David Akin - March 28th, 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits Fort Lennox in Saint-Paul-de-l’Île-aux-Noix, Que. on Friday Sept. 14, 2012. Harper visited the site to commemorate Canadian victories in the War of 1812. (Maxime Deland/QMI Agency)
Both his fans and his critics agree on one thing about Stephen Harper. He wants to transform the country, so Canadians will come to see his Conservatives and not the Liberals as the natural governing party.
By the election of 2015, he will have done much in that regard.
But to make that work endure, the Conservatives need history on their side. They need a narrative of Canada in which Conservative Party values are integral to the story. Voters who buy this history will then turn to Conservative leaders as the default choice in this century the way Canadians turned to Liberal leaders by default in the last century.
I’m not the first to advance this thesis. Plenty have done something similar over the last few years, particularly when the Harper Conservatives allocated millions to mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. But this week, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird gave a speech about John Diefenbaker’s foreign policy and that speech, more than anything I’ve heard yet from a Conservative politician, neatly articulated the Conservative vision of how Canada’s history ought to be read or interpreted. Read more…
David Akin - February 13th, 2014
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty receives a standing ovation during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa February 12, 2014. Mind you, this did not happen until 15:02 pm, or more than 45 minutes after the first post-budget QP was underway. By then, Prime Minister Stephen Harper (seen applauding above at right) had answered an unprecedented 21 questions. (CHRIS WATTIE/Reuters)
Was Jim Flaherty benched during Question Period after suggesting his party might back away from a 2011 platform promise on income splitting? Flaherty said next to nothing in Wednesday’s Question Period, the first one following the tabling of his budget on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the PM took an unprecedented number of questions. And the first minister to follow Harper was Employment MInister Jason Kenney, who, after Flaherty had backed away from the income splitting commitment had loudly affirmed that commitment to reporters.
Today, Flaherty was in the House answering questions — on income splitting, of course — and stuck to a very particular phrase, the same phrase Harper would stick to at an event near Toronto. (Harper was not in the House today.) Conservative sources are telling reporters, including me, that Harper and Flaherty both believe that their campaign commitment of 2011 now needs a re-think. Fine. Still don’t understand why Question Period unfolded in such an odd way yesterday.
So I looked back at all of the 10 Question Periods which immediately followed the tabling of a budget. Turns out Flaherty played a central role in them only a handful of times and in fact, missed 5 post-budget QPs. Here’s the tale of the tape: Read more…
David Akin - February 9th, 2014
TORONTO – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty adjusts his glasses as he talks to the media prior to holding pre-budget consultations with the business community in Toronto last November (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)
Conservatives, if you ask them, believe, above all else, in smaller government. U.S. conservative Grover Norquist once said government should be small enough you could strangle it in a bathtub, a line I’ve heard repeated by Canadian Conservatives.
But often enough, the rhetoric of these conservatives does not match what nominally conservative governments do in office. Case in point: The current Conservative Party of Canada government in Ottawa, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his finance minister Jim Flaherty.
David Akin - February 9th, 2014
It may not be a fair comparison but Justin Trudeau’s tweet is at least accurate.
The country has had two prime ministers from Calgary and each man’s tenure coincided with the two worst economic recessions of the last century.
David Akin - January 20th, 2014
The following is a text of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s speech to the Knesset, delivered at approximately 6:30 pm Jerusalem time on Monday January 20, 2014. The following has been adapted from a prepared text distributed to reporters ahead of the speech. The actual speech, as a result, may differ slightly from you see here.
Moreover, I have removed French-language sections of the speech that largely repeated adjacent English-language sections. Any formatting or grammar error are also likely mine introduced in the editing process.
And thank you for inviting me to visit this remarkable country, and especially for this opportunity to address the Knesset. Read more…