Saturday, August 01, 2015

A Man Of His People

                                         http://johnnyrush.com/conservatives

The former head of Elections Canada, Jean Pierre Kingsley, says that Stephen Harper is "gaming the system." And Kory Teneyche, the former head of Sun News, says that,when  Mr. Harper has a campaign event, attendance will be by "invitation only."

Ten years ago, no one would have thought that a prime minister could treat the voting public with such brazen contempt. But this is Stephen Harper. Contempt is in his DNA. Elizabeth Thompson reports:

While all parties keep an eye on who is showing up for events, largely for security reasons, most parties do not screen people before they are allowed into the room to hear their leaders.
During the 2011 election campaign, there were a couple of incidents where people who showed up to listen to Harper were turned away because party workers discovered Facebook posts critical of Harper, pictures of them posing with another party leader or a pro-NDP bumper sticker.
At the time, Harper apologized.

But there are no apologies this time around:

This time, though, the Conservatives are unapologetic – serving notice that “by invitation only” is going to be the norm throughout the campaign, expected to last 11 weeks.

The tight control is in keeping with Harper’s style of government, particularly since the Conservatives won a majority government in 2011.

Precisely. Stephen Harper has always been a man of his people. On election day, it will be interesting to see how may of his people are left.


35 comments:

Lorne said...

No matter what he does, Owen, Harper consistently displays his egregious contempt for anything that resembles an open, transparent and accessible democracy.

Owen Gray said...

And he parades around in a Stetson, Lorne, pretending to be a man of the people.

Rural said...

My contempt for this man......and those who support him grows daily as does my despair for our democracy, Owen. I am not sure I can stomach much more of this disdain for Canadians and Canadian democracy, we can but hope that things turn around come October but irregardless its going to take years to get back to where we were before the Cons came to power,

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Rural. It will take years to undo the damage he's done. What is really disturbing is that Harper takes pride in the damage he does.

zoombats said...

Has Harper ever really pretended to be anything other than a liar? He doesn't pretend at being contemptuous, arrogant, deceitful, opportunistic, et al. The crippling effect of this government is coming in to focus now with this latest "invitation only" proclamation by his pack. The removal of the dollar funding for fledgling parties(Greens), his war on unions and first nations to disclose their funding is designed to hobble the dissenters, let alone to send them into a financial hinterland. I have to say that he is smart enough to strictly adhere to keeping his audience friendly. I couldn't print on this family friendly blog how I might interact with him but, at sixty two and many more pounds over my "fighting weight", wouldn't mind putting on the gloves with him.

Anonymous said...

With this announcement, Kory is actually doing a favour for reasonable Canadians. He has painted a true portrait of the Harper party in vivid colours.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guW0r8R4DQE

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Anon. We now have a picture of Harper in vivid colours. But, as is the case with some of your musical references, I admit I'm nonplused. Surely, the sun is shining brightly under Harper. Any explanations?

Owen Gray said...

I suspect that -- when he saw you coming -- he'd look for closet and hide, zoombats.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is not contempt. Perhaps it is an admission the guy knows that he is a bust and would be unable to win any competition if he plays by the rules. So he crafts the rules to favour himself and then cheats to further ensure victory.

Question is why some 30% of Canadians apparently are not bothered by the above? Sure, half of these vote for him through ignorance or stupidity. But the other half? Difficult to come to any conclusion other than that these people have the same values, eh?

Frank Graves at EKOS once said that it was a culture war. I suspect there is merit to that suggestion.

Anonymous said...

I guess it is true - the student does eventually surpass the teacher. Mr. Newman (at least the pre-Disney incarnation) was well known as a master, not only of piano and songwriting, but satire. That's the way I see it. Of course you are free to have you own opinion. Satire doesn't translate well on the interweb.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKIYVjVnaBI

Owen Gray said...

Was "Kentucky" a dig at Kory Teneycke?

Owen Gray said...

I suspect that Harper knows he can't win in a fair fight, Anon. Any culture worthy of the name sets up a series of rationale rules. This is a battle between the cultured and the uncultured.

Anonymous said...

'Was "Kentucky" a dig at Kory Teneycke?'

You're a smart guy Owen. You can figure that one out on your own.

Scotian said...

No one should be at all surprised, he's a Straussian, with all the contempt for the non-elites Straussians have always had. It is no wonder he is increasingly open about using the same methods GWB/Cheney used in 2004 in particular by this point, all the other methods have been gotten away with so why bother even hiding anymore? Yet again I can go "I told you all so a fucking DECADE AGO!!!" here, but even my internet voice is hoarse from saying that where Harper is concerned. At this point my blowtorch anger for political gamesmanship comes from the NDP and Mulcair deciding to let Harper kill the Consortium debates because they think it might make it better for them too, doesn't matter about their much vaunted principles about democracy, and when this comes from a leader and party that has spent the last half year denouncing Trudeau and the Libs for their irrelevant support of C51 while this is a consequential (as in something they actually have real world impact on, unlike an opposition party voting to support a government bill in a majority) action in terms of protecting or not our core democratic values (in this case our election process itself), well yet again Dipper sanctimonious hypocrisy in action appears to bother only those of us that actually care more about process than bout partisanship.

In case it wasn't already obvious I am FURIOUS about what the NDP did yesterday, and it is clearly because they are more concerned with protecting their chances at power then they are in anything that has anything remotely to do with principles and protecting democratic values. This is EXACTLY the behaviour Dippers have for years and decades now denounced Libs and in the past PCPCers for practicing, yet now when it seems like they might actually be the next government suddenly it is all A-OK?!?!?!? I loath ideologues, but at least honest ones practice what they preach, with this action the NDP party in both leadership and its partisans who appear to be fine supporting this show themselves to be yet again taking more and more imitation lessons from the Harper CPC in do as I say, not as I do.

This is yet another example of the actual choices and actions the NDP takes that to my mind makes them such a great risk for government, and shows the lie in their claims to be truly different and more ethical and trustworthy for power. When push comes to shove they have repeatedly over the last decade shown that their lust for power, even if supposedly for noble ends, means any means to get therm there is acceptable, just like any good zealot can justify in their pursuit of power to gain power, whether secular, religious, or ideological. just what we need more of.

Sorry Owen, but I am infuriated not just by the Mulcair NDP decision but by the so far lack of any backlash from within the so called principled NDP base to their blatant example of placing once again expediency for power ahead of core vales and principles, this time on a fundamental democracy question itself. Given all the high moral bashing on such grounds they have been dishing out on Trudeau and the Libs for C51 I have to say I find it exceptionally disgusting and infuriating how this seems to be fine, especially as this actually does let Harper off a real hook whereas whether the Libs voter for or against C51 made no practical impact whatsoever on outcomes. If you are going to claim to be the only ones protecting our way of life and democratic values you do not get to pick and choose like this!!!

Pamela Mac Neil said...

The cons are closing ranks and solidifying their base. Harper doesn't care if he's alienating the Canadian majority. He knows they won't vote for him. The invitation only campaigning is another strategy to achieve his 38% vote which gave him his majority in 2011. The obvious contempt around this invitation only policy maybe the very thing that motivate Canadians to vote Harper out in October. If ever there was a concrete example Owen of Harper giving the finger to the Canadian majority, his invitation only campaign is it. Canadians should protest at every one of his campaign stops. This feeds right into the essence of Harpers character. I wonder if he will extend his hand for the chosen people to kiss his ring?

Owen Gray said...

I suspect that he'd love to have the plebes kiss his ring, Pam. Let's hope that the vast majority of Canadians -- even those who voted for him the last time -- will see him for who he is.

Owen Gray said...

All I can add, Scotian, is that I share your fury with Mulcair. This generation of Dippers have forgotten what Tommy Douglas and David Lewis stood for.

Michael Taylor said...

Owen, there is a point where you have to wonder "what will it take......." to get the MSM to denounce this charlatan? Invitation only campaigning only fits if we understand Harper's profound desire to NOT have to defend his record based upon debate. He is aware that he is at risk from public protests should he actually pretend to campaign normally (openly?). He has attempted to control access for years and certainly the 2011 campaign was, for me, the first sign of significant problems in this regard. While I share Scotian's concerns about Mulcair's response to the consortium debate yesterday, there NO symmetry with Harper's original reasoning for abandoning this debate (what was the reason again Tory Kory??) and this decision to have closed campaign "events". Citizens awake -toss the CPC once and for all!!

Owen Gray said...

Harper has never been prepared to defend his record, Michael. He knows his record is simply indefensible. His communication strategy has been to -- in Orwell's phrase -- "defend the indefensible" by shifting the focus to his opponents.

His whole operation is straight out of Orwell. Teneycke knows how it's done. That was his job at Sun News. In the end, the public tuned out Sun News. Let's hope they tune out Harper.

Anonymous said...

The 'Stephen' like the 'Donald' to the south... are a couple of twin peas... all 'hair' and 'air', with both totally gaming democracy. I guess you have to be stupid to blindly follow stupid. The Con results so far and plotted direction are staggering for our future.

After 10+ years of Harper's tantrum bullying, continuous manipulation, corruption, disrespect and ego centric party of one rule we enter the final inning of his never ending election campaign. I want anybody but the 'Harper' and Refom-Cons.

I too am disappointed that Mulcair has fallen for the Harper trap on only debating - basically on Harpers turf and terms. I must say I strongly agree with you Owen and Scotian we need to put country before party and that means we should all be focusing on defeating the cloisterd, closeted and corrupt Con campaigner and his trained seals.

Bill

Scotian said...

Owen:

It's not just Mulcair, it is the entire current NDP leadership crew and all of their activist/partisans online and off who seem fine to let them get away with all of this. As I have said many times, while hypocrisy itself irritates me, there is something exceptionally foul to me about sanctimonious hypocrisy, and the NDP holier than thou claims about how they can be trusted with power while those evil filthy lying Libs are nothing but Harper in drag etc, well that just really sickens me. Worse, it isn't because I am a Trudeau or Lib partisan that causes this reaction in me, it is the fact that it is not at all consistent with seeing reality as it is as opposed to how you want it to be, a sin NA movement conservatives have been committing for decades now and that the Harper government epitomizes. Yet the NDP seems to see the success the Harper CPC had in fooling and lying to Canadians including their own base as a method to be emulated while claiming to find it repulsive, and that just drives me crazy, especially when it comes with lectures about placing principles and values first, as so many progressives have been doing especially on the C51 issue over the last half year.

I never had a problem with people being offended with the Lib choice on C51, I did think claiming it was the ultimate proof of principles or not was under the realities we have currently being overly heavy handed, but that there was a fair basis for criticism and issue to take, sure. Yet here when the NDP leadership gives Harper all he needs to further game the election so as to make it that much more possible for him to win, they cannot grab on fast enough. When Harper first said no to the Consortium and the NDP refused to stand with the other opposition parties and refuse to debate Harper anywhere until and unless he also did these traditional debates with the highest viewer reach of all debates I was fairly well angered. Mulcair had thrown away the best chance to force Harper back to playing by the rules by caving into this and he did so as I recall within 24 and certainly not more than 48 hours after Harper made this decision. I wondered openly then what the Hells he thought he was doing, and what the leadership thought it was doing, but I got told by progressives to trust Mulcair and the NDP , that they wouldn't pull out of the Consortium, that it would be all of them and Harper or his empty chair.

Well, we now know that was nothing but further Dipper bullshit from Mulcair and the NDP leadership, and so far it seems like the Dipper online partisan brigade is lining up and saying "may I have another sir". If you truly claim to care about how Harper has undermined process, democracy, and the rule of law, so much so that you use C51 as a litmus test, then why Why WHY is this not AT LEAST AS egregious since it is a decision that actually makes a real direct and immediate difference, goes to part of the heart of the Harper contempt for our democratic system of electioneering, and in general is clearly aimed at making a Harper victory more possible, instead of making sure he is shown for the anti-democratic actor that he is???

to be concluded...

Scotian said...

Conclusion:

No Owen, this is about more than just Mulcair and the NDP leadership, this also goes to far too many of the core NDP partisans, especially in the online world, who have one standard for Trudeau and the Libs who are evil incarnate for them, and another for themselves, where they can do no wrong, or else are simply making sure the playing field is level so as to give them their best chance to win (regardless of how principled or not it truly is). Their biggest complaint about Trudeau and Libs generally is how they have no principles, let expediency guide them, and so forth, then claim that the NDP is a better choice and kind of party, yet every time when it comes down to it over the past decade when it has been between what served their electoral interests most or actually represented the principles stand their own principles said they should have been taken expediency wins out every time. AND THEY THEN SCREAM ABOUT THE LIBS BEING THE REAL EXPEDIENCY SINNERS!!! ARGHH!!!

This is why I prefer the Libs and Trudeau even with the various issues there, at least they don't try to tell me to believe them instead of my lying eyes time and time again, at least they do not pretend to be the ethically pure and incorruptible choice despite a record of actions which prove otherwise, at least they have a history of good government to go along with those issues and still have within their caucus those who have served in a federal government of Canada before the Harper wildfire burned so much of it away. This shows yet again that the issues with the NDP are not just with the leadership and they also show why in my view they are the worst choice to follow a Harper government to deal with the disasters it will b e leaving in its wake.

Kirby Evans said...

The saddest problem of all here is that not only will the MSM fail to make this an issue, the opposition will also fail to make it an issue. Every time the leaders of the opposition parties speak they should hammer away at the idea of a PM who refuses to talk to regular people and vet every interaction he has. Every single time they talk they should talk about this. But they won't.

Owen Gray said...

It's extraordinary, Kirby. Harper is man who intensely dislikes people. Yet he's chosen to be a politician. Be believes he doesn't have to do retail politics to win. All he needs to do is carpet bomb his opponents in television and internet ads.

There was a time when the mainstream media would have suggested that such a person was desperately ill.

Owen Gray said...

Whatever problems Trudeau has, Scotian, at least he faces protesters. So far, Harper and Mulcair have not dealt with them at all.

Owen Gray said...

What it comes down to, Bill, is voting for the opposition candidate who has the best chance of defeating the Harperite in your riding. What happens after that is open to all kinds of possibilities.

Scotian said...

Owen:

For all the branding of Trudeau as a sock puppet, not a leader, etc, when you look at his actual day to day record he seems the one most acing like a real leader, not a dictator, but a leader in the proper sense of the word. He leads from the front, he brings people together, and he does his best to first hear and then consider various POVs before he makes up his mind as the situation/timing permits. He faces his critics head on, and while yes he is not as polished as the other two in all honesty I find that a plus, not a minus. I truly believe Trudeau believes in Canada and Canadians, one can differ with him on strategy and tactics, but that he is truly a believer in the traditional Canada, I cannot see how anyone can seriously claim that is false.

He also has managed to rebuild a party that was so shattered, so devastated in the last election to the point many did not believe it could even survive to the next election, let alone have any serious role to play in it let alone contesting for government, something many seem to have forgotten, as well as he and his team rebuilding the constituency and riding associations from the ground up across the nation plus revamping the fundraising so that they finally could hold their own against the Harper money machine. They, despite being the third party, still significantly out-raised the Official Opposition NDP despite their having such a higher profile and more resources in this Parliament than ever before to boot. That is certainly an impressive demonstration of real leadership in action in an actual reality of hard times, the day to day kind, and the fact he had to rebuild such a damaged and shattered party I would argue was a good training ground for what will have to be faced in our federal government by Harper's successor. That is, btw, leaving aside the arguments I usually put forward about how the Libs have experienced former Ministers in their caucus, this is just on what Trudeau and his team managed with the Lib party itself as a good dry run for dealing with the Harper disaster awaiting the first non-CPC government.

Trudeau surprised me early on in being better than I expected in these respects, and one of the other things that I took early note on was how well he played to old school PCPC people I know, including my mid 70s father who is a consistent regular and informed voter who tends towards the center right overall but like e has no true partisanship, although his biases do tend to have him most comfortable with the old PCPC range of the spectrum. When the progressives started to go nuclear on Trudeau over C51 and the choice he made there I was curious how my father saw that decision, so I asked him, not really expecting a response (my father while being a very civic minded person who stays informed and always votes also tends to keep his voting decisions and preferences to himself most times, it is unusual for him to get at all vocal/open in either praise or condemnation in any sustained way, but Harper managed the latter and Trudeau of all people the former), but to my surprise I got one.

to be concluded...

Scotian said...

Conclusion:

His POV was that Trudeau was clearly facing a political catch-22 trap laid by Harper, and Dad thought the choice Trudeau made, while ugly, was probably the right call. He pointed to the fact that it has always been the Libs and Lib leader that has been the primary focus of all Harper attacks since before he became PM, so it is reasonable to assume that Harper wanted to continue that by trying to paint Trudeau as weak and soft on security, especially given where Trudeau had gone with the Iraq/Syria issue, so therefore acting in a tactical mode in response was a reasonable choice, especially as the actual voting support would make no practical difference yet remove a tool Harper clearly wanted to use on Trudeau. That if Trudeau had done this in a minority Parliament then it would have been seriously wrong, but since this is a majority and that C51 was going to be passed however the Harper CPC decided it should look like, as is consistent with their never listening to others, that it made sense especially after the Parliament Hill shooting incident last fall to take the position Trudeau did AND that there would be many on the center right who saw this as proof that Trudeau was not simply taking the easy ways out especially on things like security, because it would have been far simpler for him to simply go into total opposition.

Granted his views matched mine on this for the most part (which itself is not always usual, Dad and I have on more than a few occasions disagreed on policy issues especially in the security realm). Still though to this day Trudeau looks to be the best choice to follow Harper in his opinion, and that he has more substance to him than his detractors either are willing to acknowledge or are even able to see because they have let their own preconceptions blind them. I have to wonder how many old PCPC types are like my Dad in the groups that either stopped voting for a time or with misgivings had gone with Harper but can no longer do so. I also wonder how Mulcair's latest move will play with these older center/center right swing voters, I suspect it will not sit well at all.

Part of the reason Trudeau's critics get material they can twist into making Trudeau sound like a fool is because he actually tries to talk to Canadians in more than just the "professional political leader" voice, and that is one of the things which is behind his appeal. Now, this is not to say I think Trudeau is the best leader EVAH, just that he is nowhere near as bad as most of his detractors cast him as, and that he has real strengths which have been proven in the realm of reality with his party in cleaning up disasters, which is no small quality in this time and place.

I also believe Trudeau more than the other two when it comes to democratic renewal and such, and the fact that his policies generally speaking appear to consider having to work in the real world with other actors/factors also having impact instead of simple imposition as Harper does or assuming everything will simply go the way they want as I find too many of the Mulcair NDP's policies appear as. The Senate being one example, the way they support the Harper Childcare taxed back wasteful vote buying scheme while also having a fairly rich daycare policy plan being another, and there are more than a few other elements of NDP policy whose costing I am not sold on the soundness of, whereas the Libs seem at least to be trying to stay closer to the reality as it is, and not as they wish it were.

As I have said before, I do not think we have any truly good choices at the moment, but the least bad and not by a small margin of the main three leaders is clearly Trudeau, and his party is also the one I believe best suited and qualified to pick up the scorched remnants of our federal governing system after a decade of Harper systemic Destruction and Salting of the Scorched Earth.

Kirby Evans said...

I am about as left as one can be Owen, but I have to admit that I agree with Scotian in the end. The Libs may be deeply problematic but at least they are not posers of the left the way the NDP has become. The NDP almost no real leftwing policies left in their bag - universal childcare hardly qualifies them as radical considering that Martin and the Liberals were the first government that attempted to institute this policy. And when I ask hardcore NDP supporters for examples of policies that are really leftwing they seem to be very short on specifics. MEanwhile Mulcair and his top people (particularly Anne McGrath) are acting, in style terms, just like Harper and his gang. And when the Dippers are asked go give concrete examples of why the Liberals under Trudeau are so terrible, I hear little to distinguish them from the NDP, certainly little that suggests that they are so awful. Trudeau has made serious talk of electoral reform, talk of raising taxes, talk of greater environmental protections, etc. And Trudeau has done all that while actually talking to regular people, facing protesters, and being considerably more accessible than Mulcair or (obviously) Harper. The NDP may be offering a couple more slightly left policies than the Libs, but they are also offering considerably more cynicism. In the face of that different attitude I suspect that as this long campaign heads forward, we may see voters turn back to the Liberals for this very reason.

Owen Gray said...

From where I sit, Kirby, Trudeau's policies are more substantive than Mulcair's. Unfortunately, campaigns are driven by personality these days. I was offended by Trudeau's support of Bill C-51. I still am. But I don't think that Trudeau is out of the race. And, in a long campaign, he may wind up on top.

Owen Gray said...

As I said in my response to Kirby, Scotian, Trudeau may wind up on top.

Scotian said...

Owen:

I always understood why the decision on C51 offended so many, it wasn't as if I liked it either, but I also recognized the dynamics involved and the harsh truth that nothing either Trudeau or Mulcair did would have any substantive impact on that legislation anymore than in any other case with this government. As I said before, I had no issue with people finding fault and taking issue, I just thought making it the complete and total acid test was taking it a bit too far given the current realities in our federal politics. I've never pretended this act was either created nor the Lib choice taken for any reasons other than expediency and positioning, and in a normal/traditional government I would have found this move by the Libs inexcusable, but as we both know Owen we do not live in such times nor have a typical Canadian government in the Harper regime.

At this point I am not making predictions, all I guess I am really saying is that Trudeau is far less evil even from a progressive POV than his detractors especially in the NDP make him out to be, and less incompetent at leadership than those same detractors in both NDP and CPC claim. That Mulcair and his NDP for all their pious claims of being the real party of progressive values when push comes to shove doesn't act like it, nor even, as Kirby notes, have much that really resembles real progressive policies on offer. One of the things that most irks me about Mulcair and Dippers is how they love to say how Trudeau isn't a "real" progressive, and to an extent that is even true, but what he is is a centrist pragmatist who will be as open and receptive to good ideas from the progressive side and from anywhere else, and that on social justice value issues he is clearly progressive.

I'm hoping the NDP peaked too soon, and doing things like aiding and abetting Harper in his refusal to do the Consortium debates I suspect could be as corrosive over time as C51 was for Trudeau, and at a very bad time for it to happen. I may in this election be essentially supporting the Libs, but it isn't out of blind partisanship, but out of practical concerns and issues of character, credibility, and judgment I see with each respective leader and which one I find least egregious and which I also see as best suited for cleaning up the disaster we all know Harper is leaving in his wake.

Owen Gray said...

When push comes to shove in this election, Scotian, I believe it will boil down to voting for the candidate who has the best chance of defeating Harper's candidate.

Mogs Moglio said...

"Precisely. Stephen Harper has always been a man of his people. On election day, it will be interesting to see how may of his people are left."

Hopefully none...

Owen Gray said...

Some of Harper's folks would vote for him even if he changed his citizenship, Mogs.