Corporate media line up behind Stephen Harper and the Conservatives

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      Is it a surprise that the owners of daily newspapers are lining up behind the one politician who will keep their corporate taxes down?

      Yesterday, the Globe and Mail wrote what appeared to be a comedy piece endorsing Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

      My favourite line was when the Globe editorial writer purported that Harper demonstrated "strength of character".

      Ironically, Globe political columnist Lawrence Martin entitled his final chapter "A Question of Character" in his devastating 2010 book called Harperland: The Politics of Control.

      The final two pages feature what Martin describes as the "march of audacities"—a lengthy list of Harper's more outrageous actions.

      They include, among other things:

      • Padlocking Parliament

      • Appointing former Liberal David Emerson as a Conservative cabinet minister immediately after the 2006 election

      • Cancelling the long-form census

      • Eliminating the access-to-information database

      • Launching personal attack ads between elections

      • Scripting supporters' calls to radio talk jocks

      • Blocking information on cabinet ministers' use of jets

      • Attempting to strip political parties of public funding

      • Putting the Conservative logo on government cheques for stimulus funding

      • Firing the nuclear-safety commission head Linda Kean

      • Prohibiting cabinet staff from speaking before parliamentary committees

      • Smearing diplomat Richard Colvin for blowing the whistle on Afghan detainees

      "For Stephen Harper the end justified the means, almost any means," Martin wrote in his book. "It was what troubled so many Canadians about him."

      Today, it was the Vancouver Province's turn to endorse Harper.

      At least this editorial acknowledged that the Conservative leader is "secretive, controlling and has shown contempt for Canadian institutions". But hey, he'll keep corporate taxes down, unlike Jack Layton and Michael Ignatieff. So he deserves some support before the election.

      Expect the Vancouver Sun to publish a full-length editorial in its Saturday edition instructing readers to support Harper and the Conservatives.

      This message probably won't mention that Harper will keep the owner's corporate taxes down.

      Today, one of the editorial-board members may even be sitting in front of a computer trying to pound home the message.

      For fun, I decided to step into the shoes of the editorial writer, and try to figure out what might be going through his or her mind:

      We at the Vancouver Sun admire a leader, and Michael Ignatieff is not a leader.


      Jack Layton is not a leader.


      Stephen Harper, on the other hand, is a leader.


      We have our concerns about Mr. Harper, like everyone else. Privately when we meet over beers after work at Steamworks, we talk about his dictatorial streak.


      He's so fucking ruthless. He even threw our friend Tom Flanagan off the bus when he wanted to write a positive book about the Conservatives.


      We also think Harper's financially reckless. He's not a real Conservative, just a phoney one.


      This is the guy who created the largest deficits in Canadian history. Compared to him, Tommy Douglas was like Margaret Thatcher.


      And we at the Vancouver Sun, along with our colleagues at the Fraser Institute, despise government deficits.


      Frankly, we loathe Harper's stimulus program. But we blame the Liberals and NDP for forcing his hand after the economy contracted in 2008.


      There are some, like Nobel Prize–winning economist Paul Krugman, who claimed that government stimulus was essential to head off a global depression. He's always mouthing off about this in that left-wing rag, the New York Times.


      But we at the Vancouver Sun think that Krugman is a pinko, just like Layton, so we don't pay any attention to what he might say.


      Who cares that Krugman is associated with Princeton University? We take our economic lead from the Hoover Institution.


      But we have to write an endorsement before the election. This is to show that we're a serious newspaper populated by serious thinkers.


      Okay, well, that's not the whole story. We also have to write this endorsement because newspaper owners require it.


      Here's the dirty secret of newspaper endorsements. It's a way for media companies to get on the good side of the government before the election.


      This enables a media conglomerate to call in favours from the prime minister after voting day. Don't think the politicians aren't paying attention to the endorsement game.


      Let's say, for example, you want to sell your newspaper chain to someone like Rupert Murdoch, who lives in the United States. But you can't do that because of Canadian ownership rules. Well, only the federal government can change that.


      Here's another example: if the CRTC refuses to award a broadcasting licence, what are you going to do? Well, the media conglomerate can always appeal to the federal cabinet to have this decision overturned.


      That's really helpful to a company like Quebecor, which owns tons of newspapers. No wonder it hired Harper's former press secretary to head up its 24-hour news channel.


      Shit. I'm out of space. Vote for Harper! He's the best. He's the only guy who stood up to those jerks in Copenhagen who were clamouring for reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.


      Sigh, I better go back to the drawing board for a rewrite. Somehow, I don't think this one will make the cut.

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      Mark Fornataro

      Apr 29, 2011 at 9:54am

      Way back when, when the so-called Conservatives were not in power during the 70s there was the Kent Commission that warned about con-centration of media ownership. I guess those in power were gunshy about implementing its recommendations for the reasons noted by Charlie above. Good piece.

      Barney Fife

      Apr 29, 2011 at 12:09pm

      Fine article.


      Apr 29, 2011 at 12:14pm

      When businesses have to pay more taxes it either comes from their customers, their employees or their shareholders. Which group do you want to penalize with higher taxes? And if you are truly sincere about wanting higher corporate taxes why not let your readers know what size of cheque your company is forwarding to the federal government?


      Apr 29, 2011 at 1:55pm

      Another sham article by Charlie. He has no objectivity in his body. Always looking for some way to put down the Conservatives. Sure, the conservatives might not be very good, but have you taken a good look at their opposition??? Sadly we must vote for the lesser of the evils.

      glen p robbins

      Apr 29, 2011 at 6:15pm

      cuz- I disagree- people should vote for who they like and let the chips fall from that/I expect that is what is happening because I would suggest most people agree with you that politicals is an aggregate of evils - and as such why believe anything any of them say?

      At the end of the day - people go with their history or their gut (depending on how much attention they are paying). It's a five week campaign - not like the United States where the endurance test --goes on for weeks.

      There is no way in hell most people can actually get a grip on who means what. Look, Harper for example ran the clock out from the get go. Has he earned a majority? Of course he hasn't -- did Ignatieff ignite people - apparently not. See our April 20 ROBBINS - Higher Power poll--where we set out the conditions of real politick.

      Layton is doing well - mostly because most voters aren't happy with Harper (Conservatives) or Ignatieff (Liberals) - if they want to vote -- particularly in Quebec (and no matter what we think here - Quebec is in a good position to go---) and there is no way Canada can afford this conversation of doubt ------the only viable federal party was Layton and people like him anyhow---this whole election was about Quebec's provincial election coming up in March 2012 (by mandate).

      Harper can't run the country with no leverage or authority in Quebec - he can try and exploit it - but in the end he must have seats from that province. Quebec apparently will only negotiate with Layton - and seeing as most Canadians don't have the time or possibly the interest to know this, understand or realize the implication to national and economic security etc. the bottom line is -- Layton is more likeable.


      Apr 29, 2011 at 7:16pm

      well Mr Left Nutter higher corporate taxes means less profit which mean less money to stuff in corporate Swiss bank accounts and those multi million dollar corporate exec salaries. Corporate profit is almost never passed on to the small time shareholder but is retained in the business bank accounts pending the election of another fascist government allowing more pillaging. Executive salaries are never reduced and employees are already hired in the minimum amount at the minimum wage required to maintain profit.

      When will you Cons learn basic economics before spewing more mantra from Rush,

      Taxpayers R Us

      Apr 29, 2011 at 11:45pm


      Voting for the lesser of evils means voting Harper out. The Republican party south of the border is a total disaster and he seems to be borrowing pages from their worst policies.

      I'm voting for whoever has the best chance of preventing or taking out a conservative seat and taking down Harper. We really don't need Glenn Beck running our country.

      Critical thinker

      Apr 29, 2011 at 11:53pm

      When the truth is painful the dishonest cry in pain. Way to go, cuz!

      Ed tanas

      Apr 30, 2011 at 12:29am

      Just canceled my Sun is the body of the email I sent them.....
      "Please cancel my account ...... I just read your article about Jack Layton supposedly getting busted at a bawdry house in Toronto.... I see this as biased smear politics and refuse to ever read your paper again....  You guys make me sick.....this type of smear of journalism disgusts me...."


      Apr 30, 2011 at 8:41am

      I'd be more concerned about all the corporate newspaper endorsement of Harper's Conservatives if I thought anyone with a brain, believes what they read in those publications.Big business has reason to be concerned if we stop subsidizing them and start supporting our most valuable asset in Canada: our population.It's time to get out and vote for a positive vision of how our country can be governed.