What Garth heard

The most entertaining parts of Sheeple, Garth Turner’s awkwardly titled account of his most recent time in politics, are almost definitely the previously undisclosed bits of private conversation and internal discussion Turner claims to have been party to. If only because truly candid, available-for-public-consumption comment from a politician is otherwise so rare.

Herein, a brief collection of Sheeple’s highlights in this regard. Note: some adult language follows.

“This is the chance we have. Don’t be tentative. Seize the moment now. Leader, life is not a rehearsal.”
—Unnamed Liberal urging Stephane Dion to bring down the government in June 2008

“I just watched Duffy and it was terrible. I’m very disappointed with you. Why are you trying to screw us?”
—Conservative MP Steven Fletcher after Turned expressed disappointment with David Emerson’s floor-crossing

“To put it charitably, you were independent during the campaign. I don’t need a media star in my caucus. I was going to offer you something, a role, something I had that is delicate, something important. But now I’m not going to anymore. Instead we will just see what happens, what you do, over the next few weeks.”
—Stephen Harper, meeting with Turner after the Emerson controversy

“You’re a journalist and we all know journalists make bad politicians. Politicians know how to stick to a message. That’s how they are successful. Journalists think they always have to tell the truth.”
—Harper, continued

“I’m a blunt person. I heard  your comments on Canada AM, and this freelance commenting of yours has to end. The public undermining has to end. There was nothing in our platform that was against floor-crossing. If you want to fuck with us, we will certainly fuck with you. Do you want to sit as an independent? Then we can arrange that. Count on it … Let me make this clear. I am telling you, you will not give any more media interviews. I am telling you, you will stop writing the blog. And I’m telling you that you’ll issue a press release today praising the prime minister’s appointment of Emerson. Are you clear?”
—Ian Brodie, then-chief-of-staff

“You should be less ambitious. You should try harder to get along. A lot of these guys are suspicious of you, you know, with the media contacts you’ve got and the profile. Maybe you should spend more time, and take a few of them out for dinner. Lie low, you know? Just stay out of the headlines, below the radar. Lay off the blog, and I’m sure over time things will change.”
—Conservative MP Gord Brown

“My privileges as a member are being compromised. I’m afraid to speak now because I just don’t know if everything I say is being written and will be published that night.”
—Conservative MP Jeff Watson arguing that Turner should be kicked out of the party’s Ontario caucus

“We play as a team or we lose as a team. We have no room for an independent thinker on our team.”
—Conservative MP Guy Lauzon 

“You’re here to be a team player and you bet it’s a problem if you’re not supporting your colleagues. You have to be a team player. If you’re not, then get out.”
—Conservative MP Larry Miller

“You owe a duty to everyone. To the team. The team comes first.”
—Finance Minister Jim Flaherty

“What Garth has to learn is that you’ve got to support the prime minister, absolutely no matter what.”
—Senator Marjory LeBreton

“Garth Turner should be ashamed of himself.”
—Conservative MP Helena Guergis

“We may not like some of what Garth says, but it sure as is his right to say it.”
—Conservative MP David Tilson

“There will be impacts in some of your ridings. They will affect people, and you may be tempted to talk about them. But don’t. Anyone who has anything to say about this will soon find out they have a very short political career.”
—Harper, announcing program spending cuts during a caucus meeting

“So what bullshit about the prime minister are you blogging now? And would you happen to be webcasting from your glasses right now?”
—Conservative MP James Moore, seeing Turner using his blackberry after a caucus meeting

“Mr. Chairman, we have to talk about Garth Turner. The media may love him, but he’s hurting this party and this government by opening his mouth. Who does he think he is? Who is Garth Turner to tell us what we should be doing here?”
—Conservative MP John Baird

“Are you writing about me?”
—Baird, referencing a blog post of Turner’s that described some MPs as longing for the benefits of a cabinet post

“Nobody asked Garth Turner to have any ideas, or to run around and ask people what they think. We had an election, and we have a platform, and that’s what we think. You are undermining every one of us. You have no right. No right.”
—Lauzon

“You have caused a lot of trouble. This is now on the front page of La Presse. The ADQ has made negative comments about you, and this is very bad. You said that separatists are lazy, but you cannot do that. You will write on your blog that you are sorry…”
—Stephane Dion

What Garth heard

  1. Hah! What’s funny is that these idiots should have told Turner to sit as an Independent 15 minutes after he broke caucus confidentiality; as it is they just look pathetic, trying to keep his vote by reining him in. Ian Brodie’s vice-principal tone is particularly ridiculous, but the PM is a close second. Making threats is a sure way to sound like a nincompoop.

    On the other hand, when you reflect that such imbecilic threats and bribes (“I was going to offer you something, a role, something I had that is delicate, something important”) actually work with 99% of MP’s, you start to weep like a child.

    • Last I heard, Turner was the one that lost his seat first, and has been reduced to pimping his account of this gossip in lieu of something more dignified and/or profitable. Who looks pathetic, exactly?

    • Garth Turner is a megalomaniac. Consider the source before you give any credence to this cretin.

  2. Stop writing about me, right now! Are you writing about me now? Stop it. What about now? Well, quit it already! Are you writing about me now?

    Sincerely,
    John Baird

    • LOL!!

    • sounds like Billy Bob Thorton on Q.

    • John Baird would be less paranoid if he would simply come out of the closet. A gayer MP never sat in Parliament!

  3. Now we know why LeBreton stood silent when the knife was plunged into the back of her old and dear friend Brian. No excuse, of course.

    • Really? Because I don’t think anyone in the Conservative party except for Harper himself would dare to speak out of turn to Mrs. LeBreton.

      • Read the quote above. “No matter what.” Bye Bye Brian.

        • Yeah, but we’re really just speculating about things behind closed doors that we don’t really know about. I think LeBreton and Mulroney are still friends, so she may not have thrown Brian under the bus in the way that you imply.

  4. Interesting quotes. What strikes me is how important MPs think caucus unity is, or behaving like sheep as I like to think of it, and how threatened they are by someone who’s not willing to play the game.

    • It is the consequence of a party system where the public doesn’t participate in local politics.

      If the public was involved with their local constituency to a greater degree, or if more powers were devolved to individual MP’s who represented a riding, perhaps that would change.

      As it stands, the Canadians elect a Prime Minister based on what they hear in the media, the Prime Minister directs the party to be constantly on message.

      So, like always, we get the government we deserve.

  5. yay democracy!

  6. Garth was certainly a prima donna. I don’t blame Harper or Dion for being exasperated with him. He’s the last person that one would want in the room when one is discussing something sensitive. His indiscreet and opinionated blog postings were mostly about stoking his own ego. I’m sure both the Liberals and Tories realized quite quickly that Turner’s primary loyalty was not the party, but to himself.

    • This seems quite true. But the kicker is of course that it takes someone like Garth to illustrate just how worthless individual MPs are at present. It would be nice, of course, if it didn’t take a narcissistic, relenetless self-promoter to demonstrate this fact (and I don’t say that in malice, I can’t help but somehow enjoy Turner even while being quite frank about his vices), but sometimes you need less angelic individuals to make the cracks that let the light shine in. Garth was a troublemaker as an MP and absolutely horrible, apparently, at exercising any discretion concerning party politics whatsoever. The people on the “other side”, though, who demanded lock-step obedience, are, in my measure, worse.

      Pity we don’t have more Glen Pearsons.

      • When you have an imperfect system of gov`t like a parliamentary democracy, to be successful, you have to keep score, whether during an election or votes in the House. Therefore, you need to have everybody on side.
        To survive as an independent thinker in politics, you have to be respected, to be humble, and to be super smart. Turner was none of the above. Pearson gets maybe 2 out of 3.

    • “He’s the last person that one would want in the room when one is discussing something sensitive.”

      Yes, especially when the Conservatives are strategizing about just how they’ll *lie* to the Canadian people.

  7. “We have no room for an independent thinker on our team”

    Well, maybe that hadn’t been officially disclosed, but it’s been pretty obvious for a while.

  8. Wow – a first I actually agree with Dion : he said it best! Where was this communication style during the election?

  9. Wow, don’t we vote in politicians to fight for their constituents, not to sit down and bark when called. Shouldn’t our country and people come first then the party. This sounds too much like Republican style politics to make me comfortable.
    No wonder Ontario is in the mess it is. When Flaherty was going around and telling the world not to invest in Ontario, where were our elected Ontario officials standing up for Ontarions. They all laid down at order. Authority figures stifle debate and discussion. With the Conservatives in power since 2006, Canada lost the opportunity to bring in the new future, we lost the opportunity to be world leaders and innovaters in the new green technology and in high speed rail.
    Canada is going to be a second class country under the dull unimaginative leadership of Harper and his cronies.

  10. Garth who?
    Why does anyone care. He’s a failed and irrelevant ex-politician. The Liberal party’s rebirth began with Garth’s defeat. No one wanted him.

    • Well, I can agree that no political party caucus wanted him, and I’ll have to go along with his constituents not wanting him–what with the result of the last election and all, but I have to say I found him valuable. If I wanted to know what was going on without the ‘party line’ spin, I could always turn to his blog. Sure, I’d have to weed out a small amount of “it’s all about Me, Garth,” but that was a hell of a lot easier than trying to determine what the spin really meant.

      It’s unfortunate that those in the caucus didn’t quickly realize that one guy telling the truth at all times meant maybe they should all stick a little closer to truth and reality. Power, or the striving for power, does funny things to people.

  11. Most of hose comments reveal just what a bunch of bozos and yes, sheeple we keep on sending to Ottawa. Whatever has happened to the concept of public service in this country?

  12. It sounds so ‘right’ to say that you are going to do what your constitutents want… and I’m sure that is the aim of every MP when they are elected. Trouble is, constituents’ opinions range from black to white on almost every issue. Governments don’t ignore constituants’ issues… they have to try to figure out (usually as a team) which, of all the possibilities, is the best solution. And, I think, the present government is doing a good job.

    Also, there is no corroboration for any of these quotes. Knowing how Garth spun on his blog, these quotes could be the result of a fertile imagination. (Just a thought).

    • Maybe, but if so, he did a damn good job of capturing people’s characters!

  13. Deep thoughts Helena.

    Weird James Moore, webcasting glasses?

  14. To me it seems obvious, although that does not mean it is necessarily so, that if all MPs acted like Garth, then the whole of Parliament Hill would go to crap. I mean, just imagine the hell of 300 bloggers excitedly self-promoting every night. Yes, independence is good, but there needs to be some kind of compromise and playing together going on too, otherwise, nobody knows what in tarnation a given party is up to. Although, under current circumstances, that is still true, so maybe we’re no better off.

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