Your region in power

by Aaron Wherry

Mr. Harper’s closing pitch to a crowd in Sault Ste Marie this morning.

We’re coming to many areas of the country that have been unrepresented in government for some time. And one of the things we say is look at what we just went through in the recession and isn’t it a shame that it took Tony Clement down in Muskoka, Greg Rickford up in Kenora, to identify the kind of priorities we need here in Sault Ste Marie. You know, when there are serious economic issues facing communities and facing people in northern Ontario, they do not need MPs whose simple view is they’re going to vote against everything. We don’t need MPs whose whole goal is to just work with the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois on arrangements against the government. We need people who are going to work with the government and with the people in this area to make things actually happen for this area.




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Your region in power

  1. Shorter Harper. If you want your pork, I'm the farmer.

  2. "Elect Conservative MPs, and your land shall be dotted with the finest of gazebos. Gazebos as far as the eye can see! It will be glorious! Glorious!"

  3. Priority is to get a Conservative MP. Guaranteed millions of federal tax dollars will come your way if you vote for us. Yesterday's message was don't trust politicians and today it's here's why.
    Good Lord

  4. A gazebo in every yard!

  5. How many gazebos does it take to balance the budget?

  6. Unbelievable that he's so brazen in his unconcealed attempt to bribe people with their own money. This from the leader of the party that claims to be the wisest stewards of the public purse.

  7. I don't see where he said that. What he did say is that, as Wherry's headline states, the region can decide if it wants representation in government or cabinet. Right? Not sure why this is such a horror to some. Then again, when you force an election about nothing, and get nowhere fast, I guess I can kind of see the frustration — kind of.

    • I find it more telling that it's not a horror to you. Just how low have you set the bar?

      • Ridings having MP's actually serving in government or cabinet is a horror to you, is it? What in the world is wrong with some of you? God. next.

    • The point is, just by electing an MP they should have representation. That's why we call them "representatives"

      The fact that Harper chooses not to listen to them for anything except when it's his job on the line should be of some concern.

      • He knows.

        And I suspect that you know he knows. ;-)

  8. Gotta agree with those who are calling this a pretty pork-fisted attempt to persuade people to vote Tory. The other parties could try to use this to attack the character and integrity of the Tories, but I'm not sure if this is the sort of thing that will offend the sensibilities of an electorate that so far hasn't let any previous gaffe or scandal affect Tory support levels, and I seriously doubt it would raise much disagreement within the undoubtedly partisan audience that Harper was speaking to.

  9. There's more to regional representation in government than gazebos, folks. I think you all know that.

    • I know but I don't want a steamboat in my backyard. I want a gazebo

      • Could we interest you in a log carved into a Lighthouse? There are some leftover from the Muskoka Legacy Fund.

    • Ahh, but does Tony?
      ;)

      • Putting aside this usual opposition nonsense, I'm sure he does. Question is: Does Saul Ste Marie? ;)

  10. Sault Ste Marie is shaping up to be a close race between the CPC and the NDP. In the last election, the NDP's Tony Martin won by just over a thousand votes (3% margin). The Liberal candidate was a very distant third.

    The NDP is surging in Quebec, but in many Ontario ridings the party has run into a brick wall in terms of growing its support. With eight days to go until a probable CPC majority, it's quite possible that some swing voters may see an advantage in being represented for the next four years by an MP from the governing party.

    • especially the most partisan, vengeful prime minister in history!

    • I'd argue that a good MP will represent his or her riding well whether they're in government or not. My riding has had opposition MPs, government MPs, both provincially and federally, and there has been no measurable difference between any of them based on whether they were in government or in opposition. A good MP is a good MP.

      Why would a government MP be better than an opposition MP on day-to-day matters in the riding other than the potential access to pork?

      • I agree that a good MP is a good MP, regardless of whether the MP is in government or in opposition. For day-to-day matters, it shouldn't make too much of a difference.

        However, there are situations where having a MP on the government side can make a difference in situations that don't involve pork. Consider Sault Ste. Marie's former Liberal MP, the late Carmen Provenzano. According to wiki, "Provenzano was a member of the parliamentary steel caucus. As the Sault's MP, he considered his involvement in the successful restructuring of Algoma Steel a significant personal achievement."

        In an industry town like Sault Ste. Marie, having representation at the government table can make a difference when it comes to federal government decisions that affect the industries and the largest employers.

        • He couldn't have done the same job as an opposition member? I would think he could have been a member of 'steel caucus' if he was an opposition MP, unless it was the 'Liberal steel caucus.'

          • He couldn't have done the same job as an opposition member?

            Maybe he could have. I don't know—it's an interesting hypothetical. Ideally, it wouldn't make a difference whether he was in government or opposition, but I suspect Provenzano was probably more effective in this role because of his place at the government table.

          • " I suspect Provenzano was probably more effective in this role because of his place at the government table"

            In a majority scenario, yes. In a minority scenarios it's the opposition that has the most votes in Parliamentary Committees.

          • I was a lobbyist when Chretien and Martin were PMs. It made a huge difference whether one was in the government caucus. Yes Virginia, there is a difference.

          • Thanks for providing a healthy dose of experience and common sense.

          • Your gullibility notwithstanding, he pretty much confirms what I said.

          • So far today, you've accused me of "gullibility" and "vitriol". Are you sure you understand what these words actually mean?

          • You seem pretty quick to throw idealism under the bus and settle for experience and common sense. ;-)

            Doesn't this appeal for folks to elect a government MP (it will be worth your while, don't you know) stick in your craw even a little bit? Is it completely consistent with the theme of accountability and transparency and all those other high-mnded ideals that the CPC and its recent ancestors used to campaign about?

        • If the MP has something useful to say, s/he should be listened to no matter what party they're from. Furthermore, i would think your natural inclinations would lead you away from praising partisan government involvement in a restructuring,e xcept as creditor.

          • I wasn't "praising" anything. Generally I'm very opposed to government bailouts, and I'm slightly less opposed to government involvement in a company's restructuring.

            I just brought it up as a relevant example of a government MP effectively representing his riding's interests. Would Provenzano have been equally effective as an opposition MP in the same situation? It's an interesting question.

          • So your best defence of why it's really really good to get a government MP into power other than pork barreling is an "interesting" hypothetical.

          • Ideally, it shouldn't matter whether one is represented by a government MP or an opposition MP, in terms of regional interests. The government represents all Canadians equally and all ridings equally, not just the ones who voted for them.

            However, in certain specific situations, an MP may be able to advocate for his or her constituents more effectively if he or she is in government rather than opposition. I'm pretty sure this is corroborated by academic studies.

            Anyway, I agree that one shouldn't vote for a candidate just because that candidate belongs to a party that is likely to form government. There are dozens of better criteria upon which to base one's voting decision.

          • Some Gun and Rifle sympathy group is running an attack ad in my riding against Carol Hugues because she publicly said that even though she knew some of her constituency would be angered by her decision, she chose to vote to keep the gun registry.

            Time will tell if it works.

      • That's like saying it doesn't matter what the composition of Parliament is in relation to the makeup of the government. That, of course, is untrue. There are all kinds of aspects to governing that matter and that cannot be influenced directly from the opposition benches.

        Surely it makes a difference if your local MP is a member of cabinet versus an opposition backbencher, doesn't it? It means you have greater access to power. That may mean more federal dollars in the riding. It may mean your riding gets a better hearing at the cabinet table. So and and so for. The idea that it doesn't really matter I don't think reflects on the way our system is structured.

        • Well then which is it? is harper carefully managing the economy or is he pork barreling it?

          Can't be both.

        • 'There are all kinds of aspects to governing that matter and that cannot be influenced directly from the opposition benches.'

          Maybe in broad government policy, stuff that was actually developed by that party at their own policy conventions and later implemented by that party once they got into power. But in terms of day to day matters in a riding, stuff that's very specific and certainly not partisan, a good MP is a good MP. Put it this way: would you vote for a doofus candidate who will be in government, or a hard-working and credible candidate who will be in opposition?

          There's a trade-off. A government MP might have (slightly) more access to power in a 'non-pork' way, I guess, in an informal kind of way, but an opposition MP is also able to be more vocal and outspoken on local issues because they don't have to worry about crossing the boss (and I mean that in a non-partisan way… I've noticed this bump-on-a-log phenomenon in my own riding with both Liberal and Conservative reps).

          • and i know you know this, but a good government would listen to the concerns of an opposition MP and if it was a good idea to act on them they would be foolish not to.

  11. "…they do not need MPs whose simple view is they're going to vote against everything."

    I don't know what Parliament Harper has been attending, but the Canadian one definitely did NOT have an opposition who voted against everything.

    Once in a while I'm freshly shocked at how shameless Harper is. Everything that comes out of his mouth serves a political end, with no requirement to link to reality.

    • Yeah, you’re right. They didn’t always vote against everything. Sometimes they just abstained altogether from voting.

  12. When did the Coyne smackdown occur – I missed it? Don't suppose you have a video handy?

      • Man, I'm not so sure Coyne smacked down Mulcair. Mulcair got some very, very good shots in at Coyne, and attacked the article on several reasonable fronts. Not sure either of them 'won' the debate, as it got extremely nasty at times, but I certainly wouldn't say Coyne came off better than Mulcair.

      • Thanks for posting this but Mulclair wiped the floor with Coyne. The article was not Macleans finest journalistic moment.

  13. it's justified.

    • It was unfortunate, but I feel the conservatives making the unjustified claims are just as much to blame.

      • Of course you do. You blame everything on the conservatives, including rainy days and cakes that don't rise. Why you keep repeating it I don't know, we already know that you think everything bad that has ever happened was caused by the conservatives, including all the world wars and every famine in history. You never even bother justifying anything you say, all you do is clutter up pages like this one by repeating the same thing over and over again, with no analysis, no reasoning, no evidence and nothing of interest at all.

        • Go easy on poor Mike T. He's probably feeling pretty glum now that his beloved Liberals are in third place, poised for a historic, crushing defeat.

          • Which, if it comes to pass, will again be the fault of those Evil Conservatives. The bane of our existence.

          • Well actually, it WOULD be no?
            ;)

  14. Which has what, exactly, to do with the claim Harper is the most partisan, vengeful PM in history?

    Oh yeah. Nothing. Nothing at all.

  15. "… and isn't it a shame that it took Tony Clement down in Muskoka, Greg Rickford up in Kenora, to identify the kind of priorities we need here in Sault Ste Marie. You know, when there are serious economic issues facing communities and facing people in northern Ontario, they do not need MPs whose simple view is they're going to vote against everything"

    The only logical conclusion of this demagoguery, even after you discount the blatant vote against everything distortion, is what do we need an opposition for at all?
    I can't believe we are going to grant a majority to a man who only pays lip service to democracy, and then not at at if it should prove an impediment to him or his party. Sad days for Canada indeed!

    • Well, yesterday Harper did say that people shouldn't put their absolute trust in politicans and then, of course, made his pitch for a majority.

      • Not even a pretence of being transpaent or accountable or cleaning up Ottawa anymore. Just: If you want your share of the pork, you have to pay the toll at the poll.

  16. Harper presided over the near complete collapse of the forest industry in northern Ontario, and while throwing tons of money at the auto industry, didn't come up with any help at all with the economic adjustment in single industry communities devastated by mill closures.

    • Yes it's Harper's fault the the US dollar has collapsed…it's also his fault that the opposition forced him into a 'stimulus package' ….it is also Harper's fault that the newspaper industry and housing industry have collapsed in the US…I am sure he's responsible for the longer than usual winter this year as well. Maybe it would be better to borrow money to pay you to cut down trees no one wants or needs right now? Happy?

      • It may have escaped your notice that no one was buying cars at the time either?

      • 1. If Harper wants to take credit for the jobs created with his low corporate tax policy, maybe he can also take credit when it doesn't work.

        2. He was in Sault Ste. Marie where there is a Forestry College. Shouldn't he have something relevant to offer for this industry? That doesn't have to mean subsidies for the industry, it can be loans or assistance for starting small scale lumber mills, or run of the river hydro projects. If he was serious about representing the region, he'd have something that fit in with his party's prlatform to offer, not just tourism spending in the far southern part of "northern" Ontario.

        3. I see he's spreading the love today for asbesto, a dying industry if there ever was one. If he can prop that up, why not forestry? Does he love Quebec ridings more than the ones in northern Ontario?

    • here, have a gazebo in Huntsville!

  17. Wow, sounds like the Liberal position vis western canada for the last oh…EVER.

  18. I've never even heard of this Clement gazebo thing or the nightstar thing, and I follow politics more than most people. There is only one on that list that will last, and that's Dingwall and his entitlements. The rest have already been forgotten. 99% of Canadians never saw the Mulcair interview. It was definitely a lively interview, but hardly something that will stick with either Coyne or Mulcair.

    • I've never even heard of this Clement gazebo thing

      Wow. Just… wow.

      • I figured I'd let the comment stand on its own. Really needs nothing from me.

        • Well, I could have let your comment stand on its own, but I chose to point out the stupidity in it instead. I think I'll reiterate just how stupid it was. It's along the same lines as when you thought the Republicans were a Canadian party.

          • Keep digging, my popcorn's almost ready.

  19. Duplessis would be proud.

  20. I do recall I told you this:

    "lies are your modus operandi"

    "I can assure you that no comment you've posted anywhere on these boards that I've seen has been witty in any way, shape or form. Nothing. Ever."
    http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/04/06/sun-family-val

    Sadly, some things never change.

    • Re: "lies" — I also recall you told me that. But you didn't point any out.

      Let me know when you're ready to.

      • Just follow the link, simple as that.

        • Ah yes, the heady days of when I was accusing you of being a partisan who would say anything, who would invent the most convoluted interpretations of events, who would deny the veracity of facts placed before you, in order to protect your team. Good times.

          Now if I want to get all Clintoney about it — sorry, we're Canadians, so make that Odaesque — that's not strictly a "lie", since I was offering my interpretation (strongly-worded, yes) of your general posting strategy and hypothesizing about the motives behind it. I'm not gonna dig back through your history to look for examples, because in all honesty I'd rather watch season one of The Rockford Files.

          Suffice to say I stand by my position that you comport yourself with what might very charitably be described as "enthusiastic hyperbole". I'll leave it to other readers to follow along with both of our posting histories if they're so inclined and make up their own minds. If you want to call what I said "lies" then we'll agree to disagree on an issue that is not centered on a provable fact and can't be decided either way in any case. So go ahead and call that a win if you like, I won't lose sleep.

          Besides, today's revelation that you've never heard of Clement's Gazebo Follies offers a whole new possible way for me to interpret the things you say here, and a much more entertaining one at that.

          • You know what, s_c_f? I think things are getting too heated and personal between us, so I'm gonna go out on a limb and apologize for being more of a dick than I needed to be, and try to be a little more gentle when I disagree with your posts, and leave it at that.

            You do make good arguments sometimes, which I credit you for, and I tend to only reply to you when I think you're being unnecessarily abrasive. I doubt I'll stop calling you out on that when I feel I see it, but I'll try to keep the humorous side of the back-and-forth more in focus.

          • Sure, I can agree to that, I apologize for the nasty comments, I would prefer to never feel the desire or need to write such things, and I sure as heck do not wish to discuss anything about that gazebo any further.

  21. You can't be an ex-anglo, either you're an anglo or you're not.

    • Yikes, that's some serious pork.

      • Yep. Maybe you owe Halo an apology…

        • Mrs Hudson, ready my fainting couch!

          • OH

            MY

            GOD

            That is THE post of the year.

        • No, not at all. You must be joking. Unfortunately, I know you're not. Oh well.

  22. Considering that many of the regions which are essential parts of the engine of the Canadian economy won't be voting CPC, Harper needs to be very very clear if he intends to focus on the economy, or to pork barrel in ridings he wins narrowly.

    Because if he's right and the only focus is the economy, his plan could be a disaster.

  23. Why would any Canadian in their left mind vote NDP?!…

    A party who has forced MEDICARE on every CDN?, only people who can pay out of their own pockets wile bleeding to death in a ditch should be able to get medical treatment or too bad!…

    A party whose founder Tommy Douglas was voted the GREATEST CANADIAN in the history of our country!, who does he think he is?!…

    A party who cares about the people?!?!, forget the people!, what about the oil companies, banks & big corporations?!, their only making millions in profits!, crap I'm out of bread & water again…

    A leader who thinks the credit card companies are charging us to much interest?!, who cares if Canadians are drowning themselves in dept!, keep the government out of the billionaires business!…

    I mean geeze baaa! The other parties & media etc keep telling me not to vote NDP baaa! they say the SKY WILL FALL! baaa! you'd be crazy baaa! to think for yourself! baaa! you know you can TRUST what baaa! the other parties tell you to FEAR baaa!.

    Baaa!…

  24. Wherry you make us all weary. If there's a reason for voter apathy, it's your non-stop negativity regarding the government. Most of us just read this crap and say why bother?

    • Not me.

    • Wherry's a bit young to be responsible for voter apathy, which has been on a pretty uninterrupted trajectory for the past 40 or 50 years.

    • Not me – it fires me up – vote early and often!

  25. It's only fitting that Keith from Brampton would chime in. LOL

    It's spelt "rhinoceros".

    • So it is; I was half asleep when I typed that.

      …as if you never make typos…

  26. An anglophone is an English-speaking person (usually referring only to a person's first language), so even though they might not use the word much in San Diego, you are an anglophone in San Diego and everywhere else you may go. I suppose in San Diego you would be considered in the "white" ethnic group (instead of african-american, hispanic, asian, other) and it would go without saying that you are English-speaking if you're in that group, so the word anglophone is unused. The word is not a proper noun so it should not be capitalized.

    The analogous word "francophone" is very commonly used, everywhere. http://www.francophonie.org/English.html

    The word allophone is hardly used anywhere outside Quebec because it doesn't refer to any specific language or group.

  27. “We’re coming to many areas of the country that have been unrepresented in government for some time.”

    Is the Prime Minister actually admiting that his government does not represent people who do not vote for him?

    One of the basic principles of our democracy is that the cabinet makes decisions for the good of the entire country; not just the ridings that voted for their party.

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