Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Harper vs Nicholls

If you caught the Peter Mansbridge interview of Prime Minister Stephen Harper on The National last night, the highlight, at least for me, was this exchange:

Peter Mansbridge: Well, you know who Gerry Nicholls is because you worked him at the National Citizens' Coalition. This is what he wrote just the other day: "Stephen Harper has essentially thrown economic conservatives under the bus. During his term in office, he's engaged in spending sprees, chalked up enormous deficits, increased the size and scope of government, even embraced Trudeau-style economic nationalism."

PM Stephen Harper: Well, first of all, that's not only untrue, but is completely unrepresentative of economic conservatives, Peter. And people who see themselves on the centre-right, particularly on economic issues, are overwhelmingly - in fact, I bet a pollster would tell you they're 95 per cent, 100 per cent supportive of this government. Because they know that we're doing what is necessary in the economic circumstances while maintaining our long-term approach, which is to keep taxes down and make sure that future growth is in the private free enterprise sector. That's what this government is doing.

In fact I think the opposite is arguable. I thin k the realism here Peter is not against some abstract - you know, we're political realists, Conservatives. We don't compare ourselves to some abstract ideology. The real comparison is, what is being done in other countries? I think arguably we are running right now the freest, the most free enterprise government in the developed world. I think that's very arguable. We're one of the few countries reducing our taxes. Even with our deficits and debt we're at some of the lowest levels in the developed world in these areas. So, you know, one has to compare oneself to reality, not to some abstract.

Hmmm. Prime Minister Harper really believes 100 percent of economic conservatives support his fiscal policies?

That must be news to the Fraser Institute and to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and to writers like Andrew Coyne and Terence Corcoran, all of whom have been pretty vocal in their criticisms of his economic policies.

And just speaking of my own personal experience I have met many, many economic conservatives disappointed in the Harper government.

Plus what's all this talk about "abstract ideology"? Is that what conservatism has been reduced to in this government. Just some abstract notion. Hard to imagine Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher ever talking like that.

Heck,  it's impossible to imagine the Stephen Harper I used to know talking like that.

Maybe the problem for Harper is that he spends too much time accepting the sycophantic praise of his "Trained Seals" and not enough time listening to his conservative base.


Anonymous said...

Andrew Coyne? Anyone listen to that twit's opinion?
Jealousy really is unbecoming on you Gerry.

Alberta Girl said...

Gee Gerry....when you get called on your fabrications, you need to sit up and take notice.

But there you are in the leftist media again....you must LOVE that!

bertie said...

Boy Gerry your anti Harper crappolla is unbecoming of you.Thought your site was one of the best until recently.When it comes to economics,don,t quote the fraser or Coyne or the likes...QUOTE HARPER & FLAHERTY they are running the countries economics very well thank you and don,t need advice from you.It,s not too late for you Gerry,but your getting very close to becoming a closet Liberal.

potato said...

Comparing favourably to a bunch of failed social democracies is hardly reason for patting yourself on the back. I think what Harper has expressed here is what many
conservatives have suspected for a long time already: this government has abandoned Conservative principles.

Fay said...

You are negative about Stephen Harper all day every day. Why are you surprised that CBC would notice?

renegade tory said...

I'm a fiscal conservative and I'm afraid I'm not one of those supporters Harper seems to think is 100% supportive of all his economic policies...

I find it somewhat disturbing that someone is clearly filling his head with a reality that does not exist amongst us fiscal conservatives, either that or he is finally starting to believe his own spin.

renegade tory said...

As for some of these people commenting that dissing Harper is unbecoming of you Gerry, I find it refreshing that there is at least one conservative out there who chooses to analyze things from a real conservative point of view rather than the one within kissing distance of Stephen Harper's arse.

lance said...

Does anyone have anything to say that may be substantive rather than just slagging Gerry for holding Conservatives to their Policy and so-called 'principles'?

From the CPC Founding Principles

* A balance between fiscal accountability, progressive social policy and individual rights and responsibilities;

* A belief that a responsible government must be fiscally prudent and should be limited to those responsibilities which cannot be discharged reasonably by the individual or others;

How about the CPC Policy Declaration

17. Balanced Budget Legislation
The Conservative Party believes the government should enact balanced budget legislation, which includes overrides for declared national emergencies or other defined, and presumably rare, circumstances.

18. Debt Repayment
i) The Conservative Party believes the government should continue to pay down the mortgage, which the
huge national debt places on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren, thus reducing the interest payment on the debt which is the single largest federal budgetary commitment.
ii) We support the introduction of a debt repayment plan with the main part of budget surplus being
allocated to debt repayment, in order to have a debt-to-GDP ratio well under 20% as soon as possible,
thus having greater flexibility to deal with the fiscal pressure coming from the aging of the Canadian population.

22. Spending Controls
i) The Conservative Party believes the government should strengthen enforcement and criminal code
penalties for fraud involving the misuse of tax dollars.
ii) The Conservative Party believes the government should introduce a system of program evaluation to ensure that all major government spending programs are independently evaluated on a regular basis. This
will ensure that programs are meeting government priorities and delivering value for money.


Anonymous said...

AC is a Big Government centrist. How he gets to be on the CBC (assuming he still is, conservatives don’t watch anymore) to make it fair and balanced is beyond the pale.

The Taxpayers Federation’s job is to be an advocate for tax cuts, we are always overtaxed.

PMSH is correctly stating we are competing with “abstract ideologies” that will not work. It is the nature of conservatism to never be satisfied with government but if PMSH were to say that, then he’d be told he doesn’t love Canada, that he’s too cynical, on and on.

It’s our job to continue to demand smaller government and to actually get off our duffs in Tea Party/Rob Ford fashion to help elect a conservative majority and then we’ll see if we get conservatism.

PMSH is correct that on a comparative basis there is no other government in the world that we’d be better off with and conservatives know that as we whine away.


wilson said...

Mansbridge accuses PMSH of not being Conservative enough .... LOL
too funny Peter.

Pretty much puts to bed Spinsella's talking points about the 'Reformatories', eh.
Paints the Harper Conservatives as centrist,
and right where Canadians are on the political map.

Keep up the good work Gerry!
PMSH will get his majority yet.

bertie said...

Fiscal conservative...That's the BS line of the day..Used exclusively by JOE Clark lovers.Did he last as long as Dion????Your fiscal conservative dream is over.Get into the real world.Canada is doing A OK under PM Harper. Compared to the rest of the world,what country would you rather live in. And despite the closet Liberals whining about what they are not getting from PM Harper.They pretty well shut the F up when you ask them what the Liberals can give them..

Kristin Beaumont-Politics and Other Things said...

Sour grapes...don't know how he got there but he sure has the syndrome...and Gerry is trying to stay in the limelight..sell his books on his interests...play to the left..but mostly this guy is an egotist..who is always trying to get the public to read his stuff...I am here...I am there... I, I, I, and you are not spouting CTV commercials either...I am tired of this man...and those who slagg our PM...you do not have anything noteworthy to offer....beam him up Scottie....

Mike Brock said...

Stephen Harper is either a fucking liar or fucking insane. I have yet to decide. But one thing is for sure: I'm fucking sick of him.

Since I'm feeling particularly angry right now, let me also point out that I'm fucking sick of all your partisan hacks, too.

That is all.

Kristin Beaumont-Politics and Other Things said...

In retrospect probably Gerry is very nice...I am just not too amused at his criticisms....libertarian...very old conservative.... get with the times...you are living in a country that was fiscally well managed...ask any other country... who do you need to thank for that... this government...but I do not swear...

Anonymous said...

Stephen Harper is either delusional or a liar or both. Could the partisan hacks here please just STFU? You have nothing but ad hominem. If you want people to get off their duffs for a CPC majority (which will never happen under Harper), then tell your government to motivate me.

Harper did a good job managing Canada? Don't make me laugh! That was entirely Paul Martin.

johndoe124 said...

"* A balance between fiscal accountability, progressive social policy and individual rights and responsibilities;"

That's interesting. So just like the Liberals, Conservatives are quite willing to throw your rights under the bus at their convenience. That's fine if you want to sacrifice your own rights, but by voting for either of these parties your sacrificing the rights of others which is patently unethical. If that's what it means to "get with the times" then give me old fashioned Conservatism or Libertarianism anyday. At least they knew what they were fighting for.

AToryNoMore said...

All I can ask is, what kind of Conservative government would take us from a federal surplus and jam a $56 BIlllllion dollar and climbing federal defecit down our taxpaying throats and then still say they are conservatives?

Um em. Cant vote for the defecit creators.

Nope, just cant do it.

Anonymous said...

Gerry, why do you hate the CPC. You should be banned from the bloggingtories. Harper is the greatest and most dear leader in history. Get with the program.

Anonymous said...

"Well, you know who Gerry Nicholls is because you worked him at the National Citizens' Coalition." Do tell.