Liberals first to go neg via proxy?

In the dark world of politicking, political gamemanship and attacks on political opponents, the new Liberals are a bit more sophisticated that their purged Dionista bretheren.  With the backdrop of a global economic crisis, governments working together to “rescue” (that’s another debate) the worldwide economy through spending and bailouts, political parties in Canada are somewhat reluctant to play partisan games to avoid being cast in a bad light themselves among the voting public that does not have an appetite for attacks.

For this reason, the Conservatives post-Dion have been relatively quiet on defining the new Leader of the Opposition.  Every opposition leader from Manning to Day to Harper and yes, Mr. Dion, has been ruthlessly defined by the governing party of the time.  We have yet to see the Conservatives unload on Mr. Ignatieff with even a hint of the fire they rained down on the hapless Stephane Dion.

No party can been seen to have initiated a wave of negativity during this time so perhaps the Conservatives have strategically been holding off on firing the first volley.

Though, as I’m coming to realize, the Liberals may have been sniping at the Conservatives for a few weeks now though as insurgents that have shed their Liberal uniforms.

Take, for example, this video by “theGritGirl”:

theGritGirl joined YouTube on March 10, 2009 but is already cranking out broadcast quality vignette’s attacking the Conservative government.  Surely skill doesn’t automatically mean that a big P partisan professionalism is at play here.  But go to 9 seconds into the video to committee testimony by Minister Jim Flaherty.  If you exist off of the Hill, you might have seen this testimony on CPAC and if you exist on the Hill, you may have seen it on that same channel or through the internal House of Commons feed.  Note that this TV-quality feed lacks “CPAC” designation meaning that this video capture likely occurred on the Hill from the House of Commons feed.  This professional video (with titles produced with a professional video suite like After Effects) was also first seen on Warren Kinsella’s blog.  The lack of CPAC designation and Warren Kinsella’s distribution may mean that the Liberals produced the video and are the first to “go neg” during this time of economic crisis.  If the Conservatives are looking for an opening to unleash a barrage against Ignatieff and the Liberals this may be it as their actions would appear to be defensive rather than offensive.

Further to more Liberal attack, we see this entry by Liberal war room chief Kinsella on March 2 featuring a letter from James Turk, the head of the Canadian Association of University Teachers complaining to Minister Goodyear that a staffer told Turk and his colleagues them to “shut up” during a meeting.  After looking into this incident, I learned that Turk and his associates had given the Minister a brow-beating for about an hour without bringing up new business (ie. that he hadn’t already read in published op-eds by Turk et al).  The letter is carbon copied to Marc Garneau (Liberal S&T critic) Stephen Harper, Tony Clement, and Jim Maloway (NDP S&T critic).  The document on Kinsella’s site is a scanned copy of the fax sent to one of those individuals (let’s say Garneau) and then passed onto Kinsella.

In today’s Globe and Mail, we read that Jim Turk has an immediate comment available regarding the balancing of one’s job as Minister of S&T and one’s own personal faith.  Here’s Turk,

“The traditions of science and the reliance on testable and provable knowledge has served us well for several hundred years and have been the basis for most of our advancement. It is inconceivable that a government would have a minister of science that rejects the basis of scientific discovery and traditions,”

Outside of Goodyear’s tangential though unwise hedging on evolution, we see this Globe and Mail piece write up Turk on Goodyear without the context of their previous run-in.  Turk is presented as an unbiased voice on Goodyear.  Also, Turk and Goodyear didn’t spar over Goodyear’s unknown views of a particular field of science or how public policy is or is not informed by those views.  Further, this Globe piece is timed perfectly for those that would gain from a Conservative stumble on Goodyear as the government held a high profile event last night honouring NSERC award winners.  In communications, that was supposed to be the story that Conservatives wanted whereas, the Liberals got quite a gift today.

Finally, if we check out Kinsella today, we find him going along the same attack as that unleashed against Stockwell Day.  Kinsella will be dusting off his Barney doll to chase away religious constituents that Ignatieff is said to be courting.

Have the Conservatives used proxies to level attacks agaist their opponents in the past? Of course.  This is nothing new; every political party does it.  But in this latest post-Dion, post-economic collapse round of the war where everyone is supposed to rise above, if the Conservatives are holding their fire so they won’t be blamed for playing politics during this economic crisis, the Liberals and their proxies have just given them the green light and the media wouldn’t hold much credibility if they said the Tories fired first.

Comments

comments

  • woods

    Is this blog a parody? Or have you not received one of Harper’s ten percenters since the last election attacking the Liberals? And you missed the story about the Conservative MP using her office to attack the Liberals? And you missed the attacks in QP?

    You are a joke. A bad joke.

  • Michael

    That’s a lot of hot air for little payoff, RGH.

    1. Do you really want to nail Ignatieff for his one-time support of the Iraq War, when Harper demanded that Canada take part in that war, and plagiarized a speech in the House of Commons to make his point?

    2. Ignatieff qualified for British and American citizenship, but never took it. He was always Canadian, and those who knew him at Harvard knew him to be the funny Canadian prof.

    3. Ignatieff has unequivocally condemned torture, including in those forms, and in the same work. It’s dishonest and misleading to suggest he supported such tactics simply because he was openly dialoguing with himself about his thoughts in an intellectual capacity. He wasn’t making policy. As an intellectual, it was his job to ask and examine the tough questions from all sides.

    Etc, etc, etc…

    The only thing you’re going to be warming are the Opposition benches.

  • Michael

    That’s a lot of hot air for little payoff, RGH.

    1. Do you really want to nail Ignatieff for his one-time support of the Iraq War, when Harper demanded that Canada take part in that war, and plagiarized a speech in the House of Commons to make his point?

    2. Ignatieff qualified for British and American citizenship, but never took it. He was always Canadian, and those who knew him at Harvard knew him to be the funny Canadian prof.

    3. Ignatieff has unequivocally condemned torture, including in those forms, and in the same work. It’s dishonest and misleading to suggest he supported such tactics simply because he was openly dialoguing with himself about his thoughts in an intellectual capacity. He wasn’t making policy. As an intellectual, it was his job to ask and examine the tough questions from all sides.

    Etc, etc, etc…

    The only thing you’re going to be warming are the Opposition benches.

  • Ted

    Gabby, with respect, you are ignoring the point or missing it entirely.

    The point is not that some others were also getting it wrong and messed up in their predictions.

    The point is that Flaherty said “no one predicted this” when that is so patently false to the point of being a self-serving lie. Edward Greenspan, the former head of the US Federal Reserve, had also already predicted not just a recession but a depression.

    So the first point is that Flaherty was monumentally and possibly deliverately wrong.

    The second and probably bigger point is, even if many are predicting no recession, if so many leading economists and market people are predicting economic armaggedon and there were already signs of the economy turning, why do Harper and Flaherty tell us that Canada will never go into deficit and never have a recession?

    The answer is clear as day: they will say anything to get elected and stay elected.

  • onetireddad

    Nice to see no one is feeding the troll.

  • mecheng

    So what exactly has Goodyear been considering that is affected by his (unstated) views on evolution?

    It's a perfectly legitimate comparison.

  • doh

    This is rather obvious analysis, Stephen.

  • Gayle

    I see that in the summer and fall of 2008 people were predicting a recession, and in January 2009 Harper just clued in.

  • Gayle

    Not sure what the first part of your post has to do with this comment. Nevertheless, I would point out that Goodyear was being asked about his belief in a scientific theory, and as he is the Science Minister in charge of determing the funding for different scientists, it is a perfectly valid question. You see, if he does not accept certain scientific theories, or any scientific theories, it might well affect the priority he places on funding certain scientific studies.

    I hope that clears things up for you.

    As for the truthfulness of the ad – I see you are avoiding the point.

    Harper and Flaherty are accurately quoted – and the economists who prove their quotes to be false are also accurately quoted.

  • Gayle

    Funding scientific studies – which makes his views on well established scientific theories quite relevant.

  • Gabby in QC

    Mmm, Gayle, the PM referred to in that article is PM Gordon Brown – you know, the guy across the pond, in the UK?

  • Omanator

    There is more. They all forgot to mention that this Government is spending more money on science than any privious governement.

  • Gabby in QC

    Ted, the GritGirl video in question is telling viewers the Conservatives misled the country by ignoring the severity of the recession.

    The links I've provided both here and above prove that many other people – including many experts – either did not see the recession coming, or saw it as merely a mild one. No one predicted the severity of the recession. That is what Min. Flaherty means by saying “no one predicted this.”

    “… even if many are predicting no recession, if so many leading economists and market people are predicting economic armaggedon …”
    That is a completely contradictory statement: “no recession” AND “economic armaggedon”?

    “why do Harper and Flaherty tell us …” They may have been saying no recession in September and October, maybe even as late as November '08 when they brought down the Economic and Fiscal Update, which had some expenditure cuts and no major stimulus package. At that time, according to the forecasts, they were even thinking of eking out a small surplus. But of course all of that dissipated with the rapidly changing conditions.

    And since they were still the government, despite the election campaign, a Prime Minister and his Finance Minister cannot sound alarm bells, because that kind of negative talk can influence the markets. I suppose some of the Conservatives’ opponents would prefer to see them in panic mode. That is not the role of a government.

  • Gayle

    So your point is that Gordon Brown is also either lying or also could not see what many economists were screaming from the roof tops for months?

    The point of the video is to demonstrate that while Harper says no one predicted this, there were, in fact, many economists who predicted this.

    The fact you need to deflect this into a discussion about Gordon Brown does nothing to counter the point made in the video.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder about that too. What I don’t understand that nobody is talking about Warrens run in with Judge Gomery in the sponsership scandal. If my memory serves me right Gomery was not enthusiatic about Warren’s participation in the sponsorship scandal. I think it’s time that some one broadcasts his participation to the public. My bet is the most people don’t know about it.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder about that too. What I don’t understand that nobody is talking about Warrens run in with Judge Gomery in the sponsership scandal. If my memory serves me right Gomery was not enthusiatic about Warren’s participation in the sponsorship scandal. I think it’s time that some one broadcasts his participation to the public. My bet is the most people don’t know about it.

  • Anonymous

    Talking about Ukranians. In 1945 Trainloads of Ukranians – which had been brought in as Labor to Germany-
    were shipped back to Ukraine by the Russians. When they arrived they all – several thousands of them –
    were sumarily executed by the Russians. Ignatieff contempt for the Ukranian people is borne from his Russian Blood.

  • Anonymous

    Talking about Ukranians. In 1945 Trainloads of Ukranians – which had been brought in as Labor to Germany-
    were shipped back to Ukraine by the Russians. When they arrived they all – several thousands of them –
    were sumarily executed by the Russians. Ignatieff contempt for the Ukranian people is borne from his Russian Blood.

  • Gabby in QC

    “So your point is that Gordon Brown is also either lying or …”

    No, Gayle, my point is the one I made from the start: some experts did not see the recession coming, and others predicted a mild one.

    Unlike you, I don't put words in someone else's mouth, nor do I descend to the level of calling a PM like Gordon Brown a liar. Am I to understand your pathological hatred of Stephen Harper apparently now includes Mr. Brown as well?

    I see your recent holiday hasn't improved your disposition any.

  • Gayle

    Is Gordon Brown an expert? I always thought he was a politician. If that is your best example of “some experts”, then you are really stretching.

    Willfull blindness is not a good quality in our political leaders. I should think listening to all opinions would be the prudent thing to do. Again, I point out that the video quotes many actual experts who said the opposite of what Flaherty and Harper claimed – which is why it is such a powerful video, and, presumably, why you are forced to resort to quoting a politician from a different country rather than address the facts set out in the video.

    And while your diversion into accusing me of calling Brown a liar is interesting, that is not what I said. Do try to read the entire sentence rather than parse out words that you think establish your dubious point.

    Finally, this is not about me. Can I suggest you stop trying to change that?

  • Gabby in QC

    “… this is not about me.”
    Gayle, with you it is ALWAYS about you. There's been plenty of evidence of that elsewhere. Anyway …

    “Do try to read the entire sentence …”
    Dear, I'm not the one who mistook PMs in the Jan 2009 article I referenced.

    “… the video quotes many actual experts …”
    They are “actual experts” only if they agree with your POV, otherwise not, right?

    “… why you are forced to resort to quoting a politician from a different country …”
    Umm, maybe because it's a GLOBAL recession?
    And for your info: Gordon Brown is not just a run-of-the-mill pol.
    From Wiki:
    Brown has a PhD in history.
    He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour government from 1997 to 2007 under Blair before he became leader of the Labour Party.
    Since you and your fellow travelers have been accusing PM Harper and his Min. of Finance of not seeing the looming recession, it is very legitimate to compare PM Harper to another person in the same position, i.e. a leader of a country. You know, what you might call comparing kiwis to kiwis (the apples to oranges cliché is SO passé).

    BTW “… parse out words …” is inaccurate.
    From dictionary.com:
    “1. to analyze (a sentence) in terms of grammatical constituents, identifying the parts of speech, syntactic relations, etc.
    2. to describe (a word in a sentence) grammatically, identifying the part of speech, inflectional form, syntactic function, etc.
    3. computers. to analyze (a string of characters) in order to associate groups of characters with the syntactic units of the underlying grammar.”

    What I do is select certain pertinent phrases to illustrate or rebut a point. You may have noticed I often use ellipses (dot-dot-dot.) so as not to copy and paste the entire sentence. That has nothing whatsoever to do with parsing.

  • Gayle

    I am not saying Harper did not see the recession. I am saying he is lying about not seeing the recession. And then he lied when he claimed no one predicted it – as proven in the video.

  • Gabby in QC

    You want to believe both Flaherty and Harper were lying. Believe what you want. It is your still unproven theory.

    But don't worry, you won't be subjected to a witch hunt. ;-)

    The comment space here is growing smaller while the chasm between us is growing larger – so let's leave it there. See you on another thread.

  • http://www.mikebrockonline.com Mike Brock

    I can personally assure you (not that my assurance is valuable to you by the sounds of it) that I do not moderate comments at my blog. I do, however, due to comment spam have my spam filter set very aggressively.

    I will attempt to find your comment (if it exists) amongst the hundreds of spam comments in my filter and publish it ASAP.

  • Brett

    Gabby,

    Don't bother arguing with Gayle. She will never admit she was wrong even in the facde of overwhelming evidence. What I find funny though is in all her twisting and turning to prover herself right she condradicts herself with this little gem: “I am not saying Harper did not see the recession” when in fact that is exactly what she said. I just can't fathom her pthalogical hatred for PM Harper.

  • Omanator

    Maybe Steven Harper did not smile at her.

  • Omanator

    Quoting out of context is just as dishonest.

  • Omanator

    I hope he stays with Iggy. In time WK will be a millstone around Iggy's neck

  • Gayle

    Maybe you misunderstand sarcasm.

    Funny how in all these posts, not one of you can demonstrate that anything gritgirl has posted is false.

    Typical of your lot to resort to personal attacks instead of dealing with the facts.

  • Gayle

    You mean like “do you know how hard it is to set priorities”?

    Because that was certainly quoted out of context.

    Harper and Flaherty, however, were NOT quoted out of context.

  • Gayle

    You mean like “do you know how hard it is to set priorities”?

    Because that was certainly quoted out of context.

    Harper and Flaherty, however, were NOT quoted out of context.