Today, Stephen Harper has left politics. My thanks to him for his honourable and dignified leadership and a great decade of stable Canadian government. I am sure he will add many other accomplishments to his life in the private sector.
What in heavens name can the staff or volunteers at the FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting be thinking to send out a fundraising letter via regular mail, dated summer 2016, bashing former Prime Minister Stephen Harper by putting the following question in bright red letters on both their envelope and letter:
Has Stephen Harper poisoned the well?
Poisoned the well? Which well are they talking about? As a former Stephen Harper supporter, I don’t believe he poisoned anything.
Yet, here are a few sections from the letter that my husband and I received at the end of last week. A scan of part of the first page is shown to the left. Which makes me wonder how FRIENDS got our personal information?
Anyway, in the first paragraph it states: “Has Stephen Harper poisoned the well? You bet he has. I’m referring to the CBC and our Canadian Broadcasting system. If you’ve got a minute or two I’d like to tell you all about it. And then I hope you’ll join me in putting things right….
In the final paragraph, FRIENDS sum up with: “If you love the CBC, if your vision of a strong independent Canada includes a vibrant Canadian broadcasting industry, then please become a FRIEND. Yes, the end may be in sight, but we need one more push to get us over the finish line. With your help by monthly donations or a single donation if that’s not possible, we’ll push the government to reform the CBC Board…”
Reform the CBC Board? So that is what this is all about. Former PM Harper had the audacity to appoint qualified candidates to the CBC Board that are known to have contributed to the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) at one time or another? And, that is related to poisoning the well?
To put it bluntly, are the FRIENDS suggesting that those appointees are poisonous?
I mean, if the current Liberal government eventually replaces the so-called conservative appointees with those who have contributed to the Liberal Party of Canada in the past — is that what FRIENDS mean by cleaning up the CBC Board? And, is that what FRIENDS are referring to as non-partisan governance?
Good grief. Canada is a free, democratic society. There is nothing wrong with people contributing to any registered political party or any prime minister making appointments to public boards with qualified people who may have contributed money to his or her political party. In fact, our Charter guarantees all Canadians such affiliations — to conservatives, as well as liberals and progressives.
In my opinion, the FRIENDS is not only partisan, its fundraising clearly crosses the line into political activism. I mean, of the several images scrolling on the main page of their website, one is of a smiling PM Justin Trudeau and an interview related to the Leaders Series on the CBC.
Another is the featured image I am using in this post of the 8 members of the CBC Board who are deemed Conservative simply because they donated money to the CPC. Note that FRIENDS included a hint of the partisan image when they used the letter “C” of the Conservative Party’s logo in the headline — CBC?
FRIENDS also used the CPC’s logo beside each of their 8 names in an April 26th, 2016 blog post — alongside the word “Donor.” Talk about negative stereotyping!
So, has Stephen Harper poisoned the well? Absolutely not. Rather, he did what he was constitutionally allowed to do and supposed to do. On other hand, has FRIENDS poisoned the well using the former PM in such a disrespectful manner to fundraise with people like my husband and myself?
Absolutely. Talk about a witch hunt!
The crux of the matter is that the FRIENDS of CANADIAN BROADCASTING owes former PM Harper and all conservative Canadians an apology. And, if FRIENDS are truly non-partisan and do not favour one broadcaster over another, they should immediately withdraw this negative fundraising campaign.
After reading his very balanced analysis of former PM Stephen Harper’s ten years in power, I agree with Michael Den Tandt that history will be kind to the former PM. In fact, I believe that, since no human being is perfect, he will eventually be seen as one of Canada’s best PM’s.
Now, compare Den Tandt’s Harper record, both pro and con, to the last seven months of the Justin Trudeau Liberal Government, including what is going on at the Liberal Convention in Winnipeg this weekend.
Ah, yes, everything is now sunny ways. Except it isn’t! Elbowgate comes to mind. While I don’t want to make a big deal out of that incident, one thing was clear. When things are not going Mr. Trudeau’s way, he just might barge in to make sure everyone behaves as he thinks they should.
At the Liberal Convention in Winnipeg, for example, Mr. Trudeau is aggressively promoting a change to the federal Liberal Party Constitution that would allow anyone to become part of, at no cost, what the current PM is calling “a Liberal Movement.” Whatever that is supposed to mean. One thing is for sure, Liberal party loyalty will go by the wayside if there are no longer any grassroots “members.”
And, yes, many of those grassroots are complaining. I mean, when even liberal-friendly Joan Bryden is questioning the rate and kind of change Mr. Trudeau is recommending for his party, you have to know that Liberal leadership arrogance has already set in.
On the complaints about the Trudeau proposal, Bryden writes:
“While the proposal is being touted as a way to throw open the doors of the party, it has raised hackles among rank and file Liberals who suspect it will actually turn the party into a different kind of exclusive club, one in which the leader and his cronies run the party as they see fit.”
Of course, the irony is obvious. For years we heard that Stephen Harper was a controller who had a hidden agenda and, as such, was going to change the face of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC), if not all of Canada.
Well, as Den Tandt summarizes, Harper wasn’t the controller people claimed he was, he didn’t have a hidden agenda and he left both the CPC and Canada in good procedural and fiscal shape.
I wonder, will Liberals be able to say the same by 2019? I doubt it!
In my opinion, then, I believe that history will judge Stephen Harper’s leadership legacy, both to his party and his government, to be superior to that of Justin Trudeau’s.
Here is a YouTube video of a slightly shorter version of the fantastic final speech Mr. Harper gave last night at the Conservative Convention in Vancouver, as well as a full Transcript at the National Observer. In his speech Mr. Harper used the opportunity to thank Canadian voters and the many who contributed to a decade of successful Conservative governments.
When watching Mr. Harper give this final political speech, I was reminded what an amazing statesman he is. Unlike PM Justin Trudeau, he is not into selfies, nor is he a sunny ways type of personality. Yet, when he said that his wife “Laureen” was the love of his life, it confirmed that he is and was — authentic. What you saw was what you got!
Yet, as he said, there is no doubt that during the fall of 2015, the mood in Canada changed and, on October 19, 2015, more Canadians voted for Liberal candidates than they did the other political parties — bringing in a four-year period of change. The exact percentage of the popular vote was 39.5% for the Liberals in 2015 compared to 39.6%% for the Conservatives in 2011.
Meaning, contrary to the mainstream media and liberal narrative that followed the Conservative election defeat, the fact that the federal Liberals, under Justin Trudeau won, did not mean the ten Harper years were being rejected. Voters simply wanted change.
In fact, if you look at the actual numbers, you get a different picture altogether. For example, the Conservatives won a majority government in 2011 with 5,835,270 votes compared to 5,600,496 votes in 2015 (which was just over 200,000 fewer votes than in 2011).
Yet, the Liberals won in 2015 with 6,930,136 votes, which was approximately 1,300,000 votes more than the Conservatives. So, to put it bluntly, the Liberals won a “majority” in 2015, “not” because the Conservative “tone” was negative ( e.g., banning the niqab at citizenship ceremonies or suggesting a barbaric practices snitch line) but because the NDP vote collapsed from 2011 by over one million votes!
That’s the reality!
In the final analysis, however, what is especially interesting is that the Trudeau Liberals won a majority government with the exact same 39% of the vote as the Harper Conservatives did in 2011! Yet, I hear no complaints about the Liberal Government of Justin Trudeau being illegitimate as so many progressives claimed of the Harper Government.
In any case, I want to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Harper and all those who had a part in keeping Canada safe and fiscally sound for a decade. I also want to remind Canadians of the many accomplishments of the Conservative Government, not all of which the Liberals are planning to undo.
The crux of the matter is that Mr. Harper and his Conservative team won three governments, two minorities and one majority, because they campaigned and led from the centre, not as CINOs (conservative in name only) as some far-right advocates like to complain about, but simply as conservatives who understood their blended Reform PC roots.
Remember, like it or not, the most seats either the Reform Party or the NDP has ever won, has been Official Opposition status. Canada is a middle of the road country and Mr. Harper understood that.
As a Stephen Harper supporter and a supporter of his former Conservative government (e.g., see my list of Harper Government Accomplishments here), it does not surprise me to hear that Mr. Harper acted honourably during the RCMP preparation prior to the Mike Duffy trial.
While the Staley item is long and detailed, the key points are that Mr. Harper:
- Instructed his lawyer to assist the RCMP investigation in whatever way he could;
- Made available extensive PMO documentation;
- Facilitated the interviews held between PMO witnesses and the RCMP; and
- Waived client/lawyer privilege so that all PMO documentation relevant to Mr. Duffy was available.
As Mr. Staley says, waiving client/lawyer privilege was an unequivocal act of integrity and accountability by Mr. Harper.
Meaning, Mr. Harper never had anything to hide in the Mike Duffy matter and when he said he did not know about the Nigel Wright $90,000 cheque ahead of time, he did not. So, no matter what allegations partisan players now want to throw at the former PM, the record speaks for itself.
My thanks then, to Mr. Harper for being the honourable man he is and was for the nearly ten years he served our country. In my opinion, he continues to be vilified in the mainstream media and social media, simply because he held different values than some progressive liberals. Which is sad because conservatives rarely vilify progressives with as much unsubstantiated venom.
Regardless, I believe history will show that Stephen Harper was one of Canada’s most competent prime ministers, as well as a man of integrity.