Monday, March 27, 2006

Self-Inflicted Wounds

It's somewhat fascinating to watch Stephen Harper kiss away all the good will he built up during the election campaign.

First, he pissed all over the "doing politics differently" line which he'd promoted. This was probably inevitable since any politician who has ever promised to "do politics differently" has eventually realized how difficult it is to actually do that.

Now, after building up an immense amount of media goodwill during the election, Harper has decided to use the old John Diefenbaker approach of going to war with the media. I'm not sure why he's doing this, but it strikes me as an extremely foolish strategy on his part. People can complain about a "media bias" all they want, but it's hard to complain when the individual brings it on themselves.

UPDATE: Paul Wells dives into the debate with a lengthy, but very clear post on why this is a problem.


  • Harper can do a great deal without any fear... Remember we are trying to find a leader and define a future. The Bloc are trying to figure out what hit them, and the NDP are still revelling. NO ONE wants to go back to the ballot box soon, except maybe the Green Party.

    When election time comes again he will trot out more lowest common voter lines, baffle the media and stick it to Canada.

    We need to talk to real people, not just our nice Liberal comfy group, about what it is to be a believer in liberal values.

    Just why is that Liberalism and the Liberals are still a dirty word in Alberta?

    By Blogger not alone in macleod, at 11:40 PM  

  • I don't actually have a really huge problem with Harper at all yet, to be honest. I wish he spoke to the media a bit - not a lot - more, but to be honest, that's not really a pressing concern to me. I like him so far.

    He's not "Bush Lite" or anti-gay, I don't see any reason to think he's anti-abortion, I don't find him scary. Sure, it's early, but I'm an independent person with no affiliation, and I'm so far really pleased with him. To date - a short time, granted - I like him much better than Martin, and he's already more ambitious than Chretien. I'm hopeful that he'll turn out to be a good PM.

    By Anonymous NBT, at 11:51 PM  

  • The Liberals made two fundamental mistakes leading up to the election:

    1. they assumed they could fight the same fight against the same adversary as they had in 2004, and

    2. they lost the message battle in large part because the media was fed up with them and their attempts to control the media.

    These two mistakes fed each other: the media was only too willing to help Harper reshape himself and, when the Liberal campaign finally realized that it wasn't the same election, the media wasn't interested in spinning their story.

    Harper has already shown us that, when it comes to principles, the new boss ain't too different from the old boss. Every step he takes convinces me that that isn't all he has in common with the Martin government.


    By Blogger Cerberus, at 11:59 PM  

  • Not alone, I'll clue you in on something...

    A judge found your beloved party guilty of funneling taxpayer dollars into their own coffers by way of an elaborate kickback scheme.

    Then your beloved government lost the confidence of the house on a confidence vote based on corruption. (First time in Canadian history by the way)

    Now factor in arrogance, massive overspending, and the piss poor government that Paul Martin ran and think long and hard on why Alberta wont give you the time of day. Or Quebec, or Saskatchewan...

    Report back when you think you have something.

    By Anonymous Colin, at 12:00 AM  

  • Harper's lack of obviously obnoxious views on traditional so-con fronts is one of his more dangerous characteristics. The man's whole history suggests he's a die hard neoliberal who would like nothing better than to Thatcherize our society. (Except, of course, that there's no such thing as society.)

    You couldn't find a better person to undermine health care, for example - which, given his beginnings with the NCC, is quite possibly the whole idea.

    I'm praying Harper's playing chicken with the media will lead to a very messy accident, soon.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 12:06 AM  

  • You guys are obviously not in sales. It's a negotiation tactic. They'll negotiate, the media will get more access than they are currently (as of today) granted, but less than they had yesterday.

    And it will take the media two months to figure it out.

    Out of curiousity, how many Ministers have been on Mike Duffy Live lately? I've lost track, myself. How is not being allowed to mob them coming out of cabinet meetings hurting them?

    Harper's press conference last week ran over an hour, I heard. With REAL answers to questions. Go figure.

    By Blogger Candace, at 1:16 AM  

  • not alone re: Liberal party in Alberta

    I think there's an unwritten law that a party can only run the province once or something. That, or you'll have to wait until absolutely everyone who was alive during Trudeau's reign is dead.

    By Blogger Candace, at 1:28 AM  

  • "Just why is that Liberalism and the Liberals are still a dirty word in Alberta?"

    Ummm, don't look now but its not just Alberta, its EVERYWHERE.
    And why?
    Well because Liberals are the most corrupt, dishonest arrogant pricks there are, thats why.

    How about some examples.

    When asked why he lied about his e-mail regarding the IT scandal Scott Brison said "because he was caught off gaurd by the question.

    And your justice critic says that mandatory penalties are too cruel.

    And you indian affairs critic says its wrong to demand accountability from the indians.

    Horny toad

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:51 AM  

  • Oh no, not the dreaded Harper getting flowers from child cancer patients photo op! Good thing Harper escaped that mess - could have been a major disaster. I'm sure the Liberal media would have spun to be a story about how Harper was the reason those poor kids had cancer in the first place - when in reality it was the unbalanced reporting of the CBC that caused thier cancer in the first place!

    /don't understand how less media access can be a good thing
    //It's not like the media were bugging MPs in thier bedrooms or something

    By Anonymous KD, at 2:12 AM  

  • Yah, I can read the headlines now
    "Harper shameless! Uses cancer stricten child for tastless photo-op"

    By Blogger wilson61, at 2:25 AM  

  • You Grits are starting to remind me of Monty Python's knight. Bill Graham huffing and puffing? Please. PM Harper looks at him and says Boo! and he'll mess his pants. Ipsos Reid has PM Harper at 62% approval, those wounds must really hurt.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:57 AM  

  • I think it's a dumb move to, but I was surprized to see the media reaction so calm to this. Most people interviewed on Duffy's show didn't seem to mind. One reporter said they've had more access with content to Harper and ministers than they did under Martin. They didn't seem to mind that much that they couldnt hound the minister on the 3rd floor... there are plenty of other places to hound them.

    Still, probably not a smart move for Harper...

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 7:06 AM  

  • Shades of LBJ?

    Lyndon Johnson managed to run a tight Senate, through his control of information. He became Leader of the Senate because he built up the best information network, and used his access to information to lead through granting rewards and withholding rewards. But when LBJ tried to control the perceptions by Americans of the Vietnam war through controlling the news, he failed. He could not do on national TV but he could do in his caucus rooms in the Senate.

    The result was a failed presidency.

    Harper was / is able to control the information flow in his party and caucus. Question is whether he will enter an LBJ-tailspin in the larger national scene, and end up with a failed prime ministership.

    Odds to date are he will.

    By Anonymous CuriosityKilledTheCat, at 8:02 AM  

  • CG:

    2 things are at play here:

    1) The media are still liberal, and perhaps even Liberal. They realized during the election that Martin had to go for the good of the country (party?), so gave Harper a fair shake during the election campaign (except the last week to try and ensure Harper didn't get his majority).

    2) Now that Martin is gone the media have returned to their anti-Conservative bias. Their handling of the Emerson appointment is proof enough of that. Harper knows this, and I can't blame him for wanting to control the message as much as possible, by reducing access to the media and ensuring his ministers toe the party line. Because it is clear that the media are sharks in the water looking for the first drop of conservative blood.

    By Anonymous john g, at 8:07 AM  

  • Jason Townsend's amusing complaints about Harper's "neo-liberal" and "Thatcherite" tendencies seem misplaced when the cat he is backing likes illegal wars and torture....

    But what do I know?

    By Anonymous TorontoLiberal, at 9:15 AM  

  • Is it true that Warren Kinella's been snagged by Kennedy? Great move if so.

    If find it interesting indeed that the CG finds more to write about Mr. Harper and the conservatives these days than working to build a groundswell of liberal stories.

    Go figure.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:17 AM  

  • You wonderful neo-cons with no historical knowledge or perspective.

    The Liberal Government got a well deserved and needed toss from power. Please note that this happened primarily in Central Canada. The percentage of Liberal vote actually went up in Alberta.

    You must not be aware of the following little ditties:

    Sir John A. Macdonald and his Conservative party being caught extorting $360,000 (1873 $$$) from business men wanting the railway contract. Oh yes, he also went back on treaty promises to the First Nations.

    Perhaps you have heard of John Dieffenbaker who sold out and pandered to the US government. You know he didn't just kill the AVRO Arrow but obliterated it and destroyed any chance of Canada have a serious international industry for a great many years. He gave us an American made nuclear weapon delivery systems (Bomarc missile and the VooDoo CF-101). His economic screw ups cost Canada relations with the UK Government and International investors.

    Then there was Mulroney. He lost a Minister every year to corruption and inappropriate activity allegations.He had an MP (from Quebec... funny that coincidence) sentenced to prison for corruption. In business and in government he sold out to the Americans. That would be ok if Canada truly economically benefitted from the process (neo-con position not mine)but it hasn't benefitted from the sell out. Americans understand power and money. The farmers and lumber companies are no better off now than they were before the sell out. You can also ask all those people who lost jobs as a result of US companies no longer needing a Canadian presence to sell products here. Don't forget Mulroney was one of the leading causes of the Bloc. Soft separatists like the ones he recruited for Harper's Conservatives in the past election.

    I could go on but that wouldn't leave time for our lovely King Ralph and his "Alberta Conversative party of big business and screw the individual" perhaps another time. If you speak your piece in this province the conservatives will vindictively go after you. One step from the "Kristallnacht". Talk about corruption... it would be interesting if Lyle were to let the skeletons out of the 40 year closet.

    "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
    -Lord Acton (1834-1902)

    By Blogger not alone in macleod, at 10:51 AM  

  • Anon7:17: This is pretty much the first Harper post in a week. Notice the various "rebuilding the BRM" posts, and the entire leadership race series.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:06 AM  

  • "Don't forget Mulroney was one of the leading causes of the Bloc."

    Actually Jean Chretien was the leading cause of the BQ. There is a reason the Liberals haven't won the majority of seats in Quebec for the last seven elections, and why the Liberals are now the third party in Que.It would be interesting to see what would happen if someone in the Liberal party were to suggest the Liberals apologize to the people of Quebec for the Chretien role in the constitution, death of Meech and Adscam.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:25 AM  

  • I don't think Harper is "Scary" in the destroy the country kind of way. I disagree with him on policy, and that's enough for me.

    I also don't think he's that politically wise. Beating Team Martin is like Kramer winning a karate fight with 6 year olds. Doesn't make him Bruce Lee.

    By Blogger Shawn, at 11:58 AM  

  • CG:

    Great analysis by Wells. Wells also digs in and shows:

    * where the media reaction is overwrought or hypocritical

    * where partisan reaction like "self inflicted wounds" is pre-determined.

    I'd say his dry cleaner nailed it.

    By Anonymous yyc, at 12:26 PM  

  • "I wish he spoke to the media a bit - not a lot - more"

    Wells: It must also be said, however, that Harper has so far been available more frequently and at greater length than Paul Martin was, and I believe more than Jean Chrétien.

    "They'll negotiate, the media will get more access than they are currently (as of today) granted, but less than they had yesterday"

    Wells: As far as I can tell, most gallery members have basically thrown in the towel regarding the venue of Harper's news conferences.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:34 PM  

  • CG: This is what going to war with the media looks like:

    Unlike former prime ministers Paul Martin and Jean Chretien, who tended to take only six or seven questions after cabinet, Harper holds full half-hour press conferences outside the foyer, with the chamber as a backdrop.

    --- Politics Watch

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:41 PM  

  • Media Management 101.

    Check what happened down south: the neocon Bush Administration had two ways of controlling the agenda with respect to media: firstly, limit number of press conferences; secondly, control what is discussed in press conferences.

    Bush went to so far as to plant reporters in his so-called public conferences with questions designed to put him in a good light.

    When checking Harper's relationship with the press, think of both issues. Harper's muzzling of his own ministers by restricting their discussions to the five priorities is an example of the second control method.

    Which begs the question: Why is Harper afraid to allow discussion by Tory MPs of the rest of the New Tory platform policies?

    Any guesses?

    By Anonymous CuriosityKilledTheCat, at 1:32 PM  

  • Paul Wells must have written this for not so curious cats:

    The biggest problem with our complaints that it's the PM's staff, not our fellow journalists, deciding who gets to ask questions is that that's not new. Paul Martin innovated, in this matter, during the 2004 campaign when he answered only reporters his paid, partisan press aide, Melanie Gruer, acknowledged during daily news conferences. This practice continued for the duration of the 2006 campaign.

    I for one was pretty damned surprised to learn, in the second week of the 2004 campaign, that we were letting a Liberal decide who got to put questions to a Liberal prime minister. And during the entire 2004 campaign I didn't get to put a single question to Martin in any formal news conference. (Grand total for 2006: one question plus one follow-up.) But for the life of me I couldn't get any of my travelling colleagues to show an ounce of concern about the practice. It sucked then and it sucks now, but it is a bit rich for everyone to start complaining only now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:34 PM  

  • "The most striking thing about this embryonic debate so far is how thoroughly everyone's reaction to it is conditioned by their pre-existing attitude toward Stephen Harper"

    cg: at least you had the guts to update with the wells link.

    Other cats seem determined to keep falling into every trap that wells identified.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:37 PM  

  • Two wrongs do not make a right.

    Any politician of any political stripe who blatantly manages the media in such a way that the public's right to know the truth about how the country is governed, deserves to be singled out for criticism.

    And the press deserve to be castigated for not doing their job, and jealously guarding their – and our – rights to freedom of information.

    The Canadian press obviously have a case to answer: why were they, and are they, so asleep at the switch? Or do they prefer being lapdogs of whoever is running the show at any given time?

    By Anonymous CuriosityKilledTheCat, at 1:45 PM  

  • cat: who said two wrongs make a right? slogans are a poor substitute for thought.

    wells nailed 3 culprits, the pmo playing hardball, journalists overplaying their hand, and hypocritical journalists and party hacks.

    wells is correct. there is more access under harper, but there are some precedents the media may wish to fight harder on (and some other places where they need to accept they don't make all of the calls).

    lack of comprehension killed this cat.

    By Anonymous yyc, at 2:59 PM  

  • Wells: "It should be said that some Gallery members are handling this situation with the four-alarm sanctimony that marks our behaviour whenever we are the story or can persuade ourselves that we should be."

    Exhibit A - Zolf at (h/t sda):

    "Harper’s treatment of the media is that of an ingrate. The media made Harper. The media also first made Trudeau and Mulroney. Later, the media made both Trudeau and Mulroney and their parties suffer at the polls".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:15 PM  

  • Alberta Premier Ralph Klein’s decision to introduce private two-tier health care reminds one of a quotation in George Orwell’s insightful 1945 book Animal Farm. In that book, Orwell makes a satirical observation about the inequalities of communism. Amazingly, 60 years later with minor substitutions, it aptly applies to health care in Alberta, thanks to Klein’s democratically-elected Conservative government. That is, all Albertans are equal, but some wealthy Albertans are more equal than others.

    Please, Please let us also recall now also rightfully those still useless MPs, PMs now also such as the oppressive, undemocratic , dictatorial, Moore, James - M.P., ( the bad Conservative MP reply wrongfully now asking me not to write to the Conservatives MP any more ) the pretentious PM of Stephen Harper, Harper, Stephen - M.P. ; ( This undemocratic approach of the PM S Harper is just the tip of the Conservative Iceberg. ) and the ex PM Paul Martin now as well. ; While getting my heart defliberator tested at the tremendous hospital of the Montreal general Hopsital this afternoon I found out from another fellow patient, a liberal, as to why Paul Martin my MP does not do any work on my behalf a constituent member such as me. Unlike the honourable BQ MLA Pauline Marois who did the decent thing she had resigned her seat when she no longer had a heart for politics, especially after losing the PQ party leadership race, the immoral, pretentious Paul Martin MP on the other hand is holding his seat cause the federal Liberals do not want another by elections in case they are able to bring the Conservatives down , and because the PQ had a very strong showing in the last election in Paul Martin's riding and it was no surprise to most quebcers now as to why. They clearly have not forgive Paul Martin for his poor leadership.

    Face the Conservatives are just as bad still as the Liberals they replaced in many ways, they are just as pretentious, dictatorial and relay do nto caree foe the food welare of all canadians but mostly theoir own still. It has been own my own years of wrongful personal experiences that too many Conservatives in Canada and their supporters are immoral, despotic abusers and dictators. They even wrongfully sent the police to my home to stop me from writing letters of complaints to news editors. Facts of which I continue to post on the world wide Internet. In Alberta today as well and undeniably too many crooked pastors, crooked politicians, bad news editors, bad persons stir up trouble to next hopefully make money mostly for themselves. "...Alberta's Rednecks demand to know now from Harper now "What is Alberta's place in Canada and how will the federal government address Alberta's growing wealth? No change. Alberta has the same place it always had, along with BC, and as for Alberta supposed wealthy. Take the surplus money from rich Alberta and give it to the poor people of all of Canada of course. That is all fair and normal. What else do they wrongfully expect a gold medal?"

    A new Alberta fear factor: Speaking up to Ralph? This is not new I lived in Alberta for 15 years and since the start of the Reform party, too many Conservative supporters even MLA, MPs are undemocratic, ruthless and immoral opponents as I have often experienced firsthand wrongfully. And the past, exiting related immoral governments wrongfully still also do nothing about it too. I have only lived 15 years in Red necked, racist Calgary Alberta.. and firsthand per my own witness I too have discovered what an immoral Progressive Conservative police state it is full of crooked, abusive lawyers, crooked Realtors, crooked pastors, crooked accountants, bad police services, bad pretentious politicians and too many bad doctors, very expensive dentists too... on top of that rich Alberta is a very costly place to live with the price of homes, rents ( no rental controls generally and non existent consumer protection too) being very high, mostly single family home sand few apartments available, , while the price of everything always going up including home taxes, electricity, heating.. a clearly non social, unfriendly, despise the poor persons, racist governments cannot expect to attract and to keep the workers.. many other people who had been to Calgary told me they had the same bad experiences.. and all of this is undeniable.. and the unacceptably abusive premier himself Ralph Klein is also a bad reflection of what too many people are really like in Alberta. I have often sadly said that the federal Conservatives first also do need to get their own house in order, bad Calgary Alberta even before they can realistic manage bad Ottawa.

    "Opposition Leader Bill Graham accused Stephen Harper's Conservatives yesterday of keeping Canadians in the dark about their agenda and restricting access to ministers. "Citizens have a right and should know what's going on and the press is the conduit whereby that information is conveyed to our citizenry," Graham said.

    The one act of Harper now supporting a free vote on marriage issue certainly does not define the rest of the Conservative party .The Conservatives subsequent many many many undemocratic, dictatorial actions show to all the world how hypocritical, pretentious they the Conservatives really are still. .

    Reality: If the deviates next start to do their own thing, deviate from the Bible, then each country, province, city would have it's own separate laws and we would have next as we often have anarchy, merely the laws of the jungle too as we are heading already in the Canadian governments, even in the new federal Conservative government.

    On March 8, 2006 at 9.0 pm Eastern in Canada Global TV showed a program called House, a medical drama, House: Sex Kills ( Starring Hugh Laurie When Henry experiences a seizure but is not aware of it while it is happening, the team's diagnosis points to a bacterial infection, but Henry suffers a heart attack before his treatment can work. ) TV-PG CC Stereo which was mocking specifically the Christians, where it is stated that a persons goes to church and meets at good Christian there and gets a sexually transmitted disease. Did anyone rightfully complain about it, did even Peter MacKay MP ? what if they had substituted the words gays, Muslims, or Jews instead of Christians? would the news media and you others then only complain?

    : "The Conservatives are clearly responsible now even for the bad management and destruction of our health care system particularly starting in Conservative Alberta. Note this undeniable fact 2 pretentious medical doctors with all their test in Alberta could not see that I had a major heart problem, that I needed a quintuplet heart By pass that I had to go to another province to get the proper treatment, and follow up. This alone is unacceptable. Alberta's pretentious now ex health Minister Gary Marr was undeniably using bad medical consultants to do his work that he was being paid for rather. This alone was unacceptable. And now the clearly immoral, bad Conservatives Politicians in Albert are trying o cover up their own inadequacies by killing our Medicare system instead of improving it. And when I had complained about it a federal Conservative MP had told me to shut up about it next in writing too. That was not the first time as well, the ex Conservative Premier of Ontario Ernie Ewes had sent the police to my home to try to shut me up too. I also have had the police come to my home send by the corresponding politicians even like the ex Conservative Ernie Eves premier of Ontario, and that only took writinng only one letter to him too, to try to discourage me from writing letters to news editors, Premiers, PMs, mayors. to the police too. Only six times the police wrongfully came to my home and I next told everyone how wrong and immoral that really was too in Canada. Wow that was too much."

    (Prov 22:1 KJV) A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. (Prov 28:15 KJV) 15 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people. 16 The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days. . (Prov 29:12 KJV) If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.

    . Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2006
    To The Hon. Michael M. Fortier, P.C., Senator
    Minister of Public Works and Government Services
    Parliament Hill: Senate of Canada Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A4
    Department: Public Works and Government Services
    Place du Portage, Phase III, Room 18A1 11 Laurier Street
    Gatineau, Quebec
    K1A 0S5
    Telephone: (819) 997-5421 Fax: (819) 956-8382
    Please note that MOORE, James, B.A. Parliamentary Secretary Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services is abusing me, falsely denying my right of free speech to all the members of Parliament. Please deal now with him and RSVP. On top of that I a Montrealer from Quebec and that is really all unacceptable. Did this meet your approval too? I mailed my compliant now to all of Canada's MPs

    Re: Did you get Harper's approval to mail this to me? RSVP Thank you

    Does this meet your pre approval? Actually I do, did not need it. I posted it anyway for all to read.

    ----- Original Message -----
    To: Moore, James - M.P.
    Cc: ; ; Harper, Stephen - M.P. ;
    Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 1:19 PM
    Subject: Re: Did you get Harper's approval to mail this to me? RSVP
    Thanks for the email and now I can next post it on the net to show all in Canada and world wide how the federal Conservative Cabinet Ministers do now abuse good citizens of Canada like me that do not go along with them too
    And just cause your PM boss is clearly a dictator, despotic manager it still even does not mean you can order me around now too.
    Did you firstly get Harper's approval to mail this to me? RSVP
    Did you ever even rightfully acknowledge any one of my many letters before to you now even? RSVP
    And are you for real ? What the Conservative rednecks openly abuse us citizens now and show their true colors.
    Freedom of speech is still my right and I can always, still write to any and all, note all of the member of Parliaments, all of the members of the legislature, all of the news editor I want in Canada and whether you like it or not too. This is the law and reality you need to respect especially as an MP too.
    You really do have it backwards
    "The Globe and Mail says Harper has ordered them to say nothing to the media unless it is first cleared by the Prime Minister's Office. "PMO will have final approval for all communications products -- even Notes to Editors or Letters to the Editor," an e-mail sent to bureaucrats states." CTV
    Do you also want to pre-approve my emails to all the news editors, others? Dream on.
    You got it also now backwards, you work of us and we do not work for you.
    We the citizens still are the one who pre approve, and approve too what you do.
    And if you do not like it yes you can resign , quit politics, stop taking the pay we taxpayer's pay you.

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Moore, James - M.P.
    Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 12:58 PM
    Please remove this email address from your distribution lists.
    Thank you.

    ----- Original Message -----
    To: ; Harper, Stephen - M.P. ;
    Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 11:27 AM
    Subject: To the now sad and useless Conservative federal PM, Health, Cabinet Ministers
    To the now sad and useless Conservative federal PM, Health, Cabinet Ministers March 17, 2006,
    Why is that the federal government does not stand up even for the rights, good welfare of the citizens of Alberta still too? that even the other people have to do it? such as the Globe&Mail and me too. RSVP

    By Anonymous His servant, at 6:06 PM  

  • " "Don't forget Mulroney was one of the leading causes of the Bloc." not alone in macleod being quoted by anonymous

    Actually Jean Chretien was the leading cause of the BQ. There is a reason the Liberals haven't won the majority of seats in Quebec for the last seven elections, and why the Liberals are now the third party in Que.It would be interesting to see what would happen if someone in the Liberal party were to suggest the Liberals apologize to the people of Quebec for the Chretien role in the constitution, death of Meech and Adscam."

    By Anonymous, at 9:25 AM

    Got to love that Conservative revisionist history in action here. At the time the BQ was formed Mulroney was the PM and Chretien was the opposition. When Bouchard split off from the PCPC and his best friend Brian he did so claiming the PCPC government had not fulfilled his expectations for Quebec as he had been promised by Mulroney. Most of the BQ that was formed came from the PCPC Quebec MP caucus, with some additional from the Liberals. Nowhere in all of this was Chretien involved.

    I really wish that people would stop revising history like this, especially history only 16 years old. If someone wants to argue Chretien increased support for the BQ while he was PM that is one thing and can be legitimately argued. To claim though that Chretien was fundamental/instrumental in the initial formation of the Bloc Quebecois though is pure revisionist history and completely indefensible by the actual facts of the matter. That was Mulroney's fault from the moment he made common cause with soft separatists in Quebec to run as PCPC candidates in Quebec in 1984 to become PM of a majority government. It was his inability to follow through on his promises to these soft separatists that caused them to create the BQ led by his best friend Lucien Bouchard.

    Incidentally one tends to also forget that one of the reasons the 1995 referendum was so close was the personal popularity of Bouchard which had been intensified because of his near death experience with flesh eating disease. All of Bouchard's positioning was a direct result of Brian Mulroney and no one else. Oh yes, before I get jumped for not adding this another reason that referendum was so close was that the Chretien PMO did not recognize the seriousness of the threat and the support for the separatist position until literally the last possible moment to prevent their victory. My point was that Bouchard was one of the key reasons for that support to be so high,. not that it was the only reason and that Chretien and the Liberals did nothing wrong themselves to create that close a result.

    It also needs remembering that the Sponsorship program was also a direct result of that near loss by Canada/federalists. So they tried to correct their mistake but by setting it up the way it was by Chretien it all but guaranteed the types of abuses that happened and by bypassing normal SOP for such programs he owns the responsibility for it as well which has increased support for separatism in Quebec in the last few years.

    None of those Chretien failures though can be used to lay the blame of the formation of the BQ on him, that belongs entirely to Brian Mulroney, which any intellectually honest person would acknowledge.

    By Blogger Scotian, at 4:16 PM  

  • great post, i'll come visit again soon...erik

    By Blogger Erik Mann, at 2:15 PM  

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