Alberta Politics
Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper tells Global reporter Mercedes Stephenson why Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn scare the beejeepers out of him (Photo: Screenshot of Global broadcast).

Unfazed by Donald Trump, what will Stephen Harper make of far-right revival in Bavaria?

Posted on October 15, 2018, 1:27 am
9 mins

I wonder what former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper will make of the success of the scary far-right Alternative für Deutschland party in Sunday’s elections in the South German state of Bavaria?

Apparently, significant numbers of Bavarian voters have concluded nothing could possibly go wrong if they elect a bunch of reconstituted Nazis. After all, it’s not like anything like that ever happened there before … Oh. Wait.

The building in Munich that once housed the hometown office of you-know-who, the chancellor of Germany in the 1930s (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Mr. Harper, of course, has a strong connection with Bavaria’s capital city, Munich. Munich, at any rate, is also home to the headquarters of the international organization of right-wing political parties the former Conservative PM nowadays heads, the so-called International Democrat Union.

How much time he actually spends there is anybody’s guess, since like his visits to the Trump White House that’s not the sort of stuff ordinary folks in Canada are permitted to learn about.

British Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, thoughts of whom keep Stephen Harper awake at night (Photo: Wikimedia Commons).

Regardless, this comes to mind because of Mr. Harper’s recent comments about the relative merits of President Donald Trump versus those of British Labour Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn or U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Earlier this month, Mr. Harper told a Global News reporter that Mr. Trump barely bothers him, “but the Bernie Sanders of the world or the Jeremy Corbyns in Britain are the ones that really, really frighten me.”

According to Mr. Harper, what he loses sleep about is the possibility that if elected someone like Mr. Corbyn or Mr. Sanders could do “irreversible” damage to global markets.

I’m assuming by this Mr. Harper means they might make the uber-wealthy folks he now represents pay their fair share of taxes, or put limits on buying and selling elections.

Now, as it happens, the Christian Social Union – the IDU’s member party in Bavaria – lost about 10 per cent of its votes in Sunday’s election compared to the last time it went to the polls. The AfD went from less than a percentage point to just a little over 10 per cent. What do you want to bet this was a move to the right by the same voters?

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, another person who worries Mr. Harper (Photo: Wikimedia Commons).

The Greens also posted big gains.

As part of Germany’s ruling coalition, we’re told this the CSU’s troubles could spell big trouble for Chancellor Angela Merkel. We’ll leave that question to German political commentators who know what they’re talking about.

What I want to know in the mean time is if the rise of the AfD leaves Mr. Harper as untroubled as the depredations and corruption of President Trump’s government while he tosses and turns at the thought of a social democrat practicing democracy in the United States or the United Kingdom.

Andrew Scheer adopts new slogan: mine would have been better

Speaking of Canadian Conservatives, Mr. Harper’s successor as leader of the Conservative party of Canada seems to have a new slogan.

In a Tweet published Saturday, Andrew Scheer said “Conservatives would not have had to sign the new #USMCA, because we would have negotiated a better deal for Canadians.” Says the attached meme: “I would have signed a better one.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Photo: Wikimedia Commons).

Never mind that Mr. Scheer, as dozens of people were pointing out on Twitter yesterday, was screaming for a complete capitulation before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s negotiating team closed the updated version of the NAFTA trade deal that had been demanded by Mr. Trump.

Given this new information from CPC HQ, however, I wonder else what Mr. Scheer and the Conservatives could have done better?

As former Alberta deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk Tweeted yesterday: “Conservatives would have carved a better David sculpture, Scheer says.”

Conservatives would have built a better airplane, Scheer tells Wright Brothers (Yours Truly).

Conservatives would have won more Stanley Cups, Scheer tells Habs (Andrew Koster).

I think there’s potential here. I invite readers to join the fun.

Canned Conservative candidate condemns competitors

How much longer will fallout from the Soldiers of Odin invitation continue to plague the United Conservative Party?

Disqualified UCP candidate Lance Coulter, at right, with the leader from whom he is now estranged (Photo: Facebook).

On Saturday, the UCP nomination candidate who was kicked off the ballot by party officials on Thursday for posing for selfies with the unsavoury visitors at a constituency association beer night now alleges he was disqualified for refusing to lie.

In a social media post on Saturday afternoon, Lance Coulter also accused his two former competitors to represent the UCP in the Edmonton-West Henday Riding of lying about the invitation to members of the Soldiers of Odin anti-immigrant vigilante group.

The Soldiers of Odin turned up at the event the previous weekend in their biker-style colours with their organization’s name emblazoned on their jackets, hats and T-shirts.

“My appeal to be reinstated as a nomination contestant for Edmonton-West Henday has been denied and I was not given the chance to speak to the board,” Mr. Coulter said in a short post on his campaign Facebook page.

I condemn racism in the strongest terms,” he wrote, but continued: “I was disqualified because I refused to lie when the party asked me to, unlike the other two candidates.”

Mr. Coulter did not respond to queries yesterday about the form the party’s request took, whether it was implicit or explicit, and who made it.

Whatever happened, unlike nomination candidates Leila Houle and Nicole Williams, who made a joint social media statement saying they had no idea who the Soldiers of Odin were or what they represented, the former aide to Edmonton Griesbach MP Kerry Diotte told media he not only knew who the Soldiers of Odin were but that they were coming to the event.

To make matters worse for the would-be candidate, this contradicted a statement by UCP Leader Jason Kenney that the guests had “crashed” the party, although evidence soon surfaced that not only had they been invited, they had RSVP’d.

After that, UCP Executive Director Janet Harrington sent Mr. Coulter a letter saying he was out of the race.

UCP members in Edmonton-West Henday will vote to choose between Ms. Houle and Ms. Williams on Oct. 22, 2018.

Correction

Derek Fildebrandt is to be named permanent leader of the Freedom Conservative Party on Oct. 20. The wrong date was posted earlier in this blog. AlbertaPolitics.ca regrets the error.

16 Comments to: Unfazed by Donald Trump, what will Stephen Harper make of far-right revival in Bavaria?

  1. brett

    October 15th, 2018

    Not too worried about Harper. He is has been who is well past his sell by date.

    Reminds me a little of Preston Manning.

    Always trying to get some attention or exert some imaginary influence.

    Reply
  2. tom in ontario

    October 15th, 2018

    “…because we would have negotiated a better deal for Canadians…I would have signed a better one.”
    According to the official CPC website, conservative.ca, “Before entering public life, Andrew worked in the private sector as an insurance broker.”
    His bio makes no mention of his self proclaimed negotiating skills. Perhaps he would have won over the likes of Donald Trump and the American team by flashing his dimple addled smile.

    Reply
    • Keith McClary

      October 15th, 2018

      Insurance brokers are paid commissions by insurance companies, but claim they “work for you” and “get you the best rates and conditions”.

      Reply
  3. Gary Garrison

    October 15th, 2018

    Andrew Scheer would have risen from the dead Saturday morning!

    Reply
  4. Lars

    October 15th, 2018

    “To make maters worse…”

    Can’t think of a suitably bad pun. But I thought you’d want to know about the typo.

    It looks like the mother of all typos, actually.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      October 16th, 2018

      If it weren’t for maters, they would never be the pater patter of little feet, would there? Thank you. Fixed. DJC

      Reply
  5. Lorne Finlayson

    October 15th, 2018

    Many of us will recall Stephen Harper’s method of getting his way. Little by little, a push here, an attack there, a bill before the Commons that his howling deputies would endorse and so on. He never took his eye off his ultimate goal, more power concentrated in him and his office. We’re now seeing his plans resurected. He is now getting increased mentions in news articles, espousing his right wing views. Next , the inevitable interviews conducted by some columnist chosen to throw puff ball questions his way. This book helps his cause as he goes on the national book tour. Canadians get used to seeing him on our news broadcasts, and he’s such a nice, reasonable fellow, isn’t he?

    Sort of like the weasel scratching his way into the chicken coop.

    Those who follow Federal politics realize that Mr. Scheer just does not have the jam to be a Prime Minister. After he loses the next election the mandated leadership review will see him given the boot. Guess who will be waiting behind the curtain like the Wizard of Oz, ready to assume the leadership of the Canadian Conservative Party? A vote of confidence will surely bring down the tired, corrupted Liberal government. Harper will have learned even more dirty tricks on his way to taking back his true calling, according to him and his acolytes, the Prime Ministership of Canada. Look out, anyone who cares about the future of this land. Harper and Harperism are on their way back.

    Reply
  6. Bedoich

    October 15th, 2018

    “We would have built a better wall” Conservatives tell Trump, Krushchev, and Qin Shi Huang.

    Reply
  7. brett

    October 15th, 2018

    Andrew Scheer is embarrassing himself.

    Perhaps he should ask the opinion of some fellow Conservatives who were actually part of the back room negotiation team.

    He could ask former Interim Leader Rona Ambrose. Or he could ask former Trade & Industry Minister Moore. Ask them publicly if they could have signed a better deal.

    Really, unless you were part of the negotiating team and were sitting at the table for these negotiations how on earth could you make the statement that Mr. Scheer made. Frankly, I do not think that he is up for the position he occupies. I suspect there are a growing number of Party members who feel this way.

    Reply
  8. ronmac

    October 15th, 2018

    What really keeps him up at night is not the Corbyns of the world or Bernie Sanders but that enough people will exercise their democratic vote and actually vote for them. Harper’s allegiance has been always been towards the monied classes as are most politicians, except some are more zealous than others. Anyways, somebody should tell him the DNC primary is so rigged that somebody like Sanders has little chance.

    From the I-can’t-believe-he-sang-that-song file. Who can forget Harper’s stirring rendition of “Hey Jude” during an official state visit to Israel a few years ago? (btw Jude is the German word for Jew)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltAfEXce7Jk

    Reply
  9. Mike in Edmonton

    October 15th, 2018

    First man on the Moon? “I would have landed on the sun!”

    Reply
  10. David

    October 16th, 2018

    We already now that some members of Harper’s defeated government like Kenney are planning a Nora Desmong like big come back. I am beginning to wonder if the big cheese – Mr. Harper himself, has thoughts of a big comeback too.

    Mr. Scheer’s “we could have got a better deal” is laughable. If that’s his best line the Federal Conservatives are in real trouble come the next election. Mr. Ford does not help them either every time he opens his mouth. It could be bad, but after a book tour, or two, Mr. Harper himself might be ready again to pick up the pieces.

    Maybe Harper 2.0 will be a better verion and he will have learned something from his defeat, but I have a feeling it is more likely Harper is the type who learns little and forgets nothing.

    Reply
  11. St Albertan

    October 17th, 2018

    Well, I’ve attended two pep rallies conducted by our new opportunists. I have come away from both with a profound need to apologize to my family. Yes I voted and encouraged them to vote PC. That it’s become this? Utter nonsense buttered up with self serving lies and toxic misdirection would be a polite characterization of what I witnessed! These were no gentle people. For the boy who dropped out because he couldn’t punish girls in San Francisco? I don’t have the skill to bring the true dressing down you deserve! Hopefully someone does!

    Reply
  12. zalm

    October 25th, 2018

    Given that Bavarian conservatives have a pathological need to ensure they are as far to the right as anyone needs to go, it’s a surprise Harper is paying attention. Surely he’d have already learned that lesson from his last failure in 2016.

    But the reason Bavarian cons aren’t doing so well isn’t because of AfD, but because ordinary conservatives deserted them in droves when they demonized anybody who was the least bit different than they, such as migrants, foreigners, and Turks. Never mind that Bavaria actually has historically low unemployment and businesses and factories and service businesses are screaming for anybody with a pulse to hire and work, cons decided that they had to out-AfD the AfD, which wans’t theoretically possible.

    But they tried, and as a result, ordinary Cons, who in Bavaria are actually pretty religious, unlike the faux-religious prosperity gospel types in Albaturda, found the Cons’ teachings kind of, well, areligious – in fact, quite contrary to the gospel taught by the guy who headed up that religion. You know, Jesus-ben-Joseph,the Carpenter.

    So about close on half a million Bavarian Cons stayed home last time, while AfD picked up a few hundred thousand who ordinarily might not have voted at all. And it’s all set to happen again, with the only benefactor this time being the Greens.

    It can only be as good for Bavaria as it is for Canada for Harpo to emulate Marcus Söder

    Reply
  13. Eduard Hiebert

    November 5th, 2018

    Through a rebroadcast on a site I visit occasionally happened to catch your absolutely excellent connecting of the political dots in “Which is better, hate crimes or war crimes? The Beaverton nailed the Munk Debate two months ago…“!

    This in turn led me to your current article and bases my earlier comments here and there will simply put a renewed focus on a highly relevant and politically damning statement: “I’m assuming by this Mr. Harper means they might make the uber-wealthy folks he now represents pay their fair share of taxes, or put limits on buying and selling elections.

    I will simply add that the vote123 ballot would at the very least put the middle-of-the-road vast majority of Canadians in the driver seat in a bottom up democracy instead of the current this tail or that serially wagging the dog. And as democracy which in spirit and in practice is of, by and for the people and therefore cannot be a spectator sport, I invite you to help do some problem-solving on how we the people can quite effectively have our own pre-election vote123 poll within a specific electoral district and with this information on voting day enhance the people’s power to speak with one voice and no longer be divided by the few at the expense of the many.

    Reply

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