Harper’s Quotations

Tories collected Harper quotes that could come back to haunt him – The Globe and Mail.

Do all political teams do this: collect the sayings of their leader that could get him into trouble? These are not Mao’s Thoughts or Bartlett’s Quotations. These are statements, musings, if you will, of Harper’s over the years, compiled by his loyal staffers.

I wonder how they chose. They must know which are the issues that matter most to Canadians, which statements are likely to raise the ire of the average(not neocon) voter, and which ones to try to bury.

Take health care, the quotes in the Globe article come as no surprise. Harper, it seems to me, is first and foremost a man devoted to the idea of capitalism and the idea that it is cheaper to run a system with private money. It isn’t. We only have to look to our neighbours to the south to know that. Facts, awkward aren’t they?

How about law and order? He thinks we need more prisons and more people in them and he wants to set the time for the crime, based on what? Not facts.

What about statistics themselves? He doesn’t like those either. Facts again. His solution is to end the practice of 170 years and shut down the long form census. He thinks he knows better than the statisticians which method produces reliable data.

How about immigration:

You’ve got to remember that west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada: people who live in ghettoes and who are not integrated into western Canadian society.” Report Newsmagazine, January 2001.

500 pages. The Globe only quoted a few of them.


The attack ads, and the language of war in the reporting of the campaign, the appeal to fear, the creation of panic, all of these are part of this election as they have been of the last several. I’m tired of it, and of the politicians who have such contempt for the voter. We haven’t had a discussion of the major problems in this country.When one starts, ie the Liberal discussion on health Care, Harper falls back on the  “oh-my-god they might form a coalition”.  I

t appears to me that most people don’t even know what a coalition is, or that it is the usual way of doing politics in many vibrant democracies. If parties won seats in proportion to their popular vote, we would all ready have a government that represented the majority of people in this country, and yes at least two of them would have to agree on how to govern. That means that the NDP concern for the social network, the Liberal concern for health care and the social programs of the Bloc, as well as the environmental agenda of the Greens would be taken into account when drafting policy.

Or perhaps the Conservatives could convince one of the others to join them.

We would be less likely to have a government that was unresponsive to the majority of the  people, reflecting only the views of the neo-con right.

But what was Ignatieff thinking, giving Harper a gift like this? I suppose he got into the habit while teaching to answer questions honestly, and so continues. Yes, under our system a coalition is possible. Will that happen? Would it mean the government was any less representative of the people’s will. i don’t think so, to either question.

Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Happy birthday, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms! …and thanks for nothing, Stephen Harper


The Liberal Party invited readers to share this post from their website.

I’m old enough now to have gone through many changes of Prime Minister, from Mike Pearson(the first one I can remember) to John Diefenbaker, to Pierre Elliott Trudeau–I first voted in his first election–to Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien and so on. I have been inspired, enraged, alienated, hopeful and full of despair that the country would survive. But I never felt the leaders didn’t embrace our rights and freedoms until now.

The mistrust began with Harper’s first public statements and has gone on. The proroguing of parliament, the police on the streets during the G20/G8, and the treatment of citizens as though they were cattle, made me call enough. Many people think this election was for nothing. It wasn’t for nothing. The government has been held in Contempt of Parliament. That is constitutionally a very big deal, meaning the government tried some American-style politics, withholding information until the eleventh hour,  within our parliamentary system, and got caught. The loyal opposition has the right to information, whether Harper like it or not.

Look at the quote from 2011. Harper fails to understand that the Supreme Court is the check on the government and if he doesn’t like a ruling he has to go back to Parliament and change the law. If he can’t, that means the majority doesn’t agree with him. Too bad.

So I don’t trust him, certainly not with a majority.

Today marks the 29th anniversary of the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Charter is universally treasured by all Canadians, guaranteeing their fundamental civil rights from infringement by any level of government.

There is one person who won’t be celebrating the Charter’s birthday, and that’s Stephen Harper.

Today, Stephen Harper committed to reinstate Bill C-49, legislation that targets refugees instead of human smugglers, and according to the Canadian Bar Association breaches the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Stephen Harper has never embraced the Charter:

“I agree that serious flaws exist in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that there is no meaningful review or accountability mechanisms for Supreme Court justices.” (Stephen Harper,Globe and Mail, June 13, 2000)

“I consider the notwithstanding clause a valid part of the Constitution . . . It’s there to ensure that the courts themselves operate within the Charter and don’t become a law unto themselves.” (Stephen Harper, Canadian Press, May 15, 2004)

“‘We’re concerned and we think Parliament, not the court, should be making these decisions.’  Harper also agreed with Premier Ralph Klein’s stance that the Alberta government invoke the notwithstanding clause with respect to the decision.” (Stephen Harper on the Ontario Court of Appeal Decision that legalized same-sex marriage, Calgary Herald, June 13, 2003)

“‘Right from the beginning, the Charter has been controversial. There were a large number of politicians, a large number of provincial premiers who did not support that approach to civil liberties in this country.” (Stephen Harper, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, September 29, 1994)

Leaders Debate

First I didn’t watch it all. I get tired of spin and “talking points” and mostly of Harper. I did see the exchange in which Ignatieff said :

“A majority? … Majorities are things you earn when you earn the trust of Canadian people and you haven’t earned the trust of the Canadian people because you don’t trust the Canadian people.”

He hit it square on as far as I am concerned. A few posts ago I went through the events this year that have upset me most, but it all comes down to this. Harper is a control-obsessed man, whose attitude is his way or the highway. I have always liked the Canadian history of compromise and negotiation. I don’t trust him to govern for all of us if he gets a majority. He sure didn’t when he had a minority.

How many more odd ideas like cancelling the long form census are hiding beneath that perfectly-coifed hair.

What about his insistence on following a punishment instead of rehabilitation agenda? He calls it law and order, but I see him ignoring facts, or bending them to fit his pre-conceived ideas.

And throwing young women out of his rallies. How’s that for controlling?

If we must have a minority, I hope it’s a Liberal one. After all, most people in this country vote for left of centre parties.

Harper and the Youth

Matt Gurney: Strong leaders don’t hide from young voters | Full Comment | National Post.

What sort of behaviour is this? Two young women, determined to attend the rally of every Federal candidate for leader, are thrown out of a Conservative rally because “they have ties to the Liberal Party”. What were the ties? The young woman had attended the Liberal rally and she had  her picture taken with Michael Ignatieff and posted it on her Facebook page.

Whoever approached the young women, also took their badges, given after they had registered for the rally. Who was he?

So it appears that Harper must be protected from the voters. These were young people, young women. I would be proud of a daughter who wanted to be that informed, and I am appalled at a so-called leader who has goons remove young people of the “wrong” political stripe from his rally, who is clearly afraid of taking questions– I mean five a day, come on–. I guess he doesn’t think he can convert anyone by his speeches and only wants to speak to those all ready in his camp.

Matt Gurney was spot on today. so read his column.

Expiry Date

Shelly Glover’s ‘expiry date’ quip riles seniors – The Globe and Mail.

This woman is an MP who is a parliamentary secretary to the Finance Minister. Apparently she thinks ageism is an okay prejudice. She “quips” that Anita Neville, who is 68 years old and a Winnipeg MP is “beyond her expiry date.” Her age, Glover says, oh no I wasn’t talking about her age, just how long she has occupied her seat. She doesn’t seem to realize that to us who are I suppose also over our expiry date, denigrating Ms Neville’s years of experience and comparing her to…what? a carton of old milk, is worse than simply saying she is old.

It wasn’t reported whether Glover said anything about how well or poorly Ms. Neville has served her constituents, whether she has been an active or noninvolved member of the House, or even if she had a sterling or shabby attendance record. No, the only thing that mattered was her longevity.

CARP has taken great exception to this statement, rightly seeing it as expressing how Ms Glover views the elderly. I  am concerned that this woman has the ear of the finance minister, and may have ambition to move into Flaherty’s job if he moves to another portfolio( not that a woman in that job is too likely if Harper wins).

Just another straw to add to the stack on the camel. i wonder when it will be enough.

“Harper’s” government


Lawrence Martin reminds us of the multiple offenses against democracy that have taken place since the Conservatives came to power. The tag line–there’s more to come– expanded over the last two days into a scandal about misusing government funds in the last election. This government and these ministers take responsibility right up to the point of being found out and then they scarper and blame a junior minister or a civil servant.

Oda, Kenney, Harper himself, all of them have the same haughty attitude of “if we doit, it must be good”. No responsibility, no resignations.

Even the Globe and Mail, who never saw a Tory government it couldn’t support, rails this morning about the lack of transparency( you and I would call it lying) about the cost of their “tough on crime” agenda. Even the “lock ’em up and throw away the keys” boys in the US have woken up to the fact that it costs megabucks to incarcerate people for minor crimes as has happened under the three strike law. One in every hundred Americans is in jail.

But the cost is one thing. Incarceration is a failure at reducing the number of reoffenders, at rehabilitation, at treating the mental illnesses that bring so many into conflict with the law. Why spend huge amounts on something that doesn’t work and won’t make our society any safer? Why? It’s called buying your vote with your money. Oh, and we don’t know what the bill will be because they won’t tell us.

Have you seen the Harper attack ads. Remember them from last time? They’re recycling stuff that they ran years ago, referencing events from the beginning of Michael Ignatieff’s return to this country. Apparently they haven’t yet got over the fact that he is a man with international experience, compared to their man, little-travelled until he came to power. Lawrence Martin reminds us that the ones they released this time have been withdrawn because they were of “such questionable quality.” How low can they sink?

Abuse of power. “L’Etat, c’est moi. That’s the Harper gang.

Writing: I’ve been working on the sequel to The Facepainter Murders, http://www.writewordsinc.com/and http://www.amazon.com., and recently joined the novel section of my online writing group. A no-hold-barred bunch they are, and very helpful. http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/

My short story, Homicide in Haliburton has been published by Pine Tree Mysteries at this link.  http://www.pinetreemysteries.com/index.html

Writing is a craft, with a learning curve that I certainly didn’t understand when I started out twelve years ago. I’ve been reading Scene and Structure, by Jack Bickman, part of the Elements of Fiction Writing, published by Writers Digest Books, to learn some of the formal mechanics of constructing a novel.

Sakineh: She languishes in prison. Her sentence to stoning has been reversed, but she may still be hanged. Her lawyer is in exile, having been tortured in prison and she has given a “confession”. Please sign the petition.


Harper’s Government

PMO directive rebrands ‘Harper Government’ – Canada – CBC News.

Yes, it’s his government all right. Not ours. Not all Canadians. His. Give him a majority and watch him change what many of us value, starting with Parliament, and the concept that the government belongs to us, not him.

The other interesting item was in the Globe today. Apparently, some Republicans in the US want to reduce the number of incarcerated people, because IT COSTS TOO MUCH. Really. What a surprise. The article goes on too little is spent on helping individuals reintegrate into society creating the revolving door.



The worst enemy of Stephen Harper described in this article by Gerald Caplan, is Harper himself, at least the mean-spirited, nasty, revenge-seeking, never-say-you’re-sorry side of the man. He punishes dissent as quickly as any Middle-Eastern despot, although not with bullets and truncheons. The article above is dealing with the ramifications of the Oda affair, which has the autocrat’s stamp all over it. What I found disconcerting was the line-up of members of Kairos, churches from the Anglican Church of Canada to the Evangelical Lutheran, to the Mormon Church, all of them working together for decades to bring compassion and health care to violated women in Africa. But they spoke out against the decisions of Harper with which they disagreed, and so the funding, long-established and carried forward for thirty-five years is gone, as has the funding for countless other smaller organizations on the other side of political debate.

And then they lied, yet again. “Who did that? Not me?” she says to the Commons committee, not to a newspaper, or her friends at lunch, but to Parliament. Apparently the Harperites despise, not just the Upper House, but the whole thing. And it’s not the first time.

Gerald Caplan writes that this reflects the abandonment of the view that a government of the people is responsible for maintaining civil society. That is the difference that Canadians, who value our civil society and its support of the ill and the weak and the old, will have to consider at the next election.

Go to the end of the article and read the list of activities Harper has indulged in over the five years he has been in power. Why would we want to keep him?

He isn’t conservative with our money either. Look at the millions of dollars that is the estimate to carry out his further acts of vengeance against those convicted of crimes, many of them minor ones committed by people with serious mental illness, condemning them to be stacked like cordwood in cells barely adequate for one let alone three or four. Our prisons are going to resemble those in the third world. And for what? Rehabilitation doesn’t occur under these circumstances. Education in crime does. Getting mental heath resources for children is extremely difficult in this country. Perhaps he could spend a few dollars at the root of the problem.

Death Penalty

PM’s remarks rekindle debate on the death penalty – The Globe and Mail.


These two stories from the Globe and Mail, the first reporting on the response to the Prime Minister’s “musings” on the death penalty, the other reporting a man who has been acquitted of the murder of his child 19 years ago, a death for which he was convicted, went to prison, having been bullied into a confession, and suffered social disgrace for all that long time, demonstrate the constant battle that must be fought against those who would return us to primitive practices. There are only a few countries in the world who actually have the death penalty, China, Saudi Arabia and the USA among them, even in the latter state after state is repealing it.
In this country we have seen over and over again the demonstration of innocence of the wrongfully accused, who would have been killed by the state had we retained the death penalty. The death penalty does not act as a deterrent; it does not decrease the rate of other violent crime. It serves no purpose but revenge.
When I think about the death penalty, I remember that this act of killing would be done in my name, that I would bear responsibility as a citizen for taking the life, that it was my hand on the trigger or plunger or pulling the switch. I won’t be a party to it, and neither will the Supreme Court, which has ruled against it.
I don’t think we should give Harper and the Conservatives a majority. I think they are constrained from carrying our their deeply fundamentalist agenda only by their minority position.