02.03.2013 06:23 AM

In Sunday’s Sun: Stanley the Cat, and the year ahead

As he kicks off the 2013 Parliamentary calendar – and as he nears the mid-point in his majority mandate – Prime Minister Stephen Harper has a serene look about him.
The clearest indication of this came on Twitter, naturally, which Harper has embraced with all the enthusiasm of a teenager who received a Blackberry Z10 prototype under the Christmas tree.
There he was this week, merrily tweeting photographs of him partaking breakfast with his cat Stanley.  (We are not making this up, as much as we wish that we were.) Later on in the day, Canadians were rewarded with tweeted photos of Harper eating a healthy-looking lunch, and even giving a Conservative MP a high-five.  For what, we don’t know. But the Prime Ministerial day presently looks like more fun than a barrel full of Ikea Monkeys.
He should enjoy it while he can. Ominous clouds are gathering on the Conservative horizon, and not even joyful Twitter tweets can obscure them.
For starters, there’s the war thing. Faithfully reprising Richard M. Nixon – who also launched a secret war, except in Cambodia – Harper appears to be leading an unaware nation into a combat role in Mali. And, while he wants us to pay attention to his cat Stanley, he’s evidently less interested in Canadians knowing what awaits in a faraway African quagmire.
Thus, we had to learn from French TV reports that we are sending untold numbers of special forces commandos to Mali.  Similarly, we discovered a Canadian cargo plane – and the personnel required to keep it aloft – are heading there, too. And it was Mali’s president who told us that – on Twitter. (Pix of the Mali presidential cat? Untweeted.  Canada’s Parliament? Unconsulted.)
Meanwhile, in this hemisphere, troubles aplenty await. Frustrated by Idle No More’s inconclusive conclusion, many First Nations leaders remain unhappy, and are promising a Spring that will be memorable for blockades and road closures.   Elections Canada’s investigations into the Conservative robocalls scandal continue.
Cravenly seeking a few extra votes in separatist-led Quebec, idiots within the NDP want to scrap the immensely-popular Clarity Act.  In so doing, the New Democrats are ensuring an unwelcome return of past constitutional and unity battles.  Which Harper, and Canadians, need like a hole in the head.
In mid-April, Liberals are expected to elevate Justin Trudeau to the Liberal Party leadership. However much Conservatives like to publicly claim that they will welcome the Montreal Grit MP’s arrival on the big stage, they privately acknowledge that Trudeau’s surging popularity remains a political problem.  
In the boxing ring, the much-disliked Conservative “Senator” Patrick Brazeau learned – the hard way – what can happen when Cons underestimate Trudeau.  And, in previously-hostile places like Kamloops, Trudeau recently attracted more than 600 enthusiastic supporters.  (The last time a federal Liberal brought out that many Westerners was to attend a hanging – of Liberals.)
Most worrisome, for Harper, remains the economy.  Concerns persist about Canadian household debt, a declining housing market, a flattened commodities market, and ongoing economic instability in Europe and the U.S.  Fully half of Canadians have told Harris-Decima that they are worried – or “very worried” – about what the future holds for them and their families.
The Bank of Canada has downgraded its projections for the year, foretelling that economic growth will decline.  The combined budgetary deficits for this year and last are expected to be at least $10 billion worse than forecast by the Conservative government.
When in tight spots in the past, Harper rolled out his piano to play Beatles tunes, or posed in a cuddly sweater.  This year, he’s tweeting photos of Stanley the Cat.  Will it work again?
We shall see. But even Stanley might acknowledge that, after six long years in power, Stephen Harper’s troubles are increasingly unlikely to be tweeted away.


  1. Chubsy Ubsy says:

    “…looks like more fun than a barrel full of Ikea Monkeys.” Part of my vocab now. Thank you, Sir. 🙂

  2. Bruce A says:

    We can only hope and that Mr. Harper’s luck will run out. Yet I don’t think the country has had their fill of him and his Cabinet Of Many Stooges.

    As for war, well, it would appear a great many Canadians have developed a taste for it. Never a good sign.

  3. dave says:

    I figure some resume building polticians and brass hats are hoping something will happen to one or some of our soldiers in Mali, get some good press, lots of anger and support in Cananda for increasing the Mali commitment, and our subsidizing of Canadian based mining companies.

    I see, too, that our governors are sending our soldiers to Central America to make war on drugs. So now we are subsidizing organized crime and expanded police state powers.

    Now I will be grumpy alll morning.

  4. Cath says:

    FYI – they spelled your name wrong over at the NNW aggregate.

    That Stanley and Twitter stuff’s working for Harper in the same way it works for the Obama when he takes Bo for walkies and a pee. Speaking of….how IS your political pooch?

  5. Silvana de Gasparis says:

    I wish I could be as optimistic as you about Harper’s lack of popularity! The truth is, and we have seen it so many times, that Harper is very good at commandeering or fabricating all kinds of achievements and regaining popularity with Canadians. Remember his claim that he saved the Canadian economy? A lot of very forgetful people actually believed him.

    But please forgive me if I get a bit out of context. You seem to look on Trudeau as the great Liberal hope. As a Calgarian, I was dismayed by his contribution to the loss of the South Calgary byelection. Is he going to be another Ignatieff-type leader, with both feet in his mouth and nothing in his head, but good looking? (I am one woman who is not charmed by his boyish good looks)

    Also, apart from Joyce Murray, all the candidates are ignoring the elephant in the room, and he is a big, fat, dangerous elephant! One of the candidates seems to think that he can win enough votes to put the elephant in the minority. Even assuming that he could, has he forgotten how proficient a polititian the elephant is at playing both sides against the middle? But maybe this candidate was not on Earth at that time…

    If Harper is not gone, all the best Liberal plans for Canada are pie in the sky!

    Another surprising thing about the candidates is that they seem to think that they have “done” the West! Helloooo, what about Calgary? This is yet another sign of the liberal leadership’s lack of understanding of the Canadian political reality.

    • Thomas Gallezot says:

      Well put! Good to see that people in the west are smarter than here in Toronto. Canada has two engines, Quebec and Alberta. If we manage to have them pushing in the same direction, we’ll be fine.

    • patrick says:

      Ignatieff – “nothing in his head” seriously. Little skill at being a politician, especially by coronation and not earning it in the trenches, but Ignatieff is hardly just a pretty face. Perhaps you think people get teaching positions at Harvard by lottery? Ignatieff has been far more eloquent about the issues facing the world, whether you agree with him or not, than Harper, who just drones platitudes off the shelf.

  6. kit says:

    Liberals have been in and out of Calgary like never before. Where have you been Silvana? And the voters who decided to split the anti CON vote are what allowed a CON to be elected in calgary south, just like calgary north east……….. Time for preferential ballots.

  7. CQ says:

    “Thus, we had to learn from French TV reports that we are sending untold numbers of special forces commandos to Mali.” As opposed to when the Chretien Liberals were in charge and we found out those same Cdn. forces were in Afghanistan – through a released photo of light colour U.S. uniforms while mixed in with unknown (Cdn.) dark green uniform personnel?

  8. William Carter says:

    Cambodia As An Organizing Metaphor

    From the beginning, the Western-CCP partnership was corrupt: supplying the Khmer Rouge (who liquidated about 2 million people or about one fifth of the Cambodian people) was in line with the West’s diplomatic support for Pol Pot. The United Nations General Assembly was witness to the extraordinary spectacle of the Western democracies, America and Great Britain included, voting to continue recognition of a defunct regime which they themselves acknowledged as the most thorough mass-murderers since Hitler. The reason was this: the West did not want to upset its new ally and trading partner, China. For China, was also Pol Pot’s principle backer.

    Nixon lauded the Maoist regime and spoke of the “dedication” of Mao’s cynical coterie, whom Kissinger called “a group of monks … who have … kept their revolutionary purity.” Nixon’s men asserted, falsely, that “under Mao the lives of the Chinese masses have been greatly improved.” Nixon’s favorite evangelist, Billy Graham, lauded Mao’s virtue to British businessmen. The result was an image of Mao a whole lot further from the truth than the one that Nixon himself had helped purvey as a fierce anti-Communist in the 1950s.

    Pierre Trudeau made four visits to China between 1960 and 1979 and continually played the role of appeaser and apologist, first to Mao Zedong, and later to his heirs. In 1973, he defended Mao’s policies in Canada’s Parliament, oblivious to (or uncaring about) the fact that he was seeking accommodation with a system responsible for the deaths of some 80 million people.

    Relations between the CCP and the Harper regime were strained at the beginning; primarily over Harper putting human rights in China on the agenda. Because of this, it is a sound assumption that the CCP would prefer Trudeau to become Prime Minister as his ancestry is one of unequivocal support of the CCP and its policies. While this may be fine for the CCP, one wonders if it will be good for Canadians. For example, right now in the courts is the case of Chinese temporary foreign worker miners being hired even with qualified Canadians available. Given the Trudeau family’s public praise of communist/command economies (China, Cuba, Soviet Union), one must question if the CCP would be given carte blanche under a Trudeau regime. Indeed, the Canadian Nation (encumbered as it is with such pesky constructs as the rule of law, concerns over environment, limited immigration, etc) stands in the way of mass Chinese immigration (some CCP social planners envision a mass migration of 100 million now that the environment of China is all but totally wrecked) and/or hyper-aggressive resource extraction.

    As we slide towards year zero, trust no one – Nixon, Trudeau, Harper, Trudeau – all princes want unlimited power. The pigs do indeed walk on hind legs.

  9. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Great fun when we agree. Even more enjoyable when we don’t.

    However, like you, I tend to unselfishly save a good many of my sparks for the present federal government! Gratis.

  10. patrick says:

    What is it about the right that love pointless, expensive wars in bad times?
    They are a distraction.
    They finance war profiteers like Lougheed-Martin.
    They cause fear and paranoia and tend to polarize a society.
    They let fat, soulless men shed soulless tears and put shiny medals on their chest.
    Uh, wait a minute……….

  11. ray says:

    whom the Gods would destroy, they first oversell.

  12. Lance says:

    “Ominous clouds are gathering on the Conservative horizon”.

    They’ve been “gathering” since he took power. And to what avail? An ever increasing governing mandate. I doubt whatever “gathers” troubles him much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.