Stephen Harper still great, Stephen Harper says


The Globe and Mail’s web coverage of the Prime Minister’s remarks this morning is a mesmerizing bit of toadying. It’s a can’t-miss teachable moment for future generations of reporters keen to learn the ancient trade secrets of how best to carry water for one’s party of choice.

Here it is in its entirety – read it and I’ll meet you at the bottom.

Headline: Bev Oda had ‘responsibility’ to overrule CIDA, PM says

Stephen Harper pushed back again Thursday, defending his beleaguered International Co-operation Minister over her decision to deny funding to a faith-based aid group.

The Prime Minister said he supports Bev Oda’s decision to deny funding to church-backed aid group Kairos and noted he has repeatedly told his ministers not to blindly accept the advice and recommendations of bureaucrats.

“You should know we are very clear with our ministers,” he told reporters during a short press conference in Toronto after he announced a new crime measure to protect those who make citizens’ arrests. “We were elected to ensure that when we give out taxpayers’ money that that taxpayers’ money is used for purposes that will further the objectives of policy.”

He warned that no organization is entitled to public funds. His test is whether the money “being spent is going to the objectives we want it spent for.”

In addition, Mr. Harper noted that many times he and his ministers accept the advice of bureaucrats – but “we are not obliged to accept the recommendations of bureaucrats and I’ve been very clear to my ministers that they are responsible for the decisions they make and therefore that they think the recommendation is wrong they have a responsibility to change it.”

He said that’s what Ms. Oda did and he supports her, despite opposition claims she misled Parliament in explaining how a CIDA memo recommending funding for the aid group was altered to revoke it after it had been signed by top bureaucrats.

First, note the diction. Stephen Harper “pushed back.” He was “defending… his beleaguered minister.” He explained how he has schooled his ministers not to “blindly accept” the recommendations of bureaucrats.

Why the man sounds positively heroic, doesn’t he? Did he also rescue a cat from a great height? Surely he must have. He was probably just too modest to mention it. Paradoxically, that makes him even dreamier! DAMN HIS JE NE SAIS QUOI!!

The story goes on to devote four paragraphs to Harper’s courageous musings about how no organization is “entitled” to government funding, and how –under his watch – taxpayer money is used only to advance the objectives of policy.

At no point in the story is it mentioned a) that this last bit is hilariously untrue (for this or any government), or b) that Harper’s comments dodge, weave and otherwise beat around the actual issue at hand – which is, of course, not the decision itself but the manner in which the decision was made, a document was altered, the stated intention of senior bureaucrats was made to seem the opposite and Parliament was lied to.

Those are the pertinent, widely accepted facts of the issue. Or, as the Globe refers to them, the “claims” of the Opposition.

We expect our politicians to run for cover when they’re under fire. Shouldn’t we expect our reporters to call them on it when they do? Then again, to give the Globe its due, the story does refrain from coming right out and declaring that Laureen Harper is hot this week.

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Stephen Harper still great, Stephen Harper says

  1. I think it's important for the media to remina as neutral as possible.

    All we have is hear-say so far and to make accusations would be jumping the gun. There are grounds for an investigation and all that's about it.

    It's reasonable to think that the PMO had something to do with this, but that's for an investigation to decide, nor for the media to conclude that it must because it's the most logical conclusion.

    • The facts are there for anyone to see — she misled and lied to parliament, to a parliamentary committee, and to us.

  2. Taber!

    • Taber prattling

      • Good one!

        • Hold on, is she from the Rhode Island Tabers, or the Buffalo Tabers?

  3. The accompanying ed page cartoon was equally ridiculous.

    It shows Oda at a podium speaking out to defend herself, with Harper looking on.

    In fact, of course, Oda has been silenced, with Harper and Baird doing all the talking for her.

  4. Ms. Tabers efforts don't seem to be persuading most of the commenters.

  5. I've never considered that the Globe was as 'in' the Conservatives camp as is the National Post; despite declaring for the Conservatives in the last two (?) elections, the G&M has continued to dig for dirt behind the scenes. But this article and yesterday's wrist-slap of an editorial do make me wonder.

    And BTW, I know we're all supposed to be concerned about Oda mis-leading parliament. (I am anyway). But are we also not giving the Conservatives a free pass on their decision to de-fund KAIROS? Yes, it was Ms. Oda's decision to make, but doesn't accountability mean (in-part) being able to justify your decisions. No factual argument (to my possibly limited knowledge) has been advanced to explain why the minister over-ruled the recommendations of her advisors. When will this be explained?

    • "No factual argument (to my possibly limited knowledge) has been advanced to explain why the minister over-ruled the recommendations of her advisors. When will this be explained?"

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha

      Transparent government means "You Cant See What WE'RE DOING!!!!"

      • zing!

    • The Globe & Mail had a huge change a couple of months ago. I believe they were bought out and have new owners. At that time, one of their most left-wing political commentators was fired (his name escapes me @ this late hour) and they changed their look, as well. Since that time, I have noted a marked difference in their editorials and a distinct turn to the right.

  6. Down, Scott! Heel, boy!

    If that Globe report, quoting what Harper said, was the only bit they had to offer on the Oda fiasco, you might come close to having a point.

    Bt what else does one find on this very blog post? As of mid-afternoon Thursday, the webpage includes:

    More related to this story
    == Opposition puts Bev Oda's fate in Speaker's hands
    == Can Tory ministers get away with lying? Liberals think not
    == In wake of Oda controversy, Ottawa must explain why aid decisions are made
    == Bev Oda's serious transgression
    == Amid cries of contempt, Harper backs Bev Oda
    == Speaker rebukes Bev Oda over document in Kairos case

    …along with a link to a video entitled "Oust Oda: opposition" and a link to the infamous "NOT" memo, a smaller image of which appears on the page itself.

    No doubt Jean Chretien is smiling as widely as he can, flattered most sincerely by Harper lately. But don't for a minute think the Globe has been in the tank for Harper on this one.

    • I never said it was the Globe. Just one female part of the Globe.

      • No, I don't think you did.
        (But if you had, you would have been more accurate)

      • Quoth Feschuk: The Globe and Mail's web coverage of the Prime Minister's remarks this morning is a mesmerizing bit of toadying.

        And, never mind the parts about NOT EVEN LINKING to the piece itself and about not naming the specific author, where exactly, please, have you singled out "a single female part" of the Globe?

        • I think the "this morning" part is enough, overall, for the reader to note he's talking about a specific article. When I say "it says in the paper this morning", I'm usually about to talk about the oen t hing I read that morning.

          • Yes, but the "this morning" refers to when "the Prime Minister's remarks" were made. The by-line for the article in question reads " Thursday, February 17, 2011 1:19PM EST" .

            It's a bad article, but not 100% of the Globe's coverage as suggested by Mr. Feschuk.

          • Oh for f**k's sakes, I reprinted the ENTIRE ARTICLE to which I was referring. It was the ONLY article that focused exclusively on the PM's remarks from the morning. AT WHAT POINT DID I SUGGEST 100% OF THE GLOBE'S ODA COVERAGE IS TOADYING?

          • It doesn't matter. After right wingers argumenters make you go 10 posts off topic on something, they just make you go off topic on something else.

          • Please calm down.
            I re-read what you wrote and you're right that you didn't suggest that 100% of Globe's coverage was toadying (or indeed bad as I wrote above).
            However, (and as pointed out elsewhere in these comments) by not mentioning the journalist's name but instead writing "the Globe" or the "The Globe and Mail", you sorta, kinda, implied something more general.

          • So when have the facts ever stood in the way of a good whine?

        • Well, I reprinted the entire piece, so I didn't see how I needed to link to it. IT'S RIGHT THERE.

          Plus, I kind of figured that anyone who's ever read this blog would immediately know who wrote the Globe piece.

          • Perhaps, in future, then, you might choose to sub out "the Globe" and sub in "a certain female part of the Globe I needn't name because I lifted the entire text of her report without even the courtesy of a link," and let us chew on the wisdom of that.

            Or you could, you know, name her specifically in lieu of attacking the entirety of her organization. But hey, if you like the idea of exposing your own entire organization to the following charge: "Maclean's website copies another media outlet's work without a link or attribution to the specific author," hey, it's your blog…

          • Remind me to provide you with a link to Kiss My Ass.

          • So, um, does that mean you appreciated the suggestion? I am happy to help.

          • Geez MYL. Do you ever NOT try and split hairs?

          • Just wondering… was that "NOT" in your original comment, or did "someone" go and put it in afterwards?

          • Touche'

          • You have to remember that for Feschuk any article that doesn't involve a direct attack on Harper or his government constitutes toadying.

            Never mind that this wasn't technically news. It was posted on Taber's blog. Which you conveniently snipped when you posted this "in its entirety", and for which you didn't provide a link. You know, how sometimes a news publication has a separate blog section for its writers? Like this one? Where presumably if Macleans is the example, the writers are still allowed to park their neutrality at the door?

          • SF's defence will be that he called it Globe's "web coverage." And he will have a point, but only as far as that goes. For that same allegedly deficient "web coverage" had all the other links (as I listed above) that a news consumer might like to consume in exploring this story in greater detail.

          • The Globe and Mail's web coverage of the Prime Minister's remarks this morning is a mesmerizing bit of toadying.

            What part of web coverage of the PM's remarks this am didn't you get JG? Were there so many others to choose from that morning? In addition i spy her blog tittle down below, and i think it's reasonal to assume that many of the commentators here would clue inright away as to who's blog it was.[ i didn't but that's another matter.] What possible motive would there be for deliberate deceit – your way out of court here.
            I'll try and take your views into consideration vis vis blog writers are allowed to park their neutrality, next time i see you over to Aaron's place.

          • Somewhere an editor, who presumably represents the Globe's management, approved the article in question without telling Taber to rewrite it in a less toadying manner.

          • Do editors "approve" blog posts?

        • jey words – remarks this morning. Go to globe and mail -top story – by Taber.

      • Actually, if you use the Conservative logic, you never even said that. Technically it was a computer that said it.

        • Feschuk was NOT clear when he directed his allegations of toadying….

          (Sorry, SF, but I read it the same way, as a shot at G & M toadying, not merely toadying by the certain female part…. I've been misled!)

        • Not really sure which computer, either. He just typed it. Not sure which server actually put it up on the web.

          • It was the electron's fault. Always the electrons.

          • But of primary concern here is which electrons? Why, scientists tell us they can't even accurately PREDICT where exactly an electron is at any given moment. Before we place our trust in such an unreliable source, let's just stop all questioning of the government whatsoever.

  7. "His test is whether the money “being spent is going to the objectives we want it spent for.”

    Who is "we"? When ever has "we' had these objectives explained?

  8. Has he told his ministers to pretend that they are accepting the
    advice of bureacucrats when they are actually rejecting it? What has he told his ministers about editing documents after they are signed?

    And when is he sending the memo to his cabinet:

    "Don't tell lies even if I do it all the time?"

  9. Dear Minister:

    1. You have a special responsibility to watch out for the waste of taxpayer dollars and reject poor bureaucratic advice when doing so.

    2. You have an equally special responsibility to avoid taking any and all responsibility for exercising the responsibility outlined in point 1.

  10. "and therefore that they think the recommendation is wrong they have a responsibility to change it.”
    what? no. if a Ministers disagree with the recommendation, they have a responsibility to reject the recommendation. Changing the recommendation is to deny that the recommendation ever existed, and that's completely contrary to the role of the non-partisan public service!

    • Yes, you make an interesting point. A revealing slip by Harper I think.

    • Good catch, but it is easy enough to allow that he meant to say something like "overrule" or "reject" or "decline" instead of "change." This little misspeak is nothing compared to the unpleasant overall tolerance of falsehood(s).

      • it's somehow fitting that the slip says that it was her responsibility to do the thing that they're sort of denying she did (i.e. that adding the "not" wasn't making a false document because it doesn't change the signed recommendation by the President and VP of CIDA, because it's actually courageously standing like Horatio against the hordes of entitled bureaucrats and special interests at the gates)

      • But you missed half of it!

        I've been very clear to my ministers that they are responsible for the decisions they make and therefore that they think the recommendation is wrong they have a responsibility to change it.

        Emphasis mine.

    • Actually McC, Bev Oda was one of the signatories on the document so she did have the right and responsibiility to change or alter the document when she signed it. She should have initialed thechange indicating she was responsible for the alteration – not the other signatories.

      • no, actually, you're mistaken. but by all means, try and find a quote from an authority on public administration in defence of your opinion. I'll wait here.

  11. I was going to ask that. Shouldn't the administrator remove that entry. They wouldn't want it to appear that some people get special treatment…

  12. You apparently have license to invite folk to pucker up to your nether regions, too. And all this began with my comment. I feel awful, really I do. Especially after he put out a good runner-up word on my caption contest entry, too.

    Fun fact: Scott uses "cinnamon surprise" lipstick in a very creative location. Oh wait, that wasn't cinnamon. Come to think of it, it wasn't lipstick, either. And, now that I think of it, I suppose it really shouldn't have been that much of a surprise. Oh-for-three, MYL…

    Kidding! I kid! I said I kid!

    • That's what you get when you click on the Kiss My Ass link. Dumb f**ckin' move if you ask me.

      Once again, thanks Feschuk!

      • Whatever. Pass the Listermint, wouldja?

        *breaking glass*

        (flinches, dives to floor) Whoah, that almost took out my left eye! Oh look, a piece of paper tied to a rock! (unrolls parchment) "Hey, funnyboy! I write the comedy around here. Madeyouduck! Ha! Regards, SF."

  13. There is a definite media monopoly in canada and for whatever reason, perhaps the corporat tax cuts, that continually cheerlead for Harper. In Vancouver we have the Vancouver Sun and Province and the National Post and all the small newspapers championing the Harper cons. And then of course there is the combination CTV and Globe similarly spouting the same talking points delivered by the PMO;s office. I thought there were some rules about media corporate ownership but it appears not to be. It isn't just a sad state of affairs it is quite serious and undermines the democratic process, witness the pathetic refusal of ministers to answer questions and be forthright and honest. Nobody in the popular media seems to be investigating the issue of abuse of the parliamentary process and like our present government are abdicating thier responsibility to the Canadian people

  14. ▌♥ ▌

    Check out Catch 22, it's a multi-partisan group with a national strategy for voting.

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  15. No one knows better about the first lady's rack than the RCMP member she is getting a member from.

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