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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Hateful Harper

The Prime Minister is not playing nice:

I also, like a lot of journalists in town, had heard about the "angry man syndrome." Everybody talks about the anger inside Stephen Harper, and wonder where it came from. So we talked about that and I was surprised that it wasn’t just the word anger they used, it was the word hatred. His hatred for central Canadian Liberalism, a great resentment running so deep in him that they use the H word, several of his top aides, cabinet minister David Emerson being the foremost example, in describing him. And that, I found out, was his source of motivation.

I have to wonder why. Aside from taking a few good runs at the Wheat Board and long-run registry, how has Stephen Harper governed differently than say Paul Martin, or Jean Chretien? He has certainly spent more than this immediate predecessors, but fiscal incontinence isn't really brand differentiation for a Conservative Prime Minister.

Posted by Richard Anderson on October 6, 2010 | Permalink


If Harper does 'hate' so-called central Canadian liberalism, he certainly isn't alone. I agree that he has governed not unlike Martin. Some believe that is because his hands have been tied by minority governments and that he will govern like a real conservative if and when he achieves a majority. At this point that is just speculation at best, considering he probably will never achieve that goal.

Posted by: Leigh Patrick Sullivan | 2010-10-06 7:24:45 AM

Lawrence Martin is a Globe & Mail columnist, a Toronto-centric paper with Toronto-centric views. Torontonians seem to think that Harper is the only one who despises them, but they're wrong. The entire COUNTRY despises them for their knuckleheaded parochialism, their sniffing arrogance, and their bareknucklish forcing of their own agenda down the throat of every Canadian. But they can't accept that, or won't, so they focus that angst and resentment on Harper, who after all is Prime Minister because "provincials" voted for him.

This book is Martin's opinion, nothing more, and it's clearly directed at a Golden Horseshoe readership. It's true that Harper doesn't like journalists, and probably doesn't like Liberals, but Liberals aren't exactly misty-eyed for Harper, either, and their rhetoric is usually a lot more overblown, with such brainless epithets as "scary, scary" and "hidden agenda." But at least they're not as bad as Shrillory Clinton and her "vast Right-wing conspiracy."

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-10-06 7:45:42 AM

All things considered, the PM has spectacularly underperformed contrary to expectations. His Piano recital was nice though.

He has focused on some silly issues that people all in all don't really care about until raised (gun registry, census form,) but has ignored the feelings of most Canadians on Immigration aka Tamil Tiger boats, Canadian Human Rights Commission reform and real RCMP leadership.

The purchase (sole source) of a dubious new Fighter Jet when the Coast Guard goes wanting and the persecution of the Captain is simply a symbol of an out of touch PM.

I wish it was not so as neither jack nor Iffy offer an alternative. Tea Party anyone?

Posted by: The LS from SK | 2010-10-06 10:25:47 AM

First of all, LS, Harper has spent remarkably little time on the gun registry; it was just another vote that the media decided to focus on. The vast majority of Parliamentary proceedings are never reported. It was also the media that made the census the issue it was, doubtless because it was a slow time for news. Never thought I'd see a libertarian complain about less government interference.

Tamil Tiger Boats? The Supreme Court is responsible for that fiasco; it ruled that the Charter applies to illegal immigrants inside Canadian waters. The Human Wrongs commissions will never get the boot unless the Tories win a majority, because as far as the Opposition parties are concerned, the HRCs are just fine as they are. And the crisis in the RCMP is largely media-manufactured; Mounties continue to serve Canadians with dedication every day, although they could do a better job if we a) hired more of them, and b) got some real jurists instead of the weepy, dope-addled philosopher-kings we're currently saddled with.

By the way, I hear a whole lot about the F35 being "sole-sourced," and how "dubious" an acquisition it is. Could someone please tell me why the F35 is unsuitable, what a better alternative would be, and exactly what "sole-source" is supposed to mean (and why it is bad) when there is only one manufacturer in the world who makes this airplane?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-10-06 10:46:23 AM

Ok Shane - where to start.

The F-35s (made by Boeing) are overpriced (cost control and accounting out of control), of dubious quality (engine failure) and several EU countries have withdrawn from their acquisition in favour of the EU Fighter or the Swedish one (see Bourque).

As I wrote to DND before when they were looking for Helicopters - many of those Russian ones we use on contract - were better, cheaper and available.

All in all - they (Fighters)appear to be symbols of Canada/US solidariy (even though as demonstrated in Kosevo - the US does not share some of the needed Software)and not necessarily needed to take on the Russian "Bear" as compared to say Coast Guard vessels and Army protection vehices.

The RCMP fiasco is one of leadership - putting Elliot in charge was not a good move. Even retird DCs like Bill Sweeney who commanded/commands respect - have spoken out about his appointment and management style.

It is not a media created one when so many senior RCMP risked their careers to go public. Yes, the rank and file do great work but they need better and the Ottawa based HQ is not serving that function.

But the Immigration fiasco is now in government hands and when the next boatload arrives - well we can no longer blame Trudeau.

And so to the CHRC - Harper could simply redeploy HER thus sending a strong message. Instead, he allows her and Langtry (who commutes weekly from Winnipeg) and to travel First Class to lecture the worlds worst abusers on human rights.

Posted by: The LS from SK | 2010-10-06 11:22:10 AM

Sorry - F35s made by Lockheed:


Posted by: The LS from SK | 2010-10-06 11:31:28 AM

Sorry Shane,

Sweeney is no media hound.


Posted by: The LS from SK | 2010-10-06 11:34:01 AM

Sorry Shane,

A better alternative:


We need to wean ourselves off historic contracts and connections than don't result in benefits for Canada.

Competition works if we think outside of the NA box and try it.

Posted by: The LS from SK | 2010-10-06 12:09:58 PM

OK LS, where to start.

1. It's common for any new airplane to have development glitches; it hasn't even truly entered production yet. The engines are not made by Lockheed (or was it Boeing?); the airframe is. Accounting irregularities and scheduling screwups don't mean the plane itself is bad. New and sophisticated costs more than old and second-hand.

True, the Eurofighter is a good performer (as it should be, if it handles anything like their cars), but it's not a stealth plane, a lack only partly offset by the IRST. Moreover, it has already been rejected by Singapore because of concerns over delivery dates. I don't know how practical it is to order fighter jets from across the pond, and I'm willing to bet you don't either. Remember, unlike the U.S., some of those countries have the potential to be our enemies (and have been). I credit you, however, with naming an alternative, something most of the "sole-sourced" choir hasn't bothered to do.

By the way, the Tu-95 Bear is a Cold War relic and of little actual threat; it is slow, noisy, not stealthy, and would not survive an operational sortie unless it was either escorted or air superiority had already been established over the area. Of course, the same is true of the B-52.

2. Perhaps it wasn't, but it was done only because the RCMP and civilians are also bitching about the previous leadership. It was felt a civilian might bring a fresh perspective. I don't believe that personally; look what happened when Robert MacNamara was put in charge of the Army during Vietnam. But you can't blame one or two men for the perceived failings of an entire institution, nor can they singlehandedly "rescue" it.

3. No, but we can blame the courts who have made it virtually impossible to do anything but send one of those stealthy new F-35s to covertly sink the boat in the dead of night and napalm the survivors in the water while still outside Canada's 200-mile limit. Of course, Harper could use the notwithstanding clause, but immigration is another favourite talking point of an Opposition that outnumbers him. Forget ANY chance of immigration reform if the Libs come back to power; that's where they get their votes.

4. The function of government is to administer, not send messages. That's the activist in you talking. By "her," I presume you mean Jennifer Lynch?

You're judging Harper by the same standards which you judge past PMs, all of whom had majorities and therefore far fewer real constraints on their power. That isn't really fair. That's like hamstringing a horse and then criticizing it for not running faster than the other horses.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-10-06 2:17:36 PM

The real problem with Harper is that he never puts this hatred into action. It is insufferable the way he panders to all those interests he despises in the name of getting his too precious majority government. Worse, while there are many dullards I encounter who believe that once Harper gets his majority, things will change, they are merely revealing the depth and breadth of their stupidity. Harper mission after getting his majority will be keeping it, and that's where things will really start to go wrong. I suspect he will make an even harder swing to the left at that time, because as anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows once you're hooked on that drug called power, you find it that much harder to shake the habit.

Posted by: AB Patriot | 2010-10-06 7:49:31 PM

PM Harper has a profound hatred for the eastern (Toronto) establishment. This must have been stated as a joke, since you would never guess it by the way he governs. I fear that AB Patriot is most likely correct, and the alternative parties are even worse.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-10-06 8:20:36 PM

Maybe I'm stupid (seing as I live in Ontario- or maybe I'm just with stupid :D ) but I just don't understand how anyone can say that Harper hates central Canadian Liberalism! He is a central Canadian liberal as far as I can see!

Posted by: George Helder | 2010-10-06 9:43:20 PM

But Shane - the F35 is a single engine whereas the Eurofighter and the CF 18 are dual engine.

"Reasons for the selection listed by the Canadian Forces were many of its requested features were included for the U.S. Navy; two engines for reliability (considered essential for conducting Arctic sovereignty and over-the-water patrols), an excellent radar set, while being considerably more affordable than the F-14 and the F-15. The CF-18 was procured from 1982 to 1988".

But as to 4 - a good minimalist administration will send messages that they are in control. Harper has failed on every front (and I voted for him sadly).

Posted by: The LS from SK | 2010-10-07 2:36:11 PM

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