Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Stephen Harper and the Real Horror of the Senate Scandal

Well as you can probably guess, I'm really enjoying Stephen Harper's Halloween Horror show eh?

It's not often that you get to see somebody scaring the shit straw out of Great Ugly Leader, rather than the other way around.

But beyond what Mike Duffy had to say yesterday, beyond the cheques and the payola, what really horrifies me, and always has, is how casually and how blatantly Stephen Harper lies. 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, clearly concerned over the damage to the Conservative party’s reputation for fiscal responsibility, now says he fired his former chief of staff Nigel Wright.

It is a marked change from Harper’s public statement May 19 that he accepted Wright’s resignation with “great regret.” At that time, the government was trying to tough out the unfolding expenses scandal.

Because that's what really shocks me. I just can't figure out how he ever thought he could get away with such a whopper. After all he's said before.

After all the times he's used the word RESIGNATION...

It's absolutely outrageous, madness really.

And all I can conclude is that that either he can't help himself. It's compulsive, something that erupts like lava, or vomit, from the depth of his inner darkness.

Or he thinks that Canadians are so stupid and docile, he can fool them into believing ANYTHING.

Or brainwash them, as he does all the time, into thinking that the truth is what he says it is...

For no leader in Canadian history has assaulted the truth, or muzzled it, or tried to bury it as much as he has.

And that's the real horror of the Senate scandal, and the main reason he must be removed from office as soon as is humanly possible.

For who can trust a leader who lies so often and so blatantly, and whose very approach to governing is a mortal threat to our democracy? 

A crass brutish demagogue who depends on the ignorance or the indifference of Canadians to cling to power.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has leaped upon this gaping hole in the public’s grasp of their governmental institutions like a cat on a mouse. Since taking office, he has strode like a bull in a china shop through our enfeebled parliament and confused electorate, overturning virtually every precedent and standard of parliamentary democracy.

One who seek to save himself by abusing due process.

Peter Russell is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Toronto. He believes Harper’s determination to force out Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau (to whom the PM may have offered a lifeline) “is an abuse of power…it conforms with (Harper’s) authoritarian style of government and his lack of respect for institutions.”

“I have never seen a prime minister as bad, no, he is the extreme one. I don’t think anyone comes close to him… “He is not a parliamentarian,” Russell continues. “Not really. He’s a throwback to an absolute monarch. He’s at the extreme limit.”

And appealing to the lower instincts of Canadians.

Nearly three-quarters of Canadians say the three senators at the centre of an ongoing expenses scandal should be suspended “without pay,” which is what the federal government is attempting to do this week.

Or the howl of the rabble.

And one who if he is not checked, forced to resign, or eventually defeated could lead us to a very dark place...

“There’s a whole literature on it, leaders who are clever enough to appeal to the anti-intellectual element in society. A lot of people are ripe to be appealed to by an authoritarian leader who knows how to push the right buttons…

“I am really afraid Canadian democracy is threatened. A majority of Canadians don’t like what they see in this authoritarian style and if they get it none the less, then we’ve got an undemocratic government despite the will of the people.”

Yup. Enjoy Stephen Harper's Halloween Horror show everybody.

But remember the real horror, and the real question.

Will it be darkness?

Or will it be Canada?

Click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.


  1. And yet, I hear nothing from the chattering classes, so to speak..no one I know thinks that this is nothing but a bunch of entitled whiners, whining..Harper is right about one thing, the economics of the Senate scandal only confuse or bore, the 'base' and right now it's hard to tell if the basest instincts of self-preservation are even alive and well in the citizenry..
    Personally speaking, its's nothing much in terms of a serious issue, which makes it convenient for the ConJobs to writhe out of it like a snake down a deep hole..but th principle of the thing is what seems to escape voters..
    Remember the absolute assault on the Libs, not that long ago, for the kickback scandal..?
    The public was screaming for blood, and almost decimated the Party federally...now? Not much, a bunch of Cons conning each other, and have to say, no one cares much except the media, who seem to be desperately trying to engage the public in the manufactured horror of it all..
    I'm alot more concerned about what is about to happen..the EU-Canda not so free trade agreement we are only just hearing about now, the continuing real horror of the two or three effort s to pave the country, East and West, with the offal of dirty bitumen..these are real issues, not manufactured distractions from the anals of the Con mind...misspelling on purpose..
    It's not that I don't agree that this 'scandal' shows Harper, once again, for the tyrannical, conniving bully that he so obviously is...it's just that I don't, no, can't care, about a few Cons who got caught up in his machinations..they should have known better, and the Stinky Three get no sympathy from me, you know, lie down with dogs.....

    1. look how easy they skated away from Robo Calls, do not underestimate this group

    2. hi lefty...You're right that there are many pressing issues that are in relative terms bigger than the Senate Scandal. But don't underestimate the impact it is having on the Con regime. On Power and Politics the other day a pollster said the story had enormous so-called traction, not just inside the ottawa bubble, but all over the country. And it's really damaging the Con brand. I hate to admit it, it's not something I'm proud of, but once I was a fighter. And I know that first you have to exhaust and degrade your opponent, and take away his legs and his power, before you finish him off. And it's the same thing here. Besides I see the Senate story is giving Mulcair a big boost. So you should be pleased about that. The universe is unfolding as it should, and it's all good...

    3. hi Steve...yes it's true the robocall scandal hasn't gone anywhere yet. But I see Michael Sona has agree to make public the Elections Canada interviews with Con staffers. So that should bring the case back into the light again, and it remains a ticking time bomb. I also think the MSM has evolved a bit over the last two years. They're still too quick to declare the glass half full, but I think that even they now realize that the Cons have gone too far...

  2. THIS is your horror Simon? Here's mine:

    8 and a half years ago there was this scandal loudly proclaimed by the then Leader of the Official Opposition. He had recorded proof, yes proof, that two sitting Ministers acting on the instructions of the then Prime Minister Paul Martin had tried to buy off one of his MPs vote with a Senate position, a man named Gurmant Grewal. That his MP has the foresight to secretly record these nefarious scoundrels undermining our Canadian democracy with their criminal act of bribery, and that from the moment they were recorded these recordings were brought to LOO Harper where he and his Office spent three weeks authenticating these tapes as complete, unedited, authentic, and totally above board, all the while in the House alleging criminal conduct from Martin's government without anything other than their word at that point.

    Yet the day the recordings that Harper swore publicly were complete and trustworthy were released it was obvious to the naked ear that there had been some editing, over the next few weeks this was proven beyond all doubt and silently in the night Harper's LOO released the edited material which turned out to be nearly 20 minutes of content, which when put back into place made clear it was his MP trying to get a Senate bribe for his vote and the Lib Ministers flatly rejecting the idea every which way they could despite Grewal's persistence. Once this came out Harper claimed it was all a Liberal war room/liberal media conspiracy against him, this despite the chain of custody proving whoever did the edits had to be CPC linked, and since it was so obvious it seems hard to believe the LOO missed those signs when they examined it which strongly implied either the LOO made the edits or clearly ignored them because they would undermine, nay discredit completely their attack. I made a big stink for years afterwards about it because of what kind of dishonesty it showed Harper would use in his pursuit of power, and that if he would go so far into what is by any reasonable person's view criminal behaviour while in Opposition as PM with all the tools there, especially as a majority PM it would be oh so much worse.

    Now we are here with Harper and the Senate abuse scandal within his Office with the Wright payoff to a sitting Senator named Duffy whom Harper appointed in the first place. This was exactly the sort of thing I was warning about, and why I maintained back in 2005 that it was better to leave Martin in place than it was to bring him down, because it was also clear that Harper's position in his party was precarious, and if he lost to Martin once more he and his would lose their hold on the CPC. One has to wonder how much better this nation would have been if that route had been taken instead of the one chosen by the then leaders of the Opposition. I make this point because Grewal proved exactly what Harper was then for all to see, and I cannot accept that the other political leaders and senior party members of the Opposition could not see that at the time.

    To be concluded...

  3. Conclusion:

    If I could down here in Halifax with nothing but my TV and internet access I am to believe that people's whose profession it was missed it? Don't think so. I've always maintained that the other parties felt it was worth the pain of Harper gaining government if it allowed them to reposition to replace the Libs, aka expediency driven politics, not principled driven politics. Well I wonder how well that strategy appears to be working out for them now? While I blame the Libs for their scandals and their role in their defeat, I also blame the the Opposition parties for their roles as well, especially when it was proven that Harper would fabricate criminal allegations and the evidence that supposedly proved them (as opposed to created them as it turned out) then ran away from them when exposed, something I have never seen from any other party leader anywhere in our system.

    The real horror for me is how certain leaders were willing to place their aspirations ahead of the national good when they had the needed information then to see how Harper could not be allowed to hold the powers of a PM. Grewal proved then that Harper is something fundamentally different than any other prior party leader, yet it was not enough back then to give enough pause to those more concerned with their own lust for power (whatever their reasons for it, one can have noble ends in mind and still be driven by power lust, which is how I've always seen Layton) than they were for their so called principles. Any really principled progressive leader would have seen Harper as an "at all costs" opponent to be blocked from the PMO.

    The real irony is I truly believe that if Layton had gone that route, allowed Martin one more time as PM which in turn would have driven Harper from leadership and further weakened the CPC he and the NDP would have shown itself to be mature enough and trustworthy enough to be the governing alternative and possibly already be the government by now, since the Libs were clearly running on empty by that point, and with Harper's fall the CPC would have been a much weakened party without much of an alternative since MacKay at that time was thee strongest member of the old PC movement left, and his actions as the last PCPC leader uncut his chances for leadership viability big time. I would add this is not after the fact thinking, I was making these points back in 2005 to much derision from all sides, but I really think this would likely have happened if Layton hadn't got impatient and greedy and let Harper play him to allow for Harper's rise to Government. Of course we'll never know for sure now, the damage has been done, but wouldn't that have been a far better outcome for everyone (aside from the diehard Cons that make up maybe a quarter of the population as opposed to the rest of us centrists to progressives) AND for the institutional health of this nation? THAT is MY HORROR story about what we have today, and why I took a couple of years off after the majority CPC government came, one can only play Cassandra for so long before it takes it toll from the horror being that person causes.

    1. hi Scotian...that is indeed a horror story, and how different Canada would be now if that disaster had been averted. And like you I realized way back that Harper was a politician like we had never seen before. I also would not be one to put my party before the interests of my country. Not back then, and definitely not now. And if one progressive party should win a minority government, I would expect the other to keep them in power, until the destruction of the Cons is assured. Because I'm pretty sure that if they are defeated, the same will happen to them as might have happened back in 2005. They'll split into their component parts again, and we won't have to worry about them for a while. I know, I know, sometimes I'm so optimistic I feel like slapping myself... ;)

  4. Weep Mr Harper Weep because I doubt you will read it.

    1. hi Steve...I think you're wrong. I bet little Ray Novac couldn't wait to tell Harper about that one. So they could take out the Enemy List and make a notation in his file. A reminder to Revenue Canada to audit his tax returns. I don't think I could ever feel too warm about Brent, after all he did try to gut the CBC.
      But you know what they say. In times like these the enemy of my enemy is almost my boyfriend... ;)

  5. e.a.f.10:38 PM

    Layton isn't to blame for the defeat of Martin and the libs, the voters were. Do not expect one political party to role over for anther. It is not how the world works. Once the Liberals were defeated they forgot how to fight. As a result they permitted harper and his cons to slice and dice two of their leaders. They didn't get their story out, they didn't go on the offense. True, we hadn't seen this type of politics before in Canada, but after it happened once, the Liberals ought to have been smart enough to do a number on the cons and Harper. They didn't. The only one who was getting ahead was Layton. He knew how to do it. It could be said the Liberals could have supported the NDP and made a government, but then for many it is better to have a crooked con than an honest ndper. Now we can all deal with it.

    We saw shades of Harper's personality all along. Anyone who reviewed his positions while in charge of the right wing think tank knew what he would be up to. Nobody got with the agenda and started attack ads against haprer. As a consequence, the voters of Canada, thought he was a great guy and have voted him into office 3 times.

  6. *SIGH*

    There are none so blind as those that refuse to see.

    I've made this argument time and again, and time and again it gets missed by those that want to let Layton and the NDP slide for their role in Harper's rise to the PMO. I just spent the past hour writing yet again a lengthy multiple comment showing why this is the case as I have many times before, but I've decided not to bother and instead am writing this reply. I've never pretended the Libs didn't have their own issues and contribute as well, but it was Layton and the NDP that were in the lynchpin/pivotal position to allow or block Harper's rise, as I had described yet again in my prior post, as well as many times before. That was the reality of the time, and Layton had two ways to go, he could either take the slightly longer route to government in the manner I described above (and this was clearly an obvious potential back then, as I said I was making this argument then and I don't think I am a smarter or more perceptive political strategist/observer than those being paid in leadership level roles at the top of national parties including the NDP) that would still leave his electoral rivals as opponents to compete against once they had their time out for their corruption scandals, or he could take what appeared to be the easier and quicker way of aligning with Harper to completely destroy the Libs and replace them while allowing Harper to gain power and then replace him once the electorate got tired of him. Although that presumed that the Libs would be so destroyed as to not be a credible choice again for years/decades if ever, which given their history was not a given/gimme despite the current scandals they had on their plate.

    This *WAS* the choice facing Layton and the NDP, to support a tired corrupt minority Lib government that they had some influence over and which for all its faults was clearly nowhere near as dangerous to NDP core values and principles as a Harper government could be and maybe see one more Lib government before they completely collapsed while along the way causing Harper to fall from power along with the credibility of his approach to politics (which I might add have been extremely damaging since then, a self evident fact) and positioning the NDP as the only viable choice for government, or to align with Harper, take the damages Harper would do in the hopes combined they could kill the Libs as a viable party choice (not exactly the most democracy friendly decision either I might point out, it is one thing to work to defeat a party, it is quite another to try to destroy it altogether) and be the only possible replacement for Harper afterwards,

    Each path had its risks and rewards, and Layton went with the much higher risk one thinking it was a gimme with his powerful personalty and charisma, that between them he and Harper could destroy the Libs forever, and that was worth risking all the damage Harper could AND WOULD do to Canada, especially if he ever got a majority government. Layton gambled with the honour and future of Canada for the sake of expediency and Canada was the biggest loser to date, although if the next election goes the way things have trended we may see a resurgent Lib majority government with the NDP related to opposition status or even third party status (which given the diehard core voting base of the CPC is not as farfetched as one might think) may make them a close second in loserville. Which in the end would show that Layton and the senior NDP leadership threw away decades of hard fought for credibility as a party of principles first just when it could have really paid off and made the worst choice for his party and the nation, which would only confirm that he was also unfit for the office of PM and the NDP of governing party. A black irony indeed.

    To be concluded...

  7. Conclusion:

    Defend Layton and the NDP in Harper's rise to PM all you want, I know my arguments fall on deaf ears/eyes here, but at least it can't be said you weren't exposed to reality. Layton's political epitaph I said election night was that he won the battle to lose the war, two and a half years later that only looks more and more true given how poorly the NDP and Mulcair have been doing against the third party Libs and Trudeau, even when Harper and his government are under serious attack and taking real and deep damage. Layton sold ALL of us out in his lust for power, and in the end I believe that will be his place in the history books, as the great enabler of the Harper government (and how that government is going to be seen by history I don't believe is not going to be positive, the only question in my mind is by how negative it turns out to be) and the leader of the NDP that sold out its history in a gamble for power and lost in the end.

    Please remember, the largest voting block in Canadian federal elections is the unaligned, it swings around the centre where it thinks it can find the best stable good government choice in each election (this is not news, it has been this way for a long time now, the demographics of this have been shown time and again). The problem the NDP have had is that they appeared too ideological, even if the ideology is a good/favourable one it has the inherent limitations of an rigid mindset, all ideologies do, and that is why Canadians and those swing voters have not wanted to have ideological government. Harper got in because his ideological past was buried and the only people really shrieking about it were the discredited Libs, and the idea that the Canadian electorate which will be getting rid of one ideologically driven untested party of the right is going to want to replace it with one ideologically driven untested party from the left does not square with all that is known about the Canadian voting public and their voting preferences. That is after all why the Libs have been so successful electorally speaking, even though it also makes them look at times as if they don't really stand for anything. However, the Trudeau effect is looking to be really offsetting that, it is ironic that it was a cult of personality that brought the NDP to Official Opposition status, and from there their defeat may well come about because of a similar cult of personality forming around the new Lib leader.

    Montreal Simon:

    Sorry, I know I am running a bit over and off topic here, and this is as far as I will take this thread, thanks for having the decency to allow me the ability to occasionally make this argument despite it not being what you or most of your readers agree with, it is appreciated and in my view to your credit as well.