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Harper plays partisan politics with Canada Day

This shouldn’t shock anyone, but there is nothing Deceivin’ Stephen will not attempt to use – even Canada’s national holiday – for partisan gain:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told party-goers on Parliament Hill that Canada is once again a player on the world stage. By contributing to the security of Afghanistan and Haiti, and by becoming an energy and resources superpower, he said Canada has resumed its role as a world leader… “The news is spreading throughout the world: Canada’s back,” Mr. Harper told the Ottawa crowd Sunday.

Excuse me, Mr. Harper, Canada was never “gone” to begin with, and did not just “get back” from anywhere, notwithstanding your attempts to make it sound like all of this coincided with your election victory last year. Furthermore, Canada was both in Afghanistan and Haiti long before you showed up on the scene, and definitely not under a Conservative Government.

I also caught that snide remark about the “energy and resources superpower”. That’s code word saying to the public “if you go green like those environmentalists and opposition politicians want you to, you lose our superpower capabilities that oil gives us”.

Normally on Canada Day, when a Prime Minister speaks, he gives a speech that is usually the one time in the year where partisanship and politicking aren’t present. But between all of the Conservative blue colours on the stage there this year, and this poorly disguised speech, the Prime Minister and the Conservatives and their strategists showed they couldn’t manage even that small effort.

Stephen Harper, the most partisan Prime Minister in Canadian history, strikes again. Not even Canada Day is spared from his attempting to reach the Holy Grail of majority government.

[email protected]:30pm: Steve makes a great point in his blogpiece on the same issue:

Make you(r) speech, talk up the country, but don’t draw a partisan line in the sand, as though you deserve disproportionate credit. Be gracious, don’t try to score cheap political points during a celebration that has unity at its heart.


19 comments to Harper plays partisan politics with Canada Day

  • John

    Hi i'm John:

      Well Aaron i agree with you totally about the blue stage!!!
    Scott Tribe just prove's  my point  about the  LIBS.


  • Well Aaron… you seem to be telling us we might as well all quit blogging then and go home. Sorry… but I don’t take advice from a Conservative telling me what I should or shouldnt blog about or how I should do it. You’re sounding like Joe Lieberman with his hypocritical moaning about partisanship in the US.. when he’s one of the worse enablers of it. You aren’t any different, despite your protestations.

  • ALW

    Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot to mention partisan New Democrats, Greens, Bloquistes, Canadian Action Party members and Marxist-Leninists.  And anyone else who would never, ever support a party or leader named "Conservative" even if it outright adopted the election platform of their own party.

    It's not the opinions you hold that bother me, it's the fact that many of you speak airily as if it's safe to assume you represent the consensus.  Scott,  I don't see how not screaming about everything you find remotely partisan (a blue stage??? Really?) counts as "letting them get away with it".  Get away with what?  If it really is shameless partisanship, don't you have enough faith in the Canadian public to see through it?  They need you there to sneer and say "see? lookit! see!" all the time? Is that somehow going to convert thinking voters to your cause?  "Tribe is right, honey – Harper made the stage blue.  Guess we should vote Liberal."

    Catherine, my view is that most Canadians are not ideological.  Many have impressions about the various parties, and as such some will never vote for certain parties because of those impressions – regardless of the scope or accuracy of them.  But the broader point is that no thinking Conservative is under the illusion that Harper can marshall the support of 50% of the public (in fact, I don't think any one party can).  But under our system, you don't need to: just as Jean Chretien with his three comfy majorities, including one at 38.5%, a scant 2.2% more than Harper's Tories got in 2006.  So I don't disagree that "a majority" of Canadians disagree with Harper.  The point is that an even bigger majority can't agree on one single other option.  (Hence all the nonsense about how 63% of Canadians voted "against" the Tories in 2006 can be countered by saying, using that logic, 70% voted "against" the Liberals and 83% voted "against" the NDP).

    Stephen Harper got the support of 36% of Canadians in 2006.  All he needs for a majority is maybe about 5% more.  That means if, in the right places, 1 out of 20 voters switch, he wins.  So the fact that all these polls come out about how more people oppose him than support him – so what?  That's been the case with most Canadian Prime Ministers.

    Now, if you think all of this means the system itself is flawed, fine – but that's another argument.  Still, it mystifies me to no end to see these little rant sessions carried on as if you've all stumbled across some magic formula to which no one else is privy. 

    And one last thing Scott: you know what one of the biggest mistakes the Tories made for the longest time while in opposition? It was being angry, angry, angry all the time with JC and Paul Martin.  It didn't work for us in converting the public, and it doesn't work for you guys either, for the simple reason that when you are all rage and nausea, you end up sounding shrill and hyperbolic.  There's plenty of ways to critique without sounding so wild-eyed – so unless you're doing it just to blow off steam, I honestly don't see the benefit to your cause.

  • catherine

    ALW, most of the people I know vote NDP or are swing voters (between NDP/Liberal/Green) and none of them are indifferent to Harper, so it is certainly not just "partisan Liberals".  What group do you think is indifferent to Harper? 

  • John

    Hi i'm John: 

           To answer you SLG about seperation no one wants to SEPERATE. I'm in Montreal right now and have been here all my life. The only times that we came close to losing our country it was under the LIBS when they were in power in Ottawa and this is a fact !!! Example we had 2 referumdums here in Quebec 1 in 1981 and the other in 1995 where we almost lost our country by a razor thin marjin of less then a 50.000 votes and it's a FACT !!!! Since Stephen Harper took office OUR P.M. WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT the P.Q. party went down to third place. the seperation option looking at the latest poll is below the 30% mark , and the new leader of the P.Q. has put the REFERUMDUM OPTION ON THE BACKBURNER !!!! So don't give me that crap ABOUT SEPERATION GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT PAL !!!!
                       ( Great Job P.M. Stephen? Harper !!! )
          Now about Canada not being a big player on the world stage. Why ? Because we have 33 million people living here not 300 million like the states. Why stop at the states why not compare us to China or India they have a whole lot more people then we do ? Only a LIB would bring our Country like this. One major reason for this is simple. It started with the LIBS big budget cuts to our ARM FORCES . When OUR P.M. Stephen Harper took office our arm forces look more like a bunch of boy scouts then anything else . But thank God that OUR P.M. Stephen Harper changed all that . Example look at the news and you will see HEADS OF STATE ASKING CANADA FOR HELP AROUND THE WORLD TODAY !!! 

                                         Thank You: 

  • It wasn't just "partisan Liberals" who noted the overtones of this speech or the way the Conservatives tried to blue up the stage. It fits into a pattern Aaron… and we are going to continue to point it out whenever he and his Conservative handlers do so… we're not going to let him get away with stuff as you seem to say we should.

  • ALW

    Wow, don't let your head explode, Scott. 
    The fact of the matter is that all the people who hate Stephen Harper are going to hate him no matter what he says or does, so why should he worry about it?  I certainly wouldn't if I were him.
    Contrary to popular belief, the overwhelming majority of Canadians are indifferent to Harper, and all you partisan Liberals can convince yourselves otherwise all you want; it's not going to make it so. 

  • pale

    Canada is back…..heh. When did we go away? And did anyone get pics?
    With all the partisian attacks that the Harper conservatives are always bringing up at world events, (remember Rona's rantings at the UN Climate Conference? and recall Steve's comments at Vimy?) our current non green stance, the comments Steve made during the Israel/Lebanon conflict, we are just beginning to look like a bunch of rubes who toe the US line. World superpower? I doubt anyone in the world is buying that….We really really need some grown ups in charge here.

  • catherine

    The phrase "land that God created" also caught my attention.  Since Harper's church takes the bible literally, it made me wonder if Harper was referring to an act of god billions of years ago, 6000 years ago, or recently (the formation of Canada).   On a day the PM should be reaching out to all Canadians, even in such a short speech, Harper managed to stick in several divisive points.

  • The Mound of Sound

    Hey Scott:  Just what is a "superpower" anyway.  There've only been two in my lifetime – the USSR and the USA – and why in Hell would I want my Canada to be any sort of superpower?   This is a mildly megalomaniacal nutbar.   Is it any wonder he rules even his cabinet by fiat?

  • I think all the statements you pointed out are partisan.   I'm sure  his  government is not the only one to ever have made statements like that, nor will they be the last, but on Canada Day!? 


  • Well, I personally think that you are reading too much into the "Afghanistan and Haiti" and "becoming an energy and resources superpower", but the "…Canada’s back" statement seems pretty partisan to me.

    Then again, "X is back" statements seem to be popular with right-wing governing parties.

  • A slight difference in importance between the youth wing of a party and a Prime Minister’s speech Tori.. and thank you for making my point by not even bothering to address the points of the speech I brought up – the fact you won’t means you know it was as partisan a speech as they come – not to mention an outright attempt at re-writing history – the Afghanistan and Haiti missions apparently didn’t start till Harper showed up on the scene, from what I gathered his speech was trying to convey.

    I note in the CP press article that Harper got “polite applause” and it appears the Governor-General was more warmly received. Not a surprise really… even the crowd could tell what Deceivin’ Stephen was trying to do.

  • tori

    "You don't play partisan on Canada Day – it's not appropriate."

    and yet we have the youth wing of the LPC wearing Stephane Dion shirts  trying to "take back Canada".  As you can ask "When was Canada gone?", when I read "take back Canada", I think, "from whom?"  I thought Canada belonged to all of us?


    and as for the stage being blue, funny no one had a problem with the blue stage when the govt in charge was a liberal one.  And it has been blue before.  More than once, even.

  • Slg

    I couldn't take watching him speak or walk through the crowd – I switched over to the concert in England for Diana – it was really good.

    He's feeling really important these days – his ego is bursting out of his head.  Ah, Steve (Harper) – Canada is not a big player world wide.  Who are you trying to kid.  We only have 33 million people not 300 million like the US.

    I find Harper embarrassing.  It's like he doesn't know his place.  You don't play partisan on Canada Day – it's not appropriate.

    Harper says Canada is back – ya sure, NL, Cape Breton Isl and Alberta and Quebec want to separate and Sask is really angry  Also, Quebec got twice as much money than all the provinces put together for Canada Day and special events.  Uh, huh – you've done a heckuva job Steve of bringing unity to Canada.

    Does Harper truly believe himself?

  • sassy

    That man's obsession with power/kingdom  is a real piece of work.  grrrrrrrrrrrrr. 

    I guess every party has some unwelcome guests and this time someone gave the obsessed mouthpiece a mike.  Oh, well, have a good one anyways and next year  —- let's not tell SH where the party will be held.

  • knb

    ooops, that should read, …the GG, but NOT to any politicians…

  • knb

    That was something wasn’t it? I don’t think Canada was gone, but the Canada I know is slowly disappearing with this man in power.

    I would have paid to see Dion’s face during that speech. The camera went to Hillier a few times, the Harper family, the GG, but to any politicians that I saw. I could see Dion occasionally, but only in the background. I have no idea if Layton was there.

    Hopefully next year, the event will be red and white and Liberal, :).

  • […] that Canada is once again a player on the world stage. To this claim, I ask the same question that others are asking: when was Canada ever “gone” from the world stage? The way Harper apparently […]

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