Thursday, June 04, 2015

Could He Have Been Wrong?


Bill C- 51 was supposed to have been Stephen Harper's trump card. If the economy went south, he could scare voters into supporting him. It worked a couple of elections ago, when he claimed that coalition governments were for losers.

But Mr Harper's gift for political poker seems to be failing. Steve Sullivan writes:

It’s remarkable to recall how, only months ago, many members of the pundit class were calling the security issue Harper’s ace in the hole — a policy area where he had a clear position and a solid advantage over the New Democrats and Liberals. But the timing worked against him: Terrorism gave him a polling bump that lasted just long enough for too many people to learn just enough about C-51 to loathe it.

Now, and quite suddenly, the bill is a political problem. This week we saw something astounding: a group of right-leaning critics of the bill — including National Firearms Association president Sheldon Clare and National Post comment editor Jesse Kline — calling the information-sharing provisions in C-51 “the long gun registry on steroids” and warning of a split in the Conservative party’s own voter base.

The Conservative base -- which Harper has courted assiduously -- doesn't  like the bill. Now the base is rebelling. They write in an open letter:

“Bill C-51 represents everything that principled conservatives have been fighting against for the past decade,” reads a letter signed by the critics and posted on the website StopC51. “It is appalling that a Conservative government would even consider voting for such legislation, much less crafting it and pushing it into law.”

The letter goes on to excoriate C-51’s provisions for “secret trials” and online censorship, to accuse Harper of rank hypocrisy for pushing C-51 after having damned the long-gun registry and the long-form census as unacceptable intrusions into Canadians’ privacy, and to state the bill violates basic small-c conservative principles by extending the reach of Canada’s security services into an extralegal grey zone. It warns that C-51 risks depressing the Conservative core vote and allowing the New Democrats or Liberals to come up the middle.

“On balance, there is no need for C-51,” it reads, “and it is politically foolish to bring in such legislation that can only result in a massive political defeat.”

Could Mr. Harper have been wrong? Has he lost touch not only with a majority of Canadians, but also with his own formerly stalwart supporters?


Hugh said...

When the Canadian Bar Association urges Canadians to march in the streets to protest a government bill, something is not quite right:

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, Hugh. When the Canadian Bar Association urges citizens to take to the streets to protest proposed legislation, that's a sure sign that something is amiss aboard the Ship of State.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

Every one is starting to see Owen that the Emperor has no clothes. He looks very anxious these days.

Owen Gray said...

He looks and sounds increasingly desperate, Pam.

Anonymous said...

You bet he was wrong Mr. Grey his mind went South long before our economy did. How can you trust a man that wanted to put a firewall around Alberta and wrote this along with his ex-pal Tom Flanagan:

"Next City, Winter 1996/97.Our benign dictatorshipCanada's system of one-party-plus rule has stunted democracy. Two prominent conservatives present the case for more representative government by Stephen Harper and Tom Flanagan" Link here:

In that essay they make the argument that there should be at least five federal political parties and there should be a five way coalition government. Reason was given that they figured Canada had five differing Geo-political areas with differing needs and they needed representation. Now that was good until Harper got in power. When questioned about that he replied it was all gibberish back then this is now I'm Canada's Supreme leader [Kim Jong-Un III] Steve Joe Harper I am your Majesty and I will do what I please when I please how I please.

He is a shape shifty person he will say anything to retain power and seats. Gosh I don't like that man or his government. Oh-h now I've done it the CSIS is breaking in my door coming to take me away never to be seen again...

Such rot of the very fabric of the Canadian way of life I both don't understand and can't stand. Owen we got to do something quick can we have Harper dragged out of Parliament like his Grandfather before him off the bench I wish.


Anonymous said...

Not only does he appear to have been seriously offside with public opinion on C-51, he appears now to be seriously offside with his boycott of the network debates too.

Wonder whether he made these bad tactical plays himself or he had run them through Finkelstein, the American operative who was believed to have helped him secure his first election win in 2006 and who had helped Bush win the Presidency?

If he had planned these with Finkelstein, then the latter must be losing his touch too. Or perhaps some 60% of Canadian voters are too smart to drink pigs' piss (a reference attributed to Finkelstein taken from Harris' "Party of One" in regard to what Finkelstein had said needed to be done to get Mulroney elected for a second term). However, it seems some 39% of voters probably don't even realize they had been drinking pigs' piss, eh?. :)

The Mound of Sound said...

I'll believe it when I see video of the moving trucks at 24 Sussex Drive. What does it say for the opposition that we are left to celebrate possible signs that Harper is going to self-destruct?

Owen Gray said...

It's been known for sometime that Harper has been getting his advice from American operatives, Anon. I wonder if he noticed the failure of Target in Canada. A wiser man might question the wisdom of accepting strategic advice from so called American whiz kids.

Owen Gray said...

It's interesting that Harper favoured coalition government, Mogs -- until he got into power.

Owen Gray said...

Point well taken, Mound. It's easy to imagine Harper's demise. But it will take hard work to make it happen.