Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Low Blow


Is anyone really surprised?:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper played hardball partisan politics AGAIN, saying Liberal MPs care more about Taliban prisoners than Canadian soldiers.

"I can understand the passion that the leader of the Opposition and members of his party feel for Taliban prisoners," Harper said Wednesday during Parliament's question period.

"I just wish occasionally they would show the same passion for Canadian soldiers."

As his MPs jeered the prime minister's remarks, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion called the statement shocking and asked for an apology.

He didn't get one.

It's time Canadians ask themselves, is the behavior we want from our Prime Minister? I realize parliament has always been a rough, partisan affair, and others have pointed to historical examples to illustrate this point, but Stephen Harper is clearly a different animal. What he inferred today is shocking, revolting, unseemly, disappointing and just plan LOW. It is essentially the American neo-con rhetoric, wherein any questioning of a military mission translates into siding with the enemy, rejection of the troops. Tell me again, which government used to lower the flag on Parliament Hill, every time there was a military casualty? Which government rejected this public display of support, favoring political expediency over decency?

Stephen Harper pontificated to us all about human rights, when it related to China. Why are the questions about detainees any different? Apparently, the issue of human rights is a matter of convenience for Harper, and scoring political points knows no bounds.

On the one hand, you just can't believe that a Prime Minister would say what he did today, and then you remind yourself of the pattern and it's just another disgusting moment in the ledger. The Liberals are Taliban sympathizers, Hezbollah supporters, who have terrorists in their ranks, all the while supporting guns, gangs and child porn.

It's high time Liberals change the discussion. What has become of the office of the Prime Minister? A snake oil salesman, who plays wedge politics with every issue, constantly trying to divide and conquer, in a relentless pursuit for power. A man who campaigned on ethics and moral superiority, who in fact, is most comfortable in the gutter. Harper tries to snow us all, but he slips, when he allows himself a moment of candor. Today, was the real Stephen Harper, the "hidden" cad.

22 comments:

Sassy said...

STEVE said "...... A snake oil salesman, who plays wedge politics with every issue, constantly trying to divide and conquer, in a relentless pursuit for power. A man who campaigned on ethics and moral superiority, who in fact, is most comfortable in the gutter. Harper tries to snow us all, but he slips, when he allows himself a moment of candor. Today, was the real Stephen Harper, the "hidden" cad."

Could not have said it better myself! GOOD ONE Steve

ottlib said...

The Liberals should begin to come at this prisoner issue from another direction.

Everybody is assuming that when these prisoners are handed over to Afghan government officials something terrible happens. That could very well be the case but we also have to remember that corruption is rampant in that country so it is just as likely that the prisoners walk free.

So what Liberals should be asking is whether the Conservatives can guarantee whether the prisoners they are handing over to the Afghan government are not going free soon after to go back and fight our troops.

If Stephen Harper does not care about the honour of the troops and the country maybe he can be convinced that not knowing where these prisoners wind up has some potential negative implications for the safety and security of our troops and the success of their mission.

Steve V said...

That's a great angle.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Far and Wide!
Dawn Black has already brought up in the House the danger O'Connor and Harper are bringing to Canadian Forces with their inaction.
Everyone should be concerned, especially since O'Connor stated on CTV Question Period that he was in the process of locating the four detainees, and assured that "they will be found" and "anyone can be found." O'Connor went on to say that the Afghani system was "a revolving door" and that "may people are bought out by their tribes" all of which I took to mean that O'Connor thinks the detainees are alive.
He can't prove it, he can't be sure of any of his information.
Harper got so mean and ugly today because he knows he's caught his tail in the door, and he and MacKay are going to have to produce some detainees. And fire O'Connor. Perhaps apologize.

Ed said...

A new nadir for Harper and the Furious Government.

This is getting so old, so fast.

What a fucking dirt bag.

And O'Connor made an absolute ass of himself today. He looked like a schoolboy hauled into the principal's office. Not Ministerial in the slightest.

Steve V said...

The Right Honorable "fucking dirtbag". Sad, but true.

Scotian said...

"A snake oil salesman, who plays wedge politics with every issue, constantly trying to divide and conquer, in a relentless pursuit for power. A man who campaigned on ethics and moral superiority, who in fact, is most comfortable in the gutter. Harper tries to snow us all, but he slips, when he allows himself a moment of candor. Today, was the real Stephen Harper, the "hidden" cad."

Like sassy said, couldn't have said it better myself, well certainly not as succinctly...:)

I watch QP in part to know the contexts comments are occurring in so I know how to interpret them instead of having to guess or rely on others interpreting for me. I prefer raw data/sourcing wherever possible especially when interpretations by any intervening party can allow very profound alterations to meanings and implications, and politics is certainly an area where that is particularly prevalent.

You know my views on Harper his strain of conservativism and his deplorably divisive "culture war" approach to politics that he lifted lock stock and barrel from the GOP and Bush43. What he did today was entirely consistent with that approach to politics. The question is, do most Canadians want this kind of politics here? Somehow I suspect the answer is no, which is why Harper and the CPC try to mask it as much as they can and dismiss any such concerns raised as "fear mongering" and "America-bashing/hatred" so as to prevent serious comparison of the tactics which would only confirm the claim against the Harper CPC.

I am not going into my usual rant about this; you did a good enough job of it. However, I will add this, it is this nasty ugly side of Harper I most worry about, I've seen it in too many of the slime tactics he will employ to discredit his opponents. This man does not like Canada either as we know from his lengthy record of saying so, and we see how he treats those he dislikes yet again with this latest slime job. Is it any wonder why the idea of him as PM with a majority horrifies me so and should most Canadians?

ottlib said...

scotian:

I don't think anybody wants that kind of politics. Not Canadians and not Americans.

I think the problem is people are so disconnected from politics these days that they do not know this kind of thing is creeping into politics until it is too late.

There is an insidious nature to this kind of hyper-partisanship. It starts off rather innocuously but it inevitably pervades the politics of the country until it becomes the norm.

As well, once one side decides to practice this kind of politics their opponents have no choice but to respond in kind, otherwise they will be overwhelmed. The result is once it takes hold it is damned difficult to expunge.

Eternal vigilence is the price of freedom but I would also say it is the price for a functional democracy and in almost every case the citizenry of the modern democracies have failed in that duty.

Steve V said...

"I think the problem is people are so disconnected from politics these days that they do not know this kind of thing is creeping into politics until it is too late."

The neo-con, Harper approach, works with apathy as the starting point. Manipulation, based on dis-interest, a few choice slogans and easy to understand attack lines. Complex discussions are reduced to with us or against, soft, divided- those simplistic defintions stick, no one pays attention to the detail. Harper assumes you aren't really paying attention and can be dazzled by gimmicks.

What is the memorable image from the last election? Stephen Harper, standing by a new car, with a GST cut sign. Simple. No one has the time, or inclination, to listen to the debate over consumption taxes vs income taxes and the relative merits.

Having said that, Liberals can't be timid here. I suggest a campaign ad montage of the various Harper discretions- his words, unedited, no spin, let people decide if they like what they hear. I suspect NO, and the election will be the time when people briefly do pay attention.

Anonymous said...

You sanctimonious Libs are hilarious when you are against the ropes. Just when you were three days into calling for O'Connor's head after he already apologized to the House on Monday AM, Harper points out that you seem to show a hell of a lot more passion for the Taliban prisoners than you do for our own soldiers. I watch Question Period all the time and have never heard the Liberals ask about soldier's living conditions or arms or anything of the kind. Instead you have chosen to send people like Scott Reid out to say things like "Its Harper's little war now. He owns it!" If you want to pursue this far left tactic and re-writing of history, then don't be surprised when reality comes back and bites you in the candy-ass.

As for Harper the "Cad", please, please use that for the upcoming election campaign. You could have a series of ads where like Goodale, Brison and Stronach each hit the camera lens with a white glove while they say "You sir, are a Cad, and I don't like Cads!"

Is it any wonder people are bailing from the Liberal party? What a shambles.

knb said...

ottlib, I think the Lib's have made that point, (prisoners free to attack us), more than once. To me that is showing MORE respect to our troops, but the message is being lost somehow. The con's just keep twisting it and today was disgusting.

This comment today, as I watched it, was beyond slime. What's not being picked up though and I think it's important, is that he, Harper, came back and said something like, "Mr. Speaker, I did not say that", with a straight face no less.

Ohhh, I'm so sick of this man and soooo very angry, I don't even know how to articulate it anymore.

Scotian said it well: This man does not like Canada

That's a mouthful, it's true and it's frightening.

Steve V said...

"Is it any wonder people are bailing from the Liberal party?"

Yes, people are FLOODING to Harper. It's almost like a stampede ;)

Steve V said...

"What's not being picked up though and I think it's important, is that he, Harper, came back and said something like, "Mr. Speaker, I did not say that", with a straight face no less."

Hi knb. He caught himself, he knew he DID IT AGAIN. I saw that too, and you could see him become Prime Minister again in his next comment, which looked completely contrived. He fell out of his character and tried to atone, it was actually interesting, because even Harper knew that was slimy. And people wonder why there is this obsession with control.

knb said...

Steve, what strikes me is that it doesn't take much for him to take on that ugly tone. You just know it's festering under the surface. If I was a political animal, lol, I'd exploit that, though, when I watch Dion, he's not that. I know he's being condemned for it, but I like that the man acts in earnest. Yes, there is political strategy there, but all in all, when you look at who comes out of these two men under pressure, one is cut throat, one is earnest.

Who will win in this contemporary battle, I'm not sure. I am sure about who I will root for though.

Anonymous said...

Harper is a reptile. A freak of nature. Something cooked up from the Calgary school. A zombie. Animated only by talking points. He got short-circuited today. In his haste to protect at all costs his incompetent Minister of Defence, Harper lost control, let the mask slip, overrode the controllers desperately pushing the "abort" buttons to no avail, and Harper blurted out his truth:
If Canadians are not with Harper, then Canadians are with terrorists.

Harper is a very dangerous reptile. Harper will sacrifice Canadians to protect his reptilian Defence Minister who admits he does not know what has happened to four people captured at great risk to Canadian Forces. Harper and O'Connor would have Canadians believe all is well while not knowing if those four detainees are out planting bombs, shooting at Canadians, or planning suicide missions.
Harper went off the grid today, and it wasn't pretty. It was educational, but it's not Canadian, and it does not support our troops.

knb said...

Steve, I forgot to mention, good pic!

One other thing that I think should be noticed. When Dion first called for O'Connor's resignation, Harper did not have the courage to respond, O'Connor did. On Dion's second attempt, Harper had formulated his line and O'Connor had given him time. That in itself is sick and even if he realised he'd stepped too far, there can no longer be any forgiveness.

Didn't Cullen from the NDP say that he saw con's really uncomfortable with harp's comment?

Anonymous said...

Didn't Cullen from the NDP say that he saw con's really uncomfortable with harp's comment?

Ya. The Cons were so uncomfortable that they cheered and applauded for about 5 minutes afterwards. I guess they were in shock and didn't know what to do with their hands, so they applauded. I understand the military in the gallery did as well.

Candace said...

You guys really take the cake.

You are getting back the "do you love Canada" crap in your face, and you don't like it.

Well, then, raise the friggin' bar.

"Beer and popcorn"
"Guns in our streets"

Enjoy. I recommend sea salt vs. table salt, but really, it's up to you. As a conservative, I hesitate to make that choice for you.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I reckon if the HarpoonTossers really cared about the troops, they'd make sure our soldiers ain't liable for prosecution under international law. An' if we don't respect international law, we have no right to expect the enemy to do so, either. O'Connor's lack of concern leaves Canada with no moral high-ground to stand upon.

The whole Afstan mission is a disaster. We ain't even been told what the mission is.

Is it to create a shinin' beacon of democracy in the region? If so, why are our biggest allies the warlords and Northern Alliance militia?

Is it to bring human rights to Afstan? If so, we need to lead the way with civilized, humane treatment of POW's.

Is it to support anything that GWB wants? If so, we're doin' just fine.

JimBobby

Steve V said...

candace

"Well, then, raise the friggin' bar."

Oh, you're a hoot. Raise the bar? How about raise the bar on discourse?

You cite a political hack, we are talking about the PM in the House of Commons. If you condone Harper's behavior then thats say volumes about Conservatism in this country, not to mention partisan BLINDERS.

Conservatives make choices? You mean between black and white? Simplistic philosophy imposed on a complex world, how yesterday.

Scotian said...

"Oh, you're a hoot. Raise the bar? How about raise the bar on discourse?

You cite a political hack, we are talking about the PM in the House of Commons. If you condone Harper's behavior then thats say volumes about Conservatism in this country, not to mention partisan BLINDERS." Steve V 2:48 AM, March 22, 2007

Candace:

I'm sorry, but I have to agree with Steve V here. We are talking about the man that holds the office of Prime Minister making partisan hit jobs using his Parliamentary immunity to do so with. He did so with the Vancouver Sun article by Kim Nolan last month, he used the police as a shield (by claiming the Lib questioning proved the Libs hate police officers which was clearly nonsense designed to prevent answering serious questions regarding those judicial committee changes) when questioned about his significant changes to the structure of the committees that select justices, and now he has used the troops yet again as a shield to protect his Defence Minister from accountability by claiming the Liberals are more concerned with AQ terrorists well being than that of the Canadian soldiers.

I am sure you can find me similar examples from say Prime Minister Martin and Chr├ętien standing in the House of Commons making such accusations against the CPC/CA/Reform, right? You know, when they called the CA/CPC a party in the control of terrorist extremists like the Sikhs (last month), that the CPC cares more for the welfare of terrorists than the average Canadian solider, etc. We are not talking about election campaign cycle events either, we are not in an election and the rules are a bit different during those period than they are during the rest of the time.

Understand something I am not saying the Libs never use attack ads and negative campaigning, but they do tend to keep it to election cycles. They also do not have the same history of ascribing such extreme negative motivations to their opponents without a lot more corroboration than what Harper and the CPC have been spewing as of late. As for your complaints about how Harper is painted so negatively as a Canada hater, well the thing of it is is that there are multiple examples over nearly 2 full decades of his adult life to draw that from. Same with his commitment to radical devolution of federal powers, his commitment to embracing the "culture war" approach for Conservativism to thrive in Canada (remember, that was only 4 years ago when he embraced it in both policy speech AND paper as CA leader and LOO) which is predicated on this kind of extremely ugly and nasty campaigning and smearing/destroying of all opposition.

So while the Libs do not have clean hands on negative ads and attack ads, even unfair ones, the history of Harper and his actions to date put to shame almost everything I have ever seen from the Libs (I say almost because the guns in the streets one really was way over the top, offensive, and clearly intended to make Quebec voters think of the 1970 WMA period and how that felt like), NDP, and PCPC in my life on that score.

The Libs also do not have a history of making scandals up and pinning them on their opposition, unlike Harper and the Grewal fraud. As I have said many times before, Harper at the minimum covered up whomever within the CPC made the edits to the May 31 05 release (that Harper along with the entire CPC leadership certified/vouched for originally as complete, uncut and conclusive irrefutable evidence of Senate seat selling for MP votes/crossings by the Libs and especially the PMO/PM Martin, when the full unedited recordings actually proved/showed the exact opposite to be the case that it was the CPC MP trying to get that and the Libs flatly rejecting it at every turn) once that editing was exposed, and then claimed it never happened and that no CPCer did anything wrong and that any claims to the contrary were solely the imaginations of the Lib war room and the (nonexistent) Liberal media bias/conspiracy against Conservatives.

This despite the chain of evidence was that the recordings were made by a CPC MP, turned over to the CPC LOO, who then spent almost two weeks transcribing, translating and authenticating to release on a CPC Website the edited recordings. That means the editing had to be done by those within the CPC, the question is who and Harper covered all of that up instead of showing true accountability and exposing the party that made him a public liar and the party public liars. It was then that I knew Harper will lie about serious criminal allegations if it can help him defeat his political opponents. That is something that any ethical/moral person would find a disqualifying reason to consider Harper, indeed the honest/ethical/moral person aware of this would do all they can to oppose such a man from holding the highest elected office in this land.

Now, I consider that more than enough grounds to distrust anything the man says and does, especially when it comes to sensational charges like yesterday's. More though, I consider that to be more than sufficient grounds to disqualify him from ever being a PM by any ethical party and party supporters, yet the CPCers stay with him. Why is that Candace? Why is it Harper is allowed to act in this ugly a manner, yet whenever the Libs respond to it they are the ones being the attackers?!? There is a massive double standard within the CPC on this issue Candace, and if you cannot see it then you are never going to understand why some of us are so determined to make sure Harper never gets his minority and is removed from power at the first available opportunity.

I expect politicians to be dishonest to an extent, to exaggerate, and so on. However, I also expect them to respect the laws of this land and the customs of our political traditions, and Harper has shown nothing but contempt for all of that. Why is this so hard for so many otherwise quite reasonable people to grasp? Harper is the one importing these techniques, and if you really don't like this kind of smear politics then you should hold him accountable for his role in this, especially since if he makes it work it guarantees adopting of this by the other parties to survive, and where does that leave this country then?

Miles Lunn said...

I think ottlib is right that most people don't like nasty politics, but once one party tries it and it works, it continues. The only way to stop it if you ask me is to start arguing the people should vote against parties who use such tactics. As long as it continues to gain votes, parties will continue to do it. I realize we haven't been guilty free here either, but if they bring up something like our military ad, we could fire back that we learned our lesson and that they haven't and maybe need to be taught a lesson on such tactics.