Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Errors in Logic

Stephen Harper's first and third questions in QP yesterday:

Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC): Mr. Speaker, during the trip to Ireland it was more than apparent that the victims' families were not satisfied with the government's handling of the Air-India issue, and neither are most members of Parliament.

On April 12 a majority of the members of the House voted to direct the government to immediately hold a public inquiry into the Air-India issue.

Will the Prime Minister honour the will of the House, yes or no?



Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is amazing that when they were talking to Jean Chrétien's lawyers, unlike the hep C or Air-India cases, they were able to get immediate action and immediate agreement.
[Translation]

I have a third example. On November 2, 2004, the House passed a resolution calling on the government to recognize the existence of the fiscal imbalance. Almost eight months later, the Prime Minister still has not reacted.

Is the Prime Minister close to admitting that the fiscal imbalance exists?

Just a few hours after making these comments, Stephen Harper declared that the Same Sex Marriage legislation lacked legitimacy because a majority of federalist MPs opposed it. For anyone interested, the vote on the Air India inquiry passed by a 172-124 margin. Since the Bloc supported it, that means that...uh-oh...a majority of federalist MPs voted against the motion.

The fiscal imbalance (which, by the way, is the number one pet issue of the separatists) motion was carried by a 165-128 vote. Since the Bloc supported it, that means that...oh crap...a majority of federalist MPs voted against the motion.

So there you have. An hour before he screamed about a bill every court in Canada and a majority of MPs support as lacking legitimacy because it will pass on BQ support, Harper was urging the government to accept non-binding votes that were passed...thanks to the separatists. At least Martin will usually go a few days between hypocritical contradictions - Harper pulled it off in a matter of minutes.

57 Comments:

  • Downward spiral, anyone?

    I really wish we had a Canadian version of the Daily Show. One on every night, unlike Mercer.

    There's no way Mercer can, in one show a week, highlight the asshattery that Stephen exhibits throughout the week.

    Harper would be as good for their business as BushCo is for Stewart.

    By Blogger Brad, at 8:48 AM  

  • Okay, the illogic on this is so beautiful it should be framed. Good work, CG.

    By Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist, at 8:58 AM  

  • Suggested edit: "An hour before he screamed about a bill …". Is screamed really fair here?

    By Blogger buckets, at 9:53 AM  

  • As per what Brad said, I really do wish we had a Canadian Daily Show- just to show exactly how self-serving and contradictory Paul Martin is. Harper's recent comments are moronic, but Martin has shown nothing but inconsistent hypocrisy in his time in power. BMD, anyone?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:03 AM  

  • Gosh, what's with all that logic CG? Are trying to confuse guys like anonymous? He almost went off-message there. Luckily he was able to turn a great post on Stephen Harper's lapse in both logic and judgement into a tirade on how evil PM is.

    That was close.

    By Blogger Mike, at 11:27 AM  

  • I'm just guessing, but maybe Harper wanted to distance himself from the Bloc with his comments yesterday. For a couple months they were seen as 'allies'.

    Or maybe he is thinks the Quebec seperatists are bluffing. In the next election he could include a "get tough with Quebec" theme. Lot's of Canadians would probably be interested. But that would be a high-stakes gamble so maybe he just fucked up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:46 AM  

  • Well, Mike, if you'll notice, I mentioned that Harpers comments were "moronic". I was attempting to balance brad's assertions comparing Harper to Bush. He screws up, but he isn't that dumb. CG is good because he isn't hypocritical- he points out the errors of all the national leaders, not just one of them. I also never said Martin was evil. Just a hypocrite, a label that applies equally well to both the Liberal and Conservative leader.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:24 PM  

  • Harper is an idiot, this has already been established. But thank you for reinterating it.

    This is a bit of a tangent, but I think you should really do a post on how Canada has been trying to buy off Quebec for the past 30 years. Look into % of money that goes to Quebec in the form of Canadian Heritage grants, the % of money that goes to Quebec for important infrastructure projects in Mont Tremblant, the % of money that goes to the Montreal Airport Authority, or what rents it pays on its land, vis-a-vis the bustling metropolitis of Ottawa.

    Maybe look at the special side deals that Quebec gets, in health care, foreign relations (since they do have a minister of foreign relations), QPP (ya you know me) etc. That would be a great post, one of your all-time best if you looked into that.

    This is painful for me to say, given that I love lap and respect his vision of federalism. But I have become disenchanted, and am seeking a new, fair way where Canadians are treated equally.

    By Blogger iloveLaP, at 1:10 PM  

  • I just about dropped my fork when I heard it on the evening newscast. Stephen Harper is scraping the bottom of the logic barrel.

    By Blogger Quiplash, at 1:50 PM  

  • oops sorry! duplicate post.

    By Blogger Quiplash, at 1:51 PM  

  • Hate to pull us further off topic, but...the problem with looking at all those percentages of revenue going to Quebec, is that it seems to me a lot of Westerners would be upset to see more money going to Quebec, than say Alberta, even if the difference was entirley consistent with the difference in populations. (I realize the numbers might show more than a "per capita" difference, but even if they didn't, it would, it seems to me, still fuel some sense of Western alienation).

    I understamd how upset Western conservatives in particular can be, and that they feel ignored, but a BIG part of the reason that Central Canada has so much more power than the West is not some vast conspiracy, it's just that we have vastly more people than out West. That's how democracy works.

    I know the "West wants in", and I hope we can find ways to accomodate that sentiment... but not by letting 20% of the country skew policy away from the views held by the other 80%. I realize every individual Albertan should be treated the same as every individual Quebecker... but 3 million Albertans should not be treated the same as 7.5 million Quebeckers (or 12.5 million Ontarians). That's just crazy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:57 PM  

  • Uh, sorry, but did you pull up the results of the votes Mr. Harper mentioned?

    I believe the record will show both motions passed without needing the support of the separatists.

    Which would mean that, umm, you're the inconsistent one.

    By Blogger Paul, at 2:00 PM  

  • The CPC seems to be absent of any political sense or ability. Watching the Grits continuously beat the Tories is starting to feel like umm... "playing with yourself".

    It's fun, but you kinda feel dirty for enjoying it too much.

    As a LIFE TIME Liberal I am going to vote CPC in the next election, based ONLY on pity for these fools.

    My Bleeding heart bleeds, congrads Harper, you actually gained 1 vote.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:08 PM  

  • Actually, Martin does not go a few days between contradictions...

    On another note - how could Paul Martin say the fiscal imbalance does not exist and then go on a spree, sending money to the provinces - thus implicitly admitting that there is a fiscal imbalance?

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 2:51 PM  

  • Paul; The Air India motion passed 172-124. Take away 54 BQ votes and that makes it 124-118 against the motion.

    The fiscal imbalance motion passed 165-128. Take away the 54 BQ votes and it would have failled 128-111.

    Admitedly, the BQ may not have had perfect attendance in the House either day, but I don't think they've had more than 1 or 2 members away for any vote, meaning that both motions were voted down by federalist MPs (well, we can take one vote away from the "against" votes too for Mr. Lapierre, but that won't change the results either).

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:51 PM  

  • One other thing..

    I watch the Daily Show. I like the Daily Show. The whole idea of the Daily Show is that it's somewhat anti-establishment.

    The concept doesn't work if the show supports the party in power, and says the same thing as every other media outlet in the country.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 2:52 PM  

  • What Toronto Tory says about the Daily Shopw is true, to an extent. But frequent viewers will know that Stewart has spent a good deal of time lambasting the Democrats for their non-existent opposition of late. And I think even die-hard Liberal supporters would expect that a similar show in Canada would be pretty hard on Martin, not just Harper.

    I think an argument can be made that by AMERICAN STANDARDS the Daily show can be quite liberal, even too liberal for some Dems sometimes, and the same would probably be true of a Canadian show, which would lay into the Liberals pretty hard I imagine.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:31 PM  

  • Maybe Harper wants an excuse to quit.

    By Blogger Jason Cherniak, at 5:30 PM  

  • "Harper wanted to distance himself from the Bloc with his comments yesterday. For a couple months they were seen as 'allies'"
    -anon

    I'm afraid anon's just about the only one with a clue in the entire Canadian blogoshere.

    Let me make it clear that I think its dumb of Harper to say something so clearly contradictory with his own efforts. Like, really dumb.

    But two points have to be made.

    Harper's words have been amplified big-time. I think this is partly a case of "manufactured outrage" on the part of Layton and Martin. Their strong reaction has put a much bigger spotlight on the comment than it deserves. Harper actual words were to the effect of "this may not be seen as legitmate by some Canadians because it was the Bloc that put it through". This is about as far from a press release as it comes. It was more of a sour-grape-aside than anything (for losing on SSM, and to the Bloc for conspiring with the NDP and Libs), and Martin and Layton freaking out about it could only be calculated to appeal to Quebec voters.

    Which may have been Harper's idea. Maybe it wasn't just sour grapes. Suddenly the Libs and NDP sound like Bloc buddies of the first order. I'm actually quite impressed with that. This could help Harper with federalist Quebecers. I hope he keeps it up...

    If it wasn't so stupid. Its so obviously contradictory that this one had to be mostly grapes. And sour grapes aren't good for opposition, unless they want to stay that way, as American leftys and Canadian rightys like to show.

    By Blogger Robbie, at 9:52 PM  

  • I've noticed already an editing of Mr. Harpers wording by several defenders of the CPC and Mr. Harper. He did not say some Canadians, he said *most* Canadians. There is a bit of a difference between those two statements, and it is misrepresenting his words to do so. If he had said some, that could be interpreted as anything from just under a minority to a small segment of the population, and since that latter description probably does reflect reality accurately in this country, that would be no big deal and therefore the outrage would be more manufactured than with sound basis.

    However, by saying most Canadians, Mr. Harper is stating that over half, indeed, implying much more than half of all Canadians would agree with this, and that is clearly *NOT* an accurate reflection of reality, and therefore an outrageous statement for him to have made. There is the fact that he has previously strongly advocated that his and the Blocs so called "confidence" motions are legitimate and that the Liberals have therefore held Parliament in contempt by not acknowledging them. If the Bloc support with their votes is seen as illegitimate to most Canadians, then is not the CPC actually the ones blatantly holding Parliament and Canadians in contempt with these demands? That is the blatant contradiction between then and now in this statement of Mr. Harper, making it outrageous not only in content, but also in terms of his and the CPCs own actions, especially since he and his party continue to maintain those “confidence” votes truly were legitimate.

    So I do not think there is much being manufactured in terms of the basis for being outraged, though I will grant there is likely a little in terms of the intensity by Martin and Layton, but I would not agree that it is the majority/bulk of it. Indeed, I think that for a change that the anger and disgust for this statement of Mr. Harpers is actually mostly genuine, along with some surprise that he would actually say such a thing. The way this likely will be seen in Quebec does not exactly help the CPC gain members and voters in that Province, indeed it reinforces the criticisms of the CPC opponents regarding their intolerance for the French heritage of Canada.

    Whatever else this is, it was the absolutely worst kind of political mistake someone can make in this country, especially if they are trying to dispel the perception of intolerance, anger, and contempt for those that are not of that party's base. I have to admit, as much as I was already predisposed to distrust this party, I have been absolutely amazed at the repeatedly serious and severe political mistakes Mr. Harper has made over this session of Parliament. To have this as his capstone for the session before he goes out on his summer networking with Canadians tour is absolutely in keeping with his and the CPCs problems.

    Again, this is not the media or the Liberals making more of this than it deserves, it really is that bad on so many levels. For a leader and a party that is already distrustful of the Canadian media to continually provide material like this can only be seen as incompetence, and that is if one accepts the premise of the evil Liberal media out to kill Mr. Harper and the CPC. How this can be so easily defended by so many without reflection on what it says about Mr. Harpers leadership speaks more to partisanship than it does clear thinking, IMHO.

    By Anonymous D. C. Macdonald, at 11:08 PM  

  • Calgary Grit,

    If the Liberals actually see those motions you mentioned in your post as valid, and the truly see Bloc votes as legitimate, perhaps they should regnize the will of the house and

    1) Call an Air India inquiry.
    2) Recognize the Fiscal Imbalance.

    After all, the house voted for that, right.

    The Liberals can run their mouths, but actions speak louder than words.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 11:40 AM  

  • I stand corrected. Thanks!

    By Blogger Paul, at 3:27 PM  

  • Fair enough Toronto Tory. However I think the Liberals are ignoring them not because they see the Bloc as illegitimate but rather because they see them as non-binding votes.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:16 AM  

  • Perhaps. That would be unfortunate.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 11:44 AM  

  • Re: D. C. Macdonald (sorry it took so long, we've had grad in our town which is a pretty big deal)

    I really just want to take issue with your saying I edited Harper's words, which I didn't intentionally. I was recalling them from the news and remembered wrong.

    While I agree that it was dumb of Harper, its hardly outrageous for him to argue that most Canadians wouldn't see the vote as legitimate since his logic was that most Canadians are federalist.

    But yes, hypocritical is what it is. Now that I've thought about it a bit more, I think that this is a prelude to his continued opposition to SSM, and not just an offhand comment.

    I did overstate my case, but by much less than Harper's opponents have. They're out for political points more obviously than usual here.

    By Blogger Robbie, at 9:28 PM  

  • robbie:

    Did I name you? Did I even say it was only on this blog that I had seen this phenomena? No, I did not. I said this :"I've noticed already an editing of Mr. Harpers wording by several defenders of the CPC and Mr. Harper. He did not say some Canadians, he said *most* Canadians." By the time I had come here I had seen this said by over a dozen CPC supporters online, and they were all making a big deal out of Harper saying some and not most, and claiming it was being blown way out of proportion. As for your not seeing at as big deal, well I made my case for why it was a big deal, so obviously I disagree with you.

    You want to take issue with my making a general comment on the behaviour of many people, feel free to do so. However, I would caution you against assuming that you were the person being specifically targeted when there is no mention of you or your post specifically. The fact that some of it's content matched something I was seeing everywhere this topic was being discussed does not automatically mean you are the person the comment is aimed at. When I am commenting about someone specifically, I will either address the comment to them, or I note it in my comment that I am referring to so and so's comment specifically. I was specifically referring to a larger phenomena than one blogger, I would have thought that much was evident in what I had written.

    I also stand by what I said in that comment you took issue with. It is very interesting that so many CPC online supporters just happened to all be making the same misstatement as you did though, all using the same minimizing argument, and all claiming it was no big deal. Given that that was the thrust of my comment, I fail to see what grounds you have for assuming I was claiming you specifically did this intentionally or simply were remembering it wrong, despite the quote being all over the place.

    Indeed, now that you have brought it up I wonder if the reason you misremembered it was because you had already been exposed to several other CPC supporters making this argument elsewhere, and simply assumed they had it right. I don't know. If so though, what does that tell us about how well you verify your information for yourself before you make your arguments with it? It is not like the exact quote was hard to find, it took me something like 10 seconds.

    By Anonymous D. C. Macdonald, at 3:04 AM  

  • I'm sure I should have, although I didn't see any other people make similar comments to mine. I just assumed you included me with the others you'd seen since that's just what I said.

    As you can see, I felt my arguement still stood whether it was more or most, but I promise to be more careful if I ever get a blog of my own going.

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