RMR: Prorogation Backlash?

From last night’s show: “Yes, we are apathetic, but the minute anyone tries to use our apathy against us… suddenly we start to care big time.”

I’m not sure if I can agree with that, although it would be nice to be proven wrong. I suspect that Harper won’t pay much of a penalty for having closed down parliament, especially if, as has been suggested, his pending legislation is fast-tracked when it resumes in March.

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59 Comments

Filed under Conservative Party of Canada, Humour, Polls, Stephen Harper

59 responses to “RMR: Prorogation Backlash?

  1. Rick Mercer for Prime Minister!

    ‘Course, I can’t help thinking that Tim Hortons is the place where Steve’s aficionados hang out, but…. even they might prefer to see the pretence of respecting democracy.

    Question: Can legislation really be fast-tracked, without discussion by parliamentary committees and 3 readings by the Senate?

  2. Ti-Guy

    I suspect that Harper won’t pay much of a penalty for having closed down parliament, especially if, as has been suggested, his pending legislation is fast-tracked when it resumes in March.

    You really have become defeatist.

  3. Ti-Guy — Well, we’ll see about that. First of all, there’s no real battle to be fought at the moment — an election won’t be in the cards for quite some time, imho. Do you honestly think that people want to go to the polls before next October? And by then do you think the issue of prorogation will figure significantly?

  4. Penny — Technically, I’m not sure, but Harper seemed to indicate that he wanted to pick up in committee where things were left off (but now of course he’ll have a rubber stamp from “the other place”). Regarding the procedure in the HOC, I wouldn’t think it should be all that difficult to take all the previous hearings “as read” and move on.

  5. TG..

    There is a penalty.

    And it may not be an immediate penalty in terms of lost polling numbers or votes come springtime.. but everytime some political game is played, diminishing the respect for the authority of that office.. there is a penalty.

    And that penalty is the commitment of independant and middle-conservative voters to keep faith in our PM as someone worthy of their vote.

    As we saw in the Mass. Senate election, the shift of uncommited voters can make all the difference.. and it’s not always easy to say what tilts that balance – it’s often very subtle and more a question of cumulative weight than any single event.

    If polled, I would still be voting Conservative. But, to be honest, I’ve lost some respect for the direction of the party as a result of how they’ve dealt with the prorogue of Parliament..

  6. Rob — As we saw in the Mass. Senate election, the shift of uncommited voters can make all the difference…

    It’s always the “independents” and “uncommitted voters” that make the difference. In our context, they’re the group of people that largely make up the 10% or more it takes to put either the Conservatives or Liberals into majority territory. But in fact, it’s actually a much bigger percentage than that, just usually quite fragmented. Not to mention all of those who simply don’t vote for whatever reason.

    Support for the Cons and Libs is really only about two of every ten people each and one of those might be fairly wishy-washy or indifferent.

  7. in ma, indies outnumber both dems and reps.

    KEvron

  8. ….and their state legislature has a dem supermajority, while they’d elected republican governors three consecutive times. rob’s got it right: this is no partisan referendum.

    KEvron

  9. jkg

    Which makes me wonder if all the talk about what ‘ordinary Canadians care about’ is really just a way to sway that mushy middle. When a meme becomes prevalent enough to replicate and spread throughout public discourse, it can that kind of effect. I suppose that is nothing new. Though it implies that the certain level of apathy and passivity of the uncommitted voters might just be why some elections are more about strategy then actually offering anything to invigorate the polity. In a way, despite the hyper-partisanship, there is a trend of de-politicization, the subtext of which is that it is not necessary to go beyond the abstract, institutional implications of policy just as long as there are lower taxes and cheap alcohol.

  10. We haven’t scored well on the “low taxes and cheap alcohol” front in quite some time, although I suspect that would make for a snappy campaign slogan.

  11. jkg

    We haven’t scored well on the “low taxes and cheap alcohol” front in quite some time

    Though, should continentalist discourse continue establish the new Canadian framework for public discussion, we just might be on the road soon enough. But as you said somewhere else, there is a certain invigorating energy behind American politics, which could explain why it is so infectious.

  12. Gayle

    I believe he can bring the legislation back to where it was when he prorogued but he would need the unanimous consent of Parliament to do so.

    If I were in charge of the opposition parties I would withhold that consent unless I received some concessions.

    One thing I would demand is that he provide them with the unredacted documents pronto. Another would be the commitment to have the CPC members attend all committee meetings so they cannot get away with preventing a quorum.

  13. Wendy

    I see Maxime Bernier will be in our neck of the woods,tomorrow night,selling Con. memberships at the Station House Pub in Langford. Oh my!

  14. That’s kind of an odd hole in the wall for him to show up at. I bet he’ll be staying at Bear Mountain

  15. lance

    Gayle said, “One thing I would demand is that he provide them with the unredacted documents pronto. Another would be the commitment to have the CPC members attend all committee meetings so they cannot get away with preventing a quorum.”

    Talk about reduced expectations and an opportunity to gift the Conservatives.

  16. Kind of sad, isn’t it? “We demand that you show up to work and release the documents you’ve been ordered to disclose!”

    Fightin’ words…

  17. TofKW

    Actually what’s sad is that it would take something close to extortion for the CPoC MPs to show up to work, and for Harper to release the unredacted documents that he is obligated to do under parliamentary order. Very sad.

  18. Gayle

    Well, first you have to consider the opposition have hammered Harper for killing his own bills, so they can hardly demand the moon for reinstating them.

    The demands I suggest simply make up for the time lost in the committee by the prorogation. They also focus the attention on why he prorogued in the first place.

    And there is a pretty good chance he will not give in, which will make him look bad all over again.

    Of course, they could demand nothing and allow Harper to brow beat them again, but I am not sure that will make the opposition look particularly effective.

  19. hitfan

    The honest truth — nobody really gives a crap about how the Afghan detainees are being treated once they’re being handed over by the Canadian military. It’s only those intellectuals, citing “international law” who are trying to score political points against the conservatives. It’s not as if Canadian soldiers are doing the torturing themselves.

    There are far more serious torture scandals being done by the Americans themselves.

    Why should the Canadian government be prosecuted by the IPCC in this case, and not the Afghan government? They’re pointing fingers condemning Canadian conservative bureaucrats for inaction.

    Personally, I’d like to see the Canadian military just abandon Afghanistan altogether. I suspect that the real reasons for MacKay and Harper for not investigating torture allegations is that such an action would make the corrupt puppet Karzai regime look bad.

    The main reason for Canadian presence in Afghanistan is political–to placate the Americans. If Ignatieff forms the next government, he will continue the same policy in order not to upset his BFF, Obama. And would he do about the detainee abuse thing? I guess he’ll write a sternly worded letter.

  20. sapphireandsteel

    hitfan is your head in the sand or are you just a douche?

  21. hitfan is your head in the sand or are you just a douche?

    Not mutually exclusive.

  22. TofKW

    The honest truth — nobody really gives a crap about how the Afghan detainees are being treated once they’re being handed over by the Canadian military.

    If nobody cares about the Afghans’ conduct, then why have we been shedding blood for them since 2002? What’s the fucking point of it all? The mission objective has already morphed so many times I’ve lost count, and if it’s currently all about nation building then why are we supporting such a hellhole?

    It’s only those intellectuals, citing “international law” who are trying to score political points against the conservatives.

    I had no idea that the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Independent Afghan Human Rights Council, and the respective Dutch and American defence departments were all Liberal Party of Canada partisan organizations out to skewer the Conservatives. My gawd the Grits are an evil juggernaut that need to be crushed and banished for all eternity. Wake up and smell the coffee hitfan, these same organizations warned &/or criticised the past Chrétien and Martin Liberal governments about our mission in Afghanistan.

    It’s not as if Canadian soldiers are doing the torturing themselves.

    No, of course not. They’ve only been warning their superiors for years now that they suspect they are handing over detainees to torturers, and are worried about the implications. After all it is totally against the Geneva Conventions, and Canada is a signatory to the International Criminal Court. Our soldiers have every right to be concerned, and should be scratching their heads as to how our government was (supposedly) not hearing them. This is not about our soldiers, they’ve performed bravely and admirably throughout the Afghan conflict. It’s about the government turning a blind eye to the situation.

    There are far more serious torture scandals being done by the Americans themselves.

    Agreed, there certainly are. However that still does not excuse our government’s decisions in Afghanistan …Conservative or Liberal.

    Why should the Canadian government be prosecuted by the IPCC in this case, and not the Afghan government?

    Already answered, because we are a signatory nation to the International Criminal Court. I don’t believe Afghanistan is, however I suspect this will become a serious issue for the Karzai regime in the near future.

    Personally, I’d like to see the Canadian military just abandon Afghanistan altogether. I suspect that the real reasons for MacKay and Harper for not investigating torture allegations is that such an action would make the corrupt puppet Karzai regime look bad.

    I absolutely, whole-heartedly, 100% concur!

    The main reason for Canadian presence in Afghanistan is political–to placate the Americans.

    Of course it is, and the only reason we took a military role in Kandahar was because Chrétien said “NO!” to Bush Jr. in joining the war of the stupid in Iraq.

    If Ignatieff forms the next government, he will continue the same policy in order not to upset his BFF, Obama. And would he do about the detainee abuse thing? I guess he’ll write a sternly worded letter.

    Oh I’m sure he’ll suck up to Obama, but he won’t extend the mission past 2011. There is no political will among the Canadian electorate to go past that date.

    Iggy is already on record in the print media, on Youtube, and by words and vote in parliament (proof available on Hansard on-line) that he supports a full independent inquiry dating back to 2001 exploring our entire mission in Afghanistan, and let the chips fall where they may. I’d say that is a tad firmer than writing a sternly worded letter.

  23. sassy

    I think is would be a nice gesture if Tim Hortons provided free coffee to all the CAPP events on the 23rd.

    /snark

  24. TofKW, thanks for that. Well said.

  25. hitfan

    TofKW: your lofty ideals aside, I don’t really think that another country torturing their own people will really matter to the Canadian electorate, politically speaking.

    Why did Harper prorogue? I’m certain he knows that his poll numbers would drop after such a move (the first prorogation caused his numbers to go up, because the public saw the coalition move by Dion as a cynical move). What’s the cost-benefit analysis of proroguing at this time?

    If it really was for simply resetting the Senate committees, he could have done a shorter period of prorogation or some other technical legal move that would favor him. 3 months seems desperate.

    I go back to my earlier point of (with which to concur) that the Afghanistan detainee issue would make the corrupt Karzai government look worse than it really is.

    So why is Harper taking a political hit for America’s war? Is the Obama administration threatening to disfavor Canadian trade if he doesn’t toe the line?

  26. Ti-Guy

    I don’t really think that another country torturing their own people will really matter to the Canadian electorate, politically speaking.

    Could you please stop talking for everyone else? It’s horribly arrogant.

    No one seems to have a clue what matters to the Canadian electorate. It hardly matters anyway, since *feelings*, along with baseless speculation and pointless predictions have nothing to do with what’s actually happening in the real world, information and evidence for which is yet to come out.

    Live in the present, for God’s sakes.

    That said, I don’t doubt there’s a huge degree of placating both the present and previous American administrations by the both the former Liberal government and the current Conservative one. That’s always been the case. This time, however, the scale and the issue itself (torture) may be a watershed moment for Canadian governments and their habit of “holding the bully’s coat.”

  27. hitfan

    I’ll take another tack on the detainees issue.

    Glancing over this CBC article:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourview/2009/11/afghan-detainees-how-should-canada-handle-the-issue.html

    “Colvin said Canada was taking six times as many detainees as British troops and 20 times as many as the Dutch.”

    “He said unlike the British and Dutch, Canada did not monitor their conditions; took days, weeks or months to notify the Red Cross; kept poor records; and to prevent scrutiny, Canadian Forces leadership concealed this behind “walls of secrecy.”

    Sounds like the Canadian military took too many detainees and lacked the resources to make sure that the Red Cross would oversee their transfer.

    I recall the movie BURN AFTER READING where the CIA bureaucrat finding out that some innocent guy just died because of their fucking up, and he decides to “Fuck it…. just burn the body and this will blow over in a few weeks.”

  28. Whether or not detainees were “tortured” has, in all honesty, really been lost in the shuffle. And perhaps.. err.. probably, most Canadians have only marginal sympathy regarding the issue as compared to the more selfish concerns of unemployment and health care.

    What strikes me, however, is that the whole issue has simply become an accessory to the real effort of both the Liberal and the Conservative parties to either acquire power or to keep it.

    The illness of the hunger for power, sadly, is so typical of why the electorate feels disconnected – because we have this notion that every issue that politicians address is little more than a tool to either acquire power or to keep it.

    The Liberal party would have been well advised to take a more moderate and reasoned approach to the issue – acknowledging that the goal should be addressing a problem – not seeking to simply attack government.

    Acknowledging that it is Taliban protocol to claim abuse at every instance to create instability in those who they oppose.

    Acknowledging that we are not dealing with the orderly processing of detainees as might take place with prisoners in Canada, but are dealing in a chaotic foward location where sometimes troops do their best, which may not approach in hindsight, what we would have preferred to have happened.

    THAT BEING SAID.. perhaps the Conservative government could have taken the moral high ground as well, and addressed the proceedings with more honesty and dignity and less fear and paranoia that, horror, they might lose their job.

    Allow for the fact that, in hindsight, we could have made changes quicker. Allowing that, to be honest, the concerns of detainees were probably not the government’s priority while our soldiers and so many civilians were being killed by Taliban terrorists.

    Allow for the fact that EVEN IF the issue of the welfare of Afghan detainees is not a priority to the Canadian people – the rule of law, that government is not above – but is subject – to standards of propriety and decency is something that should the THE priority to the Canadian people.

    Sorry.

    But the Lincoln reference of a few days ago is still resonanting with me..

  29. Whether or not detainees were “tortured” has, in all honesty, really been lost in the shuffle.

    Perhaps do you, but the fact that Afghan detainees are tortured isn’t news to anyone who has been paying attention. I mean honestly…

    As for your finger wagging at the Liberals for focusing on it (and it seems to me that the Liberals never really did focus on it, Dewar took the lead, the committee did their jobs, and Ignatieff was largely silent on the issue), obviously you’re out of touch with your “average Canadian” here Rob considering the price the PM has payed for closing down the Hill. Could it be that Rob is out of touch with the Tim Horton’s crowd? Unthinkable!

    Your lecturing of the Liberals while they were trailing badly was tiring, your nagging in the face of drastically different polling numbers is eye-rollingly audacious.

  30. TofKW

    To Rob H and hitfan, I have said many times and now once again that the torture issue on its own is of secondary interest at this point. As Nixon (well, if he were still alive) and Clinton could tell you it is not the original transgression that gets you, it’s the cover up. Once there is a smell of a cover up, then these things tend to take on a life of their own.

    Rob you are absolutely correct that Harper should have taken the high road on this. After Colvin’s testimony he should have thanked him for his courage to come forward and immediately announced an independent inquiry …one that went back to 2001 to include the past Liberal governments. At the end he could have admitted mistakes were made, fired a few sacrificial junior officials, and half-heartedly adopted a few key recommendations from the final report. There would probably be a few juicy details that slip out about the past Liberal governments too, which Harper could counter with should the opposition make too much hay about whatever mistakes the current government made. In the end he could have come out of this much stronger and more ‘Prime Ministerial’ as it were.

    But the problem was that the inquiry would have dragged on for months, and Harper’s poll numbers might have taken a bit of a hit until the final report was released. That is not acceptable to Harper, who sees the CPoC polling at 40+% and sees his dreams of a majority within his grasp. So instead we see stonewalling, spin, lies, obfuscation, and finally prorogation, all in hopes that the issue dies down in time for a spring budget and hopes for a quickie election.

    Then it all blew up in Harper’s face.

    If you continue to see this within the singular context of just the detainee issue, you are correct in that this alone should not hurt the government to any severe degree. But there are larger patterns and more serious issues that prorogation has stirred up. Indeed Harper just poked a hornet’s nest.

  31. Shiner.. whatever.

    It’s exactly what TofKW says.

    No one cared if Clinton had sex with Monica Lewinski. They cared because he abused his trust and lied.

    At the end of the day, Canadians IN MY OPINION aren’t really that concerned with how suspected Taliban were treated, but are irritated with the idea of a government, and in a broader sense, of politicians without principle.

    In the face of a stagnant economy and continued high unemployment, if the Liberals were not still licking their wounds after having grossly abused their own trust with the adscam fiasco, and a leader who has demonstrated very little in the way of leadership, the polls for the Conservatives should be dismal..

    Even under the present polls, the price Harper is paying is not because of the detainees, it’s because of progation. And even that’s going to fade. If the economy turns around, his numbers will go up, bet on it.

    But the more subtle and lasting sense of a loss of trust will linger.

    But we’re back to the same old, aren’t we?

    What “my guys” do is beyond reproach, and what “your guys” do is the problem.

    However.

    I will give credit to Ignatieff for the comments he made in today regarding casting away of the Liberal elitism and a review of party identity. It’s the first smart thing he has done – and if he’s sincere and the party developes something approaching a defining identity which is something beyond “NDP-lite”, the Conservatives are in big trouble.

    The political spectrum, in my opinion, is wide open for a party of real and demonstrated principles.

  32. Ti-Guy

    You’re beginning to grate, Rob.

    In my opinion, I don’t think *Canadians* cared all that much, one way or the other about Clinton’s blowjob and probably supported his dissembling about what was, in fact, a personal matter between two consenting adults (we have a history in this country of not really wanting to know what our politicians get up to when it comes to that…look at how Vic Toews reputation has survived, even among Conservatives, despite his dalliance being much worse than a couple of hot ‘n’ sloppies and bumping uglies).

    What Americans cared about is anyone’s guess; some of them were told to believe it was a matter of character and evil, evil sex, some were told that it was a non-issue, some were told it was a really about his lying, and some were too busy having orgies to notice at all.

    I really wish you’d try and remember what country you live in, but I suspect Lethbridge really is just an extension of Montana or whatever square state is located just to the south of it.

  33. TofKW

    The political spectrum, in my opinion, is wide open for a party of real and demonstrated principles.

    Here here!!!

    I do have suggestions for the two main parties. For the Liberals, I think you just nailed it in terms of what Ignatieff needs to do. It is still possible for him to redefine himself. And the Liberal party as a whole needs to see that their traditional base in Ontario and (more specifically) Quebec, is no longer enough for them to rest on their laurels and assume they can form government. It may have actually been more advantageous for them to have lost decisively back in 2006, under a Harper majority they could have completely rebuilt themselves in time for a 2010 election year. However they are now listening to the people thanks to prorogation, and voters are looking for any viable alternative, so maybe they can still put together something.

    For the Conservatives, really there is only one solid option. Ditch Harper. As unpalatable as that may be for them (and difficult, indeed to take down a sitting prime minister) imagine if they could pull a Thatcher and replace Steve and his baggage with …as an example …Bernard Lord. If not him, then any principled conservative who is; a) not from Alberta (sorry but after fielding Manning, Day and Harper – the leader of the conservative movement really should come from elsewhere), and b) not a Mike Harris re-tread.

    I’m thinking of a national debate between Ignatieff and a fresh LPC versus Lord and a fresh CPC. That might actually give us something approaching a grown up conversation for the first time in a long while.

  34. TofKW

    Ti, I imagine you and Rob must have had your run-ins here. But Clinton’s problems did have more to do with lying under oath than sharing a cigar with Monica.

  35. Ti-Guy

    TofKW;

    I was making a point of Rob conflating Canadians and Americans all the time. On practically every topic, he wanders across the border as if it doesn’t exist.

    In my opinion, this is what causes “Conservatives” to sound so confused and tentative all the time.

    If the point is about the cover-up being worse than the actual misdeed, then fine, but then he really should choose issues that are minimally comparable.

    But that’s not exactly novel and I *don’t* believe we actually know this definitively about the detainee abuse scandal yet; that it’s really just about a cover-up and not actual war crimes. The over-the-top vilification of Colvin by the government strikes me as highly suspicious and desperate in a cornered-animal kind of way. Coupled with the well-known fact that “conservatives,” deep in what passes for their souls, lack real empathy, believe in guilty until proved innocent and are OK with torture (as they are with the death penalty), it seems rather incriminating at this point.

    Lastly, the Harpies always turn out to be much worse than what even I permit myself to believe.

  36. jkg

    If not him, then any principled conservative who is; a) not from Alberta (sorry but after fielding Manning, Day and Harper – the leader of the conservative movement really should come from elsewhere), and b) not a Mike Harris re-tread.

    That would eliminate a mighty number of potential replacements apart from the Maritime Conservatives. There are always non-Harris backbenchers from Ontario like Guy Lauzon .

  37. Ti-Guy

    I think they still have a few honest-to-goodness Tories left in Newfoundland. I bet one them would make a helluva good Conservative leader. Would give the Liberals a run for their money, that’s for sure.

    Or how about…Michael Ignatieff? 😉

  38. And TG.. you’re probably right with my meanderings coming across “confused and tentative” as I am currently feeling like a voter with no place to put my ballot.

    And yet, not being ready to just give up all hope either.

    Like the Ancient Mariner, perhaps, seeing “water, water everwhere, with nary a drop to drink”.

    We have this great interest, it seems, in politics, and everyone seems to have something to say.. but there is nothing out there right now that looks or feels like it represents what we as a society really need to move forward in a positive way.

  39. TofKW

    That would eliminate a mighty number of potential replacements apart from the Maritime Conservatives. There are always non-Harris backbenchers from Ontario like Guy Lauzon .

    Oh I know I’m dreaming on that point jkg. The CPoC is too far gone to return to the days of sensible conservatism. There are a few good non-Harris Ontario MPPs out there, Elizabeth Witmer and Ted Arnott come to mind. Unfortunately none of them have a high national profile to make a successful run at the leadership of the CPoC. I think Bernard Lord is about. Until a few years ago Jean Charest might have been a possibility, but he’s burned his bridges long ago.

  40. TofKW

    Oops, that line should have read
    I think Bernard Lord is about it.

  41. EM

    GUY LAUZON?

    Read the article attached to his name in jkg’s comment. My Mp … a waste of time.

  42. TofKW

    I think they still have a few honest-to-goodness Tories left in Newfoundland.

    Actually the Rock seems to continually produce great politicians, Tory or Grit doesn’t matter. I’m trying to imagine Danny Williams becoming leader of the CPoC. Yes that chances of that are about the same as the Leafs winning the cup, but boy what a game-changer that would be.

  43. Omar

    “I don’t know how you can really ignore American politics given the overwhelming economic influence the machinations of that country’s government has on Canada, not to mention the ideological narratives that invade our own popular discourse and are played out with so much more dramatic effect in the media.”

    Wow. Quite the mouthful. For what it’s worth, the primary reason I seldom read and/or participate at your blog any longer is your saturating zeal for all things politically American. Sarah Palin, Fox News, Keith Olbermann, etc, etc, etc…
    You buttress this obvious political preference by constantly stating you find the state of Canadian politics “boring” and apparently not worth paying attention to. It is a position that given what has been going on in this country the last several years seems, well, odd. But on the other hand, given your hostile treatment of Stephane Dion when he led the Liberal party combined with your more or less indifference to how Stephen Harper is governing the country, maybe your reluctance to cast a critical Canadian eye and focus on the US of A instead is a little more understandable.
    Red Tory? I think ‘Pink’ Tory is a bridge too far.

  44. Hmm.

    Apparently Omar prefers his blogs less, well, nuanced.

  45. Ti-Guy

    What’s nuance got to do with anything?

  46. He prefers blogs to be vehicles of pure partisan spin.

    The world is black and white.

    You’re wid’ us, or angin’ us.

  47. sapphireandsteel

    That sounds like a perfect description of Tomm.

  48. jkg

    Oh I know I’m dreaming on that point jkg.

    I have to admit; my suggestion of Guy Lauzon was done with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, though I suspect you detected that.

    Until a few years ago Jean Charest might have been a possibility, but he’s burned his bridges long ago.

    Indeed, I always wondered though whether or not all that pressure to save the QLP was just a way to get him out of the federal Tories. After that, there seemed to be a gradual decline of Tories like him right up until them merger.

  49. Omar

    Rob is correct, I do prefer the blogs I read to have a partisan lean to the left, that’s why I seldom read this one any longer. I also do not subscribe to the idea that because Canadian politics is so eternally boring one must grovel at the alter of American politics to compensate. Besides, I’d take boring over the ridiculous any day of the week. If it were my desire to be intellectually insulted by fascists, I’d go down and have a beer at the Legion.

  50. Ti-Guy

    He prefers blogs to be vehicles of pure partisan spin.

    I still don’t understand how that relates to nuance. I don’t even think you know what that word means. It’s certainly not the opposite of partisan.

  51. Omar — You buttress this obvious political preference by constantly stating you find the state of Canadian politics “boring” and apparently not worth paying attention to.

    I don’t think that’s an entirely fair characterization. Nor was your false assertion about my “hostile treatment” of Stéphane Dion. Sure, he was a pretty lousy campaigner and I made no secret of my horror at the way the last campaign was waged, but as you may recall, I was one of those who suggested after the defeat that he remain leader and soldier on rather than fall on his sword as he did.

  52. TofKW

    I have to admit; my suggestion of Guy Lauzon was done with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, though I suspect you detected that.

    Actually jkg, his name slipped by me when I issued my reply. I recognized the name but couldn’t place him within the Ontario legislature, which is why I did not address your tongue in cheek choice for the next CPoC leader. At the time I figured if I couldn’t place him as one of the Hudak/Harris types that he might be an old-school PC member. Since EM’s post, I realise he’s a federal MP and former Reform/Alliance member, also responsible for stonewalling within the Official Languages Committee meetings.

    Indeed, I always wondered though whether or not all that pressure to save the QLP was just a way to get him out of the federal Tories.

    There is an element of truth to your suspicions, but not from who you may be suspecting. After the 1997 election Charest managed to return the Tories back to a respectable showing, at least in terms of the popular vote, but with vote-splitting (specifically in Ontario) it was almost impossible to do better in terms of seat count. I believe the election result caused him at least to begin to scrutinize his future as PC leader, and to look for alternatives for him to make a difference somewhere. From my own perspective (at least within my riding association) there was absolutely no desire to see him step down, but that was not the case everywhere. But for the record, the party that really wanted him to step down and lead the QLP were the Liberals. My own belief was that Chrétien and Martin were determined to squeeze out the PCs and run future elections as the Liberals vs the Alberta-rump party (thus killing any united-right opposition). Fortunately they failed, but unfortunately the Reformers took over the PCs.

  53. TofKW

    Omar, I can confirm that RT did indeed pen many favourable comments towards Dion. Certainly not during the 2008 campaign because, let’s face it, aside from a few instances he ran it poorly. But during his overall time as LPC leader, Red has written more positive commentary than negative. In fact I remember one where he posted that Canada would be blessed to have a politician as honest as Dion become PM.

    …The problem is of course that honesty never gets you elected in Canada, or anywhere else for that matter.

  54. TG – I still don’t understand how that relates to nuance. I don’t even think you know what that word means. It’s certainly not the opposite of partisan.

    Ok.. so maybe I’m just an uneducated boob. So I looked it up in case it meant something like, “soup ladel” or some such thing..

    Here it is:

    nu·ance
    n.

    1. A subtle or slight degree of difference, as in meaning, feeling, or tone; a gradation

    and:

    par·ti·san
    n.
    1. A fervent, sometimes militant supporter or proponent of a party, cause, faction, person, or idea.

    So. One means a “subtle or slight degree of difference” and the other means a “fervent, sometimes militant supporter of an idea”.

    Ok.

    So maybe they aren’t exactly antonyms, but I think the point is there.

    Some people apprecate a nuances approach to political discussion, where shades of gray are perhaps understood, and others prefer militant support of their parties positions..

    RH – “TG.. did you come here for an argument?”
    TG – “No, I came here for an argument.”

  55. And TofKW..

    …The problem is of course that honesty never gets you elected in Canada, or anywhere else for that matter.

    Honesty, by itself, may not get you elected.. but I think Canadians would love to see a leader with a plan who also happens to be honest.

  56. Honesty, by itself, may not get you elected.. but I think Canadians would love to see a leader with a plan who also happens to be honest.

    I believe TofKW was suggesting that honesty is a hindrance, which it is. You will not get elected if you mention raising taxes, or point out the load of bullocks that is tough on crime policy. You can blame politicians all you want, but we get what we deserve.

  57. We are own worst enemies sometimes when it comes to the politicians we elect. When running for election we desperately want them to lie to us, but once in office we then excoriate them for breaking their promises and having shamelessly lied to us.

    If we’re so concerned about honesty, maybe we should have them all strapped to a polygraph when making speeches or engaging in debate.

  58. TofKW

    “I believe TofKW was suggesting that honesty is a hindrance, which it is.”

    That was indeed exactly what I was suggesting, and the issue of taxation is the perfect example. Spending cuts to the public service alone, even quite hurtful ones, have been tried in the past on many occasions and by different governments – NONE have ever worked to balance a budget.

    Cases; Mike Harris in Ontario (most famous failure), Brian Mulroney (budget cutbacks failed to dent the red ink, for which the GST was the solution) & believe it or not even Trudeau (tried to find services to cut when in 1976 the Auditor General announced a predicted $2 billion structural deficit that would balloon to $6 billion – after holding a royal commission and implementing many ideas, still left a $34 billion deficit when he left office).

    If the Conservative party were run by honest fiscal conservatives, they would admit up front to the Canadian voters that tax increases coupled with budget cutbacks are the only real way to eliminate a structural deficit. What are the chances of Harper (or Iggy) ever saying that?

  59. I know the cynic in me tends to agree with you TofKW.. but the idealist in my hopes you are wrong.

    I guess I can’t recall the last time I saw a politician who came across as scrupulously honest. I think Ed Broadbent was pretty close, though I couldn’t abide his policy position..

    I would love to see the experiment though, wouldn’t you?

    Of course “honesty” to a hardline Conservative might sound like, “cut arts funding a social programs”, and to an NDP supporter might sound like, “increasing corporate tax by 5%”.

    My notion of “honesty” would be something akin to compassionate rationalism. Looking at problems, not from a fixed or ideological point of view that starts with an answer before the problem has even been examined, and which accounts for a need to examine problems from a point of view that is beyond pure self-interest.

    Is there such a place in this world for such a notion?

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