EXCLUSIVE! Calgary Centre and Stephen Harper’s Canada bashing fallout! Did I say exclusive?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper tells the rest of Canada to be afraid, very afraid. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: the real Mr. Harper, sort of; the “despised” Bill Phipps.

In the wake of Sun News Network’s stale “exclusive” about Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s commentary on Alberta politicians two years ago, Alberta Diary has exclusively uncovered shocking exclusive proof that Prime Minister Stephen Harper looks down on all parts of Canada except Alberta. Alberta exclusively, that is!

Actually, this isn’t an exclusive at all. Your faithful blogger merely cut and pasted these actual Harper quotes Globe-and-Mail-style from a useful blog dossier posted by the CBC’s Laura Payton in April 2011.

Still, despite its plagiaristic provenance, some of this stuff is interesting in light of the ongoing brouhaha about Mr. Trudeau’s remarks, for which the Liberal leadership candidate has apologized even though they seem harmless enough to this Albertan. Indeed, they would seem harmless and irrelevant to Sun News too if it weren’t campaigning openly to resuscitate the flagging Conservative campaign in the Calgary Centre by-election.

The same may be said of the more-recent comments about the trained seals in Mr. Harper’s Alberta caucus that were made by Ontario Liberal MP David McGuinty, who not only apologized but resigned his post as his party’s parliamentary natural resources critic.

So what Alberta Diary wants to know is when is Mr. Harper going to apologize for his 2001 dismissal of every part of Canada except Alberta as “a second-tier country run by a third-world leader with fourth-class values”? (He has, presumably, since revised his assessment of the leader.)

In the same statement, Mr. Harper suggested that Canada is better off when Alberta politicians are running the show, at any rate, he boasted in those pre-Alison-Redford-Red-Tory days, “we are the only province in Canada keeping pace with the top tier countries in the world.”

In 2003, Mr. Harper dismissed non-Conservative voters in urban western ridings west of Winnipeg as “recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada: people who live in ghettoes and who are not integrated into western Canadian society.” You know, in electoral districts like Calgary Centre.

I don’t recall hearing an apology for that one either, but, hey, it was more than two years ago. He also famously said in 2002 that he despised Bill Phipps, the moderator of the United Church of Canada, although it wasn’t clear if that applied to other members of the church or was merely because Rev. Phipps was running for the NDP in the PM’s Calgary riding. Rev. Phipps still preaches at a church in Calgary Centre.

In other words, to further plagiarize Sun News, this raises the issue of whether Mr. Harper’s anti-everybody-else-in-Canada attitude is baked into the DNA of the federal Conservative Party, and a whole lot worse too.

Among the Harper quotes compiled by his own party as potential problems, and kindly posted on the Internet last year by Ms. Payton, were the following:

On the French language in Quebec: “That special status is needed to protect the French language in Quebec is simply false.” (2002)

On what Alberta conservatives think of Quebec politicians: “I don’t think anybody, frankly, in this party is very scared about pissing off the Bloc.” (1996)

On his future in politics: “It has never been my intention to seek a second term or to become a career politician.” (1996)

On Alberta’s role in Confederation: “Canada does not love us … let’s make the province strong enough that the rest of the country is afraid to threaten us.” (2000)

Actually, there’s a pretty rich vein of this stuff emanating from the lips of Mr. Harper. Oddly enough, Sun News Network seldom writes about it.

My guess is that we’ll be waiting a long time for the prime minister, or any of his minions on the ground in Calgary Centre, to apologize for this stuff.

Speaking as an Albertan here – certainly as Albertan an Albertan as Mr. Harper, coming from away a very long time ago just as he did – I have to wonder what Canadians make of the paranoid view of Confederation expressed by this prime minister in his many past independentiste musings about the need for Alberta firewalls, Alberta economic exceptionalism and putting the fear of Alberta into Canadians elsewhere.

It seems to me that what Mr. Harper wished for – Albertans running the show, a certain kind of Albertan anyway, in a way that puts the fear of God and E.C. Manning into the rest of Canada – has come about pretty much as he hoped.

Yet here we are, as prickly and paranoid as ever, still the perpetual outsiders when other Canadians react with understandable concern, and at times with intemperate language, to our behaviour.

We who live here know, of course, that there’s much more and much better to this province than the prime minster’s narrow and paranoid view of the world and Alberta’s place in it would suggest.

We would do well to demonstrate that to our compatriots in other provinces by sending more than just a phalanx of parochial and inward-looking neoconservatives to Ottawa as our representatives.

I must say, as a resident of the Edmonton area, I envy my fellow Albertans in Calgary Centre for having the opportunity to do just that on Monday.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

10 Comments on "EXCLUSIVE! Calgary Centre and Stephen Harper’s Canada bashing fallout! Did I say exclusive?"

  1. Sam Gunsch says:

    re Climenhaga cites “… shocking exclusive proof that Prime Minister Stephen Harper looks down on all parts of Canada except Alberta. Alberta exclusively, that is!”

    related observation: HarperCon rule relies on citizens’ failure to exercise memory: ““To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.”
    ― Marcus Tullius Cicero

    Harper as gang leader: “On what Alberta conservatives think of Quebec politicians: “I don’t think anybody, frankly, in this party is very scared about pissing off the Bloc.” (1996)”

    e.g. adolescent attitude: ” I don’t think anybody in my gang/clique/team is very scared about pissing off the other team.”

    Harper: “On Alberta’s role in Confederation: “Canada does not love us … let’s make the province strong enough that the rest of the country is afraid to threaten us.” (2000)”

    Ain’t it lovely… to be represented by such a classy exemplar/pretender of a democracy/mafia loving teenager with an apparent life-long passion/hate-on for adult humane conversation re what’s necessary to serve the common good of the people of Canada, beyond Alberta’s bitumenoiltar/reformatories.

    HarperCon’s thesis: We’re entitled to be pricks: as in… the West (AB!) is a former victim bitterly entitled to be a bully for the greater good of Canada because we’re sure we got screwed, i.e. we want to get even… justice demands we get revenge on those eastern oppressors… the mindset that captures: The real Alberta Advantage, as per Alberta’sByfield Report of Presto’s populism… he said so. It must be true.

    Sam Gunsch

  2. Bobbie Saga says:

    Divide, divide, divide. NEP NEP. NEP chirps Tom and Stockwell. No wait. NES, at least according to Allison. Oh but wait. We now need to deliver on FIPPA,.says Stephen. How do we juxtapose that with the NEP? Trudeau might have wanted to give our resources to other Canadians, but we want to give them to China. We just won’t talk about that right now. Can’t wait til Monday.

  3. Bruce says:

    You’re right David, it comes down to political ideology. For myself I’ve grown tired of the loud, know-it-all neo-conservative, be they politicans or pundits. The Canadian media is full of them from The National Post, to The Globe and Mail and the petulantly colic Sun Media. The neo-cons have always struck me as juvenile and immature. There’s always something wrong with somebody or something, somewhere. There’s always a solution but it’s their solution, regardless of the implications, that must be imposed immediately or else we’re all doomed. Think ‘fiscal cliff’ or the Middle East or cigarette butts! Think the old Soviet Union to a degree.

    Alberta and Quebec are the two provinces that never seem to content or at peace with themselves. The country seems to have come to grips with Quebec and learned to accept it conditionally. Alberta is still in a phase of maturing. The other thing for me comes down to your own personal experience. Alberta is a nice place from my experience but I’ve had enough contacts, limited as they are, to make me wonder. Are they all cranky and abrasive? Obviously not. It’s foolish to think so and I know better. Yet having worked at a call centre for three months, I dreaded the Alberta calls because I knew I’d have my head bitten off eight times out of ten. It stood out. Half a dozen of them demanded to know where I was calling from not what it was about! It was only Albertans that were worried about where the call came from. There’s cranks in every province but Alberta really stood out. It’s not an accurate representation but it leaves an impression.

    I can appreciate Alberta and it’s economic contributions as pointed out by Naheed Nenshi today on The House. The problem is some people rub your nose in it and never let you forget. If the province is going to be a leader then they’ll have to become to understand that few hate them but that the neo-cons have to go. Asking questions and voicing concerns isn’t an insult to Alberta. It’s about trying to avoid problems that affect us all, regardless of where we live in Canada. None of us can have everything our way and the sooner the neo-cons are dismissed the better. If the provinces politicans can grasp this reality the better off the country will be.

  4. fred says:

    I read Laura Payton’s post and I must say that I’m shocked (but not surprised) by the anti-Canadian negativity emanating from Stephen Harper. I’m left wondering why this guy wanted to be the Canadian Prime Minister in the first place.

  5. fubar says:

    I have no idea who will win Calgary Centre (of the universe) on Monday. There is very little polling data (typical for a by-election) and lots of strong undercurrents. Seems there is an anti-WR sentiment and progressives are feeling their oats. All that aside, I am OK with any of the not-Tory candidates.
    BUT, as I have said before, even if Crockatt loses (and this is still not the probable outcome) I don’t think this is indicative of a trend in AB federal politics. The riding could easily switch back to the Tories in the general election (if it does not go Tory blue on Monday).
    All this talk about not-Crockatt is mere ideological wish fulfillment.

  6. Albertosaurus says:

    “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

    • Sam Gunsch says:

      Wow. what a great quote to share re Harper’s underlying political movement.

      Is there a more appropriate encapsulation of a perspective warned againts, but actually dominating a neo-con/market fundamentalist political movement’s political strategy? Completely applicable to decades of politics of divisiveness, social revenge, emanating from coalition-type of slice of western Canada’s vested interests.

      In particular, the quote gets at, or so it seems to me, it gets at a dominant premise at work underlying the successful false-populist political outreach for 2 to 3 decades to rural AB and Calgary.

      Described variously since the early 1990′s by political observers/critics in ways that I think could sum to this: ideological/propaganda based ‘populist’ outreach fueled by scapegoating modes of political movement building, which was actually primarily on behalf of oppressed oilpatch millionaires/e.g. freedom fighters against ‘Albertastan’/ or petro-lobbyists for multinational petro-property rights as per Reform Party/Calgary School/The West Wants In/ currently being enacted in HarperCon’s dictation to parliament of pro-oil legislative destruction of environmental legislation… acting on his persecution perspective and response, e.g. get so strong that Canada will be “afraid to threaten us.”

      And faith in this propaganda movement inherently opposed to the common good on behalf of property rights continues to deliver more seats in the AB Legislature, primarily in opposition.

  7. snafubar says:

    Great article, except one thing… Stephen Harper isn’t really even from Alberta, he was born in Toronto. I guess there is no reasoned to be surprised by an opportunistic politician.

  8. Filostrato says:

    “…“a second-tier country run by a third-world leader with fourth-class values”.

    Well, Harper was wrong about the second-tier country but he was absolutely bang-on about it being run – now – by a third-world leader with fourth-class values. Fortunately, most of the rest of this (first-tier) country has an excellent value system. They didn’t vote for Harper in droves.

    Go, Calgary Centre! You, too, can vote for an island of sanity in your city as Edmonton has.

  9. ronmac says:

    LOL. I didn’t notice this until now but Stephen Harper bears an uncanny resemblance to JFK. doesn’t he? I wouldn’t have thought of it but looking at that portrait of RMN on top with SJH below and all of a sudden it hit me.

    Except Harper is a lot more like Nixon except in one important area. Nixon drove himself nearly insane wondering why people didn’t like him. Harper knows he’s not a popular fellow but he doesn’t care.


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