What was Stephen Harper thinking in 1997?

Apparently, coalitions haven’t always been a bad idea

by Aaron Wherry

Near the end of his TVO interview in 1997, Stephen Harper was asked who he thought would win the next election. You can advance to the ten-minute mark to see for yourself, but here is a transcript of his answer.

Well, it would really surprise me at the moment if the Liberals didn’t get the most seats. I mean, judging from all the, not just the polling data, but the fact they have such a wide coalition. The way the Liberals, I think, are eventually going to lose office, whether it’s in this election or the next one, is they’re going to fail to win a majority. They’ve basically lost Quebec and without Quebec the Liberal party has never been a majority party in this country. And that’s where I think you’re going to face, someday, a minority parliament, with the Liberals maybe having the largest number of seats, and what will be the test is whether there’s then any party in opposition that’s able to form a coalition or working alliance with the others. And I think we have a political system that’s going to continue to have three or four different parties, or five different parties, and so I think parties that want to form government are going to eventually have to learn to work together.

See previously: The guardian of our democracy, How late is too late? and What was Stephen Harper thinking in 2004?




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What was Stephen Harper thinking in 1997?

  1. "And that's where I think you're going to face, someday, a minority parliament, with the Liberals maybe having the largest number of seats, and what will be the test is whether there's then any party in opposition that's able to form a coalition or working alliance with the others"

    But that's SO 1997 Aaron. Move on man! It's a new centuary; time for a new kind of thinking…besides Harper has the largest number of seats now.

  2. Perhaps he was thinking that the only way for the Liberals to be dislodged from government was for, say, the two parties on the right of the political spectrum at the time to begin working together somehow. Shocking.

  3. Coalitions? The Prime Minister is going to be PISSED when he finds out he and this dude have the same name.

  4. If you look back on the parliament of 1997 and ask yourself, what coalition or working alliance might have been Harper thinking about, you get some interesting possibilities.

    Reform-Bloc? Not likely
    PC-NDP? Still a bit of a stretch.
    Reform-Progressive Conservative? What a sec! Maybe, and I know it was 14 years ago, but maybe Harper was think a working alliance of right of centre parties could replace a minority liberal government. Nah, that'd be crazy to think he'd think that. Clearly he had a Reform-Bloc coalition in mind this whole time!

  5. Of course, the heading above the video of the interview, "Stephen Harper and a United Right", might have led a reasonable person to consider that as a possible context of his remarks.

  6. Haha this one obviously blew up in Aaron Wherry's face.

    The coalition Harper is talking about was between the PC's and the Alliance.

    Cats away!

  7. The BrainDead Award goes to TimesArrow…
    Yes yer boy has the most seats NOW but if ya read the article you would have to acknowledge that Harper said…
    Parties must work together so that parties that did NOT have the most seats could take over.
    Duh!

  8. Same thing as he's thinking right this minute….what can I do to win?

  9. Wow – it's amazing how many people just don't get it – what we are witnessing right now is a result of a coalition – that's right folks the CPC is one of the primary consequences of pursuing a coalition in that sometimes – not always BUT a fair amount of the time – they result in a merger and just as the Reformers, Alliance and Progressives were merged by Harper (no small feat there folks – can anyone honestly imagine Iggy trying to control the LIB-NDP hahahahaha) … let's say the Lib's – NDP – BLOQ actually form a coalition – how many people want to bet that giant splits would start to occur and then only someone with machiavellian tendencies like another Harper would be able to put humpty dumpty back together again – check out England right now and those wanting a coaltion might just think again :)

  10. what happened to "losers don't get to make coalitions"?

  11. fail.

  12. Indeed, and Mario Dumont too.

  13. The PC and the Alliance is not a coalition. These parties no longer exist. They've been replaced by the CPC.

    The case of the Australian Coalition, for example, would be different because the parties (The Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia) still exist, have different leaders, run their own candidates, etc. That's a coalition.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coalition_(Australia

  14. The Stunning Illiterate Award goes to NorthernPoV

  15. Despite my snark earlier, I will say his comments on Quebec are particularly telling. Ontario from 1993-2004 really masked a major problem for the Liberals, namely that they haven't carried Quebec since 1980, which as Mr. Harper notes, was the backbone of their dominance.

  16. 1. Refresh my poor memory, was that quote before or after '97 ;)
    2. Damn right they don't. Of course the defitintion of who is the loser is made by the eventual winner, not nessecarily the immeadiate winner. What do I mean? If Harper 'wins' the most seats but less then a combined LPC-NDP it won't take long for the GG to inform Harper that he was actually the loser.

  17. No, because the PCC and the Alliance no longer exist.

    In a Coalition, the parties continue to exist, as is the case with the Australian Coalition of the Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia. Both run candidates; both have their own leaders. That is a coalition of parties.

    The Conservative Party of Canada is a new party. The PCC and the Allian no longer exist as parties.

  18. So right wing coalitions are good, progressive coalitions are bad. Got it.

  19. You might want to look up the word "coalition" in a dictionary.

  20. I am clearly no fan of Stephen Harper, but you certainly have to respect his political smarts.

  21. Reading comprehension epic fail.

  22. Good thing he didn't say, a coalition giving the Bloc a veto.

  23. You do have a point that Harper might have been thinking primarily about an alliance between Reform and the PCs, However what he said was:

    "and what will be the test is whether there's then any party in opposition that's able to form a coalition or working alliance with the others."

    Note the plural-form "the others" rather and "another party". I think Harper had a broader concept of a working alliance than you suggest.

  24. Exactly. How young was Aaron Wherry in 1997? Obviously not familiar with the politics of the day.

  25. I mean Cats is right

  26. Ddi you deliberatley fail to deal with the fact Harper seems to be arguing [in 1997] that notwithstanding the liberals holding most of the seats in a minority [theorectical] govt, a coaltion of opposition parties would be ok? Whether he actually meant a coaltion of opposition parties merely opposing or trying to to stage a "coup", isn't entirely clear. But his concluding sentence sure sounds like coalitions exercising power is ok.

  27. Possibly, but if you watch the video, the interviewer prefaced her question about who he thought would win the next election with a comment about a united right. Don't forget that even before the merger between the PCs and the Alliance was formalized, their caucuses sat together in the House for a time, and they certainly looked to be working with the other parties to go after the Liberals on the sponsorship scandal.

    There will always be those who like to look at the things Harper has said in the past about other opposition parties working together and compare them to a formal governing coalition like we saw proposed by Dion/Layton + Duceppe, but Harper's record both in opposition and in government has been to play the cooperation game far less formally.

  28. Livebloggin Junkie says
    ' If Harper 'wins' the most seats but less then a combined LPC-NDP it won't take long for the GG to inform Harper that he was actually the loser.'

    Not true.
    Unless PMSH resigns or until the House votes non-confidence, PMSH is PM, he is the incumbent.

    A 'minority' LibDip can approach the GG,
    but with out a majority coalition,
    a new election would be called, at PMSHs request.
    (this very subject came up during the British election,
    and the answer was Queen would call 'new election without a majority')

    But.you don't have to worry,
    Duceppe has already formalized Bloc participation in a coalition,
    it is written in their policy platform.
    All LibDips have to do is come up with $5 Billion to buy his support!

    Now if Liberals and Dippers would be so honest as to lay their cards on the table,
    Canadians can vote for the government they want.

  29. People who lecture Wherry because obviously Harper was talking about the Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives might want to pause to take their feet out of their mouths. In 1997, when Harper made these remarks, there was only Reform and the Progressive Conservatives. Between them, at dissolution in 1997 they held 52 seats. (After the election that number rose to 80, barely more than the Liberals alone have today.) The Canadian Alliance would not be founded until March 2000. You could look it up.

  30. Harper didn't make sense in 1997 and doesn't make sense now. At least he's consistent.

  31. No. Harper argued the party with the plurality of seats gets to make the call for possible partners. That doesn't seem to be what he said in 1997.

  32. Probably Harper was thinking about a coalition or working-alliance between Reform and the PCs but it's not at all clear that he envisioned a merger at that point. If the two parties were one before taking control of parliament, then why would he here appear to endorse the principle that different parties could/should work together.

  33. Good thing nobody has ever said that – although the Harper 2004 coalition, by definition, would have had to.

  34. What..when…where….my boy!..never! :)

  35. They took a bullet for the country…that is if you feel the charter wasn't a mistake.

  36. Eventually the distinctions Harper makes between Liberals in power and Conservatives in power will be whittled away until only one remains: one party's signs are red, the other's blue.

  37. Well, I would rather have a CPC-NDP coalition government
    then allow a Ignatieff to hand 30% of the power of the federal government over to the separatists.

    And if Jack is smart, he will detach the NDP from the Liberal butt and be as willing to work with a Conservative government as he was the separatists.

  38. That's a fair point, of course, reading precisely what he said in response to this question. Although the question itself did ask him to look toward, as you concede, a more hypothetical scenario in the future.

    Regardless, in terms of practical politics, I just don't see 1997's Harper being willing to concede much more than working with reasonably like-minded parties (i.e., the PCs). Especially in '97, it's not as though he was well known for his ideological flexibility with respect to, say, NDP economic policy or Bloc national unity policy.

  39. I am surprised you don't agree with Stephen harper that any bill which passes due to the support of the Bloc is illegitimate and should be considered as such.

  40. Harper said that:

    I think we have a political system that's going to continue to have three or four different parties, or five different parties, and so I think parties that want to form government are going to eventually have to learn to work together.

    Which, with all that went before, could mean that certain parties have to formally merge, win an election and form a government, or, that in the event of a hung parliament, a number of separate parties will have to work together if they want form a government.

    I favor the latter reading and believe that it reveals, that at this point in Mr. Harper's political journey, he was open to the concept that government by a coalition was possible, even if the largest party in parliament (The Liberals?) were not part of said coalition.

  41. So: With whom, precisely, was Harper expecting 80 or 100 or 120 Reform and PC MPs to form a coaltion, if they were to control 152 seats in a 301-seat Commons?

    Recall that when Harper gave this interview, there were 9 New Democrats in the House of Commons.

  42. Any coalition is ok,
    unless it includes the Bloc separatists.

  43. Oh yes, like for the civil definition of marriage…

    There was a time when Harper thought the world of Mario Dumont, and Harper has named a number of former ADQ officials to positions in Ottawa, including the Senate – and Dumont and his party were on the side of the YES in the 1995 referendum, as I recall.

  44. :)
    I wasn't (intentionly) suggesting it would be the GG who would take the initiative on his own, but even if the LPC-NDP coalition has less then a majority but more then the CPC, they would signal that they will vote down the Throne speech. I doubt the GG would disolve because the coalition didn't have a majority. So, signalling that the non-conf vote is coming at the first oppurtunity, I think PMSH would relinquish rather then be dumped. There won't be a third Harper minority. The lefties will bleat that there isn't a coalition, but it is facile, naive and incredulus to suggest they would just keep letting the CPC be the government if they could provide and alternative.
    Shorter version, in politics, you backslide, you lose.

  45. Yes. The party with the plurality gets (or should get) to make the call, but it doesn't mean anyone will answer.

  46. Are you suggesting the Bloc ????????????

    Wow!

  47. Imo, Harper predicted the minority situation we are in now, due to fact Libs can't get a majority without Quebec ( and CPC would dominate the West).
    He predicted the federalist parties would have to work together, formal or informal, case by case, coalitions (LibDip) or arrangements.

    But judging by how unprepared for the 2008 coalition he was,
    he never even entertained the idea that any party would ever bring the separatists into government.

  48. If Bloc MPs can't be in a coalition, why are they permitted to sit in the House at all? Shouldn't you draw and quarter them for sedition or something?

  49. 'I doubt the GG would disolve because the coalition didn't have a majority'
    In our Parliamentary system, yes the GG would dissolve.
    It would take a majority coalition to replace a sitting PM.
    Maybe a pair of duces trumps an Ace, but a 2 party minority does not dethrone a sitting Prime Minister

    'I think PMSH would relinquish rather then be dumped'
    He would you every tool available to him.
    And THIS TIME, he is prepared.

  50. Bob Rae used to be a Dipper, Scott Brison and Belinda Stronach ran for the CPC leadership.
    John Charest used to be a PC…….
    'Harper thought the world of Mario Dumont'
    and likely still does, I like Super Mario too.

  51. He was referring to the political term of "coalition of voters".

  52. I'm just going by what the British 'experts' said, is there precedent otherwise?

  53. Oh Boy did i ever forget to put my sarc alarm on!!

    Reading comprehension folks…it really helps ya know.

    That wasn't even close to my best conbot imitation either. :)

  54. Funny that those who are arguing that Harper must have meant a coalition of the Progressive Conservatives and Reform tend to forget that Presto and Harper were the ones who SPLIT from the Progressives – because they didn't think they were Conservative enough for them.
    So – either in 1997 – Harpie was feeling that – well for the sake of power – I could swallow my principles and align with the Progressives again OR – he was talking about other parties forming a coalition because none of them looked likely to have a majority of seats.
    either way – he seems to be neatly into a cleft stick!

  55. See Wells above. Obviously Harper has evolved in his thinking…or devolved depending on your point of view.

  56. Harper didn't have a majority coalition when he unseated Paul Martin in 2006. You're not making any sense.

  57. In Opposition, Mr. Harper frequently mused and wrote about the prospect (and Constitutional propriety) of smaller parties forming a coalition government should the Liberal control of the House weaken. As others here have pointed out, Harper would have to have included the Bloc in his 1997 calculations if Reform and PC were to gain the seats necessary to form a government.

  58. Good thing they didn't bring the Bloc into the government then, eh?

  59. Agree they don't have to answer.

    Disagree the party with the plurality should get the call. As i understand it they don't. Parliament can give its confidence where it wills.

    Again Harper seems to be pretty ambiguous in this quote as to whether he in fact supported [in 1997] the concept of a "coalition of losers." But it's not hard to draw the inference.

  60. Harper was also willing to get into bed with the Bloc in 2004.

    No one should be surprised that he also felt that way in '97.

    The hypocrisy and self-righteousness of Harper's rhetoric since the 2008 post-fiscal update crisis is stunning.

  61. "So: With whom, precisely, was Harper expecting 80 or 100 or 120 Reform and PC MPs to form a coaltion, if they were to control 152 seats in a 301-seat Commons?"

    The liberals of course PWs…isn't it obvious?

    You can't be suggesting the dreaded separatist traitors. You just can't! Are you trying to make someone cry!

  62. "But judging by how unprepared for the 2008 coalition he was, he never even entertained the idea that any party would ever bring the separatists into government."

    Except in 1997 and again in 2004.

  63. Too late… <sniffle>… TOO LATE!

  64. Aren't we all forgetting that irregardless of the issue – IOKIACDI

  65. "…"Stephen Harper and a United Right", might have led a reasonable person to consider that as a possible context of his remarks."
    OK, with one 10-letter word, you took the CONservatives right out of the equation.

  66. It is COMPLETELY unfair to compare anything Stephen Harper said before 2006, to anything Stephen Harper has said since 2006.

    Shame on you for stooping so low.

  67. Irregardless is not a word.

  68. Supposibly.

  69. Harper made a mildly suggestive statement regarding coalitions,

    14 years ago?

    I see we're near the bottom of the barrel in search of material to attack Harper with.

    Partisan enemies will always attack. It's what they attack with, that is telling.

    And this is telling me desperation time has set in.

  70. Would you be OK with the Bloc in a coalition government because I would not, and I think most canadians would feel very unhappy with that. They are separatists, did you hear about Duccepe crazy demands.

    Personally, I can wait for a leader who has the balls (pardon the expression!) to kick them out of Parliament, to me, the only way we are truly have a united Canada is when we stop kissing their butt.

    I love Quebec and I want them to fully embrace us, the whole country and be one but this nonsense has to end.

  71. And before you reply (if you do) I would never agree with Harper for making a deal with them either, It was a mistake for Harper and it is a mistake of anyone who would consider it , there I said my peace : )

  72. What amazes me is that none of the Conservatives popping up here are coming up with what seems to me to be the most obvious explanation of any inconsistencies in Stephen Harper's views over time, i.e. that he just changed his mind. It's got the advantage of plausibility–jebus knows I've changed my mind a whole lot of times since 1997–and of not requiring one to attempt to contort oneself into hilarious but ultimately impossible knots.

    But instead, it seems to be inconceivable to these people that Stephen Harper could have been wrong about anything ever. So if he said two things that appear to be contradictory, well, obviously they're NOT contradictory–it's just a matter of figuring out exactly how they're consistent.

  73. "Too late"…i think that was someone else's line too, was't it?

  74. Alternately, despise his political ethics.

  75. In total agreement

  76. Since when as that ever stopped her?

  77. Nowhere in the interview does he advocate that a coalition could/would be with a party which plans on breaking up the country. Also, at least we know where he was and what he was saying 14 years ago – how about Mr. Ignattief

  78. Every once in a while someone posts on these boards with actual facts.

    it is refreshing.

  79. And that's why his majority or coalition campaign will work, that's my personal opinion!

  80. It is amazing how so many people completely distort the arrangement between the coalition and the Bloc. the word "veto" was not part of that agreement.

  81. It is so, it's a ginormous word and it is in the OED.

    I love dropping it in occasionally because just like Roger Rabbit could not resist Doom's "shave and a haircut" tap, pedants can't resist this either. Present company excepted of course.

  82. And a less mildly suggestive one more recently, while in power.. hmmmmm

  83. oooooh, points for trying, and within only a few hours of it being brought to light!

  84. "I see we're near the bottom of the barrel in search of material to attack Harper with."

    Funny, I was thinking the exact same thing about damn near everything the Conservatives have ever attacked Ignatieff with, but most especially the last "he thinks our flag is a beer label".

  85. Forget the Charter, imagine the reign of Mulroney if Trudeau had failed to repatriate the constitution itself. Can you imagine how the second referendum would have gone – and that was before the clarity act (another Liberal initiative).

  86. What an odd comparison. None of the people you cite have ever supported separatism.

  87. Nowhere does Harper say that he would not work with a party which plans on negotiating a new partnership with Canada. Indeed, three years later, he suggested Alberta should seek a new partnership with Canada. Mr. Harper was very close to the ADQ in Quebec, led by Mario Dumont, and he has appointed a number of former ADQ officials, including some in the Senate. Mr. Dumont and his ADQ were working on the YES side during the 1995 referendum. I also note that Mr. Harper has appointed a former PQ MNA to the Senate.

    Mr. Ignatieff was not in politics 14 years ago. Like ordinary Canadians, he was free to pursue his career.

  88. I think you're probably right.

    But I think he changed his mind about coalitions the second the agreement between Layton and the LPC landed on his desk, and I think he'd change it back if he felt it would give him an advantage.

  89. See? Invented conditions to attempt to create illegitimacy.

    Remember when Harper said any BILL passed because of BLoc support was illegal? Why did that position suddenly drop?

  90. Digging deep

    .The libs must be in more trouble than they think.Of course its not bad idea.Its bad idea when the bloc are sitting in the government and Dion promises them the world, then its really really wrong.Do you really think Harper would have gone that route.-no.

  91. Bingo!

  92. The odd thing is having lost Q basically due to principle is why haven't they even come near to devising a strategy to winning Quebec back? Not an easy task i grant you.

    I'd rather not imagine a referendun with Mulroney at the helm thxs.

  93. You re making too much sense !

  94. Bingo!

  95. Is that why poll shave him at 37-39%.You dont make much sense, thats for sure

  96. That said, it is truly unfortunate that Harper has never applied the same focus to governance that he has to politics.

  97. Of course in doing so, they would also have to admit that anyone might change their mind. Or that, gasp, "context" might have to be considered when scrutinizing quotes – and that, would attach an unwanted caveat to Conservative attack ads.

  98. Harper thinking………..find a group of people………..get them to give me a lot of their money………..make me their leader and I'll smash the Liberals! Ya……that's it. I'll smash the Liberals and I'll be the King, I'll make the rules, I'll break the rules even if their my rules….I'm all powerful. Of ya, and Canada can help me with that too.

  99. "any party would ever bring the separatists into government "
    In 1984 the PC party under Lyin' Brian, did just that.

    And unlike the unfulfilled 2008 situation, the separatists got to sit at the cabinet table …. and almost got away with breakin up the country.

  100. Matt, irregardless is a word. It is gramatically incorrect. The correct word is regardless. Irrespective is also acceptable. Irregardless is actually the opposite of regardless…but I digress. You, and people like you who point out other people's gramatical errors, spelling errors and typos instead of concentrating on their messages come across as rude and small minded. If that is not your intent, I suggest you stop the behavior.

  101. Actually, Dion – the author of the Clarity Act – got two years of unconditional support from the Bloc. That's more quiet support than anyone since the Bloc was created.

  102. Do you guys really know what you are doing? We have chaos around the world. We have our major trading partner south of the border virtually in rebellion when opposition parties flee the state and hide out in hotels so they don't have to do their jobs. In Canada we talk about what an MP at the time said about some form of coalition. If that doesn't work then we have the Bev Oda issue where she may have lied and had a not inserted in a document. If this is all the media and the opposition parties can talk about we are in mighty fine shape. No wonder the polls support the government. Some of you people including Wherry need to give your heads a shake.

  103. You are right about the coalition in the U.K. We were talking to people from the U.K. recently. They said the coalition is about to split because Cameron knows what he is doing but the junior partners act like they are still in opposition. They called them second rate. It is very difficult to govern when the political philosophies of the two parties are widely different.

  104. Harper won the most seats so Martin resigned.
    Libs + Dippers only had 132 seats, but still beat Harpers 124.
    Why didn't the LibDips form a coalition government, incumbent PM Martin had first chance to do so, even tho Harper won more seats?
    he needed a majority

  105. What are you talking about. The opposition parties voted non confidence and an election was called. Where was the coalition? Help me to understand what you meant.

  106. Let her dream sammy. She lives in the Liberal world of hoping and praying the polls are not true and do not reflect the opinion of Canadians.

  107. No because it never happened.

  108. Agree 100% with that!

  109. To me that's the beauty of this interview, that's why running his campaign with a majority government or a coalition will work fine, because at some point Ignatieff and Layton have to admit that they could form a coalition, it will be stupid not to, Ignatieff would be a terrible leader if the oportunity presented itself and he didn't take it, so as long as it is possible, it works and Harper once again is right.

    This video is a good thing, just proved Harper's point.

  110. I don't think he changed his mind about coalitions, I think he just found a window when LPC and Layton invited Duccepe, that's when he could fight it.

  111. "Do you guys really know what you are doing? We have chaos around the world."

    you think our response to the protests around the world for democracy is to end ours?

  112. Defenestration is what happens to Clouseau . . . and to this government I would submit..

  113. You know we can debate how he Stephen Harper really feels about coalitions to the cows come home. But there's something that I think we can actually determine if we get the right sources. Does Stephen Harper wear a toupee? And if not why does his hair look so unlike any other hair that I have ever seen both then and in the present.

  114. Awww thats so moving …. but actually he's writing the constitution for his new domain.

    Albertawan

  115. Well here is what our prime monister was thinking in 1994. And nothing he does indicates he is wavering in the slightest.

    “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.”

    ~ Stephen Harper

    (Speech to the Colin Brown Memorial Dinner, National Citizens Coalition, 1994)

  116. The left propoganda machien hard a wurk, again. C'mon FoxNewsNorth…

  117. Yes, because kicking their elected representatives out is a sure way to get them to embrace us.

    "Hey, we love you guys.. just as long as we can keep you out of our democracy.."

  118. To be more accurate, it's been to avoid cooperating wherever humanly possible.

  119. Shweeet!

  120. er… maybe the dippers didn't want a coalition?

  121. Better get back to your post soldier…the con numbers have sprung a leak and are headed down…down …down:)

  122. How is our democracy threatened? Beacause the opposition parties and the left wing media say so. I still have all my rights and freedoms. I still get up in the morning hug my family, go out into the crisp cool air, have enough money to pay my bills etc. etc.
    Problem is you people don't have enough to whine about so you try inventing stuff.
    This blog is about what Harper said in 1997, People on this board are tying to pychoanalyze what Harper meant or did not mean. Its stupid.
    If the government did what you profess you want done and told everything absolutely everything what would you do with all that information. I would suggest you would shrug and move on. If the jets cost $15 or 20 billion what would you do with that information as a citizen. Nothing. However, the media and the opposition and we partisans on this board would spin it negatively for all it is worth. Thus creating even more cynicism among the population who know it is only a game.
    Democracy my a$$. Its pure talking points and you know it.

  123. Now there is a real discussion we could have. Some of the commenters would analyze it to death and of course then come to the conclusion that Stephen Harper for not telling us he wears a wig he should be drawn and quartered on Parliament Hill for all the world to see.

  124. The only legitimate government is one comprised of the majority of members of Parliament representing the majority of voters in their districts.
    Which parties or group of parties they affiliate with is totally immaterial.
    Anything else is undemocratic.

    A

  125. That quote is out of context. He is obviously speaking about the movement to unite the right, which he did and the successfully formed a government which has lasted 5+ years.

  126. MikeT wrote:

    “Actually, Dion – the author of the Clarity Act – got two years of unconditional support from the Bloc. That’s more quiet support than anyone since the Bloc was created.”

    ACtually, Mike….the CLARITY ACT has its origins from a REFORM MP prior to the 1995 Referendum that the Liberals almost lost on us.

    Chretien was presented with a list of questions and requirements about quebec seperation by a young Reform MP, and he turned it down. After almost losing the referendum, Chretien took this REFROM MP”s work, gave it to Dion, and told him to make it sound Liberal. The result, is the Clarity ACt.

    Who was the Reform MP who origianlly wrote what was to become the Clarity Act, Mike?

    I’ll give you a hint………he’s currently our Prime Minister.

    OH…and by the way, he’s also the same Reform MP who wrote the economic policy for the reform party on how to slay the deficit………which was promptly once again “borrowed” by Jean Chretien and Paul Martin.

    Just so you know….

  127. Oh come on! 1997 was the height of Stephen Harper's halcyon days. You know, before he started spending his nights alone in his office with only stacks of job creating and international-strife-keeping-at-bay correspondence and a camera crew to keep him company.

    No one can be held to the things they said in their youth (or letters to the Governor General they co-signed with the separatists and the solicalists on September 9th 2004). Honestly!

  128. Good one. In any event, his comments are general enough that one could put various interpretations on them. A point that some are missing is that traditionally a coalition does include the party with the most votes. It's when it usurps the party with the most votes and does so VERY SHORTLY AFTER AN ELECTION BEFORE ANY GOVERNING HAS HAPPENED that it violates (I think) some principal of democracy.

  129. James, you gotta stop confusing the deluded with facts. especially the local ring master. !4 yearsago he was probably an undergrad or high school senior. Obviously the twitter/facebook generation have pumped themselves up in their own echo chamber and been talking theory and black and white problems/solutions. Meanwhile the adults have been governing and actually engaging with multiple real threats to our national future and the 164 shades of grey each challenge presents. I think it is telling that the only areas of Canada that support the Liberals are the big cities. Almost without exception, where primary manufacturing, or resource extraction (you know those old-school industries that generate foreign exchange and genuinely add to the national treasury as a net benefit, as opposed to the parasitic class living off the fat of the productive) dominate, so does the CPC. In other words people who generate wealth for a living like the CPC, or at the very least, fear the alternative. People who consume the wealth of the productive like swarms of mosquitos in Northern Ontario are trying to get back on the gravey train.

  130. I for one think that poll is true and likely DOES reflect the opinion of Canadians. I'm absolutely certain that about 60% of Canadians want someone other than the Tories in charge.

    I note as well that the most recent poll has the Tories at 32% with a 5% lead, a pretty big and fast drop from those recent higher polling numbers. I think this fits with the often made argument that as soon as Canadians see the Tories getting in to majority territory in the polls some voters (who are fine with a Tory minority but don't want a Tory majority) pull back. IMHO, being back at their ceiling in the polls is good for the Tories, but it's still a ceiling.

  131. KING Harper is the BIGGEST LIAR.

    This is the guy who became KING (or DICTATOR) in Dec 2008 when he RAN AWAY TO HIDE from a scheduled non confidence vote that the Opposition had ALREADY publicly announced they would defeat the PM on (to try to run the Government with a coalition) by using MOB RULE (organizing rallies right across Canada claiming to be OUR savior from the EVIL SEPARATISTS taking what was REALLY Parliamentary business (i.e. up to our MPs to vote on) to the people aka MOB RULE … it was NOT an election, it was MP business … MOB RULE) to basically steal our democracy from use by claiming he know BEST (that was the whole point of the non confidence vote, HE DIDN'T) … ONLY a KING can do that (a PM must ALWAYS maintain the confidence of the House, HE DIDN'T).

    NOT really a PM but a KING.

  132. You are NOT my Canada.

  133. STEVE MUBARAK musing…….that the Parties will have to learn to work together.

    Then he had this to say in '97 which any self-respecting Candian would treat with alarm if not downright anger at his narrow-minded Bushleague view:

    "It's past time that we scrapped the National Healthcare Act….privatization is the only way for us to……

    Prorogation – shutting down Democracy to hold on to Power
    Refusal to abide by the Rules of Parliament (Bev Odious, Detainees, Long-form as Stevie hates FACTS, disrespecting even the low-level women in his Cabinet)
    Disdain for Democracy itself!

    No wonder his spouse had to be forced to appear with him on CTV to dispell the well-known facts that she's left Harper for her RCMP officer-bodyguard! He is a hypocrite living a lie, but holding on to power — and to his phony WIG! At least now taxpayers don't have to pay for 24/7 hairdresser from CTV!..

    Coalition now!

  134. Stevo Gaddafi is far more appropriate Ronald!!!

    This man is a farce and an embarassment to any Canadian who rembers that Pearson and Tommy Douglas REALLY worked together to give Canadians what the Americans only dream of: Medicare in the mid-60s. And Pearson did get the NOBEL PEACE PRIZE for this.

    Harpo–no Vision just a dictatorial piece of luck as the Opposition is too civilized to oppose this neanderthal Blast from the Past…

    God save us

  135. Harper DID in fact include the Bloc and the 2003 letter sen to G-G was signed by both the BLOC and the NDP Leaders, after being asked by Harper to form a COALITION of the cons, libs and ndpers.

    The man is not worthy of sitting as the head of our country. No wonder we lost the UN Security Council coveted seat this year—the first time in 60 years. That was a slap on the diplomatic face of Canada and it should fall on Harper who has disgraced this good country and made it resemble a Banana Republic, not the nation that was respected by all countries before 2005. Shame on this short-sighted meanspirited country bumpkin.

  136. Our current ruling Minority Forever Government IS a Coalition:

    Conservatives/Reformers/Alliance

    The CRAP PARTY!

    If only the 25% of Candians who believe that Crappers should rule this beautiful land and DISMANTLE it in due course, removing the fed authority and letting the wayward Provinces have their own way…..woke up before it's too late and we become the 52nd STATE of UNION after Puerto Rico. Harper' s Dream: Dismantle the country…true libertarian without the brains

  137. Laureen Harper left her husband for a RCMP bodyguard and lives in a condo in Ottawa.

    They appeared together cause Harper told her he needed her cover.

    Andrew Cohen in the Ottawa Citizen alludes to this and Norman Spector had a Globe article that the editor pulled.

    HARPER'S WIFE LEFT HIM over a year ago for her female bodyguard. Everybody knows this.

    - That's why the lovey-dovy Interview with Petie @ CBC

  138. He's writing "not" on a vast number of funding requests.

  139. To complete the story, here's what Mr. Harper had to say about the NDP, the Party he needs to help him pass his budget in the same year:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2011/01/is-s

    I would suspect that Mr. Harper's true beliefs are reflected in what he said then as opposed to the Harper of today who says what is likely to garner him the most votes.

  140. Thing is, though, Claudia, Harper – based on his rhetoric – now considers ANY coalition evil and anti-Canadian. Presumably this is because there's no party that would be willing to be in a coalition with the CPC under his leadership…?

    The quote does demonstrate, once again, Harper's willingness to switch sides on a debate without even bothering to acknowledge that he once thought differently.

  141. Doesn't matter which parties he's referring to; a coalition is a coalition. Back then, when it would have been to the advantage of the parties of the right, it was seen by him as a good thing. When it isn't to his advantage, it's evil incarnate.

  142. Consider, too, that the Bloc was formed by a former Mulroney conservative. Other than the separation thing, they may not be as far apart ideologically as some might think…

  143. talk about trying to make something out of nothing.. who wrote this Iggy Pop?

  144. You need to review your parliamentary rules and procedures.

  145. The same Norman Spector article that was torn to pieces by many respected journalists including Paul Wells of this magazine?

    The same Norman Spector article that was pulled from the Globe's website due to its questionable claims? Even the Globe has done its best to distance itself from the article.

    Why should anyone take such accusations seriously, considering the above?

  146. No. But Iggy Pop did write "I'm a Conservative". It's on 'Soldier'. And it's actually funny, too.

  147. Hear, hear, Claudia!

  148. quotations out of context? But that doesn't matter to Wherry. It's all about distorting the truth. There's no longer a debate possible on macleans blog central. It's all become so empty.

  149. This from the man who can't get past ADSCAM. You constantly try to hold current libs responsible for the actions of people no longer representing the party and hold it up as a reason not to elect the current roster – and yet it's OK to forgive Harper for a 360-degree about-face and call it desperate to point out that one of his key planks – coalitions are evil and anti-Canadian – is completely hypocritical?

    Well, i give you credit for the consistency of your absurdities…

  150. It also points out what a lying hypocrite he is…

  151. He seems to be confusing "less" and "worse" these days. He promised the former but has not delivered; but he's come through in spades on the latter.

  152. As pointed out elsewhere in this thread by others:
    1) Harper was part of the Reform Party, which SPLIT the right;
    2) in 1997, the right-of-centre parties taking power with a coalition would have required the support of the Bloc.

    So no, it's not obvious. And besides, he was clearly talking about a coalition, not a merger. A coalition is a coalition is a coalition…

  153. Absolutely right, Oh-one-with tonge-in-cheek' !

  154. love the sham (shame) included…………so typical……………….

  155. How can anyone trust a guy with a toupee?

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