January 18, 2006


Liberals scramble after Hargrove calls Harper separatist: Martin forced to issue statement praising Tory leader's patriotism (CANADIAN PRESS, Jan. 18, 2006)

The Liberals are in full damage control this afternoon after a high-profile campaign endorsement by the head of Canada’s largest private-sector labour union turned disastrous.

Canadian Auto Workers president Buzz Hargrove used a campaign stop in nearby Strathroy to call Conservative Leader Stephen Harper a separatist whose Alberta-born political principles place him outside mainstream Canadian values.

He seemed to agree with questioners that Quebecers vote for the Bloc Quebecois over the Conservatives.

Prime Minister Paul Martin issued a retraction on Hargrove’s behalf as soon as the comments hit the news wires, and was forced to praise Harper’s patriotism in an effort to quell the controversy.

“I have large differences with Stephen Harper but I have never doubted his patriotism,” Martin said at a news conference in London.

Dirk Pitt couldn't raise this wreck.

Attacks on Harper intensify (MARTIN O’HANLON, 1/18/06, CP)

As Hargrove pounded the Tory leader, Martin hammered on with his now-familiar message that Harper would is "out of step" with Canadian values and would threaten abortion rights and gay marriage.

"If you want to stop Stephen Harper, if you don't agree with Mr. Harper's values - such as the war in Iraq and missile defence - there's only one choice you can make and that's the Liberal party," Martin said.

"The question isn't change. It's change for what? I don't believe that Canadians want to roll back the clock."

Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman is one Canadian who doesn't want to turn back the clock on gay marriage.

Smitherman said he and his gay partner may move up their wedding date if Harper wins the federal election.

"The reality is for some Canadians who currently possess certain rights, these rights seem to be . . . put at risk by a Harper election," he said.

"I never thought that would happen in my country."

The reality is it's an issue Harper can't campaign on but having them raise it will help him.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 18, 2006 5:35 PM

Don't vote for the Tory separationist, vote for the froggie separationist????

Posted by: Sandy P at January 18, 2006 5:43 PM

We've shot past equating the Martin campaign to Jimmy Carter in 1980; this is now more like Walter Mondale in 1984, complete with disastarous auto workers union endorsement and all on the way to a 49 state landslide loss (at least Paul doesn't have to worry about losing that many proviences).

Posted by: John at January 18, 2006 5:49 PM

It's really too bad that Kim Campbell set an almost unattainable standard for collapses, but ya gotta commend Martin & co for trying.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 18, 2006 6:41 PM

This story coincides with with my decent NDP colleague's (who I meet at our sons' school daily) admission that he has come to the conclusion that a Tory majority would actually be pretty good thing. No more ambivalence, etc,

I nodded empathetically in agreement.

Posted by: Peter B at January 18, 2006 7:44 PM

. . . and Paul Martin's "safe" seat may prove to be not so safe after all. What an embarrassment he has become to decent Canuckistanians.

Posted by: obc at January 18, 2006 7:52 PM

The downside here is that OJ's prediction of a Canada breakup and the US getting the good parts will be delayed for awhile.

Posted by: AWW at January 18, 2006 8:07 PM


I thought the DoD had dusted up the old Canada invasion plans. Hint! Hint!

Posted by: sam at January 18, 2006 9:06 PM


I thought the DoD had dusted up the old Canada invasion plans.

Well, I nodded empathetically in agreement there too.

Memo to file: Get Your Head Screwed On Right!

Posted by: Peter B at January 18, 2006 9:14 PM

Why do I think the Canadian army would help us?

Posted by: Sandy P at January 18, 2006 9:19 PM

We may be able to postpone Operation Northern Light my friends.

Posted by: Jayson at January 18, 2006 9:24 PM

It's actually called "Operation Leafblower."

Posted by: Mikey at January 18, 2006 10:01 PM

Well, the real name is "Operation Canadisn Bacon".

Posted by: sam at January 19, 2006 12:12 AM

Typograghical error: It's George Slitherman

Posted by: Genecis at January 19, 2006 9:34 AM
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