Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Harper's (d)evolving principles

I think I'll just let this transcript speak for itself, as on its own it illustrates clearly enough Stephen Harper's hypocrisy, and Jason Kenney's weak-ass attempt at spin is just too funny.

This comes from Tuesday's afternoon broooaaaadcaaaast of Politics with Don Newman on CBC Newsworld. The video is on the web site, and this portion begins at about 28:15. First they show a clip from a formal, sit-down interview Harper did on Radio Canada on Jan. 12 (yes, 2006). Following the clip, Newman goes to Kenney for reaction.

Stephen Harper, in a TV interview with a Radio Canada reporter, January 12, 2006
(translated from French)

Interviewer: Mario Dumont, who is giving you his support today, he would make a good Minister. If you take power and do not have many MPs what do you think?

Harper: I appreciate Mr. Dumont's support. Mr. Dumont has many positive ideas for Quebec and I think that Mr. Dumont would like to avoid another referendum and would like to respect Quebec's autonomy in the Canadian Federation. I cannot, frankly, I cannot name any ministers during an election campaign, but I say you need to be elected to the Parliament of Canada to become a minister.

Interviewer: Well, if you get a minority government (with) not many MPs from Quebec, what would you do at that point?

Harper: I have the intention of having winning candidates in Quebec because personally, I think this is quite realistic.

End of clip and back comes Newman as poor Kenney looks like a dear caught in the headlights.

Newman: Well it was realistic. He had 10 from Quebec but he still put Michael Fortier into the cabinet and into the Senate, so he changed his mind obviously.

Kenney: Well, he said he's not going to name people during the, the election and he didn't--

Newman: Well he said that, and then he said but you have to be elected to be in the cabinet.

Kenney: And, uh, he's made the commitment, as has Mr. Fortier, that he ah will uh run in the--at the next available opportunity. Umm he will be accountable in the Senate. We will still have Senate elections. Uhhh and this is a way that the second largest city in Canada can be represented in the Government of Canada. Umm it's a big, complex country geographically. We've always known that. Mr. Harper is demonstrating he understands---remember when Belinda Stronach left? She said he didn't understand the complexity of Canada, and with these decisions it's clear that he does.

P.S. Keep watching the video past this segment. I don't know how to explain it, but it's one of the most bizzre things I've seen. You'll know what I mean.

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Simon Pole said...

The new Tory cabinet theme song:

Are we not men? We are Devo.

Scotian said...

I know exactly what you mean. Why was Harper afraid of being shot by a camera on his first day as PM coming to work? This is something all PMs have happen on their first day as well as on any significant say for his/her government or themselves directly/personally. That was just plain weird. The one thing it did make me think of though is whether this is an early sign of the attempt to adopt the same kind of media image/message control GWB and the GOP have had going for themselves since 9/11/01. I'm not saying it is, only that was the only thing that came to mind watching this thing when I first saw it. My wife just cracked up laughing, and I asked her why and her response was that she really didn't know how to react to this, but it made Harper look absolutely ridiculous so she laughed.

Kenney was horrible, he didn't sound like he was really convinced of the wisdom/logic of what he was saying. It was rather amusing to watch the Liberal making short concise and pointed critiques and the CPC side floundering about defending the indefensible (which from an ethics POV this clearly is regardless of either man's qualifications for the jobs they were given) that their PM/leader has necessitated for them. As for the recording from the French language network, that is quite damning. It is a clear case of Harper promising one thing and doing another on a specific pledge, no unelected Cabinet Ministers, very plain spoken very simple language used.

It is going to be hard for this to be spun as out of context. To me this is just yet more evidence of the stealth campaign that was run, and how my prediction that we would see Harper pull a MacKay once in power is proving out to be true. Promise what you think the voters want to hear so they will vote for you, immediately upon gaining office do the opposite because of some expedient requirement (regional balance in these cases is the main one, although Emerson also gets the Olympics of 2010 and the softwood lumber dispute as well)that necessitated it, which is how both of these things Fortier and Emerson are being sold. In other words the ends justifies the means no matter how ethically challenged so long as they are not illegal. Funny, I thought this was an unacceptable standard to Harper and his CPCers, I guess that was someone else I was watching denouncing this sort of thing in Parliament last year as an acceptable standard regarding Stronach, Murphy/Dosanjh on the Grewal recordings, Dingwall and his entitlement to his entitlements, etc.

Anonymous said...

Early on I wrote wrote that the most common theme running through the 'new' conservatives was a glowing lack of qualification which would necessitate Harper hiring unelected cabinet members and redesigning parliament to function more like a White House. I didn't forsee the Emerson move but that one is consistent with the need to address the lack of 'talent' within the party.
However, when the election began I also wrote that this is the Social Credit party that could never rise to federal power in its day but managed to dupe an uninformed modern day Canada and 'steal' their way in by taking over another party, hiding their real credentials in the process.
So now we at least should be able to predict what they will do and here's my call;
1. The prayer session thing was used up when REFORM first got to the hill so it had to be updated to the Accountability thing - designed to demonstrate Conservative honesty, morality, God connection thing.
2. Somebody needs to be 'stoned at the city gates', for all the wrongdoing (read - tax money being misspent). The usual target of the 'right' is the weakest target so that's gotta be the poor (AKA in right wing circles as, 'welfare bums') and that means social programs will get kicked in the groin.
3. The Americans have taken a lot of anti-Americanism from Liberals and others (AKA not right wingers) so conservatives will make up for that by signing on to missle defense.
This last one has a neat history: Harper said a few months back that the, "Canadian people will decide (that question)". He used that line once before. While waiting for the governments decision on the Iraq invasion thing, Harper sat on a fence using the exact same line tight up to the day the government said "no". We will all remember Harpers vitriolic response that followed, won't we?
What snuck by unnoticed yesterday was MacKay telling the CBC to the effect, "Canada has to do a rethink on the missle thing".
Trudeau once said something to the effect of this country could easily be taken over by a dictator.
More to the point though is the ease with which one can make up his own rules in Canada when the current ones get in his way.
Hang on Canada, how do you like the ride so far?

Jeff said...

On the chase scene, I was more struck by the bit where, as he pulls around the side, two guys come running out of the centre block and seem to literally dive into the car. I mean, what is up with this?

If he is going to go for a White House style security it's going to mean big changes. I've worked as a journalist on the Hill and it's very open access. They'd scream if Harper tried to clamp down. And the optics if he tried? It would be delicious. And the media backlash? The Liberals got bad press for months when they took the beer machine out of the hot room.

Anonymous said...

Why Harper’s Cabinet Matters – A Qestion of Trust.

Remember Nixon? Remember the question his opponents raised during an election: Would you buy a used car from this man?

Are we in the same territory now with Stephen Harper, the policy wonk with broken promises in his first day of becoming Prime Minister?

Harper’s Achilles heel over the past two elections has been the question of trust. Many voters examined his views, going back several years, and came to the conclusion that this leopard had not changed his spots. And when he tried in the latest election to sidestep the issue of his beliefs, by simply saying he had “evolved” but his fundamental philosophy was unchanged, may voters were stopped in their tracks. Had he changed? Can this man be trusted?

Then he ran an election campaign designed to focus more on the Liberal’s record – perfectly justifiable – than on his party’s platform. A tightly controlled election that even had some rightwing candidates hiding in kitchens to avoid interviews with the press about their social beliefs. And a leader who avoided questions, sidestepped some, ignored others.

The pattern of avoidance, selective discussion, and ignoring of legitimate questions by the fourth estate, raised yet more concern among many voters: Can this man be trusted?

Now, his cabinet, with surprising choices in at least two cases, and omissions in other areas. A Liberal is elected and immediately joins Harper when Harper asks him to leave the party that elected him and join the minority Tories, now in need of more votes in Parliament. Doug Beazley of the Edmonton Sun puts it in context:
“But political scientist David Taras of the University of Calgary warns Harper is risking the wrath of the backbench. "Two weeks ago, Emerson was saying the Harper Conservatives were heartless. Now they've got to work with them. How can they trust him?" he said. “

But it not just whether the Tories can trust Turncoat Emerson, but whether Harper kept the faith with voters, and honoured promises made during the election. So once more voters are asking: Can this man be trusted?

And Harper’s response to the justifiable outbursts – by Tories and others – simply underscores the concern. To brush the criticism aside as simply being “superficial”, implies the voters who now feel dismayed by the Harper actions, are not capable of forming rational judgments and should leave it to Big Daddy Harper to make those decisions for them.

So the question lingers in voters minds: Can this man be trusted?

Scotian said...


I took those guys to be the security detail that had already gotten out of the cars while the cameraman was still around the corner suddenly returning so they could leave once he was seen. Att least that was the impression I got from it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's funny. It must be hard being Jason Kenney. I mean, starting life as the unwanted offspring of Ned Beatty and Herbert "Cowboy" Coward must have been tough. Trying to defend Harper this week is even tougher.
John Reynolds squared off with Ujjal Dosanjh today on a CBC radio program. It, too, was very funny -- listening to Reynolds squirm.
I've placed links to the audio files and part of the transcript here: http://corruptconservatives.blogspot.com/

(Sorry. I first posted this with another posting in error.)