What Garth heard - Macleans.ca

What Garth heard

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The most entertaining parts of Sheeple, Garth Turner’s awkwardly titled account of his most recent time in politics, are almost definitely the previously undisclosed bits of private conversation and internal discussion Turner claims to have been party to. If only because truly candid, available-for-public-consumption comment from a politician is otherwise so rare.

Herein, a brief collection of Sheeple’s highlights in this regard. Note: some adult language follows.

“This is the chance we have. Don’t be tentative. Seize the moment now. Leader, life is not a rehearsal.”
—Unnamed Liberal urging Stephane Dion to bring down the government in June 2008

“I just watched Duffy and it was terrible. I’m very disappointed with you. Why are you trying to screw us?”
—Conservative MP Steven Fletcher after Turned expressed disappointment with David Emerson’s floor-crossing

“To put it charitably, you were independent during the campaign. I don’t need a media star in my caucus. I was going to offer you something, a role, something I had that is delicate, something important. But now I’m not going to anymore. Instead we will just see what happens, what you do, over the next few weeks.”
—Stephen Harper, meeting with Turner after the Emerson controversy

“You’re a journalist and we all know journalists make bad politicians. Politicians know how to stick to a message. That’s how they are successful. Journalists think they always have to tell the truth.”
—Harper, continued

“I’m a blunt person. I heard  your comments on Canada AM, and this freelance commenting of yours has to end. The public undermining has to end. There was nothing in our platform that was against floor-crossing. If you want to fuck with us, we will certainly fuck with you. Do you want to sit as an independent? Then we can arrange that. Count on it … Let me make this clear. I am telling you, you will not give any more media interviews. I am telling you, you will stop writing the blog. And I’m telling you that you’ll issue a press release today praising the prime minister’s appointment of Emerson. Are you clear?”
—Ian Brodie, then-chief-of-staff

“You should be less ambitious. You should try harder to get along. A lot of these guys are suspicious of you, you know, with the media contacts you’ve got and the profile. Maybe you should spend more time, and take a few of them out for dinner. Lie low, you know? Just stay out of the headlines, below the radar. Lay off the blog, and I’m sure over time things will change.”
—Conservative MP Gord Brown

“My privileges as a member are being compromised. I’m afraid to speak now because I just don’t know if everything I say is being written and will be published that night.”
—Conservative MP Jeff Watson arguing that Turner should be kicked out of the party’s Ontario caucus

“We play as a team or we lose as a team. We have no room for an independent thinker on our team.”
—Conservative MP Guy Lauzon 

“You’re here to be a team player and you bet it’s a problem if you’re not supporting your colleagues. You have to be a team player. If you’re not, then get out.”
—Conservative MP Larry Miller

“You owe a duty to everyone. To the team. The team comes first.”
—Finance Minister Jim Flaherty

“What Garth has to learn is that you’ve got to support the prime minister, absolutely no matter what.”
—Senator Marjory LeBreton

“Garth Turner should be ashamed of himself.”
—Conservative MP Helena Guergis

“We may not like some of what Garth says, but it sure as is his right to say it.”
—Conservative MP David Tilson

“There will be impacts in some of your ridings. They will affect people, and you may be tempted to talk about them. But don’t. Anyone who has anything to say about this will soon find out they have a very short political career.”
—Harper, announcing program spending cuts during a caucus meeting

“So what bullshit about the prime minister are you blogging now? And would you happen to be webcasting from your glasses right now?”
—Conservative MP James Moore, seeing Turner using his blackberry after a caucus meeting

“Mr. Chairman, we have to talk about Garth Turner. The media may love him, but he’s hurting this party and this government by opening his mouth. Who does he think he is? Who is Garth Turner to tell us what we should be doing here?”
—Conservative MP John Baird

“Are you writing about me?”
—Baird, referencing a blog post of Turner’s that described some MPs as longing for the benefits of a cabinet post

“Nobody asked Garth Turner to have any ideas, or to run around and ask people what they think. We had an election, and we have a platform, and that’s what we think. You are undermining every one of us. You have no right. No right.”
—Lauzon

“You have caused a lot of trouble. This is now on the front page of La Presse. The ADQ has made negative comments about you, and this is very bad. You said that separatists are lazy, but you cannot do that. You will write on your blog that you are sorry…”
—Stephane Dion