Friday, March 27, 2015

Could It Be That He Miscalculated?


Stephen Harper believes that Bill C-51 will help pave the way to his re-election. But polls indicate that support for the bill is slipping -- even among Conservatives: Tasha Kheiriddin writes:

This week, Conservative MP Michael Chong, never one to blindly toe the line, criticized the bill’s lack of oversight in a statement to the House of Commons: “However, while I fully support Bill C-51, I also believe we need greater oversight of Canadian security and intelligence agencies by a parliamentary committee of elected MPs, who are directly and democratically accountable to Canadians. That greater oversight is even more important as we give these agencies new powers to combat terrorism.”

That same day, at committee hearings on the bill, Connie Fournier, founder of the former conservative online forum FreeDominion, criticized the bill’s infringements on privacy and freedom of speech. Fournier is going a step further, reviving her website to fight Bill C-51 — and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

I feel like we’re in some kind of alternate universe,” she recently told the Tyee. “You spend your life working for the Conservative party, and the Conservative party finally gets in, and (now) you’re saying, ‘I hope the NDP really steps up and protects us from our Conservative government.'”

The committee has heard criticism from others on the right as well. Former Conservative senator Hugh Segal supported the bill but called for more independent oversight. Former Security Information Review Committee chair Ron Atkey predicted the bill could not survive a constitutional challenge. So did Brian Hay, chair of the Mackenzie Institute, who said “… permitting a judge to break a law, or to ignore the Charter to uphold the law or to protect a society which is to be based on law, seems, at best, contradictory.”

Still, nothing is going to stop Mr. Harper from ramming the bill through Parliament. Clearly, there is no one left in the Harper organization with the courage -- or smarts -- to reign in his Dark Side. He has the votes. He'll do what he wants.

That's what he really meant when he said Canada needed a "strong, stable, national Conservative government."

Could it be that Canadians have finally cottoned on to who their prime minister is? And could it be that he miscalculated?


Scotian said...

I just went through the guts of the latest Abacus monthly polling data before coming here, and one of the things that stood out for me was the change in the right track/wrong track going six points up on wrong track combined with the only significant change in leader support being with Harper's numbers where his positive dropped 5 points and his negatives went up 5 since mid Feb. The other two stayed essentially where they had been, the sole change on the three indicators for both was a 1 point increase for Mulcair on positive, otherwise the positive/negative/neutral:DK were exactly the same from the month prior, only Harper's numbers moved in any meaningful manner, oh yes his neutral:DK number gained 2 percent as well. Overall that looks to me like the last months has not been helping Harper but hurting him, AND that the support for C51 is not causing significant harm to Trudeau so far, nor has Mulcair leading the fight against it giving him any boost (a single point change is clearly within margin of error so cannot be given meaning, beyond stability in my view).

It looks to me that so far the security focus has not been all that much help, nor framing into the election issue so easily, because of the top five issues for top issue trend line public safety and terrorism came in last in fifth place. Granted that is still more than it used to be not so long ago, but last fall after the shooting on Parliament Hill that went up to 18 percent, then dipped to 16 in Dec, went back to 18 for Jan-Feb and peaks at 21 percent currently. The next important issue was middle class incomes at 23; then in third was taxes at 29; in second was with job creation at 37; and the winner with 53 was health care.

Given the Libs are also clearly leading the vote preference by issue on the top two clearly is also not a small indicator, but there was one thing I particularly found of interest. When it came to accountability and public trust, the breakdown was NDP 25; CPC 30; and the Libs at 36.

Taken together along with the point you and Tasha raise, a case can clearly be made that yes, he has miscalculated based on evidence to date. The "master strategist" blundering his way yet again. I always said his strength was solely as a tactician, and none as a strategist, and that always comes with weaknesses that defeat themselves in the end, especially when they begin to flail about in fear/panic, which with the collapse of oil and his economic message I think is a fair description of where he is mentally and in terms of election strategy, otherwise we'd have had the budget already as well as less security and fear all the time. Let us hope this is the year it finally caught up with him.

Owen Gray said...

I suspect that the old adage still holds true, Scotian. Governments don't win, so much as they defeat themselves.

It's too early to reach that conclusion about the Harper government. But, in the end, it will be Harper who does Harper in.

Dana said...

I was looking at that stuff this morning too, Scotian.

I was also remembering when we first ran into each other. Kevin Drum's old blog on Washington Monthly, back in 2003 or thereabouts.

That's a long time, my friend.

Scotian said...


That it has my friend, that it has. I think it was seeing what in close detail was going on within American domestic political politics, especially the way Cheney's Office acted that gave us such a clear understanding as to why Harper was so dangerous for the Canadian political context. We saw how Straussians truly work once they are in a position of power to do so, and how incredibly corrosive they are to little niggling things like the rule of law, Constitutional limits on powers, those sorts of little boring technicalities...*VERY dry tone*

I know you've been reading my arguments for a long time. I'm curious, you've seen me take a lot of flak from progressives for my arguments about why the Libs are the only real vehicle for defeating/stopping Harper, but have you ever seen anyone actually refute my core arguments on it? As in have you ever seen anyone make a credible case for why my underlying reasons are wrong regardless of whether I am a Lib partisan or not? I'm just curious, because I know your honesty, and I know you've followed my writings long enough to know how I argue and what I use for information. I've been trying to think of a case where someone actually took my underlying arguments apart, and nothing comes to mind.

I mean I've been arguing on demographics for a decade now, you would think that maybe someone could do more than simply scream I'm a Lib plant/operative/stooge/dupe and like actually try to refute the arguments I'm making? If I was so correct from the outset about why and how dangerous Harper was AND the ways he was and what his real hidden agenda was all along, shouldn't by now that given me some credibility?

Sorry, I'm clearly suffering battle fatigue, but I would be interested to hear your response to the question though, I may have missed someone actually tackling me on the substance because I've been so often simply trashed on the personal level. So, what say you?

Dana said...

Scotian, I never have.

I argued the same back in '06, '07 although without your rigour. I simply said that the NDP had no historical reason to expect that their national vote would triple - and then Zacardelli happened. They still had no historical reason to believe that could happen since no RCMP commissioner had intervened against one party or other in an election campaign before. It could of course happen again - the RCMP being what they now are. In which case it would be clear beyond all skepticism that they are no longer a national police force but a state police force. Which I believe they already are anyway but that's another story...

The only arguments the NDP have these days are based on blind, unquestioning faith in a historical ideology which the party no longer really
embodies or ad hominem arguments and attacks.

Being a Cassandra and eventually being proven correct with the passage of time is a curse. The people who remember that you were right and they were wrong despise you because they know they're not alone in remembering their own blind foolishness. They're now exposed as the fools they were and they suspect still are. They'll continue to attack no matter what, likely with more spleen and bile than before they were revealed as buffoons.

No one will ever say 'gee, were you ever right and was I ever wrong'.

Note that once the Iraq quagmire was eventually acknowledged not one of the people who had correctly detailed what would go wrong were involved in the attempts to repair the damage. The same people who screwed it up, and their acolytes, were put in charge and of course have ignorantly continued to screw it up.

If either the LPC or NDP wins a majority next time out I figure they'll engage in something not dissimilar. In all likelihood the people they'll put in charge of trying to mend the damage and return some maturity and sense to Parliament will not be capable of it because they'll just try to carry out the same kind of partisan gamesmanship as the Harperians did but with the bovine excrement running down a different slope. Love to be wrong about that but my prognosticatorial record isn't encouraging that I will be.

Aren't I cheery?

Anonymous said...

"...contradictory..." "...Dark Side..." "...miscalculated?"

All of the above Owen all of the above...

Cheers its warm out here the blossoms are awesome and the trees are already leafing. I know I know my wife's mother and allot of her family lives in Toronto and Ontario but spring will come to you soon. I look forward to the biggest outdoor farmers market coming soon out here in the Okanagan valley. They have some not all been growing organic produce since 1990. How can you beat that? The fruits and vegetables are mouth watering delicious. The peaches Owen I have to use a plate under my mouth when I eat them because they are so juicy and may I add entirely delicious like nothing you can buy in a grocery store. I feel glad/happy to be Canadian and enjoy this here. I hope Harper goes to his christian hell for the sins he is committing.

Cheers Owen,
Mogs Moglio

Just got side tracked here Owen do you remember Beatle mania? Then came Trudeau mania with laughs mogs.

Anonymous said...

Um sorry folks we already have the 'War Measures Act' we don't need this Harper-con Trojan Horse...

We are only getting phoney bill c-51 for Harper's ego...


Owen Gray said...

It's a lot warmer in B.C. than it is here, Mogs. In Ontario, we're still waiting for spring.

Steve said...

Candaians dont trust the goverment to have a secrect police force acountable to no one? Quell surprise.

Owen Gray said...

When you live in a bunker, Steve, the news doesn't get through.

Anonymous said...


Thanks, since you come from the Orange side of things before deciding they sold you out I thought you would have been the person most likely to have seen someone from that side actually dealing with the substance of my reasoning, instead of just flaming it and me with personal attacks on character and motivations. To be honest though I was kinda hoping you could recall it happening, there are times when I really don't want to be correct in my reasoning and logic, and this Harper Interregnum is clearly one of those examples.

As to your point on how those who live the Cassandra Curse get it coming and going, yeah, I know. Still though, it would be nice if even just one or two of these folks over a decade would stop and ask themselves why someone they claim is so disconnected from reality keeps nailing such predictions while their own predictions fail so often? I mean 2011 was almost certainly a freak event, and treating it like it is the new floor for the NDP electorally seems to me to be more than a little on the wishful thinking side given all objective data we have to use since then.

This is what gets me, I use things like prior voter turnouts and voting patterns much more than polling company data for a source base. I use things like memberships in parties bought each year, how well they fundraise, the level of interest in running as candidates for them in the next election, how they perform in all byelections through a mandate to base my positions on. I use how each leader draws crowds when they speak publicly as an indicator as well as factoring in who has the higher starting platform, by that standard one would have thought Mulcair would have done far better than he has given he is LOO with all the additional media exposure and Parliamentary exposure that gives him, yet Trudeau routinely outpulls him wherever he goes, and people walk away from Trudeau speeches feeling inspired by both his content and his own feel, a powerful political tool in its own right.

I'll admit this is the first time in over a decade where the idea of voting Lib actually appeals to me personally because of Trudeau, but even there I'm no blind partisan, I'm fundamentally incapable of it, as I'm sure you know from watching how I argue things over the last 13 years now in both Canadian and American political contexts. I pride myself on showing my work as to why I think/say something, not merely declare it as seems to have become the more common method. This is the strength of my style of writing, I not only say what I think, I say why and how I get there, surely that has to still have some value.

Well, even if it doesn't anymore I'm not going to stop short of the grave. I was raised to not ignore evil when I see it, and to fight for what I see and believe to be the right thing wherever I can, and despite my own clear battle fatigue and health issues, I'm still here for the fight. I'm not quite as bleak yet about our political contexts should we remove Harper this time out as you are, or as I was about the US system after the 2004 elections there, but if Harper does not get defeated this time out, then I fear I may well be joining you there.


Dana said...

Scotian and I thank you for the use of your rec room, Owen.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Owen Gray said...

You can learn a lot from good content, Dana.