01.12.2012 01:48 PM

Agenda, not-so-hidden

When I wrote the column below, the federal election campaign was still underway.  Conservatives went apeshit when they read what I wrote.  They went nuts.  It didn’t just have chatroom troglodytes responding to it in the hundreds – it had conservative columnists responding to it, too, scrambling to show why I was wrong.  Lots of progressives tut-tutted me, too.  Oh, come now, Warren! Do you really believe that?

Well, now we’re just at the very start of the first full year of the Harper Majority, and I’m guessing all those geniuses who penned columns suggesting that Harper was still acting like he had a minority, he wouldn’t do any of that SoCon stuff, blah blah blah, are wishing they could hit a “recall” button.  This guy has a majority, gang, and he plans to use it.

Let’s see:

1. Abortion? Yep, they’ve got backbenchers busily trying to get rid of it.

2. Gun control? As good as gone.  And many assault-style weapons are about to become legal.

3. Equal marriage?  As of today, we learn, they’re going after it with the assistance of Department of Justice lawyers.

4. The death penalty?  That’s next.  Tragically, there’ll be some horrific murder or cop-killing sometime in the next few months, and they’ll use it as pretext to do what Harper has always said he favours.

You voted for these assholes, folks.  Don’t act so surprised when they start doing what they said they’d do.

**

What would a Stephen Harper majority government look like?

It’s not an idle question. We’re now in the second half of the 2011 national election campaign, and the Conservative Party remains comfortably ahead of the Liberal Party — and, according to some pollsters, is in (or very near) majority government territory.

Harper’s campaign team has done surprisingly poorly, while Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals have turned in a more solid performance. But poll after poll have shown that Team Harper’s many missteps haven’t really affected voter intention.

That’s why, perhaps, the Conservative leader is doing something in this campaign something he would never have dreamt of doing in 2004, 2006 or 2008 — he’s openly appealing for a majority.

Harper, while strategic, has never really been very secretive about what he would like to do with unfettered power. All of it is on the public record.

This, then, is what a Conservative majority government’s policies should look like.

  1. No abortion. In May of last year, Harper’s government was alone among G8 nations in opposing abortion as part of family-planning projects in poor nations. He stuck to his decision, even when facing criticism from Barack Obama. If put to a vote — and Tory MPs periodically push for one — abortion would be gone. Since Harper assumed control of the party in 2004, more than 80% of his caucus favour banning abortion.
  2. No gun control. More than other issue of its type, Harper has been clear about gun-safety laws — he detests them. In 2009, a Conservative backbencher’s bill to gut the centre of Canada’s gun control laws was defeated in Parliament. But Harper is undeterred. Throughout the campaign, he has said his party will go back to the issue and “scrap the long-gun registry.” Shootings generally account for a third of all murders in Canada; after tougher gun controls were introduced in 1995, shooting-related deaths dropped dramatically. But, despite the pleas of police officers and victims’ families, gun control will be history under a Harper majority.
  3. No equal marriage. In 2005, Harper and a majority of his party voted for the proposition that marriage can only happen between heterosexuals. During the debate on Bill C-38 — the equal marriage bill — Harper appeared at rallies where anti-gay rhetoric flourished. The Tory leader does not regard the issue as one of human rights. In Parliament in September 2003, he dismissed it as a discussion about “sexual behaviour.” It’ll be gone, too.
  4. The death penalty. Since 2004, Harper has said he favours a free vote on a return of the death penalty. He wrote the Reform Party platform that called for a binding referendum on it. Most of his caucus are onside, with a majority of Conservative MPs — including Harper’s current justice minister — voting for it the last time it was before the House in 1987. More recently, in an interview with CBC in January, Harper stated: “There are times where capital punishment is appropriate.” While Harper hastened to add that he then had “no plans” to bring back the ultimate sentence.

There many other issues where Stephen Harper has been clear about what he favours — such as more jails, more government advertising, more baubles for the generals — and what he does not.

He isn’t shy. It’s all there, on the record, for those who want to look.

What is also there is this truth: For good or bad, by the time Harper is done with it, you won’t recognize Canada.

85 Comments

  1. Enough Harper says:

    “The Conservatives already ended gun control and Kyoto. Next may be a woman’s right to choose, or gay marriage.” J. Chretien, Dec 12, 2011

  2. Michael S says:

    The Honourable Robert Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Ontario, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Officer of the Knights Of Columbus, member of Opus Dei.

    Y’think he might have gone a little rogue? I’m sure the SoCons are just chompin’ at the bit.

    • Ted says:

      Not rogue.

      Unleashed by the PM. Test the waters. Plausible deniability for Harper if there is heat, and an ability to pull back, but a chance to push forward and chip away if there is no heat.

      • pomojen says:

        exactly. chillingly so.

        I remember the conservative commentators here too, all frothing at the notion that Harper would go there if he won a majority. And I also remember asking several of them several times what they would do/ say/ think if he did. Crickets chirped but the cons stayed silent. I don’t remember any of them saying “He won’t and I would not support it/ would be opposed to that action if he did.” Not a single one.

  3. Ted says:

    You forget:

    1. They already started in on abortion by reducing funding for family planning organizations like Planned Parenthood and making international maternal funding conditional upon no abortion. Those were both big reversals and that happened under a minority. Now they are starting the rumblings domestically.

    2. They also already started in on the death penalty. They reversed a longstanding, decades old bipartisan supported policy of not extraditing Canadians if they faced the death penalty abroad.

    3. Human rights protection: They already gutted Rights and Democracy under a minority government which helped protect and shine the light on rights violations abroad and eliminated several rights defence programs and funding domestically. Now they are considering or gutting the Canada Human Rights Act.

    See the pattern here? Test the waters in the international space. When the protests don’t happen, keep chipping away.

    First they came for…

    • frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

      Well said Ted…. Preston Manning said Refoormers had to be “as silent as snakes” to implement their agenda……it is the one lesson that Mr. Harper and his cabal have taken to heart(if they have one)

  4. frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you Mr Kinsella for continuing to shine a light on these cockroaches……

    Not a day goes by that I dont want to do penance for supporting the merger that helped bring this scourge upon Canada……

    I rue the day I had anything to do with any of ye Refoormers…….ignorant, backward, selfish, narrow-minded, bigoted, homophobic, misogynist, anti-environmentalist hypocrites that you are…….

  5. Mulletaur says:

    Please name names for the conservative columnists who said you were wrong and link to their articles. It’s name and shame time. I’m sick and tired of blatant shilling for the Conservatives masquerading as ‘journalism’. Time to call them out.

  6. AP says:

    “You voted for these assholes, folks.”

    Best fuckin’ line of the day

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      Warren, I am afraid you are wrong. I never, never, ever have voted in any way, shape or form for these assholes. I know you know a thing or 2 about defamation. Say I voted Conservative again you’re slapped with a suit.

      I once appeared as “Mr. September” in a PC MP’s householder callendar back in ’86 or something. I considered a defamation suit then, too, and Aurel Gervais was not anywhere near the asshole these current assholes are.

      Just saying …

  7. tOM Trottier says:

    Duh!

    If the liberals just abandoned their party party and joined the NDP, we’d be done with the jerk.

  8. Harper has gutted Court Challenges Canada,has will increase mentally ill ppl into jails from 30% to 45% because of his Bill C-10.He has increased the military budget ten-fold meaning less maufacturing jobs & less and less social programs.He has increased Canada’s military presence in the world & changed foreign ploicy from a small middle power peacekeeping nation to a world power bully.As far as lockout worker in Hamilton & London he has done nothing for the workers but gave these companies corporate welfare.He is following the US & UK into joint adventures where Canada should not be involved.They care very little for the disabled,poor & marginlaized in society.The sooner he’s gone the better.

  9. Jason says:

    I’m no lawyer, but I do want to say a couple of things…

    It’s one thing to marry same sex couples that live in other countries. It’s quite another to divorce them. Here in NB, family court is a major draw on precious resources (judges, money, time). It’s messy and personal. There is real property, money, and children involved. If we say we’ll uphold the marriage, and start processing the divorces, will that not be a further draw on our resources? I have no problem if it’s Canadians (who live here, work here, pay taxes here), but I don’t think that we should be processing divorces just because where the people live don’t recognize the marriage.

    I’m just saying, it takes way too long for Canadians to do this now. I don’t think it’s right that Canadians should have to get in line behind Americans to access our legal system.

    (and wouldn’t that be like treating Americans to our health system, just because their state doesn’t have health care – as an example?)

    • International Progressive says:

      BS. Canada has a moral responsibility to provide equal marriage for all, regardless of sexual orientation or national origin!

      • Ted says:

        Not the point.

        We DO have complete jurisdiction over our own laws.

        It is absolutely asinine for the Harper Government to claim that a completely legal, valid and recognized marriage in Canada is invalid and not recognized because of the laws of some foreign country.

        They should still not be granted a divorce since they don’t meet the residency requirements which pre-date equal marriage and are there for good reasons. But that is not all that the Harper Government is claiming. It is ridiculous for them to claim there is no marriage here.

      • International Progressive says:

        You don’t believe in equal marriage?

        Thank you for admitting that you support the Harper hidden homophobic agenda.

        • Philip says:

          I.P.: I’m pretty sure Ted laid out his support for same sex marriage in his paragraph I re-posted below. Ted is right, Harper’s claim, that SSMs performed in Canada are void if they aren’t allowed in their country of origin, is complete bullshit.

          “It is absolutely asinine for the Harper Government to claim that a completely legal, valid and recognized marriage in Canada is invalid and not recognized because of the laws of some foreign country.”

          I do agree with Ted that a divorce should have a residency requirement, as the issues of property, custody of children and perhaps even spousal support make it a much more complex undertaking than marriage. Residency requirements are there to prevent jurisdiction shopping before a divorce.

          In short, marry whomever floats your boat but live in the jurisdiction in which you apply for a divorce.

        • Ted B says:

          Philip, I’m pretty sure IP was responding to Gordie and not me.

      • Michael S says:

        Marriage is a contract. We provide that contract, and then create a catch-22. Not on, at least in the civilized world.

  10. smelter rat says:

    Reminds me of the story of the frog in pan of water….the heat being slowly turned up.

  11. Marc L says:

    I would be the first one to oppose the elimination of same-sex marriage (and I don’t like what’s happening here either). I would be the first to oppose the reinstatement of the death penatly. I would certainly oppose the elimination of gun control. And I would oppose the elimination of the right to abortion. How about being a bit more honest, or at least objective about this.
    1. Abortion: backbenchers can do what they want. Harper has stated time and time again that he will not reopen the abortion issue. This is not official government policy.
    2. Gun control: gun control and the long gun registry are not one and the same. Gun control is not “as good as gone”! Gun control still exists in this country. It existed before the registry and it will exist after the registry.
    3. Same-sex marriage: Harper said this afternoon that he will not repoen the issue. Why this is happening is anybody’s guess. Harper says he is was not aware of the Justice department’s move. Bob Rae stated the following: ““It does not make sense to me,” “I understand Mr. Harper said he didn’t know about it and he doesn’t see every legal brief that goes before the courts. Of all the people in Canada who could actually make that argument it’s a little hard for him to make the argument because my sense of that government is that he controls everything. “… But I have to take the Prime Minister at his word when he says what he says.” ” I think that’s fair.
    4. He does not intend to reinstitute the death penalty either. That would kill him politically. he is not that stupid!

    I think one can have suspicions as to why this is happening. I wonder whether these token but inconsequential events (except for the gun registry, but no hidden agenda there) are not part of a strategy to placate the right wing of his party while not actually changing anything of substance. Sort of like the monarchy BS. That makes more sense to me that twisted conspiracy theories that have little basis in fact (really, you listen to backbenchers??? Remember Tom Waddell???…LOL!)
    You are distorting a lot of facts to make everything fit your conspiracy theories.

    • Ted says:

      Point of Information, Mr. Speaker.

      Harper’s gun registry legislation is doing more than just getting rid of the registry itself. It is also eliminating any means of requiring or tracking the sales of long guns and it is including in the long gun category semi-automatic guns that no one would use for hunting or self-protection.

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say gun control is gone. But this is a big step in that direction. Like the others, he puts a toe in the water, then moves up to his ankle, then his knee and pretty soon we’re in over our heads.

      • Marc L says:

        Ah yes, the good old sneak it in slowly tactic. Implement the “hidden agenda” bit by bit so that no one notices, and then bingo, it’s already too late. If the Liberal party spent as much time addressing the real issues that Canada is likely to face over the next few years rather than spending all your energy demonizing the opposition with the help of absurd conspiracy theories, you might actually get somewhere.

        • Ted says:

          Nothing hidden. His former mentor, campaign manager and chief of staff wrote a whole book about how this was his plan. He called it incrementalism, and said it was a calculated strategy.

          To what does the strategy apply is the question. Personally, I think all of the anti-choice acts Harper has done (despite, cough cough, “not wanting to open up the debate) has been bones he throws to the SoCons in his party to keep them in line and not his priority. He knows well enough what a third rail that would be not just for him, but for the Conservative Party as a whole and his primary legacy, the one he wants, is to make the Conservatives the natural governing party. But Canadians don’t trust them enough yet for that.

          Gun legislation, however, is something else. Why else would he make such back door deregulation moves without telling anyone during an election and then shut down debate in the House, while police across the country are saying we want the registry data and we want to be able to at least go back to the laws in place in 1994 when businesses were required to register sales?

    • james curran says:

      Distorting the facts? The Cons have been polling the death penalty issue since they were elected. IN FACT they’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars doing it!

      http://whatdoiknowgrit.blogspot.com/2007/11/base-jumpingfrom-my-blog-to-winnipeg.html

  12. bc says:

    This isn’t a serious post, is it Warren?

    This is just your schtick. Phew.

  13. Philippe says:

    Imagine what our country will look like in a few years. Why is it that these conservative morons want to take us 50 years back on every major social issue? Fire the scientists, f*ck the facts, to hell with studies, bring back the good’ol 50’s.

    I would love to see an in depths study comparing conservative vs progressive voter IQs. Most days my impression is that their circus is led by a few intellectuals who bring along a bunch of monkeys for the ride.

    • Marc L says:

      Here we are again. Liberals believing that they are intelectually and morally superior to everyone else. And, then you wonder why nobody votes for you anymore LOL!!!! With that attitude, your party will get nowhere — you have no ideas and you are smug, arrogant and condescending on top of it. Keep it up and you’ll lose even more seats.

  14. billg says:

    When you keep yelling and screaming at Canadians that the sky is falling and everything we cherish is being destroyed, and, it never happens, why do you guys keep doing it?
    For 7 years we’ve heard the same thing, abortion, SSM, Gun Control…and for 7 years the LPC has steadily lost votes, seats, ground and donations.
    Jack Nicklaus said he never really played great at majors, he just watched as his opponents flailed around aimlessly until he won. I’m starting to think Harper is a bit like Nicklaus.
    SSM will remain. A womans right to choose will remain. We still have gun control but its not at the level the Left wants. By all means, keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome, but, there is a definition for that.

  15. Derek Pearce says:

    The one thing that has made me actually chuckle about this is that you just know Harper’s team is mighty pissed at not being informed of this strategy ahead of time. For them, today was clearly going to be all about the ship-building speech at Irving and hopefully a day or two of positive coverage after that to boot. This totally took the agenda way from them. Heh.

  16. Niall says:

    Hey FDCNHL,

    Chill out Man. !

    Your unhinged ad-hominem attack on those who have a different OPINION than you reveals all we need to know about your psyche, and your intellectual stage of development.

    Sheesh.

    Niall from Winnipeg

  17. Michael S says:

    I’m sure Stevie Chuckles was just a basket of joy on that seven hour flight.

  18. koby says:

    Thousands of SSM American couples got married in Canada. At the time many of them got married, the state they resided in did not recognize their marriage, but later did. Is Harper and friends really going to insist that these marriages never happened even though they have since been they legally recognized Stateside? Indeed, we are not only talking about couples from states or countries who have since legalized SSM and recognized these couples as being married. These marriages often have legal ramifications even in states and countries without SSM.

    What is more, people fail to realize is that SSM are potentially not only ones effected. If we take this reasoning back a generation, it would also mean that inter racial couples from states with Anti-miscegenation laws, who married in Canada, are not, in fact, married under Canadian law. Remember the Anti-miscegenation laws in some US states existed up until 1967.

    What is particularly galling about all of this is that the notion that Canada can shore up its residency requirement by denying that x number of SSM are not in fact marriages is, obviously flawed. After all, same sex couples from places without SSM are not the only ones getting married in Canada.

    • Warren says:

      There’s a beautiful class action here for a smart lawyer.

    • james Smith says:

      This afternoon the story was the 2nd lead on the NPR news. The Dear Leader finally has the attention he craves from his American betters.

    • Derek Pearce says:

      For that matter, divorce was illegal & not possible in Ireland until 1996. If any couples were married in Ireland and then were legally divorced in Canada prior to 1996, then this whole case falls apart.

  19. patrick deberg says:

    Emperor Tulk ! You are running around naked here!!

  20. Paul says:

    Thank you, Gord and others above for saving me the trouble of debunking (yet again) those four non-issues that Warren keeps perpetuating. I know the Libs are desperate to get back into power, but is spreading falsehoods really the best way to accomplish that end?

    How about some new ideas that Canadians might actually be interested in supporting, rather than trotting out the same old fear-mongering “hidden agenda” BS over and over again?

  21. Philippe says:

    We know what your party really wants, Gord. Really, who are you trying to fool?

    • Philippe says:

      Paranoid eh?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Canada
      “Complicating matters, Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper indicated that a Tory government would work to restore the prohibition on same-sex marriage if Parliament voted to do so in a free vote.”

      If he felt he could get away with it (which at some point he might), I think we both know how fast he’s reverse the legislation. We all know what he wants – the only thing stopping this from happening is that he (and your party) know it’s political suicide right now.

      • Warren says:

        The issue, here, is your team is trying to change the clock back.

      • The Doctor says:

        Phillippe, based on your “logic”, the Liberal Party will be pulling us out of FTA/NAFTA the minute they get back into office. And abolishing the GST. After all, they once vowed to do both of those things, didn’t they?

      • Philippe says:

        That’s a rather ridiculous comparison. Although Libs were against NAFTA when it first came about, they kept it through consecutive majorities and have embraced the idea. Harper and company will never heartily “embrace” gay marriage as it goes against their inner fiber, and, in many cases, their religious beliefs (which many would argue as intolerant).

        Whoever becomes Lib leader won’t run around secretly hoping to reverse free trade. The same, in my opinion, can’t be said about Harper and gay marriage. He may never act on it, all depends on his sense of whether the electorate will let him get away it. If he sees an opening, I have no doubt he’ll act.

  22. Tim says:

    The PM is lying on this one. He needs to get nailed as a liar. Plausible deniability must be turned into a “you stepped in something Mr Prime Minister and some of it got on you”. Canadians don’t like liars.

  23. International Progressive says:

    Harper is bigoted against gays and Muslims.

    I bet that Muslims are far more tolerant than Harper.

  24. ben burd says:

    As to #3 if the there is no problem why would the Justice Dept make the claim that the marriage does not exist – that’sz7fw the point in this discussion not the divorce law – two separate issues and one of them is not being rebutted giving credence to the “agenda”

  25. Ted says:

    Gun control does not remain 100% intact, Gordie.

    Harper snuck in some pretty big changes.

    I can accept that the gun registry is going to go: he campaigned on that and won a majority. He gets the spoils.

    But he never said he would get rid of all the data and the police want that data.

    And more importantly he never said he would stop requiring businesses to register gun sales, which they were required to do before the gun registry, but now will not be required to do.

  26. Marc L says:

    So much for them “going after” same-sex marriage.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/justice-minister-declares-all-same-sex-marriages-legal-and-valid/article2301691/

    Maybe instead of trying to scare people away from voting Conservative, Liberals could try to give us a reason to vote for them. Hopefully, something will come out of their convention — although it doesn’t look too promising unless you love Grain monopsonies and smoke marijuana.

    • Attack! says:

      Or maybe instead of being such an obliging conbot who’s so quick to accept a complete 180 by the fed gov’t within the space of a day without batting an eye, you should look at the actual source document that started all this,

      where Sean Gaudet, the lawyer submitting for the Attorney General of Canada’s very first point for denying their application for divorce is:

      “The Superior Court does not have the to grant the Joint
      Applicants divorce because, under principles of private
      international law that apply in Canada. the Joint Applicants are not legally married under Canadian law;”

      It’s the first document Kady O’Malley put up at

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/inside-politics-blog/2012/01/source-document—attorney-general-response-to-application-for-divorce.html

      and the direct link to the full pdf (should be able to right click & save) is:

      http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/283173/l-and-m-answer.pdf

    • Philip says:

      Or Harper Inc. got their asses handed to them and then flailed around for 24 hours before they had to walk it back. Harper Inc. will try again in a couple of years, this is far from over. The Conservative incrimental strategy has been public kmowledge for awhile now. So nice try Marc L., I’m not buying whatever you are trying to sell here. Pretty sure I’m not the only one either.

      • Marc L says:

        Not trying to sell anything my dear man. I don`t support any party (not to the appropriately-named “Attack!” above — I am not a con-bot). That`s because I don`t agree with any parties’ set of policies enough to want to defend them. But I can only laugh when I see blind partisans like yourselves frothing at the mouth every time Harper`s name is pronounced. Harper ALWAYS stated that he has no intention of re-opening the issue and THAT is what matters, not what the department of Justice did. Someone screwed up somewhere, that`s all.

      • Marc L says:

        By the way, I don’t like conspiracy theories in general. I believe 9-11 actually happened. I believe man walked on the moon. I don’t believe Harper got elected under false pretenses and is conspiring to pop a few on us by surprise. You really have to be blindly partisan to look at things that way. By the way, what happened to his secret plan to destroy health care? How about the soldiers in the streets — you were planning to go ahead with that one as well, until somone realized it was a bit much. And, now, here you go again. As I said above, why don’t you give us a reason to vote for you instead — I will happily vote for a Liberal party that promotes fiscal conservatism and right-of centre economic policies while promoting left-of-centre social policy (like the right to gay marriage etc.) Unfortunately, we will not get that if Bob Rae is your next leader.

        • Philip says:

          Really? Because from right here it looks exactly like Harper Inc. couldn’t walk back their slip of the mask back fast enough. He is a day late and a dollar short. This little Justice Dept. move has Mr. Harper’s and the Conservative Party’s fingerprints all over it. People can see that now. So keep laying down that smoke screen, Marc. Nothing makes me smile like the sight of all these Conservatives coming out of the woodwork, suddenly all in favour of same sex marriage. At this rate I can only assume that Mr. Harper will be the 2012 Pride Parade Marshall?

          FYI, I’m not here to convince you to vote for any particular party. Make up your own mind, or not. Whatever blows your hair back.

  27. Harriscandoit says:

    Wow this article is everything I have been screaming about and more. Too all the people who maintained the Conservatives would not pull half the stuff they have already done, if you voted for them you deserve it. Why the rest of us have to pay for your stupidity is another matter.

  28. Mike Foulds says:

    Did you notice they already reversed course on this? Talk about floating ideas that Harper can later backtrack on!

  29. Allisntwell says:

    As my granpappy used to say, “Betchall feel real dumb now that ya said that”! There is no hidden agenda on SSM…PERIOD.Same goes for abortion,death penalty etc etc.
    Please do keep up the fear mongering though because election after election thousands of swing voters are realizing that mainstream libs have very few tools other than trying to portray Harper as a boogieman. 3 election, 7 years and none of it has come to play. But please do continue.

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