188

The Commons: Welcome back, Mr. Harper

Iggy pushes the PM to a new level of furious


 

HarperThe Scene. The Prime Minister leaned on his left elbow and listened. Across the way, two sword lengths in front of him, his rival was asking another of his incessant questions.

“Mr. Speaker, yesterday the governor of the Bank of Canada told Canadians that the recession would be deeper and longer than anticipated,” Michael Ignatieff reported by way of introduction. “Today the International Monetary Fund predicts the most severe recession since 1945. These predictions come as no surprise to the 300,000 Canadians who have lost their jobs since January of this year.”

It’s been nearly a month—not since March 25, in fact—that Stephen Harper has been made to sit in his place and listen to this. Back then, in simpler times, he had been made to answer only for a funding gap at the CBC. Now, back in his place, the opposition had returned to the heavier matters of this global economic crisis. The recession Mr. Harper saw before he didn’t see. The deficit he promised never to foist on the national bank account. The jobs that began disappearing shortly after he assured everyone that Canadians weren’t worried about such.

A month spent travelling the world, trying one’s best to look prime ministerial, suffering the indignity of having one’s bathroom habits internationally ridiculed and for what? To spend the morning telling his caucus not to worry about what his own staff may or may not have said about a former prime minister? To find another prominent columnist speculating in the morning paper about his impending departure? To sit here, in this seat, taking guff from a rival who was now out-polling him?

“What additional measures,” Ignatieff finally asked, “what hope can the Prime Minister offer to the people who may be watching this on television because they do not have jobs to go to?”

As Ignatieff finished, the Prime Minister reached across his desk and unclipped a yellow sheet of paper from his binder. He then stood, faced the Speaker and placed the sheet in front of him on the desk to his immediate left. He responded first with a questionable claim about the size of his stimulus, then a couple sentences of reassurance for the benefit of the massive TV audience, then reached for his neatly typed note and began to read. “Let me just point out what the IMF said today about the record of Canada and a couple of other countries,” he said. “It said, ‘Fortunately conservative monetary and fiscal policy management in these economies now leave policymakers better placed than those in other economies to mitigate further declines in demand.'”

“Ohhh!” chirped various Conservatives as the government side rose to proudly cheer their leader’s literacy.

Now, the “conservative,” in this case, was lower case. And sure, there may be little solace in being less worse off than everyone else. But never mind that now. This was apparently a zinger.

“Whoops!” sang one backbencher in Ignatieff’s direction.

Unmoved, the Liberal leader tried again. “Mr. Speaker, the Bank of Canada made it very clear that the economic crisis has worsened since January,” he said. “Does the Prime Minister understand that the assumptions of his January budget no longer hold? Will he revise his own projections in respect of revenue and deficits? Will he bring forward additional measures to help the vulnerable and working Canadians?”

Such reasonableness visibly perturbed the PM.

“Mr. Speaker, we will constantly analyze the situation and take whatever measures are necessary. As the IMF and others have said, we are taking the appropriate course of action. Now I know the leader of the Liberal Party and the kind of additional measures he wants are increases in taxes. That is not what we are going to do,” Mr. Harper said, his volume rising, his right hand chopping the air.

Back up came the Conservatives to cheer.

Only back up too came the Liberal leader. And where his predecessor might’ve been expected to pout or flail or merely repeat himself, Mr. Ignatieff ad libbed.

“Mr. Speaker, this is the Prime Minister who spent us into the red in the good times. It is the Prime Minister who slapped a 31.5 per cent tax on income trusts. This is the Prime Minister who is going to leave us with the biggest deficit in Canadian history, and he is giving me a lecture on economics?” Ignatieff yelled indignantly, sticking a thumb out and motioning to himself.

The Liberals rose to cheer.

“I ask the Prime Minister,” Ignatieff continued, the Conservatives yelping for the Speaker to call time and cut him off, “how can he explain this record of incompetence to the Canadian people?”

Now the Prime Minister was compelled to match him and he came up looking cross. Indeed, not since his government faced imminent demise last December, has Mr. Harper looked so furious.

“Mr. Speaker, the fact is this, virtually every country in the world is running a deficit. The reason we are running a deficit is to take money that the private sector is not using and to make sure it is employed for the benefit of people who are losing their jobs,” he said, his right hand groping the air.

“That is why we have surpluses in good times, so that we can act when times are tough,” he continued, scowling and yelling and then pointing in Ignatieff’s direction. “And none of that—there is no excuse for an agenda to raise taxes.”

Ignatieff sat back and chuckled slightly at the show.

“You’re so smug,” heckled a Conservative, sounding perhaps just a touch envious.

The Stats. The environment, 11 questions. The economy, seven questions. Crime, four questions. Firearms, bilingualism, border security, arts funding and employment, two questions. The military, Manitoba, credit cards, agriculture, ministerial expenses and volunteerism, one question each.

Stephen Harper, eight answers. Mark Warawa, nine answers. Peter Van Loan, five answers. James Moore, three answers. Christian Paradis, Diane Finley and Jean-Pierre Blackburn, two answers. Jason Kenney, Stockwell Day, Vic Toews, Jim Flaherty, Rob Merrifield and Bev Oda, one answer each.


 

The Commons: Welcome back, Mr. Harper

  1. Thanks again for the wonderfully described coverage! As the kids are saying these days – Money! Absolute Money!

  2. Turns out, Ignatieff's pretty good at this "poking with a sharp stick" thing. Must have been all those faculty meetings.

  3. Great article, very good coverage.

    I have this feeling that Ignatieff is just getting warmed up, and that he's quite capable of poking the Harper with a sharper stick than this. Can't wait for a leadership debate – that is if Harper doesn't duck and run first.

  4. Brilliant writing!

  5. Charm school magnate Stephen Harper gets angry as his bully boy past catches up to him- what goes around comes around.

  6. "..is to take money that the private sector is not using "

    When is somebody in the Press Gallery going to ask the PM what exactly he means by this? What money is out there that the private sector is not using? Remember, this is a trained economist who's saying this now, so he must have thought about it beforehand.

  7. "The reason we are running a deficit is to take money that the private sector is not using and to make sure it is employed for the benefit of people who are losing their jobs,” he said, his right hand groping the air."

    Anon I've been scratching my head over this one all evening. Perhaps one has to be an economist to understand one?

    It sounds idiotic to me.

  8. I'd like an answer to Anon's question as well, but what absolutely gobsmacked me is, “That is why we have surpluses in good times, so that we can act when times are tough,” he continued

    WHA-A-AT? So, then, why'd you work so hard to get rid of them? What happened to the Conservative mantra of a surplus really means overtaxation?

    When did Mr. Harper join the Liberal Party of Canada? Welcome aboard, sir!

  9. If you substitute "spending" or "injecting" for "using" it makes a bit more sense. Likely what he meant.

  10. Just what I was thinking, Anon. What is Harper talking about? I had no idea that there is an ethereal 'free radical' supply of money floating about that public or private sector could grab at their discretion. Maybe he is talking about debt that hasn't been printed yet, since I keep hearing rumours that the private sector is broke. Is this going to be known as "Harpernomics"?

  11. I'm behnd today. Which columnist is saying Harpy might leave us? Where's he going, taking his show on the road again – this time for good, we can only hope.

  12. Harper has been trotting around the globe claiming credit for the Liberal 'conservative' monetary and fiscal policy with impugnity. It's time to call him on it. And, since when does he believe in surpluses in good times so we can act when times are tough. He'd better be careful or he'll start believing all this stuff he's been claiming credit for.

  13. The Conservatives' game plan seems to be to associate Ignatieff with higher taxes. Notice that Harper mentioned raising taxes twice today. And the Conservative web site features an unflattering photo of Iggy with a green dollar sign background and the caption "Higher Taxes" in large white letters.

    I guess if they repeat something often enough, they hope that some people will believe it.

  14. I wonder how many eyes roll when Harper claims credit for Canada's banking system. He's becoming so transparently foolish Harper is almost a caricature of himself. Time to show him the door.

  15. People will. Just ask Stephane Not-a-leader. However, I'm surprised the chess master hasn't questioned why Iggy handed him this on a silver platter.

  16. Harper needs to stop going to the USA and blabbing away to Fox and CNN,

    Get yourself back in the House Mr. Prime Minister, that's where our democracy lies so stop running away.

  17. This is indispensable coverage… wonderfully written!

  18. 'Harper looking furious…' He didn't look furious at all. His 'sang froid' is surprising. He never seems to lose his temper in spite of all the guff that is thrown at him. Every day the media misrepresents him and his statements. When he does us proud on the world stage, he is ignored by our media, but praised by other leaders. Even Cuba praised our PM. An awful lot happened in Jamaica the other day of which we heard very little… far more about the hostage-taking. You make it sound like he was globe-trotting for the fun of it. He attended mtgs that he was expected to attend. He should have stayed home?? Truly, his level-headedness is to be admired. I can't believe the abuse he has to put up with. He is doing a good job for Canada both nationally and internationally. We should hear more of his complete speeches and news conferences rather than have the medias filtering, diluting, misrepresenting…

  19. I wonder if it is wise for Harper to adopt that chop as his signature rhetorical gesture. He might well end up taking out Lawrence Cannon.

  20. "We should hear more of his complete speeches and news conferences rather than have the medias filtering, diluting, misrepresenting…"

    Doesn't he have a website? Or something?

    For the fans.

    You know?

  21. Wouldn't taking out Lawrence Cannon demonstrate the wisdom of the gesture?

  22. ROFL!

  23. Sean is right, but I would also point out that Harper feels that the banking sector is not lending enough to businesses and individuals, so he may have been referring to that as well.

  24. LOL. Maybe that's why there's such a turnover at Foreign Affairs. "I'll just give him the chop," said Harper blandly. The PMO fell silent. Even Giorno turned pale. "Not again," he whispered.

  25. You can't envision the levels of pride I felt when Harper found the bathroom stall door locked and the photographer saying 'Say Cheez-whiz, everybody!' in the other room. Then my level of pride was gobsmacked again when Harper decided to basically make US television Canada's governmental interviewer of choice. That was really good. Of course, then he had to come home again, sigh. But don't worry bettie, our so-called PM will pick up his own filtering, diluting and misrepresenting to make us proud here at home, too.

  26. Harper's next career is to play Kato in the new Green Hornet movie. Promises on Income taxes – Chop! Promises on accountability – Wham! Fixed Election date law? Double-chop! Unfortunately, that chop doesn't work on book writing or bathroom doors…

  27. LOL! Very funny, although the adverb was probably redundant.

  28. Better still, Kato in the Pink Panther movies. "Not now, Kato!!!!"

  29. To be more clear, Harper says everything blandly, so "blandly" is unnecessary as an adjective. This is why I'll never make it as a comedian.

  30. er, adverb, This is why I'll never make it as a grammarian.

  31. I don`t think you folks above in the Wherry-Wells fan club realize how out of touch you are with the country. The twisted , biased, way the days news is reported here seems to send you off into fantasy-land.

    If Iggy manages to subject us to another election, he`ll end up sitting in the same chair afterwards. Canadians do not want to be governed by pomposity or dilletantes or whatever he calls himself.

    The frat-boy writings I see above has no similarity to the electorate.

  32. Thanks again for the wonderfully described coverage! As the kids are saying these days – Money! Absolute Money!

  33. You`re still in Fantasy Land—-that`s one Poll, not the next election.

  34. Quite right! (I puzzled over that adverb and couldn't think of one that conveyed a sense of quiet menace. Perhaps because, as you say, it's hard to imagine Harper not sounding quietly menacing.) If comedy and grammar don't work out, you can always make it as a stylist!

  35. Turns out, Ignatieff’s pretty good at this “poking with a sharp stick” thing. Must have been all those faculty meetings.

  36. And many, many Canadians are tiring of the Harper high school parliamentary crap. He's had his shot, had his chance and blown it.

  37. Right. So your personal take on this is more valid? How is my use of a poll more of a fantasy?

    (Oh, and I forgot to mention, dilletante juuuuuuust won't fly. Call him The Count.)

  38. Great article, very good coverage.
    I have this feeling that Ignatieff is just getting warmed up, and that he’s quite capable of poking the Harper with a sharper stick than this. Can’t wait for a leadership debate – that is if Harper doesn’t duck and run first.

  39. The Count! I don't think Harper spells it quite like that.

  40. LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. Brilliant writing!

  42. Charm school magnate Stephen Harper gets angry as his bully boy past catches up to him- what goes around comes around.

  43. “..is to take money that the private sector is not using ”

    When is somebody in the Press Gallery going to ask the PM what exactly he means by this? What money is out there that the private sector is not using? Remember, this is a trained economist who’s saying this now, so he must have thought about it beforehand.

    • “The reason we are running a deficit is to take money that the private sector is not using and to make sure it is employed for the benefit of people who are losing their jobs,” he said, his right hand groping the air.”

      Anon I’ve been scratching my head over this one all evening. Perhaps one has to be an economist to understand one?

      It sounds idiotic to me.

      • If you substitute “spending” or “injecting” for “using” it makes a bit more sense. Likely what he meant.

        • Sean is right, but I would also point out that Harper feels that the banking sector is not lending enough to businesses and individuals, so he may have been referring to that as well.

          • Agreed. But lord knows that if, say, Obama had said that, he’d be tarred and feathered by Fox News as a socialist / communist / anarchist / etc. before the ink had dried on the Hansard. Granted, I *agree* on this one, but shouldn’t the right be on the floor recovering from a stroke after hearing Harper say something like that?

            Harper had better thank his lucky stars that a new right-wing protest party hasn’t emerged from Alberta (… yet…), because he’d be stuck to that particular comment with crazy glue by them.

          • “The reason we are running a deficit is to take money that the private sector is not using and to make sure it is employed for the benefit of people who are losing their jobs”

            Stephen is correct. I am gobsmacked that sentence was uttered by a supposed Con/con. And if taxes aren’t going to be raised, how is deficit going to be paid off because lord knows, no one seems to have the stones to cut anything anymore.

    • Just what I was thinking, Anon. What is Harper talking about? I had no idea that there is an ethereal ‘free radical’ supply of money floating about that public or private sector could grab at their discretion. Maybe he is talking about debt that hasn’t been printed yet, since I keep hearing rumours that the private sector is broke. Is this going to be known as “Harpernomics”?

  44. LOL, kc

  45. I’d like an answer to Anon’s question as well, but what absolutely gobsmacked me is, “That is why we have surpluses in good times, so that we can act when times are tough,” he continued

    WHA-A-AT? So, then, why’d you work so hard to get rid of them? What happened to the Conservative mantra of a surplus really means overtaxation?

    When did Mr. Harper join the Liberal Party of Canada? Welcome aboard, sir!

    • “That is why we have surpluses in good times, so that we can act when times are tough,”

      This line also had me bursting a gut! How many times has he stood in the house and proclaimed the opposite? That surplus’ are simply a result of over taxation! Oye!

  46. I’m behnd today. Which columnist is saying Harpy might leave us? Where’s he going, taking his show on the road again – this time for good, we can only hope.

    • Chantal Hebert speculated? on it yesterday

      • A long walk in the snow.

  47. Harper has been trotting around the globe claiming credit for the Liberal ‘conservative’ monetary and fiscal policy with impugnity. It’s time to call him on it. And, since when does he believe in surpluses in good times so we can act when times are tough. He’d better be careful or he’ll start believing all this stuff he’s been claiming credit for.

  48. Making it as a stylist might appeal to me. Unfortunately, I've heard a rumour that stylists have low pay and an alarmingly high suicide rate.

  49. The Conservatives’ game plan seems to be to associate Ignatieff with higher taxes. Notice that Harper mentioned raising taxes twice today. And the Conservative web site features an unflattering photo of Iggy with a green dollar sign background and the caption “Higher Taxes” in large white letters.

    I guess if they repeat something often enough, they hope that some people will believe it.

    • People will. Just ask Stephane Not-a-leader. However, I’m surprised the chess master hasn’t questioned why Iggy handed him this on a silver platter.

    • The political climate is changing. Do you remember the story that was leaked to the press by “conservative insiders” concerning running attack ads against Ignatieff? The response was overwhelmingly negative- hence there seems to be no appetite for attack ads. Doesn’t mean they won’t try though. Running on his record or on his vision for the future is not an option for Mr Harper when the economy is tanking.

  50. I wonder how many eyes roll when Harper claims credit for Canada’s banking system. He’s becoming so transparently foolish Harper is almost a caricature of himself. Time to show him the door.

  51. Harper needs to stop going to the USA and blabbing away to Fox and CNN,

    Get yourself back in the House Mr. Prime Minister, that’s where our democracy lies so stop running away.

  52. This is indispensable coverage… wonderfully written!

  53. ‘Harper looking furious…’ He didn’t look furious at all. His ‘sang froid’ is surprising. He never seems to lose his temper in spite of all the guff that is thrown at him. Every day the media misrepresents him and his statements. When he does us proud on the world stage, he is ignored by our media, but praised by other leaders. Even Cuba praised our PM. An awful lot happened in Jamaica the other day of which we heard very little… far more about the hostage-taking. You make it sound like he was globe-trotting for the fun of it. He attended mtgs that he was expected to attend. He should have stayed home?? Truly, his level-headedness is to be admired. I can’t believe the abuse he has to put up with. He is doing a good job for Canada both nationally and internationally. We should hear more of his complete speeches and news conferences rather than have the medias filtering, diluting, misrepresenting…

    • “We should hear more of his complete speeches and news conferences rather than have the medias filtering, diluting, misrepresenting…”

      Doesn’t he have a website? Or something?

      For the fans.

      You know?

    • It would help if Mr Harper actually took questions from the media in Canada.
      All he seems to do nowadays is hold scripted press releases (read: infomercials) that present his slant on the economic numbers, then he bolts without questions.
      G.W. Bush kept a short leash on the press and they (eventually) grew to resent it – treating the press this way just isn’t effective anymore.

    • mmmm tasty blue kool aid…

  54. I wonder if it is wise for Harper to adopt that chop as his signature rhetorical gesture. He might well end up taking out Lawrence Cannon.

    • Wouldn’t taking out Lawrence Cannon demonstrate the wisdom of the gesture?

      • LOL. Maybe that’s why there’s such a turnover at Foreign Affairs. “I’ll just give him the chop,” said Harper blandly. The PMO fell silent. Even Giorno turned pale. “Not again,” he whispered.

        • Harper’s next career is to play Kato in the new Green Hornet movie. Promises on Income taxes – Chop! Promises on accountability – Wham! Fixed Election date law? Double-chop! Unfortunately, that chop doesn’t work on book writing or bathroom doors…

          • Better still, Kato in the Pink Panther movies. “Not now, Kato!!!!”

        • LOL! Very funny, although the adverb was probably redundant.

          • To be more clear, Harper says everything blandly, so “blandly” is unnecessary as an adjective. This is why I’ll never make it as a comedian.

          • er, adverb, This is why I’ll never make it as a grammarian.

          • Quite right! (I puzzled over that adverb and couldn’t think of one that conveyed a sense of quiet menace. Perhaps because, as you say, it’s hard to imagine Harper not sounding quietly menacing.) If comedy and grammar don’t work out, you can always make it as a stylist!

          • Making it as a stylist might appeal to me. Unfortunately, I’ve heard a rumour that stylists have low pay and an alarmingly high suicide rate.

          • That’s true . . . Hemingway, Hunter Thompson, Mishima . . . Hmm. Bring on the redundant adverbs!

          • I’ll just give him the chop,” said Harper with quiet menace.

            Sometimes, the simplist choice works well.

            Or, alternatively,

            I’ll just give him the chop,” said Harper in his usual manner.

          • As an afterthouth, can one be ‘blandly menacing’?

          • okay, I know,…”afterthought”

          • Hmm, this is harder than it looks. Perhaps our PM will force the creation of new vocabulary. As you say, “with quiet menace” is good; but “with bland menace” somehow doesn’t work. Perhaps we need another detail?

            “I’ll just give him the chop.” He licked his lips. The PMO fell silent. Even Giorno turned pale.

            vel sim.?

          • If anyone can pull off bland menace, Harper can.
            But if we’re koining new words, how about:

            He licked his lips with harperesque menace. The PMO fell silent and took on a giornoal pallor.

  55. You can’t envision the levels of pride I felt when Harper found the bathroom stall door locked and the photographer saying ‘Say Cheez-whiz, everybody!’ in the other room. Then my level of pride was gobsmacked again when Harper decided to basically make US television Canada’s governmental interviewer of choice. That was really good. Of course, then he had to come home again, sigh. But don’t worry bettie, our so-called PM will pick up his own filtering, diluting and misrepresenting to make us proud here at home, too.

  56. I don`t think you folks above in the Wherry-Wells fan club realize how out of touch you are with the country. The twisted , biased, way the days news is reported here seems to send you off into fantasy-land.
    If Iggy manages to subject us to another election, he`ll end up sitting in the same chair afterwards. Canadians do not want to be governed by pomposity or dilletantes or whatever he calls himself.
    The frat-boy writings I see above has no similarity to the electorate.

      • You`re still in Fantasy Land—-that`s one Poll, not the next election.

        • And many, many Canadians are tiring of the Harper high school parliamentary crap. He’s had his shot, had his chance and blown it.

        • Right. So your personal take on this is more valid? How is my use of a poll more of a fantasy?

          (Oh, and I forgot to mention, dilletante juuuuuuust won’t fly. Call him The Count.)

          • The Count! I don’t think Harper spells it quite like that.

          • LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!

          • LOL, kc

  57. That's true . . . Hemingway, Hunter Thompson, Mishima . . . Hmm. Bring on the redundant adverbs!

  58. The political climate is changing. Do you remember the story that was leaked to the press by "conservative insiders" concerning running attack ads against Ignatieff? The response was overwhelmingly negative- hence there seems to be no appetite for attack ads. Doesn't mean they won't try though. Running on his record or on his vision for the future is not an option for Mr Harper when the economy is tanking.

  59. It would help if Mr Harper actually took questions from the media in Canada.

    All he seems to do nowadays is hold scripted press releases (read: infomercials) that present his slant on the economic numbers, then he bolts without questions.

    G.W. Bush kept a short leash on the press and they (eventually) grew to resent it – treating the press this way just isn't effective anymore.

  60. Really all Harper needs to do and rightfully is run ads explaining the costs of elections and any pending election fever should die quickly. That said while I believe he has a well thought out plan plan for the country; he needs to start coming out with it. More importantly he needs to improvise better in the face the Question Period blusters. Even Chretien would have some humor in front of the furnace.

  61. Excellent writing

  62. To judge by the majority of the comments there is not much intelligentia out there.Some people are so full of hatred toward the best PM this country has ever had,

  63. Very well written as always, but why bother at this point? Don't you get tired of finding new and creative ways to write "Liberals asked a question/Conservatives dodged answering"? We all know how worthless QP is; why not find a worthier subject?

  64. Please explain in great detail why Harper is the best PM in the country's history. I would love to hear that logic!

  65. Sir John A. MacDonald?

  66. Why would Harper expose himself to the criticism he would get for the October election? With Iggy not afraid to throw his past indiscretions back at him, Harper would be ill-advised to raise the 'elections cost too much' angle. Plus, the Liberals could counter with 'How can you put a price on functional government/democracy?".

  67. I suspect it's his job, n'est pas?

  68. mmmm tasty blue kool aid…

  69. Sir Wilfred Laurier?

  70. I'll just give him the chop,” said Harper with quiet menace.

    Sometimes, the simplist choice works well.

    Or, alternatively,

    I'll just give him the chop,” said Harper in his usual manner.

  71. As an afterthouth, can one be 'blandly menacing'?

  72. okay, I know,…"afterthought"

  73. Chantal Hebert speculated? on it yesterday

  74. Lester B. Pearson?

  75. Learn to spell "intelligentsia" before you call others ignorant.

    toward the best PM this country has ever had,

    What evidence can you point to to support this?

  76. I think he's talking about Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

  77. This piece would have been a lot better with more analysis of what Harper should be doing that he isn't, and less snark about how the Conservatives "chirped", "sang" and "yelped" while Harper "chopped" and "groped" the air, and Ignatieff was eminently "reasonable".

    We're not stupid Wherry. We can tell the difference between opinion and derision. Make a substantive point or shut up.

  78. Agreed. But lord knows that if, say, Obama had said that, he'd be tarred and feathered by Fox News as a socialist / communist / anarchist / etc. before the ink had dried on the Hansard. Granted, I *agree* on this one, but shouldn't the right be on the floor recovering from a stroke after hearing Harper say something like that?

    Harper had better thank his lucky stars that a new right-wing protest party hasn't emerged from Alberta (… yet…), because he'd be stuck to that particular comment with crazy glue by them.

  79. "I believe he has a well thought out plan plan for the country; he needs to start coming out with it."

    But what about his secret plan to fight inflation?

  80. A mild criticism if played soft, however if focusing on the point that elections would strain the budget even further combined with a trapdoor offer (again) of cooperation then it might work.

    For the record I'm still pissed they bothered us with the last needless and pointless election.

  81. Question Period invites derision. Perhaps that is Mr. Wherry's substantive point?

  82. "The reason we are running a deficit is to take money that the private sector is not using and to make sure it is employed for the benefit of people who are losing their jobs"

    Stephen is correct. I am gobsmacked that sentence was uttered by a supposed Con/con. And if taxes aren't going to be raised, how is deficit going to be paid off because lord knows, no one seems to have the stones to cut anything anymore.

  83. Really all Harper needs to do and rightfully is run ads explaining the costs of elections and any pending election fever should die quickly. That said while I believe he has a well thought out plan plan for the country; he needs to start coming out with it. More importantly he needs to improvise better in the face the Question Period blusters. Even Chretien would have some humor in front of the furnace.

    • Why would Harper expose himself to the criticism he would get for the October election? With Iggy not afraid to throw his past indiscretions back at him, Harper would be ill-advised to raise the ‘elections cost too much’ angle. Plus, the Liberals could counter with ‘How can you put a price on functional government/democracy?”.

      • “I believe he has a well thought out plan plan for the country; he needs to start coming out with it.”

        But what about his secret plan to fight inflation?

        • Nice.

          • Sadly, it no longer makes any sense in context (and I was stretching things a bit to begin with) thanks to the magic Macleans comment-deleter.

      • A mild criticism if played soft, however if focusing on the point that elections would strain the budget even further combined with a trapdoor offer (again) of cooperation then it might work.
        For the record I’m still pissed they bothered us with the last needless and pointless election.

    • I can only speak for myself, but I have received one call asking for my support. It was from my Conservative MP. So, who’s itching for this election you speak of?

  84. So did Stephane Dion. Doesn't make the point substantive.

  85. So does Dion. Doesn't make it a substantive point.

  86. Come to think of it, what IS the difference between derision and opinion? Isn't derision the expression of an opinion?

  87. Well Done PM : Poor Iggy a good wind a this back, a few bucks rolling for his party coming in now and his hardliners are starting to think they have something to offer Canadians and yet what can he do? Notice how there is no talk of probation? tight leash? or even god forbid some sort of policy statement even a statement about making a policy – what is the matter Iggy all I hear and see is the same ol unibrow hoping his bowl of lucky charms doesn't run out and the economy get better too soon. First it was Mr. Speaker when is the gov't going to stimulate us and then we have the gov't isn't stimulating us fast enough and now it's we need more stimulation maybe? kind of like a bad CD with one of those milisecond skips that repeats over and over.

  88. Kim Campbell?

  89. “That is why we have surpluses in good times, so that we can act when times are tough,”

    This line also had me bursting a gut! How many times has he stood in the house and proclaimed the opposite? That surplus' are simply a result of over taxation! Oye!

  90. A long walk in the snow.

  91. Pity Rodney Dangerfield is no longer around…

    He would be a shoo-in for the PM Role in the semi-biographical movie – "Stevie – we hardly knew you"…

    he has that "I just can't get no respect" catchphrase off just so…and he has the pale blue eyes (and the bags under them) for the physical match….

  92. An afterthought – would Don Rickles do justice to the Peter Van Loan part?

  93. Your point might be better made with a different choice of words.

  94. I say he's talking about an amalgamation of Pearson, Laurier, MacDonald and Trudeau.

  95. I don't understand the argument about not releasing policy. If I recall correctly from last fall, no party release a substantial policy platform prior to the election. Even during the election, both the Liberal and Conservative parties released a tiny snippet of information daily, in order to stay in the news. It made comparison and contrast impossible, as no one would provide a complete platform at the start of the campaign.

    There hasn't been an election called, and given the way the current government is sinking into the quicksand of recession, it would seem that staying out of the pit would be the best strategy. I'm pretty sure the main thrust of the Conservative's election campaign was on Harper's leadership ability, so why are you complaining that Ignatieff is not showing enough leadership? They're the opposition!

  96. Nice.

  97. How many of The Five Priorities (TM) that got Harper elected were revealed prior to the election starting in 2005?

    But Wayne has got Iggy over a barrel on this one. The issue is obviously not why Harper has no answer for the economic problems facing Canadians, especially the jobless, but why Iggy is using Question Period to ask questions. Clearly, not a leader.

  98. Excellent writing

  99. What ever happened to the Stephen Harper who decried surpluses – even in good times – as being taking more of the taxpayers' money than it has use for?

    Man, that Stephen Harper should would have some cross words for the Stephen Harper we have now.

  100. Sure, but not a substantive one unless it is directed at policy rather than gestures and mannerisms. If he wants to deride Harper's course reversals or lack of principle, I'm all for it. Or Ignatieff's opportunism. But what's the (substantive) point of saying nothing but 'Haper sounded angry' and 'the Conservatives sounded like birds'? It's just as irrelevant as saying "Dion looks like a girl".

  101. I can only speak for myself, but I have received one call asking for my support. It was from my Conservative MP. So, who's itching for this election you speak of?

  102. Harper's face looked so red I thought he was going to burst.

  103. But if this is the most newsworthy stuff happening in the HoC, I suspect it's time to shut 'er down.

    All of it.

    Regardless, I imagine it's one of the more tedious assignments, so congrats on not letting that slip into your writing.

  104. To judge by the majority of the comments there is not much intelligentia out there.Some people are so full of hatred toward the best PM this country has ever had,

    • Sir John A. MacDonald?

    • Please explain in great detail why Harper is the best PM in the country’s history. I would love to hear that logic!

    • Sir Wilfred Laurier?

    • Lester B. Pearson?

    • Learn to spell “intelligentsia” before you call others ignorant.

      toward the best PM this country has ever had,

      What evidence can you point to to support this?

      • I think he’s talking about Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

        • I say he’s talking about an amalgamation of Pearson, Laurier, MacDonald and Trudeau.

          • Thompson, obviously. Never lost an election, was never forced from office.

    • Kim Campbell?

  105. Thompson, obviously. Never lost an election, was never forced from office.

  106. Very well written as always, but why bother at this point? Don’t you get tired of finding new and creative ways to write “Liberals asked a question/Conservatives dodged answering”? We all know how worthless QP is; why not find a worthier subject?

    • I suspect it’s his job, n’est pas?

      • But if this is the most newsworthy stuff happening in the HoC, I suspect it’s time to shut ‘er down.
        All of it.
        Regardless, I imagine it’s one of the more tedious assignments, so congrats on not letting that slip into your writing.

  107. Sadly, it no longer makes any sense in context (and I was stretching things a bit to begin with) thanks to the magic Macleans comment-deleter.

  108. Hmm, this is harder than it looks. Perhaps our PM will force the creation of new vocabulary. As you say, "with quiet menace" is good; but "with bland menace" somehow doesn't work. Perhaps we need another detail?

    "I'll just give him the chop." He licked his lips. The PMO fell silent. Even Giorno turned pale.

    vel sim.?

  109. Macleans Magazine and Michael Ignatieff

    I appreciate your including income trusts in your discussion of the financial malaise of the country. For those retirees with RIFs its almost a triple financial disaster. Trusts enabled us to garner a safe 7 ½% monthly pay income for paying living costs. When the tax hits in 2011 many of us will belooking at less than a 4% yield on our retirement nest eggs. That's like taking a 50% pay cut. With the trust meltdown, the market meltdown and theincome meltdown, many of us are feeling very aggrieved. As a life time RSP/RIF holder/investor I find no one seems to care about the 50 to 60% ofseniors living off of their lifetime savings. We read about pension bailouts, insurance company bailouts but no tax stimulus for the senior crowd. And of course the TFSA is a joke for seniors; we have no lifetime left to accrue some compound interest tax free. As a lifelong Conservative, now a pastConservative, I will bad mouth the party for the rest of my life. There were many options; they chose the wrong one for seniors.

    retiredia, Calgary.

  110. This piece would have been a lot better with more analysis of what Harper should be doing that he isn’t, and less snark about how the Conservatives “chirped”, “sang” and “yelped” while Harper “chopped” and “groped” the air, and Ignatieff was eminently “reasonable”.

    We’re not stupid Wherry. We can tell the difference between opinion and derision. Make a substantive point or shut up.

    • Question Period invites derision. Perhaps that is Mr. Wherry’s substantive point?

      • So did Stephane Dion. Doesn’t make the point substantive.

      • So does Dion. Doesn’t make it a substantive point.

    • Come to think of it, what IS the difference between derision and opinion? Isn’t derision the expression of an opinion?

      • Sure, but not a substantive one unless it is directed at policy rather than gestures and mannerisms. If he wants to deride Harper’s course reversals or lack of principle, I’m all for it. Or Ignatieff’s opportunism. But what’s the (substantive) point of saying nothing but ‘Haper sounded angry’ and ‘the Conservatives sounded like birds’? It’s just as irrelevant as saying “Dion looks like a girl”.

  111. Well Done PM : Poor Iggy a good wind a this back, a few bucks rolling for his party coming in now and his hardliners are starting to think they have something to offer Canadians and yet what can he do? Notice how there is no talk of probation? tight leash? or even god forbid some sort of policy statement even a statement about making a policy – what is the matter Iggy all I hear and see is the same ol unibrow hoping his bowl of lucky charms doesn’t run out and the economy get better too soon. First it was Mr. Speaker when is the gov’t going to stimulate us and then we have the gov’t isn’t stimulating us fast enough and now it’s we need more stimulation maybe? kind of like a bad CD with one of those milisecond skips that repeats over and over.

    • I don’t understand the argument about not releasing policy. If I recall correctly from last fall, no party release a substantial policy platform prior to the election. Even during the election, both the Liberal and Conservative parties released a tiny snippet of information daily, in order to stay in the news. It made comparison and contrast impossible, as no one would provide a complete platform at the start of the campaign.

      There hasn’t been an election called, and given the way the current government is sinking into the quicksand of recession, it would seem that staying out of the pit would be the best strategy. I’m pretty sure the main thrust of the Conservative’s election campaign was on Harper’s leadership ability, so why are you complaining that Ignatieff is not showing enough leadership? They’re the opposition!

      • How many of The Five Priorities (TM) that got Harper elected were revealed prior to the election starting in 2005?

        But Wayne has got Iggy over a barrel on this one. The issue is obviously not why Harper has no answer for the economic problems facing Canadians, especially the jobless, but why Iggy is using Question Period to ask questions. Clearly, not a leader.

  112. Pity Rodney Dangerfield is no longer around…
    He would be a shoo-in for the PM Role in the semi-biographical movie – “Stevie – we hardly knew you”…
    he has that “I just can’t get no respect” catchphrase off just so…and he has the pale blue eyes (and the bags under them) for the physical match….

  113. If anyone can pull off bland menace, Harper can.

    But if we're koining new words, how about:

    He licked his lips with harperesque menace. The PMO fell silent and took on a giornoal pallor.

  114. An afterthought – would Don Rickles do justice to the Peter Van Loan part?

  115. Your point might be better made with a different choice of words.

  116. What ever happened to the Stephen Harper who decried surpluses – even in good times – as being taking more of the taxpayers’ money than it has use for?
    Man, that Stephen Harper should would have some cross words for the Stephen Harper we have now.

  117. The current "picture" in Ottawa is becoming abundantly clear. Iggy, calm and composed; Mr. Harper, furious and red-faced. Iggy, invited to attend a high-powered "think tank" in Washington; Mr. Harper, spending OUR money to hire two American P.R. goons to get him press on the likes of Fox.

    Any wonder the polls have flipped over recently? Go, Iggy, Go!

  118. Harper’s face looked so red I thought he was going to burst.

  119. Macleans Magazine and Michael Ignatieff

    I appreciate your including income trusts in your discussion of the financial malaise of the country. For those retirees with RIFs its almost a triple financial disaster. Trusts enabled us to garner a safe 7 ½% monthly pay income for paying living costs. When the tax hits in 2011 many of us will belooking at less than a 4% yield on our retirement nest eggs. That’s like taking a 50% pay cut. With the trust meltdown, the market meltdown and theincome meltdown, many of us are feeling very aggrieved. As a life time RSP/RIF holder/investor I find no one seems to care about the 50 to 60% ofseniors living off of their lifetime savings. We read about pension bailouts, insurance company bailouts but no tax stimulus for the senior crowd. And of course the TFSA is a joke for seniors; we have no lifetime left to accrue some compound interest tax free. As a lifelong Conservative, now a pastConservative, I will bad mouth the party for the rest of my life. There were many options; they chose the wrong one for seniors.

    retiredia, Calgary.

  120. The current “picture” in Ottawa is becoming abundantly clear. Iggy, calm and composed; Mr. Harper, furious and red-faced. Iggy, invited to attend a high-powered “think tank” in Washington; Mr. Harper, spending OUR money to hire two American P.R. goons to get him press on the likes of Fox.
    Any wonder the polls have flipped over recently? Go, Iggy, Go!

  121. Okay Mr. Ignatieff so what is your plan to help us out. More stimulus, higher GST, high-speed rail, bring back income trusts, expand the wheat board, national day-care? But I guess a visit to the 2IC of the White House is enough to get Ottaw-Toronto-Montreal axis all giggily.

  122. Okay Mr. Ignatieff so what is your plan to help us out. More stimulus, higher GST, high-speed rail, bring back income trusts, expand the wheat board, national day-care? But I guess a visit to the 2IC of the White House is enough to get Ottaw-Toronto-Montreal axis all giggily.

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