Welcome to the infomercial

by Aaron Wherry

To the Conservative campaign now, specifically to the Canadian Coptic Centre in Mississauga, where Mr. Harper wished to highlight his promise to establish an Office of Religious Freedom within the Department of Foreign Affairs. Behind him a Canadian flag, all around him, as the official news release describes it, “an enthusiastic and diverse crowd.”

After his announcement, the floor was turned over to questions from reporters. Said reporters were called by name to present their questions. As per usual, reporters travelling with Mr. Harper were permitted a total of four opportunities at the microphone. No supplementaries are officially permitted.

Mr. Harper’s answers were dutifully applauded by the studio audience. And when one of these reporters—the CBC’s Terry Milewski—dared to shout a supplementary question related to a particular Conservative candidate’s recent controversy, the crowd moved to drown him out with cheers. Mr. Milewski persisted, the crowd cheered louder, even chanting Mr. Harper’s surname. A member of Mr. Harper’s staff, standing nearby Mr. Milewski was quite enthusiastic in joining the applause.

Onward now to Comox and Campbell River.




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Welcome to the infomercial

  1. The Harper Con supporters dutifully behave like Chinese Communist comrades.

    "Long live Mao Ste-phen!"

    • .
      The resemblance is striking, indeed.

      Even their prose and speech becomes templated, sylized; and having what psychiatrists call a 'flat affect'.
      .

      • .
        So you might want to leave the exclamation mark off their mantra, because eventually cultist devolve into a sort of glassy-eyed, disconnected drone.

        'LONG LIVE the GOVERnment of HARper!!'
        'Long LIVE the Government of Harper!'
        'Long live the government of Harper.'
        'long live the…govern…ment of…whositagain?…I forgot… uh…
        .

  2. Faux scandal mongering media versus the Conservatives.

    Meanwhile it’s hugs and kisses (literally) between the media, and one of their very own – Mr. Ignatieff.

    All pretense of objectivity has been lost. Mr. Wherry, don’t you think it’s possible that the media isn’t being shown respect because they have lost it by their own actions?

    • By asking a question of a candidate during an election campaign?

    • Oh dear lord. What is it with you people and your paranoid conspiracy theories?

      Why is it that conservatives, who claim to stand up for personal responsibility and accountability, NEVER want Harper to be held accountable for anything.

  3. This is all well and good, but if the crowds chanting his name, not interested in answers to hard questions, are already his supporters, then where's the growth to the coveted majority?

    Of all campaigns in my memory, I cannot read this one at all. The unnecessary election is turning out to be quite important after all.

    • I'm not sure that was really a hard question lol, it's been answered a dozen times over by both the mps and Harper himself. But yea that was a venue with Conservative supporters and it was about gaining support but it was more than that. It was about giving respect to the the many immigrated peoples in Canada who have suffered religious persecution, and who's families and loved ones in their birth homes still do suffer. Whether or not Canadians sitting here can see what a big problem that is.. it IS a HUGE problem. and a very minimized one at that.. this is the FIRST time in the history of Canada that we have been recognized, and I can speak specifically for my people the Pakistani Christians.

      As a close family friend of Mr Peter Bhatti and his brother the martyred Shahbaz Bhatti. I can assure you that the difference this show of support makes to the people that have suffered relentlessly and violently at the hands of the majority in Pakistan is immense. This small news if nothing puts pressure on other countries and shows them that FINALLY someone has noticed, and these acts must be ceased.

      This just wasn't the time or the place for Wherry's bullying.

  4. Preaching to the converted, stifling any dissent.

    This is what we have come down to.

    • I suppose Iggy only speaks to the heathen:) My best line this week..

      • Sez a lot about the quality of your work this week…

      • Anyone is allowed to go to Iggy's public events. Harper doesn't hold any public events.

  5. "…the crowd moved to drown him out with cheers."

    I really don't know who he/they thinks he's fooling. In real life, just because you can't hear a question doesn't mean the issue goes away. I think Canadians realize this.

    Harper is really banking on the naivete of Canadians come May 2.

    • I think Canadians are smart enough to realize that media trying to convince them that the Harper government is supporting terrorists is pretty foolhardy too. Harper has support for his policies because there are people who really believe in what his government is trying to accomplish. But that doesn't make his supporters right and everyone wrong. The joy of living in Canada is that we're all allowed to have opinions, unlike where I come from and many other Canadians do too.

      • You're forgetting the Tamil Tiger supporter who is running as a candidate for the Conservatives. Even Peter Kent wrote the Conservative executive to voice his disapproval . Actions speak louder then words. Outlawing terrorist groups while having one of their supporters run for your party is the message Harper is sending. Is that what you think he is trying accomplish?

  6. This really just highlights the magnitude of Peter Manbridge's failure to properly interview the man.

  7. And what are Ignatieff's answers to the cost of his cap and trade plan?

    Oh, that's right: no one is asking……………..

    Canadians don't need to know……………….

    Ignatieff knows best, and so forth.

    • Go to one of his town hall events and ask him. The Conservative Party is the only one screening the audience and evading questions; the other four or five parties are available to media and voters.

      • OHHHHHH tobyornotoby for the win…. :)

      • Ha, no one screened the audience, sitting a foot away from him I assure you that. I personally just wasn't up for having the media waste my time with that nonsense question. Move on people, it's been answered, just because you don't like him doesn't mean that you should forcefully connect him to something evil.

        • Really? So you just showed up and walked in? Didn't have to pre-register or anything?

          • Totally believable, eh?

    • What about the economic cost of the Tories' red-tape, regulation scheme for carbon emissions?

  8. Tomorrow, Ignatieff has booked a half hour tv infomercial time, to tell the voter all about Ignatieff, history and all.

    Wherry is just trying to soften the impact of a silly Liberal infomercial by calling Harper's rallies an "infomercial"

    See, Harper holds infomercials. Nothing strange about Ignatieff doing one on tv…………………………………..and so forth.

    • When I read headline – Welcome to the infomercial – I was expecting to read something about tomorrow's Lib broadcast. I should have known better to think Wherry might be at all criticial of anyone other than Cons.

    • Right now Iffy is becoming as embarrassing as the Vancouver Canucks,Now if the Canucks can smarten up we will only have Iffy to apologize for his poor game.

  9. Wherry …. are you following Con campaign now? hahahahahaha. What circle of hell are you in? hahahahahaha

    " ….. whenever I read liberals reporting about the goings-on of conservatives I always get the nature-documentary vibe. A liberal reporter puts on his or her Dian Fossey hat in order to attempt to write another installment of Conservatives in the Mist. I've followed this particular brand of reporting for years, it's almost a fetish of mine. Most attempts fail. Of these lesser varieties, there's fear ("Troglodytes!"), mockery ("Irrelevant troglodytes!"), condescension ("I had to explain to them they're troglodytes."), bewilderment ("Why don't they understand they're troglodytes?"), astonishment (Dear God, they're not all troglodytes!"), and a few combinations of all the above ………..

    • Problem for Harper is that they're showing these on CPAC – without any editoral comment – and voters get to see that He basically doesn't answer questions. Makes him look weak and petulant.

  10. ……….. But sometimes they even succeed, to a point. Thus, like the real Dian Fossey, they manage to saunter into the leafy thickets of conservatism, and are welcomed into a band of gorillas. They hold out the equivalent of a banana or maybe a fistful of grubs for long enough and eventually we come sniffing around. We're intrigued by the creature lavishing attention on us. And the reporter eventually begins to feel as though he has been accepted into the band. Eventually, we conservatives grow comfortable enough around them to return to our old patterns. We scratch and fight and do our gorilla things and the chronicler dutifully takes notes. The notes eventually make their way into an article for the New York Times or The New Yorker or Vanity Fair.

    "Who knew?" the readers will say over their morning bagels and coffee in Southampton or Fire Island, "I had no idea conservatives were such intelligent creatures. Why they even have the capacity for emotion and even some rudimentary forms of kindness." J Goldberg, National Review, May 2003

    • Jonah Goldberg – the mamma's boy from New York City? He's a joke.

  11. Of course, there are some that will view the occurrence as charming, not creepy and disturbing. Which is in itself creepy and disturbing.

    I really wonder what would have to happen, short of an actual ritual sacrifice, for the hardcore worshipful to start questioning their fealty.

    • Charming or not, there were people in there who really do support the Conservative government for their policies and ability to stick with their principles. Don't like it? Vote elsewhere. You have that right just like they do.

      • Yeah, but they probably weren't the ones shouting down a reporter. At least I certainly hope not.

        Because I'd hate to think of Canadians who were shouting down a reporter on principle rather than as an immature, spur of the moment reflexive response to the perceived criticism inherent in a reporter asking their leader a mean question being the same Canadians whose leader is also going to form the next federal government.

        • (Wow, that was a run-on sentence.)

          • Yes but a good one – a kind of mini-rant. :-)

      • Wait.. stick to their principles?

        Please name one they've stuck to.

  12. If Terry Milewski was half as good as he thinks he is he would be a sure win for a Pulitzer prize. Those who new him in the old days say that acquired accent has only made his cap size bigger. He without a doubt is a dyed in the wool Liberal sycophant along with many of his CBC colleagues, He is a phony to say the least who was assigned to Harper to show his great Liberal strength

    • Last week, he travelled with the Liberals. In fact, they are all switching campaigns to report on.

      Why do you feel the need to put out bulls&it information? Is it ignorance, or willful ignorance?

  13. So Aaron is at it again. With Ignatieff, he comes off as if he just left church. With Harper, the title doesn't even have anything to do with the article. Conservatives are always on here saying that the media is biased. The Liberals always laugh about that. This piece is pretty obvious.
    First of all, the piece has nothing to do with infomercials, but Aaron tried to tie this in, as the Liberals attack ads will be going like crazy for the next few days.
    Secondly, Aaron mentions "the official news release describes it, “an enthusiastic and diverse crowd.”", while giving no actual facts on whether this is true or not. This leads one to think that the official release is wrong, but Aaron provides no proof either way. Sloppy at best, deliberately misleading at worst.
    This is really an article about how Harper is taking only 4 questions at these events. This is fair enough for a reporter to complain about, and we have heard about it a lot. Aaron puts as bad a spin on it as he can, while providing very little real info. Seeing as how this is the second piece that I have seen by Aaron in a couple of days that was written to this high a journalistic standard, I can safely say that Aaron is not impartial in his writings.

    I wonder what presents Ignatieff gave Aaron on his birthday. . .

    • What positive spin could you put on Harper's refusal to interact with the press?

      • Read my whole post.

        "This is really an article about how Harper is taking only 4 questions at these events. This is fair enough for a reporter to complain about, and we have heard about it a lot."

        I commented on the title, and his 'analysis' of the crowd. Did you not read that?

  14. A partisan crowd silencing the questions of the national media.

    Does that bother anyone else?

    • Count your blessings, at least they weren't saluting the stage while they did it.

  15. I have always thought that the main reason why the Conservatives have been so successful in raising funds from the 35 to 45 percent of the electorate that are firmly Conservative, is because of the bias the media has shown to the Party and to Harper in particular.

    CPC supporters do not believe that they will ever get objective treatment from the media-types. So, donating money to the Party not only shows support to the Party but then allows the Conservatives to get the message directly to the people with ads. I would guess that Milewski and Wherry alone would account for several million dollars donated to the Conservatives.

    I think the cheering and clapping that was directed at Milewski was in gratitude for his generous actions over the years that resulted in filling the party coffers. I would expect he will continue to be thanked at other stops along the way.

    • Terry milewski is a good journalist who has spent many years on the AIr India file. I firmly believe his questions were sincere and legitimate. Having said that, I think the Conservatives have already responded to the allegations from Dosanjh by noting that their candidate had accepted an invitation from the school principal, not the terrorist. If anything it was sloppy work on the part of the CPC candidate's advance staff, but there is yet no hard evidence that she knowingly accepted support from a terrorist.

      • I knew the circumstances about the Dosanjh allegations. The candidate accepted the invitation not knowing that the terrorist would be present—-Milewski also knew the circumstances, so did Wherry.

        There is no conceivable reason why the Conservatives would accept support from this terrorist. Until Milewski understands that his job does not extend to the point where he can insinuate malicious slander without hard evidence, he will get no respect from me.

        • If Milewski actually did know the circumstances and still made those insinuations I take back my comments. I still stand by the good work he did in reporting on Air India

          • I suppose the CPC advance people could have checked out the folks who showed up at the rally and identified and escorted any suspicious characters to the door—those actions have been criticized by Milewski in the past.

            Dosanjh is desperate—that should be considered as well.

          • Dosanjih takes being beaten half to death on a more personal level. If the CPC can identify possible Liberal supporters on facebook for Harper rallies you's think they might be have a clue who Malik is hanging with these days.

        • So you're saying that nobody should have a problem with Denis Coderre's attendance of the parade?

    • "I have always thought that the main reason why the Conservatives have been so successful in raising funds from the 35 to 45 percent of the electorate that are firmly Conservative, is because of the bias the media has shown to the Party and to Harper in particular."

      I disagree. I think it is brainwashing. As in, actually convincing people the "media" are out to get them. Conservatives have tapped into the need for some people to feel like they are victims. Rather than representing people who believe in personal responsibility, they in fact represent people who constantly point fingers at others and blame them for everything that is bad in their own lives. They convince themselves they are accountable and are thus on the higher ground, but in fact they are as unaccountable as anyone can be.

      The CPC has tapped into the great cult of victimhood – and it is working wonders for them.

      • The conservative base is mostly a bunch of useful idiots. They dutifully donate to the party in the hopes of getting some movement on their pet issues, and the government keeps dangling the red meat in front of them and pulling it away, blaming the media, the senate and the opposition when they kill their own bills through prorogation and writ-dropping. This government is far from conservative and mostly seems concerned with securing power and doling out patronage. Now that's change you can believe in.

        • Oh, I could say something that there are worse things to be then a useful idiot, but I`ll leave that to other Conservatives that you have referred to as useful idiots.

          And,I do think you are wrong about the reason why Conservatives are so diligent with their financial support. I think the main reason is the one I outlined above. I doubt if any significant amount of them ever receive any direct favours in return. Their payback is having a gov`t in power that is closer to their way of thinking. Also, I should know more about this subject than you.

          • That bias does not exist, so that is a false premise.

            That the CPC have convinced their dubes that it does exist is the point – and possibly the reason they are able to raise so much money. But that is not the only area where the CPC have convinced their supporters they are victims. They are also victims of the evil bureaucracy, the evil stats Canada, the evil gun registry, the evil liberal judges…

      • Apparently, its also possible that singh malik is co-signing all his employees' donations to the party; after all, money talks…

    • .
      Money that goes toward producing Tea Party attack-ads. Mr. Harper is a good Republican, yes.

      And many Canadians will fund good Republicans. I will grant you that.

      In fact, the Government of Harper seems to have had the effect of turning many otherwise good Canadians into good Republicans.
      .

  16. Actually, it has been the supporters of the left recently who are most often guilty of using extreme language and physical violence.

    • I'd love to see your set of links for that, if you'd be so kind to oblige me.

      And I assume you'll respect the difference between wingnuts of the isolated and small-group variety — like whoever went through a Toronto neighborhood slashing tires and keying cars of residents with Liberal signs on their lawns — from mass actions like this one we're discussing.

      I'll check back later to read what you've offered.

      • You can see at Macleans how the Conservative minions work themselves into a frothing fury at the media. I worry that they could become a mob at some Conservative rally and actually attack some media people.

        • The media now needs their own security and their own fence.

      • Silence………

        • It's probably a really long list, so it'll take him a while to type it all up.

          • Guys—I really don`t have a lot of time to jump when you need something so forgive my lateness.

            Halo make a response to my comment by insinuating that he expects that Milewski will be violently removed from a CPC rally. He uses no hard evidence or links to back up this baseless accusation by showing that this happened to a journalist at any other rally.

            I then observe that most of the recent incidents of violence at recent crowds involved those on the left. It is also my opinion that most of the name-calling on these pages originate from those on the left—you can disagree with me if you wish.

            Happy Easter, you two old grouches—I`m kidding—-about the grouch part.

          • Provide evidence.

          • That I'm a grouch? None needed, I totally cop to it.

            That 500 partisans shouting down a member of the media for asking an uncomfortable question of a political leader during an election campaign, as documented, somehow pales in comparison to his anecdotal observations that it's the left who are really the main problem — yes, there I would demand something of a little higher order of proof.

            But regardless, blue, a good weekend to you too, and it's a fine time for us all to be spending a little less time on these boards and a little more out in the real world. (Except in Montreal, where the weather is sucking.)

  17. I think what you mean is no one in the room wanted Harper to have to answer difficult questions.

  18. Wherry wasn't there; do you mean Terry Milewski, the reporter named in the article that we're responding to?

    Or are you just posting garbage without reading anything. Serena. If that is your real name.

    • Wow, so thanks for that personal attack. I didn't realize people had to resort to that. Yes I did mean Milewski, and I apologize for the mistake. But I doubt that my opinion is garbage, your attitude towards me having one definitely is.

      My bad.

      • It is garbage to post clearly false accusations.

      • If Harper wants to behave like a 10 year old, he has every right to do so.

        • And we have every right to call him a coward and a liar.

  19. Folks, call me paranoid, but I think there's A LOT more to the Coup/Coalition than meets the eye. And it's not good. For those interested in stopping the hijacking of OUR democracy, please give a gander at: "The Real Co-Conspirators Behind the Coup":
    http://burpnrun.blogspot.com/2011/04/real-co-cons

    and tell me if I'm wrong. Please.

    • If you are so concerned about pigs in the trough, look at the Conservative hack Senators like Duffy and Wallin.

    • OK, I will call you paranoid. But I think you already knew that.

    • You are both paranoid and wrong.

      You're welcome.

  20. Folks, call me paranoid, but I think there's A LOT more to the Coup/Coalition than meets the eye. And it's not good. For those interested in stopping the hijacking of OUR democracy, please give a gander at: "The Real Co-Conspirators Behind the Coup":

  21. .
    Harper has tailored efficiency and quality-control methodologies to an economy of political optics with impressive mastery.

    De-elect this clockwork, econ bean-counter, before he turns Canada into a cold-blooded MACHINE.
    .

  22. .
    -1.
    The machine's ratchet has decremented my comment by [1] iteration.
    .

  23. Excellent article by Bruce Cheadle letting disinfecting sunlight shine on Harper's media strategy:

    "…The front-running Conservatives are openly seeking a majority mandate for the first time in three general elections, and Harper is employing an extremely cautious campaign that has his opponents deriding the prime minister as "bubble boy."

    Harper is providing only short, clipped responses to the few media questions his handlers allow. Journalists travelling with him at a cost of $11,000 per week are granted four questions per day.

    Unlike the other party leaders, Harper holds all his media availabilities in rooms filled with partisan supporters — a built-in cheering section for his press conferences.

    He's not doing any mainstreeting and holds campaign events only in rooms with carefully screened supporters…"
    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/special/federal-

    • More about Conservatives drwoning out Milewski's question:

      "…But the Conservative Leader refused to answer this follow-up query, waiting as the crowd at the Coptic Christian Centre in Mississauga applauded and cheered him for about 60 seconds.

      It's the first time a Conservative crowd has purposely drowned out a reporter's question of Mr. Harper during the 41st election campaign.

      Tory staffers encouraged the crowd. Among those doing so was Marc-Andre Plouffe, who before the campaign was a senior advisor in the Prime Minister's Office…"
      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tory

  24. What I'm amazed by is the difference between the questions asked of the Conservative and NDP campaigns.

    The Conservatives are fanatical about message control, but Terry Milewski does ask questions like, "why did you break your promise on X even when person Y said that it's incredibly important?"

    Meanwhile, the tenacious reporters following Jack Layton around are asking, "why do you think your rock-star-like rise to power started here in Quebec?" and "why are so so dog-gone handsome? is it really all in the moustache?"

    • You are inventing quotations. Provide evidence.

  25. C'mon now, the guy only GAVE money to people who blew up planes and killed people and he was acquitted. All that media attention alone was punishment enough — or so conbot supporters would have us believe in a liberal-justice kinda way. It's like Carson, how could harper know that the multiple convicted criminal was going to do something maybe underhanded once given the keys? It goes against all plausibility — and that's why they got rid of the mandatory census.

    • Why wa that particular school getting involved in politics when it is a registered charity? Oh yeah, the guy who gave money to terrorists is a director of that school and other family members are involved. So didn't the candidate find out about that school beforehand?

  26. The media bias shown to Harper and the Conservatives before and during this election campaign has been quite something in print media, online, television. I absolutely refuse to believe that May 2 will be a Conservative majority of talking to my friends and colleagues is any indication. Health care professionals of which I am one feel we have faired far worse in health care in Canada under Harper, and most I talk do are not in support of more jets, more prisons, and maintaining the status quo Harper message guised under his "let me be clear stability message." Most voting Canadians are not impressed Harper has prorogued Parliament twice and was found in contempt of it. His control of his ministers, his spin doctors, and his smug demeanor has led dinner table discussions I've attended lately is that Harper needs to sit in the Opposition after May 2 because Canadians don't trust him to continue to be PM. Canadians do not want a Republican government or their policies.

    • This comment was deleted.

    • We all know in BC that the media has been unfairly slanted towards the Liberals – contrast this:

      The BC media talks about Wai Young and an acquitted man that happens to be in the audience – how come no ones is making a big deal out of Ujjal Dosanjh's acquitted lawyer son who assulted a police in Windor? Or the fact that Marijuana Legalization activists are opening supporting the Liberals? That's HARD evidence verses a tabloid speculation.

      The BC media talks about a photoshopped image – what about each and every photo that has been photoshopped on the Liberal sites? Tell me that the press doesn't touch up photos?

      Besides… I think Canadians have made their choice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPC4yEgS1_4

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