Saturday, June 23, 2007

Will the Real Stephen Harper Please Stand Up?

I searched the on-line Post site for Julie Smyth's "Insider's Week on Parliament Hill" and was unable to come up with a link for you, so you'll have to trust me on this one. (June 23, page A6)

Julie has an Ottawa gossip column running the in Post. Among the juicy tidbits was this very interesting entry regarding Bill Graham's sudden departure announcement:

"Hard-core Liberals were impressed with Mr. Harper's speech. The PM had about an hour's notice and spent most of QP scrambling to write it - an aide to Mr. Graham, who normally thinks of Mr. Harper as the devil, said he was stunned at his "gracious and charming" address.

Perhaps the PM should do his own speech-writing in the future?


Anonymous said...

The Libs have , and will continue to underestimate PMSH. This will become more apparent in the fall session.

Timothy Coderre

hunter said...

I think some of his best speeches, like when he won the election, his UN speech and some others are more his than anyone else's. I saw his speech in QP thanking Bill, it was excellent, even funny, his personality showed through. Just like when he answers questions from the media, he gives thoughtful, honest answers, he doesn't dodge or bluster, he's very direct and gives reasons for the stance he takes.

I wish he would speak to the press more often, like he did the other day, he came across as sincere, Dion came across as a buffoon.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Hunter - Agreed.

For the most part, PMSH speaks very well off the cuff.

Anonymous said...

Tango Juliette sez:

re: PMSH (varm&fuzzy variet)

Comments of a similar bent may be found in the Globe and Mail gossip column penned by Jane Taber, appearing in Saturday's issue, first section.

The "impressed" liberal in this instance was one of the personal staff of ship-abandoning Bill Graham.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Tango. I located the link. Very insightful.

Harper really needs to look at whoever is responsible for communications in the PMO. I think they could be doing a better job.

Harper is actually a nice guy. Let the message get out.

Kingston said...

I have thought that the CPC and or PMO's need to fix their communications for a while now, starting with the detainee crisis. Take for example the Income Trust issue, they did it fast and come out with their reasons for doing it, yes they had to go back on a commitment but they announced their reasons, said they were sorry it hurt some people. The vast majority of Canadians accepted and respected it.
The detainee issue they really screwed up, all they had to say was they were looking into it and if their was truth to it, they would sort it out. Bingo, end of story, no wind in the LPC sails. Instead they tried to avoid the issue, and they screwed it up.
Same with the Clean Air Act, I thought they were on the right path when the had economists do the math and released the results, they should of continued down that path at every opportunity with the population saying, yes we are going to fix the problem but were not going to throw you out of work to do it. It will take longer to do due to inaction previously but we will get there.
Canadians do not expect perfection from any of our govts. we understand they are human and make errors just like every other Canadian. Mr. Harper has to get back to those days, where they took responsibility and not deflected it.
His path to a majority is though the average middle of the road Canadian who respects straight talk, honesty and has no illusion of perfection from the guy most voted to have a hamburger with or watch a hockey game with.

Anonymous said...

As one who has followed and listened to PMSH for quite awhile, I find these 'surprised' comments a bit odd.There is nothing new in his speech re: Graham. He has shown that side many times.'s the Opposition trying to paint that 'monster' picture.
I was more impressed with his final speech and press conference at the close of HoC this past week. He showed his usual backbone in reference to the Senate, made fun of the reporters(asked if Fife had forced another member of the press to repeat a question) and he answered their convoluted questions with grace....even the challenge on the 'conservative' budget.
I do agree that PR could be improved.

Gabby in QC said...

IMO, the real Stephen Harper has been standing up all along.

Yes, the PM is usually pugnacious and combative, not given to shows of maudlin sentimentality. That's the side he usually shows during QP because of the nature of that setting.

What side could the PM possibly show when he's being labelled a US lackey, a warmonger, a mean-spirited extreme right-wing neo-con who would rather see women downtrodden, children go hungry, aboriginals live in worse that 3rd world conditions, unwilling to share the federal surplus with the needy provinces?

Would any one of us react in a sweet, conciliatory tone, turning the other cheek, inviting even more invective from the liars opposite if attacked in a similar manner?

Gabby in Qc said...

" ... I was more impressed with his final speech and press conference at the close of HoC this past week."

I too continue to be impressed by the PM's press conferences, despite the fact they are few and far between.
When asked a question, the PM always answers it fully and clearly, without obfuscation, in language the average Canadian can understand.

However, as usual, the MSM puts its own spin on what the PM says. One prime example in this latest press conference is the PM's statement regarding the extension of the Afghan mission.

The pundits all seemed surprised by the PM's statement that he would put the question to the House, saying this was a turn-around for the PM, that he had found "an exit strategy" - as that paragon of accurate & objective reporting, CTV's Robert Fife, among others, described it.

Yet both the PM & the Government House Leader Peter Van Loan have stated time & again that the mission would be put to another vote in the HoC before the government decides whether to extend the mission beyond 2009.

The only thing that has changed is that the PM used the word "consensus," saying that he did not want to have our soldiers continue in a dangerous mission if people here at home are going to undercut the mission.

Again the pundits put their own spin on that, interpreting "consensus" as "unanimity."

Instead, what I understood from the PM's "consensus" is that despite the fact the House voted in May 2006 to extend the mission, albeit by a narrow margin that included some Liberals, members of the opposition continued to put in question the mission by calling for the withdrawal of our troops, even insinuating that torture has been taking place under the Canadian Forces' watch.

SouthernOntarioan said...

Interesting point, I had interpreted 'consensus' to mean 'unanimity' as well.

Personally, I feel that it might be time to pull out. We'll have been in Afghanistan for almost 8 years by the time 2009 rolls around. Let one of the other NATO partners pick up some of the slack. Especially those ones who've been slacking off these last few years...

Anonymous said...

gabby...a similar discussion at Canadian Blue Lemons.
What Taber and Oliver were spinning today is not what I heard in his speech.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Sorry, I've been busy planning and trying to pull off a surprise party for a family member. Having to catch up a bit now.

Kingston, I agree with your assessment. I think Canadians will accept mistakes from politicians a lot easier than they'll accept deceit. Saying you made a mistake and have learned from it is important. None of us are perfect. I will take genuine humility over stubborn arrogance any day.

Consistency is also important.

However, MSM will spin any situation to suit their purposes, so in the end messaging becomes a challenge.

Gabby in QC said...

"What Taber and Oliver were spinning today is not what I heard in his speech."

You're right.
At the beginning of the QP program, Craig Oliver said:
"The PM says the combat mission in Afghanistan will end in February 2009 *unless all parties and Canadians* can agree to continue. Has he saved his government from an unpopular war?" Fact or Oliver spin?

It was also interesting to hear the *objectivity* of Jane Taber come to the surface when Defence Minister O'Connor's possible ouster from cabinet was being discussed by the party strategists.
"He's not doing a great job" chimed in Ms. Taber. Hate to break it to you, Ms. Taber, neither are you.

And to close off the program, in discussing Dion's strategy for the summer - meet & listen to Canadians or talk about Liberal policies - this other gem from Ms. Taber:
"Do you reveal policy and let the Tories steal that policy?"

I still maintain that many of these journalists would be more adept at writing soap opera scenarios.

SouthernOntarioan said...

Gabby in QC:

If memory serves me, the Tories were in the same boat when they were in opposition. They didn't want to reveal all of their campaign ideas because the Liberals might think 'hey that's not a bad idea' and take it.

The problem is that truly universally popular ideas will be embraced by everyone anyways. And if you are really there to benefit the people then it shouldn't matter who implements the policy as long as it is implemented.

Gabby in QC said...

" ...if you are really there to benefit the people then it shouldn't matter who implements the policy as long as it is implemented."

In an ideal world, that's what the opposition should be doing, coming up with concrete solutions to concrete problems.

I simply found Jane Taber's question "Do you reveal policy and let the Tories steal that policy?" funny because it reminded me of the Free Trade and GST battles.

The Liberals vowed they'd cancel both, but didn't. And now that the Conservatives have implemented a 1% cut in the GST, with another 1% to be shaved off eventually, the Liberals are in disagreement with those cuts.

So ... it's not what the policy can do for the country, but how many votes will this policy get me.
All parties are guilty of it, but I believe the Conservatives less so.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Still cleaning up from the party. Carry on without me. Thanks. ;)

Gabby in QC said...

"Still cleaning up from the party."

That must have been some party! Hope you're getting some help :-)

PGP said...

In spite of this obvious ability to speak convincingly I am hugely annoyed about policy and actions that these conservatives have taken.
1- Backed away from real tax reform.
2- No support for property rights.
3- Still caving in to minority group extortion. ie; Natives, Sihks and others.
4- No serious immigration reform.
5- No serious civil service reform.
6- Far too willing to impose ridiculous government regulations that fly in the face of individual choice.

In short these guys are not nearly conservative enough and are essentially playing the old liberal game of covering the center and letting everything else go to hell!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

That must have been some party! Hope you're getting some help :-)

Quite the party alright. I'm beginning to see daylight with the tidying-up.

I'm relying on you guys to catch me up on what's going on!