Thursday, July 2, 2009

What exactly DOES Stephen Harper Stand For? I'm Dying to Know

The media seems to be obsessed with discovering Michael Ignatieff's platform, which will probably be presented soon, though I imagine it will become fodder for Conservative attack ads before the ink is even dry.

But that brings us to the question, what exactly does Stephen Harper stand for?

He's been in federal politics in one form or another, for more than a decade, but his politics are still vague and often contradictory.

He's not a Tory, because by definition a Tory is someone who values tradition. By contrast, Harper is more like Richard Nixon, who sees our institutions as his enemies. His years with the Republican fronted National Citizens Coalition, show just how much he really dislikes Canada and Canadians, so what's his story?

Why is it so important for him to stay in power, that he's willing to flip-flop on EVERY SINGLE so-called Conservative principle, just to keep his job.

I think it's a combination of vanity, arrogance, and the simple fact that he hates to lose.

After the 2004 election, when he failed to win a mandate, he formed a coalition with Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton, to claim power and become an unelected Prime Minister.

OK, I know that PMs aren't elected in Canada, but his intent was clear. If it took a 'coup' with 'socialists' and 'separatists', then he'd do what he had to do. The Governor General at the time, didn't agree with his plan, and instead asked Paul Martin to sort it out. He did, but Harper's coalition threat remained on the table throughout Mr. Martin's short tenure.

An International blogger sums it up nicely, though still just touches the surface. It's pretty clear that Stephen Harper is just in it for himself.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has ditched his conservative principles and is pushing a Liberal-laden budget in an effort to keep his minority government in power. The new Conservative budget, to be announced tomorrow will be including Liberal measures such as $2 billion to help train unemployed Canadians and $7 billion for Canadian infrastructure and public works projects.

Stephen Harper also backpedaled on Senate reform and Senate elections and is spending $34 billion in tax payer dollars in an effort to stay in power and boost the economy.

Conservative backbenchers and supporters see this as ignoring the party's funding base in Alberta which wants to see less government, not more. The $34 billion deficit is also an issue as Harper promised just months ago there would be no deficit."We will not be running a deficit. We will keep our spending within our means. It is that simple.

The alternative is not a plan. It is just the consequence of complete panic, and this government will not panic at a time of uncertainty," Harper told a Toronto audience on October 7th 2008.

But that was before Harper was nearly overthrown by a
coalition government and had to prorogue parliament just to stay in power. Harper's efforts now are acts of a desperate cowardly man clinging to power.

Harper claims he is just trying to be pragmatic, but conservative critics accuse him of losing his way and sacrificing his principles."

Absolutely he has abandoned his principles ... I don't even recognize this person who is the Prime Minister of Canada," said Gerry Nicholls, who worked with Harper at the National Citizens Coalition.

Harper is a one-time head of the coalition, a non-partisan organization for the "defence and promotion of free enterprise, free speech" and accountable government. "He was a principled small-c conservative who believed that ... conservative politicians should stick by their principles," Nicholls said. "I think he began to care more about public-opinion polls than his principles."

Harper's flip flops include:

The Senate. He was adamant he would not resort to the old politics of stacking the upper chamber with party cronies. But faced with the possible defeat of his minority government, Harper moved fast before Christmas to fill 18 vacancies with loyal Conservatives, many failed candidates or with party ties.

Fixed election date. In May 2006, Harper proposed fixed election date legislation that would set the next election date in October 2009, to stop political leaders from "trying to manipulate the calendar." Instead, Harper called an election last September, saying that Parliament had reached an "impasse." But he was also hoping to capitalize on his own promising poll numbers and a weak official Opposition before the economy worsened.

Supreme Court appointments. In December, Harper appointed Thomas Cromwell of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court, bypassing a parliamentary hearing process he championed to more openly scrutinize nominees.

Government appointments. The Prime Minister had promised to implement a public appointments commission to eliminate cronyism in such appointments. It was to be part of the government's much-vaunted Accountability Act. It never happened and, since winning its first minority government in January 2006, the Tory government has made some 1,500 appointments, many based on political pedigree. Tom Flanagan, a former Harper campaign organizer/Conservative strategist, said Harper has transformed into a political survivor on his last legs.

Harper has "lost the initiative by provoking the other parties into this potential coalition against him ... and now he finds himself having to put together a budget which is really a coalition budget ... the government's hand is fairly weak right now," says Flanagan, author of the book "Harper's Team: Behind the Scenes in the Conservative Rise to Power".

Let's not forget the Income Trust flip-flop

And a few more lies


  1. Emily,

    As a dal alumnist and former maritimer who has moved to Canada's California(B.C.), I find your decidedly left-leaning ideology surprizing.

    The only provinces that seem to matter in this alleged democracy are Ontario and Quebec.

    This side of the Rockies, neither party has exactly lstened to the West on any matter of great significance.

    I'd prefer to join the USA as they seem to understand democracy more than those MPs and their excuse for a parliament.

    What we need is a modern day tea party out here in the West. Now that would be something to behold.

    A little more than having to listen to Ignatieff or Harper drone on about things that once again do not affect the West.

    Great BLOG!


  2. Thank you. I find it sad that any Canadian would feel they don't belong, or are being neglected.

    The trouble with neo-partisan politics is that it pits us against each other.

    I'm originally from New Brunswick, currently living in Ontario, but I will always feel Canadian.