The collected thoughts and actions of J. Harvey Fink...
On this page we plan to post the occasional writings of the leader of the Undecided Party of Canada. Rather than the larger issues and policies of the party itself, this space will record J. Harvey's personal reactions and considered opinions as national political events unfold.
Stay tuned for continuing developments.
The following was to be the script of a nationally broadcast radio commentary to introduce the UDP to Canadian voters in the Fall of 2003. For what some might think suspicious reasons (that we can't really get into here), the piece never made it to air.
Here is J. Harvey's script in its entirety.
Soon, perhaps as early as next spring, we will find ourselves staring down the barrel of another federal election. And, as pre-election polls sample record numbers of undecided voters, and pundits recall low voter turnout in the past and predict worse for the future, much will be made of the apathy of the modern electorate and its threat to democracy.
Why does voter turnout keep dropping? How has the electorate grown to be so cynical? Why are so many Canadians unwlling to vote for ANY of the candidates they're being offered? Read on, and we may begin to understand...
Sure it may not sound quite as dramatic as "We Are The 99%," but the simple fact is that if we in the lower 98 want anything to change, it has to be done by the politicians - and with a STARTING salary of $157,731, Ottawa MPs are firmly amongst the top 2% when it comes to the annual paycheque.
So, seriously, do you REALLY believe Lisa Raitt ($157,731 + $75,516.00 (Cabinet Minister's bonus) + car allowances, travel expenses and a pension plan so generous that it would be illegal anywhere outside Parliament Hill), Harper ($157,731 + $157,731 (PM's bonus) etc.), et. al. really going to give a damn or have any conception about the struggles of a Flight Attendant starting at $18,000 per year? These are the people who imposed a settlement on locked-out postal workers that was lower than the employer's own offer, in a move that can only be interpreted as punishment for the audacity of asking for more money in the first place. Apart from needing their votes every few years, the only worry these people have about the lower 98 is the fear that any measures that might help pull the 98 up risk pulling the 2 down so that they might only occupy the top 3, 4, or God forbid, 5%.
And the 2 are their friends and family.
We here at the Undecided party have addressed the MP's disconnect from the people they claim to represent since our founding - and just since it's an especially hot topic at the moment, we're reprinting below a pair of our official responses from out Issues page. As stated in the second response, we know theses things will never happen, but wouldn't it be nice if they could...
Here at the UDP, we have another idea that would, we're certain, create an explosion in voter turnout. Rather than proportional representation, or the current first past the post formula based on geographic ridings, we suggest a system of Representation By Income.
Instead of running for the population of a certain locale (after all, physical geography means less and less in these changing times), MP hopefuls would campaign for the right to represent various income brackets. (Some for those below poverty level, some for the 40-50 thousand per year bracket, some for the millionaire's club.) Naturally, since there are many more Canadians at the lower end of such a scale, they would elect more MPs and receive more representation in Ottawa - which is, of course, a 180-degree reversal of the current situation.
Ideally, candidates would come from the income strata they hope to represent - since, who would better understand the concerns of their constituents (and what would be more likely to convince voters that their MPs actually have a degree of empathy with their struggles).
Introduce the concept with your local candidates when they come calling. It will be interesting to see if you can get any response more informative than an uncomfortable laugh and a, "No, but seriously."
"What will the Undecided Party do to reduce poverty across the counrty?"
Having spent much of our own lives below the poverty level, we at the Undecided Party feel that the reason for the lack of any genuine sympathy on the part of most elected members is the simple fact that they don't know what they're missing - things like food, clothes, and heat in the winter.
Clearly, Members of Parliament (with a base salary in 2011 of $157,731, and among the top 2% of Canadian income earners) have no idea what it's like to try to make ends meet when your fondest wish is to be able to claw your way all the way up to the poverty level, and perhaps they simply don't realize that taking money away from things like equalization and unemployment, doesn't actually help the poor - even if they keep tax havens open in the Caribbean. So, giving Members the benefit of the doubt, and making allowances for their endearingly simplistic view of the world, we at the Undecided Party suggest "participatory education."
We propose that for one month of every year, each serving MP will be required to eat the diet of a minimum wage earner (Kraft Dinner), live in the accommodations of a minimum wage earner (one-room bedsit), use the transportation of a minimum wage earner (walk), and, to be fair, even experience the occasional luxuries in the leisure time life of a minimum wage earner (Big Mac by candle light - in order to save on the light bill).
We feel that some enforced empathy would go a long way toward a serious reconsideration of Ottawa's attitudes towards the unemployed and working poor - if only to make the MP's one-month ordeal a little easier for the next year.
Of course, we fully realize that there is no chance that any mainstream party or its members would ever agree to lower themselves to the level of so many of their constituents.
...but wouldn't it be nice if we could make 'em?
Apr 15 '11
Guergis: Then and Now
Then: While opposition parties are clamouring for her removal after an airport tantrum and fraudulent 'letters to the editor' written by her staff, and the Harper government is dismissing the calls, with John Baird urging the opposition to move on to 'more important matters.'
Stephen Harper: "Last night my office became aware of serious allegations regarding the conduct of the Honourable Helena Guergis…I have referred the allegations to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and to the RCMP."
"Pending a resolution, she will sit outside of the Conservative Party Caucus."
Stephen Harper: "There were, as you know well, a range of political problems around this individual. They have been discussed by members of caucus. There is simply no desire to see the return of this individual to caucus..."
Translation: "We just don't like her. If we could have pretended to get rid of her for criminal reasons, we would have, but now we'll just have to pretend that we agreed with the opposition all along."
Mar 31 '11
The Cowardly Lion Strikes Again
Debates debate usurped by Questions question
It seems that we may never run out of opportunities to use the image above. The latest connection is the fearless leader's decision that an election campaign is no time to go around answering a bunch of irksome questions from those annoying press people. (We all remember fellow Conservative Kim Cambell's opinion on that subject.)
During a campaign stop in Halifax, and with the press safely behind a barrier thirty feet away (presumably under the theory that the pen is not only mightier than the sword, but also has a longer reach), the jurnophobic Harper was asked why reporters were being limited to five questions (two english, two french, and one local) PER DAY in the middle of an election, while the other party leaders were pointedly not putting limits on their own media teams' curiosity.
He didn't answer the question.
He didn't have to.
Given that previous days have brought queries about Harper's earlier support of the concept of evil coalitions, and campaign workers surrounded by scandal, and given that the future holds the prospect of subjects like Bev Oda, Jason Kenney, and worst of all, his record, it's not surprising that the control-obsessed big cheese would rather avoid the possibility of questions on any subjects more uncomfortable than the NHL.
But that's a prospect all the leaders face when they open themselves to questions - and one of the prices of being a leader is taking the risk of unexpected or uncomfortable questions because if you want to run a country, that country has a right to know all it can about you before it decides whether or not to hire you.
You're supposed to be a leader, Steve.
Suck it up.
Act like one.
PS: Oh, and Steve, don't use lame excuses to run away from the one-on-one debate concept, when you brought it up and your opponent is still willing. It makes you look like ... well ...
Mar 27 '11
Mar 26 '11
Annnnd They're Off!!!
And who can blame Steve for being angry that "...Mr. Ignatieff and his coalition partners in the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois made abundantly clear that they had already decided that they wanted to force an election..." the fourth in seven years on the poor citizens of Canada, with their evil vote of non-confidence.
The Next 'Logical' Step For
So, wha'dya think, Canada? The Maple Leaf is still sort of in there...
...Bev Oda is being accused of lying, fraud, misrepresentation, and more (not to mention hiding from the cameras behind Rona Ambrose and from the questions behind John Baird).
So Harper and Baird are accused of ignoring the oppositions' questions and regurgitating undisputed irrelevancies instead, demonstrating that the Conservatives' promises of transparency and accountability were lies, frauds and misrepresentations.
What about this affair is surprising?! What constitutes a genuinely unexpected revelation about our highest ranking civil servants. Well, as the document below demonstrates, none of them appear to understand the basic and explicit YYYY-MM-DD requirement as a format for recording the date.
If they can ignore such fundamental directives, who can tell what other rules are being ignored. And if they don't understand the instructions, one can only imaging the shape the budget is really in.
Perhaps it's best not to know.
Would you like to find a way to finally get the Parliament to work together? Perhaps even see absolute unanimity across party lines in both the House of Commons and the Senate and watch as former adversaries link arms and march together singing solidarity forever?
Simple. Present them with a threat to their own asses.
The Conservatives, elected on a promise of transparency and accountability (stop laughing), and the opposition parties, who remind Harper of his unwillingness to keep those promises on a daily basis, and who themselves have just engineered a deal to see the Afghan Detainee documents on the basis of the Canadian people's 'right to know,' have decided together that all those high ideals apply to everybody but themselves - and told Auditor General Sheila Fraser to go pound sand.
Fraser's plan? To conduct a performance audit (to see if money spent was well spent) on the 533 million dollars doled out annually by the Commons and Senate. Considering the the money involved, and spending irregularities recently uncovered in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, one would think that's probably a good idea.
Unless, apparently, one is one of the ones spending the money.
According to the Board of Internal Economy (which deliberates in secret), the "control mechanisms" currently in place, such as a KPMG financial audit (also kept secret) ensure that everything's on the up and up.
Which then raises the question that, if they're sure everything's fine, why are they afraid of Fraser's audit? NDP member Joe Comartin of the NDP declared it should be, "...the electorate who makes those decisions as to whether we spend our money properly." Of course, to make those decisions, the electorate would have to know how the money was actually being spent ... say, with a performance audit.
But the Honourable Members won't allow that, and any Canadian who wants to know more about how their own money is being spent can join Sheila in her sand pounding.
"Trust us." say the politicians.
No. Seriously. That's their position.
And why wouldn't we trust them. They're Honourable Members, right?
So why does Harper really want a break until after the Olympics...
So he has time to practice of course - and the best of luck to him. But then the unavoidable question becomes, will he ask the Govenor General to suspend the Games if he feels he's not doing well?
Remember when Stephen Harper rode to victory over the
Too bad he doesn't.
Following hard on the conversion of a Government of Canada website into a Stephen Harper photo album, and taking the latest veil off the grotesque but all-too-familiar face of pork barrel politics, we can now see more than 200 examples (http://www.flickr.com/photos/conservativecheques) of Conservative MPs posing behind taxpayer-funded, Government of Canada cheques which are deceptively emblazoned with the Conservative Party logos, and/or Conservative Party MPs' names (including Stevie's own name in some cases). Of course, Gerald, "I'd absolutely do it again" Keddy was just an isolated aberration ... until the Liberals did some poking around the Web and found about 50 other MPs doing the same.
Ya gotta love the Web.
Ya gotta know there's been some serious website scrubbing in the last few days.
Now this wouldn't be a problem if the money was actually coming out of the Conservative Party bank accounts or the MP's pockets (and there would be no end of entertainment value in the Government agencies passing the bills on to the names on the cheques - perhaps using
So shouldn't taking credit for someone else's contribution in order for significant personal gain (in this case, buying votes for re-election) be considered fraud, even criminal fraud?
Of course not! It's POLITICS!
(Well, alright, "fraud" and "politics" are pretty much synonymous, and a private citizen may well be investigated for fraud if they did the same thing in the private sector ... but come on, people, look at the people in question here, did you really expect any better?)
But in the spirit of the Harper Conservatives, who clearly believe that you don't have to have any direct connection to a pay-out in order to take credit for it, the Undecided Party of Canada would like to make the following statement.
You know all those Income Tax Refunds and GST Rebate cheques you've been getting over the years?
That was us.
Welcome to Politics, folks...
As September and a new session of Parliament begins we have;
-The party that has refused years of opportunities to bring down the Conservative government suddenly deciding that the same Conservative government with the same policies and same plans must be brought down.
-The party that has boasted of its record in voting against the Conservatives in matters of confidence and mocked the Liberals as cowards for not joining them now stating its, "strong preference to make minority Parliament work."
-The party that, almost exactly a year ago, turned its back on its own fixed election date law to call a selfishly opportunistic election at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars during a national financial crisis, accusing the Liberals of planning to call a selfishly opportunistic election at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars during a national financial crisis.
And the only thing that remains constant is the certainty none of the leaders' decisions are motivated by what is best for Canada.
-The Conservatives survive a parliamentary confidence vote, thanks to the 79-consecutive-votes-against-the-government socialists and the plotting-to-destroy-Canada separatists. And the unholy coalition that would have ruined the country if it had put a Liberal in the P.M.'s chair is, well, okay, as long as it lets Harper keep his job.
-A celebration is held to mark the 25th anniversary of a landslide victory by a political party that ... uhmm, no longer exists, attended by members of the party that owes its very existence to the guest of honour's taking that landslide victory and running the nation's oldest political party into the ground - resulting in a two seat embarassment which was later absorbed into Reform's ambitons and Ottawa's memory.
-Meanwhile, Elizabeth "We will be staying in force in Central Nova because I'm not going anywhere" May is going, not just anywhere, but to the other end of the country in an attempt to get herself elected. Good thing the Greens are sticking to their principles and not acting exactly like all the other parties, taking the chance to run for office from people who have actually lived in the riding in order to parachute in a 'star candidate' or party leader... Wait ... never mind.
And by month's end;
-Gordon Landon, Conservative candidate for Markham, Ontario, states that the region lost out on the chance to have a medical testing centre because a Liberal currently holds the Parliamentary seat.
A definite 'oops' moment - though the claim doesn't come as a surprise to anyone, only that it came from the Conservative candidate. And the sad thing is, as this example illustrates, that candor is considered a serious error in politics.
-After spending 34 million dollars of taxpayers' money on ads for the "Canada's Action Plan" stimulus program, including TV spots with such purely coincidentally election-discouraging comments from 'regular Canadains' as, "We can't stop now!" and "We have to stay on track!", and after the Canadian Press noted that there were no fewer than 40 photographs of the benevolent leader on the Government of Canada -not Conservative Party- Action Plan website, the nation's Public Health Agency says it has about one-quarter that budget -a total of $6.5 million- to educate Canadians about the H1N1 virus.
Good to know the Harper Government (as it likes to call itself on Canadian Government websites) has its prioities straight
Well, Steevo has gone back on his word again ("...the government is clear that it will not be seeking an early election") and shut Parliament down more than a year before the much touted fixed election date (or perhaps he had a different meaning in mind for the term "fixed" all along). But let's be realistic here, politicians break promises, and do what they say they're not going to do, all the time. It's as much a part of their job as being overpaid for spending most of their time away from work, and acting like children on the floor of the House or during evening news political panels. (Seriously, would you let people who act like this into your homes?)
So the question becomes, why has Steve and the Open And Honest Conservatives decided to take the potential PR hit for going against one of his highest profile 'reforms' in order to call an election that, by his own public prognostications, will only result in another minority government? After all, if the real reason for the call is his claim that Parliament is dysfunctional (translation; "Parliament won't do what I tell it and keeps raising embarrassing questions"), there's no reason to think that another minority will be any more willing to shut up and roll over.
No, in what's become a real theme for this government, we're once again seeing abundant evidence of the stereotypical bully acting out of fear. No doubt the Conservatives hope that they can out-campaign the Liberals (shouldn't be too difficult) and manage to get the voters to suspend disbelief long enough to score a majority for the economic "steady hand" that so skillfully found a way to spend that big fat surplus the Liberals left behind, but the real motivation for this timing is much more likely the conviction that things can only get worse between now and the November '09 fixed election date that Harper himself instituted. Over the next year or so, it was looking like things would have only gotten better for an opposition looking for an opening...
-The economy threatens to continue getting worse, and since the Tories have already blown the 13.2 billion dollar Liberal surplus they inherited, it would seem that they won't be able to stop themselves from spending us into a series of deficits. And electorates don't like bad economies, or deficits.
- If the four by-elections scheduled for September didn't go well for the Conservatives, it might have encouraged a trend in the general population.
- If the Democrats take the Whitehouse, not only would there likely be a popular swing towards the left and 'hope' up north, but given the Conservatives' leak about Obama's NAFTA statements during the primaries, Harper would be less likely to have a comfortable relationship with the new President. (Certainly Obama might be ...disinclined... to share any confidential information more volatile than summer camp nicknames.)
- Things are even less likely to go well over the coming months for the Conservatives in the various investigations underway by Parliamentary committees, public inquiries, Elections Canada, and even the RCMP (see below) into such scandals as Bernier-Couillard, Mulroney-Schreiber, the Cadman affair, and in-and-out campaign financing. (An investigation which has seen 23 Conservative witnesses refusing to testify at a Parliamentary committee, an attempt at holding a secret, 'invitation only' press conference, and senior Conservatives running from reporters like sprinters on steroids and caffine.)
- Speaking of Julie Couillard, the Conservatives can't be looking forward to the first fruits of her new career as a tell-all 'author,' with her book due for release in mid-October.
- And just days ago, we have news that the RCMP is investigating a real-estate deal, cancelled by the Harper government on Aug 28, on which the very busy Julie Couillard allegedly promoted a specific bid to Maxime Bernier and Bernard Cote while she was dating them.
Of course there's more, but you get the picture. People have been forgetting about all these messes over the summer, and it's in the Conservatives' interest to call an election quick - before it all gets stirred up again. The problem facing Steve isn't a dysfunctional Parliament, it's a Parliament functioning in a way that lets the public see more and more, with each passing day, just how the Harper government works. And that's never good for a party in power.
The government could display the courage of its convictions about fixed election dates, take its hits, admit to even a few mistakes in the various inquiries, allow the investigations to complete their work and clean house where necessary, and then meet the electorate with a bruised but honest face - but that would take, well, courage. Much easier to act the role of the tough leader who's so fed up with the dysfunctional Parliament that he's even willing to ignore his own condemnations of leaders calling early elections by calling one of his own. And if it's another Conservative minority, and even if all of the above factors go against the Tories after an October election, they know there won't be an appetite for an immediate re-run only a few months later. And if they can keep their heads down for a year or two, all this might have blown over before the next race.
And who knows, by then, Stephen might have found his courage.
Much was made last week about the Conservative Party's new 1,500-square-metre "fear factory," tucked away in an industrial park outside Ottawa - a huge facility revealed to the press to demonstrate the media might of the Right, and to instill terror into any opposition parties that might dare oppose it. But the question was never raised about who is really afraid of who here. And while the Tories may like to think of the new digs as a weapon and a tool to intimidate the opposition, it really shows the same fear that Harper and his party have been displaying since the last election campaign.
A fear of too much truth getting out.
During the last election, Conservative candidates were routinely muzzled by their own party, or avoided public and media events altogether for fear that they might reveal enough about themselves and their masters to turn voters away. After the election, the new MPs were astoundingly mute, in deference to official PMO-approved releases, while Harper held unannounced cabinet meetings and restricted traditional press access to the hallway outside the cabinet room, and ministers would leave meetings by alternate routes to avoid press scrums - all out of fear of what (let's not forget) our employees might say in an unsanctioned moment of candor.
Harper and his party even moved to exert control over the Parliamentary Press Gallery, declaring which reporters would be allowed to ask questions at 'news' conferences, again, from fear that the wrong reporter might ask an uncomfortable question. And more recently, in the immediate aftermath of the Liberal Leadership Convention, the Tories were so afraid of Stephane Dion that they launched mid-campaign-style attack ads in the finest Republican Party tradition, and have since followed them up with more of the same. And now, there's the "Stephen Bunker."
Repeatedly claiming that they're not interested in actually having any sort of early election campaign (though the space is only leased until the end of 2007), and continually trying to pre-emptively blame any potential early campaign on the Liberal party (out of fear that the electorate will realize that all three opposition parties would have to vote against the government to bring it down), the Tories proudly displayed their largely unoccupied office space and fully functional television studio to reporters (but were afraid to reveal how much the facility actually cost).
And whenever it is eventually used, the Tory's F.U.D. Factory will continue to demonstrate the party's own fear of its various opponents - be they the opposition parties, the press, or simply the ability of the Canadian people to make an intelligent decision when given all the facts. Ads will be created overnight to attack one subject, and then before the party is even forced to defend its claims, new ads will have been created to take their place. Many if not most announcements and releases will be made in this facility far from the bothersome Parliamentary Press Gallery or any public venues - so there will be no unwelcome questions after the presentation, and ministers can get to their cars without having to deal with a single reporter's curiosity.
As the Republicans have done to the south, the Conservatives will try to completely control information about their party and its motives in the next campaign, but that will just leave the electorate wondering what the Tories are so afraid of revealling. And while the tactic served the Republicans fairly well in the last two federal elections, Canadians are more media-savy than their neighbours to begin with, and even the Americans are finally seeing through the tactic.
Steve et. al. are certainly putting on an entertaining show, but in the end, bluster and bravado are usually masks for anxiety (especially when your budget didn't buy as many voters as you'd hoped), and one of the oldest cliches about any creature making an aggressive display is, "He's probably more afraid of you than you than you are of him."
Wow, Steve, what's it like to be that scared?
The very first day back at 'work' (after a Christmas holiday break that most Canadians can't even imagine), without any sign of an election in the immediate future, and you're already showing lowbrow-campaign-style attack ads against a Liberal leader who hasn't even taken his new seat in the House.
Does really he scare you that much?
You know, even if he does, it's not a good idea to show the opposition (or the electorate for that matter) that you're that frightened. Frankly, this tactic is working against you on multiple levels - the aforementioned fear, the embracing of the unpopular and distasteful strategy of attack ads, and mid-term attack ads at that (yet another practice that equates you with the Bush cadre, and has people wondering if you shouldn't just give your party one last name change to Republican Party of Canada), the weakness displayed by the fact that you can only come up with reasons why the electorate should not vote for someone else as opposed to solid reasons they should vote for you, not to mention the Super Bowl.
Yes, the Super Bowl. Apart from the fact that it's a major American sporting event, don't you know of the contempt that the viewing public feels for any organization that takes part in the tradition of hijacking Super Bowl ad time and replacing multi-million dollar, sometimes history making, commercial blockbusters with such insults as local ads for warehouse mattress sales? And you're going to join that group? Your fear is affecting your reason Steve.
As for the content of the ads, well the criticism of the Liberal record on the environment works when you're not in power - but when you've had a year to do something, and then spent that time pulling out of the Kyoto Accords, trashing existing environmental programs, creating a "Clean Air Act" that has no firm emissions reduction targets before 2050 even while using the Bush dodge of basing those targets on "emissions intensity" instead of absolute emission amounts, and then only showing an active (I won't say genuine) interest in the environment when the polls show that an election could turn on it ... well, you really don't get to criticize anyone else anymore.
And "Stephane Dion is not a Leader"? Time will tell. But does a "leader" make promises that he can't -or knows he won't- keep (like taxing Income Trusts)? Does a leader base his actions and policies on the polls rather than the courage of his convictions (like your recent environmental conversion)? Does a leader stand against party defections and unelected senators and cabinet ministers while in opposition then immediately embrace both after attaining power? Does a leader make liars out of an entire nation by backing out of a signed international commitment like the Kyoto Accords? (Another tactic adopted from Bush and his abrogation of the ABM treaty?) Does a leader cancel an appearance at an EU summit and an international AIDS conference to avoid criticism about his policies? Again, it's probably not safe throwing any 'leader' stones either - you're likely to find yourself homeless and surrounded in shattered glass.
Alan Gregg says the ads might actually help your party, but that they'll damage the political process by creating an even more cynical electorate, but do you care about that, as long as you keep your job? I'm thinking, no. See, you're just proving the UDP's point all over again - you're all the same.
But here's a thought Steve, be different. Be a leader. Live or die on your own policies - not those of your predecessors. Keep your word and face your critics head on instead of discovering 'previous appointments' in Nunavut. Hell, give us a leader or two with honesty, integrity and political courage and we at the UDP could fold up our tents and go home. Get a reasonable number of MP candidates with the same qualities (and remove their gags) and no party would be able to touch you. Try it Steve. Be a leader.
Don't be afraid.
...and when Liberal MP David McGuinty called out to MacKay, "What about your dog?" MacKay pointed to Stronach's seat and said, "You already have her."
Peter, Peter, Peter. You continue to find new ways of demonstrating that you're so much less than we thought you might have been.
First, of course, you showed that your word and your signature weren't worth the paper they were written on (metaphorically and literally, respectively) when you sold out your party to the Alliance. Then after Belinda crossed the floor, we saw that your sincerity wasn't worth the fleas on the dog that you borrowed for a prop in your 'heartfelt,' 'simple man,' farmyard photo op. You followed up by displaying a maturity that compared unfavourably to a dumped junior high school student in the way that you couldn't just suck it up and get past the break-up in the subsequent months (not to mention the embarrassing fawning over Condoleezza Rice). And most recently you lowered that already unimpressive intellectual age to the pre-pubescent range by comparing your ex to a dog and then, like a kid with chocolate all over his face swearing he was nowhere near the cookie jar, not displaying the minimal guts necessary to own up to the fact and apologize for an idiotic comment made in an idiotic moment. You know, like when you told Alexa to "stick to your knitting."
And you're the second ranking member in Canada's government? It swells the heart with national pride.
Your defense? "Check the record of Hansard. It's not there. It's not there. I said nothing about a dog." Again, Peter, GROW UP! Nobody said that you did use the word "dog" yourself, and you know that. This then is the equivalent of the caught child saying, "I didn't take the cookies out of the cookie jar," using the reasoning that he poured them onto the kitchen counter first and 'took' them from there. Meanwhile, if you said nothing out of line, then the lack of Conservative colleagues rushing to the support of the party's second-in-command is, well, staggering, and considering that the week was already going so well for the Liberals - what with the laughable, Bush-like, Clean Air Act, and the booting out of Garth Turner, 'strictly for reasons of caucus confidentially, no seriously' - they hardly needed to make this up.
Still, let's be accurate. To date, there's no definitive proof that you said all four words in that order, but according to the Globe And Mail, an audio tape does record a voice making a comment about a dog, and then your voice responding, "You . . . have her." But perhaps we're just misunderstanding what that garbled word was - after all, history is full of mis-quoted quotes. For example, Rudyard Kipling might have actually said, "East is East and West is West, and North and South aren't either." One of Abraham Lincoln's most famous lines could have been, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time if you're left-handed" - only to be truncated because historians couldn't agree of the significance of the last few words. And perhaps Ben Franklin's, "Early to bed and early to rise," actually ended with, "makes a man healthy, wealthy, and purple." After all such mistakes are only natural - as Alexander Pope probably said, "To err is human, to forgive, hunky-dory."
But you won't tell us what you claim you did say, so we have nothing to compare against. As for your laughable rationalization that anything not recorded in Hansard must never have happened, we're back to that kid - claiming that if nobody saw him take the cookies, then he couldn't have done it. And it would mean that anyone watching CPAC or House of Commons coverage on the news is hallucinating most of what they're hearing, since almost none of the non-stop exchange of verbal diarrhea that you people fling back and forth (in what passes in the House for a 'battle of wits') is ever entered into Hansard.
(Of course, if the nation's 'best and brightest' were willing to sign and adhere to "The Undecided Party All-Party Member of Parliament Respect and Maturity Pledge" -especially the last component- Hansard could clearly record everything that was said on the floor of the House and you'd have a credible record to back up your denial. But let's face it, the odds of that happening are about the same as the odds that you didn't say, "You already have her.")
In the meantime, Peter, learn from the oft-misquoted Alfred Lord Tennyson, who definitely said something like, "It is better to have loved and lost, than to have loved and lost and then spent the next year or so making a complete ass of yourself."
In a move both bush league and Bush-like, federal government officials have been violating the anonymity of Canadian citizens who request government documents under the Access to Information Act. Documents obtained by the Montreal Gazette (documents themselves fittingly accessed under the Access to Information Act) revealed that not only have multiple requesters' identities been revealed and shared within the government, but that one particular reporter's name was disclosed during a conference call between officials from at least eight departments - with details from the call passed around to an additional 19 people in the Privy Council Office and the Prime Minister's Office, including PMO communications director Sandra Buckler and deputy communications directors Christine Csversko and Genevieve Desjardins.
So not only was Canadian law broken multiple times by "Canada's New Government," but the identity of a Canadian Press reporter, who like all reporters must deal with the PMO communications office for access to Harper, or even permission to ask a question at a press conference, is now in the hands of said office. Despite being asked on the floor of the House of Commons, the Harper government wouldn't say whether Harper himself was given the identity of the potentially embarrassingly inquisitive reporter ... but really, people, what do YOU think?
Much like the Republicans down south, the Republicans here in the north seem to feel that even the most basic, straightforward laws don't really apply to them if they don't WANT them to apply - and that the media are enemy #1. (Granted, a government's resentment of a media doing its job is hardly new, nor restricted to a single party, but this particular method of breaking the law to violate a reporter's guaranteed right to anonymity is, as far as we know, unprecedented.)
If the same situation had been uncovered when the Liberals were in power, Harper et. al. would have been screaming "arrogance" from the rooftops, and demanding resignations all round. Certainly even the thinnest facade of impartiality on the part of the three communications directors has now been obliterated, since they now know something about a reporter that they legally never should have known - and they, and those who first disclosed and disseminated the information, clearly have no right to keep their jobs.
So let's see if all that pre-election talk about accountability and clean government was anything more legitimate than the same pre-election promises made a few years ago by the Republicans down south.
We all know how THAT turned out.
The Duct Tape Solution
"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."
(Find more old stuff in the Citizen Fink Archives)