Thursday, September 03, 2009

We don't need to take Stephen Harper out of context

If there's one thing Conservatives love to do, it's to take people out of context in order to twist their words and meanings. They did it to Stephane Dion. They did it to Michael Ignatieff. It's what they do.

When you don't have an actual argument to make, all you can do is lie and distort. I'm sure the airwaves will be flooded again soon with out of context Conservative attack ads that lack even a marginal basis in reality, as a desperate Stephen Harper desperately tries to cling to power or die trying.

One advantage of being a Liberal is we don't have to rip Stephen Harper's words out of context. Harper's words are damaging enough all by themselves.

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Prairie Kid said...

Like the "hidden agenda" Liberals made up and stuck on the Conservatives? Sure it worked for a while until Canadians saw that there was no hidden agenda. Wait until Iggy gets on the National stage. He'll fold like Rae did today.

Looking forward to a great campaign.

RayK said...
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RayK said...

I'm no fan of Stephen Harper, but are you honestly claiming that those statements aren't taken out of context?

Northern European welfare state? Don't feel bad for the unemployed? Second-tier socialist country?

The first two were jokes from a speech given in 1997. In that speech he also said that NDP was proof that the devil exists and interfers in the affairs of man. The "second-tier socialist country" was preceded by the word "becoming".

I don't think these statements are either funny or appropriate. I think they are certainly fair game for criticism. But this video takes them out of context much more so than anything the Conservatives have done to Michael Ignatieff.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Oh honestly, it was a joke? Find the speech, post a link, and show me the context. We'll see how funny it is.

RayK said...

The speech was an address to ring-wing U.S. think tank that was hosting a meeting in Montreal. The whole speech has a seriously self-deprecating Gridiron-Dinner-quality to it, but interspersed with actual facts about Canada.

Of course, this is a conservative making self-deprecating about Canada to other conservatives from another country--which is why I think they're inappropriate and fair game--but they are pretty clearly intended to be jokes. I think that context matters.

The full lines in question are as follows:

"First, facts about Canada. Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term--and very proud of it."


"In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance. That is beginning to change. There have been some significant changes in our fiscal policies and our social welfare policies in the last three or four years. But nevertheless, they're still very generous compared to your country."

Interestingly Harper also points out that in Canada we don't elect our prime ministers. Wonder where that was during the coalition debate?

"The House of Commons, the bastion of the Prime Minister's power, the body that selects the Prime Minister, is an elected body. I really emphasize this to you as an American group: It's not like your House of Representatives. Don't make that comparison. What the House of Commons is really like is the United States electoral college. Imagine if the electoral college which selects your president once every four years were to continue sitting in Washington for the next four years."

A BCer in Toronto said...

Ray, if you say that's intended as a joke, I'll take your word for it. I don't find it particularly funny at all. But, then again, I've always had a tin ear for conservative attempts at humour. What I saw of Fox's Half-Hour News Hour, for example, was just atrocious.