IF Mulcair's envelope situation makes him unmarketable, what has to be done..................

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This article on Wednesday's question period does mention Harper's counter-attacks, but I don't think it takes much of the focus off of Harper.  If anything, it simply makes Harper look like he's avoiding answering questions.  So, I'd say the worry of "mulcairs envelope situation makes him unmarketable" is not a worry.  Seems "what has to be done" is for Mulcair to continue to be the effective leader of the opposition and hold Harper's feet to the fire.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Here is the top rated comment to that article by Aaron Wherry. It has 61 up votes and 0 down votes:

lgarvin • a day ago

Concerning Mulcair's knowledge of bribery, I think it's pretty easy to respond that -while he had no proof of criminality, he was made uncomfortable enough by the circumstances that he ended the meeting immediately. Every adult in the world has been in circumstances where they were aware of potential criminality without being ready to call in the cops. False accusations are a very real danger and no-one is required to make themselves a free-lance cop or vigilante.

Frankly, Harper is only underlining his own complicity with a whole long series of questionable characters of which Duffy and Arthur Porter are only the latest examples. Harper has never stumbled across a bad associate on his own, yet he's surrounded by more felons than Mom Boucher.

I am now convinced that most people will see it this way, and the Cons will soon stop trying to even use this, since they will realize that it is counter productive.


Which brings us at last to the why; why this cluster of scandal is rippling outward now, why the opposition leader has felt compelled and freed to toss his Commons playbook in the trash, why the usual Tory countermeasures — such as questions about Mulcair’s 17-year-ago envelope encounter with a disgraced mayor — aren’t getting much traction.

The answer, simply, is moral standing. That is the quality that causes others, be they friend, foe or neutral, to show mercy when you fall. It is also the deepest wellspring of political success. The Conservative party is home to many decent folk, and good, hardworking MPs. But as an institution, with Harper at its head, it has obstructed, deceived, attacked, maligned and bullied, in ways and instances too numerous to mention here.

So that now, when the prime minister most needs the benefit of the doubt, it is nowhere around him. Seeking trust that he did the right thing, he finds there is none. And the vicious spiral deepens.






The same article provides an explanation of how Mulcair is helping hold Harper to account.


The transformation this week was wrought by one man, Mulcair, who set aside his wee lectern and his buckshot-loaded preambles, in favour of a surgeon’s scalpel. Both days, without preamble, he levelled a series of brief, dispassionate, factual questions at Harper, about every aspect of the Duffy-Wright affair. The opposition leader’s intensity was palpable: Though technically addressing the Speaker, he stared across the aisle at his foe. The PM, for his part, faced the Speaker. The effect was of Mulcair on the hunt, Harper the run.

When clear, forthright answers are not available, Mulcair has apparently discovered, there’s no premium on lengthy, front-loaded questions. Far better to pepper the reluctant interviewee with a hail of question-nuggets, so as to highlight his discomfiture as he repeatedly avoids answering. The repetition of avoidance over time can do more damage than a truthful answer would, even when the truth hurts.

Now, Harper did respond to some questions, though he appeared quietly enraged while doing so, especially on the second day. (Neither Harper, Mulcair or Trudeau was in the House Thursday). The PM insisted, for example, that he learned of the $90,000 payment from former chief of staff Nigel Wright to former Conservative Senator Mike Duffy, on Wednesday May 15th. That was the day after reports of the deal first emerged in the media. Presumably this line is intended to allay suspicions that Harper knew of or sanctioned the Duffy payment.

The difficulty: “I knew nothing” is not a happy answer, though it may be the least bad, optics-wise. 




That was basically the same reasoning the BC NDP used and look where it got them. 

Sean in Ottawa

What you see is the NDP leader adapting and that is a good thing. Leaders need to learn as well and he is showing that ability. Yes it was impressive and his control even as he had the government on the ropes was very, shall I say, primeministerial


Gonzaga wrote:

By the way, Stephen Harper is a damaged leader and always has been (remember him shrugging off Paul Martin's request for an explanation of his "second-tier socialist country" speech?). Hopefully it will catch up to him sometime.

Yes I remember but Martin was damaged goods with adscammers and Liberals taking public money and putting it into Liberal coffers. Thus, he lacked legitimacy in the eyes of much of the public.


NorthReport wrote:

How long did it take since we first began discussing this issue until Harper referred to it 9 times in one Question Period session this week?

It just made Harper look evasive and desperate to change the channel from his corrupt practices. 


How long did it take since we first began discussing this issue until Harper referred to it 9 times in one Question Period session this week? 

By-the-way there is a poll on CTV out tonite. 



Not referring to anyone in particular, but those who underestimate Harper have made, and will continue to make, a major mistake.


Sean in Ottawa

It is clear the Conservatives are going to hurt a bit and this will stick

Their response is also clear as well: they will lie spreading the idea that all parties are equally guilty so that they have no disadvantage electorally from this.

It is not at all clear that this strategy will not work even if the crap sticks because they will amp up everything to make it seem everyone is doing it.

This is not a wise prediction: this is already happening and part of their playbook.

They will try to destroy the reputation of all governance, all politicians, all public servants and the democratic process in order to cover for their guilt. This stinks.


If this crap sticks to Harper, he'll likely resign sometime within the next year and a half and let someone with a cleaner slate take over for him. That's why it's important to primarily attack the Conservative Party, not just Harper.

Sean in Ottawa

True but they likely don't have a replacement for Harper that can fix their woes. The leading replacements are social conservatives who could in fact destroy what is left of the Conservative-reform coalition. This could cause more bleeding to the right wing Trudeau.


mark_alfred wrote:

NorthReport wrote:

How long did it take since we first began discussing this issue until Harper referred to it 9 times in one Question Period session this week?

It just made Harper look evasive and desperate to change the channel from his corrupt practices. 

NorthReport wrote:

Not referring to anyone in particular, but those who underestimate Harper have made, and will continue to make, a major mistake.

They'll likely repeat it ad nauseam in question period, paid ads, and statements.  When they do, I'm confident the NDP will respond or ignore as appropriate.  In the question period, it was best to ignore.  Harper's attack tactic didn't help him in the question period.  Check out around the 11:30 point, where Mulcair states, "The parliamentary secretary to the minister of transport explicitly said that the $90,000 cheque was issued, and I quote, 'because WE didn't believe that taxpayers should have to pay this cost and Mr. Duffy was not in a position to pay them himself.'  Who's we?"  Harper in answering clearly looks rattled.  I thought his head was going to explode.  Mulcair was calm and collected in the face of Harper's evasive attacks, whereas Harper was clearly rattled in the face of simple straight forward questions.  Great stuff.


The BC NDP blew a 20 point lead and got creamed in an election because the opposition pounded Dix's credibility so much, by May 14th he was damaged goods. 


NorthReport wrote:
The BC NDP blew a 20 point lead and got creamed in an election because the opposition pounded Dix's credibility so much by May 14th he was damaged goods.

Your point? You keep on hammering away at this, while ignoring that people have already spoken to this issue and how they think it will play out.


Interestingly, La Presse is making a big point of hammering away at Harper over Senator Bert Brown whereas 2 Liberal Senators each spent close to 10,000 and 15,000 more than Brown did.

La Presse wouldn't be a Liberal rag would it? Laughing 


Des frais de voyage de 43 000 $ pour l'ancien sénateur Bert Brown

Aux Communes, mercredi, le premier ministre Stephen Harper... (Photo La Presse Canadienne)


Aux Communes, mercredi, le premier ministre Stephen Harper a de nouveau été soumis à un barrage de questions de la part du chef du NPD Thomas Mulcair dans l'affaire Nigel Wright-Mike Duffy.







This guy appears to get it.

Patrick says:May 15, 2013 at 5:20 pm

I can’t help but feel that strategic voting by self-identified conservatives was a huge factor in the massively surprising outcome.

There was a large pool of small c right wingers/blue Liberals who were like most British Columbians deeply sickened by the Liberal record of waste, mismanagement and ethical failure, but who experienced a last minute change of heart and swallowed their pride to vote for Clark at the very last moment. Alone in the ballot box with their convictions, misguided fear of the NDP superseded their anger towards a tired Government with a piss poor record.

Especially with iconic BC conservatives like Stockwell Day and Jay Hill emerging at the very last moment to exhort a coalescing around the Liberals, there must have been the desired last minute swing away from the farcical Cummins experiment. We too often forget the power of the Federal conservative vote in BC.

This, compounded by the voter mobilization, financial and energy gaps you cite, likely explains the majority of yesterday evening’s shockers.

I would also argue for New Democrats this speaks to a major political management issue which was on clear display in BC but is relevant nationally. The sad reality following Victoria, Calgary Centre, Labrador and now BC is that some of the crucial senior electoral assets presently being deployed in leadership roles are simply not as elite as they’ve long been cast.

The party leadership nationwide has permitted an “it’s OK” culture to emerge which is outright dangerous at this crucial juncture in history. It’s not OK.

Last place finishes in major Western cities. Dozen vote margins over the Greens in ’safe’ seats. An instinctive, unconditional deference to even the most outrageous nationalist demands which is politically toxic in Ontario and elsewhere. Orwellian “unity” bills marketed by Toronto-region MPs. Multi-million dollar data management fiascos without consequence. Losing quarter over quarter over quarter to a supposedly vanquished third party which has… pardon the terrible the pun… a quarter of your legislative footprint.

If you truly believe in your ideas, and in your grassroots, that’s called a management deficiency 100 over 100 times. See Hebert’s characteristically strong piece on this today.

New Democrats absolutely made the right choice electing Tom Mulcair their leader federally, but a major operational reassessment needs to be underway right now. The window is starting to close, and we’re now more than half way to the next general election.

The plus, I suppose, is that I’m told BC has a long history of turning on the party in power when the next federal contest comes around. So perhaps in the smoldering ruins of a once slam-dunk Dix campaign there’s the makings of a 2015 Pacific bounce.

For those who dream of true progressive governance in Canada, it’s time to elevate our game or watch this perhaps unique opportunity slip away.





NorthReport wrote:

Some folks seem to grasp what might / could be happening:


A poster wrote this comment to Greg's blog posting.

Dan Tan3:00 AMGreg,

You can always count on Liberals to depict the Conservative Party as some omnipotent or paranormal entity...capable of manipulating events & outcomes through sheer will. Woe us mere mortals.

Colby Cosh's latest is yet another cringe-worthy contribution to this mythology. Among other distortions, he insists: "Keeping the seat counts of the NDP and the Liberals roughly level with each other is the paramount strategic axiom for the Tories from now until (at least) 2015.".

If you have indulged in Liberal "reasoning" long enough, you will recognize the narrative. The invading race of super-human Conservatives were able to over-throw the noble & innocent Liberals - through a controlled release of a plague called "the NDP".

Such is the Liberal sense of entitlement - they cannot conceive of a reality where they are unseated by mere mortals. "Mere mortals" who happen to be more determined, resourceful, and hard-working than they are. "Mere mortals" who also happen to be flawed & vulnerable - susceptible to our electorate's prejudices, mood-swings, and gullibility towards clever marketing.

As I warned last week, the Liberals will continue to propagate such defeatist & conspiratorial non-sense (here, aided by their useful idiot Colby Cosh) in an effort to cover their lazy & presumptive asses. They dream of such scandals diminishing Conservative support - but are totally uncommitted to the methodical, artistic, and expensive work required to exploit such opportunities. Hence, if the Conservatives manage to escape electoral punishment...let myth & falsehood excuse such poor Liberal work ethic.

By contrast, the NDP quietly accepts that nothing is promised. Yet, such sober thought has not limited their ambition or tenacity. They have consistently & successfully performed the hard work required - surrounding & provoking Conservative rivals we have long recognized as mere mortals.

Such is the difference between children & adults,
Dan Tan

Sean in Ottawa

I agree with the assessment that the party made a good choice in Mulcair but has not been stellar in strategy since.

The party has done some good things and handled many issues well. It has underestimated the Liberals and been overly presumptuous of the momentum it had.

The party has a lot of work yet to solidify its position as a challenger for power. It should be doing more engaging and less performing. More clear ways of getting public involvement in high profile ways are essential now.Policy conferences sound dry but they don't need to be and can be open to the public. Outlining options rather than picking the specific ones the party will run on is a part of connecting to a larger grass roots. Answering ethical issues comprehensively is important and the party is part of the way there.

The idea of nonpaying supporters being identified was smart and should have come form the NDP rather than the Liberals-- even if those supporters would not vote in a convention. The NDP is certainly moving towards more Obama -style social media engagement but more has to be done.

Reflecting back what the people have said is a great idea. If I were the NDP I'd consider publishing a book or at least a website with samples of what Canadians have said to the party on many issues. Show you are listening.

Even as you focus on flavour of the month issues like the Senate -- an opportunity given how long the NDP has been consistent on this it is critical to maintain bread and butter issues as likely more people will vote on bread and butter issues than even the senate.