Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's Personal

It doesn't happen very often. But, every once in awhile, someone gets under Stephen Harper's skin. It's then we get to see the chip on Harper's shoulder -- a chip which has deformed his approach to people and the world they live in.

Yesterday, Bob Rae got under Harper's skin. Rae rose in the House and, on the subject of the government's Budget Implementation Bill, said:

“The Prime Minister has stated over the years, certainly back in 1994 as a member of the Reform party, that omnibus legislation was in itself bad,” Rae said in Question Period on Tuesday.

“He stated very clearly that you could not have this kind of an effort being made without causing a serious attack on the privileges and rights of Members of Parliament. I’d like to ask the Prime Minister: has he simply been corrupted by power?”

At first, Harper refused to take the bait. He followed the standard government strategy -- answer with a non- answer:

“We are in a very difficult international financial situation. That’s why we need to take all the steps that are necessary,” he said. “I know that the Liberal party rejected all this … but we’ve been working hard and we’re prepared to get this done.”

But Rae would not back down:

This is becoming more and more like a dictatorship,” said Rae, who went on to admonish the Tories for how they have conceded power to themselves.

“Let’s look at the record. The government has increased its net debt by $117 billion. Unemployment since 2006: up from 6.4% to 7.3% … That’s some record,” he said. “The Prime Minister has no right to boast to other countries.”
 That's when Harper lost his cool:

“In terms of power and corruption, I noticed the man who said he would never run for the permanent leadership of his party is now currently prepared to accept, which I guess proves down in that corner of the house lack of power can corrupt.”

One can argue -- as Liberals are currently doing -- about whether or not Rae should seek the permanent leadership of the party. Some wish that Justin Trudeau would reconsider his decision to stay out of the race. But, as Lawrence Martin has pointed out, the Trudeau name would be a gift to the Harperites. Perhaps Justin knows that they don't deserve such good fortune.

But, more importantly, yesterday provided another insight into Stephen Harper's personal quest to destroy his enemies  Like Richard Nixon, he has a long list of them.


Anonymous said...

What did I say?

"I hang my head and wonder what next?"

I have to appreciate Bob Rae even though I am not left or right or Liberal or Conservative because I am human that's all. Bob is speaking the truth and as you say Owen "It's Personal" yes it is we are all deeply offended by Herr Harper's actions.

"This is becoming more and more like a dictatorship,” Thanks Bob Rae for telling it like it really is! Its about time someone stood up to the tyrant Harper.

Now I am asking the 'Conservative' backbenchers to take note and choose whose side are you on? Harper's or Canadians?

You can not be both anymore because to be with Harper you automatically shun Canada and all the values that have been built up for more than a century.

Vote against bill C-38, do it for your country.

Little Gross-Biker said...

I don't think Harper's response was evidence of him losing his "cool" at all. The response was typical of him, based on ploys he and members of his government have used so many times they seem rehearsed. If a non-answer won't do, use a red herring. If a red herring won't do, go for the jugular. To the victor go the spoils.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Mogs, the price of admission to the Harper Party is putting party over country.

In fact, it's worse than that. You must put leader over country.

I'm waiting for some Conservatives to put self-respect over leader.

Owen Gray said...

I'm sure Harper had rehearsed the line, Biker. He was simply looking for an opportunity to vent.

And that's what Stephen Harper is all about -- venting a long pent up rage.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

According to Elizabeth May, (bless her heart for working hard to give the parliament a chance to discuss Bill C38, there are backbench conservatives who share her views on parts of this damaging legislation. I would like to think some of them on some issues have the moral courage to vote their conscience and support an amendment or two. Time will tell. There are some indications that the "Progressive" Conservatives are getting tired of being manhandled by the "Reform" Conservatives. Makes one wonder when their might be a palace revolt.

Owen Gray said...

There was a palace revolt with Diefenbaker, Phillip, and a palace revolt with Mulroney. Historically it's been hard to hold the Conservatives together.

But, so far, Harper has been able to defy history.

Beijing York said...

I wonder if Harper spies on his own party's MPs and keeps scandal sheets on them to keep them in check.

Yesterday's evening news (CBC Radio) presented the exchange as Harper demonstrating his sparring skills. Had to roll my eyes with that.

Owen Gray said...

There are some, Bejiing, who will see Harper's response as an example of parliamentary wit.

My response was the same as yours. It was pretty lame.

kirbycairo said...

I really have to wonder if Justin Trudeau would be a gift to the Cons.

On the positive side he is young, has no significant record to attack, he is quick and intelligent, and is charismatic and an excellent speaker...

On the negative side . . . . he is the son of a respected Prime Minister ????

Ok, so the fact that his father was Pierre Trudeau would drive the conservative base crazy, and make Albertans go even crazier. But so what, they were never going to vote for anyone but the Conservatives anyway.

Furthermore, how do they attack Justin for things his father did? A) it would look unseemly to try to paint a guy with a brush of something over which he had no control and B) How would it look for the Cons to spend their time attacking a dead guy?

Owen Gray said...

I sympathize with everything you say, Kirby. And I really feel that the Liberals have to look to the next generation for leadership.

But I also remember how the Conservatives distorted the whole "separatist coalition" business and twisted what was a noble parliamentary tradition.

As long as Stephen Harper leads the Conservative Party, he will use whatever subterfuge is available to him.

Perhaps Justin does not want to give Harper that kind of opening.

On the other hand. . .

thwap said...

What a stupid retort from harper!

Rae: "I notice that you've done a 180 degree turn on your respect for democracy!"

harper: "I notice that you might run for the leadership of the Liberal Party when you said you wouldn't."

No wonder the war criminal had to cheat to win his majority.

Owen Gray said...

Some people claimed that Harper's retort showed his rapier like wit, thwap. Seems to me his sword is pretty rusty.

e.a.f. said...

Rae is much better than Harper can ever hope to be. Rae took the best road & won't be running. He can do as he wishes. He will have "stateman" status within the party. Whomever becomes leader of the federal liberals will be able to ask him for assistance as they take on their new duties.

As to Justin Trudeau running for the leadership of the Liberals, not a good idea. He isn't ready & he would give stevie slime & his slimers too much of a target.

In 4 yrs. Stevie slime will be gone. The NDP will be government. it will give Trudeau an opportunity to mature, etc.

Owen Gray said...

I agree that Rae is a statesman, e.a.f. He would have made a terrific prime minister. But history and Conservative attack ads got in the way.

Everyone is focusing on Justin now. But I have a hunch that others -- like Mark Carney -- will enter the race and change the dynamics of the contest.