Thursday, February 22, 2007

Low Blow

So fat jokes are a strict no-no, but something like this is OK? I'm usually fairly tolerant of the sandbox stuff which goes on in the House, but this strikes me as way over the line.

The weirdest thing is that Harper decided to be the hitman. It's a very odd decision to have him bring up the smear in QP himself since he was obviously going to look bad doing it.



  • Stunning tactical blunder by Harper.

    Where there once may have been potential for dividing the Liberal caucus on an issue, he's managed to solidify them.

    He may be trying to play a game of chicken to trigger a government defeat and and a subsequent election.

    But that is and a risky and probably dumb strategy at best.

    Excessive partisanship is being exhibited and will drive swing voters away from Harper in droves.

    The reaction is already very negative to PMSH.

    Lay low. Perhaps he won't get the message.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 12:48 a.m.  

  • Harper knows EXACTLY what he is doing, and he's done it extremely well to date, as Dion has learned. Think of why he said it, and you have your answer. The ethnic vote, another differentiating issue, another reminder of "soft on terror/crime", questions lingering in minds about how widely-reported (or reminded via Harper) Indian and Sri Lankan Leadership Convention supporters of Dion are going to extract their pound of flesh ... is this the first pound?

    And it's only in "Down & Out's" dreams that "reaction is already negative". Don't count on the MSM for accurate reporting ... haven't in the past on Harper, and have been proved wrong so many times that it must be painful for them. And I hope that you aren't reading the same-wailing LibLogs or Progressive blogs.

    Learn from all this folks, don't delude yourself. Harper is a real master, and everyone can learn from him. I don't always agree with him, but he is one smart political cookie, eh?

    By Blogger Erik Sorenson, at 1:16 a.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Anthony, at 1:25 a.m.  

  • Erik, as usual... you have your Conservative blinders on and have been drinking too much Tory Kool-Aid.

    On the contrary, This sort of stunt he pulled will outrage the South Asian community. I've already seen one such example of it on my blog.. from a commenter who I've seen before who is not particularly Liberal sympathetic and identifies himself as part of the South Asian community. He says this will destroy any detente the Conservatives were building up in the South Asian community, and he himself is disgusted by it.

    Harper has also managed to enrage the Liberal caucus so much - as Down & Out said - that they are going to unite behind Dion and behind Navdeep and deep-six the Sunset clauses as a show of unity to spite Harper for this outrageous behaviour.. so congrats to Harper on helping out with that. At least there's a silver lining to all this.. even though its a sleazy way of doing it.

    Check out the lead headline on CTV online Erik, they call it a smear and a slur.. exactly as it should be.

    This is 2004 "Martin supports Child Porn" all over again.. and we know what happened to Harper's poll #'s when he uttered those idiotic words. Look for the polls to do the same in the next week or 2 as Canadians are reminded that we have a sleazeball for PM.

    By Blogger Oxford County Liberals, at 1:26 a.m.  

  • renegade get real.

    You and the CPC are trying to spin this as some sort of fishing expedition, "What do they have to hide. . .yadda, yadda. . . what are the facts?".

    Fact: The PM of our country tried to link a sitting MP to a terror investigation.

    Fact: The questions that are going to be raised on this will not be about the ATA extensions . . . forget those, they're gone in the media hubbub.

    Fact: Harper _willingly_ abandoned the high ground on this issue.

    Most stupid political move of the decade? Maybe not, I still have nightmares of PM playing air guitar, but definitely stupidest since the election.

    I do agree w/ CG though, why the PM? That makes no sense.

    I vote the right of centre and I think this was bad, very bad. Harper should apologize in the House, tomorrow, err, today.


    By Blogger lance, at 2:08 a.m.  

  • ''Where there once may have been potential for dividing the Liberal caucus on an issue, he's managed to solidify them.''

    Dream on. PMSH reading a quote from the Vcr Sun, Libs explode into a rehearsed 'Harper is a meanie' chant, and you think grown ups who will have to go back to their constituents and explain 1) Libs decided the 'alleged' terrorists have rights that trump your rights
    2) particular ethnic groups voting in Gerard/Dion is not a concern
    3) Dion won't sign their nomination papers if they don't do as they are told
    are now loyal Dionistas?

    By Blogger wilson, at 2:10 a.m.  

  • Fact: The PM of our country tried to link a sitting MP to a terror investigation.

    PMSH was reading from the Vcr Sun, never got to shoot off his question. You are guessing.

    Fact: The questions that are going to be raised on this will not be about the ATA extensions . . . forget those, they're gone in the media hubbub.

    Everytime Libs holler 'It's not fair! I demand an apology!' Dion's rise to power will be attributed to ethnic voting blocs, and yes, the ATA will be in the news big time. The families of the Air India terrorist attack are taking their story on the road tomorrow. And they are plenty pissed with the Liberals.

    Fact: Harper _willingly_ abandoned the high ground on this issue.

    Agreed. I wonder what part 2 of the 1-2 punch will be.

    By Blogger wilson, at 2:19 a.m.  

  • Preventing the Air India inquiry from going forward by not backing the government anti-terror provisions in the bill will provoke more of an outrage among the immigrant community than a partisan smear in parliament. If Dion reverses his stand and backs this bill, he will come out ahead.

    By Blogger Tony, at 5:57 a.m.  

  • First off, Harper is an unapologetic partisan of the highest order, so I am not surprised by his statement in the House of Commons yesterday. Second, if he sees an opportunity to paint his political opponents in a negative light, he's going to do it without thinking of the political cost. Third, the art of the drive by smear is not the exclusive domain of Stephen Joseph Harper - all political leaders do it, even when there is no possible political gain.

    Political miscalculation? You bet! Partisan snipe that will raise the rhetoric quotient during Question Period? Absolutely! Enough to turn voters away from Harper? Probably not.

    If there is a lesson in yesterday's shenanigans, it's this: Stephen Harper wants his majority. He won't apologize either; instead he will do as all politicians do: shift the blame, point the finger elsewhere and never, never cede one inch to his political opponents. He'll use attack ads, innuendo, rumours and rhetoric to shape the debate and to influence public opinion. Remember that voters long ago gave up on the notion that the House of Commons was a respectable place where decorum was the rule of the day. Harper knows that voters are sufficiently numb to bad behavior on the part of federal leaders and Liberals out there take this to heart:

    He is baiting you.

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 6:31 a.m.  

  • 1. The Goodale French Ad

    2. The smear on Navedeep Baines

    The beginning of a trend?

    The real Stephen Harper is beginning to emerge.

    McCarthy style politics have a history of backfiring.

    Sometimes there is a glimmer of statesmanship.

    Then it is quickly erased by petty partisanship and smear tactics.

    Too bad.

    Stephen Harper diminishes himself.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 7:50 a.m.  

  • Here's my question - if what Harper was going to say was so bad, when will the Liberal party sue the Vancouver Sun for libel, since all Harper was going to do was read their article?

    This is all just a tempest in a teapot. The Liberals did a good job of preventing the 'ten second soundbite' of Harper reading the allegations, so this will all be forgotten in a few days (if most Canadians even heard of it in the first place). If the Liberals keep harping on the issue, they'll just look (to undecided/wavering voters, who are the only ones who really matter) like they can't take criticism.

    By Blogger Wesley Ferris, at 8:51 a.m.  

  • Wes and wilson, Harper lost the "big mo", handed it to the Liberals.

    The media is going to play on this for about 10-12 days. No? How long did McKay have to deal with the 'dog' comment?

    In two weeks the vote will have happened and the two ATA extensions will have been voted down.

    As it was, soft politics was forcing the schism, the lawyers, judge and victims from the inquiry.

    Now that's all off the table.

    No, if there was a play on this, I don't see it and I don't see Air India as a big enough issue to move votes if it is seen that the Liberals killed the inquiry.


    By Blogger lance, at 10:06 a.m.  

  • What was Harper's question?

    Was he pointing out a conflict of interest, and about to ask if the MP would be excused from the 3 line whip because of it?

    That's a fair question.

    'Fact: The PM of our country tried to link a sitting MP to a terror investigation.'
    Lance, he is linked to a terror investigation, by marriage, as pointed out in the Vcr Sun.
    (reminder: Bob Rae being attacked during the convention)
    He also was instrumental in getting Gerard/Dion elected as leader of the LPC. There were concerns over the voting blocs then.

    If Lib's can't answer the hard questions with something other than 'Harper is fat, Harper is a meanie' they will be in the cheap seats for a long time.

    By Blogger wilson, at 10:46 a.m.  

  • Lance - Regardless of whether this issue continues to be in the media (I notice today the top issue is Prince Harry going to Iraq), I highly doubt it will have any impact on voting preferences. This strikes me as a classic 'inside the Beltway' story which will have no lasting impact on the electorate. How many votes in the next election do you think will be directly related to the supposed 'dog' remark? I doubt it would be 1 in a 1000, & the same goes for this issue.

    By Blogger Wesley Ferris, at 11:11 a.m.  

  • The Vancouver Sun sound bite response by Harper (yes, he should have used a hatchet man, but regardless..) would have come and gone, and no one would have heard of it again. Certainly the press gallery wouldn't have chased the story.

    What the Liberal antics in the house did was take a story that would have had no legs, and turned it into a front page story in every major daily across Canada.

    Is the focus of those stories Harper's never uttered "drive by smear"? No, the focus is the Liberal flip-flop, and that the Liberal position on the terrorism clauses may derail the Air India inquiry.

    The Libs themselves have brought to the fore Harper's concern that the sudden Liberal opposition to the clauses may be based on the involvement of a Liberal MPs father in the Air India inquiry.

    By protesting too vigourously, the Libs have taken a story that would have passed in the night, and instead painted themselves as thin-skinned and soft on terror.

    Methinks this was a (another) strategic mistake by Dion et al.


    By Blogger le politico, at 11:13 a.m.  

  • I am constantly amazed by kneejerk reactions:

    1. Harper will be pilloried by S. Asian community. Unproven. One or two references. That's what everyone said about the attack ads. Ha, has, ha.

    2. It was a smear. How could it be? Harper's EXACT words were, "Obviously, the Liberal Party opposes the change we have made . . . I am not surprised, given what I am reading in The Vancouver Sun today, when I realize this is how the Liberal Party makes decisions."

    He then began reading: "The Vancouver Sun has learned that the father-in-law of the member of Parliament for Mississauga-Brampton . . ."

    The Prime Minister was howled down by the Liberals, who cried "Shame! Shame!" and said he was tarnishing the reputation of Mr. Bains and members of his family. [Outquote from G&M, I didn't make it up, I'm not allowed to!]

    So Harper never made the claim falsely attributed to him. Manufactured and preplanned outrage by Liberals who obviously have something to hide.

    3. "Reaction is very negative". Sure it is. The MSM has moved on to other things. Meanwhile, Harper has started "something" that he can pick up on in the future.

    4. "Harper has also managed to enrage the Liberal caucus so much - as Down & Out said - that they are going to unite behind Dion and behind Navdeep and deep-six the Sunset clauses as a show of unity". My read is different. If Harper can't get the two ATA clauses renewed, he inflicts the "soft on terror" label on Princess Steffi. Despite your wishful and dreamlike "unite" scenario, many Liberals know that they (and Dion) have been snookered by Harper. It's called political strategy and tactics.

    Mix in a little "is it possible that the reason the Liberals (Dion) don't want the clauses renewed --- Air India --- Leadership involvement and payback of Sihks and Sri Lankans --- (you fill in the blank), yadda, yadda factor, and it piles onto the "soft on terror" meme.

    BTW, Scott. Once a party gets labelled as corrupt, mendacious, lying, grafty, and whatnot, it only takes a reminder and a new dead fish slapped on the table say, oh, once a month, to keep that smell "fresh" in the public's mind. You and I and the others here think differently, but if you believe this is any different than Liberals tactics-past re: Stockwell Day, or Harper, you have a REALLY short memory.

    So, as I say at my blog, "Suck it Up, Princesses". And enjoy Stultifying Steffi for the next 8-12 months.

    By Blogger Erik Sorenson, at 11:48 a.m.  

  • Does a day go by when Dion, the Liberals, or some Liberal blogger isn't begging for an apology from somebody?

    Does this "It's not fair" mentality that seems to have permiated through the gritstym actually inspire confidence in the ranks?

    Weakness is not a positive image.

    By Blogger Dr. Strangelove, at 11:58 a.m.  

  • "This sort of stunt he pulled will outrage the South Asian community"

    Its so gross that Liberals treat anything non-white as "a single monolith".

    One day, I hope they begin to recognize diversity within non-white communities and not treat them as single voting blocks that start at Kennedy and move to Dion.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 12:03 p.m.  

  • Say what you will about the Liberals and Dion...but this was a low, slimey move from Harper. It's like he really can't help himself when it comes to playing the gutter tactics.

    I can just envision what went down at the PMO before QP yesterday...

    Brodie: We've got a nice question for Kenney. We'll link one of the Sikh Liberal MPs with that Air India story in the Vancouver Sun. We'll hint that the Liberals -

    Harper: - are trying to protect a known terrorist from their own legislation! I love it. Nice work, Ian. But I'll be asking the question.

    Brodie: Well, Mr. Prime Minister, I understand you'd like to. But I think, given the negativity that people are going to associate with whoever asks such question, you might want someone with a little less profile to ask the question. The Liberals will hit back hard, and their friends in the gallery -

    Harper (kicks a chair across the third floor office at Langevin Block): Dammit, I said I'm asking it! It'll make those damned Liberals look like the terrorist loving, loony-left-leaning, money embezzling, National Energy Program-loving bunch of scumsuckers they are!

    And so on...

    By Blogger Paul Michna, at 12:21 p.m.  

  • Well, upon reflection, I now can't figure out why I've got the PMO planning QUESTIONS for one of their members. I must be pining for the days when Kenney was in the opposition, and not in cabinet.

    So much for my attempt at humor...

    By Blogger Paul Michna, at 12:25 p.m.  

  • Notice the way the headlines are playing. It's about Harper being over the line, rather than the Liberals being "soft on Terror".

    If things stay that way, it will play to the Grits favour.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:47 p.m.  

  • I hope Harper uses the "soft on terror" phrase every day. Every second sentence out of his mouth. I hope he starts saying that a vote for the Liberals is a vote for the terrorists. I hope they have an attack ad based on that. Because he'll reek of GWB and the GOP and Canadians will see that. And see him for the manipulative and disingenuous person that he is.

    As Jedras said this morning, Harper is soft on class. That's the issue here.

    By Blogger Ian, at 1:35 p.m.  

  • It's not only "embarassing," it's unbelievably irresponsible and unbecoming of a statesman. On January 24, 2006, I thought that, given the problems with the Martin crew, and the sponsorship scandal, Harper might give the country a breath of fresh air. I could not have been more wrong. From the day of his swearing in, when he brought unelected Fortier into cabinet and introduced floor-crosser Emerson into the fold (after whining and insulting Belinda Stronach), I realized we were in for some trouble.

    And we are. Boy, are we ever. When a prime minister is willing to do what Harper did in QP yesterday, darker days lie ahead.

    By Blogger Paul Michna, at 2:06 p.m.  

  • The cult of 'Harper is a strategic genius' needs to lay off the kool aid.

    True. Stephane Dion is obviously the strategic genius in this Parliament.

    By Blogger JL, at 2:11 p.m.  

  • Obviously, the Liberal Party opposes the change we have made . . . I am not surprised, given what I am reading in The Vancouver Sun today, when I realize this is how the Liberal Party makes decisions."

    He then began reading: "The Vancouver Sun has learned that the father-in-law of the member of Parliament for Mississauga-Brampton . . ."

    It seems pretty obvious to me what Harper was hinting at. He hasn't denied that he was implying the Liberals were making policy decisions to protect Nav Bains father in law.

    I expect stuff like that from anonymous blog commenters but from the Prime Minister?

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:11 p.m.  

  • In the Globe and Mail it is stated that outside the Commons Mr. Dion said that the leak of the man's name was proof that the anti terrorism measures should be deleted. "This is supposed to stay private. And now we have a reputation that is tarnished at the face of the nation like that. This is very unfortunate." That is game, set, and match.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:39 p.m.  

  • Stephane Dion today dismissed the personal appeals of the Air India families to support the terrorism clauses by saying, "They are emotional".

    Is there any potential political advantage Dion can't throw away?


    By Blogger le politico, at 2:42 p.m.  

  • This is Stephen Harper's natural instinct and it is flawed.

    The media is correct in portraying him to be over the line.

    Lucky for us, most hardline Conservatives don't agree, so the behaviour will continue.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 3:10 p.m.  

  • CG,

    Was that in the same Vancouver Sun article in which Paul Martin went to a now outlawed Sikh group and cheered them on for "knowing how to defend themselves"?

    Or was it a separate article?

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 3:55 p.m.  

  • The Liberals are outraged over what they thought Harper was going to say, not the time and money that went into the Air India inquiry that was wasted. Or the victims families feelings.
    No one outside of the blogosphere will care what Harper was maybe going to say, but the Liberal relations with so many know terrorist groups may give voters pause-especially if there is another brutal attack somehwere.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 4:53 p.m.  

  • With 24 hours distance, a couple of things are becoming clear:

    1) If the Libs really wanted to beat Harper up on this, they should have allowed him to finish his statement rather than shouting him down before he had completed the first sentence of the article in question.

    2) Because of #1 above, this is a 2-day story. The vote itself will become the issue, and it's becoming obvious that there are more than a few Liberal MPs who haven't dropped their reservations about letting parts of the ATA lapse because of what Harper said (or more accurately, didn't say) about Bains. If the ATA provisions are allowed to lapse, some will point to Harper's non-statement as the reason why, but without Hansard to point to that effort will be a shadow of what it might have been.

    Harper's mistake - not using a hatchet man.

    Liberal mistake - not letting him finish what he started.

    By Blogger pheenster, at 10:22 p.m.  

  • If you guys had any idea of the hatred for the sikh community among the folks that have run the Vancouver Sun and BCTV(now global BC)for the last three would have known where Harper was coming from. Joseph Scanlon wrote a paper for UNESCO about The Vancouver Sun titled "Sikhs of Vancouver" :Ethnicity and Media back in 1977 which details the smear campaign directed at sikhs in BC by the Sun citing articles over a period of decades prior to 1977, Vancouver Sun is one of the most commonly cited dailies when it comes to unethical journalism at major University Journalism Schools in North-America....seems like things have gotten a lot worse at the Sun lately. Harper is talking to the conservative suburban BC audience that believes the sun as the word of God. The sun picks up totally unrelated facts and tries to draw its own conclusions so as portray all orthodox sikhs in a bad his father-in-law was at a religious function in the early 80's which was also attended by bagri(one of the people aquitted in the trial).......duh!!! there was a very small orthodox community in Canada back then and its not uncommon for them to go to events in temples and meet people across the country. Also, according to the sikh religion no human being(sikh or non-sikh) can be barred from attending a sikh temple or religious gathering. There is a deeper motive behind Harper's comments....The Vancouver Sun and Harper share the same agenda when it comes to religious and ethnic minorities. Just read a quote from Harper's speech just before he became the leader of opposition..."You have 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 ghettos and are not integrated into Western Canadian society.”- Rt.Hon. Stephen Harper, PM of Canada.

    According to our PM, Navdeep Bains is not integrated into Canadian society eventhough, he along with other Sikh MP's voted for Gay marraige, because they considered it a question of human did majority of MP's and Canadians, Navdeep was the strongest supporter of the bill.

    So, i guess the conservatives are the one's not integrated into Canadian society, as they are out of step with the majority on every major issue. Harper chose to attack the most reasonable and by far one of the most well-spoken liberal MPs based on a news report(that doesn't make any sense... his father-in-law has agreed to be a what!!!) in a daily(Vancouver sun) with the worst reputaion in North-America when it comes to smearing ethnic and religious minorities, no surprise there.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 11:07 p.m.  

  • Come on now everyone: the disingenuous nature of Harper's question was to score political points in the media. The grand spectacle of Liberals doing a group hug around the slighted MP and the subsequent way Liberals have portrayed this issue has nothing at all to do with the MP in question or the terror provisions or even Air India. This is pure political posturing on the part of the Conservatives and Liberals. Anyone who believes the Liberals are somehow victims are as deluded as Harper is when he portrays himself as somehow a guardian against terrorism in the great white north.

    Joe and Suzy voter see through this and likely believe both the Liberals and Conservatives are retarded.

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 7:48 a.m.  

  • The investigation of this heinous crime has been hampered by the negligence of the security agencies or interference by the Canadian government in the 1980’s. We all know about destruction of some Air India related evidence by CSIS in 1985 but very few of us know that tampering with Air India file occurred in 1990’s as well. Check Globe and Mail from 26 February 2003 and read story by Robert Matas about testimony by a retired RCMP officer at Malik/Bagri trial. I quote from the story, :”Mr. Drozda, a retired RCMP officer who worked on the Air-India case from 1985 to 1992

    During Mr. Drozda’s testimony, the court also heard that an unidentified person had tampered with two boxes of sealed documents from the Narita trial.

    The boxes, stored at Vancouver RCMP headquarters, contained copies of documents setting out information disclosed to Mr. Reyat’s defence lawyers during the Narita trial.

    Mr. Drozda testified that the boxes were sealed in 1992 after the trial. But on the day before he testified in the Air-India pretrial hearing, Mr. Drozda discovered the seal was broken. Some material had been removed and other material had been inserted, he said.”

    By Blogger ASB, at 8:20 a.m.  

  • I really don't care about a stunningly tactical blunder -- of more concern to me is the assumption of guilt by association. It was wrong, not strategically or tactically, but ethically, to say this. Very poor judgement.

    (Thought to be honest - I don't think he'll suffer any 'tactical fallout' from this.)

    (Completely agree with Chucker that parties must stop treating minorities as monolithic entities. Just because you're South Asian or black or gay or Buddhist doesn't mean that you think and act the same as all the rest. That kind of thinking is as lame as Harper's comment)

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 4:41 p.m.  

  • Forget the political issue just mind your own business.Emensuits offer great deals in mens overcoat products.

    By Anonymous tuxedo shirts, at 7:19 a.m.  

  • I believe one and all must look at it.

    By Anonymous, at 10:37 a.m.  

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