This just in: Prime minister calls early election … I mean, calls an election early … What could possibly go wrong?

Posted on August 03, 2015, 12:59 am
12 mins

PHOTOS: The prime minister of Canada in a Navy hat. The new kind. Yeah! A macho Navy cap! Now where’s Tommy Flanagan, now that we need him again? No, not that Tommy Flanagan! The political strategy guy. Below: Former prime minister Joe Clark, former Alberta premier Jim Prentice and current Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

Let’s call an early election! What could possibly go wrong?

Anyway, we’re not calling an early election … we’re just calling an election early. There’s a difference, ya know!

JoeClarkAnd I’m gonna campaign … on the economy! Yeah! That’s it! On the economy! Just like I was always gonna campaign on the economy.

And on terrorists! Terrorists? You don’t want to have terrorists? I’m the only one with the experience to get rid of the terrorists.

And speaking of experience … Justin Trudeau hasn’t got any. He’s just not ready. And Thomas Mulcair has too much! He’s a career politician. Have you seen my TV ads? They explain everything. It’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I haven’t got as much experience as Mulcair and I’ve got more than that kid with the great hair. I’m just right!

Anyway, things are going good. Seriously, people! Look at the economy … or, actually, don’t look at the economy! Whatever, it’s time to maintain the direction. To stay the course. That’s the plan, and I’m stickin’ to it!

I’ll see you all at Tim Hortons (sic) … well, all of you who have an invitation and have never been spotted on Facebook in an Orange shirt or anywhere near a STOP sign. …

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OK, enough channeling Stephen Harper. Or the short-panted advisors who came up with his 2015 strategy, anyway. They’ve got more money than the other guys, and now they’ve found away to spend it all. Of course, it’ll cost you and me an extra $125 million too, but, I’m guessing the way the Harperistas look at it is, “Cheap at the price!”

And if that doesn’t work, they can just scare the bejesus out of us with TerrorTalk ™. Like they say, “What could possibly go wrong?”

JimPDoes anybody out there remember a guy named Jim Prentice? He was the person who was supposed to save the Alberta Conservatives and ended up being premier of Alberta for 22 fewer days than Joe Clark, the Conservative prime minister of Canada who held onto the job for only 273 days back in ’79 and ’80.

Mr. Prentice went out and called an election early too, even though everyone told him not to. So what? Well, I know for a fact that what he and his advisors were thinking was, “What could possibly go wrong?”

OK, Mr. Harper isn’t calling an early election. He’s calling an election early. We got that already. But Albertans didn’t like the early election because it seemed cynical, and like cheating. Even the National Post said so! So how’s an election called early any different?

Well, this much is different – for one thing, there’s no way the National Post will say any such thing this time! Leastways, they sure as hell won’t say it before Oct. 19.

Plus, it must be admitted, Mr. Harper hasn’t just taken over from Alison Redford, who managed to cheese off everybody.

Ms. Redford was the premier of Alberta who managed to cheese off her angry base by appealing to a bunch of squishy tax-and-spend progressives and civil servants to keep from being beaten by the party her angry base had all gone and joined. Then she managed to cheese off the squishy tax-and-spend progressives and civil servants by trying to get her angry base back. Then Mr. Prentice cheesed off anybody who wasn’t already cheesed off by getting Preston Manning to order the biggest opposition party to quit and join his party. That’s another thing the National Post thought was cheating, as, apparently, did a lot of Albertans.

So, it’s true, if there’s one thing about Mr. Harper it’s that he’s unlikely to do anything to cheese off his angry base – and, man, are they angry!

Rachel-R1However, almost everyone else in the country seems to be pretty cheesed off at him. Outside the country too. Even the White House is jerking the guy around with that Trans Pacific Partnership thing … over cheese! That may be because he wouldn’t take no for an answer on the pipeline the president doesn’t want, or smiled a little too warmly at Mitt Romney back in the day.

Mr. Prentice also ignored the polls, of course, because they just couldn’t be right. This is Alberta, for heaven’s sake, where Conservatives always win, and he’d just squashed the Opposition like a bug. So he went ahead with the early election nobody wanted, maybe because voters saw it as cynical, dishonest and expensive.

I asked a PC cabinet minister’s aide as he was packing up his stuff five days after the Alberta election when the Tories realized they were going to lose. “Never!” he said bitterly. “They still haven’t figured it out!”

Come to think of it, Mr. Harper’s polls aren’t all that good either right now, and he’s going ahead with his early election call too. But this is different, right? For one thing, he’s kind of stuck with his dumb fixed-election date law, having broken it once already. And nobody’s going to get away with calling this cynical, dishonest and expensive because … if they do, the terrorists will come!

And if the terrorists don’t scare them, Mr. Harper has something even bigger up his sleeve to put the fear of God in ’em! A coalition! (Polls show Canadians are warming up to coalitions? Never mind that just now.) Coalitions are undemocratic! Canadians don’t want coalitions!

Mr. Harper will prorogue Parliament before he’ll stand for a coalition. Oh, wait. Parliament’s not just been prorogued, it’s been dissolved! Well, whatever. Won’t be needed. Have you seen the ads? Canadians don’t want a leader who’s just not ready. And they don’t want a leader who’s just too ready. They want a leader who’s just right. And that, the Conservatives are telling us, is Mr. Harper. How could anything go wrong with that pitch?

And what if somebody mentions Mike Duffy? Pamela Wallin? Fuggedaboudit … the PM just won’t appoint any more Senators. Now move along, please, Canadians …

Mr. Prentice also campaigned on his party’s competence, even though it was increasingly obvious they weren’t very competent. And when that didn’t work, he talked about the remaining opposition parties’ inexperience and how now is not the time to think about change.

Other than the bit about Mr. Mulcair having too much experience, you’d almost think the same people were coming up with this stuff.

Actually, come to think of it, it was an advertising agency associated with the NDP that came up with the idea for the job application ad – and the boys in short pants just stole it. But what the hey, eh? All’s fair in love and elections.

I used to think that if a politician attacked one of his opponents in an advertisement, voters would accept that as reasonable, even necessary. But that if he attacked two in the same campaign, he’d just look crazy. Now Mr. Harper has attacked Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair with the same ad. Who’s next for the tired little “job interview” drama? Elizabeth May? (“Yeah, but a nice garden…”) Gilles Duceppe? (“Yeah, but cute accent…”)

Obviously, nobody’s going to call Mr. Harper crazy. They wouldn’t dare! Seriously, you know how his supporters get if a journalist says anything like “dead sociopathic eyes.” That happens and there’s going to be fund-raising emails!

These are smart guys, right? Top political strategists. This must all be part of a smart plan that makes sense, a clever strategy that just can’t be beaten, even if we don’t quite understand it yet.

Come to think of it, I used to think that about Jim Prentice too. I wrote it right here in this blog. Smart guys … deep bench strength … top advisors … more money than anyone else … hard to imagine them losing … yadda-yadda.

And look what happened!

So, this time could Mr. Harper be asking just a little too much of an electorate he treats like a bunch of dummies? Naw… What could possibly go wrong?

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

11 Comments to: This just in: Prime minister calls early election … I mean, calls an election early … What could possibly go wrong?

  1. Fritz Kropfreiter

    August 3rd, 2015

    I am waiting for Stephen to resign in the next few weeks (when the polls don.t improve) and for an interim Reform-a-Tory leader to save right wing fortunes from the red (orange) peril.

    Reply
  2. DB

    August 3rd, 2015

    re: “dead sociopathic eyes”

    Harper is looking more and more like grey-haired Senator Palpatine with each TV interview. Palpatine (also known as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, Emperor Palpatine, and Darth Sidious) is the main antagonist of the Star Wars universe.

    Photo: Emperor Palpatine
    http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/File:Palp_trustme.jpg

    Now that Great Economist Leader no longer wears glasses in public, when I watched his recent interview with Bloomberg News,
    the dark circles under his eyes were clearly visible. Guess he had no time to apply any pancake makeup.

    See:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-07-29/canada-s-harper-on-economy-keystone-xl-elections

    Eight months ago, Palpatine’s first name was revealed on the fansite Star Wars Underworld: Sheev.

    Rhymes with Steve.

    From the forthcoming “Stephen Harper’s Inconvenient Democracy Songbook” ….

    With apologies to Kim Carnes, whose 1981 version of Bette Davis Eyes was Billboard‍ ’​s biggest hit of the year:

    Sheev Palpatine Eyes

    His hair is helmet grey
    His gut no surprise
    His hands can fold to pray
    He’s got Sheev Palpatine eyes
    He’ll turn his muzak on you
    You won’t have to think twice
    He’s pure as Tar Sands snow
    He got Sheev Palpatine eyes

    Stephen Harper steals speech from Emperor Palpatine
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbZjGGWk528

    Reply
    • MaryLS

      August 4th, 2015

      Anyone remember how people felt about the Reformers making fun of how Jean Chretien looked? Making fun of people’s appearance (even cleverly disguised in a verse) is not really acceptable these days.

      Reply
      • Sammy

        August 6th, 2015

        Couldn’t agree more. So many of the people who comment on this blog are guilty of the exact things they claim to hate so much about the conservatives, but somehow they think their insults and hyperboles are okay but when the right does it it’s horrible. But, you can’t tell them that as they are as unreasonable and brainwashed as the crazy right wingers are! It’s best to avoid engaging with them and giving the attention they so desperately crave, even though it can be very difficult!

        Reply
  3. Tom in Ontario

    August 3rd, 2015

    At times it doesn’t take too much to change a whole lot. During the May 2014 Ontario election campaign, Tea Party Conservative Tim Hudak promised to fire 100,000 civil servants and teachers and convert the province into “right to work” like Alabama.

    In the Toronto area, opposition propelled by the unions was so strong that a ten seat swing from PCs to Liberals pushed the minority Liberals into a majority government. Get out the vote!

    Reply
  4. Filostrato

    August 3rd, 2015

    The first CBC news report I heard this morning said that Harper was met with “a crowd of cheering supporters”, or some other such rubbish, when he opened fire on the country in Montreal. What the CBC-ers failed to mention is that only enthusiastic Con lickspittles are invited to the Con group hug events. Of course they were cheering wildly. The others – read 60%-plus, especially in Montreal – were outside protesting, sticking other-logos on the Con bus of state and occasionally getting arrested. Not a torch or pitchfork in sight – yet.

    I believe that Harper also said that the economic downturn is “only temporary”, or something inane like that. Everything is only temporary, of course. This too shall pass, like a bad intestinal blockage, if it doesn’t kill you first. But the last ten years have been hell, where our climate, our economy, our industries and our world reputation, have taken a nosedive. This flurry of wild vote-buying reminds me of a bad tenant about to be evicted who, before the final turf-out, pours concrete down the drains and sprays the place with skunk essence so that whoever lives there afterwards will have a very unpleasant time before the place is livable again.

    And the Harper “Dominus vobiscum” hand-gesture pictures are on every news website. I don’t think even industrial strength Gravol can keep the nausea in check for me until October.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/27/Dominus_vobiscum_1960s.jpg/220px-Dominus_vobiscum_1960s.jpg

    Reply
    • Tom in Ontario

      August 4th, 2015

      If Filostrato ever gets a personal blog, I will be the first to sign up. What a marvelous way with words, humourous, imaginative, insightful, just like Dave!

      Reply
  5. Alex C Polkovsky

    August 3rd, 2015

    Something is starting to remind of the Alberta election. It’s the staunch tone of, “now let’s not flirt with change, people!” Those other parties would run deficits, deficits, like we did. And that bearded fellow is a politician. And the other fellow is just not ready to be a politician. Ignore the man behind the curtain! And our economy is great, but not good, and it’s not my fault, but a different party would make it worse.

    After all is said and done, this prime minister’s legacy might be discovering a ship wreck whose ill equipped survivors were reduced to cannibalism. Someone put up a plaque to the unbuilt oil pipelines of the Harper era.

    Reply
  6. David

    August 4th, 2015

    I recall thinking that the Alberta PC’s were like the Bourbon Kings of France who learned nothing and forgot nothing. The Federal Conservatives seem to be emulating them well, which is one reason why I think they will suffer a somewhat similar fate. However, I don’t think the Federal Conservatives will do quite as badly as the Alberta PC’s for a couple of reasons.

    First, they haven’t screwed up as badly or been in power for so long. Yes, people are tired of Harper’s Conservatives, but at least they haven’t been in power for 40 years yet and had three leaders in three years.

    Second and more importantly, vote splitting works in Harper’s favour federally while it worked against Prentice in Alberta. About half the voters that despise Harper are inclined to vote for the Liberals, the other half for the NDP. You can be sure that Harper will do everything he can to keep that split as evenly as possible. If that requires he switches his attack ads and risks looking a bit crazy, I am sure that is a risk he is willing to take. He may look crazy mostly to the voters that already despise him, but the base won’t be bothered by this switch too much.

    Yes, Harper is a good tactician and his party has a lot of money. However, the economy is not doing well and the terrorists seem to be on hiatus right now. I think the people who are tired of Harper are probably even more angry than his base. Therefore, I suspect the anti Harper vote will coalesce enough to allow either the Liberals or the NDP to defeat him, despite all of Harper’s clever strategies.

    Reply

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