What the Globe and Mail is not telling you about Stephen Harper's cabinet

The mainstream media’s obsequious coverage of the Stephen Harper cabinet is enough to give you indigestion.

We have repeatedly been told that his appointments reflected “stability”—as if any alternative to these climate-change-denying buffoons should be equated with chaos.

Take this snippet from John Ibbitson’s column in this morning’s Globe and Mail:

“Maturity begets maturity, as the Prime Minister relied on his ablest veterans to keep the government on track and out of trouble. The choices not only show Mr. Harper growing in his job after five years in it; they reveal as well the importance of picking former Bay Street executive Nigel Wright as chief of staff.”

The Globe and Mail has emerged as one of the chief cheerleaders of the Harper government. Here’s how the paper described some "key players" on the team.

Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry

Globe: “A solid performer in the House of Commons, he avoided trouble at Natural Resources even as some wondered how the Quebecker would manage the oil-sands file.”

The unmentionable truth: As the minister of natural resources, Paradis defended his role in a scandal about the tampering of access-to-information requests by an aide, and refused to resign. Paradis offered up the excuse that he made the information commissioner aware of this situation.

Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board

Globe: “He built a huge profile as the populist industry minister: protecting Canadian firms from multinational takeovers and consumers from excessive Internet bills.”

The unmentionable truth: Clement enraged producers and users of alternative medicine by introducing a bill to amend the Food and Drug Act, which would outlaw up to 60 percent of natural-health products on the market. Let's not even talk about the $50 million that went into his riding before the G8 and G20 summits.

Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance

Globe: “Having campaigned on the theme of economic stability, the Prime Minister could hardly yank the Finance Minister. Mr. Flaherty has earned a solid reputation internationally during the international economic crisis.”

The unmentionable truth: Flaherty has posted the largest budget deficits in Canadian history.

Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour

Globe: “After a controversy-filled run at Natural Resources, Lisa Raitt’s 2010 demotion to the much smaller Labour portfolio was seen as temporary. After Wednesday’s shuffle, she’s still there. Ms. Raitt arrived in Ottawa as a rising star but now she is one of several Toronto-area Conservatives with solid backgrounds who could move up in the future.”

The unmentionable truth: Raitt left a binder of secret documents about nuclear safety on a television news desk and later called the medical-isotopes crisis sexy, even though it meant that cancer patients might go without treatment.

Bev Oda and Maxime Bernier are on the team, but the Globe doesn't consider them "key players".

Oda returned to cabinet as the minister of international co-operation. Oda ordered a document altered and then misled Parliament about doing this.

Bernier is also back in cabinet as the minister of state for small business and tourism. Acording to his former girlfriend, Bernier told her that Harper was fat, had no style, and drank too much Pepsi. Bernier later denied making these comments, which either shows that he has bad judgment in women or he’s just a liar.

Ablest veterans, indeed.



Guy Boucher

May 19, 2011 at 9:10pm

Partisan piffle. The opposition parties were gaming the House of Commons and its committees to smear the government and trigger an election. They got their comeuppance. Your comments are meaningless. For example: "largest budget deficits in Canadian history" -- because the opposition parties forced spending -- minorities always spend too much -- same in 1972-74 and 1962-68 -- but as a percentage of Canada's GDP these are smallest deficits ever during a recession -- and the size of the most recent deficit is actually $12 billion less than forecast at last check, with final figures any day now (forecast was -$40B to which you are referring but at 11-month mark at start of May the fiscal year figure was actually -$28.3B -- however, due to under-spending of DND budget it may end up being even better than this). It will be balanced within 3 years even as taxes continue to decline so that our economy recovers faster. Compare this to the mess created by Obama through wanton spending -- he has borrowed more money since his election than in the previous history of the U.S. Meanwhile, our economy is a world leader. The rest of specious arguments can be equally dismissed. You should apologize for attempting to mislead.

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May 19, 2011 at 10:55pm

Ooh, let's trash Tony Clement for supporting the idea that ALL therapeutic products (natural or not) present evidence from clinical trials before being able to register their products. Why should natural health products be exempt from the same regulations as pharmaceutical companies? Natural, organic, or conventional, all companies should have to prove their products' claims before printing these claims on their labels.

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of no consequence

May 20, 2011 at 5:31am

Dear Guy and A.S.

You might want to tone it down a bit. You can smell your Communication degrees in PEI.

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May 20, 2011 at 8:32am

A much needed corrective to the vacuous nonsense being pedalled by the MSM. Harper's previous cabinet was a motley crew of mediocre performers, with very few exceptions. And even talented ministers, like Jason Kenney, were deeply flawed (e.g., Kenney's ideological vendetta against Kairos and George Galloway).

Of course, the larger point missed by fawning admirers like Ibbitson is that Harper has centralized control in the PMO like no previous PM. Ministers have no discretion of their own and merely take their marching orders from Harper. It is in that respect alone that the new government can be said to be "staying the course."

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May 20, 2011 at 9:41am

How can the GS continually rail against the MSM and, in the same breath mind you, produce something at least as biased as what they are railing against? Have you no shame ... or intellect?

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knees jerking to the party line

May 20, 2011 at 9:48am

Dear Guy and A.S.

It's only partisan piffle when the other side is doing it.

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May 20, 2011 at 9:56am

Also unmentioned: the stable, mature choice of an evolutionist as our Minister of State for Science and Technology.

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Charlie Smith

May 20, 2011 at 12:00pm

You're not winning the readers' election with your comment.

I actually thought about mentioning Gary Goodyear's reappointment as the minister of state for science and technology, but chose not to because the mighty Globe didn't consider him to be a "key player", unlike Lisa Raitt and Christian Paradis.

Charlie Smith

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May 20, 2011 at 12:23pm

Have we all gone mad?! A large proportion of us has been tricked into thinking that whats going on in Parliament is ok, or worse... normal. It's like he's some kind of illusionist the way Mr. Harper blatenly disregards our parliamentary laws and traditions, and then somehow makes us all forget about it, like it never really happened. He changes the rules to suit him when he feels it necessary and when someone stands up against it they are demonized. He is a bully, and he is making the Canadian public think that we can't live without him. Well guess what Mr. Harper, your pretentious "Harper Government" may have absolute power now, but come next election you may find that Canadians aren't as stupid as you consider us to be. In time we will recognize you as the "bully-americanist" you really are and finally send you packing.

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May 20, 2011 at 12:49pm

"Flaherty has posted the largest budget deficits in Canadian history."

The correct and fair way to measure budget deficits is as a percentage of annual GDP. Measured this way, Flaherty's 2010 deficit was 3.6% of annual GDP, which is no where near a record.

In fact if Flaherty had not run up a sizeable deficit during the recession, the opposition (and the Straight) would have been all over him for not bringing in a stimulative budget, and for punishing the downtrodden during hard times.

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