Even conservatives had had enough

I read in the Post a couple of days ago that the Conservatives had engaged in focus groups before the election, with Conservative party members. It was illuminating because, as I recall,  the Conservative party supporters felt exactly the same towards the Harper government as did Liberals and NDPers. It shows that conservative Canadians were, at the least, as sane as their countrymen.

As Andrew Coyne wrote

We should be clear where the roots of that culture lie. The nastiness of Tory politics under Harper, the mindless partisanship, the throttling of backbench MPs, are not outgrowths of conservatism. They were born, rather, of its repudiation: of the decision to sterilize the new party of any ideological convictions, the better (it was supposed) to remove any obstacle to its electability.

Politics fills a vacuum: in the absence of substantive differences with your opponents, partisanship takes its place. If, what is more, a party no longer stands for much as a party, then its policies will default to whatever the leader decides. And the leader, having been given that power and that assignment — win at all costs — can tolerate no deviations from MPs still under the impression that the party harbours some lingering principles.

I also disagree with those who think that the media were responsible for misrepresenting the Tories. I think that, with the National Post, there continues to be a principled source of conservative and liberal (meaning market-oriented) opinion in this country, and that on the whole, the media’s leftist bias had no particular effect in lowering the esteem of the government in the eyes of Canadians. The Harper government was seen accurately by all, and condemned accordingly.

The sad fact is that a party of ideas needs to emerge before a winning electoral combination can be created. That requires that conservatives once again embrace a culture of discussion, which existed for a time in the old Reform.

And barking dogs like Pierre Poilievre need to be tamed or shown to the door.

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old white guy

I would love to hear one single idea from anyone running for office that does not involve sucking money from my pocket. the conservatives under harper were not nasty, what was nasty were those reporting their own nasty viewpoints as news.

johndoe124

But, at the end of the day, when one has to make a choice at election time Harper’s Conservatives were still, and demonstrably so, a much, much better alternative to the Liberals, warts and all. And that’s what’s important, not ones’ personal feelings about the internal machinations of Canadian political culture. In that respect all parties are the same.

Nicola Timmerman

Well on Radio Canada and TVA never a kind word for the Conservatives or the federal government at all. Cbc and Ctv engaged in everyday Harper bashing for years. The Montreal Gazette never once published a nice photo of Harper or his family and did months of puff pieces about Trudeau.
I read that even seniors voted more for the Liberals than for the Conservatives. Why? Because they wanted home delivery of mail? Because they were nostalgic for Pierre Trudeau? Because Justin was like the son they wished they had? Need to get to the bottom of this.

billg

Someone somewhere had to know that not playing nice would eventually take its toll. My question is this, and, I do believe that Stephen Harper will be remembered as a giant of a PM, but, if Mr Harper is so smart how could he not understand that the MSM had to be on his side for him to win election #4? Its politics 101, win over the media and your good to go, hell, you don’t even have to have platform, just win the media.

SteveO

The chance of EVER having the media say anything good about a Conservative is only a pipe dream. When the MSM realized that they could pass off as news their distorted view of the world with lies distorted truths and half truths and put a liberal positive spin on it they did. We lost this one because I believe anyway that Harper @ CO. ran out of good ideas and were not really as Conservative in many respects as they could or should have been. I firmly believe that a strong Conservative platform showing fiscal responsibility, strong values and candidates with NO BAGAGE and this would have been a cake walk. Just my 2 cents worth….Steve O

Ward

To win the media over you must cow tow to their agenda which is progressive which has nothing to do with conservatism. At this point after the Canadian media guild registered to campaign against Harper , if you are still buying their narrative on anything as it relates to Harper and conservatism – you would have to be worse than naive. I think you would need to be willfully blind or fundamentally stupid.

Conservatism was just murdered in Canada. It will not return. Media will make sure of that.

Complaints about Harper came from two sources. His political opponents in the opposition parties and his political opponents – the progressive wing – in his own party.

These voices were then amplified and added to those of the entire anti Harper national media.

Unions then shifted their vote at last minute.

And trudeau still only managed a six point win. And that was with the benefit of the ongoing you the bath be the media to boot.

Media is now telling you Canadians rejected Harper and his brand of conservatism.

Not true.

Isn’t there some sort if blogging liberals forum? I think you would be better off there. That us were media talking points get regurgitated as facts .

Gabby in QC

Was this post, quoting Andrew Coyne to give it added weight I suppose, written by the same person who wrote a post back in July 2014 titled “Coyne: Harper annoys me, so let’s have institutional reform”?
Among Coyne’s verbiage quoted here:
“the throttling of backbench MPs”
“the decision to sterilize the new party of any ideological convictions”
Just those two appear to me to be contradictory. Time and again, the opposition and punditry used the word “ideology” as a pejorative when pertaining to Conservative policies, as something that needed to be eradicated from political parties. At the same time, though, Coyne and other commentators call for independent thinkers, freelancers as MPs. The same kind of freelancers allowed into the Liberal party, perhaps? Freelancers who are not allowed to vote their conscience? I guess Coyne and Dalwhinnie (writer of this post) didn’t read this:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/conservative-mps-break-ranks-more-often-than-opposition/article8156279/
“After seven years in power, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has cemented a reputation as a one-man government, focused on control and stifling dissent.
Yet a review of MP voting records during the first Harper majority government tells another story: Conservative MPs are far more likely than opposition MPs to break ranks with their own party. And both the dissenting Conservative MPs and the government’s chief disciplinarian – Government Whip Gordon O’Connor – insist a free vote is a free vote and there are no consequences for breaking ranks.”

IMO, there is no question the media played a big role in the erosion of the public’s acceptance of the Harper Conservatives. I do not expect the media to write glowing positive articles about the government but I do expect them to be factual and fair. Generally speaking, with a few exceptions, the media have been outright inimical to the Conservatives and to PM Harper in particular while showing Justin Trudeau in the best light possible.

Mind you, the PM’s relationship with the media could have been better. He could have allowed more questions than the customary 4 or 5 allowed at formal announcements and during the campaign. He could have held longer press conferences occasionally. I remember early on reporter Elizabeth Thompson on a CPAC panel commenting that the Harper government, unlike the previous Liberal government, gave journalists very little information to work with, so that they were in a perennial hunt for something to write about, whereas under the Liberals they were often deluged with so much information (probably most of it useless IMO) that they had no time to dig up dirt.

As for “Conservative party supporters felt exactly the same towards the Harper government as did Liberals and NDPers” maybe Dalwhinnie believes commenters on forums who solemnly identify themselves as conservatives disappointed with whatever policy the Harper government presented. I wonder how many of those were truthful.

Bec

I’m sensing that THESE comments should be considered a REAL conservative focus group.

Conservatives are great at governing and lousy at being aggressive progressives.

canadianna

I agreed with all of your commenters. I don’t blame the media for the Conservative loss, but without reason, even prior to being elected PM, the media showed disdain and contempt and visceral hatred for Harper and as a result, people hated him without quite knowing why.
Like the song says: ‘you don’t know what you got til it’s gone.’
Will be interesting to see if people wake up to see that what we had under Harper was pretty good compared to some of the ‘real change’ being offered by JT.

Martin

I fundamentally disagree with the idea that the national media was fair and objective in their observations of the CPC and PM Stephen Harper. There are too many examples of fawning treatment of J Trudeau as opposed to contempt and dislike for PM Harper.
Many in media and elsewhere longed for a return to Trudeau mania of the 1970s. This is an extreme example of viewing the past through rose coloured spectacles. Descriptors applied to PM Harper, cold, unemotional, power-centric, stiff etc. could very accurately be applied to P E Trudeau. His treatment and relationship with the press was scarcely better than Harper’s, especially after his marriage breakdown.
There seems to be no memory of this whatsoever today.

Given Justin is not his father and it him that is being compared (unfavourably) to Stephen Harper. Still,I believe it is the conservative philosophy that is so disliked by the media, and any CPC leader would eventually suffer the same fate.

Sean M

Your point is completely absurd… when someone believes Andrew Coyne is a conservative voice of truth, then frankly they don’t have a clue of what they speak. Andrew Coyne has been actively campaigning for anyone but the Conservatives for years now… Coyne encouraged readers to vote “Liberal” when he worked for MacLeans Magazine, twice, he was very very upset that the long form census had been taken away… this time Coyne encouraged readers to vote for the NDP. Im sorry but anyone that believes the shit that comes out of Coynes mouth regarding conservatives or the PM is not someone who understands conservatives or Coyne. Coyne likes to dress in drag and pretend he’s “Conservative” but he is utterly full of shit!

Ontario Girl

I wonder how long we will have to wait for the media to stop kicking a guy when he’s down? Their guy Trudeau has the big seat now.. .the media won….why are they still being so nasty to Stephen Harper? Could it be because they don’t want to turn the attention on something substantive from their golden boy? All day fluff coverage and fawning like never before for the golden couple, to the point of nausea. 4 more years of this I am afraid. Mansbridge will never let his HDS go. PM Harper can hold his head high and be proud of what he has done for the country, with all the hateful media hacks with a knife in his back.

james

I think by “nasty” they mean not agreeing with the liberals. That’s typically how it goes. If you don’t agree with a liberal you are mean spirited and nasty.

Ontario Girl

I laugh when the media keep saying Trudeau ran a positive campaign. Wouldn’t you say it’s easy to run a hopey change Obama positive campaign while you have reporters doing the nasty for you in the background…like National Newswatch…full of PM Harper smearing from opinion pieces all posted around the country in newspapers.LOL Newspapers who won’t print letters to the editor that are Harper positive…just negative Harper hater letters. How do you fight the press? Then we have CBC every night on The National and on “AT ISSUE” and CTV “Question Period” and CBC “Power and Politics” and CTV Don Martin “Power Play” …all sticking a knife in PM Harpers gut…not to forget all the groups signed up as 3rd parties against the Govt. AND the American special interest groups like Lead now using money Sica(check out the rebel) from the US…no Elections Canada anywhere. The fix was in for Trudeau to steal this election and with all those groups, they did it. NOW why don’t they give it up, revel in their bogus victory and get off the back of PM Harper. They have been on him since 2004. We Conservatives will get the last word when all those PROMISES cause the Country to go down the Liberal toilet and taxpayers will be wrung dry for CBC’s golden boy. Now we will be paying for 25,ooo refugees coming into Canada before the end of the year all to vote Liberano$ in 2019.pfffft

Ontario Girl

Forgot to add to the list…Danny Williams contacted by CBC to come back with his ABC all over the CBC newscasts and Conrad black on CBC against PM Harper. He even put an opinion piece in the National post all negative about the Prime Minister. Chretien and Martin never had this negative press. Joe Clark coming out of the woodwork…..I could go on…it was a MEDIA PILE ON…no candidate could withstand this Trudeau “CLEAN CAMPAIGN” SLAUTER by the supporting media. look at Christoper Alexander and that bogus boy on the beach story…lies…yet he was brought down by HOLLAND…that washed up Liberal from the past…now elected….Democracy in Canada FAILED…..Thank you media and special interest groups and missing Elections Canada. PM Harper is the best PM Canada ever had. he didn’t steal from taxpayers. Hold onto you wallets and STOP blaming PM Harper because he was a gentleman and a real statesman who steered the ship through troubled times better then any country in the world. Please stop insulting me…

Anonduck

I think Conservatives (capital ‘C’ here) need to take a long hard look in the mirror. There’s this constant critique of JT as being without substance, but when you look at the campaigns, the liberal campaign was substantive and issue based, the CPC campaign was inane, fluffy, with very little of substance to it. Why spend time talking about another candidate’s hair? It wasn’t the LPC talking about hair, it was the CPC. There’s this constant buzz about how the media is unfair in characterizing the Harper gov’t as mean and divisive, but the Niqab issue was precisely divisive, and the vote in immigrant communities showed it. This is a consequence of seeking power for the sake of power. When MPs like Liepert come forward criticizing the central campaign for not even talking to MPs, you have a major issue. A party needs to be about ideas. Back in the reform days, it was about ideas and grassroots engagement. I think a lot of people at the levers of power in the party have forgotten that.
Preston Manning made a good point in a column a few years back, saying that when a party gets too comfortable in power, and utilizes the advantages of incumbency over its own intellectual capital, its democratic infrastructure begins to decay… I think a number of these issues need to be seriously looked at if the party wants to go anywhere in the future. I see the election as positive.

Martin

I seriously question the part of the PM and the CPC in making the “niquab issue” devisive. As has been shown a couple of weeks ago, the incident was planned by the woman as a political stunt. The court timing and response were beyond the government control. The government simply appealed the original court decision and accepted the verdict. I believe a PM of any stripe would have done similarly, P Martin, J Chretien and especially P E Trudeau. He would have dismissed the woman’s plight and “rights violations” summarily. It was the opposition and media who made the case a major issue, and strove to show the PM in a bad light. We could and should have been discussing substantive issues, the signing of largest trade deal in Canada’s history, lets say, but the Liberals and media accomplices preferred to focus on “intolerance”.
I don’t think it asks too much to uncover your face and face the judge or designated officer, while performing a legal obligation. Over 80% of Canadians would tend to agree with me.

JoeFrmEdm

Words that come to mind with regards to Media Party reporting of Junior Slobbering, Swooning, Fawning and Gushing for the next Four years….

Dalwhinnie

Thank you all for your comments.
1) Occasionally Andrew Coyne, who is a principled liberal, captures things in their essence.
2) Harper has some splendid accomplishments to his credit.
3) He ran a visionless campaign and an only slightly more enlightened government.
4) We will endure Trudeau’s regime.
5) Conservatives must challenge the Court Party’s narrative. The human rights thing they have going removes political decisions from us and places them in the hands of the judiciary.
6) This judicial usurpation of properly political decisions constitutes the real “Americanization” of Canadian politics.
7) Harper attacked the Chief Justice personally without attacking the intellectual roots of the Court Party’s power.
8) The media were no more the cause of the Tory downfall than my mirror is the cause of my ageing.

monkey

Well said. The party came across as the nasty party where basically if you didn’t blindly agree with them, you were an enemy. Canadians understand leaders make mistakes and won’t always agree with them, but what they don’t like is leaders who think they are right and those who disagree with them are bad. It was this type of arrogance that defeated the Liberals in 2006 and the same that defeated the Tories this time around. The Tories need to show some humiliation, be respectful of different viewpoints, and also stop considering anyone who doesn’t blindly support them as an enemy. The party can win in 2019, but it needs a makeover in order to do so.

For those above blaming the media, this argument may play well with its base who is going to vote Conservative anyways, but is a huge turnoff for the key swing voters needed to win elections. The job of the media is to report the news and even if it makes the government look bad. It’s not the job to be a Conservative party propaganda arm and repeat the party talking points. Otherwise you want to avoid bad press, stop doing things that make your party look bad. Today it’s big news about the Ontario Liberals sweetheart deal with the teacher’s union and this not getting good press coverage at all. Yes some papers like the Toronto Star clearly have a left wing bias, but others like National Post are quite reasonable.

It’s interesting this past summer at a family get together, we discussed the election and our views. Half my family is on the left and would never vote Conservative but at the beginning of Harper’s tenure they were willing to give him a chance whereas this time they were so angry they were willing to vote strategically to defeat him. And in this cost the Tories many seats particularly in Ontario. Of the other half on the right, ever single one of them wanted Harper gone and although the majority of that group did end up voting Tory, it was only because they disliked the other options more.

So in sum, instead of blaming the public for the decision, best to take this as a lesson learned so the party can rebuild for 2019. The reason the Liberals lost three elections in a row is they thought 2006 was an accident and they would automatically return to power rather than realizing it meant they needed to rebuild. If the Tories want to avoid a similar fate, they must not go down this road.

Ward

You liberal apologist anti Harper guys just don’t quit. The 6000 strong canadian media guild registered with elections canada to campaign to have Harper defeated. And yet you conitinue to regurgitate their talking points.

What do you need them to do? Tape signs to their heads that state “we are progressives, we hate Harper, we will defeat him”.

Actually they pretty much did that.

But they tell you the truth about everything else right?

Thanks to fools like you Canadian sovereignty will be dead in two months.

Do you actually think Trudeau is going to call the shots?

The only mistake the Harper campaign made was not punching back twice as hard.

Dalwhinnie

Ward:
This is my blog site. I am the Supreme Arbiter of what is published. Your comments are ad hominem, disrespectful, and wrong.
Please do not abuse the privilege of being on this website in that tone of voice again.
Dalwhinnie

Ontario Girl

Tonight on Power Play on CTV with Don Martin on his “Last Word” was such a disgrace….this is what PM Harper had to deal with all through his being Prime Minister. My god…one would think he burned children at the stakes. Talk about beyond the pale. PM Harper did a lot for Canada…I would think the media would give him SOME credit and stop the running down of his name. He lost , Trudeau won. Do the media hate Harper so much they can’t stop rubbing it in? Not very good sportsmanship.It is very sad to me. I find it classless. Trudeau wants Canada to be sunny and he was elected on this, yet the same people are being so mean and disrespectful to our Prime Minister. No “Sunny Ways” here.

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