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Billythreefeathers
12-11-2014, 05:00 PM
Political winds blowing Stephen Harper’s way


http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/12/11/political_winds_blowing_stephen_harpers_way_tim_ha rper.html

OTTAWA — The House of Commons may have provided a scenic backdrop, but for Stephen Harper, all the world — and the 905 — was a stage during the parliamentary sitting which wraps up this week.
Buffeted more by events outside the Canadian political realm than within, most of the prevailing winds were blowing the prime minister’s way.
It was a session marked by a war debate, an attack on Parliament, sexual harassment and Harper’s world travels and Ontario campaign-style stops.
But with the wind in his sails, he then rode into some tough headwinds in plummeting oil prices, frightening headlines about Canadian homes overvalued by as much as 30 per cent, a public battle with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Julian Fantino, a man whose electoral value in that key 905 belt cannot possibly overcome his liabilities in the sensitive veterans affairs portfolio.
The actual debate in the Commons was often a mere background chorus to the real stage.
By committing Canadian air power to northern Iraq for a six-month mission, Harper gained political points, particularly when weighed against the uneven performance on the same issue by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
Then, in the days after that commitment, outside forces intervened in the form of a gunman who killed a young soldier at the country’s war memorial before storming the House of Commons, terrorizing all who worked there. Days earlier, another Canadian soldier had been murdered, this time in Quebec.
This was a time for Harper to show leadership and resolve and he did. He showed a rare empathetic side, pledging (short-term) unity with his adversaries and support for his decision on the Islamic State campaign grew.
Then came a national debate over sexual harassment, one that first played out in the cultural community as the CBC turned on itself in the wake of the Jian Ghomeshi affair. Daily stories of the CBC gnawing on its own leg are always a popular show for Harper and his base.
When the harassment story hit Parliament Hill, Harper got a pass.
Instead, the two men vying to emerge as his primary opponent next year, Trudeau and Tom Mulcair, were driven badly off course by the suspension of two Liberal MPs, then the sniping from the bunkers of the two opposition parties, then the inaction that dragged the story out for weeks, then a series of media interviews given by one of the NDP MPs who had made the initial accusations.
As that saga played out, Harper hit the road, stopping at the United Nations, visiting China, Australia, New Zealand and Senegal. In Australia, he won positive coverage for a confrontation with Vladimir Putin and in Senegal, he helped win the job of secretary-general of la Francophonie for Michaëlle Jean.
Trips closer to home were more important to the prime minister and it often appeared he and his key ministers were running satellite offices in the 905 and southern Ontario.
If you wanted to find the prime minister Thursday, you looked to a Canadian Tire in Mississauga.
That marked his 12th public event in the 905/Toronto/Hamilton area since Labour Day, plus a visit to Sault Ste. Marie.
He has been to a fundraiser at the Woodbine Banquet Hall, toured IBM in Markham, dropped by a National Research Council lab in London, announced tax cuts at the Vaughan Community Centre, received a Rotary Club award in Toronto, warned about a new gun registry in Sault. Ste. Marie, announced a child fitness tax credit in Whitby, did a board of trade “roundtable” in Brampton, made a naval announcement in Hamilton, dropped by the Forty Creek Distiller in Grimsby, visited an Orthodox Cathedral in Markham (again) and met the Aga Khan in Toronto.
That travel itinerary should leave no doubt where the 2015 election will be fought.
As he breaks for Christmas, Harper would know better than anyone that good fortune smiled on him during this session, but good fortune is not a political strategy.
Getting past the Fantino crisis is within his control. Dealing with Wynne will have to be a priority, or his Ontario efforts could go for naught.
But sliding oil prices and falling house values cloud his election year prospects.
As Shakespeare told us about the stage, “All the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”
Harper’s 2015 part is still very much unsettled and as we have just learned, events off the parliamentary stage will largely define that role.

Billythreefeathers
12-11-2014, 05:01 PM
for an article from thestar I'd almost call it non bias,,

Forbes/Hutton
12-11-2014, 05:08 PM
for an article from thestar I'd almost call it non bias,,

Someone will probably get fired for slipping it past the editors.

Edenchef
12-11-2014, 05:47 PM
Someone will probably get fired for slipping it past the editors.

Or at least burned at the stake.:evil1:

Cheers!

BruceW
12-13-2014, 05:13 PM
Need an icon for my jaw hitting the floor. Did the star at least show a pic of PM Harper with horns or something? This is completely out of character for them.

harbl_the_cat
12-15-2014, 03:57 PM
Need an icon for my jaw hitting the floor. Did the star at least show a pic of PM Harper with horns or something? This is completely out of character for them.

No - but there is a picture of him smiling, shaking hands with a bunch of smiling African kids:

http://www.thestar.com/content/dam/thestar/news/canada/2014/12/11/political_winds_blowing_stephen_harpers_way_tim_ha rper/harper_senegal.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterbox.jpg

No mention of whether or not he had any of the children roasted over a fire and eaten for dinner either.

Foxer
12-15-2014, 08:22 PM
Well, while it seems positive over all I think what they were TRYING to go for was "He got lucky!" :)

I don't think even his most ardent antagonist could claim he didn't have a good session. His polling numbers are getting very close to where they usually are in between elections and the libs are beginning to fade a bit. As I've said before, elections are about momentum a great deal, and harper is going into the final leg with room to grow and positive momentum. If we see a bunch of polls next year showing him at parity or ahead of the libs before the election starts, that will make the libs look very weak. And - trudeau obviously peaked out and is losing momentum, he hasn't got a lot of room to turn that around and have a sustained momentum growth. The NDP does - but probably at the expense of the libs if it happens at all.

For any of this to really matter tho, the cpc needs a relatively strong winter/spring starting next year. But there's a lot of positive things that can be addressed. He still is on track to generate a surplus - which will be a very strong budget announcement come budget time even tho people expect it. Gun owners will be happy to see the new laws go thru and cz and swiss owners will be thrilled their guns are classified as they once were, gaining some support in the firearms community. If he can successfully weather the oil price issue that'll make him look like a good money manager again and still leave the opposiiton without a lot of cash to make promises (without raising taxes). If there's an international crisis or two it'll make him look even better.

Yes, there's a few hurdles to address. Wynne will have to be handled carefully, there's a chance the senate issue will blow up again with the duffy trial (tho that's less likely than it was), etc.

But overall, if the CPC can have a strong start to the year and get their numbers back to that 35 percent range we've always seen them at going into an election and get the libs down a little more as the shine comes off the pony, they stand a great chance of going into the next election with some positive momentum and voters deciding they're better off with the devil they know and that will be a huge advantage.

Also - the polling numbers are a little misleading. Trudeau's support also includes a fair bit in quebec, but not yet enough to beat the ndp decisively. Harper has little support in that province and is stronger elsewhere - his vote is more efficient. In other words, if they both had 35 percent of the support, chances are the CPC would actually win more seats.

The stage is shaping up. One thing to look for is if the Liberals numbers keep shrinking, the ndp's should start to slowly rise. This is because if people lose faith that the libs could beat harper, then they'll look at who makes the best opposition instead, and a number of people who are saying they'll support the libs because they think it'll mean harper will lose (strategic voting) may well decide that if he can't take harper then mulcair will make a better opposition leader and shift their support back to the ndp. If that happens, it's probably all over for the libs unless they run a genius campaign, and so far there's little evidence of any skill that would be necessary to do that.

RangeBob
12-15-2014, 08:33 PM
elections are about momentum a great deal

Last week, the Ontario auditor general said that smart meters are costing more, not saving more. Today Ontario Premiere Wynne said the auditor general had it backwards, smart meters are saving more.

Today, Federal finance minister Joe Oliver said the budget will be balanced regardless, but the particulars are dependent upon what Oil does in the next few months.
To which Ontario Premiere and Quebec Premiere announced that Ottawa has to pay for road maintenance in their provinces even if the Federal government has to go into debt to do it.

Foxer
12-15-2014, 08:54 PM
Last week, the Ontario auditor general said that smart meters are costing more, not saving more. Today Ontario Premiere Wynne said the auditor general had it backwards, smart meters are saving more.

Today, Federal finance minister Joe Oliver said the budget will be balanced regardless, but the particulars are dependent upon what Oil does in the next few months.
To which Ontario Premiere and Quebec Premiere announced that Ottawa has to pay for road maintenance in their provinces even if the Federal government has to go into debt to do it.

Yeah. They're special people. :)

SpenceyHR
12-15-2014, 09:00 PM
Last week, the Ontario auditor general said that smart meters are costing more, not saving more. Today Ontario Premiere Wynne said the auditor general had it backwards, smart meters are saving more.

Is she correcting an actual goof the auditor general made or did she outright lie in the face of numerical evidence?

Strewth
12-15-2014, 09:02 PM
Yeah. They're special people. :)


Lord, please let the Manitoba Mud Monsters and Saskatchewan Sand Sharks keep those special people from bringing their special brand of special anywhere else.

SpenceyHR
12-15-2014, 09:10 PM
Lord, please let the Manitoba Mud Monsters and Saskatchewan Sand Sharks keep those special people from bringing their special brand of special anywhere else.

Mud Monsters?! Sand Sharks?!... do you need tags for those?

RangeBob
12-15-2014, 11:25 PM
Is she correcting an actual goof the auditor general made or did she outright lie in the face of numerical evidence?

I assume the latter more than the former.
But I haven't read the auditor general's report.
I had thought that perhaps Wynne had a different interpretation or different data, but she doesn't have any data. Chiarelli might, but Wynne doesn't.

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk's used to work for Manitoba Hydro for decade.
Lysyk found one in six smart meters installed in Ontario homes and businesses has not yet transmitted any readings, ‎and that the cost of the meters doubled to $1.9 billion while having only a “modest impact” on helping homeowners reduce their use for electric at time of peak demand when it is most expensive. Lysyk also concluded the meters have had “no impact at all on conservation.”

Both the Progressive Conservatives and the New Democrats repeatedly called for Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli's head.

Chiarelli said "the electricity system is very complex. It's very difficult to understand."
basically saying that she never learned anything at Manitoba Hydro, and is currently irresponsible, incapable and doesn't know how to do an audit.
And NDP Leader Andrea Horwath went ballistic over Chiarelli's sexist comments.

Progressive Conservative Christine Elliott said "We thought we had seen it all when we saw a billion dollars lost in the gas plant scandal. Now we learn that you and your reappointed energy minister have doubled down by wasting $2 billion more on smart meters that don't work. The $2 billion in costs have raised energy prices on families and seniors who now can't even afford to turn on a space heater. There's nothing smart about wasting $2 billion and getting no results."

And Ontario Premiere Wynne said “I had no knowledge of that. ... If Bob [Chiarelli] says the auditor is blowing smoke then that's exactly‎ what's happening. Bob's most straight up honest politico I know."

Candychikita
12-16-2014, 10:30 AM
Lord, please let the Manitoba Mud Monsters and Saskatchewan Sand Sharks keep those special people from bringing their special brand of special anywhere else.

Phew. I'm glad you didn't mention the Snow Sharks. They're just an embarrassment. (Seriously, this movie is awesome in it's absolute horribleness)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1841840/

With that news on the electricity smart meters does that mean all of them are currently just as useless, or just the Ontario management of them?