There, isn’t that better?

FESCHUK: Yes, he called democracy in Egypt a tube of toothpaste, but our PM has a way with words

There, isn't that better?

CP; Getty Images; Photo Illustration by Taylor Shute

It was a time that few will soon forget. As the Egyptian people rose up and chased their president from office, Stephen Harper took the measure of the moment, stared history in the eye and offered the following words to posterity: Those Egyptians, he said, “are not going to put the toothpaste back in the tube on this one.”

Other world leaders reached for eloquence. Our guy reached for the Colgate. None of those fancy historical allusions for Stephen Harper! He put it in plain, straightforward talk that even a hard-working Joe who also happened to have a serious brain injury could understand: Democracy—it freshens your breath AND prevents cavities! If the regime in Iran ever falls, we can look forward to Harper’s seminal “can’t put them horses back in that barn” address.

There’s the guy we used to know! The guy who never left the continent before he became leader of the Opposition. The guy who before winning power famously declared during a CBC town hall that he felt kind of worldly because his wife had travelled overseas and told him about it and stuff.

Harper may have come up short in a moment of global import that will be celebrated for generations. But he’s never at a loss for words when it comes to what matters most—selling his government and protecting his job.

Consider the strategic decision by Harper and his Conservatives to begin referring to large corporations as “job creators.” It’s easy to see why they’re doing it—it’s the same reason Kirstie Alley refers to a tray of Twinkies as a “nibble.”

Harper wants to keep cutting corporate taxes—but huge corporations are saddled with a bad reputation. That’s because of the movies, where they are typically portrayed as peddling black-market orphan blood until being brought down by George Clooney’s grimace. It’s also because of real life, where financial corporations pushed us into a recession with their insatiable greed for orphan-blood credit swaps (or something). Let’s face it: nothing sounds good when you put the word “corporate” in front of it. Anyone want a piece of this corporate lasagna?

But job creators—those guys are great! Who wouldn’t support tax cuts for those guys? Sure, it’s kind of hard to figure out why unemployment is still at 7.8 per cent with so many of these job creators around creating jobs and all. Maybe there’s a clog in the job tube. Because from the sounds of it, these job creators just sit there all day selflessly making jobs out of thin air. POOF! You get a job and you get a job and you get a job! That’s how Prime Minister Winfrey rolls.

The Conservatives imported the expression “job creators” from Republicans in the United States, who are masters at putting a positive spin on negative concepts like cuts to social programs (“budget relief”) and extending tax breaks for the super rich (“Gimme!”). Since some in the media here have obligingly begun to use the term, we can expect to see more of the same from Conservatives. Farewell words with negative connotations!

Old term: Deficit.
New term: Aspiring surplus.
Used in a sentence: “Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say it was this Conservative government that presided over the largest aspiring surplus in our history.”

Old term: Tar sands.
New term: Money juice.
Used in a sentence: “Hey, how did these 3,000 dead ducks wind up in our money juice?”

Old term: Greenhouse gas emissions.
New term: Earth farts. (Makes global warming fun for everyone.)
Used in a sentence: See next Adam Sandler movie.

Old term: John Baird.
New term: Justin Bieber.
Used in a sentence: “Why is Justin Bieber screaming at us?”

Those expressions and more await us. For now, it’s just “job creators” and what we can do for them so that maybe they can possibly do something for us perhaps. And if they later slash jobs by the thousands to protect the bottom line, the government can praise them as “leisure creators.”


There, isn’t that better?

  1. stupid.

    • clever.

      • brilliant. "Money juice": Ezra must be so jealous.

        • "Ethical" money juice.

  2. Gee Scott, you are sounding rather bitter. Time for a tropical vacation – no cell phone, no internet for two weeks.

    "This week, journalists in this country were all atwitter about a tweet of Maclean's columnist Scott Feschuk. He jumped into the middle of a spat between Canadian Press reporter Jennifer Ditchburn and Dimitri Soudas, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's communications chief, and sent a shockingly crude tweet about Mr. Soudas. "

    • You paying?

    • I find it difficult to imagine just how crude you'd have to be when the subject is Soudas [ no wilting violet himself] in order for it to become shocking.

      • I think I may have referred to him as a "communications professional." Even I was kind of shocked.

      • Well played, biach.

  3. LOL 'framing' the language is all the rage….thanks for nailing it!

  4. "using popular expressions [gate]"

    The next great scandal of our times.

    Remember the good 'ol days when a scandal meant stealing tens of millions of taxapyers' money and funnelling it into the ruling party via money laundering and under-the-table brown paper bags?

    The days when the Liberals were in power?

    Good times.

    Good times.

    • On the other hand, it was necessary to win the last referendum. If Canada had been split up it wouldn't have lasted until today. YOu can't pretend the Conservative party of the day could have saved Canada (maybe still can't).

      Yes or No: are you still glad there's a Canada?

      (See, if the Libs had framed it like this instead of admitting that some people in the party underwent some wrongdoing, Paul Martin would be PM today).

      • LOL Great job, Mike. You've managed to slander the entire population of Quebec AND reinforce the common perception of Liberals as duplicitious thieves AND confirmed yourself as a revisionist dupe, and all in one short post.

        Heck of a job, Mikey.

        • How exactly did he slander the people of Quebec? show your work.

          • By claiming that it was necessary to bribe the crooked ones – and lie to the stupid ones – in order to retain their loyalty to Canada. One of the more insulting Liberal storylines offered over that sordid affair. "Sure a few millions were stolen, but that's what you've got to do to keep Quebec in Canada." It's not us Liberals who are crooked, it's those Quebecors.

            Of course it also ignores the fact that 95% of the theft that occured during the adscam debacle occured AFTER the referendum. So not only do you have to be a bigot to offer that excuse, you have to be a bloody idiot to accept it.

          • Note to self,

            stay on Igarvin's good side.

            He wields his words with scalpal like precision.

            Well done sir.

          • Some folks would tell you that I don't have a good side. LOL

          • You're absolutely right… in the sense that you have a flawed, narrow-minded, spoon-fed view of Canada's history.

          • I bet that sounded clever inside your mind as you were writing it, eh?

            It would be really clever if you could provide some of your own – doubtlessly – flawless and open-minded views. I won't even ask you to show your work. Just express something other than your preciously measured scorn.

            C'mon Andre, up off the bench and take your turn at bat. Show us what you got, big guy!

          • Alright, by that I mean that it takes someone with a blind, passionate love for the conservative party to come to that conclusion.

            No, the sponsorship program wasn't exclusively designed to funnel money by the entire Liberal party. A loophole was found, some people took advantage.

            But I'd guess you're just the kind of Big 'C' Lover that would prefer to have democracy undermined through death bed bribes, excessive lobbying, electoral theft, and shady corporate deals instead of losing 40 million out of a 116 billion$ budget to people who, for all intents and purposes, haven't been involved in the realm of politics ever since.

            You're the 'right' kind of guy.

          • … it takes someone with a blind, passionate love for the conservative party to come to that conclusion.

            Strike One…

            … No, the sponsorship program wasn't exclusively designed to funnel money by the entire Liberal party.

            Responding to a phantom argument, Strike Two.

            …But I'd guess you're just the kind of Big 'C' Lover that would prefer…

            Swinging again at the first pitch you missed, Strike Three.

            Back to the minors, Andre. Just before you go, take a quick look at some of my older posts by clicking on my name. If you read carefully, you might feel a little silly.

          • Actually, you went downhill from "By claiming" because he didn't claim anything that you cited in that post. It was all construed out of your own warm, moist man-love for SH.

            The necessity to turn Quebecer's opinion away from separatism does not automatically imply theft of public funds, nor does theft of public funds imply the involvement of an entire party, and neither does the involvement of a handful of crooked politician imply the result will be turning Quebecer's opinion away from separatism.

            It only does so in a frame of mind that vibrates to the tune of the Conservative party's narrative. There was a lot of wrongs done in Mike T's comment, but he didn't claim the things you claim he claimed.

            Am I getting through here, or are you still toying with lines?

          • Take your debate with Mike T. directly to the source. And please lay off the creepy homophobic fantasies. I'm far too old to be shocked by them and they don't speak too well of you.

        • So you're asserting now that every penny that went to the Sponsorship project was stolen?

          Revisionist history indeed.

          • Just for the novelty of it, you should try responding to what I wrote.

            To clarify for you, this is what Mike wrote in regard to Adscam : it was necessary to win the last referendum.

            Go ahead now and explain how you got confused about what I said. Feel free to refer back to the thread.

          • Hm. My apologies. I thought you had the requisite intelligence to understand that what he was referring to was the Sponsorship program in its entirety. Given your limited understanding, you are indeed correct.

          • What he was referring to was the previous post by Chet which was quite specifically – even graphically – focused on the scandal.

          • Shouldn't your anger be directed at Chet then?

          • What is this, some kind of tape-delayed, tag team, trolling ?

            You're totally confused and days late, to boot. I'm not angry with anyone, though I am annoyed at a wave of selective illiteracy that seems to have hit in a slow-motion wave.

      • …some people in the party underwent some wrongdoing…

        "Underwent" makes it seem like they were all innocent bystanders who got swept up in some irresistable force of nature.

        Perpetrated is a (much) more appropriate word than underwent.

    • The good ol' days 'gate' I remember actually went the other way round: where one Party wasn't stealing money, but was paying some other parties via some secret accounts, to break in & do some espionage on their rival Party's election warroom, and then they lied about it, and covered it up, and ultimately the President had to resign over it. And come to think of it, "Water" = "Eau" in parts of Canada, or 'Eau da…" in toiletries, which sounds like: "Oda."

    • Ah…the exact moment when, sadly, chet's universe stopped, never to move onward again.

      • "never to move onward"?

        Maybe you're right?

        What's $40 million in stolen funds which still haven't been traced.

        I mean, continuing possession of stolen property to the tune of $40 million is nothing compared to say, a single word notation of disaproval in an intergovernmental document.

        I need to hang out in more "progressive" circles, maybe some Ottawa media coctail parties to really get some badly needed perpsective. Maybe, then I can focus wayyyyy back to what really matters, like say five or six governments ago to Mulroney! Oh sure, it's not forty million (a couple hundred thousand or so), no stolen money, not public funds but rather a private contract, but that's the "correct" form of "never mov[ing] onward", the kind where the "progressive" media will be on board and will still headline, and headline, and headline again, even decades later.

        • Yet another display of how seriously the issue seems to have arrested your development. It's become a fixation. Get help.

    • You are, of course, free to keep using the Sponsorship Scandal as the reason – perhaps one of many, perhaps the only reason – that you won't support the LPC. And you are obviously free to keep reminding readers of the sordid events of the scandal, once a week, once a day, or many times per day.

      But as time passes more and more people are going to let it slide….I hope that you will be able to keep up with the mood of the swing voters. ;-)

  5. Feschuk makes an important point: the corporate tax cuts will do zilch to create actual jobs.

  6. The Conservatives imported the expression “job creators” from Republicans in the United States, who are masters at putting a positive spin on negative concepts like cuts to social programs (“budget relief”) and extending tax breaks for the super rich (“Gimme!”).


    • Yes, Newspeak Orwell called it.

  7. Looking at the images on top, I would not want to be reading Arabic or Hebrew. That would be scary watching Justin Bieber turn into John Baird. Imagine a mezzo-soprano turning into a mesozoic.

    • It is the other way around, John Baird is a timelord and regenerated into Justin Bieber!

  8. Is the solution than to tax corporations, which has relatively little impact on revenues? Should Harper have made a bold statement which could have hit him back in the face in 10 months depending on the moves made by military leadership?

  9. February 21, 2011, the day euphemisms went too far. I feel like screaming like Justin Bieber.

  10. How ironic that Feschuk — whose job used to involve creating these sorts of euphemisms for Paul Martin, would write a post like this.

    • I think you need to figure out the difference between the terms "ironic" and "predictable"

      Hint: When a weatherman calls for rain.. he's not being ironic.

      • When someone who once made his living crafting euphemisms for politicians — mocks how today's politicians rely too heavily on these same euphemisms — it is very much ironic.

  11. a few commentators here need a girlfriend.

    or a therapist.

  12. I disagree sir! "Aspirational Surplus" made the whole post worthwhile!

    • agreed, when used in a sentence it caused a minor Shreddies Chernobyl over breakfast a few days ago at my house.