Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Paranoia Unbound

Stephen Harper has always defended his abolition of the long gun registry by saying it prohibited farmers and hunters from using the tools of their trade. But last week, in Saskatoon, he said that Canadians needed guns to protect their castles:

“My wife’s from a rural area and obviously gun ownership wasn’t just for the farm, but was for a certain level of security when you’re a ways away from immediate police assistance,” he said.

He now suggests that Canadians are under attack from jihadists and from prisoners who will not be behind bars forever. Lawrence Martin writes:

The Conservatives were already pushing hot buttons everywhere – provocative rhetoric about the niqab, sabre-rattling on Russia and Iran, fear-mongering on terrorism, lock-’em-up-forever legislation on crime and punishment.

It’s hard to recall another time when we have witnessed such a flame-throwing approach to politics, policy and Parliament. Too often, the governing party resembles a band of belligerents rather than sage public servants. How many fights do they want to pick? Are they not concerned about the impact on the country’s social fabric, the dangers of pitting one Canadian against another?

We have known for a long time that Stephen Harper is paranoid. But there used to be a few people in his government who could keep him from going over the edge. No longer:

Other governments had men at the top who served as voices of reason or restraint – think of Don Mazankowski in Brian Mulroney’s government, or John Manley under Jean Chr├ętien. Mr. Harper has no such force of measured resistance in his office or cabinet, no one to keep his harder-edged ideological impulses in check.

And his acolytes in Parliament are sounding like Joe McCarthy:

Meanwhile over at the Commons public safety committee, critics of the government’s security legislation were being treated as if they themselves were threats to national security. Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney spoke out against the “so-called experts” raising concerns about the bill – a group that includes national security specialists, former prime ministers and former Supreme Court justices.

One witness from a civil liberties group was accusingly asked if she was “fundamentally opposed to taking terrorists off the streets.” Another Tory questioner said the executive director of Greenpeace’s opposition to new surveillance measures “makes me wonder if your organization is a national security threat.”

Mr. Harper now knows no restraints. He is Paranoia Unbound.


Anonymous said...

"Mr. Harper now knows no restraints. He is Paranoia Unbound."

The more I see and hear of him I think he is mentally unstable like his grand-pappy...

"In his book Full Circle, Bob Plamondon writes about times in which Mr. Harper has "gone dark," turning inward and reclusive. Others, including Preston Manning, have written how he was quick to draw away from situations where he was not in control." From --->Lawrence Martin

@ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/a-family-tragedy-that-stephen-harper-has-not-forgotten/article787903/

Also this:


He was at it long before Justin Trudeau stepped in as liberal leader. He aperantly constantly fantasizes about terrorizing and destroying the Liberal Party of Canada. Who is the terroist now?


Owen Gray said...

It's increasingly clear, Mogs, that Harper isn't ruled by the better angels of our nature.

Scotian said...

Yet further proof of why I've been saying for over a decade that stopping Harper needs to be understood by all as an "at all costs" objective. It was why I said keeping Martin in place was less corrosive, less damaging to our democracy even with the corruption issues the Liberals of the day had. It is why I have said the NDP failed in its most important test as a political party in its history in preventing the rise of such an extremist right wing personality and government to power whose vision of Canada was anathema to progressive principles, aka their own core reason for being, let alone centrist and even moderate conservative values as well which Harper is also destroying. It was why on election night 2011 I said Layton won the battle to win the war should and would be his political epitaph (this was before his imminent terminal status was released to the public, which I also have issues about the NDP concealing during the election campaign, and I don't believe he was healthy until just after election night, sorry)

It is also why I am so furious with NDP leadership in particular Layton and his closest cohort because they did have the expertise, the information access and the sheer ability to see Harper for what he was. As I have said so many times before, if I, a politically interested swing voter in Halifax could see him as he was from watching him over the years prior to his rise to PMO, using only my TV and computer, if I could see the abyss that he and his brand of both style and substance of politics was in the Canadian context, I cannot accept that I am so much smarter, more perceptive than those whose livelihoods are as political strategists and leaders who acted as if they did not. I am more forgiving of voters in this regard, especially given how poorly the national political media have served us all since Harper came to be PM, but those senior people, nope, and for me some of the activists also have have some issues with too, but mainly I hold leadership the real blame to.

I kept pointing out where this was going to, I kept saying how dangerous, how combative he was and how the models of government and politicking he was taking came from a system far more inherently combative than ours and would fundamentally tear the fabric of ours apart. That our political culture was far more collaborative in fundamental nature than the American model, let alone the rabid far right wing variant practiced by Harper. How it would be more damaging to let Harper be our PM than even a BQ government (were such a thing possible) in terms of long term national viability. Well, I think by now we are at the point where every one of my "hysterical crazy claims" have been more than amply proven by the actual factual record of the Harper government(tm).

to be concluded...

Scotian said...


Over the weekend while I was at my folks I went back and read through my old posts at Saundrie, and it reminded me of just how far down the dark path we have come in this past decade, and especially since the majority. How all the early warning signs of where Harper was going as a government were there. Which when the bulk of my posts there were between 05-08 is a truly grim truth. Harper has to go in this next election, and his government needs to be decisively thrown out. I would prefer to see it along the lines of what happened to Mulroney's PCPC, but I know that won't happen, but reduced to a bare western Blue shell against a massive sea of Trudeau Red majority trans-Canada wide should drive home the point that this kind of politics is NOT what most Canadians want whatever their more usual subtle differences politically speaking.

I've said I want majority for multiple reasons, first (in order of importance) to prevent Harper from triggering a Constitutional Crisis to hold onto power in a minority situation. Second, to show the massive repudiation of where Harper took us as a majority government. Third, and I admit much less important politically but still a personal desire, I know that being that beaten by Justin Trudeau given his hatred for all things Trudeau and his especially contemptuous view of Justin Trudeau will hurt him politically and emotionally in ways nothing else could, and given all the pain he has caused me and so many other Canadians off all political stripes I think he deserves some small percentage of that returned, and this would do it. I'll freely acknowledge this last is not a pleasant motivation, nor the nice Canadian thing to say, but after a decade of the Cassandra Curse I think most people here and I suspect throughout this nation can understand where it is coming from.

Owen Gray said...

At this point, what was obvious to you years ago should be obvious to the vast majority of Canadians, Scotian.

This will be a make it or break it -- where it means Canada -- election.

Scotian said...

Sorry, that epitaph should have said "won the battle to LOSE the war", how I missed that in proofing I don't know, my bad. Sorry.

Owen Gray said...

No problem, Scotian. When I make an error, you know my wife hasn't proofread my stuff.

Steve said...

I heard someone from Owen Sound shot up their kitchen. Turns out the wife had not folded the tea towels.

Owen Gray said...

I suspect they're Harper's kind of people, Steve, and their MP is probably Larry Miller.

Norm said...

I read lots of Blogs and comments from Globe,CBC NP etc lots of people as Scotian has said know Harper must go not just Harper but the CPC. I have yet to read suggestions as to how.
The Libs and NDP think they can go it alone, vain wishful thinking, the polls are too close for comfort, if you have any faith in polls.
No one talks about strategic voting, using brains and ouja boards to pick the party and candidate best able to win and go with that party and candidate in each riding. This is no time for nicities think of Canada first. When and if we win voting reform has to front and foremost so we don't ever have what we have now.

Owen Gray said...

I note that Mulcair talked today about a possible coalition with the Liberals to get rid of Harper, Norm.

That's the first sign of strategic realism I have heard from any of the opposition parties.

Norm said...

Lorne do you have a link or where I could find Mucair's words

Scotian said...


I've laid out time and again the way to remove Harper. Vote Liberal in all but the seats already locked up by other party MPs aside from CPCers. Do not vote your usual preferences if they are not Lib, go completely for the Libs this one time, let them get that majority and remove Harper, and let the feeding frenzy within the long locked down CPC commence, and hopefully a saner Canadian rooted conservativism takes the helm. After this election, go back to your usual preferences, but this time out vote Lib, simple as that.

I say this because judging by the usual voting habits/choices of those who actually vote in elections the Libs are the only realistic consensus choice for enough voters to get the job done. Its not rocket science, and it is something I've been saying for over a decade now. If the NDP had any realistic chance of doing so we would have seen it in 2011 when the Lib vote imploded, yet the centrists still found Harper less problematic despite being found in contempt of Parliament than the NDP, and Layton certainly connected better with voters than Mulcair has shown since becoming leader. Liz May, who personally I respect and agree with on so much heads a party that simply is not a contender at this stage in its history. So in the end that leaves the Libs, period.

Look, I hate advocating voting this way, but the idea of strategic voting unless really well organized and coordinated by all involved is problematic in making work, we've seen that already. This is why I take the position and argument I do, vote Liberal this one time regardless of your usual preferences in all but the strongholds of other parties and that should make sure Harper loses, and preferably to a majority, because if he has any chance to try and govern as a minority even without the plurality he will, and I do not trust the GG he picked and just gave a 2 year extension on to stop him in the event of a Constitutional Crisis.

Owen Gray:

Given how much Mulcair has poisoned the well in his treatment of Trudeau since he became leader, at this late date I find talk like that of his far more about trying to make sure he retains Dipper votes more concerned with stopping Harper than he actually is in serious cooperation, sorry. I think he is trying to convince soft Dipper votes that they can vote NDP because they will still be working to stop Harper (when we both know the opposite is true alas), not that he is really serious about this. If he were serious we should have seen stronger signs of it, or at least less naked contempt for Trudeau than the past 6 months alone showed us.

I don't think it is strategic reality recognition save in the strategic maintaining the NDP strength against a stop Harper at all costs shift like I'm advocating happening within his own core base. I think he's starting to realize that could happen even though he thinks Trudeau isn't a serious/credible leader in his view, and this is his way of defending against it.

Owen Gray said...

I suggest you go to Lorne's blog, "Politics and Its Discontents," and ask him that question directly, Norm.

Owen Gray said...

I understand your distrust of Mulcair, Scotian. And I grant you his motives may be less than pure. But, if we wind up with a minority, he's signaled the possibility of a coalition.

Harper has poisoned the well against coalitions. It's time somebody spoke up for their legitimacy.

Scotian said...

Owen Gray:

Perhaps, but I wonder, has he considered that in that event it is likely he will be leading the junior member of that coalition, or is he still thinking he will be the leader of the larger party, which I simply do not see short of another Lib implosion at the polls, which I so far do not see the makings of, unlike with Ignatief, where there were clear warning signs. I'd be a lot more comfortable with the coalitions legitimacy aspect from him if I felt he really was serious, and if I felt he had seriously considered that he may be the leader of the third party and the smaller member of a Lib coalition as opposed to its leader, which I'm at this stage not sure I believe he really has done.

I really do think though this is about his securing his flanks, not a serious consideration of such, especially as the potential junior member of said coalition. He really has gone out of his way to poison the well between him and Trudeau personally since Trudeau first won the leadership. It is one thing to oppose, but Mulcair has been much more than that, which of course sets up Trudeau to reciprocate, and these days the conditions between the two men are so toxic it is hard to see how any functioning coalition could work after the election, especially, if as I suspect the results would be, with Trudeau as the leader of the larger member. Mulcair's ego record to date does not fill me with optimism on that score.

I'm sticking with my view that the only sure way of removing Harper is the Libs this time out, pure and simple. I don't like it, I hate telling people to support a party not their preferred pick, but the stakes are simply too high at this point (I've felt they were that high since 2005, but clearly by this point and with where the Harper government has taken Canada this really is the last, the very last chance for us all) for anything else. We need to not just defeat and remove Harper, we need to do so in a manner which makes clear our repudiation of his policies and way of governing. We need as close to a 1993 outcome as we can get.

Owen Gray said...

I'm sure the Libs prefer your option, Scotian. And, I'm sure Mulcair is planning on the Libs being the junior member of the coalition.

But his remarks do reflect an understanding of how important this election is.

If Harper is not thrown out this time around, Canada will be in much deeper trouble than it is now.

Dana said...

The trouble Canada would be in would be the fulfillment of Harper's dreams and fantasies.

And it would also be the end of Canada as a unified, coherent national entity.

Which may also be one of Harper's dreams.

Canadians are much too complacent, passive and apathetic to do anything about it.

The response would be "Well, if Mr. Harper thinks that's best...but it makes me sad. Have we heard from the kids lately? Pass the butter, please."

My emotional responses to this country today are almost identical to the emotional response I had to the country pre-Pierre Eliot.

As a nation, constipated emotionally and intellectually, of no real significance and not really worth caring much about and certainly not worth fighting for. It's just where I live.

I hate this.

Scotian said...

Owen Gray:

Oh, I'm sure the Libs do too, which is of course why I've spent the past decade being branded a Lib member, shill, operative (paid and unpaid), and so forth, despite my over and over again making why I've said these things perfectly clear being rooted in the actual voting track record of actual elections in this nation. My concern is not about what is far or unfair vis-a-vis the Libs or the NDP or for that matter the Greens, my concern is as it always has been, stopping Harper!!! That is why I get tired of this advocating this point, I am not exactly saying anything unsupported by the actual record of past elections now am I? Disagree with me if you must on what I see as the best course, but please at least acknowledge that the basic logic I am using rests on actual factual electoral records please, because as I have also said before if I saw the NDP in the better position I'd be telling Libs to suck it up for one election and do the same instead.

The problem for Dippers is that everything I see in the electoral record (the one poll I do consider worth trusting, well as much as I can up until very recently, the changes this Harper regime put in are worrisome) says otherwise, and 2011 in particular showed that literally millions of voters they need to consider them still see them as a bridge too far, and that was with a well known leader like Layton who was well understood by the nation AND a horrible Lib leader like Ignatief who was alienating his own base, again, unlike Mulcair. Then there is the pattern of every by-election save one since he became leader where his party lost vote share, sometimes drastically, that cannot simply be ignored, one or two sure, but nine?

Then there is Trudeau himself. Sure he's relatively young and inexperienced, but he is far from a complete airhead, despite what his opponents claim. I've watched not just him but how he is going over with those I know to be centrist swing voters, especially those that traditionally lean to the right, and for the most part he is wearing very well indeed. This despite the fact he also clearly has appeal to the center left, and for some to many that normally lean NDP too, which given I am in Megan Leslie's riding may not bode well for her next time out either. He is clearly the leader with the best cross party appeal, and unless he totally balls it up (which I just do not see, he may not be the natural prosecutor Mulcair is in the House, but then unlike Mulcair he's not a trained lawyer where that gets taught/trained into one either) in the debates he is going to lead a resurgent Lib party, the only question is to whether second or first place, and if the latter minority or majority.

Which since he and his initially were planning on a two step approach to government (become LOO this time and government the election following) shows that he has revitalized and re-inspired the Liberal machine in this nation in a manner no-one thought possible prior to seeing it happen, not even he and his team. It also shows that for all the pining some (who I suspect are CPC/NDP partisans mostly, since he seems to have much more support now than he managed to get signed up while he was actually running for leader) online have for Garneau to have won shows he was the right choice for the Libs.

That speech though last week at McGill, the wife and I listened to that in full, and we were close to tears by the end, not just because of what it said, not just because it has been so long since we heard something like that said by ANY party leader, but because we could really feel the sincerity and conviction within it, that he really believed what he was saying. He may not have been the writer of the speech, but it clearly was saying what he believed, and that given what it said was for us and or horror at the rising xenophobia baiting Harper et al have been doing was soooo nice.

Owen Gray said...

It's been refreshing to see Trudeau be so open about his strategy, Scotian. He says he disagrees with Bill C-51, but he doesn't want to give the Harperites a way to make political hay.

Given the obvious misinformation that the Harper machine issues without blushing, Trudeau's approach suggests that his government would be very different than Harper's.

Owen Gray said...

That's precisely the country Harper wants to return to, Dana. We have an anal prime minister who glories in all kinds of constipation.

Norm said...

Owen sorry about calling you Lorne.I read both your blogs. I did find Mulcairs comment at Common Sense Canadian but he's only talking about after the election and assuming they have a majority between them.

Scotian There are no bloggers that I read promoting Vote Lib, at this time they are bemoaning Harper and promoting their own political leaning.The parties are blinkered and see only their own omnipotence. They do not think of Canada. There are ridings that no Lib can win, I live in the Okanagan, the libs , greens and NDP outspent the Cons and got less than half the votes, the Libs have had 2 disastrous elections, came in 4th.The NDP hold their base came 2nd.
Maybe this riding is a loss.Talking to the candidates doesn't help, they're hamstrung except possibly Greens.
Thank goodness for Bloggers it's where opions can be expressed.

Scotian said...


Trust me, I know all too well what the partisans are like, on all sides. I'm the partisan of no-one, I'm just a process geek who saw the true face of Harper and the threat he posed to our nation on both process and ideological grounds, and that he was fundamentally alien to our political culture and a serious threat to our long term national stability. All I care about is that he is gone (I was saying all of this over a decade ago, btw, and the same reasons too, none of this is hindsight in any way), he is simply too dangerous to all of us, as in almost all Canadians aside perhaps from the 1%-5% at the top, and even there I think they may be underestimating the base backlash conditions being set up for them in the rest of us by the policies of Harper.

This has always been a hard thing for me you see, I was always the process geek that told people to be informed and to vote, that I didn't care who they voted for as long as they voted, and preferably as an informed voter. That without such voters our system could not work. I cared far more about that then who was the government of the day (not saying I cared not at all there, but it really was my secondary care, not my primary), until I saw Harper rising after he and MacKay murdered the PCPC and finally found a way to paint himself and his core base in Reform/CA as somehow just another group of Canadian Conservatives when they had never been such.

So this last decade has been very difficult for me, not just with facing Harper but being forced to give what is my best advice on how to stop him being first keep the Libs in power or failing that elect them, because that is the only way I see his defeat happening based on actual voting demographics. I've always been basing my argument not on a partisan preference, hells, I was making this argument for Ignatief, who I always openly despised, and even he was better than Harper for us despite all the massive issues with him. But I've been an active political follower/watcher for over 4 full decades, as in over 40 years now, and this is what everything I know about politics at the federal level tells me is the only real way for Harper to go.

The NDP allowed his enticement of teaming up to destroy their electoral rivals, the Libs to blind them to how much they were being used to build his eventual majority on. He let their understandable desire of reaching for power when for the first time in a long time appear credible because of how weak the Libs were to blind themselves to the level of damage a Harper government in either minority or majority could do to not just Canada in general but to progressive values and polices in specific. I truly believe that if the NDP has stayed behind Martin until after Harper lost his grip on the party (which was slipping hard in 2005, especially after the Grewal recordings fiasco) we would never have had this horrific decade.

to be concluded...

Scotian said...


I also believe that if they had done so and let the Libs win one more term by the time of the next election the CPC would be weaker after having had a major internal fight for the new power structure since the creator/Harper would have fallen, leaving the NDP better positioned to be a potential government than they would have ever had given the Lib fatigue that would have been in play. This was also something I was pointing out at the time, not hindsight. Part of my personal disgust with the NDP leadership comes from their inability to see any of this, or worse to let their antipathy for the Libs override their judgment on this, not only did they screw Canada generally, they screwed their own side royally.

One cannot use Lib support in the last election as a baseline, it was clearly an atypical reality for Canada for reasons already noted. Use the results from Martin and Dion for at least a closer to accurate read, and I would argue follow a couple of decades worth of results to really get a sense of the general flow within each riding. On that basis, now that the Libs have had their time out, have gained a leader who clearly inspires instead of repels not just new voters but his own base (Ignatief), it makes a lot more sense to throw out the 2011 Lib results for baseline and look to the longer trends that are there.

I am but one voice, but I will use it as best I can in this fight. I see what I see and I describe what I see, nothing more, nothing less. I am the partisan of no-one, but I am the foe of Harper and all he stands for. I can accept Canadian rooted conservativism, but that is not what his is, nor the tools he uses based in Canadian political culture/traditions. They are incredibly corrosive and destructive to our way of life.

Norm said...

Scotion In my riding the Libs have never won all the way back to1988, mostly won by Alliance, Reform ace and Cons once by NDP. The riding is full of immigrant Albertans.
I think it's a dead loss unless we have a 2 party race. Whether Lib or NDP is a toss-up but not both.
I'm working on it.

Scotian said...


There will be ridings where that is the case, then whomever is the second strongest most consistently is who to get behind, the important thing is to remove as many CPC MPs as possible, and in the largest amount of ridings that is the Libs. I's say ABC should be obvious for people as the solution, but I also know that unless a campaign is carefully coordinated one could end up with too many up the middle split wins by the CPC, which is why they count on such a strong, competitive NDP, they know they need a strong NDP to divide the anti Harper/CPC vote. So in those ridings where the NDP and the Libs come in close between second and third, then vote Lib Dippers because that may well make the difference between a majority that forces Harper out and a minority which allows him to try to hold onto power via Constitutional Crisis with his preferred Governor General that he just gave a 2 year extension on to aid him.

As an overall national strategy I say the Libs are the ones to rally the anti-Harper vote behind, mainly because they are despite their own flaws and sins the closest thing to a truly national party we have left now that the PCPC has been murdered. To be fair strictly speaking the NDP is one too, but it has far more shallow support than the Libs do or the PCPC used to. That is why I said, go Lib if they tend to be the second placers or first placers in the recent past, but if the riding is a true stronghold for the NDP or Greens then thrown the vote that way. I know there are some ridings out there where the NDP is the more generally favoured second place finisher (as I said, do not use 2011 results alone, they are too typical for reliable use) and there the Lib voters need to get behind. However, in the majority of ridings nationally the Libs will more often tend to be the second place finisher, which is why as a national strategy I say what I do. Bottom line is stopping Harper in his tracks, remove him from power in a clear and unquestionable manner, and that preferably repudiates his direction and policies as a government, especially his majority government. Ideally a 1993 wipeout scenario would be best, but since I know that won't happen seeing the CPC around where the Libs are today would be a good start.