The Shotgun Blog
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Loyal to the Core: Stephen Harper, Me and the NCC
Freedom Press is already promising that Gerry Nicholls’ new book will be “the most explosive Canadian political book for 2009.”
Nicholls calls himself “one of the top five political minds in the country,” and is a freelance columnist who writes and blogs for the Western Standard and many other Canadian publications.
In its promotional literature, Freedom Press writes:
Without question, Nicholls is one of Canada’s most outspoken and articulate defenders of conservatism. For more than 20 years, Nicholls served as the political and communications strategist for the conservative organization, the National Citizens Coalition. For five of those years, he worked closely with the group’s president, a man who would go on to become Canada’s Prime Minister—Stephen Harper. Now, in his first book, Loyal to the Core, Nicholls reveals the story of how he went from being a friend and close ally of Harper’s, to one of his most fierce and unrelenting critics.
Nicholls provides a frank assessment of Stephen Harper the man, and Stephen Harper the leader, tracing his evolution from hardcore conservative ideologue to partisan, pragmatic politician. It is also a story of secret political meetings, clashing personalities and the lure of power.
In addition to the candid portrait of Harper, Nicholls offers an unauthorized history of the National Citizens Coalition, Canada’s largest independent, pro-free market organization. Who created this unique advocacy group and why? How did this organization, using political guerrilla warfare tactics, help change the face of Canada? We learn how the NCC fought to expose government waste and oppose arrogant politicians, how it battled both in the court of law and the court of public opinion to protect our most cherished individual freedoms.
The book is scheduled to be released in February, but you can order your copy now here at a discounted pre-release price.
In an interview about his new book, Nicholls has some sound advice for conservative activists: “resist the corrosive influence of partisan politics and focus on what matters: winning the war of ideas.” You can watch Nicholls' complete interview with Freedom Press here.
Posted by Matthew Johnston
Posted by westernstandard on December 30, 2008 | Permalink
Too bad I can't order it from Amazon…
Posted by: Pete | 2008-12-30 1:51:24 PM
I have a problem with people who write analytical books about someone who is currently in power. Political books of this sort are usually written to cause trouble and provide fodder for those in Opposition. Sure hope this is not Gerry's intent.
It's rather arrogant for someone to assume themselves qualified to analyze others.In the end, it's nothing more than opinion.
Posted by: LizJ | 2008-12-31 6:01:54 AM
The book is scheduled to be released in February, but you can order your copy now here at a discounted pre-release price.
Posted by Western Standard on December 30, 2008
Wait until March and the book will be in the bargain bin.
Posted by: The Stig | 2008-12-31 7:58:27 AM
Actually Liz, conservative politicians need, deserve, and want criticism from the right. They usually get bombarded with emails and letters from constituents at anywhere from 5:1 to 10:1 favouring the left. Leftists tend to be much more vocal and whinny. Eventually, this has to influence Conservative politician's thinking.
Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-12-31 10:09:22 AM
Agreed John Chittick. The problem is how it's presented. Whether it's constructive or with malice.
Gerry doesn't seem to want to accept that Mr Harper could never have made it to the Office of Prime Minister while sticking to a severe right wing agenda. There have been some concessions but many of the basic conservative values are coming into the governance of this country. It's long overdue.
I think it angered a lot of people when Paul Martin said Stephen Harper did not represent "Canadian values". That was on his last gasp on the stump before he got the boot. He got his answer from the people.
Posted by: LizJ | 2008-12-31 10:52:39 AM
John is right. Right of centre politicians need right of centre critics in order to appear mainstream.
What Harper doesn't need, however, is people telling the public that he really is a hardline conservative ideologue. This is perpetuates the "hidden agenda" fears.
That being written, Gerry feels he has good reason to be unhappy with Harper, and I'm looking forward to reading the book.
Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-12-31 10:55:21 AM
A reminder about Harper and "conservatism." There is plenty of "fodder" available on what he says and does. But, hey the "true believers" still believe.
By Stephen J. Gray
“He [Harper] can be slippier [sic.] than a greased pig” (Paul Wells, Maclean’s Magazine, September 17, 2008).
Conservative leadership is the buzz word of the election campaign. And Mr. Harper is being touted as a “leader.” So let us examine what Mr. Harper the leader says and does on a number of issues:
Free Speech: “Human rights commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society,” says Stephen Harper, president of the National Citizens' Coalition. “It is in fact totalitarianism. I find this is very scary stuff.” 
Yet, the Harper government intervenes against free speech: “The Attorney General of Canada, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and B'nai Brith Canada will be intervening in the Lemire case in support of Section 13, arguing that it is a reasonable restriction on freedom of speech” (Canadian Constitution Foundation Letter of April 28).
Bilingualism: “As a religion, bilingualism is the god that failed. It has led to no fairness, produced no unity, and cost Canadian taxpayers untold millions.” (Stephen Harper) 
Now Mr. Harper says this: “My friends, for me a prime minister should speak French,” Harper said, calling French “the founding language of this country” (Source: The Gazette, Sept 8, 2008 ).
Same-sex marriage: “I don't see reopening this question [of same-sex marriage] in the future.” (Stephen Harper, CTV News Dec. 7, 2006 ).
Sexual orientation and its illegitimate offspring “same-sex marriage” were never in the Charter, yet we had the silly spectacle of a supposedly “conservative government introducing a motion on this that they knew would be defeated. A government with principles would have used the not-withstanding clause to return sanity to this country. But unfortunately Mr. Harper is on record as saying, regarding this nonsense called same-sex marriage, “I will never use the notwithstanding clause on that issue” (Lifesite News December 16, 2005, ).
The Status of Women: This group achieved increased funding under the Harper Conservatives as witness the following quote from a minister’s speech: “As a demonstration of our firm commitment to the success of Status of Women Canada, Budget 2007 provided $10 million in funding to the Agency, bringing the total budget to $29.9 million, a record for Status of Women [emphasis added] Canada” (Speech for The Honorable Josée Verner, P.C., M.P., Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, on the occasion of an appearance before the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, House of Commons, Ottawa, February 5, 2008, ).
Abortion: “The Conservative government won't be initiating or supporting abortion legislation, and I'll use whatever influence I have in Parliament to be sure that such a matter doesn't come to a vote…” (Stephen Harper, ).
And we thought we lived in a democracy? Or is it a hypocrisy?
And talking about hypocrisy, based on the evidence we have seen from Mr. Harper’s government, are they really a conservative government? Or is it back to the days of the Red Tories and the Mulroney government? A former Reform party member and MP had this to say about Mr. Harper: “he will be remembered as an opportunistic, masterful tactician who, in the course of only three years completely purged the Conservative party of its Reform ideals and restored the Mulroney model of government.” (Lee Morrison, former Reform M.P. in the Calgary Herald, September 14, 2008 ).
Furthermore, a former Mulroney supporter is now in “charge of various files…” Read this:
“[Senator] Ms. LeBreton is one of the women Mr. Harper put in Cabinet and trusts. She was a staunch Progressive Conservative, most closely tied to Brian Mulroney, and made it into Mr. Harper's inner circle despite her vocal opposition to his vision to unite the right (the former Reformer Party/Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives). Mr. Harper appointed her Conservative leader in the Senate and put her in charge of various files,...” (National Post, September 22, 2008).
This makes one wonder, is Ms. LeBreton now in charge of the abortion “file?” Ms. Breton has said this on abortion:
“… there are certain issues, particularly those that concern women and children, and those of particular concern to women, and here I will use the abortion issue as an example, where even if 99.9 per cent of the members of my party were going one way, I would not support any policy that did not give women the right to choose” (http://www.parl.gc.ca/infoparl/english/issue.htm?param=147&art=983).
And on the “right to choose,” Mr .Harper is on the record as saying this: “Let me be very clear on the positions I’ve have taken on that. I want there to be no misunderstanding. I’ve said repeatedly, that I will not, that my Conservative government will not be tabling any legislation impacting in any way a woman’s right to choose” (June 27, 2006, LifeSiteNews,
Mr. Harper is heading for a majority government. But on moral issues is there really any difference between the “conservatives” and the other parties? Are we now immersed in “throw the dogs a bone politics” where we are being promised all kinds of goodies with our own tax dollars and moral issues are not even discussed? Are we back to what a former Reform M.P. called in his Calgary Herald article, “Liberal, Tory, same old story?” And will social conservative people buy the “story” that we have a “conservative” party to vote for and allow themselves to be fooled a second time by the Harper “conservatives?”
For, as Andrew Coyne wrote in MacLean’s of September 10, 2008,
“…Harper's whole time in office has been spent reassuring the public he has no plans to lead them anywhere, that under a Conservative government nothing much would change — they would govern much like the Liberals,…” 
Stephen J. Gray
October 6, 2008.
[email protected] website: http://www.geocities.com/graysinfo
Posted by: Stephen J. Gray | 2008-12-31 11:19:00 AM
Harper has been a huge disappointment. His prescription for the economic downturn is regurgitation of failed Bush policies. Since when do you encourage home building when the inventory of housing grows? Since when do you solve a balance sheet and credit crisis recession by trying to make banks make MORE loans? Since when does a conservative keep a failing industry on life support on the taxpayer dime?
And what sort of conservative appoints an censorship, Stalinist like Jessica Lynch?
Posted by: Faramir | 2008-12-31 11:43:08 AM
Nicholls calls himself “one of the top five political minds in the country”? It'd be better if he got someone else to say it.
Posted by: passerby | 2008-12-31 12:25:58 PM
Gerry appears to be a mild mannered, unpretentious fellow but calling himself one of the top five political minds in the country tells us he's got one huge ego. I have never heard him described that way from any other source.
Wonder who the other four are?
Posted by: LizJ | 2009-01-01 6:20:16 AM
There are "political minds" in Canada? Really? Where? My friends and I have been looking for one for so long. Oddly, three of us have been employed as speechwriters by four provincial civil services for an accumulative total of over 65 years, and we've yet to encounter a "political mind" in the neighborhood! Opportunists, Thieves, White-Collar Criminals, Ideologues - THOSE are the labels we've identified for the "politicians" we've encountered in our years of employment.
If you knew Susie
Like I know Susie!
Oh! Oh! Oh, whatta girl!
Unfortunately, Canadians wouldn't know a "politician" if one bit them on the arse. Then again, why would they need to? Sheep don't vote, they bleat.
Not to worry, darlings. We've all planned out our parachutes out of the country upon retirement. Nothing QUITE kills one's love for Canada as much as insider knowledge of it's "political classes".
But isn't dual-citizenship a wonderful way to use the country we had expected to inherit but have been denied to our advantage? Since Canadainas and Canadian governments have stolen MY Canada from me and turned it into a labyrinthine multicultural nightmare where MY INDIVIDUAL FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS are less important than those of Islamic terrorists here to plot against the Judeo-Christian world, I will USE my country of birth to ensure MY retirement years are spent living elsewhere MOST of every calendar year. I won't even say "goodbye" upon my many future leave-takings because you can't say "goodbye" to nothing.
Posted by: Pesky Pundit | 2009-01-05 12:02:47 PM
Harper is going down, thankfully. He will not survive another election. He couldn't beat Dion even after about a year of attack ads they used against him. I hope a coalition government takes power at the soonest opportunity. If the coalition won't make a move to liberalize our drug laws, and rethink the war on plants then I hope they will at least rescue my friend, Canadian hero Marc Scott Emery from extradition to the untited states and if they think what he has done by selling pot seeds is indeed criminal then let him face our own CANADIAN justice system.
Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-01-06 10:17:02 AM
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