Tag Archives: Stephen Harper

Conservatives Make Strategic Error in Targeting Niqab Instead of Hipsters

The Conservative Party has caused considerable controversy and stirred a lot of debate with their recent attempts to prevent new Canadians from taking their citizenship oath while wearing a Niqab. This is a risky move, as even though it may help solidify one block of their voters, and may help lure some undecideds in Quebec, it also risks alienating some of their Muslim supporters. One of the overlooked strengths of the Conservatives is that they have been quite successful at increasing their support among recent immigrants, including Muslims, who tend to be more socially conservative. It was a major strategic error to alienate a group of voters who would at least consider voting for them, particularly when they could just as easily gone after a group of people who would never vote Conservative; hipsters.

Hipsters never vote Conservative. They used to all vote NDP before everyone started doing it and now they vote for parties you’ve never heard of. Rather than banning the Niqab, Stephen Harper should have banned the wearing of wool hats in the summertime. Rather than arguing with Justin Trudeau over the legalization of marijuana, he could have also deflected to banning hemp necklaces.

For most Canadians, it is hard not to feel bad for a recent immigrant being prevented from wearing something that is part of their culture, even if we don’t necessarily agree with it. We generally like to stick up for the defenseless in this country and that makes us feel like we are sticking it to the defenseless. The only think Canadians dislike more than picking on visible minorities is hipsters.

Stephen Harper could literally send Paul Calandra around to coffee shops around the country with his own camera crew to film him actually yanking the hats off hipsters and you wouldn’t be able to find a voter backlash with a microscope. It is amazing to me that the Conservatives and their high priced imported campaign gurus didn’t see this golden opportunity staring them in the face.

The 2015 General Election Will Be Decided by Game Theory

This is the most bizarre federal election in the history of Canada. Anyone who wants to accuse me of hyperbole should look at the polls showing the NDP leading in the polls first. It isn’t just that the NDP are transforming from their traditional role as perennial third place protest party, it’s that all of the parties seem to have drifted off from their traditional roles.

The NDP, the erstwhile political wing of public sector unions, is promising to balance the budget. The Liberals, who strung together the longest string of balanced budgets in living memory during their most recent stint in power, are now promising to run big deficits and are criticizing the NDP for promising austerity. That’s right, the party that hacked billions out of provincial health and education transfers to balance the budget during a recession is now criticizing the NDP for promoting austerity. Amongst all this, the Liberals put Paul Martin at a podium to tout the Liberals credentials for prudent fiscal management. So what if Justin Trudeau is advocating diametrically opposed fiscal policies than Paul Martin? As for the Conservatives, both other parties have been attacking them for running deficits. The Conservatives have responded by avoiding interviews and promising a tax credit for service club memberships.

I am someone who Conservatives would consider a target voter. I’m married, have two young children, I’ve worked in the private sector my entire life, and I was at one point in my life a member of the federal Progressive Conservative Party and the Conservative Party after that. I voted for Scott Brison in the PC leadership campaign and then voted for Stephen Harper in Conservative election when he ran against Belinda Stronach and Tony Clement. I still think he deserved to win that election, yet I won’t be voting for the Conservatives in the election.

That primary reason why I don’t plan on voting Conservative is that with the latest round of redistricting I am now in the district of Avalon, where the Conservatives are not even bothering to field a candidate after rejecting Ches Crosbie. That’s a pretty good reason not to vote Conservative. But even if there were a Conservative candidate to vote for, I would have a hard time voting for them after running all those deficits, the refusal to answer questions, and all the petty, cynical politics that were blatantly obvious even before the Duffy trial took a magnifying glass to it.

So if, like me, you are right leaning in your economic and fiscal views, what do you do? The Liberals did balance the books the last time they were in power, and Ralph Goodale, who was a key member of the those governments, would almost certainly be the finance minister should the Liberals form government, yet their leader is advocating the least fiscally conservative policies of all the candidates. I am asking myself if he is lying with all the talk of radically increased spending. Strangely, the more confident I am that he is lying, the more likely I will be to vote for him.

For the purposes of full disclosure, I have voted NDP in the past, not in the last election, but the one previous (I was out of the country during the last election and had not cast an advance ballot), but that was more a vote for local candidate, Jack Harris, than for the party. Jack Harris is as solid and centrist a candidate as you will find in the NDP, and at the time I knew there was no risk of my vote actually leading to an NDP government. With the recent redistricting, the NDP candidate is some person I have never heard of, and there is a chance that if I vote for the NDP that my vote could actually result in an NDP government.

Up until now, I would have never have considered voting for the NDP if I thought they could win, but I’ve recently read some stories about how Thomas Mulcair may not be as left wing as everyone thinks. I read one article about how he praised Margaret Thatcher, was in favour of privatization while in the Quebec government, and even that he considered joining the Conservatives before joining the NDP. These stories were all ostensibly critical of Mr. Mulcair, but it actually made me more likely to vote for his party.

I’ve always hated when politicians are blatantly lying to the electorate. It has always made me feel like they are insulting my intelligence. As much as that bothers me, I find myself in the strange position of trying to figure out who is the biggest liar so I can then vote for that person. Luckily I also have an independent candidate in my district, albeit one who was kicked out of his party after allegations of sexual harassment. If I am unable to determine who the least honest candidate is between now and October, I may end up just voting independent. I actually think we need more independent candidates, so even though the independent candidate has virtually no chance of winning, a stronger than expected showing may encourage independent candidates to run in the future. My head hurts just thinking about this election and there is still almost two months to go.

Federal Conservatives Blatantly Trolling NL Voters

Ches Crosbie, prominent lawyer and son of the most famous federal conservative politician this province has ever produced, appeared to have just recently been acclaimed as the Conservative candidate from the riding of Avalon. All that remained was for his candidacy was the formality of having his candidacy ratified by the party. Then yesterday, on Canada Day, news broke that Mr. Crosbie had been rejected as a candidate.

The Conservatives have not exactly been known for having the most rigorous vetting process for candidates. After all, various Senate appointees have found themselves facing criminal charges and the Party failed to pick up on the fact that a candidate who recently won a nomination in Quebec was only running as part of his art project. Yet here we have the bizarre situation of the party brass rejecting the highest profile Conservative candidate they could hope to attract in Newfoundland and Labrador, a province they have been shut out of for the past several elections. If the Conservatives have any hope regaining an N.L. seat this election, it will be in the riding of Avalon, where the Liberals are still recovering from a sexual harassment scandal that saw the sitting MP thrown out of the Liberal caucus.

If you are not from this province it is difficult to grasp just how bizarre a story this is. The Crosbie name is as recognizable as any in this province, with people from multiple generations having a prominent role in law, business, and politics over the course of the past century. Ches Crosbie, was not some spoiled rich kid; he is a successful and prominent lawyer in his own right. To think that someone of his pedigree and stature would be casually rejected without a word of explanation from the Party is downright insulting and demeaning to Mr. Crosbie, his family, and indirectly, the entire province. Imagine if Paul Martin had a son who had been a prominent lawyer for 30 years and ran unopposed for the nomination in a Quebec riding only to see his candidacy blocked.

This move simply has to be motivated by something other than a desire to win seats in this province. It truly does seem like an insult, as if the Conservative party brass has long since given up on winning a seat here while Stephen Harper is still Prime Minister, and they would just as soon extend their middle finger to the province than be perceived as trying and failing to win back a seat, particularly if that seat is won by a wealthy and unpredictable candidate who would be unlikely to tow the party line. By blocking Mr. Crosbie’s candidacy, the federal Conservatives seem to be more interested in trolling NL voters than they are in winning their votes.

Stephen Harper to Rename Controversial Victims of Communism Memorial to Victims of Liberalism

After months of intense pressure from critics on the government’s plan to build a memorial to victims of communism in Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has decided to scrap his original plan. Critics of the planned museum are unlikely to happy with the news however, as the Prime Minister, in a rather bold, if not shocking, move has decided to create a museum to the victims of Liberalism in its place.

According to some well-placed sources, the museum replace the exhibits focused on the horrors inflicted by Mao and Stalin, with those focused on Liberal atrocities here in Canada. The museum will focus primarily on the federal Liberal regimes, but will also have a large exhibit dedicated to the Bob Rae premiership in Ontario. The Chretien/Martin years will receive particular attention, with focus given to all the displaced workers as part of their brutal cost cutting measures in the mid-nineties, though there will also be smaller exhibits that deal with all of the pepper spraying by police during the APEC conference as well as all of the civilians that Jean Chretien choked with his own hands. Also, in a move that critics say is designed to damage Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, the wing that was originally set aside to document Stalin’s brutal confiscation of land from the Kulaks will now be dedicated to Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Policy.

Sources close to the PMO say this change in direction was driven by a desire by the Prime Minister to extend his middle finger to both his political rivals and the mainstream media. There are rumours that Mr. Harper wanted to announce another 500 job cuts at the CBC at the same time, just for the hell of it, but was apparently persuaded otherwise by some senior advisors.

When asked if the Prime Minister was worried about being perceived as arrogant or outright trolling of his political enemies, sources said that after almost a decade in power, Mr. Harper no longer gives a damn what people think. The way he sees it, if people cared about having an arrogant prime minister he wouldn’t be in a position to win his fourth term. In any case, he is comforted in the fact that the rise of Thomas Mulcair and return of Gilles Duceppe should produce enough splitting of the anti-Harper vote to return him to power.  The fact is that the Conservatives could well win a majority government with around 35% of the popular vote. Even if they find themselves in a minority government, there is no chance of a coalition if the Liberals end up with fewer seats than the NDP, as the Liberals would rather be the third party in opposition than play second fiddle to the New Democrats.

*Editors Note: None of the above is actually true. 

What Was Stephen Harper Thinking Meeting with Bono?

Aging rock star Bono visited Ottawa today and all three leaders of the major parties were falling all over themselves to be seen with him. I was particularly disappointed that Prime Minister Harper met with him. I am not a huge fan of Stephen Harper, but one of the things I admired about him is that he seemed like the type of guy who would never bother to meet with Bono. It seems I have misjudged the Prime Minister yet again.

I wasn’t the least bit surprised that either Thomas Mulcair or Justin Trudeau met with him. Mr. Trudeau no doubt views himself as a rock star as well, and so it made perfect sense that he would want to spend some quality time with one of his brethren. I suspect that the most modern artist in Thomas Mulcair’s music collection is Stravinsky, but his base adores self-important celebrities who lecture governments about aid, so he had no choice but to meet with a person that, to him, was just some stranger with funny sunglasses and an Irish accent. But for Stephen Harper to even acknowledge Bono’s presence is strangely out of character.

I understand that the Prime Minister is an avid musician in his spare time, and he may well be a fan of U2, but I have to believe that he looks at Bono as just another vapid celebrity hypocrite who pontificates on social issues while exploiting Dutch tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of tax on music royalties. Stephen Harper has always been someone who, in a manner not entirely unlike Stephen Colbert, has steadfastly remained in character as the stereotypical, middle aged, grumpy, old fashioned conservative. Though that has kept him from being broadly popular, it has helped him maintain a solid base of conservative voters and a handful of independents who at least felt they knew what they were getting when voting for him. As an independent voter myself, watching the Prime Minister take time out of his schedule to meet with the nauseatingly self-righteous Bono, I feel like I no longer recognize the man.

What exactly does all this mean? Could it be the Mr. Harper has become unnerved by the NDP’s recent spike in popularity? Or is it that in addition to being a rock star who wrote great songs several decades ago, Bono has some sort of magical, Jedi-like ability to control the minds of all politicians? In any case, someone should probably remind the Prime Minister that it is a little late in the game to be breaking character.