Sunday, September 20, 2015

Stephen Harper and the Three Words That Could Help Destroy Him

They were only three words in a heated debate, but when Stephen Harper used the words "old stock Canadians" he may have made one of the biggest mistakes of this campaign.

For while many Canadians who were born in this country may have easily shrugged them off, as just another pathetic attempt by Harper to send a dog whistle message to his Con base.

For many of the one in six Canadians who weren't born here, that won't be that easy.

Because for many of them that message sounded a lot like this...

An attempt to draw a line between us and them, or us and the Others. 

Detractors talked about dog whistling. Supporters Googled past occasions when Liberals said the same thing. And people whose forebears didn’t land in Canada until the 20th century just felt awkward or annoyed.

And it shocked and angered many of them.

It certainly reminded some viewers that they were the Other. Their anger was genuine, not a pearl-clutching act. “I couldn’t even sleep last night I was so pissed [off],” one friend, a Canadian of Jamaican origin, said.

I've been seeing that anger all over Toronto, in the streets and on the airwaves, and it's really not surprising.

For while many Canadians who are born here take their relationship with this country for granted, they don't. For them it's something precious, something they value greatly. Anyone who threatens that relationship better watch out.

And that anger may come back to haunt Stephen Harper.

Then there is the other reason, at least I like to think, why Stephen Harper shouldn't have used those words. 

For they might remind Canadians that Harper is an "old stock Canadian" himself.

And of the first Harper to arrive in Canada. Which as some of you might know, is a VERY scary story.

The original Canadian Harper - born in a small village in Yorkshire in 1730 - immigrated to Nova Scotia in 1774 and moved into a house near Fort Cumberland, only to have the home burned to the ground two years later by rebels.

He spent years taking revenge in the courts and slowly rising through the political system. 

He had risen to the post of justice of the peace by the time a judicial inquiry found him guilty of, as one historian put it, "violent and oppressive measures" - vindictive to a point beyond all reason.

And can only remind Canadians that Stephen Harper's deranged vindictiveness didn't come from outer space, it came from Yorkshire.

That madness does run in his family....

And that he may have to be removed from office like Christopher Harper was, if he refuses to surrender to a coalition government...

So we better make sure that him and his Cons are crushed beyond recognition.

But back to those three words, which apart from being wrong because the only really old stock Canadians are the First Nations, mean more to some than they do to others. Or hurt some more than they do others.

You know when I first arrived in Montreal, I immediately came face to face with the so-called two solitudes. And breaking through that barrier was hard enough. 

But since then I have discovered that there are many other solitudes in this big country, and that unless you have lived it, it's hard to understand the immigrant experience. 

And hard to understand why what Stephen Harper said, has made so many feel so threatened and so angry.

But believe me that anger is real, it burns brightly.

And I wouldn't be surprised if it does help destroy him...

Please click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.


  1. That's a great story about Christopher Harper...

    1. hi lagatta....I've always enjoyed it myself, especially the words "vindictive to a point beyond all reason." If that isn't Harper what is? At least Christopher had a reason to be angry, what reason does the pampered Stephen have?

  2. ffibs9:54 AM

    In short, Steve is just a closeted politician who uses stock and trade answers to solve all social and economic problems

    1. hi you know, like yourself, I have spent the last decade writing about Harper and trying to understand what motivates him. I have read every major article and book every written about him. And yet, I still can't say I fully understand him. What I do know is that he is a grubby little bully, and we can't get rid of him soon enough. And the fact that so many people are still prepared to vote for him both shocks and depresses me...

  3. Let us sincerely hope the remark destroys him. I suspect it will reinforce his core a bit but I know I was really shocked for a moment when I heard that phrase and I am, probably, what he'd call "old stock".

    My first impression was that is was a deliberate dog whistle. If not, it is just another indication of his prejudices. But, then we know that Harper does not think that all citizens were not created equal. The change in the Iaw (Immigration or crimminal?) that allows citizens to be deported if they have dual citizenship shows that.

    1. hi jrkrideau....I don't know if it was a slip of the tongue, but I do know it reflects the way he feels. His treatment of our aboriginal people alone makes that only too clear. And as I said in my post, he has hurt many new Canadians. Becoming a Canadian citizen is a big moment in their lives, they want to feel like they belong, and while most of them will probably keep their feelings to themselves, I'm hoping that it will convince many of them that they really are not safe with Harper....

  4. Anonymous10:40 AM

    First its all Canadians against hijab wearing Muslims, eventually its "old stock" against the rest, next it will be fundamentalist "old stock" against the rest. Those following a discriminatory path travel in ever decreasing circles until like the fabled KiKi bird they fly up their own ass.

    1. hi anon....yes I'm afraid you're right. Once you set the birds of bigotry out of their cage they can fly in every direction. And whoever they might be aimed at, they end up hurting us all...

  5. Anonymous11:50 AM

    I would like to say that those 3 words should make him an "Expired Stock Canadian". However, I am not sure. I think it was a dog whistle to people like my Cons voting neighbours not to even think about voting for the other guys, or to stay home. This was the Canadian equivalent of his BFF, Bibi, dog whistling about the Arabs coming out to vote in droves when polls showed that he was about to be thrown out.

    Christopher Harper must have been his great grandfather? Boy, what a family, eh? So Steve is Old Stock Psychopath? Or Old Stock Vindictive Bully? :)

    1. hi anon...he is definitely an Old Stock Vindictive Bully. The irony is that this country was built on compromise, the First Nations helped the first settlers survive our harsh winters, and they in turn helped each other and made us a more tolerant and less violent society than our American neighbours. So Harper doesn't even represent those "old stock" Canadians. May the Polar Bear God of the Great White North deliver us from this nightmare...

  6. Anonymous4:08 PM

    heil harper, and a lot of the commenters/readers of this blog, need to keep something in mind. Whether you hate the "red men" of this continent with all of your heart or not, THEY are the only real Canadians/amerikans on this continent, and, as such, are also the only REAL Old Stock Canadians, although they will be kept away from the polls on October 19 by any/all means necessary (physical violence included) to make sure they can't vote their consciences about what a great deal they got from "us" and how they are continually treated so incredibly well and fairly by the Canadian "government" regardless of whichever lying, thieving bunch of cowardly bastards are running this government.
    I'm gonna have to buy the house next to Thwap just so's I can have somebody else who's not a total fucking moron to talk to!

    1. Anonymous5:34 PM

      They couldn't have been "here" any longer than 12000 years, when the last ice age ended. No legitimacy at all.

      Whereas God created oil in the days of Genesis (4000 BC?) for the harpermen to find it... THAT'S entitlement.

      Go about, reproduce like cockroaches, and subdue the earth, it's all yours!

    2. hi anon 4:08...I quite agree, the First Nations are the real "old stock" Canadians. And nobody who comments on this blog hates them. For I don't hesitate to delete any bigoted comments about them or any other group for that matter. Our First Nations are amazing as far as I'm concerned. I always admired them from the time when I was a young boy, and you're right the way they have been treated by Harper and his Con thugs is absolutely disgraceful. I long for the day when we can repair this country, and embrace our First Nations in the manner they deserve...

  7. hi anon...well if you put it that way...I don't know if 12,000 years is enough. ;) But what I do know is that 10 years of Harper government is more than enough, and definitely more than this country can stand. And I also know if all decent Canadians join forces we can get rid of those cockroaches once and for all...

  8. Anonymous7:16 PM

    Who were those "rebels" who burned Harpo 1st's house?

    US revolutionaries?

    Or could it be some Acadians which a few years earlier had been driven from their fertile farms and put on ships to nowhere. To put it literally: refugees FROM Canada.

    But they were French, and thus probably don't qualify as "stock" in the Steevie's order of things.

    1. hi anon...I don't know, I always assumed it was US revolutionaries, but I suppose it could have been Acadians and members of the Wabanaki Confederacy who waged a guerrilla war before and after the deportations. But thank you for reminding us of the tragic fate of so many Acadians, for they are so often forgotten...

  9. I think Harper's use of "old stock Canadians" was planned. The term in itself is not racist, but it can be used as "code" to his base.


    The game-plan designed by Lynton Crosby for Stephen Harper is exactly that, to turn "Old Stock Canadians" into haters, to instill fear of others different, Mr. Crosby has honed the knife`s edge of the Karl Rove doctrine of smear and fear politics razor sharp, refugees, immigrants and fear are his only issues, you can call Lynton Crosby a specialist....

    Let me be perfectly clear, "Old Stock Canadians" is not a mainstream phrase, with all the preparation and talking points rehearsed pre-debate by all the leaders makes a phrase like that uttered by Prime Minister Harper a deliberate act, with a very specific purpose, and it`s clear what that purpose was...Aimed at seniors and hardcore rednecks, aimed at the racists that live among us and there are many...


    1. hi David...yes I agree, that is the game plan. It is Lynton Crosby's foul work and it couldn't be more shameful...

  10. Harper’s ‘old-stock’ line just another bid to rewrite history
    by Michael Harris