Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Conservative Self-Delusion

These days I find I have little desire to think, let alone write, about the Harper regime. Despite the fact that we lived so long under its oppressive and toxic shadow, I prefer these days to think about future possibilities. However, the current 'introspection' the defeated party is undergoing merits some attention; it is a process that seems doomed to failure as revisionism about its sordid and dark record is rampant. Stoutly declaring that they got the 'big things' right, Conservative stalwarts seem doomed to a fruitless rebirth that will, at best, be cosmetic, at least until they are willing to confront some unpleasant truths, something I frankly doubt they are capable of.

In today's Star, Carol Gore offers them a framework for renewal that I doubt their hubris will allow them to entertain.
Since the Conservative were ousted on Oct. 19, former cabinet minister Jason Kenney has told anyone who will listen: “We got the big things right. We got the tone wrong.”

But the 47-year-old leadership aspirant is deluding himself if he thinks his party’s problems are only skin deep. The reason the Conservatives lost power is that Canadians no longer wanted a government obsessed with security, fiscal austerity and big oil. Harper’s relentless negativity only reinforced that.
Their 'sins were many; here are but a few of them:

Their Fiscal Record:
They spent the $13.8-billion surplus they inherited within two years, leaving Ottawa with no economic cushion when the 2008 recession hit.

On their watch, the national debt grew by $176.4 billion. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of Canada’s accumulated debt was amassed since 2008.
Their Job-Creation Record:
Year after year, they brought down budgets that promised to increase employment and prosperity. When they took power in 2006, the unemployment rate stood at 6.4 per cent. When they lost power, it was 7 per cent.
Add to that the fact that many of the jobs are precarious and part-time, forcing more people into poverty.

Their Record On Political Accountability:
They shut off access to government documents, silenced public officials, denigrated or drove out parliamentary watchdogs, rolled dozens of legislative changes into book-length omnibus bills and refused to let opposition MPs examine their expenditures.
Their Record ON Advancing Canadian Values On The World Stage:
Jason Kenney was front and centre on many of these issues. He was the minister who banned niqabs at citizenship ceremonies; who opened the floodgates to a massive influx of foreign temporary workers; who insisted Canada had a great “skills gap” (based on a misreading of Kijiji’s jobs vacancy data); who boasted about defunding charities that criticized Israel; and who blasted a United Nations official for revealing that nearly 900,000 Canadians used food banks every month.
Carol Goar lists additional examples of how the Conservatives squandered their power during their reign, but I think you get the picture. It is one, I suspect, that will be forever beyond the grasp of a party that seems to prefer sweet lies to bitter truths, thereby likely dooming them to wander the political wilderness well into the future.


  1. They were a party who -- while in power -- took pride in knowing nothing. It's no surprise, Lorne, that they have learned nothing in defeat.

    1. Their blindness will be their undoing, Owen.

  2. .. Owen has it.. pointing to the knowing of nothing.. but its worse. They have nothing to give - either.

    That aside, your outlook is timely. And its natural to sit back, stunned in relief & revel in how Stephen harper et al were sent packing. Its all most of wanted really.. to see them turfed so we could start over & not let the same old same old take over (as Mound always warns)

    We have a chance now, to drive home the bitter message of the lost years.. Harper, Ray Novak, Kenney, MacKay, Flaherty, Jenni Byrne, Calandra, Shea & who could forget Poilievre?

    MM the Mainstream Media seems just fine with sugar coating the venom of Harper, Arthur Hamilton, Van Loan, CSIS.. the PMO et al towards ordinary Canadians, Vets, Seniors.. hell.. voters for that matter ! So the task at hand is to ensure factual or forensic history is not overwhelmed by the likes of Paul Godfrey's Post Media, lame journalism, shrill pablum from the Ezra Levant's of this world.

    I do think its doable.. with stalwart alert glowing hearts like yourself, Simon, Beaver, Mound, Thwap.. and so many more eloquent & fierce voices.. Of course you know its impossible to list the many many indies.. those bloggers who stepped right up.. and the commenters who helped reinforce the indy message.

    When people threw that HDS Harper Derangement Syndrome in my face, I threw it right back.. pointing to how shallow and weak the Harper & 'Conservative' rationale was in comparison to coherent concerned & comprehensive observations coming from ordinary Canadians like yourself..

    So here we are Lorne.. catching our collective Canadian breath... Its possible we can emerge from the trenches. see sunlight.. and advance forward, regain some territory, start to clean up this country called Canada.. .. ...

    1. Good to hear from you, Salamander. I continue to feel both relief and true anticipation of the possibilities ahead. While people probably have some exaggerated expectations of the new government, for me the very undoing of the Harper legacy, which the Liberals have already embarked upon, gives me real reason for hope. If that is sustained, I look forward to much greater engagement in the political discussion now that Canadians are no longer being regarded as impediments to the ruling class.

      If there is one important lesson to be learned from the past lost decade, it is that democracy cannot be taken for granted, but needs to be nurtured and constantly monitored by Canadians from all walks of life.

  3. How many know Harper's 24/Seven videos have already been scrubbed from the Internet? The 24/Seven parody videos were better anyway:


    "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
    -- George Santayana

    So to help Canadians remember Harper's anti-democratic regime, check out:

    (Part 1 of 9)


    1. Thank you for the resources, Anon. I'll check them out.



    Harper, who named Duffy to the Senate, stepped down as Conservative Party leader but remains an MP, prompting some to speculate that he is staying on as an MP to avoid having to testify in the Duffy trial.

    Oh what a tangled web we weave
    When first we practice to deceive. - Sir Walter Scott (Marmion, 1808)

    Tangled Web: Duffy Trial

    1. Thanks for these very useful links, Anon. Let us hope that Harper will not be able to dodge the court's scrutiny if the court calls upon him.

  6. The rehabilitation of the Conservative party is vital to our future, however. Sooner or hopefully later, the current government will become old, tired, arrogant and corrupt - the inevitable ravages of power, it would seem. At that point it is vital that we have an ethical and solid alternative to vote for. After the hostile takeover of the PCs, we didn't have and look what happened. How do we get them to thoroughly clean house and reform (pun intended) themselves, and return to their roots of a once-ethical, credible political party with the interests of Canada and Canadians at heart. Our longer-term future may depend on it.

    1. You make an excellent point here, AniO. A healthy democracy demands a healthy and functional opposition, a party to hold the government to account and serve as a government-in waiting. Here in Ontario, for example, the Liberal government has been in power for far too long, and has become what you describe: arrogant and old. The most obvious sign of this is the fact that it is selling off 60% of Hydro, which means that they are surrendering 60% of an annual $750 billion in profits, all for a few billion dollars.

      When I voted for them in the last provincial election, I knew it was time that they spent some time on the bench, but unfortunately, the PCP under Hudak was never a consideration by virtue of his manifest incompetence, and I could not support the NDP's Andrea Horwath because she triggered an unnecessary election in her venal quest for power.