07.17.2011 07:48 AM

In today’s Sun: valuable!

Whose values are Canadian values? Yours, perhaps?

As you may have heard, but likely didn’t, some federal Liberals and New Democrats were in a bit of lather last week. During his mandatory annual visit to the Calgary Stampede, Prime Minister Stephen Harper bashed his opponents (as expected) and insisted his Conservatives are super-duper winners (ditto).

Then he said this: “Conservative values are Canadian values.” And: “Canadian values are Conservative values.”

boy! When he said that stuff, the progressive side of the commentariat promptly went bananas. Liberal Leader Bob Rae — whose party Harper amusingly described as relevant as “disco balls and bell bottoms” — declared Harper was sounding pretty arrogant, which was true.


  1. Anne Peterson says:

    What else is new. I have solved the problem. Whenever I see his face on TV I switch channels or turn the thing off. That’s what happens when I know that someone has lied to me. I stop looking at them or listening to them. Arrogance does’t charm me much either.

  2. Brent Sienna says:

    This from the same Liberal Party that has often said they are “Canada’s Natural Governing Party”. Mr. Pot meet Mr. Kettle.

    • Attack! says:

      Really? (channeling Tulk…) Please show me the link / evidence that the LPC itself refers to itself this way, as opposed to the media and the hackneyed, lazy ass, talking head punditry.

  3. Attack! says:

    Reading comprehension fail by the Sun’s headline writer: you specifically singled out Bieber as something whose value Canadians DON’T agree on (along with gun control).

  4. Ron in Ottawa says:

    That’s exactly what I do Anne. Whenever he is on the screen, I change the channel because he’s either lying or lecturing and I don’t need either. I really don’t know why Rae keeps talking about it. He should just ignore it and if he’s asked about it, just say “so what, that’s Harper”. Means nothing at all.

  5. Savant says:

    “Liberal values are Canadian values”. – Paul Martin, March 2005

    The only thing that has changed are the names of the party and leader. The message is the same. The government in power will tell you that their values are ‘Canadian values’. When the Conservative’s time in government has past the next government will say the very same thing. You can bank on it.

    ‘Arrogance’ labels come with the territory when you are a leader, no matter what party you represent.

  6. Bill M. says:

    I’d like to know what conservative values are.

    Is it fiscal prudence? Massive deficits say otherwise.

    Is it smaller government? Harper has grown government annually and has the second biggest cabinet ever…in a time of “austerity”.

    Is it reliance upon the free market to dictate the proper allocation of resources? His government bought GM when nobody in the private sector would look at it. His government blocked the Potash deal, circumventing the free market. And his government refused the American Government’s request to allow visiting Canadians to bring back more shopping goods because they wanted to protect Canadian businesses in border towns.

    I understand the Liberals or the NDP advocating these policies as both are advocates of greater state interventionism.

    I don’t understand how those who claim to have conservative values would be supportive of the very things which their supposed beliefs decry.

    Not only does the Emperor have no clothes but neither do his supporters.

    That’s one butt ugly sight!

    • DB Smith says:

      One has to wonder if the Liberals will ever learn the lessons that Canadians have been providing that party and its leaders over theses past 11 years – the truth is that the LPC will never be a force in Canadian Politics again if they continue to use the same tired talking points and if you have any remaining doubts as to how Canadians see your talking points just review the LPC election results starting from 2000

      • Bill M. says:

        How are facts talking points?

        Which one is not true?

        • DB Smith says:

          Point one, saying it is a fact does not make it a fact – see the elections results 2004, 2006, 2008 and recently 2011 as Canadians decided that they were not “facts”

          Deficit – there was all party agreement and therefore trying to lay the deficit at the feet of one party is really just being a Liberal – a simple search, would show that Ignatieff was taking credit for the spending that drove the country into deficit.

          Cabinet – other than the LPC making some white noise – who cares!

          His Government bought GM – do a little research and get back to me.

          His government blocked the Potash deal – as I recall there was all party agreement to block the sale and a simple google search shows that.

          request to allow visiting Canadians to bring back more shopping goods – you are kidding here, you are knocking the CPC for saving Canadian jobs and business on the border.

    • DB Smith says:

      I’d like to know what Liberal values are and Chatel Hebert over at the Star has an interesting prespective offers some interesting insights as to what are Liberal values.


      In the dying days of the 2006 federal campaign, then-prime minister Paul Martin stood in front of a gaggle of pro-life and anti-gay marriage government MPs to proclaim that only a Liberal government could be trusted to safeguard the equality rights of Canadians.

      By January 2006, the narrative that had initially been crafted to equate Canadian values with the Liberal party in the minds of the country’s decisively centrist electorate had lost its already thin veneer of subtlety and become a naked attempt at saving the furniture.

      Like all last-ditch attempts, Martin’s appeal was based on more calculation than actual principle and those calculations involved cutting more than a few corners with his own party’s track record.

      Under Chrétien, votes on Charter issues as they related to abortion and gay rights had been treated as matters of conscience rather than party policy and a vocal social conservative faction of the Liberal caucus had mounted multiple rearguard offensives against any expansion of gay rights.


      • Attack! says:

        Evidently you’re not too troubled by consistency…

        over in this other thread, just 45 minutes earlier, you crow that the LPC fought and lost the culture war in this past election,


        but in this article you draw attention to, Chantel argues the LPC’s last gasp at a culture war was fought and lost in the 2006 election, because they didn’t have a consistent, united front on issues like abortion and the Martinites had purged the most progressive elements from their major ranks.

        So you’re just hear blowing smoke, trying to distract from the real issue, which is: what are the Conservative Parties of Canada and Ontario’s true positions on these matters now?

        • DB Smith says:

          The point was that the Liberals had no values and that they would say and do anything to remain in power.

          To answer this question; what are the Conservative Parties of Canada and Ontario’s true positions on these matters now

          Federally the CPC has a majority and the LPC has 34 seats, – Canadians seem comfortable with the CPC “true” position.

          Provincially the PC are leading by 11% and are sitting at 42.0% and given the fact that Conservative support is understated their lead may well be higher and given these numbers the voters in Ontario are about to express the same view.

          As for smoke and blowing smoke – I leave that to the third party and their remaining supporters.

        • DB Smith says:

          “Since you haven’t explained what the CPC’s positions are, how are we suppose to know what those positions are, to be comfortable with them?”

          Miss the memo, there was an election on May 2nd after a 36 day campaign where the CPC position and policies were put forward to Canadians, I would add as well that the CPC have been clear in their policies over the preceeding elections and I would also repeat the following Federally the CPC has a majority and the LPC has 34 seats, – Canadians seem comfortable with the CPC “true” position.

          “Something you CPC supporters need to understand is this–voters didn’t vote for the CPC; they voted against the NDP.”

          You keep believing that, because with an increase in the number of Canadians voting diring 2011 the CPC saw their vote count go up by 600,000, the NDP went up by almost 2.0 million, the Bloc lost 490,000 votes, the Grns lost 361,400 votes and the Liberals lost 850,000 – that means that a lot of people voted for the NDP 2,000,000 million more and that really puts the boots to your point.

          PS the concept of voter surpression only works when there are fewer voters

          • Attack! says:

            Yes, Dim.Bulb., the NDP got more votes than before, esp. from QC, but I’m pretty sure Paul’s point was that a lot of swing voters wound up voting CPC because they were persuaded by their ‘reckless coalition’ rhetoric, particularly if it were to be led by the NDP, who were clearly well ahead of the LPC by election day.

          • Attack! says:

            p.s., (since there’s no room above), re: it allegedly being McGuinty’s fault about the loss of manufacturing jobs in the latest recession (and not, say, Harper’s: the one in the really big seat:

            the very (and very old) article you cite (try reading past the headlines, sometimes: it can be quite illuminating) makes it clear that even the National Post agrees with me, that it wasn’t unique to Canada or Ontario, and had nothing to do with local politics, and everything to do with the rising Canadian dollar and globalization (i.e., increased industrial capacity and dirt-cheap wages in the Asian countries that are taking those jobs away from the G7 countries).

          • Attack! says:

            p.p.s.: that StatCan study from “last Friday” you cite above actually seems to be from, um, two and a half years ago (Friday, February 20, 2009), which was well before they adjusted the LFS numbers in light of the 2006 Census, so those numbers have since been revised, and which also makes clear that its due more to globalization, than anything.



            As for its being Ontario and QC that lost the most manufacturing jobs, arguably that’s got NOTHING to do with the political parties in power at the time, and everything to do with the fact that they had the most manufacturing jobs TO lose, with Ontario (which is, ahem, the biggest province by pop.) having nearly half the country’s production workers in plants, factories and mills, and QC having over a quarter of it, as evidenced by this more recent table


            from the ‘Manufacturing’ year book for 2010


    • Robert Jago says:

      What are conservative values? “Conservative” values are family, patriotism, federalism, tough on crime, and “common” sense. If you’re a fiscal conservative and are still voting Tory, it’s not the party that’s wrong – it’s you. We’re 3 elections in now, it’s obvious what the party’s about. If you’re on the left and still attacking the Tories for being radical libertarians, you haven’t been paying attention and you deserve to lose.

    • The Other Jim says:

      Excellent post.

  7. Bill M. says:

    Gerry Nicholls seems to agree with me.


  8. Raymond says:

    Wow. A PM delivering a partisan speech to a partisan crowd. Once upon a time, a Liberal PM wrapped himself in the flag, loudly declared his love of Canada, insisted that Liberal values were Canadian values, then sat down and signed the SPP with GWB.

    True story.

  9. Sean says:

    Stephen Harper’s values:

    1. Massive, structural deficits.
    2. Handing out millions and millions to arts groups.
    3. Defending the right to choose. – he’ll do nothing to change the status quo.
    4. Defending SSM. ditto.
    5. Appointing cronies to the senate… IE keeping all those bitter tories calmed down by giving them nice jobs.

    prove me wrong, loyal tories;)

    • Tiger says:

      I think you’re wrong on point no. 1 — the deficit gap will probably be closed by the time the next election rolls around.

      2 thru 5? Fairly accurate.

  10. Loraine Lamontagne says:

    Conservative values – like Rupert Murdoch’s and Conrad Black’s values?

  11. dave says:

    I am not sure about Conservative values.
    On some recent decisions by our federal Cosnervative Ministers, I read or hear that those decisions are based on principles. They are not trying to be popular, they are being principled.

    However, when I ask what specific principle is reflected in the decison, I get no answer at all.

    Either I am too bone headed to see what is obvious, or else…(I shudder to think of it).

  12. allegra fortissima says:

    ” ‘Meh,’ said I.”

    That’s all you had to say? I hope they don’t pay you by spoken words…

  13. Joe says:

    Silly me. I thought that when Martin said that Liberal values were Canadian values he meant that only Liberal values were Canadian values, but when Harper said that Conservative values were Canadian values he meant that one can be a patriotic Canadian and hold Conservative values.

  14. Cath says:

    Hi WK – good column. I have to wonder though after catching up whether anyone so far got the point of your column, which I believe to be captured well in your conclusion here:

    “Here’s my stab at a values list:

    One, we all agree our beer is better than American beer.

    Two, we all agree our TV shows generally aren’t as good as American TV shows.

    Three, we all agree we’d much rather live here than somewhere else.

    Four, we all agree it’s pretty much impossible to answer the question: “What is a Canadian?”

    Fifth and finally, we all agree politicians, irrespective of party affiliation, will always claim they share our “values.” We all agree that’s Canadian, too. And, also, silly.”

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