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The politics of disaster (III)


 

The Globe considers the day’s optics.

Today is the day Stephen Harper’s decision to shut down Parliament should have come back to haunt him, as opposition parties gather in Ottawa to draw attention to what would have been a back-to-work Monday for MPs. Instead, the eyes of the world will be drawn to Montreal, where global dignitaries including Hillary Clinton and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner are gathering as guests of Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Lawrence Cannon, to plan the rebuilding of earthquake-ravaged Haiti…

“It has allowed the Prime Minister to remind [Canadians] of how strong a leader he is, how decisive he can be when it comes to doing something,” Conservative strategist Goldy Hyder said, adding that “Quebeckers particularly like decisive leadership … even if they disagree with it.

“From that old Chinese proverb, which I use with the greatest of respect, crises can be opportunities as well,” he said.


 

The politics of disaster (III)

  1. What are you gonna do? Attacking Harper for politicing the disaster is as bad as politicizing the disaster.

    Sure, it is sickening to see him gain advantage on the backs of this tragedy, but the tragedy is more important than anything else right now.

  2. One anomaly in a litany of a petty, unaccountable government won't distract me.

    Good job on Haiti.

    Bad job on Canada.

    And today we should recognized both.

  3. What a strange world canadian politics is … on the one hand we have the oppposition parties falling all over themselves to get their picture on the news and proposing things they already know won't fly – Jack knows better but hey sounds good and Iggy .. well his response to jack is .. and I quote … an interesting idea we should explore – in otherwords NO we lib's will leave everything as is (no doubt) and then the villian of the piece evil meanie stevie who is so undemocratic that he plays by the existing rules (some canadians won't have any of that thank you very much) .. then we have a real situation whereas good governance can be truly measured and harper is light years ahead of anyone else when it comes to response .. poor frustrated left wing nuts rendering their garments and crying ululululu at the House.

  4. "From that old Chinese proverb, which I use with the greatest of respect, crises can be opportunities as well"

    Uh, no, sorry, that's tasteless.

  5. Uh, no, sorry, that's tasteless.

    No, no, Jack he said "with the greatest of respect" which is a free pass…

  6. Yes, that quote is so crass that if publicized, it might actually tarnish Harper's statesmanship (such as it is).

  7. "…poor frustrated left wing nuts rendering their garments…"

    I bet that smells just awful!

  8. I think it depends on what 'crisis' he is referring to. If he is talking about prorogue rallies, than it's ok, if he is talking about Haiti than it's in bad taste indeed.

    What is it with pols and their crisis. Obama's chief of staff said something about not letting a crisis go to waste also.

    Pols and their consultants are far too cynical and people notice.

  9. Obama's chief of staff was talking about opportunity for Haitians, not his boss.

  10. Though to be fair, I suppose it only really reflects on the worldview of Conservative strategist Goldy Hyder.

  11. How is he politicizing the disaster? It's Wherry who threw the word "politics" into this, and you seemed to jump right in.

  12. Bad job on Canada, eh? Is that why he's been elected twice and the opposition keeps propping him up?

    • Except for when he shut down Parliament for two days while not enjoying the confidence of the House. You know, when he hijacked the government,

      • It's this kind of nonsensical over-the-top rhetoric that in part helps explain Harper's continuing success.

  13. I haven't given many kind words or flattering euphemisms to the opposition parties either, if that makes the slight taste any better.

  14. “It has allowed the Prime Minister to remind [Canadians] of how strong a leader he is, how decisive he can be when it comes to doing somethingit.

    Hmmm, i thought he was busy recalibrating. Apparently he can multi-task..pity about Parliament. Something had to give i suppose?

    “From that old Chinese proverb, which I use with the greatest of respect, crises can be opportunities as well,” he said

    With stratagists like this who needs an opposition…or facebook?

    • Exactly. The opposition has been so ineffective that Harper's people have to provide fodder for them. You're right. And Canadians keep yawning at one faux scandal after another.

  15. "Therein lies the opportunity for President-elect Barack Obama. His plans for an activist government agenda are in many ways being given a boost by this crisis atmosphere and the nearly universal call for the government to do something fast to stimulate the economy.

    This opportunity isn't lost on the new president and his team. "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama's new chief of staff, told a Wall Street Journal conference of top corporate chief executives this week." WSJ Nov 21 2008

    I was living in England when 9/11 occurred and I remember there was a mini-scandal because one of Labour's PR flaks suggested that it was good day to leak bad news because no one would pay attention. Using crisis to benefit is normal now in democracies, apparently, and it is despicable.

    And don't get me started on Obama/Haiti – interesting that Obama/Americans have invaded Haiti with much less moral and legal authority than Bush had to invade Iraq but no one says anything – they call it an 'opportunity' for Haitians.

    • Wouldn't the difference be that the American invasion of Iraq WAS the earthquake that required immediate international help, whereas Haiti was a natural disaster?

      I think Haiti and New Orleans are better analogies.

  16. "And don't get me started on Obama/Haiti – interesting that Obama/Americans have invaded Haiti with much less moral and legal authority than Bush had to invade Iraq but no one says anything – they call it an 'opportunity' for Haitians"

    Please tell me you just borrowed that one from Beck or Limbaugh…you're not a stupid individual, so i know it didn't come from you, right?

  17. You are not helping my argument!

    I would rather be lumped in with Rush or Beck than a French minister. I rethink things if I find myself agreeing with the French. I will just have to go with idea that even broken clock is correct twice a day. :)

  18. Well, it's basically the kind of over-the-top rhetoric that's par-for-the course from opposition and Harper basher types. That's all. You know, the kind that come on here and click thumbs down to anyone who dare defend Harper every once in a while, even though I think it's quite clear that Canadians are fine with our PM – for now.

  19. I will just have to go with idea that even broken clock is correct twice a day. :)

    I'm not sure this is always true. What if the problem with the clock is that it runs fast?

  20. Or I might have been pointing out the fact that what kcm considers "stupid" actually comes from his ilk.

  21. I think what is clear is that Harper's party was elected with just over 20 % of eligible voters votes while his support has slid since the last election.

    That is a system in a legitimacy crisis more than a clear opinion on how fine people are with the Prime Minister.

  22. I honestly think that if Canadians believed Harper was running Canada as badly as you do, there would be more voter participation. Apathy can sometimes mean that things aren't that bad. And, judging by the fraction of people that showed up to these Harper bashing prorogue gatherings, I don't think Canadians will be storming the gates any time soon.

    Is our democracy perfect? Far from it. But I'm not one of those types that says it has to be, and it's certainly better than all the other forms of non-democracies out there.

    I just think that some perspective is needed when viewing these things sometimes.

  23. Well i'll agree to the ineffective part.

  24. "The opposition has been so ineffective that Harper's people have to provide fodder for them."

    Roy MacGregor had article on Saturday in Globe about this. I was surprised it did not gain more notice or comment.

    "It may, however, not entirely be Ignatieff's fault that he seems to find such little traction when Harper is thought to have hit a patch of black ice.

    Talk to Liberals – office holders, party organizers, fundraisers – around the country and you will tap into a malaise that a good pollster could rout out with a single question: “What's happening?” “Nothin',” the vast majority would respond, with a margin of error of plus or minus very little.

    “There is no Liberal Party,” says one lifelong card carrier who has sat at cabinet tables.

    “It died a long time ago. It's not completely extinct yet, but there's no there there.” In this lifelong Liberal's eyes, the party has been stalled for years. No new energy, no new ideas, no vision of what it might like to do. The singular advantage of proroguing, this Liberal would say, is that it has put an end to the squirming every time the opposition pounces."

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/pror

    • Yeah, that's one of my fears…that the libs are simply tapped out. Roy Mac is a great columnist. But we'l see. They've been declared dead prematurely before this.

  25. Ah, i knew you couldn't leave without an insult. It' the old scorpion story i guess. It's in your nature.

    Equating the invasion of Iraq with the present situation in Haiti [ if that's what you and joylon were doing] is plainly absurd…notwithstanding the previous us occupation.

  26. Let me get this straight. You're the one who characterized a view you say comes from opponents as "stupid", I merely point it out, and I'M the one engaging in insults, am I? In fact, you just accused yourself as such, genius. lol. Next.

    • 'Or I might have been pointing out the fact that what kcm considers "stupid" actually comes from his ilk."

      This wasn't an insult? Hmmm, from you i could almost believe it.

      • How is pointing out that what you considered "stupid" is a sentiment that comes from your "ilk"? Where is the insult? Man.

  27. “It has allowed the Prime Minister to remind [Canadians] of how strong a leader he is, how decisive he can be when it comes to doing something,”

    That's true – we do need reminding, since we so seldom see him doing something…useful.

  28. Again, Canadians don't hate him like some of you do. Geez.

  29. lol, this is EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Some of you bashers are completely incapable of looking yourselves in the mirror. It's all about hating the Harper government 24/7. Canadians AGREED with Baird on prorogue and the coalition, yet here you are patting yourselves on the back as though it somehow SUPPORTS your view. Like I said, Harper is truly blessed by the ideological zealotry of his opponents. He has you wrapped around his finger, I'm sorry to say, and you can't even see it. Oh well.

    • Yes, only Stephen Harper should be able to go over the heads of parliament and the long-standing parliamentary system and go to the people; when said people disagree with so-called leader Harper, then he can go over the head of the people and do a political reach-around and resort to some impressive pro-demockratic dance. Just like it was fine for Harper to join with the Bloc for a possible coalition; shame on all others who resort to such evil tricks!
      You get an 'F' for consistency, DF.

      • What in the world are you going on about now? Canadians hated the coalition. They don't hate prorogue. There is no inconsistency. You're just another example of the kind of over-the-top animus the left has of people who dare challenge their view of the world.

  30. I guess he went "over our heads" there, too.

  31. No. He accused the Liberals and NDP of wanting to form an alliance with separatists to run this country, and many libs, leftists, and other bashers couldn't stand that it stuck. THIS is how you respond to an accusation of being over-the-top? No, it was bang-on. Again, try the mirror some day, and MAYBE you'll be more effective against Harper. Just saying.

  32. Dennis_F, are you actually Conservative strategist Goldy Hyder trying to turn a crisis into an opportunity?

  33. Some of you probably think that, which explains your predicament. lol. Next.

  34. Is it really true that Canadians hated the coalition and that they don't hate prorogation?
    I don't know.

    Hate is such a strong word. Let's just say that some Canadians were opposed to the coalition and felt so strongly, that they joined a Facebook group, wrote their MP and/or demonstrated. Others oppose the recent prorogation and have similarly expressed their opinions.

    Is one group larger than the other? The Facebook numbers and reports of last weekend's demonstrations suggest that the anti-prorogation numbers are (slightly) larger, but this is something that is of course debatable.

    The question of 'consistency' come in when one considers the interview with John Baird (above) He frequently cites popular opposition to the coalition as a justification for the prorogation of the 2008 parliament. But this year, the public is (at least as strongly) against prorogation, but it doesn't seem to matter.

  35. If you look back on this thread, you'll see that the accusation was that Harper haters were using over-the-top rhetoric, such as running Canada badly, etc. I don't think Baird was using over-the-top rhetoric. The Liberals and NDP were ready to govern with an alliance with the separatists, and the PM had every right to represent the people and say NO.

    Now, if this nonsense about prorogue ends up amounting to anything, then I'll rectify the inconsistency. Until then, you let me know.

  36. Oh, I probably should have added that arguments on the strength or weakness of popular support, for or against prorogation, are really irrelevant to the question of whether Stephen Harper was right to prorogue in 2008 and 2009.

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