Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Stephen Harper steals Glen Clark's winning BC NDP 1996 slogan - "On Your Side" - but Harper isn't

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column

Tuesday September 9, 2008

Is Harper really on your side?


The Tories, every election, must have a bogeyman. If you haven't got a program, a bogeyman will do.

- Aneurin Bevan, British Labour Party politician, 1897-1960

While some may think Prime Minister Stephen Harper has launched Canada's first Seinfeld election - like the television comedy show about nothing - nothing could be further from the truth.

This election is actually about the untrammelled power that would come from a Conservative majority win - and that's the prize Harper seeks.

But despite a Tory advantage in the polls, an abysmally weak Liberal leader whose party has fearfully propped up the Conservatives and Harper's seeming first-place choice as who should be prime minister, nothing is certain yet in this election.

For example, the Conservatives are making Harper their one and only messenger. But right off the bat, the Tories' research is faulty.

One of their two campaign slogans is that Harper is "On Your Side."

The only problem for the Conservatives is that this was also the winning phrase for a surprisingly successful election - for then-Premier Glen Clark and the B.C. New Democratic Party in the 1996 provincial vote that attacked B.C. Liberal leader Gordon Campbell as a big business-backed politician who would slash social programs.

And unlike Harper, Clark's "On Your Side" campaign featured a series of populist moves - freezing post-secondary tuition, car insurance premiums, B.C. Hydro rates and increasing the minimum wage among them.

Harper may want to appeal to lower and middle income voters but he'll never be mistaken for a working class hero. And with hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs lost during Harper's term, he is hardly a reassuring choice for workers.

The Conservatives' second slogan - "Canada. We're better off with Harper" - isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of their own leader.

But it is obviously aimed at their own "bogeyman" - hapless Liberal leader Stephane Dion - because the Conservatives want to make the ballot question, "Who should lead Canada: Harper or Dion?"

And it just might work.

Rather stunningly, a poll by Ipsos-Reid found that Dion came in third as Canadians' choice for "who would make the best prime minister" with just 20 per cent, far behind Harper at 50 per cent and NDP leader Jack Layton at 31 per cent.

Meanwhile, British Columbia will again be a key battleground - after vote-rich Ontario, of course - with nine of our 36 seats in the 2006 election being won with margins of less than six per cent of the vote. Four are Liberal ridings while the NDP hold three, Conservatives two, swing seats.

With seven of those nine in Greater Vancouver, expect to see Harper, Dion and Layton here often in the five-week campaign.

And on Oct. 14, we'll find out if bogeyman politics actually work.


Anonymous said...

Harper on my side? Wow, great, I am underwhelmed. Harper is on the side of Tory/Conservative backers, you know the guys, lots of money, want to keep lots of money and would love to download taxes onto the poor.

Since Harper and Gordo too, got in, my real income has been halved. Little social safety-net (at my meager income, I have to shell out over $1000 bucks a year for medical only)and a massive increase in user fees.

Having Harper on my side is like having a sack full of rocks on my back.

In fact no one is on my side and I think that is the telling phrase in this election. The "Gang of Four", will tax, download taxes and reward their friends all at the expense of the taxpayer!

A pox on all their houses.

Anonymous said...

Seemingly Harper is keen to buy your vote. Witness all the spending announcements in Quecbec and Ontario recently. So this begs the question of how do you use your vote in your favour? I should think that if you are a blue-blooded conservative, don't vote for Harper. Make him buy it by giving goodies to your neighbourhood in the next election. If your riding is a sure thing for Harper, expect to get nothing.

North Van's Grumps said...

Bill Tieleman "On our side", but isn't?

Hey Bill have you noticed the Google Ads down the right hand side of your blog? Now it may be revelant to my interests on the internet (cookies) or the selection of these four specific subjects relates directly to this blog various topics.

Lets see.

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Luxury Jet Charter??????

How many who write to this Blog require the the use of a luxury jet that has been shown to totally go against a Green Society and a Carbon Tax?

Anonymous said...

Personally, I find the prospect of a Dion election victory much more frightening than a Harper election victory. Why? Because that would make Mark Marissen the most powerful man in Canada. What a horrifying combination of ineptitude, lack of integrity and power that would be.

Anonymous said...

Since I'm not addicted to Family Values, Christian Values and all the other phoney values the Harper and McCain gang are pumping out . . . this bunch holds as much appeal and logic as asking for a case of genital herpes.

As someone who is "involved" on both sides of the 49th, I can see at the street level just how similar the two neo-con armies methods are.

Sadly there are a lot of Homer Simpsons out there who will vote for the "values crowd" since it doesn't require extended periods of thought.

We really do elect our peers.


Anonymous said...

Over the years most of us have been screwed by assorted Conservative governments and the odd Liberal one as well. Nobody talks much about the NDP who sure come in handy when they get enough members to get the government in power to actually think about social programs. Many programs including universal medical came when the left argued loud enough for it to happen. For those of us who used to get moved from province to province under different medical plans it was hard to make sure one was covered. We ended up tranfered from Ontario to Quebec. The military managed everthing except shifting our medical coverage. My better half was close to delivering our last child, and nobody would deal with us due to that screw up. I had to get a part time job besides my full time job to pay for the error. For that reason among others we started looking left and have been there ever since. Don't let Harper fool you. One Conservative policy was to reduce indexed pensions. The legislation got stalled . I don't think that one is dead. Never mid the attack adds, use your head and vote for the folks who will do their best for you and it sure as heck isn't Harper and Company. he has a new kindler gentle look, complete with fuzzy sweater up until Oct 14. Then watch out.

Anonymous said...

Having the Green party in the debates will change the landscape considerably.

How should the NDP respond?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

So let’s see. Harper reduced the gst and saves me money. He is going to lower tax on diesel and I drive an F350. He hates the Carbon tax as much as I do and is getting tough on crime. Sounds pretty much on my side to me. Just looking forward to the vote and a Harper majority. Hopefully he will can insite and send the druggies to jail so they quit ripping innocent people off to shoot up.

Bill Tieleman said...

Conservatives are most welcome to post here - I don't mind a good political disagreement or argument at all! And of course "On Your Side" is entirely subjective.

Anonymous said...

Anon with the heavy duty truck is smoking something if he expects a Consevative majority government. No matter how many new sweaters Harper puts on , even he admits a minority would be OK. The mystery is he has one now, his legislation was getting passed. Including the law that had a FIXED election date. He tends to twist things connected to the truth. By the way, our son in law has three such trucks and he sure as hell isn't about to vote for the cons, nor is anyone else in his family or ours for that matter. The guy across the street has a tractor truck and he sure as heck isn't voting Conservative either and he is based in Alberta home of the rednecks

Anonymous said...

6pm anonymous "Just looking forward to the vote and a Harper majority" harper for USA 51t state
Look-up http://www.harperindex.ca/index.cfmnow tell me he is for Canada, not
Selling all of our Fed Buildings and then leasing them back to us at huge profits to yank Corporations

Anonymous said...

I think that someone should point out compared to Stephane Dion, Harper is the lesser of two evils. What the left wing media fails to acknowledge is that Dion Liberals are Gordon Campbell Liberals. Dion even praised Gordo during his to in Vancouver yesterday. To make matters worse still, some of the key Dion Liberals are Basi Liberals, Two were found in possession of the leaked BC Rail documents, but not charged, while a third almost appointed someone with alleged organized crime connections to a $100.000 plus position in the Paul Martin government, Worse still, some Dion Liberals are Canada Payphone Liberals. Remember that fiasco? If Dion ever won an election, Canada would be governed by some of the corruptest people since the Mulroney era, If you don't like Stephen Harper, vote Jack Layton. Whatever you do, don't vote Dion!

Anonymous said...

Watch for more national recognition of the Green Party. This leader is smart, well spoken, and gaining publicity every day. Send her some bucks. She finds electioneering fun. When have we had a politican like this? She is the ONLY ONE I will trust so she gets my vote and help as a volunteer. Don't sit on the sidelines and gripe. Take a walk and deliver some green part brochures. You'll feel much better.

Anonymous said...

Never trust a liberal,too much corruption,too many old guard in their party,the federal liberals need 4 more years in opposition to weed out the the oldie con men! The provincial liberals need to go,Campbell has added billions of dollars in debt to BC in a cyclical boom time the likes that BC has never seen before,if he adds huge debt in good times then just imagine how cruel Campbell will be with deficits, Campbell is Canadas greatest theif!

BC Mary said...

Anonymous 4:20,

First, figure out who are the B.C. "Liberals" ... few, if any, are Liberals. That's why they're called "Fiberals" or LINO (Liberal in Name Only). They're made up of old Socreds, Reform/Alliance (like Harper), a few PCP and Liberals like Gordon Wilson.

Second, figure out who the federal "Conservatives are. Maybe not who you think! They're mostly old Reform, CCRAP, Alliance, with a few Progressive Conservatives. But there's that nasty business of Steven Harper signing an agreement with David Orchard that he would never seek to align the old PCP with his Alliance Church party ... and then he did exactly that.

I think the big point someone made at 3:26 is the correct one: "if you don't like Stephen Harper, vote Jack Layton."


Anonymous said...

Sorry BC Mary but Layton is talking about killing tax corporate tax breaks and driving up costs for big business. All this does is create layoffs and have even more companies shut down and move their operations to Mexico; China or wherever else.

After all that Layton talks about $8 Billion in targeted Corporate handouts. How many times do we need to learn that this never works. The Federal Liberals gave money to GM and next thing you know they are closing plants. Look what happened when the BC NDP gave money to try and save Skeena Cellulose or Western Star Trucks where I used to work. The taxpayer got screwed and the shareholders took the money and ran.

Anonymous said...

It is well beneath anyone, to suggest that the Tories have "stolen" Glen Clark's electoral mantra from yesteryear, in the faint hope of scoring some cheap political points.

The phrase was used quite successfully by a number of local Democrat and Republican politicians previous to Mr. Clark. Also, by the Newfoundlander Mayor in the 1980s.

The same phrase was also used in Senator Barry Goldwater's second to last Senatorial run.

Was Mr. Clark and those who backed him then thieves?

I think not.

I guess with three major elections on the immediate horizon, where policy and not fantasy should be the order of the day, you chose the expedient route of trying to prop up the latter because we are just so inundated with the facts by today's politicos and not fiction.

By the way the Burrard Bridge is also for sale.

Please revert to your usual level of excellence. I, too, have political leanings like anyone else, but I have supported politicians and positions foreign to my acceptance, rather than to shill for nothing.

Anonymous said...

On my side, on your side - no politician is on the taxpayers side. What has happened in Canada is a massive tax shift from the wealthy to the poor. Harper is certainly not on the side of the poor.

With a massive of user fees, the neocons have made their little elites much wealthier. Harper is certainly on their side.

We, the average Canadian, can't afford a neocon Harper regime to have a majority in Parliament. Like Gordo in BC, Harper will rape Canada for his corporate and American friends.

Harper on your side - I'd rather have????? Why do I feel that Canada is like the Titanic after it hit an iceberg, only the Captain and crew have launched the lifeboats and are rowing to safety.

Anonymous said...

Having read the comments submitted, it appears to me that everyone is blaming the other person's party.

BUT . . .
It's a given that Harper is a Canuck version of Dubbya. It's a given Campbell is a sociopathic despot who rules like England's Charles the First. It's a given that Dion is an intellectual fool and weakling. It's a given that Jack Layton is an all promising and shifty used car salesman. It's a given that May is a political peter pan. And it's certainly a given that Ms. James should have never existed as NDP leader for even 30 seconds.

The reality is our entire political system is failing.

What the solutions are ?
Certainly . . . NONE OF THE ABOVE !

So on election day go and vote, but write in on your ballot "NONE OF THE ABOVE".

In effect it would start the withdrawl of political, social and legal recognition of all these rectal passages.

It would treat our idiots just like any other 3rd World Tin Pot Dictator.

Imagine if 60-70% of Canucks did just that . . . now that would be the start of some real kick-ass-reform.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Satan:

If Canadian citizens were to do as you suggested their ballots would be identified by Elections Canada as being spoiled - which means that their actions may be perceived as being unintentional.

If you want to make the statement that "none of the above" is acceptable then the correct Elections Canada procedure is to hand your ballot back to the elections officer who has given it to you and indicate that you are not voting but that you want your "presence" noted by Elections Canada.

Finally, your comments remind me of an old saying about representative government:

"The trouble with elections is that the politicians always win!"

Anonymous said...

If you're really worried about corporations moving operations to Mexico then I assume you must be against free trade deals that allow that to happen?

To stop jobs moving all you do is close your market to those ex-Canadian companies. If they don't want to do business with us why should we want to do business with them?

Anonymous said...


I think there is far too much talk and not enough action around the failing of our representative government.

"We" worry more about public sector procedure more than the results of our phoney government.

If "we" as you seem to . . . "live in fear" of Elections Canada, then we really have some serious issues as a country.

Over three hundred and fifty years ago the common folk of England rose up and gave their corrupt king and his on the take butt-kissers a bit of cold steel.

Certainly I don't expect Johnny Canuck to ever do anything assertive, other than brawl outside a sports event, but a little bit of action might go along way in reversing this national melt down.

If Oliver Cromwell was running, I would vote for him.


North Van's Grumps said...

What's with there having been an uproar of Gordon Cambpell hitching a ride on a private jet, seating 12, with only six passengers, to Beijing's Summer Games (but sending his staff via Air Canada)and yet Dion, and other Federal politicians, are jet setting themselves around Canada in chartered 737s?

What better example of what is causing global warming, than federal election where today's politicians need to fly, rather than using trains.

Will someone please tell me why its necessary for constituents to see, in person, the leaders of the respective parties more often than having Candidates appear before the voters, who have the power to accept or reject what they, the individual, will promise to do for the riding?

Constituents of ridings have absolutely no say on who becomes the leaders of the parties, that's decided by the conventions in far flung communities of Alberta, Quebec and .... where does May hail from?

Anonymous said...

Having read all of these comments complaining about our Governments and how they do their business (note, THEIR business) all we have to do is change the way we elect them. Make them work for your vote and take substantial authority out of the Prime Minister (Premiers) offices. Support BCSTV in this election.In this way, a candidate does NOT need the okay from the BOSS, and we will very likely get far more mentally competent people in the legislatures simply because they will not have to kiss --- to get a nomination.Anything would be better then the bag of hammers we now have jumping to the tune of the BOSS. Jo5ey

Anonymous said...

I may be young but i do care about the big things like pollution,war,taxes,gsts and so on. I think that they should start caring about foregin oil. We pump out alot of oil for cars that can run on simpilar things. We invented hybrid cars we can easly invent fuel. We only have on earth and i would like to keep it in our solar system. The more globlewarming the more the glaciers melt and that means more the water raises and that mean the islands will become like Alantis.I live on P.E.I. and I care I'm too young to vote but I want to tell people what's on my mind.

Anonymous said...

I may be young but I care about things most kids my age would care about.I think someone should stop Foregin oil.We send Canadians out to fight for what the govenment has done.If we stop foregin oil the world would be a better place.I know I'm too young to vote but I would like someone to read this and vote to make a differance for my future and the future for the young who have to deal with it.Globewarming is a big thing.The water level is rising many of the place we knew are no underwater.

Anonymous said...

That lovely quote of Beven's at top of original article "The Tories, every election, must have a bogeyman. If you haven't got a program, a bogeyman will do" is true today in British politics, as elsewhere, where the Tories were so gleefully sure they 'had it in the bag' for Tory David Cameron to win a forthcoming election. They milked Gordon Brown's 'bogeyness' to the full at the start of his faltering premiership.

All of a sudden 'David' is knocked off balance by the sheer brilliance of 'Labour's Goliath' now come into his own during world economic travail. The poor Tories are left to scrabble around yet again for another ‘bogeyman’. Then; Hey Presto! with much Tory jubilation up pops the ‘Machiavellian Peter Mandelson’ newly recalled from his stint as European Commissioner (dutifully and successfully expedited) to advise Gordon Brown in ‘Mandelsonian tactics’ (dark as they may be) which will help to cast the British Labour Party back into historic and rightful power.