power that passes legislation through parliament gets the credit, yes.

  10. Well,Harper could never hold it together like Chretien and he certainly has no Stephane Dion to create a Clarity Act or whatever needed to put the brakes on.
    His Albertan supporters would likely seize the opportunity to go, too.

  11. I'm sure the PQ/BQ is absolutely fretful that the party whose members have the greatest tendency to behave like jilted lovers because big bad Lucien stole their Quebec seats, went home, and sent their party into the wilderness (while deifying Preston who did just as much damage by splitting the vote), will get a majority.

    They're just quivering in their boots at the idea. No doubt whatsoever.

  12. I'm sure the PQ/BQ is absolutely fretful that the party whose members have the greatest tendency to behave like jilted lovers because big bad Lucien stole their Quebec seats, went home, and sent their party into the wilderness (while deifying Preston who did just as much damage by splitting the vote), will get a majority.

    They're just quivering in their boots at the idea. No doubt whatsoever.

  13. Take one look into Iggy's desperate face as he pleads for Canadians to hand him the reigns of power, in his "rise up, rise up" screech,

    and ask yourself this:

    Is there any doubt that if Iggy is given the chance that he won't try to sieze power via a coalition.

    Whether Iggy truly believes Harper is this great threat to our country or whether he's just THAT lustful for power, it really matters not.

    We should all take Iggy's rhetoric at face value and assume that he WILL form a coalition to get him the keys to the PMship.

    At which point our economy will be dictated in part by the socialist NDP, and our Federalism will be dictated in part by a Party mandated with breaking up our country.

    I wish Harper's concern was just faux fear mongering. But reality tells us otherwise.

    • no.

  14. Take one look into Iggy's desperate face as he pleads for Canadians to hand him the reigns of power, in his "rise up, rise up" screech,

    and ask yourself this:

    Is there any doubt that if Iggy is given the chance that he won't try to sieze power via a coalition.

    Whether Iggy truly believes Harper is this great threat to our country or whether he's just THAT lustful for power, it really matters not.

    We should all take Iggy's rhetoric at face value and assume that he WILL form a coalition to get him the keys to the PMship.

    At which point our economy will be dictated in part by the socialist NDP, and our Federalism will be dictated in part by a Party mandated with breaking up our country.

    I wish Harper's concern was just faux fear mongering. But reality tells us otherwise.

  15. A well-curled-and-mascaraed eyelash.

  16. But…but…I thought it was about the economy (stupid).

    • Well of course it is, and compared to the other parties, Harper's talked about the economy tenfold more than the others combined.

      But Harper is now taking a page right out of Chretien's playbook. When on the cusp of a majority, the keys lay in the defence of our federalist state, and in particular as the defenders against the Bloc. Iggy's made a lot of tactical blunders in this election, but the biggest may turn out to be ceding the anti-Seperatist role to Harper.

      A nation's leader is first and foremost the defence of the state. Iggy prefers characterize this role as some trifling matter.

      • Coyne raised this issue a while ago and while I don't see a nation saviour in any of these leaders, I see Harpo as the one guaranteed to lose a referendum.

      • Now he's only on the cusp? Why just earlier today you had him pegged at majority +8…

        ..seems things aren't going well.

        • He may have his graphs mixed up with the TSX.

        • Majority plus 8 seats.

          • I'd ask you to make up your mind, but I'm aware it probably hasn't been given to you yet.

          • I'm not sure what you're referring to as I've been consistent with my predictions though I did throw out the words "give or take one or two" one time.

            I suspect its just more of exacting impossible standards from a conservative, while the liberals apply no standards to themselves whatsoever. The Liberal party brass does it. Their media friends do it. And the liberal commenters do it.

            I would ask you to make a prediction, but that would be a silly excercise in applying the same standard to a Liberal as is expected of a conservative…..but that's just not done, is it?

  17. But…but…I thought it was about the economy (stupid).

  18. LOL and just as rigid as the rest of him.

  19. The one fly in that ointment is that some have argued that many of the elements in the Clarity Act were argued by Stephen Harper.

    I would imagine that if he was laying out such measures it would have been more out of anger at Québec instead of love of Canada.

  20. But since the Liberals did the bill they get the credit.

  21. Well of course it is, and compared to the other parties, Harper's talked about the economy tenfold more than the others combined.

    But Harper is now taking a page right out of Chretien's playbook. When on the cusp of a majority, the keys lay in the defence of our federalist state, and in particular as the defenders against the Bloc. Iggy's made a lot of tactical blunders in this election, but the biggest may turn out to be ceding the anti-Seperatist role to Harper.

    A nation's leader is first and foremost the defence of the state. Iggy prefers characterize this role as some trifling matter.

  22. Marois would bat Harper around like a ball of string in a referendum. It would be amusing to watch if the stakes weren't so drastic.

    • Any way the rest of us can join Quebec, and just leave Harper by his lonesome?

      • During the 1995 Referendum, it never occurred to any good Canadian to abandon the No side in the campaign even though Chretien showed dismal leadership to the point of nearly crying on TV a few days before the vote because he was told the country was lost.

        PM Harper will show excellent leadership if and when the next Referendum rolls around. He is the only truly national leader we have now. I am assuming by " the rest of us " you mean your fellow Libs here—-If Libs choose not to be helpful—well that`s their problem.

        • I wish I could agree. He'll spend the first week having to explain away the not caring if Canada becomes ten governments or one. I don't know if he'll be able to move past it, but even if he does he'll start ten points behind the other side.

          Frankly, it's too great a risk for our country to have this man in power.

          • Oh, so somebody's past statement are impossible to get past in terms of their present actions?

            So, now I'm having difficulty supporting Ignatieff for PM of Canada when he quite clearly referred to American as his country. I mean, what if he becomes PM and the americans come up here and say, hey, remember when you said American was your country, well, does that mean Canada is American now? Frankly, I just don't know if he'll be able to move past that.

            Please know that I don't think that will happen. But I hope you see that your argument is simply fallacious. Harper has done nothing in his time in federal politics to indicate that he does not believe in national unity, and that is really all that counts.

            Just like Iggy has done nothing in his time in federal politics to indicate that he isn't canadian to his very core, and that too is all that really counts.

          • Oh, so somebody's past statement are impossible to get past in terms of their present actions?

            ***

            In this case, yes. I'll leave you to figure out why.

          • Thanks Mike T. I've figured it out. Have a nice day.

          • I am glad to hear it.

        • You are right, I suppose, in that I don't remember Chretien specifically. I do remember buses going to Quebec and I so wanted to go but couldn't. Forget why now. But in any case I remember it as a campaign of the people. I think it was effective! Sometimes, giving the tools to others is effective leadership.

          In all seriousness, I honestly don't trust that Harper would mount a No campaign. Too many of his base with the 'good riddance' attitude. I mean, he has already stated that he doesn't care if Canada becomes one country or ten countries.

          He is the only PM we have now. I don't know that I'd say he's the only national leader.

          • There is a fine line between the good riddance attitude which is held by very few Canadians and the predominant attitude held now by Canadians—We think Quebec will continue to prosper within Canada and would like them to remain, however, they should be aware that there will be major consequences if they choose to separate after a fair question.
            Harper will get this message out loud and clear.

          • Yeeeeeeah, that'll inspire the federalist side to victory in la belle province. Seriously, if there's another referendum I hope Harper has the good sense to hide.

          • "There is a fine line between the good riddance attitude which is held by very few Canadians "

            Well, based upon postings here and at other sites, a considerable sector of Harper's supporters have that attitude. So if that is a substantial portion of his power base, its hard to see Doug Finley sending fundraising letters in support of national unity.

          • Harper is a poor leader, divisive and not willing to listen to people who disagree with him. He would probably be stupid enough to try to intimidate Quebec and would make everything worse. Look at how he is trying to scare people into voting for him right now. He's scraping the bottom of the barrel. I predict that even if he wins a majority or a minority, he will be gone in a couple of years, leaving the Conservative Party in tatters.

          • Let's assume you have this right. I'm concerned that Harper will be as good a negotiator as he was with the UAE and our airforce base, or as the American south was with Britain and cotton. I don't mean by that that I expect him to grant concessions or anything, but tone and delivery make or break goodwill. And the comfy blue sweater-vest never really sat well on him.

  23. Marois would bat Harper around like a ball of string in a referendum. It would be amusing to watch if the stakes weren't so drastic.

  24. Coyne raised this issue a while ago and while I don't see a nation saviour in any of these leaders, I see Harpo as the one guaranteed to lose a referendum.

  25. Now he's only on the cusp? Why just earlier today you had him pegged at majority +8…

    ..seems things aren't going well.

  26. Out of interest, has the idea that a strong centered government in Ottawa somehow detracts from the separatist movement ever been spouted before? It has the quality of some ridiculous fabrication made on the spur of the moment.

    • Actually, Harper has always, until now, been for decentralizing and has presented a strong centrist government as a Liberal approach to governance – one that has given short shrift to the West.

      Does this mean Harper has moved so far left hehas now effectively become liberal in all but name? LOL!

  27. Out of interest, has the idea that a strong centered government in Ottawa somehow detracts from the separatist movement ever been spouted before? It has the quality of some ridiculous fabrication made on the spur of the moment.

  28. There is no crisis if Feds keep calm and ignore PQ and their pointless referrendums. It only becomes crisis when Fed Libs overreact and then decide to tango with PQ, stop the merry-go-round. Ignore PQ, let them have their vote, if Quebecers wanted to seperate, they would have done so long ago.

    • This is not a wise bluff to try to call.

    • bergkamp, you have it in spades.

  29. There is no crisis if Feds keep calm and ignore PQ and their pointless referrendums. It only becomes crisis when Fed Libs overreact and then decide to tango with PQ, stop the merry-go-round. Ignore PQ, let them have their vote, if Quebecers wanted to seperate, they would have done so long ago.

  30. This is not a wise bluff to try to call.

  31. He may have his graphs mixed up with the TSX.

  32. It's the only way a repeat liar can survive. Instead of trying to keep all of his lies consistent with each other, just tell new ones and pretend he never said the old ones.

    It would be better to just tell the truth, but he won't or can't do that.

  33. I don't think he knows how.

  34. Can't, I think.

  35. Any way the rest of us can join Quebec, and just leave Harper by his lonesome?

  36. You know, I am not usually particularly sympathetic to the whole "Ignatieff has been out of Canada for 34 years" CPC talking point, but on this topic I make an exception. I honestly can't see how Ignatieff can understand the nuances of handling the Quebec situation. Not many people remember, but that whole "Quebec is a nation" fiasco only came about because Ignatieff opened his mouth without thinking.

    • All the YES side will have to do is bring up "ten governments or one who cares" and Harper is dead in the water. Whatever Iggy's faults, Harper is the doomsday scenario.

      • In fact, somebody who paid close attention to Canadian affairs (to the extent he was the go to guy on CAnadian issues for the world's foremost news organization) but didn't participate in the last two referendums might be just what is needed. Better than the guy with a decade of ugly baggage like Harper's, without a doubt!

    • In a move that surprised friends and foes alike, Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduced a resolution in the House of Commons Wednesday to recognize Quebec as a “nation within a united Canada.”

      This came a day before the separatist Bloc Quebecois was to table a motion of its own asking MPs whether they consider Quebec a nation, although the BQ motion said nothing about the province being part of a united Canada.

      • Right. And all of that, only happened because of this

        • Ok so john, Our choice is between a candidate in a leadership race (which he lost) saying something about Quebec's place in Canada and a sitting PM who then jumped at the opportunity to use that statement for the sole purpose of embarrassing his political opponents? Are you and I really going to have to vote for Jack? If so, I am deeply concerned about the detailed nature of that hip surgery, I mean if the other side goes is Jack going to lurch to the right?

          • I think you and I are remembering this a little differently. Duceppe jumped at the opportunity to embarrass his political opponents by introducing the same motion Harper did, but without the "in a united Canada" part. Harper's motion was a very deftly executed side step that undercut Duceppe's motion and saved Iggy's butt.

          • Personally, I still hate that resolution and can't BELIEVE our Parliament passed it, so I blame pretty much everybody on this file. I certainly blame the people who actually introduced the motions a little more than I blame the guy who mused about perhaps one day doing something similar in the future, but as almost everybody ended up voting for the thing, a pox on all of their houses I say.

            Michael Chong was a hero on that inanity, and I also give a shout-out to the 15 Liberals who voted "No" as well.

          • I didn't mind it so much because I recognized it for what it was…a meaningless gesture that defused a potentially sticky situation with no damage done and no follow up. To paraphase shakespeare, it was a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

        • So, example #3467 then of "Things the Harper Government only did because the dastardly Liberals forced them to"?

    • That was a very unseasoned Iggy …. today's version is right on ….
      and apropos … Harper took this 2006 opportunity to play his silly little "Nation" card cause he thought it looked good on him and bad on the Liberals. We do not want this thug in charge if Quebec yet again posits the existential question.

      • Yeah, sure–the seasoned Iggy will be much more competent !

  37. You know, I am not usually particularly sympathetic to the whole "Ignatieff has been out of Canada for 34 years" CPC talking point, but on this topic I make an exception. I honestly can't see how Ignatieff can understand the nuances of handling the Quebec situation. Not many people remember, but that whole "Quebec is a nation" fiasco only came about because Ignatieff opened his mouth without thinking.

  38. Actually, Harper has always, until now, been for decentralizing and has presented a strong centrist government as a Liberal approach to governance – one that has given short shrift to the West.

    Does this mean Harper has moved so far left hehas now effectively become liberal in all but name? LOL!

  39. Majority plus 8 seats.

  40. The Reform Party, under Manning, had the right approach to the PQ and that was; to tell the people of Quebec the "real" consequence of separation. Do not allow propaganda and a devious question by the PQ. Post referendum, Dion wrote a great letter to the PQ prior to enactment and I assume the Clarity Act was based on that letter and will ensure the same "real" approach. The PQ have been getting weaker since then. When the real consequences are presented the people of Quebec will stay in the federation – its obvious the separtist are done, and the Bloc is happy ( what responsibilty? ) to get a free ride drawing salaries and pensions while they are in " real" contempt of parliament based on its separatist agenda, and as a result they are interferring with the parliamentary function and because they do not represent "all" Canadians and will not act in our best interest then they could abuse their balance of power.

    • The "stick it to Quebec" line is pretty easy to do, but you have to hope it doesn't come to that. THAT'S where there's the opportunity to show real leadership!

    • The two best things to happen in the 13 years the Liberals were in power from 93 to 06 were their fight against the deficit and the Clarity Act—both of which they took their lead from the Reform Party.

      Here, let me do that for you Mike.

      Mike T
      No

      • The Bloc and REform Parties were mirror images of each other, feeding off of each other's bigotry. The best way to get rid of the Bloc is to get rid of the rightwingers who are at least as divisive to Canada.

  41. The Reform Party, under Manning, had the right approach to the PQ and that was; to tell the people of Quebec the "real" consequence of separation. Do not allow propaganda and a devious question by the PQ. Post referendum, Dion wrote a great letter to the PQ prior to enactment and I assume the Clarity Act was based on that letter and will ensure the same "real" approach. The PQ have been getting weaker since then. When the real consequences are presented the people of Quebec will stay in the federation – its obvious the separtist are done, and the Bloc is happy ( what responsibilty? ) to get a free ride drawing salaries and pensions while they are in " real" contempt of parliament based on its separatist agenda, and as a result they are interferring with the parliamentary function and because they do not represent "all" Canadians and will not act in our best interest then they could abuse their balance of power.

  42. During the 1995 Referendum, it never occurred to any good Canadian to abandon the No side in the campaign even though Chretien showed dismal leadership to the point of nearly crying on TV a few days before the vote because he was told the country was lost.

    PM Harper will show excellent leadership if and when the next Referendum rolls around. He is the only truly national leader we have now. I am assuming by " the rest of us " you mean your fellow Libs here—-If Libs choose not to be helpful—well that`s their problem.

  43. I wish I could agree. He'll spend the first week having to explain away the not caring if Canada becomes ten governments or one. I don't know if he'll be able to move past it, but even if he does he'll start ten points behind the other side.

    Frankly, it's too great a risk for our country to have this man in power.

  44. All the YES side will have to do is bring up "ten governments or one who cares" and Harper is dead in the water. Whatever Iggy's faults, Harper is the doomsday scenario.

  45. In fact, somebody who paid close attention to Canadian affairs (to the extent he was the go to guy on CAnadian issues for the world's foremost news organization) but didn't participate in the last two referendums might be just what is needed. Better than the guy with a decade of ugly baggage like Harper's, without a doubt!

  46. In a move that surprised friends and foes alike, Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduced a resolution in the House of Commons Wednesday to recognize Quebec as a “nation within a united Canada.”

    This came a day before the separatist Bloc Quebecois was to table a motion of its own asking MPs whether they consider Quebec a nation, although the BQ motion said nothing about the province being part of a united Canada.

  47. That was a very unseasoned Iggy …. today's version is right on ….
    and apropos … Harper took this 2006 opportunity to play his silly little "Nation" card cause he thought it looked good on him and bad on the Liberals. We do not want this thug in charge if Quebec yet again posits the existential question.

  48. The "stick it to Quebec" line is pretty easy to do, but you have to hope it doesn't come to that. THAT'S where there's the opportunity to show real leadership!

  49. "Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion… And whether Canada ends up with one national government or two governments or ten governments, the Canadian people will require less government no matter what the constitutional status or arrangement of any future country may be." So sayeth Stephen Harper, back in his Reform heyday. Which makes him about the last guy I'd listen to about what will and what will not 'weaken the country.'

    • Harper's not my favourite PM, (the blatant lies, hypocrisy, and nuerotic fear of proper Parliamentary/media scrutiny are a turnoff) but I think that's a little unfair. People genuinely change their opinions when they see things from a different perspective. What is more plausible; that Harper, as he is now, genuinely doesn't give a rat's ass whether Quebec stays or leaves and that fifteen-year-old quote is part of his unshakeable ideological firmament, or that he's really embarrassed that he could once have said something that dumb just to take a shot at big government? I think it's the latter.

      Also, Wilfred Laurier opposed Confederation on the grounds that it would be "the tomb of the French race." A week after Louis Riel was executed, he claimed in front of a large crowd at a rally in Montreal, "Had I been born on the banks of the Saskatchewan, I too would have shouldered a musket!" As it turned out, Laurier was able to transcend his parochial, divisive views and served Canada well. If he could walk back from brown-nosing Riel's corpse sufficiently for nineteenth century British Canadians, Harper can walk back from some overheated libertarian obnoxiousness.

      • Fair enough… but a few factors give me pause. First, he's never said that he 'changed his mind.' He's never said, 'I repudiate those views.' I don't think he's ever said he's changed his mind about anything. Second, if he's willing to say 'If you don't vote for me, Canada could unravel, and that would be horrible! So vote for me', when at one time he was just as willing to say 'Y'know, I'm indifferent to how Canada and its component parts govern themselves' tells me the guy's a political opportunist of the worst kind. His statements of late are fear-mongering of the worst kind. The guy has the audacity to threaten that a vote that doesn't go his way is a vote for the breakup of Canada, when he can ALSO say that he's indifferent to the future of the country? Sorry. He can lecture me about certain things (I guess), but national unity isn't one of the topics that his opinion holds much weight with me.

        Quite frankly, I don't know what the guy thinks. When I hear his supporters on this board say, 'Yay! Harper's going to get a majority and dismantle the federal government', and they have said that, it makes me wonder where his head is at.

        • It is hard to take you seriously when you say that Harper supporters want him to dismantle the Federal government—maybe you heard them say they wanted the CBC dismantled and you just misunderstood.

          By the way, I have found the most patriotic Canadians ( often from the West ) are usually Conservative.

          • Cats wrote that very thing a few weeks back. Am I missing something? Are you saying the Conservatives want a STRONG federal government?

            I disagree with Harper on most things. That's fine. But when he goes so far as to suggest that a vote that doesn't go his way is a step toward the break-up of the country, I puke in my mouth. If he wants to boast about his federalist credentials, fine… but given what he has said in the past, chastising others on the national unity file is just too much. TOO much.

          • Only a partisan would think that a national Conservative government representing all regions of the country would not be in a good position to defend against seperation.

            An objective person should be able to see the disaster pending if there is another referendum with a Liberal-NDP coalition depending on the Godfather Duceppe for their survival. One can only imagine the National Unity predicament we would be in with a coalition gov/t with little representation in the West and none in Quebec, but a few seats in Montreal, and Duceppe pulling the puppet strings. I will trust the Canadian voter on May 2.

          • Yep. Vote for a guy who's indifferent to how Canada is governed instead. Fantastic. It'd be nice if there was a third choice, because the first two choices suck.

          • Put it another way: Taking national unity lessons from Stephen Harper, for me, is like taking 'winning' lessons from the Toronto Maple Leafs. There's a credibility gap there. I think he's just trying to scare me into voting for him, and it kinda makes me sick.

          • Oh no you don/t—I have always thought the desperation of the Liberals shopping for saviour leaders from away as the closest thing we have in Federal politics to our Maple Leafs. The Fortress Toronto Liberal bastion, The out of touch with reality, the flags on the cars—all Liberal-Maple leafs.

          • That just tells me the Leafs suck so bad they can be co-opted by anyone to be used to make an analogy. (BTW, I don't disagree with you on your analogy).

          • Furthermore, the most recent quote for Harper was that, for the separatists, 'Step 1 was to weaken the federal government.' Geez, scary stuff. But I'm of the opinion that Harper wants to weaken the federal government, too. Isn't that what Conservatives want? A smaller, weaker federal government? Am I missing something?

          • That's a rather pejorative interpretation of the conservative value of "smaller" government.

          • but not inaccurate.

          • I thought Conservatives wanted to get out of the federal government business except for the military and prisons. Again… am I wrong? I'm just going by what I've heard bantered around these boards.

          • Military, prisons and gazebos.

          • I would suggest to you that conservatism is a touch more complex then "get out of federal government business except for the military and prisons". I would further encourage you, if you actually care, to read a little more broadly on the subject than just these comment boards. Did you know that Wikipedia is becoming more and more reliable?
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatism

          • Fair enough, but my point is that I'm hearing very divergent views between many of the rank and file (which I do feel are fairly represented on this board) and the leadership. I realize there are different forms of conservatism. I'd like to know what kind of conservatism I'd be getting from a Harper majority government.

            But you're right, I was probably being too general.

          • If you look at other things he has written, and even some more recently than his anti-Canada quotation, he talks very strategically about an alliance with those same nationalist/anti-federal government Quebecers as a way to power and a "natural ally".

            Which is why he suggested a coalition with them in 1997 and was willing to partner up with them to take power from Martin without winning more seats in 2004 and rely upon their support in his first two budgets.

        • Oh, yeah, that pair of quotes Wherry pulled are the usual Harper bs. I just don't see much of the old, impolitic, libertarian Harper in the prime minister.

      • Stephen Harper is no Laurier.

        • Never said he was; I just wanted to point out that a man can lead this country despite having made highly impolitic statements.

      • Just a historical correction on the Laurier quotation. While the quoted words are accurate, the implication left is not. Laurier was decrying how MacDonald had ignored the pleas of British subjects in Saskatchewan to be treated as British subjects, that the government was not allowing British rights to all of its British subjects and that he understood how, left with no other recourse, they could do naught but take up arms to protect themselves. Such that had he, Laurier, been born there with them, he likely would have as well.

        • Thanks for expanding on the context — I didn't have the space, and it's beside the point I wanted to make anyway, but context is always welcome. It's not the point, though; while I don't have much of a problem with Laurier's position, the fact remains that nineteenth-century British Canada definitely did.

  50. "Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion… And whether Canada ends up with one national government or two governments or ten governments, the Canadian people will require less government no matter what the constitutional status or arrangement of any future country may be." So sayeth Stephen Harper, back in his Reform heyday. Which makes him about the last guy I'd listen to about what will and what will not 'weaken the country.'

  51. Right. And all of that, only happened because of this

  52. Generally, the party in power that passes legislation through parliament gets the credit, yes.

  53. You are right, I suppose, in that I don't remember Chretien specifically. I do remember buses going to Quebec and I so wanted to go but couldn't. Forget why now. But in any case I remember it as a campaign of the people. I think it was effective! Sometimes, giving the tools to others is effective leadership.

    In all seriousness, I honestly don't trust that Harper would mount a No campaign. Too many of his base with the 'good riddance' attitude. I mean, he has already stated that he doesn't care if Canada becomes one country or ten countries.

    He is the only PM we have now. I don't know that I'd say he's the only national leader.

  54. OK, let's have a reference here. Did Duceppe really say what Harper claimed – that stopping the Conservatives from getting a majority is Step One on the road to sovereignty? I suspect that it's Harper just making stuff up again, but if anyone has the evidence, I'd like to see it.

    Duceppe does want to avoid a Conservative majority, yes. But that's just because he thinks they are crappy at running the country. What he DID say yesterday was that Harper would find ways to outlaw abortion and bring on a more American style political culture.

    • I suspect Harper is referring to Duceppe's comments here:
      http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/decision-cana

      "My friends, I say this often, before being Péquistes and Bloquistes, we are all sovereignists. We are going to finish the campaign side by side.

      "More united than ever. We have only one task to accomplish. Elect the maximum number of sovereignists in Ottawa and then we go to the next phase. Electing a PQ government.

      "A strong Bloc in Ottawa. A PQ in power in Quebec. And everything re-becomes possible."

      • so, in fact, no, he didn't say it at all.

        • Obviously not word for word.

          He did say their goal is to elect the maximum number of sovereignists to Ottawa. Harper said their goal is to stop a Conservative majority.

          He said "then we go to the next phase". Harper articulated it in terms of steps.

          He said "and everything re-becomes (!!!!) possible". Harper said they are moving toward another referendum.

          • so the basic premise of a harper majority being good for separatists still essentially stands.

          • In fact, the best thing for separatists would be Harper gets a majority government without quebec.

          • "Obviously not word for word"

            Kind of like Harper and his supporters claiming he never was planning a coalition in 2004.

  55. OK, let's have a reference here. Did Duceppe really say what Harper claimed – that stopping the Conservatives from getting a majority is Step One on the road to sovereignty? I suspect that it's Harper just making stuff up again, but if anyone has the evidence, I'd like to see it.

    Duceppe does want to avoid a Conservative majority, yes. But that's just because he thinks they are crappy at running the country. What he DID say yesterday was that Harper would find ways to outlaw abortion and bring on a more American style political culture.

  56. I'd ask you to make up your mind, but I'm aware it probably hasn't been given to you yet.

  57. Harper's not my favourite PM, (the blatant lies, hypocrisy, and nuerotic fear of proper Parliamentary/media scrutiny are a turnoff) but I think that's a little unfair. People genuinely change their opinions when they see things from a different perspective. What is more plausible; that Harper, as he is now, genuinely doesn't give a rat's ass whether Quebec stays or leaves and that fifteen-year-old quote is part of his unshakeable ideological firmament, or that he's really embarrassed that he could once have said something that dumb just to take a shot at big government? I think it's the latter.

    Also, Wilfred Laurier opposed Confederation on the grounds that it would be "the tomb of the French race." A week after Louis Riel was executed, he claimed in front of a large crowd at a rally in Montreal, "Had I been born on the banks of the Saskatchewan, I too would have shouldered a musket!" As it turned out, Laurier was able to transcend his parochial, divisive views and served Canada well. If he could walk back from brown-nosing Riel's corpse sufficiently for nineteenth century British Canadians, Harper can walk back from some overheated libertarian obnoxiousness.

  58. bergkamp, you have it in spades.

  59. I'm not sure what you're referring to as I've been consistent with my predictions though I did throw out the words "give or take one or two" one time.

    I suspect its just more of exacting impossible standards from a conservative, while the liberals apply no standards to themselves whatsoever. The Liberal party brass does it. Their media friends do it. And the liberal commenters do it.

    I would ask you to make a prediction, but that would be a silly excercise in applying the same standard to a Liberal as is expected of a conservative…..but that's just not done, is it?

  60. Apparently the folks commenting here think Marios and Dueceppe. are just kidding when they say they want to separate. So should we call their bluff and stop pampering Quebec?

    • These board were hijacked long ago by unemployed lefty sympathizers…and it represents a tiny fraction of the population.

      • Including yourself in that assessment?

  61. Apparently the folks commenting here think Marios and Dueceppe. are just kidding when they say they want to separate. So should we call their bluff and stop pampering Quebec?

  62. I suspect Harper is referring to Duceppe's comments here:
    http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/decision-cana

    "My friends, I say this often, before being Péquistes and Bloquistes, we are all sovereignists. We are going to finish the campaign side by side.

    "More united than ever. We have only one task to accomplish. Elect the maximum number of sovereignists in Ottawa and then we go to the next phase. Electing a PQ government.

    "A strong Bloc in Ottawa. A PQ in power in Quebec. And everything re-becomes possible."

  63. Ok so john, Our choice is between a candidate in a leadership race (which he lost) saying something about Quebec's place in Canada and a sitting PM who then jumped at the opportunity to use that statement for the sole purpose of embarrassing his political opponents? Are you and I really going to have to vote for Jack? If so, I am deeply concerned about the detailed nature of that hip surgery, I mean if the other side goes is Jack going to lurch to the right?

  64. Fair enough… but a few factors give me pause. First, he's never said that he 'changed his mind.' He's never said, 'I repudiate those views.' I don't think he's ever said he's changed his mind about anything. Second, if he's willing to say 'If you don't vote for me, Canada could unravel, and that would be horrible! So vote for me', when at one time he was just as willing to say 'Y'know, I'm indifferent to how Canada and its component parts govern themselves' tells me the guy's a political opportunist of the worst kind. His statements of late are fear-mongering of the worst kind. The guy has the audacity to threaten that a vote that doesn't go his way is a vote for the breakup of Canada, when he can ALSO say that he's indifferent to the future of the country? Sorry. He can lecture me about certain things (I guess), but national unity isn't one of the topics that his opinion holds much weight with me.

    Quite frankly, I don't know what the guy thinks. When I hear his supporters on this board say, 'Yay! Harper's going to get a majority and dismantle the federal government', and they have said that, it makes me wonder where his head is at.

  65. Yeah, sure–the seasoned Iggy will be much more competent !

  66. The two best things to happen in the 13 years the Liberals were in power from 93 to 06 were their fight against the deficit and the Clarity Act—both of which they took their lead from the Reform Party.

    Here, let me do that for you Mike.

    Mike T
    No

  67. Stephen Harper is no Laurier.

  68. It is hard to take you seriously when you say that Harper supporters want him to dismantle the Federal government—maybe you heard them say they wanted the CBC dismantled and you just misunderstood.

    By the way, I have found the most patriotic Canadians ( often from the West ) are usually Conservative.

  69. These board were hijacked long ago by unemployed lefty sympathizers…and it represents a tiny fraction of the population.

  70. It isn't really contradictory at all. It is possible to have a strong central government without stealing money from the provinces, or trampling on provincial jurisdiction…I know it is difficult for your small, feeble liberal mind to grasp this…but it is possible.

  71. It isn't really contradictory at all. It is possible to have a strong central government without stealing money from the provinces, or trampling on provincial jurisdiction…I know it is difficult for your small, feeble liberal mind to grasp this…but it is possible.

  72. There is a fine line between the good riddance attitude which is held by very few Canadians and the predominant attitude held now by Canadians—We think Quebec will continue to prosper within Canada and would like them to remain, however, they should be aware that there will be major consequences if they choose to separate after a fair question.
    Harper will get this message out loud and clear.

  73. Cats wrote that very thing a few weeks back. Am I missing something? Are you saying the Conservatives want a STRONG federal government?

    I disagree with Harper on most things. That's fine. But when he goes so far as to suggest that a vote that doesn't go his way is a step toward the break-up of the country, I puke in my mouth. If he wants to boast about his federalist credentials, fine… but given what he has said in the past, chastising others on the national unity file is just too much. TOO much.

  74. Furthermore, the most recent quote for Harper was that, for the separatists, 'Step 1 was to weaken the federal government.' Geez, scary stuff. But I'm of the opinion that Harper wants to weaken the federal government, too. Isn't that what Conservatives want? A smaller, weaker federal government? Am I missing something?

  75. That's a rather pejorative interpretation of the conservative value of "smaller" government.

  76. Oh, so somebody's past statement are impossible to get past in terms of their present actions?

    So, now I'm having difficulty supporting Ignatieff for PM of Canada when he quite clearly referred to American as his country. I mean, what if he becomes PM and the americans come up here and say, hey, remember when you said American was your country, well, does that mean Canada is American now? Frankly, I just don't know if he'll be able to move past that.

    Please know that I don't think that will happen. But I hope you see that your argument is simply fallacious. Harper has done nothing in his time in federal politics to indicate that he does not believe in national unity, and that is really all that counts.

    Just like Iggy has done nothing in his time in federal politics to indicate that he isn't canadian to his very core, and that too is all that really counts.

  77. so, in fact, no, he didn't say it at all.

  78. Just a historical correction on the Laurier quotation. While the quoted words are accurate, the implication left is not. Laurier was decrying how MacDonald had ignored the pleas of British subjects in Saskatchewan to be treated as British subjects, that the government was not allowing British rights to all of its British subjects and that he understood how, left with no other recourse, they could do naught but take up arms to protect themselves. Such that had he, Laurier, been born there with them, he likely would have as well.

  79. Only a partisan would think that a national Conservative government representing all regions of the country would not be in a good position to defend against seperation.

    An objective person should be able to see the disaster pending if there is another referendum with a Liberal-NDP coalition depending on the Godfather Duceppe for their survival. One can only imagine the National Unity predicament we would be in with a coalition gov/t with little representation in the West and none in Quebec, but a few seats in Montreal, and Duceppe pulling the puppet strings. I will trust the Canadian voter on May 2.

  80. If you look at other things he has written, and even some more recently than his anti-Canada quotation, he talks very strategically about an alliance with those same nationalist/anti-federal government Quebecers as a way to power and a "natural ally".

    Which is why he suggested a coalition with them in 1997 and was willing to partner up with them to take power from Martin without winning more seats in 2004 and rely upon their support in his first two budgets.

  81. Obviously not word for word.

    He did say their goal is to elect the maximum number of sovereignists to Ottawa. Harper said their goal is to stop a Conservative majority.

    He said "then we go to the next phase". Harper articulated it in terms of steps.

    He said "and everything re-becomes (!!!!) possible". Harper said they are moving toward another referendum.

  82. Oh, so somebody's past statement are impossible to get past in terms of their present actions?

    ***

    In this case, yes. I'll leave you to figure out why.

  83. Thanks Mike T. I've figured it out. Have a nice day.

  84. Yeeeeeeah, that'll inspire the federalist side to victory in la belle province. Seriously, if there's another referendum I hope Harper has the good sense to hide.

  85. Yep. Vote for a guy who's indifferent to how Canada is governed instead. Fantastic. It'd be nice if there was a third choice, because the first two choices suck.

  86. but not inaccurate.

  87. I thought Conservatives wanted to get out of the federal government business except for the military and prisons. Again… am I wrong? I'm just going by what I've heard bantered around these boards.

  88. so the basic premise of a harper majority being good for separatists still essentially stands.

  89. Put it another way: Taking national unity lessons from Stephen Harper, for me, is like taking 'winning' lessons from the Toronto Maple Leafs. There's a credibility gap there. I think he's just trying to scare me into voting for him, and it kinda makes me sick.

  90. In fact, the best thing for separatists would be Harper gets a majority government without quebec.

  91. I would suggest to you that conservatism is a touch more complex then "get out of federal government business except for the military and prisons". I would further encourage you, if you actually care, to read a little more broadly on the subject than just these comment boards. Did you know that Wikipedia is becoming more and more reliable?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatism

  92. Oh no you don/t—I have always thought the desperation of the Liberals shopping for saviour leaders from away as the closest thing we have in Federal politics to our Maple Leafs. The Fortress Toronto Liberal bastion, The out of touch with reality, the flags on the cars—all Liberal-Maple leafs.

  93. Fair enough, but my point is that I'm hearing very divergent views between many of the rank and file (which I do feel are fairly represented on this board) and the leadership. I realize there are different forms of conservatism. I'd like to know what kind of conservatism I'd be getting from a Harper majority government.

    But you're right, I was probably being too general.

  94. I think you and I are remembering this a little differently. Duceppe jumped at the opportunity to embarrass his political opponents by introducing the same motion Harper did, but without the "in a united Canada" part. Harper's motion was a very deftly executed side step that undercut Duceppe's motion and saved Iggy's butt.

  95. That just tells me the Leafs suck so bad they can be co-opted by anyone to be used to make an analogy. (BTW, I don't disagree with you on your analogy).

  96. I am glad to hear it.

  97. Including yourself in that assessment?

  98. that's pushing it a little bit. I agree that he wouldn't be an ideal federal leader during a referendum; he would probably be so offended at the notion, he'd try to take a controlling, hard-line stance on Quebec's demands, say something mean-spirited and practically hand the province to Marois.

    Still, I don't see how losing a referendum would help him gain seats in the ROC. Even if it would, I don't think he's so cynical. At least I hope not.

  99. Hint: Try work out the number of seats Harper has not including Quebec. That is all he cares about. Frankly he doesn't much care how many different governments we end up with.

  100. "There is a fine line between the good riddance attitude which is held by very few Canadians "

    Well, based upon postings here and at other sites, a considerable sector of Harper's supporters have that attitude. So if that is a substantial portion of his power base, its hard to see Doug Finley sending fundraising letters in support of national unity.

  101. The tar sands configuration of production will not allow them to entertain carbon capture. Iggy knows this!

    The configurations for carbon capture are found in enclosed environments like electrical generation by coal or gas. Or, by high heat requirements of enclosed industries like cement drying plants.

    This is a straight cash grab at the Tar Sands but that should not effect Albertans as your royalty on the sands is down to 10% Can or below which means you will get more on your plate indirectly from the Fed than you will from the Alberta Conservatives.

    The Alberta Conservatives have cut the royalty on resources so very low it leaves the door open for the fed to poach. It won't bring on a recession; if anything it is mismanagement by Alberta.

    Iggy is trying to be all thins to all people and he is loosing. Yesterday he said he would convene a first ministers meeting in the first 60 days after he is elected to debate health care in Canada.

    I would have felt much better had he said convene after the next provincial elections.

    The First Ministers meeting will be controlled by the western and northern premiers along with PQ who is on side. See:PNWER http://albertathedetails.blogspot.com/2011/03/con

    BC Liberals are a part of this as you will see and it will be the end of the public health care system in Canada.

    I was totally shocked to see Iggy on side and will now consider what he promises with more than a grain of salt and for the record Paul Martin was pushing a private health care system before he got turfed out.

  102. The tar sands configuration of production will not allow them to entertain carbon capture. Iggy knows this!

    The configurations for carbon capture are found in enclosed environments like electrical generation by coal or gas. Or, by high heat requirements of enclosed industries like cement drying plants.

    This is a straight cash grab at the Tar Sands but that should not effect Albertans as your royalty on the sands is down to 10% Can or below which means you will get more on your plate indirectly from the Fed than you will from the Alberta Conservatives.

    The Alberta Conservatives have cut the royalty on resources so very low it leaves the door open for the fed to poach. It won't bring on a recession; if anything it is mismanagement by Alberta.

    Iggy is trying to be all thins to all people and he is loosing. Yesterday he said he would convene a first ministers meeting in the first 60 days after he is elected to debate health care in Canada.

    I would have felt much better had he said convene after the next provincial elections.

    The First Ministers meeting will be controlled by the western and northern premiers along with PQ who is on side. See:PNWER http://albertathedetails.blogspot.com/2011/03/con

    BC Liberals are a part of this as you will see and it will be the end of the public health care system in Canada.

    I was totally shocked to see Iggy on side and will now consider what he promises with more than a grain of salt and for the record Paul Martin was pushing a private health care system before he got turfed out.

  103. "Obviously not word for word"

    Kind of like Harper and his supporters claiming he never was planning a coalition in 2004.

  104. i wish I could agree. I think it is extreme and Harper would not do it likely, but I also think he is capable.

  105. Never said he was; I just wanted to point out that a man can lead this country despite having made highly impolitic statements.

  106. Thanks for expanding on the context — I didn't have the space, and it's beside the point I wanted to make anyway, but context is always welcome. It's not the point, though; while I don't have much of a problem with Laurier's position, the fact remains that nineteenth-century British Canada definitely did.

  107. Oh, yeah, that pair of quotes Wherry pulled are the usual Harper bs. I just don't see much of the old, impolitic, libertarian Harper in the prime minister.

  108. Personally, I still hate that resolution and can't BELIEVE our Parliament passed it, so I blame pretty much everybody on this file. I certainly blame the people who actually introduced the motions a little more than I blame the guy who mused about perhaps one day doing something similar in the future, but as almost everybody ended up voting for the thing, a pox on all of their houses I say.

    Michael Chong was a hero on that inanity, and I also give a shout-out to the 15 Liberals who voted "No" as well.

  109. So, example #3467 then of "Things the Harper Government only did because the dastardly Liberals forced them to"?

  110. Harper is a poor leader, divisive and not willing to listen to people who disagree with him. He would probably be stupid enough to try to intimidate Quebec and would make everything worse. Look at how he is trying to scare people into voting for him right now. He's scraping the bottom of the barrel. I predict that even if he wins a majority or a minority, he will be gone in a couple of years, leaving the Conservative Party in tatters.

  111. The Bloc and REform Parties were mirror images of each other, feeding off of each other's bigotry. The best way to get rid of the Bloc is to get rid of the rightwingers who are at least as divisive to Canada.

  112. Let's assume you have this right. I'm concerned that Harper will be as good a negotiator as he was with the UAE and our airforce base, or as the American south was with Britain and cotton. I don't mean by that that I expect him to grant concessions or anything, but tone and delivery make or break goodwill. And the comfy blue sweater-vest never really sat well on him.

  113. I didn't mind it so much because I recognized it for what it was…a meaningless gesture that defused a potentially sticky situation with no damage done and no follow up. To paraphase shakespeare, it was a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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