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Harper throws stones, shatters own glass house

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I was going to write about the cynical move by Stephen Harper to launch the longest election campaign since 1872, but plenty of others have already done so.

That leaves me to comment on Stephen Harper's disparaging remarks, made in a speech this morning in Laval, about the Quebec NDP caucus. He criticized Quebec voters for repeatedly sending "opposition MPs to Ottawa" who are "more and more ineffective" and singled out the NDP MPs elected in 2011 for his most vitriolic attacks.

"That group of NDP MPs in the last four years is the most inefficient, ineffective group we've ever seen. There is not one star among those members of the Quebec NDP caucus." [translated from the original French by Canadian Press.]

By "inefficient and ineffective," he presumably meant that they consistently voted against his government on behalf of their constituents. But, the reality is that almost every one of these incumbents, including the much maligned Ruth Ellen Brosseau, has done great work in Ottawa and in their constituency and therefore stand to be re-elected. They could be joined by at least five new NDP MPs. Clearly, someone thinks that they are efficient and effective, and that someone is the people who elected them (the people for whom Harper has such apparent contempt).

Harper has called on Quebec voters to elect more Conservatives, so that they can be "at the decision-making table." Of course, following his advice might mean that we'll be treated to more speeches like the one below from Jacques Gourde, one of the five Conservative all-stars from Quebec.

Harper thinks he knows what a star looks like, but his record suggests otherwise. He's hand-picked Dean Del Mastro, Paul Calandra and Pierre Polievre to be his Parliamentary Secretaries (or professional standins). He appointed Patrick Brazeau, Don Meredith, Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy to the Senate. He made Vic Toews a judge and Peter Penashue a cabinet minister. He chose the late Arthur Porter to oversee Canada's spy agencies. With a record of such impeccable judgment, he's obviously well qualified to tell Quebec voters how they should vote.

What Harper is overlooking is that there is another way that Quebec could have the majority of its MPs sitting on the government side, which doesn't involve electing more Conservatives. Instead, Quebec could re-elect its NDP MPs and the country as a whole could elect an NDP government.

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