Reading between the lines of Harper’s statement on bin Laden -

Reading between the lines of Harper’s statement on bin Laden

A hasty speech glosses over some key points


Stephen Harper’s statement on the killing of Osama bin Laden was written in haste, obviously – but it was an important moment, and Harper felt compelled to speak, so let’s take a look.


On September 11, 2001, twenty-four Canadians were murdered in the Al Qaeda attack on the World Trade Centre. The death of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, reported today by President Obama, secures a measure of justice for these Canadians and their families.

There are old jokes about how the Toronto Star would report on a global apocalypse: “Armageddon snarls Metro traffic!” That’s how Harper comes off here. It’s all and only about Canada. He couldn’t maybe slip in an “among thousands of others” after his reference to the 24 Canadians who were killed?

Bin Laden’s death does not end the threat of international terrorism. Sadly, others will take his place.

I understand that Harper has built his campaign on reminding us the world is scary, troubles lapping at our shores, laplaplappitylap, etc. And he’s right of course that others will rise. But this seems to rather minimize bin Laden’s practical, strategic and symbolic value, no?

But, this does remind us why Canadian armed forces personnel have been deployed to Afghanistan: to deny al Qaeda and organizations like it, the use of Afghanistan, where the 9/11 attack was conceived and planned. Through their operations there to cut off terror at its root, our men and women in uniform have made an enormous contribution to Canadian security abroad.

And now they’re leaving, even though the place remains highly unstable.  Hope you enjoyed that security, everyone!

At home, dedicated security officials work tirelessly and with success, to prevent similar attacks in Canada. Protection of the public is the first and most important duty of government.

Look – rhetoric about security is by its nature quite powerful. But it still has to kind of make sense. If protecting the public is Harper’s MOST IMPORTANT duty… and if Afghanistan is where terrorism, which THREATENS the public, is taking root… and if others are going to be taking bin Laden’s place, emboldening yet again the threat of global terrorism… then you can’t really go around crowing about your efforts when your next major operation in Afghanistan involves packing up your suitcase.

Canada receives the news of the death of Osama bin Laden with sober satisfaction.

Good line.

We will continue to stand firm with our allies against the threat of global terrorism.

In the sense of abandoning the part of the world that is the epicentre of the threat of global terrorism.

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Reading between the lines of Harper’s statement on bin Laden

  1. Gold star to the speechwriter who came up with 'sober satisfaction'.

    • I was thinking almost the same thing. A regular William Safire. Or Lord Black.

  2. "Stephen Harper's statement on the killing of Osama bin Laden was written in haste…"

    Why? It's not like he hasn't had nine years to have this written and ready to go.

    • And the Liberals had THIRTEEN years to do it – and they didn't get the job done.

      • Seriously, though, isn't having this statement ready to go kinda like having George Burns' obit written and on file? You know it's gonna happen…

        • We never had one in the Martin PMO. There were enough speaking engagements without trying to imagine more.

          • Fair enough… plus, y'know, the Harper PMO is too busy focusing on the economy to pen bin Laden statements. Apparently that's all they do.

          • Also, even if they had had one, I assume they would want to rewrite it for the circumstances. He might have given an entirely different speech if it were not (a) after midnight and (b) the night before an election.

      • Canada was just as happy as the states were to hear he was dead. Geez, this guy took less time to write this than some twelve year olds I know put into homework. Zero for effort.  

    • They had nearly a generation to come up with more than 5 priorities as well. Your point?

      • Do you think it is easy to make priorities?

        • Didn't Dion say that?

          • Of course… the quote is burned into my memory by the attack ads leading up to the 2008 election.

        • Heh. That just gets funnier every time it's used in this context.

  3. No longer are Obama/Biden laden with Osama BinLaden.

    • Cute!

  4. Obama kills Osama.
    –Strange choice for a subject for a humour column even if you tie in the response of your arch-enemy Harper. Don`t you think the real read-between-the lines of Harper`s speech was the implication that if the dreaded socialists had been any where near power in the last 10 years, then Bin Laden would have been terrorizing us from his base in Afghanistan ?

    I am very disappointed that there has not been a ROTFLMAO column on Layton`s efforts to help out the young Asian women with spending money. I mean, what is the point of getting naked in a dark little room in China town with your bicycle waiting outside if you can`t laugh about it afterwards ? I`ll make it easier for you Feschuk—Imagine it`s not Jack who left home on his bicycle but it`s your arch-enemy Harper. It was him who rode on down to the massage parlour for a little action—now that would be fonny—right.

    • Don't rub Feschuk up the wrong way.
      Layton knows how to get rubbed up the right way.
      He was only carrying out empirical research into prostitution.

      Besides, unlike, Sun TV understands that the medium is the massage …

    • The only thing about this story that is really pathetic is that it has been released on the eve of an election…i haven't heard one conbot acknowledge that yet…what if it were SH in that MP…would YOU feel it was ok to rerelease an old story where no charges had been laid[sic]before his possible electoral triumph. One where a slight swing might mean the dif between in or out of office ?

      • Something like CBC releasing Wikileaks, or should I say mostly negative towards Conservatives Wikileaks the night before the election?

        • Too true. But the "superlative dispassionate world class, etc" Canadian media will never say it. Never in a hundred years.

        • CBC didn't "release" any Wikileaks. The cables were released by Wikileaks to several media outlets, including the APTN. CBC was only doing what several other news carriers were simultaneously doing and would have been leaving the field to those others if they hadn't reported the story.

          If you don't like the timing, blame Wikileaks.

          • Beat me to it damn you:)

            On top of that i didn't see anything in there that reflected well on any of the other leaders. It even praised Harper in a backhanded way…just said he was petty and vindictive…Ouelle surprise!…the Americans must read our press…the cads. Conbots live in an alternate moral universe. One where their side is ALWAYS the victim.

          • Libards ( is that the Liberal version of Conbot ) like yourself seem to believe that it was the Conservatives who released the massage parlour story. However most of the gains that Layton will make will be at the expense of the Liberals so would they not be just as likely to release the story ?
            I have no idea who released the story and I don`t care—this story tells us about the character of Layton— you seem to think it gives you an opportunity to slam the conbots.

          • __"—this story tells us about the character of Layton— "____Are you actually capable of keeping a morally consistent pov in a complete sentence Blue? So you don't mind that it was released on the eve of the election then?

  5. Harper has been using the word sober a lot lately.

    • He's attempting to counter the image of spending like a drunken sailor.

  6. It wasn't my ONLY response, John. I also made out with your Mom.

  7. Sadly, the silliness of the rest of the statement cancels out the well-chosen 'sober satisfaction'.

    This is my favourite turn of phrase: 'troubles lapping at our shores, laplaplappitylap, etc.'

    Someday, Harper should develop a sense of humour about himself and his campaigns of fear and self-importance.

  8. .
    Harper's policy on the AfPak region is one of his more enlightened decisions. Pakistan almost certainly had, or could have developed, the intel to get OBL, who was sitting on their home turf.

    We are not abandoning the area to terrorism, we are leaving the responsibility to the regional overlords who have proven as intractable to democratic change as the proroguing Government of Harper has proven willing for its erosion.

    • who was sitting on their home turf.

      Within blocks of a military academy and two more facilities. Read into that what you will.

  9. That was twisted, but it made me laugh. lol

  10. From a poster at the Star, lol!!

    "Great News…
    Now just imagine if the NDP was in power. They would probably want him captured alive, so he could be "rehabilitated" and integrated back into society."

  11. Who cares about Harper – what about PM-designate Layton? Is he saddened that there's now one less Taliban to negotiate with?

  12. "and if Afghanistan is where terrorism, which THREATENS the public, is taking root"

    Now that's a huge leap. I guess your evidence for this is that Bin Laden was captured in Pakistan, which, as all Liberal speechwriters know, is in Afghanistan? But I understand, it's hard for a guy who supports Ignatieff (who's a guy who supported invading Iraq) to dig up really good zingers against Harper on this.

  13. All you nutheads watch this and then talk. You might get educated you dumbass illetrete people, it will change your life.


    • "Illetrete"? Is that to say I might get educated like you? Because in that case, no thanks.

  14. The fact that Harper just used this wonderful news to peddle a part of his campaign platform just doesn't register in your reaction doesn't it.

  15. He was buried at sea. He may be lapping at our shores in for a long time to come.

  16. Wow comments are a total waste of time; but I will say one thing eJackuLayton gets my vote for legalizing the rub and tug!

  17. Not to worry, there will be plenty of beer and popcorn at Reid's place tonight.

  18. First time i've seen SF successfully touche..[d]

  19. "Lame Stream Media"? Really? We're using Palinisms up here now?

  20. Lame Stream Media…. that is sooooooo funny, and clever. And original too.

    What does it mean?

  21. You gotta love his wife for coming out and saying she was fully aware of it and fully supports him. My Olivia, you are a trooper!

    • I'm sorry, you need to mention subsidized housing to qualify for the raffle.

  22. Luckily the software wouldn't let him spell educated incorrectly.

  23. Oh, I thought you were speaking about Osama'a wee wife.