Harping about majority

Brian Jones
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Volunteers for local candidates have been phoning around, trying to identify which voters will likely cast a ballot in their favour May 2, but I was taken by surprise when a call came from Conservative party headquarters in Ottawa.

“Will you consider supporting Stephen Harper?” a polite, pleasant voice asked.

“Sure, I’ll consider it,” I said truthfully, although the way things are going, such consideration will likely be measured in milliseconds.

Then, remembering my line of work and the vital requirement to be fair and objective on all issues and to all people, I asked, “Is this a poll, or are you just looking for input from citizens?”

It wasn’t a poll, she said. HQ wanted to find out what people’s concerns are.

“Well,” I said, “could you tell Stephen Harper to stop being so secretive, and to get Canadians out of the war in Libya.”

Those were merely the first two issues that came to mind. There were more.

But there were apparently millions of other citizens who had to be called.

“OK,” she said, obviously well instructed in tactfulness, “thank you for your time.”


Making choices

There are so many other things I could have said.

The prime minister’s son, Ben, is in his early teens, and is probably pondering career choices, possibly with input and guidance from his father.

If he opts to be a pilot with the Canadian Forces, he might squeeze in a few missions over Libya. After all, if the experience in Afghanistan is an indicator, the violence in Libya could go on for years.

Then again, the PM likely shares the view held by most politicians, that wars are best fought by other people’s kids.


To the trough

This concern is minor, but it continues to irk me: Harper has always listed his profession as “economist,” even though he has only a master’s degree, not a PhD.

Also, regarding his work history, since 1981 the vast majority — there’s that word again! — of his paycheques have come courtesy of the people of Canada, otherwise known as taxpayers, the public purse, government spending, etc.

So, let’s get his viewpoint straight, hypocritical though it

is: government largesse directed toward social programs is, by definition, undesirable and wasteful, but government largesse into the Harper bank account is well spent.


Academic background

Tory HQ may or may not have been able to clear up a suspicion that has lurked in my mind ever since Harper rose onto the public scene.

There is no way I’ll ever be able to prove it or verify it, but I suspect Harper was in my Political Science 380 class at the University of Calgary in 1981.

That obnoxious lout who sat at the back of the lecture hall and heckled anyone who dared to argue with the professor — a man virulently right wing even by U of C standards — and who laughed derisively whenever anyone (OK, me) voiced an opinion that was slightly liberal or leftish, but who never had the guts to actually participate in class debate, that guy, I suspect, was Stephen Harper, future activist with the Reform Party, head of the Canadian Alliance and, inexplicably and preposterously, leader of all Canadians and Newfoundlanders.

Another U of C political science professor wisely instructed his students that the first and most important question regarding public issues is, “Why?”

The incumbent PM says Canadians should give him a majority government. Why?

There are real benefits to having a minority government.

More Canadians, through their representatives in Parliament, can have input into national policies. The party in power can’t do whatever it wants or rule on a whim, but must give credence to requests and demands from opposing parties.

That’s why Harper wants a majority.


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

Organizations: Canadian Forces, Harper bank, University of Calgary Reform Party Canadian Alliance The Telegram

Geographic location: Libya, Ottawa, Afghanistan Canada

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Recent comments

  • Paul D Ryan
    April 23, 2011 - 10:26

    It's interesting that the conditions for posting do not seem to apply to the editorial staff: "We ask that users remain courteous. You may not post insulting, discriminatory or inappropriate content, which may be removed at our discretion." Brian Jones diatribe was hardly fair comment. I seem to recall sitting in a restaurant back in 1983 next to a whiny little pompous nerd who couldn't stop caterwauling about the injustices of being unemployed when so many lesser educated people were making so much money doing nothing more than manual labour. I can't prove it was Brian Jones, but if it looks looks a smarmy weasel and writes like one ............ I expect more from a publication such as the Telegram than ad hominem attacks based solely upon speculation and fabrication.

  • Herbert Morrison
    April 22, 2011 - 08:17

    As I watch Watching the likes of Harper, Ignatieff, and Layton strut their stuff on the political stage, during the current election campaign, it will be n mystery to me if the voter apathy, demonstrated by the significant numbers of Canadians who didn't execerise their right to vote in the last Federal Electionn, was to be a factor when the votes are tallied this time around on election day. I expressed the viewpoint in this media on another occasion that choosing among Harper, Ignatieff, or Laytron, to be Prime Minister, is a choice between tweedle dee and tweedle dum. The three afore-mentioned leaders lack the kind of public appeal that politicians such as Pierre Trudeau, Joey Smallwood, Danny Williams demonsatrated. Regardless of whethert or not you loved these men or hated the ground they walked on, they were whio and what they were. What you saw is what you got. I believe autthenticity aptly describes Pierre, Joey, and Danny. Harper, Ignatieff, and Laytonthe politicians, are nothing more than the creations of some perhaps overpaid public relations gru. From the carefully staged photo opts to their feeble attemps to be everyones best friend, its so phony.. Effectively written article, Brian, hoowever, it might have been more effective if it were not partisan. Why, because,, Harper, Ignatieff, and Layton are all "tarred with the one brush."

  • G Pike
    April 22, 2011 - 02:16

    How anyone in NL could vote Conservative I don't know. Harper pulled the wool over our eyes last time when he reneged on a signed agreement regarding our offshore. He proved he can't be trusted and will say and do anything for our vote. And then to add insult to injury we had to watch the smirking Fabian Manning at Harpers right hand in the House of Commons while Harper repeated the lie that he gave NL what had been agreed to. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on us. Vote for NL, vote ABC!

  • Concerned Newfoundlander
    April 21, 2011 - 23:36

    Most people don't even know why they shouldn't trust Harper. You people just hear other people say he broke a bunch of promises to NL and then believe it yourselves. If anybody actually knew anything about equalization, they would know that it is CONSTITUTIONAL. Danny Williams failed to inform the people of Newfoundland and Labrador with all the facts. The federal government was constiitutionally obligated to go the way they did with the equalization issue. Danny became royally pissed off that he didn't get his way so he decided to try and destroy Stephen Harper like he has done with numerous others. Maybe everybody should educate yourselves on equalization, which is very hard to do by the way, and then ask yourselves unbiasedly what Stephen Harper actually did and why he is so awful. Most people don't know.

  • james
    April 21, 2011 - 16:06

    when it comes to political parties could some one tell me who to trust

  • Burt Fearon
    April 21, 2011 - 14:27

    This paper is obviously liberal garbage. Just my opinion.

  • ron
    April 21, 2011 - 13:52

    They called me too.. When she asked I responded.. How cold is it? She paused and said ... what do you mean? I said not cold enough for hell to freeze over.. that's when STEVE-O will get my vote...

  • ron
    April 21, 2011 - 13:48

    well said Brian Jones, desk editor.. Maybe now you won't have to audition for a job with Metrobus after all

  • mary
    April 21, 2011 - 11:53

    Jack Layton is not PM material, he is good at what he does but he just won't cut it as PM. I will go for the Liberals, really believe they are the best choice. Has everyone heard that the Harper Gov't is going to stop supporting Planned Parenthood. That comes from the mouth of a SK Con candidate and was reported on another news site. They won't stop until all women are pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen, forget about healthy pregnancies and so much more.

  • Jackie
    April 21, 2011 - 11:37

    @ Robert thats my opinion too. Go Jack Layton Go

  • MoneyBags
    April 21, 2011 - 10:33

    For one, a bachelors degree is all you need to be economist. A Phd just means that you have become specialized in some field of economics such as welfare economics, health economics, or environmental economics. That's right there are fields in economics that are social based, obviously Jones is not aware of that and probably neither is Harper.

  • Robert Taylor
    April 21, 2011 - 09:30

    The Harper regime has to go. Giving this individual a majority would be the worst thing that could happen to this country. Dictatorial, secretive, abusive, arrogant and an outright bunch of liars characterize this lot. We need a PM with integrity, honesty and who actually cares about the plight of ordinary Canadians and Harper has all but 3 of those qualities. Jack Layton is the best leader of the bunch and Harper is the worst.

  • Taxpayer
    April 21, 2011 - 08:24

    I could be proven wrong (hard evidence please not supposition), but I would say that most economic oracles from the major banks only have a Masters degrees much like the MBA's who are touted as knowing it all.

  • Jackie
    April 21, 2011 - 07:49

    Well I wont be voting for harper. He has broke to many promises and clearly can not be trusted. If they phoned me I would not even consider.