Worst. PM. Ever.

I’ve been focussed on my new duties at Fort Richmond Collegiate lately, so I haven’t posted since the dawning of the age of holograms. But, with the current moves in Parliament, I feel compelled to return.

At a time of great economic crisis, with the lowest popular support in the history of Canada, and at a time when the PM argues on the one hand that it is appropriate to go into deficit: The government of Canada feels it necessary to force another election (cost $300Million) in order to cripple all other parties and silence disent in the country. The party subsidy, by the way, is worth less than 10% of the cost of a new election. I hope that the other parties find a way to bring this bully down and form a coalition that will represent a broader segment of the public. Harper has shown himself to be incompetent and petty at a time when the country needs calm, reasonable leadership. Shame on him.

UPDATE: While writing, I see that the Bully has moved to prevent Parliament from responding to his foolish policies. Is this the kind of panicky, undemocratic, cynical, leadership we need? Harper: Not A Leader. Not Even Close. And, to prove that Harper thinks that Canadians are idiots:

“While we have been working on the economy, the Opposition has been working on a backroom deal to overturn the results of the last election without seeking the consent of voters. They want to take power, not earn it,” Harper said.

Overturn the election? Are they going to storm parliament? Or, do you mean form a coalition with broader support from the electorate than his 22.2% majority (lowest in Canadian history) in keeping with Brittish Parliamentary traditions? Its disgraceful that the Prime Minister believes that the people of this country are stupid. I disagree with him. I think that Canadians will see this for the boneheaded move it was.

UPDATE 2: From Kinsella…”I’M SORRY, SIR, THAT SEAT IS TAKEN”

"I'M SORRY, SIR, THIS SEAT IS TAKEN"

 

UPDATE 3: Two more things. (1) Once you start on that sweet blogging drug again, you just can’t stop. and (2) Awesome quote from Adam Radawinski:

“Indeed, the most important characteristic Mr. Harper has shown over 33 months in office is a capacity to grow. There is no reason to think he won’t continue along the same trajectory if re-elected — a good thing, too, since there is much more for him to learn.”

So said this newspaper (Globe and Mail) less than two months ago in its endorsement of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. Without speaking too much for my colleagues, I think it’s fair to say none of us were anticipating what’s unfolding today.

It takes a special kind of immaturity to look at an economic crisis – one that has people worried about their jobs and their homes and their life savings – and consider only how it might be turned to your advantage. But then, for all his ideological roots, Harper has demonsrated time and again that nothing interests him so much as cementing his hold on power. He may have evolved in terms of openness to pragmatic policies when they suit his political interests. But this is a leader who very clearly sees politics as a game, and who sees government – rather than what you do with it – as the ultimate victory.

FINAL UPDATE: Despite their horrendous move to endorse Mr. Harper only 6 weeks ago, the Globe Editors get something right:

“This is a mess of Mr. Harper’s making. His plan to push back the confidence motion a week, until Dec. 8, buys him time to clean it up. To move beyond juvenile partisan games, he should take the plan to abolish public funding for parties off the table. And he should shift his focus to what was lacking in Thursday’s update: a serious plan to stimulate the Canadian economy.

“Dishearteningly, Mr. Harper sounded characteristically bellicose in his televised address yesterday evening, attacking his opponents and pronouncing that a coalition government is not an option. That determination is, frankly, not his to make. It rests with the Governor-General, and precedent suggests Mr. Harper is wrong. It is in the interests of his government and of Canadians that Mr. Harper reflect on where his cynical and combative approach has gotten him, and how it has destabilized our country during uncertain times.”

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10 responses to “Worst. PM. Ever.

  1. Harper pulled one of the biggest political mistakes since John Turner made a bunch of paitronage appointments just before an election. If the Conservatives thought they could still achieve a majority, they are delusional.

  2. Hi Evan,

    Blind Ideology and Ruthless Game Theory – the two worst pillars of politics – are the only things that Harper and his handlers understand. They deserve to be brought down.

  3. They “deserve” to be brought down?

    Seriously?

    I’m a left leaning guy, but the idea of a coalition government is ridiculous. The facts about this country’s current political position is such: we had an election 6 weeks ago, the liberals BLED seats to the conservatives, and NOW they call non confidence.

    They’ve had months to call non confidence, years. They waited for Harper to call an election, he did, we elected, the Liberals got their asses handed to them and Dion was practically boo-ed out of the party.

    You know as well as I do that the idea of a coalition with the BLOC of all parties, would be tenfold worse than Harper.

    You know that I dislike Harper just about as much as you do, but I know when to cut my losses. The liberals lost. Badly. This country has made it clear that they don’t want a liberal government. Harper made a mistake, but should it cost him his minority? I think anybody would be ridiculously naive to think that if another election is called now that the tide would swing. This would cement the conservatives in for the long haul.

    Best thing that can happen right now? Is the liberals, bloc and NDP shut up, take their seats in the House, and do their jobs as opposition parties. Not play this “well we’ll bring you down” game. It makes me effing sick. I can’t even believe how those people got elected with attitudes like that.

    It’s not how you get things accomplished, it’s not how you make progress, it’s not how you better your party’s position, and it’s not how you act as a politician.

    end rant.

  4. I personally do not like the idea of Harper getting away with this. The only reason why the Conservatives put out such a terrible economic statement was because they assumed they could get away with it like in the last parliament. They forget that they do not have a majority and they need to put out something that is bland enough that the opposition won’t take them down. It is a game to them. If you look back at history, this manoever was very similar to what Joe Clark tried. The situation back then saw Joe Clark ruling as if he had a majority, and tried to implement an unpopular budget that raised the taxes on fuel to try and fend off a recession. They didn’t anticipate defeat as the Liberals were without a leader. Well, they were defeated as Trudeau came back and went on to get a majority government.

    If there was another election, the Liberals would likely put in Ignatieff or Rae, and they would certainly not do as bad as last time. I also doubt that the Conservatives will be able to pick up seats anywhere for getting themselves in a position to be defeated. Simply put, I would expect the voter turnout to drop to around 50%, with the seats largely returning to what they were in the last parliament.

    And seriously, what is the difference between a Liberal/NDP government propped up by the Bloc and the Conservative government that was largely propped up by the Bloc the first year they were in power? As long as there is the Bloc, there is not likely to be a majority government, and they will almost always be a potential kingmaker.

  5. Only a self-centered bully like Harpo could have manged to manufacture so much dissent so quickly.

    Kudos to the King and his jesters – short may be their reign.

  6. Hi Graham,

    Here’s a response to your critique, point-by-point:

    They “deserve” to be brought down?

    Seriously?

    Yes. Any group that pulls a stunt like this – taking away rights and harming the electoral process while doing harm to the economy – is not worthy of government. If ever there is a time to go into deficit and increase spending – its now. Harper said so in Peru two weeks ago. But, he chose to ignore his own principles for a cynical power play. Hence, they deserve what they get.

    I’m a left leaning guy, but the idea of a coalition government is ridiculous. The facts about this country’s current political position is such: we had an election 6 weeks ago, the liberals BLED seats to the conservatives, and NOW they call non confidence.

    The bleeding came as the Conservatives LOST votes versus 2006. Yes, they got FEWER votes. This is something totally forgotten by pundits who are paid by the word and not by the brain cell.

    They’ve had months to call non confidence, years. They waited for Harper to call an election, he did, we elected, the Liberals got their asses handed to them and Dion was practically boo-ed out of the party.

    This Dion thing is a no-brainer. Substitute in a good manager like Goodale and problem solved.

    Plus, this is not just about leaders of parties. We elected 308 parliamentarians whose job is to represent the people of each riding in decision making. Each of the 308 has a duty to defend Canadian economic interests.

    You know as well as I do that the idea of a coalition with the BLOC of all parties, would be tenfold worse than Harper.

    Tenfold! Hyperbole alert! All this talk of the Bloc is making my head spin. The Bloc propped up the Cons many times in the last parliament. That’s what parties do. If we want to harm the power of the Bloc, we need to take away their seats through legitimate means such as in an election (and preferrably using a proportional system which would crush them).

    Besides, talking with and recognizing the obvious existence of seperatist groups is better than what is done in many countries of the world. Jaw jaw is always better, said Winston.

    You know that I dislike Harper just about as much as you do, but I know when to cut my losses. The liberals lost. Badly. This country has made it clear that they don’t want a liberal government. Harper made a mistake, but should it cost him his minority? I think anybody would be ridiculously naive to think that if another election is called now that the tide would swing. This would cement the conservatives in for the long haul.

    I cannot predict the future (though I have a habit of trying to do so). So, I cannot say for certain how Canadians will react. I hope that they will see things my way – that the country needs to get rid of these terrible managers. If not, then the beauty of the system is that they can vote against this move next time.

    And, btw, this country made nothing clear. It did not just reject the Libs, but all parties. 41% didn’t show up. And, of those that did, nearly a two-thirds majority voted to the left of Harper! Two-thirds voted for carbon taxes OR cap-and-trade. Be careful when claiming that the country made things clear. Our elections do not ask or answer clear questions.

    Best thing that can happen right now? Is the liberals, bloc and NDP shut up, take their seats in the House, and do their jobs as opposition parties. Not play this “well we’ll bring you down” game. It makes me effing sick. I can’t even believe how those people got elected with attitudes like that.

    “doing their jobs” is an interesting idea. I would say that if they let Harper continue, they would not be doing there jobs. They would not be defending the interests of the coutry and they would not be properly representing the people.

    Look up the job description of parliamentarians. This action fits the bill.

    It’s not how you get things accomplished, it’s not how you make progress, it’s not how you better your party’s position, and it’s not how you act as a politician.

    If this goes ahead, things will get done. IF the coalition doesn’t go ahead, then this also accomplishes a great deal. This shows Harper that he has to respect the will of the country and do as he said: compromise.

    end rant.
    ditto.

  7. Oooooh. Goody goody. Debaaate!

    I can agree that “taking away rights and harming the electoral process while doing harm to the economy” was not a good move by Harper. I found this perplexing as well, but I cannot at all agree with the response by the opposition. Calling non-confidence is one thing, threatening with a coalition government is entirely another.

    Yes perhaps the conservatives received “less votes.” But so did the Liberals. And 41% of people didn’t vote. That’s a lot of people. You can argue all you want about how if these people voted that it would change the outcome, but fact is they didn’t vote. And another election right now wouldn’t be any better. This is part of our democratic process….they didnt CARE enough to vote. So they didn’t.

    Can you blame these people? You can make the assumption that, many of these 41% were liberal-type people. Many saw Dion as an inept leader. Many did not care for our inspiration-less leaders at this period in time. Many did not really think their vote would make a difference.

    Saying that more people voted left this time around is not grounds to base a coalition government on. There is no world war going on. The notion that Harper isn’t doing anything to stimulate our economy is BS. They are intent on attacking the PM of this country because he “isn’t doing anything”…but really, lets step back and look at some facts. We have the best banking system in the world. Canada is weathering this economic turmoil better than any other country. We don’t have massive job losses like the US. We don’t have to prop up our economy with 700 billion dollars. Times are tough, but Harper sure isn’t “ruining” our country by “doing nothing.”

    So then we go to the polls. What will the Liberals and NDP run on? That Harper wanted to take away money for their campaign coffers? That Harper is running the country to economic ruin?

    The 59% of Canadians who voted aren’t going to take that argument too well, methinks. And the 41% who didn’t will only view this as further reason NOT TO VOTE! Why vote for a bunch of left-wing politicians if they lost the election, but still feel they have the right to govern this country?

    How stupid is it for the Liberals to team up with the NDP? I’m generally an NDP supporter, but corporate taxes at this point in time doesn’t sound like it’s going to HELP the country! The Bloc? Hey, it might be time to vote them out, and surely everybody west of Quebec thinks the same way, but the truth is, it WON’T happen. The Bloc will continue to be voted in, time and time and time and time and time again. WE can’t harm the power of the Bloc here in Manitoba. We are completely powerless to a federal party that we can’t control, and who would be joining a coalition? They would most definitely use the coalition as an attempt to stick their hand further down the pockets in Ottawa. Or hey, they’re still separatists at heart, eh? (That’s what this country needs right now, seperatists that have a say in the direction of the country).

    And what do we have, when we have 3 left-wing parties trying to work together? I believe that’s why they call them the “squabbling left.”

    They would argue themselves out of existence.

    I will respectfully disagree with the idea that leftwing politicians here would be doing their jobs as politicians by standing up to Harper. They made their point clear: now it is a power struggle for leadership: 2 leaders who will never be PM and by golly Mr Ignatieff must be licking his chops at the prospect of inheriting a coalition party.

    I will stand up FOR Harper and say that he did compromise. He took his party’s move off the table. Now it’s time for the left to do their part, compromise, realize that it was a bad decision, and not scream and cry to “bring the big bad Harper down.” Take their coalition threat off the table.

    The action of threatening with a coalition government as far as I am concerned, does not fit the bill job description wise. This is devoid of vision and leadership. This is politicians getting greedy and eyeing a piece of the leadership pie. Politicians who feel Harper is a joke of a leader and can’t accept their losses. This is classic politicians behaving like 4 year olds.

    Compromise on both parts, that is what a minority government is. So far there has been no compromise on the left side of the table.

    And I will make the argument that the reason we have not had a majority government for some time is the lack of a real leader. A leader of a party with vision. Such a leader would not bother with such garbage games like threatening with a coalition government, such a leader would not make such a ridiculous proposal that got us into this mess in the first place.

    I’m incensed that I have voted for leaders who are not representing my needs. For people who have gone to parliament and forgotten about what MY needs are, that chose to argue about how much money was going to their war chest. It is important, but does not call for this level of dissent and self-interest by 3 different parties. It is quite truthfully, absolutely disgusting.

    Okay I think I’m done for now…

    I’m so giddy. I love debating with people that don’t start yelling and screaming at you 😛

  8. Canada by and large is a left of center country. Liberals and NDP are a fit with some tweaking.

    The Bloc, well, Canada is a democracy. Unless you make it illegal to talk seperatism, the will of those Quebec seats has spoken. The Bloc is viable under the law .

    Being a Quebehker, I can say, they are mostly a left leaning society.

    In the end, Harper played this from a weak and perilous position. If the opposition has the will, its checkmate for Harper and the Conservatives.

    Again, this is all legal and within Parliamentary rules. Forget everything else, the wheels are in motion and this will come down to guts.

    Personally, I’d be going for the King with everything I had.

  9. Graham,

    I’m going to have to hold off on responding in kind due to other commitments. I will try to give your reply the time it deserves, when I have it.

    Mike

    PS: I agree that online debates degrade rapidly. I too prefer the way things roll here on Donald Street.

  10. Okay, couldn’t resist.

    Harper already missed his chance to compromise. He isn’t compromising now. He’s begging. He’s showing that he believes in nothing but Power by making these retreats. He’s not even willing to stand up for what he claims to believe in. He’s not negotiating with the other parties, and they would be foolish to negotiate back. He would do this again and again for years to come – as has been demostrated in the previous parliament. He is not worthy of the office of PM.

    The moment he made those moves in the fiscal update is the moment he sealed his fate. If the opposition do not form a coalition government, they will have been derelict in their duties to the country.

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