Monday, April 4, 2011

Series of Significance: Smoke and Fire Down Your Pants

[The following five posts were originally listed separately. They are resubmitted here in one package for your convenience. I’m all about convenience. No extra charge!]

Welcome to Harperville: Smoke and fire down your pants

[Ottawa - After more than five years as the leader of minority governments, Prime Minister Stephen Harper finally lost the confidence of the House of Commons on Friday...

“The vote today, which obviously disappoints me will, I suspect, disappoint most Canadians,” Harper said.
- March 26, London Free Press]

Welcome, one and all, to Harperville... the wee little corner of the universe inhabited by a reformer, deformer and smoke and fire performer of some caliber, and all those who know and love him.

I present to you the Prime Minister of Canada.

Before I allow him to say a few words, however, let me just say that Friday’s vote should have disappointed the Prime Minister. It should have disappointed each member of the House of Commons and each law-abiding citizen of Canada, even those in Harperville.

[“Harper is not even half disappointed”: photo link]

But it should disappoint us for the right reasons.

The following comes from an insider’s view of the House:

“And now the House has found the government in contempt, for the first time in Canadian history, as well as the first time in the entire history of the Commonwealth. The PM dismissed it all this past weekend as procedure; the Speaker has concluded it is pivotal.” - The Parallel Parliament

Harper should be disappointed that he is the only Canadian Prime Minister in history to be found in contempt of Parliament.

Let’s hear what he has to say for himself. Shhh. He’s about to speak.

“I’ve come here today to blow smoke and fire down your pants!”

Crap. Business as usual, as one might expect.


Smoke and fire down your pants PT 2

[Headline - Harper 'lies' about coalition details: Broadbent

"I've never seen the leader of a Conservative party, certainly not Bob Stanfield, certainly not Joe Clark, lie — I choose the word deliberately — the way Mr. Harper has," Broadbent said.

The former NDP leader, who helped negotiate Monday's deal between the New Democrats and the Liberals with the support of the Bloc Québécois, said Harper also lied when he said the three opposition leaders refused to sign their agreement in front of a Canadian flag because Gilles Duceppe, a Quebec sovereigntist, objected.

In fact, there were at least two flags present at Monday's signing ceremony, as well as a painting of the Fathers of Confederation.
Wed., Dec. 3, 2008, CBC News]

Coalition details:

Prime Minister Harper has a history of lying about coalitions. And the Canadian flag too, for Pete’s sake.

As well, Harper forgets to tell Canadians he signed up for a coalition when Leader of the Opposition. (Did he wrap himself in the Canadian flag at the time? Did the Fathers of Confederation smile upon him?)

My goodness. The man who likes to blow smoke and fire down your pants got burned himself.

Some readers might ask, why should anyone believe his word about a coalition today?

My only response: You’ve never been to Harperville, have you?

However, that’s the past. Surely Harper’s contemptuous behaviour concerning coalitions is behind him. Except for the baggage of the recent, nasty and singular contempt charge (nothing like it in the history of Canada) against him inside the House of Commons, surely it’s clear sailing for our Prime Minister during his future weeks on the election trail.

Recently, the PM landed in British Columbia and promised parents with kids under 18 that they will be able to split their incomes for tax purposes if he’s re-elected.


“But there’s a catch - the measure won’t take effect until after the country is out of budget deficit, likely in 2015.” (The London Free Press)

2015. That’s if all goes according to the Conservative plan and they can afford it then.

2015. That’s if the real world doesn’t throw any curve balls along the way. Like another recession, financial or economic wrinkle.

That’s if Harper is still leading the Conservatives.

In other words, Harper can afford to give wealthy corporations another tax cut next year but can’t afford to help families the way he would really, really like until 2015 - maybe.

That’s what I call blowing smoke and fire down your pants. The guy’s a whizz bang.


Smoke and fire down your pants PT 3

[Ottawa - Minutes after his government (i.e., the Harper Government) lost a confidence vote and was branded in contempt of Parliament, Prime Minister Stephen Harper came out swinging against the opposition “coalition.” Mar. 26, The London Free Press]

“What coalition?” one might ask.

Good question. Answer: Harper is just blowing smoke and fire down your pants.

Shortly thereafter Harper promised income sharing benefits to families. They can be collected in 2015 - maybe. Just more smoke and fire down your pants.

Though there is a slim chance some Canadians will benefit from Harper’s promise, there is an excellent chance all Canadians will one day suffer the consequences of providing Harper and Harperites (or residents of Harperville) the keys to high political office.

This from a well-respected, local Member of Parliament:

“I have stood and voted for bills I believed vital to the future and health of this country, only to have the success of such votes ignored by the present government. I looked on as the Harper government secretly passed along a 200-page handbook to its members about how to scuttle committees and blunt their usefulness.” The Parallel Parliament

Surely the writer jests. Harper wants to scuttle committees, blunt their usefulness, slow or hinder the democratic process?

Unfortunately, according to a fine book I’m reading, the MPs words are true.

This from Tar Sands Showdown by Tony Clarke:

“Canada’s vulnerability in terms of energy security (e.g., having enough to heat our homes) was underlined by the response University of Alberta professor and president of the Parkland Institute Gordon Laxer received in April 2007 from the National Energy Board (NEB) regarding a series of inquiries he had submitted in preparation for his report Freezing In The Dark: “Unfortunately, the NEB has not undertaken any studies on security of supply.”

Yet, says Laxer, the NEB was established back in 1959 with precisely the mandate of ensuring the long-term security of Canada’s energy supply.

A few weeks later Laxer appeared as a witness before the House of Commons committee on international trade to present the results of his research on energy security issues in Canada. But, almost as soon as he began, his testimony was shut down by the chair of the committee, a member of the Harper government, who promptly adjourned the proceedings.

In short, there are serious grounds for concern about increasing energy insecurity in Canada, particularly in relation to supplies of oil and natural gas.” pg. 206

Harper is in control? Yes.

Harper is doing what is right for Canada? Not a chance.

But... he is the Grand Wizard when it comes to blowing smoke and fire down your pants.

More to follow.


Smoke and fire down your pants: Random thoughts

The following are all original thoughts from inside my little round head:

Mr. Harper will steer the election campaign toward the evil coalition.

Stupid idea.

He will also offer income splitting to some families somewhere in the future.


He continues to hinder the democratic process as he has done in the past, as in the Tar Sands.

He relies on a negative ad campaign to do so.


There. Now I feel better.


Smoke and fire down your pants PT 4

[Ottawa - Harper insisted the economy is his “No. 1 priority,” since the global economy remains “fragile,” hinting he’ll try to steer the election campaign towards the economy. Mar. 26, The London Free Press]

[“Mr. Harper will steer the election campaign toward the evil coalition. Stupid idea. He will also offer income splitting to some families somewhere in the future, maybe. He continues to hinder the democratic process as he has done in the past, as in the Tar Sands. He relies on a negative ad campaign to do so.” Mar. 31, It Strikes Me Funny by G. Harrison]

Talk about smoke and fire down your pants.

Last night I was enjoying a program on TV and, during a break, one of Mr. Harper’s many negative ads appeared on the screen. Large white letters. Mr. Ignatieff linked to a coalition. Very small white letters. The date. 2008.

Old news it was. From an angry, insecure Prime Minister.

The ad helped me recall the time in 2004 when Harper wanted to lead a coalition himself to replace the Liberals. Was it a stupid, evil idea then?

The reason why Harper, Harperites and all residents of Harperville love their blunt and bland negative ads is because Conservative support across Canada comes in at around 37% during elections, the majority of Canadians are completely willing to support someone who is not Stephen Harper, and negative ads encourage people to stay at home on election night.

That’s right, Canada. Harper doesn’t want all people to vote. Talk about a defender of democracy.

He wants Conservatives to vote (They love his ads, by the way. They’ll vote until the cows come home) but he doesn’t want the other 63% (approx.) of Canadians to vote.

He would rather blow smoke and fire down your pants, lead you to believe that there isn’t an MP in the House of Commons you can trust (except his band of merry men) and make you think there’s no good reason to vote.

Harper’s negative ads don’t work on me.

["The Harper shopping cart is empty"]

They remind me of why Harper is the first PM in Canadian and Commonwealth history to be called into contempt.

The Grand Wizard of smoke and fire is such a tiny little fellow when you get to know him.

More to follow.


Smoke and fire down your pants PT 5

[“At no other time in my short and eventful life have I sensed there’s been a greater need for cooperation between Canadian political parties than now.” By Gord Harrison, posted 2 years ago, Cold Lake Sun, Alberta]

["I said it before, I'll say it again": photo by GH]

I said it two years ago (and in The Londoner on Dec. 10, 2008), I’ll say it again. Cooperation between political parties is essential. Challenges facing our country are immense.

But is PM Harper capable of cooperating with other political parties? In a word, no. He doesn’t build bridges. He seems only capable of slinging mud along with bridge-building materials.

This from Doug Finley, Harper’s national campaign director:

“I believe we’re ready for a majority. Certainly the seats are there. Will the tactics change? No, not considerably.” (Feb. 7, 2011, Maclean’s magazine)

In other words, get ready for more smoke and fire down your pants. Prepare for tactics and language that will lead to further divisions within Canada, and not unity.

How could it be any different with an Alberta-style separatist at Canada’s helm?

That said, I now provide a past column to illustrate my point.

Can an Alberta separatist cooperate with the other parties?

At no other time in my short and eventful life have I sensed there’s been a greater need for cooperation between Canadian political parties than now.

I believe that just as one garage cannot manage to put snow tires on all cars in the Deforest City, one school system cannot educate all children or one local church handle the needs of all church-goers, one political party – no matter how many seats it has won – cannot alone solve the many pressing social, environmental and economic problems facing our country.

But is cooperation possible between our federal political parties?

Though recent events in Ottawa suggest otherwise, two things I learned recently make me think, yes.
Gordon McBean, professor of geography and political science at the University of Western Ontario, in last Saturday’s London Free Press said: “Lester Pearson, one of our great prime ministers, gave Canada a legacy of bilingualism, the Canada Pension Plan, universal medicare, a flag and the first U.S. - Canada Autopact, while not having a majority government. He did it by working thoughtfully with the other parties.”

And during a conversation with local federal Liberal MP Glen Pearson two Saturdays ago I was told he is working with Mary Ann Hodge from the Green Party and Steve Holmes of the NDP to develop ideas for environmental projects.

“They were the candidates that squared off against me in the last election,” he said. “But now that it's over, I've asked them to continue working with me to help Londoners come up with clear ideas on the environment. They have graciously accepted and I'm thrilled at the non-partisan attitude that characterizes our meetings. This is the way politics is supposed to work.”

He finished by saying he’s writing a book on non-partisanship at the moment and is convinced the big problems we’re now facing will only find solutions through cooperative management.

Though in the past and present it appears political parties have managed to work together toward important common goals, I have to ask, does Stephen Harper possess an ounce of cooperative spirit in his skill set?

I think I have legitimate concerns after he revealed plans in the House of Commons several eventful days ago to reduce party funding and end the right of women to appeal to the Human Rights Commission when faced with pay equity issues.

He strikes me as a control taker, one who wants all the marbles all the time on his side of the table. Also, the louder he shouted about the coalition’s supposed deal with Quebec separatists the more he made me think he protested too much.

Especially after I discovered he actually supports his own form of separation.

In an online article by Monte Paulsen, investigative editor of The Tyee, entitled Separation, Alberta-style I read that Mr. Harper said the following eight years ago in an article he wrote for the National Post:

“Westerners, but especially Albertans, founded the Reform-Alliance to get ‘in’ to Canada. The rest of the country has responded by telling us in no uncertain terms that we do not share their ‘Canadian values’.
Fine. Let us build a society on Alberta values
(i.e. as the province of Quebec has done to protect their values).”

So, can an un-cooperative and possible Alberta-style separatist change his spots, for Canada’s sake, by the time Parliament returns in late January?

I hope so. I’m holding my breath.

(By GH, posted 2 years ago, Cold Lake Sun, Alberta)

I’ve stopped holding my breath. I’m now preparing for more smoke and fire down my pants.

This concludes another exciting series of some significance. I will now go outside and hammer a political sign on my front lawn. The sign will not be in support of the Harper government.

On May 2nd, please vote for your favourite federal candidate or MP.


Please click here to read more at the Parallel Parliament.

Please click here to read more about PM Harper and Harperville.


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