09.06.2011 01:11 AM

In today’s Sun: say a prayer for Angelo

I don’t know for certain, but I strongly suspect he has been the recipient of private phone calls from Canada’s Conservative prime minister and even Ontario’s Liberal premier.

Which raises another interesting fact: Editorially, Angelo has written supportively of Stephen Harper federally and Dalton McGuinty provincially. Which suggests he, like most voters, supports strong leadership, regardless of partisan stripe.



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    JStanton says:

    It’s certainly an unusual move by Mr. Harper, to bring in a seasoned professional that will show up his weaknesses and who will refuse to be cowed. His usual pattern is to surround himself with young, impressionable, inexperienced and marginally educated men who will heel at his command without question, make him look good by comparison, and then fall on their own sword when required.

    It would appear that something has shifted. Mr. Harper’s agenda has changed from one of “success at any cost” to contriving a “legacy”. How will people judge him in future?

    Mr. Persichilli’s job, it seems, is to rehabilitate Mr. Harper’s image, so that he is remembered as something more than a political opportunist who betrayed his colleagues to gain control of a party, who continually lied to Canadians to get their votes, who undermined Canadian democracy at every turn, and who was spectacularly ineffective while in government. That’s a tall order.

    I can see why Mr. Persichilli accepted the job. At a certain point, it’s enormously attractive to be faced with a problem of this magnitude, that calls upon a every facet of one’s professional experience. And since it is exactly Mr. Persichilli’s qualities that Mr. Harper so evidently lacks, the match is a good one.

    But I fear for Mr. Persichilli’s soul.


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      Ted says:


      I think you are missing the forest for the trees.

      Harper doesn’t think he has any image problems, nor do his supporters.

      What the hiring of Persichilli represents is the tip of a huge iceberg of a political-demographic shift, one that has been going on behind the scenes for years with Conservatives, one that displaces the traditional Ontario-Quebec axis of power with a new axis of power which is suburban/rural Ontario-West.

      The traditional Ontario-Quebec coalition of interests always, and still, represents over 60% of the Canadian population. Specifically, 61.9% now. So it has always been natural to focus on this, especially as there has never been any real alternative: you had to win Ontario and get lots of seats in Quebec for any chance of winning government. Without that forget about it. Not sure if anyone has ever won a majority without that base of support.

      As Andrew Coyne pointed out right after the election, what Harper accomplished was historic: he managed to win without Quebec. He did this by winning big in Ontario and winning the West. The demographic shift in the country has allowed this to happen: Ontario and the West now represent 69.7% of the Canadian population.

      Even more startling is that Harper’s seat count went down outside of Ontario. He accomplished this by focusing on suburban Ontario. And who lives in suburban Ontario? Communities of immigrants and next generation of immigrants. And who is one of the biggest media personalities in the ethnic/immigrant press? Why that would be Angelo Persichilli.

      So Harper is not trying to burnish his legacy. He is trying to capture and solidify the demographic shift in the country and solidify a base of support for a generation. Right now, the shift is mushy. But Harper is working hard at turning that into concrete.

      It is very important for progressives to understand this. The Conservatives are being very deliberate and calculating on this. Our focus is on their dumb policies – like being dumb on crime and dumb on education/science and big on hypocrisy and bad on democracy, etc. Their focus is a conservative-lite policy agenda, but their primary focus is a conservative demographic agenda.

      The biggest change coming in the next Parliament is going to make this even harder for progressives as they push through more seats for Alberta, BC and suburban Ontario.

      Quebec is still almost one quarter of the population and the fracturing of the Bloc is a real opportunity and all is far from lost. But progressives are trying to build houses on moving sands, while the conservatives are building on rocks.

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        JStanton says:

        … so, if I understand correctly, Mr. Harper’s strategy is to seize and hold the political allegiance of second generation, Ontario educated young people into the future, and that’s why Mr. Persichilli has been hired?

        Even if Mr. Harper could see past the end of his nose, which, demonstrably he cannot, and does not care to, such a strategy would be doomed to failure from the outset.

        Yes, Mr. Harper gained the votes of new immigrants formerly under within authoritarian regimes. No doubt a lifetime of living in fear under non-democratic, reactionary governments prepared them well for Mr. Harper. But to suggest that their Ontario educated children would be taken in by Mr. Harper’s public relations deceit, or that they would fail to understand the erroneous views of those long discredited political tenats that Mr. Harper purportedly advances, is an act of delusion on your part.

        Mr. Harper is hanging on by his finger nails. With one-time support of only 24% of the electorate, no discernable policy or vision, and nothing to show for two terms in government, Mr. Harper is clearly yesterdays man looking to shine his own turd.


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          Ted says:

          We keep saying that to ourselves while he keeps growing his support.

          Harper is a long-term thinker and his plans have been slowly and moderately successful enough for him. And that success has come in large part because of an absence of anything similar from the other side(s), they are doing it unopposed and unchallenged.

          The Harper Conservatives are spending an enormous amount of time and energy on making on-the-ground connections, personal connections. It’s not policy and platforms that garners long-term support – if it was just that, then according to the polls the Liberals would still be in power federally – but personal connections and influence.

          At every major ethnic/immigrant event in the GTA (and presumably other big city regions), you will find at least one if not more senior federal Conservatives. They are working hard at winning those votes in the old-style classic glad-handing politicians way and it is slowly paying off.

          Recognizing your opponents strengths and successes is not applauding or accepting them. We have to get our heads out of the sand and out of our a**es. Our not liking Harper and telling the world how rotten he is, from the comfort of our own keyboards, is not a winning strategy.

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            The Doctor says:

            Very well put, Ted.

            I’ve never understood people who spend most, if not all, of their time denigrating, dissing and underestimating their opponent.

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      The Doctor says:

      “His usual pattern is to surround himself with young, impressionable, inexperienced and marginally educated men.”

      Like Nigel Wright?

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    JStanton says:

    Mr. Wright is one of many hired guns drafted by Mr. Harper. You are perhaps forgetting the Australian and British operatives that taught him the dirty tricks and politics of deceit that won his elections for him.


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      The Doctor says:

      I haven’t forgotten anything. I was responding in particular to your “marginally educated” comment. Do you consider Nigel Wright to be “inexperienced and marginally educated”?

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