Harper’s loathsome proposal

Brian Jones
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It’s too bad Stephen Harper turned down an invitation to the royal wedding today, because Prince William could have given him some advice about the proper way to ask for someone’s hand.

Granted, young William was seeking an “I will” from an uncommonly comely commoner, while Harper seeks affirmation from millions of common Canadians. But certain principles apply to both their situations.

The prince reportedly got down on one knee while on vacation in Kenya to propose to pretty Kate Middleton. What a terrific start.

Of course, some people — Australian republicans, American braggarts and those too busy with daily life — detest a royal wedding and the attention it gets, claiming it is pointless, shallow and a diversion from more important things.

There’s some truth to that. As the world’s most well known couple, William and Kate have pushed Brad Pitt and what’s-her-name off dozens of magazine covers.

But it’s not all fluff and foofery.

Imagine the moment William got down on his knee. (Actually, a proposal by any hopeful groom to a desired bride would do, but one by a prince is much more fun.)

When William asked the question, Kate immediately knew the upside — he’s handsome, he’s rich, he’s famous, he’s heir to the throne and will one day be king of the U.K., Canada and a bunch of less important lands, and he’s decent enough, despite all the foregoing.

The downside?

When the answer is “yes,” there is no downside.

Now picture Stephen Harper, Conservative leader and incumbent prime minister.

Metaphorically, he wants Canada’s hand.

Specifically, he wants a majority government. But he’s going about it backwards.

He insists that after Canadians say “yes,” everything will be swell and sweet, and there will be — one of his favourite words — “stability.”

When you go to the electorate or go down on one knee — as the case may be — you should already have proven yourself.

Presumably, William had already shown Kate that he is loving, loyal, trustworthy, honest, devoted and good at polo.

So far — several years into a rocky relationship — Harper has shown the Canadian public that he is egotistical, stubborn, deceitful, domineering, manipulative, bullying, secretive and lousy at street hockey.

If the people will just say “yes,” he claims, everything will be wonderful.

Harper is like a cad saying, “Sweetheart, deep down I’m really a terrific guy.”

He makes plenty of claims, but provides no proof.

There is no reason to believe a majority government will be better than a minority government, whether for “stability,” the economy or good governance.

Yet Harper has made it his central theme. “Marry me,” he says, “and then we’ll work out the details.”

He won’t even tell Canadians where he’ll take them on the honeymoon.

There are hints, though. For starters, he’ll decrease the corporate tax rate to 15 per cent from 18 per cent. Most Canadian income earners will therefore pay approximately twice the tax rate of banks and oil companies. Oh, happiness.

Somewhere, Danny Williams must be smirking. Numerous people — and I was one — opposed his Anything But Conservative campaign during the 2008 federal election.

In retrospect, Williams might have been right — not merely

for Harper’s transgressions against Newfoundland (and possibly Labrador), but for his disdain and disregard for democracy.

Harper is wrong about a lot of things, but he is absolutely right that the central issue in this campaign is majority government.

Here’s something for everyone, even Tories, to contemplate: the Reform party cum Canadian Alliance cum revamped Conservatives have created a leader who is every bit as loathsome as Brian Mulroney, who upon his demise was Canada’s most despised PM.

Canadians should consider that, before walking down the aisle on Monday.


Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached by email at bjones@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: Canadian Alliance, Conservatives, The Telegram

Geographic location: Canada, Kenya, Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Jerry
    May 02, 2011 - 09:53

    Hey concerned Newfoundlander if lowering taxes to oil companies will allow them to pass on the savings to the consumer, then why have we not seen any of these savings over the past 5 years when harper has been lowering taxes? Most of the countries that have lowered corporate taxes are now severely in the hole, and the reason why we as individuals have to shoulder most of the tax burden is to compansate for the small amount industry pays. Our tax level is already the most competitive in North America so who are we competing with, ourselves?

  • G Pike
    May 01, 2011 - 22:03

    Hey Concerned Newfoundlander, What a load of blather. Corporations pocket tax savings. Do us all a favour and do some research before spewing your Conservative talking points here.

  • MBC
    April 30, 2011 - 06:45

    Why would any NL vote Conservative.? They decrease corporation tax for large corporations who are making overthetop profits. Small businesses deserve a tax break, but not multi-national corporations;they should be at a higher tax level. Individuals pat TWICE the tax as corporation.! Not good enough ! Also recall what Harper called Atlantic Canadians several years ago; lazy and willing to live on government handouts. That is why we get no support from the Conservative party. Any doubt about Harper, just ask Danny. And then to piss off Danny and all NLer, he sent MHAs to the Senate; Elizabeth Marshall, Fabian Manning and so on. The most discussing thing I find is that all PC members in NL are now supporting Harper, when only a few months ago they were calling him a fraud. They were supporting Liberals ! I would love to hear Danny's comments on this matter. And Harper will not support the Lower Churchill Falls agreement, unless he get a majority. His will have the authority to support the loan guarentee even with a minority; anything to weasel out of his soft promise. ABC should be on as long as Harper is in power.

  • Concerned Newfoundlander
    April 29, 2011 - 20:23

    Brian Jones just not understand the economics of taxes and neither does anybody here that has posted. Stephen Harper is smarter than you all. PEOPLE pay taxes, not the large corporations. Taxes are passed through corporations and end up being reflected in the price of their goods. If taxes are reduced, so are the prices of their goods and services. If oil companies pay less taxes, then the price of oil and gas goes down. Most leading economic countries in the world have realized this and there is now a race to cut corporate taxes in a gloabl competition for capital. This improves the productivity of our nation. I urge everybody, especially the biased desk editors of the telegram, to educate themselves before trashing something that is beneficial to the people of our country. Taliban JacQ has made $70 Billion in election promises and the only way he can keep even half of them is to RAISE taxes to pay for them. His cap and trade idea for Canada will send gas prices soaring out of control. Yeah ok, vote NDP and send our country backwards after the worst recession since the 30's.

  • Robert
    April 29, 2011 - 18:36

    Loathsome proposals and all. Canadians should be asking themselves why separatists in Quebec are encouraging their supporters to vote NDP. Jumping Jack has made all kinds of promises to Quebec including extending the provisions of Bill 101 (the language law) to all federal departments and federally registered companies in Quebec - if you are not fluent in French look for another job. The next time the language police - and yes there is a language police in Quebec - comes knocking - thank Jack.

  • scliploon
    April 29, 2011 - 13:41

    This was an excellent article! Nice job Brian Jones. You have made my job of voting easier. I will not be voting conservative this Monday. To be honest i probably wouldn't have anyway, but that door was still open if a candidate had to have stopped by my neighborhood for a visit! It is now closed. Thanks for the memories!

  • Taxpayer
    April 29, 2011 - 12:07

    ' has shown the Canadian public that he is egotistical, stubborn, deceitful, domineering, manipulative, bullying, secretive and lousy at street hockey.' Pretty much applies to all politicians.

    • Taxpayer
      April 29, 2011 - 12:56

      But especially to Stevie!!!

    • Taxpayer
      April 29, 2011 - 14:08

      And Iggy and Jackie and all the 'honourable' members before them.

  • Robert
    April 29, 2011 - 10:48

    I am in complete agreement with this article.