07.31.2014 07:56 PM

In Friday’s Sun: a thousand points of light. Stay the course. Persian Gulf.

Capricious, unstructured and even dangerous: That’s what American political thinker Walter Lippmann once wrote about the public’s views on foreign policy.

“The unhappy truth,” he wrote in 1955, “is that the prevailing public opinion has been destructively wrong at critical junctures. [The people] have compelled governments to be too late with too little, too long with too much, too pacifist in peace or bellicose in war.”

Not very nice, Lippmann’s view, but he isn’t alone. Many politicians privately feel likewise. And no less than the Athenian democrats restricted participation in democracy to those who were adult, male and not a slave.

Lippmann, the Athenians and the like-minded friends are wrong, however. The electorate is entirely capable of understanding foreign policy. A quick glance at social media these days will make clear that foreign policy can and does frequently capture the attention of regular folks.

On Facebook, for instance, photographs of pets and favourite meals have given way to angry posts about the war now raging in Gaza. On Twitter, armchair generals are doing likewise.

Some members of the commentariat, therefore, are suggesting that foreign policy, if done right, can be a sure-fire vote winner. Some are even opining that Stephen Harper’s path to re-election, and another majority, is to be seen as the foreign policy muse of the G8.

On the much-read National Newswatch Thursday morning, then, a column on Harper and foreign policy was the top headlined item. In it, the Public Policy Forum’s Dr. Don Lenihan wrote that Harper’s approach to foreign policy “just might pay off at the ballot box.”

Writes Lenihan, who is influential in Ottawa: “Harper has positioned himself as a champion of democracy and is using his place on the world stage to stand up to tyrants and terrorists.”

Politically, “[Harper’s foreign policy moves are] starting to look like a very smart. By contrast with Vladimir Putin or Hamas, Harper can’t help but look good. Standing up to them looks even better. While he’s been criticized for being too one-sided, and even of shooting from the lip, lots of people agree with his hard line.”

Indeed they do. This assistant to a former Liberal prime minister is one of them. Harper’s willingness to be tough with the likes of Putin and Hamas – in effect, punching above Canada’s foreign policy weight class – is something to be admired, whether you agree with him or not.

But will it pay electoral dividends? Can Harper actually win an election against the surging Trudeau Liberals with foreign policy?

Not a chance.

Ask George H. W. Bush. The 41st U.S. president was similarly preoccupied with foreign affairs. During his tenure, from 1988 to 1992, Bush was a blur of foreign policy movement – on Panama, on the Somali civil war, on the Gulf War, on the then-Soviet Union, on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Bush was the foreign policy president, to the point that Saturday Night Live’s Dana Carvey regularly lampooned him for it. “We’re on track,” said Carvey in one sketch, a dead ringer for Bush. “We’re getting the job done. Stay on course. A thousand points of light.”

Bill Clinton, meanwhile, had a different strategy. “It’s the economy, stupid,” Clinton’s war-room boss, James Carville, pithily wrote on a sign on the wall of the campaign headquarters in Little Rock.

And, as history records, Clinton won, Bush lost.

Foreign policy is important, sure. But if Harper seriously thinks it’s a way back to 24 Sussex, he should give George Bush Sr. a shout.

Or even Dana Carvey.



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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    The road to re-election runs right through the middle class as both Harper and Trudeau have concluded. When you’ve been in office for a dog’s age, it sure is hard to refresh the brand. Foreign policy certainly can’t do that. And frankly as Harper might admit, the pronoucements of a second-rate middle power tends to evoke yawns across the foreign policy jewel capitals on the planet. No one really gives two shits what a given Canadian government thinks about x, y and z. Sad but true and realistic in the world of realpolitik.

    Pandering to the middle class including invoking income splitting as the holy grail is the way to go. Watch both leaders avail themselves of this strategy. It will help one of them win while the other gets to return to private life.

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      Matt says:

      In order for Trudeau to fight for the middle class, he first needs to come up with a coherent definition of exactly who he thinks is in the middle class.

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        Domenico says:

        No he doesn’t. Just about everybody self identifies as being in the middle class.

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    TrueNorthist says:

    Ah but the Clinton war-room actually had a detailed and comprehensive economic plan, where as all the Liberals currently have are some slogans and a fiery little lady in a red dress. I’m afraid I just don’t see the similarities.

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      Terry Quinn says:

      True Northist, please tell me what comprehensive plan any party in Canada has right now some 15 months before an election. Don’t worry about JT and a plan. It will appear in a timely manner.

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        TrueNorthist says:

        I can see your trap so forgive me for not taking the bait. The Liberals are hiding their economic plans to the latest possible moment to avoid serious scrutiny. That may fool some but it won’t fool most and certainly not me. Too bad really, because I am looking for a reason to vote Liberal but haven’t seen one yet.

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          Domenico says:

          TrueNorthist: The strategy worked for Chretien big time. want a reaosn to vote for Trudeau? The answer is Stephen Harper.

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          Terry Quinn says:

          BS. No bait here as they need to know where the economy is going first and its too far out yet. Where is Harpo’s plan which will be the biggest bag of shite out there when it does appear.

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            Elisabeth Lindsay says:

            Same as last time. It`s the economy, stupid. It is ALWAYS the economy.

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          TrueNorthist says:

          Terry Quinn: You say BS — no bait — then go on to describe the trap you set. Whatever. I am not interested in discussing your hatred. I am waiting for something to vote for, not against. That means telling me what the plan is, not just hopping about shouting Harper eats babies. The Liberals are carefully hiding their plan for the reasons I stated.

          Domenico: Same answer. Your hatred of the PM is not a valid reason for me to vote Liberal.

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            Domenico says:

            To be clear: I don’t hate Harper, I just don’t like him, his policies, his agenda, and his vision of Canada. Therefore I do not vote for him. If you like Harper and the CONS, by all means vote for him. If you prefer Angry Tom and his policies, fill your boots. But asking for a detailed economic plan 15 months before the election, and purporting that the Liberals are hiding something by not supplying this is at best naive.

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            TrueNorthist says:

            With all due respect Domenico, I am not trying to pick a fight. But it’s not just a lack of a detailed plan 15 months out, it’s a complete lack of any plan which is ridiculous and deliberately secretive. As I said, all they’ve got right now is slogans and attitude. But you know, I am continually amazed at how eagerly the JT crowd attacks anyone that dares ask questions about why people should vote for them. Blows my mind really. Funny way to run a campaign.

            And I agree with you Scot. The word has been abused a lot lately, by folks clearly using it for sneaky reasons. Like bigots claiming they are being discriminated against for not being allowed to spread their bigotry, aka Ezra Levant’s predictable BS. I get it. But there really is an awful lot of genuine hatred for the PM that is being substituded for argument. I am just looking for something more than that. I really am.

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    Matt says:

    Not related to the subject matter of this article, but thought I’d post for anyone interested. Second quarter fundraising totals:

    CPC – $4,700,705.94 (Up $50,000 from 1st quarter 2014)
    Liberals – $2,858,548.62 (Down $920,000 from 1st quarter 2014, and down $100,000 from 2nd quarter 2013)
    NDP – $1,519,338.06 (Down $1 million from 1st quarter 2014)
    Greens – $531,404.13 (Up $50,000 from 1st quarter 2014)

    Total contributors:

    CPC – 35,837 (Up around 4,100 over 1st quarter)
    Liberals – 32,272 (Down around 2,500 over 1st quarter)
    NDP – 21,013 (Down around 700 over 1st quarter)

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      MississaugaPeter says:

      The Liberals numbers may be down from last quarter but they are really up (versus 2nd quarter 2012) and the NDP are down. Are the unions moving towards the federal Liberals like they did the Ontario Liberals?


      CPC (2012-Q2): $3,746,366.18
      Total donors: 28,790

      Liberals (2012-Q2): $1,807,092.36
      Total donors: 22,611

      NDP (2012-Q2): $1,743,862.40
      Total donors: 18,478

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        Matt says:

        One rather large problem with Psycho Sid Ryan’s plan.

        Harper isn’t Hudak.

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      Terry Quinn says:

      JT’s team did not raise money in Ontario while the provincial election campaign was on.

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        soulchaser says:

        Absolute nonsense.

        I’m in Ontario and on the CPC, Liberal and NDP email lists.

        Received several fundraising emails from the federal Liberals during the Ontario election, and Trudeau had at least one fundraising event here for the federal liberals during that time.

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          soulchaser says:

          Sorry Warren, it’s Matt. don’t know what happened there.

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          Terry Quinn says:

          Not nonsense at all. They held back on several major fund raisers that I know of. The regular Facebook and other on going victory fund ads continued to run. there was one long planned in my riding and postponed about a week after the election call.

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            Terry Quinn says:

            here’s more form the Libs on Q2 fund-raising just for doubting Thomas Matt the con apologist:


            Nonetheless, another party official said the Liberals are pleased with the latest numbers given that fundraising efforts were scaled back to accommodate for the Ontario provincial election.

            “We have kind of the same broad donor base (as the Ontario Liberals),” said party spokesman Olivier Duchesneau. “So if you take that into account, I don’t think the three per cent (decline in donations) is very significant. We’re maintaining our results from last year.”

            Last year’s results may have also been boosted by the so-called honeymoon effect, when political leaders tend to enjoy a high level of public support in the months after being elected.

            Trudeau was chosen to lead the Liberals in the first month of last year’s second quarter.

            The 2014 second-quarter results may have also been affected by the expulsion in January of Liberal senators from the party’s caucus. Trudeau not only decided to force Grit senators to sit as independents in the upper chamber in the wake of the Senate expense scandal, but he also prohibited them from raising money or campaigning for the party at the national level.

            Some Liberal senators, such as David Smith, who headed national Liberal campaigns under Jean Chretien, had previously been key party operators and fundraisers.

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            Matt says:

            So they’re pleased are they?

            Is that why they just sent out a fundraising email shitting themselves calling their Q2 results “scary” begging for more cash?

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    Al in Cranbrook says:

    Compared to just about all western leaders, but especially Obama, Harper is looking pretty good. It is no secret that he abhors moral ambivalence and relativism, something that has long been endemic among too many on the left.

    And “It’s the economy, stupid,” has always been his main political stance.

    The global times and events we are facing are not going to end any time soon…certainly not before Oct. 2015.

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      Kaspar Juul says:

      Crimes, moral ambivalence and relativism. What other cornball tea bag talking points are next Cranbrook Huckabee?

      “The stupid it burns” has always been the vibe of these unquantifiable chestnuts of yours, something that has been long endemic of Professor Cranbrook

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        TrueNorthist says:

        I have to admit, Cranbrook Huckabee made me giggle. Seriously Al, you really are pouring it on a little thick. One starts to get the impression of your room being plastered with pics of the PM with no shirt on, ala Mad Vlad the impaler. (My apologies to those who just threw-up a little)

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      Terry Quinn says:

      Al, of course its the economy. Harper lies about it every day.

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      Bruce A says:

      “The global times and events we are facing are not going to end any time soon” – as much as the HarpaCons try to stop time.

      The best part is that Stevie can talk all he wants but he won’t be making decisions affecting the entire human species!

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    que sera sera says:

    Six Hundred Reasons why Harper is a Scumbag


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      Matt says:

      Wow. Clearly the rantings of a seriously mentally unstable individual (Not you que sera sera). Some examples of the lunatics rantings:

      Reason #1 – Team Harper’s Racism, Reason #13 – Harper’s Control of the CBC, Reason #18 – Team Harper’s Racist Treatment of Natives, Reason #27 – Harper is Canada’s Worst Terrorist, Reason #30 – Harper is Full of It, Reason #46 – Harper Hates Everybody and Everything.

      Not to mention the creator of this list repeats the same things over and over and over.

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      Steve T says:

      This sort of list, which contains generic ad-hominem attacks like “Harper is a Fascist” and “Harper’s Genocide”, does not appeal to anyone other than those who already dislike Harper.

      It would be more helpful to have a shorter list, and actually flesh out the specific details of the concerns. Some may be legitimate, but currently, it just looks like a childish rant. I half-expected to see “Harper is a Poopy-Pants” on the list.

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        TrueNorthist says:

        Well said. But in fairness both the Liberals and the CPC are playing to their own choirs right now. I have seen much the same kind of silliness being circulated in CPC circles. Sooner or later one of them is going to have to try appealing to the vast middle ground and the first one to do so will probably win.

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          Patrick says:

          You nailed it right there. The election is going to come down to who gets votes from the middle ground you mention. Neither party is going to win with stuff like this that only plays to their base that is already committed to voting for them.

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      que sera sera says:

      Actually, if you want the specific details of each reason, go to: http://canadaelection2015.blogspot.ca/

      Since there is a post for every reason and a LINK to the research on every post, it’s a bit too naive (convenient?) to pretend the list of reasons are “the rantings of a seriously mentally unstable individual”. Unless of course the seriously mentally unstable individual you are referring to is Harper himself.

      Although the list appears to have been initially edited for brevity, the Harper government’s publicly reported activities has since driven the list (as of Aug 1/ 2014) up to Reason #1335.

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    Brammer says:

    I will take moral ambivalence and relativism over right-wing ideology-driven dogmatism any day, thank you very much. The latter may eventually spell the end of the human race.

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    doconnor says:

    Very few people agree that Canada under Harper punches above our weight and it is because, as you say, his actions are driven by what he thinks will get him votes, rather then doing what it right and being viewed as an honest broker.

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    sezme says:

    You are giving far too charitable an interpretation to Stephen Harper’s foreign policy stance. From where I stand, Harper’s doctrine, as it were, is to say, “Sir, yes sir!” to whatever the US or Israeli governments come up with.

    Rather than listening to Canadians as Chretien did by making it a priority to send Canadian troops on peacekeeping missions, and avoiding the Iraq quagmire (if not the one in Afghanistan, which at least had a whiff of credibility), Harper listens to precisely two foreign governments for policy ideas, and dictates their terms to Canadians.

    Rather than being remembered as some sort of visionary, he’ll go down in history as a Tony Blair wannabe, a lickspittle, an also-ran. Nice hair, though.

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      david ray says:

      Stephen Harper is Conasaurus Originalis who will soon be sleeping with the extinct wooly mammoth where he belongs.

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    Patrick says:

    First, just of the top of my head, the majority opposition to Vietnam, The Gulf War, Iraq, Nicaragua all proved to be overwhelming right.
    Second, Harper is a hair helmeted little yapper who isn’t keeping Putin, or anyone for that matter, up at night. He looks and sounds like a pathetic hanger on wannabe tough guy. Chretien showed more character and toughness not participating in an illegal war.
    Third, it fools no one, but it does appeal to his war lusting base.

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    e.a.f. says:

    foreign policy works when people have time to pay attention to it and aren’t worrying about their next meal, keeping their jobs, or the environment. when social ills prevail in society people become more interested in that than foreign policy. James Carvell had it right and all opposition parties might want to take note and start their campaigns from there.

    We have time to look at foreign policy when we aren’t working two jobs. We don’t have time for foreign policy when we are in pain and can’t get the medical attention we need. We have time for foreign policy when are kids are being well educated. We don’t have time for foreign policy when we are sitting in our cars for hours because the infrastructure is failing. Right now there are so many problems in Canada people are focused on their personal survival. Harper may think his gallivanting around the globe will get him votes, but I don’t think so. People just need to be reminded of how Canadian Veterans are being treated, the failure to sign the national healthcare agreement, poverty, increased unemployment, lack of pensions. People get real selfish real quick in times of depression. Some have even opined Harper has “given” Canada a strong dollar. The question ought to be: How many of those ‘strong’ Canadian dollars are in your pocket?

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    davie says:

    Here is the rough draft of my plan to put a bit more fairness into our elections.
    We set up a branch of Elections Canada called the Democracy Fund.
    All campaign spending will be capped, overseen by Elections Canada, as now, but all money that is spent will come from our Democracy Fund.
    Each party and each candidate will receive money, to a capped level, for campaigns.
    No one will be allowed to contribute directly to a party or candidate. Anyone who wants to donate has to direct their contribution to the Democracy Fund.

    For example, if you want to donate to my campaign, or to my World of Wonders Party, you can only do so indirectly by giving that donation to the Democracy Fund.

    This would make more difficult for organizations and individuals to buy parties and elected members.
    It would also give candidates and parties an even playing field in election campaigns…they would have to sell solutions and ideas…rather than simply overwhelm their rivals with media control and chicanery.

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      Matt says:

      Sorry, but being able to donate money to a political party of a particular candidate is an integral party of the democratic process. Donations are already capped for individuals at $1200 per year. Corporate and union donations are banned.

      There are already campaign spending limits.

      An even playing field? Parties can even the playing field on their own. Craft policy people want to vote for.

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        doconnor says:

        You’ll notice that the main Conservative advantage is not in the number of doners, but the average donation. This is because they appel to the wealthy who don’t hesitate to donate the limit.

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        davie says:

        I disagree that donating to a particular candidate or party is ‘integral’ to the democratic process.

        It is, as you point out, a part of our present process, but, increasingly it is getting us into a process that is less democratic. Big money and big property have way too much say.

        If people have trust in democratic process, then they can donate tot he process, rather than indirectly through a party or candidate, where anti democratic abuse is more likely.

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    Sam Levinson says:

    Why Belief Is Difficult

    Paul Martin described Momar Gadhafi as a “philosophical man with a sense of history”; Gaddafi said of Martin, “Pretty soon I expect Canada to be a jamahiriy,” referencing his own revolutionary state. Gaddafi was one of the world’s most virulent anti-Semites, Arab-supremacists, and funded myriad Communist, Arab, and neo-National Socialist terror groups. In the quest for dollars, votes and international trade, one intuits the Liberal machine would be willing to throw Israel, if not all Jews, under the Big Red Bus to increase market share among Arabs and Muslims.

    Alexandre Trudeau, in association with Press-TV (the propaganda organ of the Iranian State, the same state that hosted Grand Wizard David Duke for one of their Holocaust denial conferences), produced the Great Game, a simmering hate-on against the Brits, the Americans, the Saudis, and Israel who is portrayed as the sole aggressor in the region: “from the vantage point of Iran, it is the one being threatened, not the one doing the threatening.”

    While Innes was purged, the Emerys are apparently “in” and going full-on Liberal; mind, Marc Emery is the guy who ranted, “I thought the term Jewish-Nazi, or Nazi-Jew, was an oxymoron until Cotler became the Injustice Minister” (see Gaddafi Green Book) – ironic, then, to accuse Innes of “bullying.” If consistency and the Criminal Code are slated for los shredder, are we to assume that the word of the Dear Leader is law a la Marc Emery’s narco-cult? It all speaks to a queer kind of viciousness.

    The point is, one could write an entire book composed of little snippets like that from Liberals great and small. And that’s just the open intelligence. Not only do Canadians increasingly suspect that the Liberal Party would be happy to see Israel liquidated, but all former Commonwealth nations, and of course, the Great Satan America. The Old Testament and New replaced with the Koran and the Communist Manifesto. Habeas corpus and English Common Law replaced with Rule by Decree in an orgy of genocide. While Trudeau Sr. was tooling around Montreal on his motorbike, the ancestors of many Canadians were up to their knees in blood and gore battling Axis forces. This clumsily papered over anti-Zionism a/k/a anti-Semitism awakens a primeval instinct to purge these neo-Hitlerites.

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      Kaspar Juul says:

      Im pretty sure that Canadians who read this claptrap would increasingly suspect you might be insane.

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        Terry Quinn says:

        I don’t suspect that he is insane I am very sure he is.

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      davie says:

      This comment looks like a good example of how easy pure ‘belief’ can be.

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      ottlib says:

      Damn, you figured us liberals out. Much of your last paragraph was word-for-word taken from the secret handbook all liberals are issued when we join the brotherhood. It is amazing that the secret remained such for so long.

      Since sarcasm does not always come across well in the written word I will follow-up by saying your comment has to be one of the most paranoid fantasies I have seen in awhile.

      Are you just being provocative or do you really believe liberals want to destroy the Commonwealth, the US and Israel? Do you really believe that liberals want to destroy Habeau corpus and English Common Law, even though it was liberals that actually invented both centuries ago?

      If you do, to quote Dana Carvey: Well, isn’t that special.

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      Domenico says:

      Why Sanity is Difficult.

      To re-cap: the Liberal Party wants to destroy Israel, all Commonwealth nations, and the United States. Then replace the Bible with the Koran and the Communist Manifesto, remove the legal system, and then go on an orgy of genocide? I though that the Liberals hadn’t released their full party platform, but it looks like you got a sneak peek.

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        Dr Levinson Responds says:

        “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” – Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor

        “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

        “The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.” – H. L. Mencken

        “Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.” – Gandhi

        “Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” – Friederich Nietzsche

        “Insanity – a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.” – R. D. Lang

        “Ninety-nine percent of the people in the world are fools, and the rest of us are in great danger of contagion.” – Thornton Wilder

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          sezme says:

          Got any quotes about being in denial?

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    Philippe says:

    This constant catering to Israel is a crock of shit. I believe they are entitled to a stable, safe & secure state. However, they have unilaterally redrawn their country map by building settlement after settlement on Arab olive orchards. Now, in the name of “punching above our weight” our goddamned PM states they’re right in everything they are doing, and it’s all the other side’s fault? What a load of horse-shit. How insulting that this guy speaks for us. An intelligent politician would call him out now, in forceful terms, for being blindly supportive and one-sided. The Arab + Muslim + Progressive vote is there for the taking. Mulclair dropped the ball on this one, and so did Trudeau. God help us all with these spineless leaders.

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      Terry Quinn says:

      Trudeau ans Mulcair both came out inf aver of israel’s right to defend themselves against Hamas. next time read ALL the news. Oh, and by the way, there are 1MM Palestinians living freely in Israel who are mostly very happy to have freedom and good jobs. I’m sure you think that having 20,000 missiles pointed at you is ok especially when Its Hamas as a proxy for Iran who have them.

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    davie says:

    I agree with the thrust of the article, that it is difficult to say how much the foreign affairs record of this government will help it at the polls.
    I think this government’s foreign affairs behavior thus far, on environment, on protecting Canadian based head offices(especially mining companies), supporting the policies of World Bank and IMF, pushing capital friendly treaties(and calling them free trade treaties), the funding of faith groups to help women’s health in other countries, and jumping into economic and military aggression against anyone that challenges the Washington Consensus ( and selling it as pro democracy), represents and is supported by the core of Conservative support.
    So, I think their foreign affairs behavior will help the Conservatives hang on to their core voters.

    I am not sure much of their foreign affairs policy is supported by people outside of the core support of the party. What Conservatives call principle can too easily be interpreted as elitism or even bigotry.

    It makes sense that the main parties are all courting the middle class, because that group tends to vote. The poor, and working poor, the (increasingly)transient working population, and the young trying to get a start, do not vote much, and so their representing their views doesn’t much matter in a race for votes.

    (Oh, but toss us seniors a bone or two…we tend to vote, too. Keep nattering about how we built the country, we built freedom, and how we are owed, and such. We like to vote for that stuff.)

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    que sera sera says:

    I expect thinking Canadians everywhere are more concerned with our domestic affairs rather than foreign affairs as seen through the right wing prism (only two colours: black and white) that has effectively blinkered this impotent government’s eyes. It appears taxpayers are just buying Harper’s lube so Canada can take it up the ass serving American geopolitical interests.

    Very compelling how citizens appear to be uniting to assume the burden of advertising Harper’s malfeasance at their own expense – unlike Harper who apparently spends millions of taxpayers’ dollars retaining the media to convince Canadians otherwise. [with thanks to a “Nadine Lumley” for list of websites….. 😉 ]


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      Joe says:

      Oh look a list of Harper Hater web sites. Unfortunately for the rabid Harper Haters – Nobody else reads them. The fact is that while Harper is far from perfect all of our PMs have been far from perfect. I remember back when PET was PM his haters had him made out to be the devil incarnate because of hie license plate. Thankfully elections involve enough people to make haters irrelevant and sane people elect our leaders. From my parochial view where the economy is booming, incomes are rising, poverty is decreasing, and foreign affairs make sense, the armed forces are held in high esteem, the civil service is being trimmed, taxes are low and the deficit is being eliminated Harper will likely win the election.

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        Kaspar Juul says:

        Next Joe will be purchasing oceanfront land in Utah. Take that you leftist fools!

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        que sera sera says:

        Joe, why do you think your opinion about Harper is any more important than any other individuals who took the time & effort to share their opinions about Harper. Good grief.

        Attempting to trivialize political opinions different than yours, by dismissing them as formulated by “Harper haters”, just suggests your mind is too narrow to accommodate diverse viewpoints. In which case you might want to be careful in what you read your or your brain might explode.

        Welcome to Canada, where diversity of opinion – political or otherwise – is not only welcome, but encouraged. I suspect such cheerful diversity would traumatize most of Harper’s compliant groupies.

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          Joe says:

          When did I ever say my opinion mattered more than anyone elses? In fact I used the word parochial to show that my opinion is of little consequence. What I get a chuckle out of however is people of all political stripes who descend into rabid froth at the mouth hatred of their political foe. Their hatred has so little to do with any reality beyond their own empty thoughts it is hilarious.

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            Kaspar Juul says:

            Sure Joe. Always present a perfectly “reasonable” explanation whenever you fly off the handle.

            What kind of sunscreen do you use for that sensitive thin skin?

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            Joe says:

            You know Kaspar Juul if my skin was as thin as your education I would have bled out years ago.

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            Kaspar Juul says:

            Ah the old chestnut from the discredited scholar. Don’t change Joe. Your theories are both crackpot and entertaining

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            Ron says:

            Harper haters ? More like Harper hates.

            And where I come from you get what you give.

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    davie says:

    Just a small point:
    Here in BC we have majority government by a party calling itself BC Liberal. The leader is a person whose family is well connected in local federal Liberal politics. It is summer doldrums, but there is a teacher strike going on her that looks as if it might continue into September. My completely fair and unbiased take on this standoff between teachers and government is that this government does not want a bargained, or even a mediated settlement; it wants to render the union irrelevant, and continue to shift resources to privatized education.
    In BC, conservatives support the government’s position, but they will vote federal Conservative next year.
    But what might be interesting to speculate about is the degree to which the BC Liberal brand affects the federal Liberal brand next year among middle of the road and independent voters in BC.
    This could be a local issue here that will take precedence over foreign affairs issues.

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      Kaspar Juul says:

      Possibly but the general vibe out here has been that the BC libs are an unholy alliance of Liberals, Conservatives and Socred remnants. Plus having ex Harper staffers like Boessenkool and campaign organizers like Kouvalis have muddied association with the federal liberals to some degree at least. Not to mention the public declarations of the power of free markets, though I don’t really know what BC she is talking about.

      You could be right but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it

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        davie says:

        Hah! You’re right…I’ll pitch in for a candidate or party…but, yeah, the farm is not on the table.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I would put it to you that appealing to the middle is a quandry for one and an opportunity for another. Expectations are generally low for this Prime Minister because he is by now a very well known quantity. Meanwhile, Trudeau comes off as a long overdue breath of fresh air capable of innovative thinking.

    However, Harper does have one saving grace: since 2006, roughly two-thirds of voters cast ballots against the Conservatives and yet he remains in office. The question remains, will his luck hold or has it finally run its course??

    The reader doesn’t have to be Einstein to figure this out. My money is on Justin whether Harper goes to the people this fall or in October 2015. Go sooner rather than later and he still has a fighting chance. Wait until next year and he’s likely done as the forces of change and moderate coalesce around Trudeau and his team.

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