In which a good case is made for the aerial spraying of Prozac® over the Progressive Blogosphere

With all due respect, please… get a grip.  Does anyone seriously believe this is part of Harper’s legendary Hidden Agenda®©™ to Destroy Gay Marriage?

As opposed to maybe, err um you know, a goofy screwup of lawyerly semantics over some uncrossed “T”s and undotted “I”s in our relatively-new equal marriage laws?

The Harper government is working quickly to change the law so that the marriages of the thousands of gay couples who travel to Canada to wed are legally recognized in this country.

“We want to make it very clear that in our government’s view, these marriages should be valid,” a senior government official told Postmedia News on Friday.

“That’s why we will change the Civil Marriage Act so that any marriages performed in Canada that aren’t recognized in the couple’s home jurisdiction will be recognized in Canada.”

Much as I’m loathe to defend the Harper Government, I will only dump on it when dumping is due, which in this case, it isn’t.  Hey, it wasn’t the odious Harpercons™ that crafted the legislation and forgot to cross the i’s and dot the t’s in the first place.  “Forgot”??  Or Martin’s Hidden Agenda??

And speaking of irrational paranoia and pot-stirring, the Globe & Mail has secured itself a permanent place in my Hall of Inflammatory Rhetorical Shame for starting their article on this non-event like this:

The Harper government has served notice that thousands of same-sex couples who flocked to Canada from abroad since 2004 to get married are not legally wed.

“Served notice”?  Now I wonder how many interpreted this to mean an actual notice, on paper, the kind that gets served in person by the court.  But never mind that:  the G&M also gets a citation in Hall of Hypocrisy and Silly Walkbacks.   Yesterday’s article on this topic, once shriekingly headed like this:

…has apparently taken its pill, done some yoga, calmed down a bit and realized its headline was complete Bullshit, and now looks more benignly like this:

The URL’s the tell!  Change it, turkeys.  Duh.

Not that I don’t harbour my own form of aberrant paranoia, and it makes me wonder what havoc the Harper Government©®™ managed to wreak on other areas of the Canadian body politic while everyone was busy running around in circles with their hair on fire over this non-issue.  Eyes on the ball, peeps.  We wouldn’t want the general electorate to get the idea that progressives are paranoid conspiracy theorists….

…or would we!??

79 Responses to “In which a good case is made for the aerial spraying of Prozac® over the Progressive Blogosphere”

  1. 1 Alison S Friday, January 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I tend to agree with you somewhat on this, but the lawyer who suggested that non-resident gay marriages could be invalid should probably be looking for a new job. The divorce provisions apply to all non-resident marriages and therefore the ‘gap’ wasn’t part of the bill the Liberals enacted but was part of existing law. The Prozac needs to sprayed on the Con spokescritters too.

  2. 2 Willy Friday, January 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Prozac: doing it old school. Sign me up, it has been that kind of year, so far.

  3. 3 the regina mom Friday, January 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    NDP reports that they brought the issue up in Question Period in October. so the HarperCons did know about it.

  4. 4 JJ Friday, January 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Sure it was already part of matrimonial law. But I wonder whether it shouldn’t have been anticipated as a possible problem, knowing that there was about to be a massive influx of gay furriners looking to get hitched as soon as equal marriage became the law of the land. Marriage Tourism, as it were. That’s all.

  5. 5 JJ Friday, January 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Here, I’ve got a bowl full of it in front of me and I’m eating it with a spoon. Catch!

  6. 6 JJ Friday, January 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Hi R-Mom
    I’d have to say this sounds more like a classic case of laziness and low priorities, as opposed to an overt attack on gay rights.

    Seriously, if they were going to actually do an “about-face” on marriage, I can’t believe they’d go at it like this. This is the government we credit with being so supremely sly and slimy that they can implement a Hidden Agenda and have us all in lefty re-education camps before we know what hit us. And considering the “vote” they had when they first got into power, a little play-act done expressly to shut up the likes of McVety et al, I don’t believe they have any designs on marriage.

    Equal marriage is the law of the land, it is a closed issue, and it will long outlive the Harper Gov’t.

  7. 7 rev.paperboy Friday, January 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I think the whole thing is a trial balloon, much the same way the whole Woodworth push to talk about “when an embryo becomes a human being” thing was a trial balloon for reopening the abortion debate. The pushback was immediate and huge and so the forces of Mordor backpedaled tout suite, but they are always out there, probing.

  8. 8 Terrence Friday, January 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Actually, that was referring to a different case entirely.

    But don’t let that stop you from uncritically regurgitating misleading NDP press releases.

  9. 9 fhg1893 Friday, January 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    We all knew that there were a good number of “hidden-agenda” believers among the left right? But… The Globe & Mail? Seriously? You expect this kind of thing out of the Toronto Star, or even the CBC, but I honestly never suspected the Globe & Mail was secretly a Harper Hidden Agenda believer.

    What’s worse is that this kind of foaming-a-the-mouth, chicken-little over-reaction is exactly the kind of thing that makes it impossible to take the political left seriously anymore.

    This kind of thing is bad for our democracy. Harper gets accused all the time of being heavily influenced by the Americans, and as kind of a tacit supporter of the CPC, I agree that there’s a good bit of truth to that accusation. For once, the accusation has merit, but then, the left goes and completely spoils its entirely valid complaint with this kind of knee-jerk pathological fear-mongering. MSNBC North anyone?

    When the level of discourse is brought so low, and so effectively, Dan Savage notwithstanding, it’s not like Harper needs to do anything further to help usher in a more American-style left-right, two-party paradigm into our national political landscape; he’s being gleefully helped by the left who seem to have become too blinded by their own irrational hatred (JJ excepted, of course, as usual) to realize that this is exactly the kind of thing that polarizes and wedges the Canadian electorate. How many more wedge issues is the left going to help Harper create before they realize that this kind of touchy, over-emotional fear-mongering is really bad for our democratic discourse?

  10. 10 Scotian Friday, January 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm


    With respect, not all of us saw the hidden agenda as being quite so spectacular, but more about serious abuse of power and process issues, complete ignorance of rule of law, and creating extremely dangerous precedents and ignoring fundamental Constitutional protections and precepts, at least that was what it was for me, and so far this government has not been anything other than what I feared all along. Things like abortion and gay marriage where never really where my fears with him were, things like placing his government ahead of Parliament like he did in the last minority was, because in the long run it is those sorts of things that are the real dangers to us all, be we lefties, centrists, and Canadian Conservatives of the old school (I exclude true Harperites, they believe in an American variant flavour of conservativism whether they understand this or not), because it affects the true core of an open democratic rule of law society that is supposed to view each citizen equally under the law.

    On this particular example, I could see it being the way the shriekers see it or the way you are seeing it, the argument can be made for each IMHO. Which is more probable, normally I would suggest yours but with this government I will not make assumptions about reason and rationality that I would have any prior in our history, which makes excluding the shrieker POV a lot more difficult for me than it otherwise would have been. With this government and leader it is in some ways better to assume worse case scenario and in the end be wrong than it is not to, because with this guy we have the most extremist PM in our history and one more determined to destroy his opponents (or as he clearly sees all of us, his enemies that deserve scorched earth total war done unto) than anyone in our past as well.

    I see where you are coming from JJ, and I think in this case you might be more right than those taking the hidden agenda belief, but I cannot be sure enough that you are, and with this sort of government as I said it is better to be overly concerned than not enough. That said though your caution about looking elsewhere at what it is doing while people get so worked up about this one is a very valid and important one as well, this a government of misdirection if ever we have had one!

  11. 11 Terrence Friday, January 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm


    This is the best example of partisan knobbery since conservatives in the United States accused Barack Obama of implementing a “Christmas tree” tax (that (a) wasn’t a tax, and (b) wasn’t imposed by the government.)

    It’s unfortunate that the left isn’t immune to this kind of tribal syndrome.

    Is it possible — just possible, mind you! — that government lawyers sometimes make arguments that are not vetted first by the ruling party?

    I’m not talking about a position — let’s say Harper determines the position the government takes on any given case — but the arguments for that position (of which there can be many, often contradictory, because lawyers roll like that.)

    Now some people seem to believe that Harper is so devious, and so absolutely in control of everything that goes on in Ottawa, that not a sparrow lands on the copper roof of Center Block without him noticing.

    Personally, I kinda doubt it. It’s kind of like when Nazis accuse Jewish people of secretly controlling the world: if Harper is so omniscient and so omnipresent, then maybe he should be Prime Minister after all. Because surely, every other party leader must be a total ignoramus in comparison. Right?

    On the other hand, maybe Harper suffers the same institutional blindness that besets any authorities in a large bureaucracy. Yeah, maybe that’s it.

  12. 12 JJ Friday, January 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm


    I doubt either of those issues is a trial balloon, with somewhat less doubt on the abortion thing simply because it’s so routinely brought up in parliament, usually by private members’ bills. In all the time Harper’s been in power, there have been a few PM bills addressing some aspect of abortion, all killed. There have been exactly zero PM bills about marriage: even the fundies conceded defeat on it long ago (and decided to focus their considerable energy on abortion, yay).

    So, if it’s a trial balloon, what was supposed to have happened in the absence of any negative response to it?

    I agree that it’s good to be alert, but at the same time, let’s not get carried away… let cool heads prevail…

  13. 13 JJ Friday, January 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    …is exactly the kind of thing that makes it impossible to take the political left seriously anymore.

    Well, this is a fear I started expressing some time ago when I began seeing the extreme “Harper is a dictator” type rhetoric. Then it just got worse, with rabid screams exhorting us to “take our country back” — and I thought: Isn’t that what the teabaggers say?

    Harper has a lot of faults, some of them dangerous and some just dumb, and I think it’s a good idea to be alert for anything that might actually start making its way into legislative changes. But freaking out at every drop of a wrong word is counterproductive to getting progressives elected. And frankly, if this is our response to what’s basically a non-issue, I’m not sure we even deserve to run things again. Maybe we’ve got some growing up to do first.

  14. 14 JJ Friday, January 13, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Scotian
    Yes, Harper is certainly worth keeping an eye on, and I’m not recommending that progressives (or any concerned citizen) do anything but. (And frankly, I’d advise that no matter who was in government.) However, there’s Alert and there’s Paranoid, and Paranoid doesn’t do us any good. It’s certainly counterproductive to getting progressives elected to office where they might actually run things or at least keep Harpie on a short leash.

    I’m a big fan of letting cooler heads prevail 8)

  15. 15 fhg1893 Friday, January 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Then it just got worse, with rabid screams exhorting us to “take our country back” — and I thought: Isn’t that what the teabaggers say?

    Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion right? But by the same token, aren’t the rest of us entitled to refute and ridicule moronic and uninformed opinions with stronger, better opinions of our own?

    And concerning “Harper is a dictator,” I always thought that was mostly “politics as usual.” Politics has never been squeaky clean or anything even approaching “high minded.”

    But this… Or more specifically the reaction to this non-issue… I think we agree, that it somehow manages to set a new low, and the bar was already pretty damned low to begin with. That’s not good at all. For anybody!

    Concerning the reaction a little more specifically, I have a question, and I’d really like some feedback from anyone on this one…

    Umm… Have we really gotten so stupid that we can’t tell what’s real, from what we just made up? What’s real in a marriage is the relationship between two people, and not the legal paperwork that goes with it.

    Harper could declare all heterosexual marriage to be invalid tomorrow, and it would change virtually nothing between say, my wife and I. Sure, it would affect our taxes, and other government dealings, but our relationship, and our affection wouldn’t change one iota. We’d still love our kids, and build our lives together, because that’s a choice we made together, and we plan to stick to it.

    So with that in mind… Has our collective understanding of reality really become THAT distorted that we don’t believe something is real unless the government tells us?

    I anticipate being horrified by the answer, but I think we need to consider it anyway.

  16. 16 MgS Friday, January 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Two words for you JJ: Dog Whistling

    Nobody, and I do mean nobody, in Harper’s gov’t so much as sneezes without PMO approval.

    Watch for one of the following to happen:

    a) The amendment legislation Nicholson mentioned doesn’t get introduced
    b) It gets introduced with a couple of stinker amendments elsewhere just for fun
    c) A mysterious “pro-life caucus” back-bencher puts a bill forward which attacks GLBT rights more directly, and conveniently the front benches will vote for it.

    … it wouldn’t exactly surprise me.

  17. 17 Scotian Friday, January 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Normally so am I JJ, so am I. However, watching the horror that is the modern NA conservative movement over the past 35 years has left me shall we say a little “paranoid” given the actual record they have left behind mainly in the US and more recently in this nation as well. Too many times in the past I have given the same reasonable benefit of the doubt and found out over time I was wrong to do so, and given how tightly Harper runs his government, and governed that during his four years of minority he was able to purge/bring into line the tools of government to his control even more than any other PMO, that makes it harder for me to ignore the possibility in this case. I dislike intensely having to view any government to this degree of paranoia regarding their actions (and like you I am firmly of the opinion that one should always keep a watchful eye on those with the power of government whether they are of your political flavour or not, that is part of the civic responsibility of being an informed voter IMHO) but this time I hate to say I think it is the better part of prudence as I said in my first comment. It is *NOT* my preference, but every time I thought there were lines Harper would not cross he has, so taking worse case scenario as the default setting makes some sense.

    That being said though one should never forget that there is a difference between believing something may be so versus is definitively so and running with it as such, and there is where I think the left/progressive side needs to watch itself with the Harper government. There is a reason why I dislike absolutes where dealing with humans are concerned after all, one needs to look at things in terms of range of probabilities, not simple absolutes, otherwise one will be led astray repeatedly and wildly at least some of the time as well.

    Remember JJ, I always opposed Harper, I was never a partisan of a party nor came at political blogging with any other goals than to block him from power, despite all that has been said of me. Like you I am far more representative of the centrist middle swing voter with some classically left and right side opinions on a case by case basis rather than a simple one side of the spectrum POV. My problems with Harper though came from his imported political philosophy not just in terms of ideology but far more seriously in terms of process issues, and there he scared and still scares the Hell out of me. Which was why I was so firmly opposed, and why alas I cannot just chalk this bit up to overreaction even if that would be my usual belief were this any other prior government in our history. I still think you may be the more likely right, but there is enough basis for uncertainty with this government based on time in office and record in office on the process side, messaging side, and control side for me to have a large minority percentage of concern that the worst case scenario reaction could be true in this case.

    I will say this JJ, it kills me to have to take this degree of concern about any Canadian government, and to be this “paranoid” really runs against my grain too, and is yet another thing I really resent Harper and his core supporters for as well as those that enabled his rise to the office he holds today for forcing me to have to take this POV.

  18. 18 Scotian Friday, January 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Since you asked the audience….

    With respect, I think you may be missing the point with your question. It is not that it is not a “real” marriage to the people involved unless the government sanctions it, it is whether the rest of society treats it as a real marriage with all the legal rights and privileges that come with a legally recognized marriage, in other words it is about equality and equal treatment, not about whether it is real or not. That it is such a recent gain for this minority group only makes it that much more touchy an issue for them and for those that believe in the fairness or equal marriage for all from a political, social, and/or philosophical perspective. THAT is what makes this such a hot button reaction point for so many.

    Have you ever been truly discriminated against and led to believe you were inherently less than fully human because of it? For unless you have, know those who have and really have tried to put yourself in that place, it is hard to truly appreciate just how damaging it can be to the soul and basic human dignity. This is why for so many people the need to fight for equality for all is so important, it is because of how soul damaging it is to not be seen/treated that way in a culture that claims to believe and practice equality of all human beings under the law, and since marriage is at least as much a secular service of that legal social structure having equality under it is important indeed. That unless everyone is seen and treated equally under our law than none are, and that instead of being a great uplifter the rule of law instead is a tool of oppression.

    It is not about the collective understanding of reality as you put it, and to be honest I would have thought that was fairly easy to discern in this. I think you may be suffering from your own conservative ideological/philosophical blinders about how for lefties it is necessary for the government to be an an controlling thing for it to matter/be real. I find it all too common that people of strong beliefs tend to see the blinders of those they are in opposition/disagreement with while missing completely their own, and that is what I think is going on with your question here.

  19. 19 Beijing York Friday, January 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Dog whistle or trial balloon but this was definitely on Harper’s radar in my view. There was no need to go there unless the couple who were trying to challenge the residency requirement to obtain a divorce used their non-recognized SSM status as part of their argument to have the residency requirement waived in their situation on human rights grounds.

    And what if a couple married in Canada but residing in a country of origin that doesn’t recognize inter-faith or inter-racial marriage tried to waive the residency requirement for divorce. Would the Justice lawyer have had the temerity to say that their union was not legal?

  20. 20 Peter Friday, January 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    A mysterious pro-life caucus back-bencher? Wow, that’s chilling. No doubt it will be seconded by a furtive M.P. and then sent to a impenetrable committee run by a secretive chair. Back to the House to be voted on by an covert majority, and then to the Senate for a cryptic debate by obscure appointees. From there it will be off to the enigmatic GG. A leering, sphinxlike Harper will watch it all behind a one way mirror and the mass arrests will begin the next morning.

    Did I pass the progressive blogger exam?

  21. 21 the regina mom Friday, January 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Don’t think I said anywhere in my comment that I believed it was part of a hidden agenda. My thinking is more that it was a purposeful diversion from the Northern Gateway pipeline issue. See how no one’s attention is on it today?

  22. 22 JJ Friday, January 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    😆 Ah yes, the Partisan Knob (Partisinnus Knobbus), recognizable by a unique patellofemoral structure that facilitates a constantly jerking knee 😛

    Kidding aside, when I first saw this story I thought: so what. Gov’t screws up, so what else is new? It looked like a case of simple bureaucratic bungling and badly-chosen words to me. I expected to see a few blog posts mocking the error, even considered writing one myself for a cheap laugh but didn’t have time, so imagine my surprise when I started reading blog posts announcing that the end of civil rights as we know them is nigh.

    I realize Harper has this awesomely terrifying reputation as a control freak, micromanager etc, all-seeing and all-knowing, but nobody can micromanage to the extent that we give him credit for. Things do slip by him on occasion 😯 I think your assessment about institutional blindness is spot-on.

  23. 23 JJ Friday, January 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm


    Nobody, and I do mean nobody, in Harper’s gov’t so much as sneezes without PMO approval.

    I have no doubt that Harper is a control freak, micromgr etc, but think about it… He could be a robot sucking up information about the government 24/7, and still not have the kind of control we give him credit for.

    In terms of dog whistles… why? Socons conceded victory on this particular front years ago. They still bitch about it, but they’ve long since given up any hope of implementing any retrograde changes to marriage law. Even the Institute for Marriage & Family’s Dave Quist publicly conceded this battle to the good guys, I think back in December 2009 or 2008. (I posted about it, I’ll try and find the link.)

    Equal marriage is the law of the land, and I’d be very surprised to see it get fucked with.

  24. 24 fhg1893 Friday, January 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    it is whether the rest of society treats it as a real marriage with all the legal rights and privileges that come with a legally recognized marriage, in other words it is about equality and equal treatment, not about whether it is real or not.

    Fine. But that hasn’t been threatened. The individuals in this case aren’t facing discrimination in Canada. The government is following the law.

    That it is such a recent gain for this minority group only makes it that much more touchy an issue for them and for those that believe in the fairness or equal marriage for all from a political, social, and/or philosophical perspective. THAT is what makes this such a hot button reaction point for so many.

    Dan Savage said that he’d in effect been divorced from his husband overnight. Never mind the fact that the state of Washington recognizes his marriage which presumably gives it force. Never mind his relationship with his husband, what matters is the poor choice of words by a lawyer in Toronto? The Globe & Mail said this was an “about-face” on gay marriage, but it is not. The rhetoric has been that because of something that a lawyer has argued, these marriages are somehow under attack, or false, which as far as goes Canada is simply not true.

    I can understand and appreciate that it’s a hot-button. I can also understand that a certain political agenda is being served by distorting and misrepresenting the facts, and appealing to our basest emotional reactions. Is Dan Savage such a victim that he has to appeal to the cult of victim-hood, rather than simply stand up for what is real? Does being a professional victim really serve anybody?

    Have you ever been truly discriminated against and led to believe you were inherently less than fully human because of it?

    I own guns. That alone makes me pretty-much sub-human in the eyes of all levels of government.

    And, I’ve been denied the opportunity to apply for a job because I’m a Caucasian male. I still have the e-mail; this was about 6 months ago.

    Yes, I’ve experienced discrimination, and I’m generally against discrimination. My point is that there’s no discrimination happening here, yet it’s being “read into” the media’s narrative. That’s not good. Every presidential candidate, including Barack Obama has at one time been accused of racism. Here, we’re going to improve things by accusing all and sundry of bigotry and discrimination? That’s what we want for political discourse in Canada?

    That unless everyone is seen and treated equally under our law than none are, and that instead of being a great uplifter the rule of law instead is a tool of oppression.

    Everyone is being treated equally under Canadian law in this particular case, and that’s not about to change, despite what the media says.

    It is not about the collective understanding of reality as you put it, and to be honest I would have thought that was fairly easy to discern in this.

    Perhaps. But neither is it about somehow becoming disenfranchised, or being victimized by some evil shadowy government. This issue is actually not that important. But because it seems to serve the media’s narrative interest, or at least their desire for profit, it has been projected and echoed and distorted in every major media outlet. The media has made several crucial misrepresentations of fact, and they have done absolutely nothing to set the record straight. That such a small issue should be blown this much out of proportion should be alarming, and JJ, is absolutely right to call attention and as she’d put it, “letting cooler heads prevail.” Montreal Simon describes this as a brutal attack against gay people, but nothing could be further from the truth. And with few exceptions, the rest of the Progressive Bloggers have done the very same thing.

    It’s almost like it’s essential for the left to pursue this kind of narrative, and that they’d jump on the band-wagon so headlong, with such alarming zeal is troubling.

    I think you may be suffering from your own conservative ideological/philosophical blinders about how for lefties it is necessary for the government to be an an controlling thing for it to matter/be real.

    You’re wrong. And you’re wrong because, the political left is both good and necessary for the health and continued well-being of our democracy. But in this case, the left is doing our democracy a major disservice in the relentless pursuit of political expediency, and a narrative which is simply false, misleading, and poisonous: Stephen Harper’s hidden agenda. And what’s worse, this is coming from a political left that is already on the ropes. When the left does this, we are all done a disservice because rather than raising the level of discourse, we lower it. We head inexorably and inevitably towards the lowest common denominator.

    And while you might be correct that I’m being more philosophical than strictly necessary, what has the left, whom I believe has the burden of proof in this case, done to disprove my suggestion? Certainly, nothing has come out of the media, except the National Post, and perhaps Sun News, and JJ, is the only one I’ve seen on the left who so far who has quite rightly given the left some badly needed perspective. Everyone else is too wrapped up in hatred for Stephen Harper to stop and think things through! That is frightening. That tells me that our democratic discourse is toxic, and I for one, am not comfortable with that. That’s the kind of situation that leads to outright political violence, and I for one am worried.

    I find it all too common that people of strong beliefs tend to see the blinders of those they are in opposition/disagreement with while missing completely their own, and that is what I think is going on with your question here.

    Given my comments immediately preceding this, I think I’ve thoroughly disproved your assertion.

  25. 25 JJ Friday, January 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm


    Somehow I doubt Harper had anything to do with this, or he would have made sure the justice dept didn’t say anything Stupid about it and raise the Hidden Agenda thing again. To me, he looked totally blindsided. Which I have to admit was pretty funny 😛

    And why wouldn’t he be blindsided? Unless you believe he has designs on changing marriage law, which I sincerely doubt, he was probably only dimly aware at best of the machinations going on over these divorce cases.

    As for whether the justice lawyer would have the temerity to say an inter-racial/religious union wasn’t real, I guess we’ll never know now since when the law is fixed it will accommodate all marriages.

  26. 26 JJ Friday, January 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Good grief, I’ve used a few of those myself! 😯

    I could use a co-blogger to pick up my considerable slack of late… 😉

  27. 27 JJ Friday, January 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    A leering, sphinxlike Harper

    😯 😆 😎

    Hot damn! And I thought I hit the motherlode with “a gleaming, jaundiced eye and a gloating reptilian smile”.

  28. 28 JJ Friday, January 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    fhg – have to go out for awhile, dinner beckons 😎 but I’ll respond to your comments when I get back.

    Scotian – ditto!

  29. 29 JJ Friday, January 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Holy moly, you are one smart cookie 😎

  30. 30 bleatmop Friday, January 13, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    “I’m not sure we even deserve to run things again. Maybe we’ve got some growing up to do first.”

    Or for the LPC party, at least recognize that your party has had a decrease in the popular vote in every election since Martin came to power. And with this realization, perhaps have the humility to learn the lesson that they are no longer the natural ruling party of Canada and that they will need to regain the trust and confidence of the Canadian electorate before they regain their votes.

    But that’s just me. After all, I’m just an Oil Guzzling Albertan Redneck that probably drags his knuckles on the ground. It’s probably better that they continue to disparage every person that voted CPC in the last election and continuing with the Harper Hidden Agenda meme. I mean, it’s done wonders for them so far.

  31. 31 Cathie from Canada Friday, January 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I am not giving the Harper Cons the benefit of the doubt anymore. The fellow who wrote this opinion is a senior DOJ lawyer who graduated from the University of Calgary in 1994 and previously argued the government case against medical pot. He’s not a junior lawyer, he knows the party line and he spouts it chapter and verse.
    He had a choice — he could have phrased his brief merely to indicate that Canadian law didn’t address the issues in this divorce, leaving it up to the judge to decide the merits of this particular case. He didn’t have to use language that said thousands of gay marriages are invalid.

  32. 32 Toe Friday, January 13, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I have no idea why this has blown-up, it seems to me so obvious. The NeanderCons wanted to exploit the Liberals not dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s. This was nothing more than exploitation and so so many people see it as so much more. And it isn’t more, it’s nothing, its the NeaderCons going about their daily business. For crying out loud get a grip people!

  33. 33 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 1:35 am

    I understand your point about marriage, and I pretty much feel the same way. I think the issue with SS marriage is that gays & lesbians want the same civil rights as every other married couple gets (ie. tax benefits). I certainly don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation, which is why I’ve always supported the idea of equal “marriage” not some 2nd class citizen BS like “civil unions”. There’s no reason they shouldn’t have exactly the same marriages everyone else does, at least no reason that isn’t driven by bigotry.

    As far as overreactions go, they’ve become more common the longer Harper has been in power. Harper himself hasn’t done much to defuse this by being so secretive, controlling and downright contemptuous of parliament at times. So the fear of a hidden agenda has just spiraled since he got a majority. People are just waiting on pins & needles for him to start implementing some insane regressive agenda. But Harper is nothing if not a political opportunist, and he knows better than anyone that nothing will lose the Canadian electorate faster than a focus on social issues.

    At least that’s what I think. Most progressives disagree, so I guess we’ll see.

  34. 34 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 1:44 am

    Oil guzzling Albertan redneck! Don’t tell me… someone called you that?? 😆

    Harper does have some goals that are truly personal in nature, and one of them is to destroy the LPC and have his CPC replace them as Canada’s Natural Governing Party. And it hasn’t been all that difficult, given the disconnect between the LPC and the voters. They still don’t get that the voters don’t like being condescended to or treated like idiots who don’t know what’s good for them. Only when they lose the attitude and start connecting with the voters in a real way will they have a resurgence. I almost think the NDP has a better chance, being a much more grassroots party.

  35. 35 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 2:01 am

    I realize you’re not a partisan, so your opinions resonate.

    I understand the hesitation when you’re unsure — and certainly Harper hasn’t done much to de-escalate the rising fear, I think he sort of likes it that way. But there comes a point when we have to ask ourselves whether kneejerk reactions to Harper’s every move (or even *perceived* moves) are conducive to the long term goal of bringing more people over to the progressive side, and putting more progressives in office, or whether they’re just playing right into Harper’s hand. I’m not saying to allow Harper to get away with some things and go after him for others, I’m saying let’s be careful that the things we call him out on are substantive. Let’s be careful.

  36. 36 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 2:04 am

    Now that’s a conspiracy theory I can get behind 😎

    Blame the Liberals, and maybe erode a little more of what’s left of their vote.

  37. 37 Peter Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 2:30 am

    I am beginning to think that the biggest obstacle the left faces to displacing Harper is their fixation with Harper and the machiavellian omniscience they attribute to him. It’s led them into repeated fevered hyperbole and the belief a terrfied public will throw out this Darth Vader wannabe on the basis of their endless bogeyman stories. No need to tell anyone what they would do in power, just keep the horror film running.

    Do you have any idea how massive and diffuse the federal government is and how implausible it is to argue that the DOJ, the largest law firm in the country, runs all its legal arguments in the hundreds upon hundreds of cases it argues by Harper and his office? Justice lawyers argue like any lawyer–they defend cases brought against their client, and they no more let the client vet their arguments than a heart surgeon lets a patient direct his transplant. Charter challenges happen all the time and Justice lawyers almost always defend against them–that certainly didn’t start with Harper. The lawyer’s job was to defend the current Divorce Act, not to surreptitiously enact a political agenda, secret or not. The fact that he tried what appears to be a dumb “in the alternative” argument is all in a day’s work for many lawyers. Why not, he’s there anyway. Anyone in a lawsuit against the Feds quickly learns there is a long way between what the government argues in court and soundbites from the Hill.

    You don’t even have to give Harper any credence or credit for good faith to see the problem. One would have thought it would have been apparent from the sheer implausibility of the putative strategy. Harper wants to undo SSM and so he waits around for a highly unusual precedent case involving non-residents that has no bearing whatsoever on the marriages of Canadians? He wants to stick it to a few Florida gays before attacking Canadian ones? And he (a non-lawyer) then calls down to the nether regions of the DOJ to give them marching orders on their legal arguments? The man would have been dead long ago if he tried to micro-manage at that level. My gawd, I’d wager not even the Deputy Minister of Justice was in the loop.

    Here’s my theory. The left feels so empty and so cheated by the revelation that Harper doesn’t have a secret agenda that they are determined to fight it anyway. Bereft of any coherent ideas about what they would do in government, they are resolved to fight the final battle between good and evil, and if the other side won’t play by trying to destroy democracy, rolling back the social agenda, etc., well, they’ll just say Harper is lying or feinting. Anything to deny that Harper is actually governing from the moderate right and has shown many times he has no brief for the radical social cons, theocrats or even (cue the scary music) fascists! This is truther territory and it can’t be met with argument, only therapy. You would think after six years and three elections the penny would drop that, whatever his vulnerabilities, the country is not terrified of him or likely to throw him out because of endless efforts to paint him as a Professor Moriarty. But the splenetic rants just get louder. This may convince anyone who hated Harper from the get-go that they hate him even more, but it’s unlikely to persuade anyone else.

  38. 38 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 2:35 am


    Okay, so has anything actually changed with any of the marriages done since equal marriage became law? Or is this lawyer just arguing some obscure point of law in not-very-tactful terms and creating an unintentional firestorm over his bad choice of words? It seems to me that I must be missing something, because as far as I can see, what we’re talking about is just words. And while I definitely agree with you that the lawyer could have chosen his words more carefully, If words is all we’re talking about, well…

    The law is unchanged, AFAIK nobody’s marriage was in any danger of being dissolved, and now the law will be amended to make it better and give the marriages more protection. Seems like a win-win to me.

  39. 39 Scotian Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 2:59 am

    Again, normally I would be in full agreement with you JJ, but what do you do when a true extremist is the one with all the power? Do you try to act like he isn’t and not react whenever it looks like he is acting as such and hope that he isn’t and it isn’t a test to see whether he can more another incremental step forward (because that is his way of operating, it is not just about trying to convince the others it is also about trying to limit how far he can go without triggering that backlash he fears, he knows he walks a tightrope, especially on the socon stuff and I have never underestimated his intelligence) just for the sake of appearing reasonable in the hopes of down the line support? Or do you take the chance of looking foolish and outlandish and extreme yourself but in the process also limit the damage he can do without waking that sleeping majority that once aroused would reduce him and his party to 1993 Mulroney levels next time out (both sides have a tightrope to walk here, who walks it best is the real question for the next few years IMHO)? I can’t and won’t speak for the progressive community, I don’t count myself as one of them per se.

    I am at heart a pragmatist, I want whatever works best overall and who cares where the ideas come from, what matters is how well they do the job and limit their potential for abuse down the road. I believe that all are equal under the law, that an informed electorate is vital to a healthy democratic political system and culture, and that Canada as a nation is one of the most forward trending societies when it comes to actually trying to balance the needs and rights of the individual and those of the community as a whole in a fair and reasoned manner (well, up until the Harper regime that is). In that, I have voted NDP, Liberal, PCPC and Green over my voting lifetime depending on the context of each election and candidates available in my riding as well, for I vote as much on my local candidate as I do party leader/affiliation as my default preference in voting.

    I would like for my fellow citizenry to show a basic understanding of our system of governance, and to understand that if we do not pay attention to those in power at all times, and always be critical most of those in power no matter who they are then we surrender our rights and political health to those that will abuse it again, no matter what their political flavour. In this case it is radical extreme rightwing sources, in another time it could just as easily be radical extreme left wing sources. The problem is with the way they approach the rule of law and see those that are not members of their own persuasion, as fellow citizens that see things differently yet are deserving of some respect as fellow citizens who you think are misguided or as enemies to be destroyed utterly without mercy, with a total war/scorched earth approach such as we have been seeing from the CPC (and alas recently under Layton to a lesser extent the NDP who really should have known better).

    I know you know I am not a party partisan JJ, I guess I am just tired of having so many people from both sides assuming I am, claiming I am, and not bothering with the actual substance of my comments/concerns. I’ve feared for us ever since I saw the rise of the moral majority in the US because of that old saw about when the USA sneezes we get pneumonia. I’ve watched a man (Harper) trash his home nation rise to be its PM, and those who one would have expected to be his fiercest foes politically instead chose to view him as their secondary because electorally speaking he wasn’t their biggest rival, even though he was by far and away the biggest threat to their principles/values/policies that have already been enacted and are planned to be enacted assuming they ever reached power. I’ve watched in horror as the “it can’t happen here” mentality was exploited by that man, and enabled by others who should have known better, and now I have to watch too many people get caught up in the social conservative agenda as the so called hidden agenda when the real one and the real threat has always been in the process issues side, and I would point out that the argument raised in the case that this thread is about is actually as much about that as it is the topic it deals with. It is that mindset which truly has always been my fear, not the socon aspect but the utter contempt for our rule of law, Constitutional protections and structures that was why I opposed Harper so, as I always said and as I am sure you recall.

    In the end I am never going to be a partisan of any party, it is not the way I think nor practice my politics. What matters to me is that we retain our structures that have allowed us to become the decent nation that we have traditionally been under both Lib and PCPC governments in our history, and it is that which Harper’s CPC is destroying. As much as it may seem to be ill advised overreaction to you I would suggest the same was thought by many in 1930s Germany whenever Hitler and his National Socialists did something too, and we saw there how that less than vigourous reaction led to some very unfortunate consequences. Now, am I trying to say that Harper has the same sorts of ends as Hitler did? Of course not!!! Am I trying to point out though that both men used incremental methods to move their respective nation’s societal values and laws a great distance in directions that if openly advertised form the start would have been rejected soundly by the clear majority? Now that yes, yes I am suggesting, and that is why I cannot fully agree with you regarding what is the right way to react to what Harper does even while understanding it.

  40. 40 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:07 am

    You unlinked me over this? Because I have a Different Opinion? Seriously??? 😯

  41. 41 fhg1893 Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 5:09 am

    That’s nothing JJ.

    See this yet?

    Isn’t it the right-wing that isn’t supposed to tolerate dissent?

    @Everybody Else – See what I mean about the discourse being driven into the ground? Moving us all towards the lowest common denominator?

    I’m not trying to dump on the left “just cause” – the right is just as capable of these sorts of antics. But it’s extremely dangerous for the left to continue to loudly assert their love of tolerance and compassion when they’ll ostracize and turn on anyone who doesn’t toe the party-line.

    We all know that Harper’s a control freak. I’m sure there’s some wiggle room in there, yeah, Harper runs a pretty tight ship, and his office probably writes talking points for virtually all interactions that any given CPC MP has with the media.

    The left is always ranting about its tolerance, and it’s acceptance of diveristy, but the moment that someone goes “uh, guys? Settle down a bit. This is too much guys? Guys?” The left goes Stephen Harper on her! It’s an entire movement of like-minded control freaks, a million little Stephen Harper’s running around and censoring any deviant thought from the more moderate wings and sorry, sane and balanced wings of its own party!

    Big Brother isn’t Harper. Harper only controls his own people, and the civil service. That’s it, and that’s all. The left on the other hand? Thought police much?

    In an earlier post, I said that, “the political left is both good and necessary for the health and continued well-being of our democracy.” I mean that. And this post of JJ’s which I didn’t mention, but had me in stitches by the way, is entirely emblematic of the kind of house-cleaning the left has got to do in order to really challenge the right! We NEED that challenge and conflict! It’s a driver of good ideas, the necessary alchemy that fuels the engine of political discourse and debate. And right now, the political right is the only game in town, and the left is too busy slamming each other, and over-reacting to non-issues to really help drive us forward.

    Please. Clean up your act guys. You can’t keep doing this to each other. It’s bad for everybody.

  42. 42 Oemissions (@Oemissions) Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 5:31 am

    I didn’t follow other media sources on the issue but the CBC spent the whole day on the issue with radio talk shows.
    Firstoff the bat was a Canadian lesbian lawyer who discussed the ambiguities of the law. When a California couple, wed in Canada called in, she asked what was the law in CA at the time of their marriage because that would be a determinant regarding legitimacy, and divorce proceedings.It seemed that people would need to reside here for 1 year to get a divorce.
    Obviously, it is all confusing.
    Who started the story I don’t know but Harper didnot help with his blunt statement. He could have spoken about the law and current confusion. Too many minds were arrested by no clear information.

  43. 43 BC Waterboy Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 5:51 am

    I see another angle to this that is playing out in the media quite well. The one thing I do like about the gleaming, jaundiced eye and a gloating reptilian smiled one is that he is probably the most brilliant political strategist Canada has ever seen, nobody can top him on that front. Not that it’s a good quality in his case. From the reform party (face it, that’s really who these guys are), point of view, we get the issue into the news. People start talking about it and raising the hidden agenda topic again and conclude that the reform party is out to reverse the law. Harper steps in immediately and says no, and then spokes piece Nicholson comes in and blames the liberal party for either deliberately or sloppily leaving out important pieces of the legislation, bad liberals, everybody should hate the liberals. Look at us, the reform party loves gays more than those lying liberals. That to me, is what this is about and JJ, Harper knew damn well this was coming down the pipe, nothing, nothing happens in this “government” that he doesn’t know about. This. is. about. destroying. the. liberals. for. good. and. they. will. do. it.

    BC Waterboy

  44. 44 fhg1893 Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 7:03 am

    I’m trying to distance myself from this, because hey, guess what!?! There’s a giant Liberal wank-fest going on in Ottawa today. Who knew?

    I just saw Dr. Munir Sheik former head of Statistics Canada, and Queen’s University’s latest bosom friend say that the Liberals need to sell evidence-based policy choices to the public. Sounds like code for sound-bytes and over-simplification to me. Kinda like gun control…

    But anyway, I saw this at SDA, and it had me in tears, because if anyone here has ever wandered out of our ivory towers and into the trenches, you know that every word is true.

    What have the Liberals learned from their defeats?

    Think about it.

  45. 45 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Hi BCW
    Hmm… Of all the theories about why this might have played out the way it did that make a case for prior knowledge of the PMO, yours is the most plausible.

    I mentioned in a comment up thread a bit that one of Harper’s long term goals has always been for the CPC to replace the LPC as “natural governing party” 🙄 and to do it by utterly destroying the Libs. So who knows, this could be another piece of that puzzle.

    But even if we accept that theory, it’s just “politics as usual” — it reminds me of Karl Rove’s brilliant “Permanent Republican Majority” strategies — not the assault on gay rights that it’s being characterized as. It wouldn’t have hurt people to take a chill pill before jumping to conclusions, and analyze the situation as carefully as you obviously did.

  46. 46 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Hi Oemissions

    Harper’s bluntness is what makes me think he was totally blindsided by this. His response was characteristic of someone who’s been caught unawares, and doesn’t appreciate being in that position. If he had known about this, he would have had a more scripted response that would have no doubt blamed the LPC for screwing up the law in the first place. Instead he ended up looking angry and evasive, fueling the “hidden agenda” conspiracy theories. I can’t believe this is what he would want.

  47. 47 fhg1893 Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 8:47 am

    At least it passes the smell-test.

    The only corollary that I’d have is that given what I’ve seen out of the Liberals lately, if Stephen Harper is the big bad wolf of the Liberal Party, the Liberals clearly built their house out of straw.

    Harper might have huffed and puffed, but lately, they’ve been doing a very good job of destroying themselves.

  48. 48 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 9:05 am

    See this yet?

    Yes, I saw the first paragraph at PBloggers, but didn’t bother clicking.

    If the irony was any thicker you could cut it with a knife: I advise a few bloggers to “get a grip” after they overreact, and he immediately overreacts with an entire post screaming about what a wretched, tax-hating, greedy capitalist pig I am. Sounds like a Measured Response to me 🙄 and tolerant too!

    For someone who claims to hate bullying, Simon certainly isn’t averse to doing it himself. Careful about looking into that abyss, Simon.

  49. 49 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 10:45 am

    😎 I agree, farmers rule.
    My BF grew up on a dairy farm and he has the most amazing stories to tell, at least from the perspective of this born-and-bred Toronto girl.

    But when the time came for him to make the decision of whether he’d take over the family farm, he asked his dad for advice and his dad sputtered:


    BF thought it must have been *just one of those days* when his dad got kicked by a recalcitrant cow, but he became a salesman anyway.

  50. 50 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 10:52 am

    The only thing I find odd about it is that it would obviously put the “Hidden Agenda” back in sharp focus, and after 5 years of doing almost everything he could to get rid of it, why? Surely there must be a less ham-fisted way of getting across whatever message it might be that the CPC is trying to get across with this (if indeed there’s a message at all).

  51. 51 Toe Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 11:09 am

    If we can go to the bigger picture as well. Just exploring – Harper and his inner circle know they’ve got the Next Election as well and they are making sure Canadians see them as centrist, well trying to, altho Nicholson did it very poorly. There are closeted people within Harper’s inner circle and just outside of it as well including the media. There are MP’s in the Cons who are good friends with MP’s in both other parties, this is not a secret. The closeted inner circle peeps have power and they are preparing to be the so-called Natural Governing Party. I do believe now a part of this badly handled Gay Marriage is Legal For EVERYONE is a message to the Reformers still trying to muck up what they’ve now achieved. The Cons no longer need them and they’ve just told them so. It’s part of the ‘centrist’ plan. ??

  52. 52 Scotian Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Well, wheat farmers don’t in the new era from what it seems….

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist…*chuckle*)

  53. 53 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Interesting thoughts, Toe, good for you for thinking outside the box. You won’t get any argument from me, but but don’t be surprised if you find other progs accusing you of being a stealth Harper supporter. Independent thinking, it seems, is bad form.

    Whatever his personal beliefs are (and who really knows), Harper has been governing from the centre-right. It’s been a successful strategy for him, and is in fact the only reason he was finally able to get a majority. So you may be right that it’s a message to the reform part of the party to stfu and get used to governing from the centre.


  54. 55 fhg1893 Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    They probably didn’t mean to bring back the hidden agenda meme, but given the sensitive nature of this case, if the media were going to break the story as they did, why not use it for all its worth?

    The progressive left hates Harper anyway, and are probably the only group that could be bothered to care about the marital and legal difficulties of a lesbian couple who don’t even live in Canada. Based on that fact, it should have been obvious that social progressive could probably be counted-on to make themselves look bad and or crazy by virtue of a predictable overreaction. So really, he doesn’t risk losing too many votes, the left who can be counted on to care about this case has already written him off! If the so cons don’t read too much into this situation, the Globe & Mail handed him gift with an inflammatory headline because to the so cons, it will look like the government is turning back the clock on SSM!

    The moderates could probably care less – anyone who reads into the story will quickly realize that nothing has actually changed, it only looks that way.

    So when the story hit, sure enough, the left went completely off the rails.

    The CPC can blame Martin, even though it’s actually Trudeau’s fault, which continues to make the Liberals look bad, and plays well to their anti-Liberal western-base.

    The media’s reaction, ESPECIALLY the CBC will make the CBC look extremely biased to anyone who knows anything about marriage. That will play well to the segment of CPC supporters who despise the CBC.

    The CPC has positioned its self to gain every advantage possible from this story, and what’s worse, the left gleefully did all the work for them.

    This was a huge, though dead wedge issue. The left, and the media have brought it back to life.

  55. 56 tidalstation Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    And thus, the Harper government, filled with compassion for minorities and being those great defenders of both the Canadian Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, will, setting aside their red-meat lock-’em-up-take-away-their-benefits agenda, draft, table and whip their knuckle-dragger caucus into supporting legislation aimed solely at protecting and defending a minority most of them cannot stomach.

    I’d like that with chocolate sprinkles, please.

    I agree with Regina Mom. This was a cynical smoke screen.

  56. 57 Calvin waters Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Why wasn’t the minister aware this was happening until it hit the media? I think they chose not to change the law and only changed their minds when they got caught.

  57. 58 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Which was more or less what I alluded to at the end of my post 🙂 Not saying I think that is what it was about, but IMO it’s a greater possibility than the notion that the Harpergov is about to launch an attack on gay rights.

  58. 59 Toe Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    You know I don’t give a shit what I’m accused of. People who know me, know me. There’s more then stfu to the reformers, this badly handled strategy had many messages to many people. Defensive motivation to lash out is not justifiable, people must learn discernment, value it, practice it, or us lefties and real centrists will be left out in the wilderness for a very long time.

  59. 60 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    The minister might not have been aware of it for the same reason Harper wasn’t aware of it: he’s not as omniscient and all-knowing as we give him credit for.

  60. 61 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Amen. You’re a wise woman, Toe.

  61. 62 JJ Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    But it’s extremely dangerous for the left to continue to loudly assert their love of tolerance and compassion when they’ll ostracize and turn on anyone who doesn’t toe the party-line.”

    Especially over something like this, which is now being seen by most for what it was — either nothing at all, or a little bit of slime to throw at the LPC and take credit for “fixing” equal marriage.

    But as Red Tory asks

    I wonder if all the indignant liberal folks appearing on TV and fulminating in blogs that have been asserting Harper and the Conservatives were nefariously plotting to undermine gay marriage by stealth utilizing the legal system will now admit they were being completely hysterical and apologize for their baseless allegations?

    Not to mention the baseless insults of a few 👿

  62. 63 Toe Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Get outta here. You may be interested to know a comment on GB says much the same thing. Altho LS does it with much more eloquence then I could ever muster. LOL.

  63. 64 fhg1893 Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Not to mention the baseless insults of a few 👿

    I sure hope you don’t mean me…

    Stinging a little JJ? Okay, time to try to help that a little.

    I don’t know if you could call me progressive, but I apologize, I’m sorry for the mess this thing has caused. Simon is calling into question your progressive credentials. I for one don’t doubt the sincerity of your convictions, or that you consider yourself progressive by your own standards, and that should be enough for anyone.

    Also, I didn’t think you qualified as being hopelessly obsessed with guns. That’s MY gig! 😆 But I digress…

    You know, I think Simon, and progbloggers in general have it backwards: they aren’t the light of respect and tolerance, shining through the Conservative nightmare that they think they are. They, for the most part, are the darkness of ignorance, and intolerance. They’ve demonstrated it, over and over again with their sideways jabs, and casual slights. You get more patience, understanding and tolerance at the Blogging Tories, than at the Progressive Bloggers, and if that’s not a wake-up call, I don’t think that they’re going to be able to wake up. The progressives seem to have very dark days ahead, and that doesn’t bode well for our democracy.

    Rather, this blog, is the light of reason standing out in a sea of rampant self-imposed intolerance. And for that, you have my lasting gratitude and admiration JJ. I don’t like to think of myself, or anyone as exceptional really. I believe that most of us have the capacity to consider all evidence, all points of view, and come to a decision that makes sense, rationally, and without having to resort to quick emotional fixes. Yet, by virtue of the absence of that capacity among the Progressive Bloggers, you have made yourself exceptional JJ.

    I know that probably means little coming from a some-time mostly anonymous commenter, but I’m glad that you’re here, willing to speak the truth as you see it, without crippling bias, with a biting sense of humor, and always being willing to listen. It’s good to know that there are still people like you around on the political left.

    Thanks for giving us a place to chat, regardless of our particular political stripe.

  64. 65 JJ Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 2:24 am

    Aw, thanks dude, that’s so nice 😳
    I’ll admit to a fleeting few seconds of temporary discouragement at being crapped on for the crime of expressing a different opinion. (Especially when I turned out to be RIGHT.)

    Also, I didn’t think you qualified as being hopelessly obsessed with guns.

    Somebody said that?? 😆 I am a lot less obsessed with guns than the so called “progressives” that are scared stupid by them.

    They, for the most part, are the darkness of ignorance, and intolerance.

    No doubt some “progressives” are incredibly intolerant — the idea of dissenting opinion is anathema to these idiots (Exhibit A – the link you posted above). They have so little confidence that they’re terrified of having their opinions challenged. There’s a party line and god help anyone who goes out of lockstep with it. It’s intellectual laziness of the lowest order, and it doesn’t bode well for the condition of democracy, let alone the future success of progressives.

    I know that probably means little coming from a some-time mostly anonymous commenter

    No, I appreciate any commenter who takes the time to tell me what they think, and your comments in particular have always been intelligent, articulate and informative. A blogger can’t ask for much more than that in their comments section 😎


    When I say “some progressives are intolerant”, I mean a fairly small minority of them. Most are, as advertised, pretty tolerant. My grrlz at DJ are great with me: there are things we disagree on, but they have never shat on me for going out of lockstep. That’s why I ♡love♡ them! 😎

  65. 66 JJ Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 2:44 am

    That was very well said indeed. I wonder why nobody’s dumping on him for saying it? /sarc

  66. 67 Peter Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 4:35 am


    I thought you might be interested in this, which shows how the same self-destructive purity war is pre-occupying the right in the States, and may ultimately cost them the election. The guy who wrote this is great (that last sentence is dynamite), but every article he writes is met with a flame war in the comments, and this one is no exception. Clearly there are a lot of GOP supporters whose priority is to consign Obama to Hell rather than replace or influence him. I wonder whether this is what Obama and Harper were taling about when the camera caught them joking together.

    You go, girl, the progressive side badly needs you.

  67. 68 JJ Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Hi Peter
    Thanks for the link, great article and as you said, the last sentence is dynamite! Perfection drizzled with awesome sauce!

    That means, among other things, refusing to tell yourself fairy tales about how everybody is really on your side and just waiting to discover the fact.

    This is one of the progressive side’s biggest faults: the attitude that the general population is stumbling blindly through life, waiting for some all-knowing prog to enlighten them. People aren’t stupid: they know when they’re being condescended to and they don’t like it. Election results of late would seem to confirm this. Yet I still see progressives using the kind of rhetoric that derisively alludes to the dumbness of the “Tim Horton’s crowd”, ie. the average Canadian. If insulting rhetoric and “Hidden Agenda” scare tactics are all we’ve got in the War Chest, we can look forward to a long time in the political wilderness.

    every article he writes is met with a flame war in the comments

    I can see why 😆 It’s been my experience that a lot of people who consider themselves “politically astute” don’t like being told that they might be Wrong (see the link fhg posted above). In 2012’s divisive politics, there’s no such thing as constructive criticism.

    As a much more obscure little blog, I’ve been luckier than Williamson with my commenters. People tend to disagree politely here. Anyone who wants to flame me tends to do it from the safety of their own blog, where they can control the discussion with comment moderation, and censor anything that doesn’t say “Yes Sir No Sir Three Bags Full, Sir!”

    I wonder whether this is what Obama and Harper were talking about when the camera caught them joking together.

    No doubt! Both of them have oppositions that are making life very easy for them! 😆

  68. 69 fhg1893 Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Yet I still see progressives using the kind of rhetoric that derisively alludes to the dumbness of the “Tim Horton’s crowd”, ie. the average Canadian.

    This is exactly what I was alluding to with my tribute to farmers. Put otherwise, by an unknown Liberal delegate at the convention, “The keys to 24 Sussex are found in the dirt of rural Canada.”

    Over and over again, the firearms owners of this country have accused the Liberal party of not listening, and that sort of extends to the NDP as well.

    From what I’ve observed of the Liberal convention, the Liberals still aren’t listening, they’re not ready to listen, they’re still quite prepared to TELL Canadians what Canadians want. They speak of the need to help Canadians “discover” that they’re Liberals.

    Hate to flog a dead horse, but C-68, the Firearms act remains an albatross around the neck of the Liberal party. And years later, that bird is starting to smell somethin’ awful. But the Liberals can’t quite seem to grasp that if they can ever hope to stage any kind of comeback, that they need to do something to appease the people who pay attention to that awful scent.

    And they can’t quite seem to do that. There remains at large a former Liberal MP, former Public Safety critic who can only seem to explain his defeat by the presence and funding in his riding of the National Rifle Association. Never mind the fact that at least one person was so angry at his antics that they DROVE (not flew, drove) from British Columbia, to Ajax Ontario to campaign for his opponent. For at least three weeks if I understand correctly!

    “No no, it couldn’t be my beloved progressive Canadians that didn’t vote for me! It was those awful Americans who meddled in our politics! Yeah, yeah that’s it… Charlton Heston and his band of gun-toting rednecks, it’s all their fault…”

    And that’s just one example…

    Say what you will about Harper, the undeniable fact is that the CPC listens, and at least tries, or at least tries to make a convincing show of holding its self accountable to those people who elected it to power. Which is so much more than can be said for the Progressive movement, who these days, can’t even seem to listen to themselves.

  69. 70 JJ Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Hi fhg

    As someone who was born & raised in Toronto but has lived the last 22 years in splendid rural isolation, I’m sensitive to the rhetoric around the urban/rural divide and it’s always bugged me when progressives diss “regular Canadians”, particularly rural folks. It’s as if they don’t realize our issues (including firearms) are just as important and our votes are worth just as much as Toronto or Ottawa votes. That way lies consecutive Harper majorities, but if you dare to point this out to them, you’re considered an apostate. I finally gave up: they just. don’t. get it.

    I think it’s interesting that the NDP experienced such a resurgence after showing their respect for the grassroots by allowing MPs to vote their constituents’ wishes on the gun registry issue. I know they did well mostly in Quebec, which is generally anti-firearms, but even Quebec has some ridings where that issue is important. I know out here in BC it makes a huge difference in a lot of ridings because nobody here will even vote LPC anymore, thanks in large part to C-68. The lPC will be a long time ridding themselves of that albatross, talk about unintended consequences.

    Canadian progressives are a lame, squabbling constituency, and I don’t see that changing until they smarten up and realize there’s more to Canada than the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal axis, and it deserves just as much respect.

  70. 71 bleatmop Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    JJ – “I think it’s interesting that the NDP experienced such a resurgence after showing their respect for the grassroots by allowing MPs to vote their constituents’ wishes on the gun registry issue.”

    I was initially looking at the popular vote numbers in the western provinces to see how they fared, but then I noticed that the NDP came in second in terms of popular vote in every province in the country except Quebec (which they won), Newfoundland and PEI. PEI being extra interesting as the CPC won the popular vote, but the LPC got 3/4 seats.

    What this tells me is that the NDP might actually be able to replace the LPC as the Center Left party of choice. If they can build on their momentum and pick up some more seats here in the west, particularly Sask. and B.C., and take the more progressive parts of Ontario, a government is not out off the question. Of course, all this is dependant on if they can recover from losing Jack… 😦 Sadly, my intuition is that any hope of gaining that type of ground was lost with Jack’s passing.

  71. 72 fhg1893 Monday, January 16, 2012 at 5:39 am

    So, it turns out that I might end up losing my “scary” shotguns.

    Seems that in a court-case involving a very popular model of shotgun (2nd most popular in the world – yes, the world – if I’m not mistaken) the crown is seeking to get it declared a probited device, because if you swap out this barrel, and add that but-stock, the overall length is less than whatever is allowed. Never mind that I don’t actually own those parts. Never mind that what this is really about is the crown being unable to drop charges against someonen who hasn’t done anything wrong, no, the important thing is that under this really goofy set of circumstances, this particular firearm becomes extra deadly! It’s not just capable of making people dead. It makes them EXTRA dead!!! I guess it’s been magically imbued with soul-killing power. Or something… So when I shot that goose I killed its soul too? Woah…

    If the registry is ever killed, and then comes back, do the Liberals and the NDP honestly believe that people are going to comply this time around? Won’t be used for confiscation? Yeah… Right. Pull the other one Allan Rock.

  72. 73 JJ Monday, January 16, 2012 at 7:26 am

    I think you’re probably right about the Jack Factor. He rebuilt the party to what it is now, and generated a lot of momentum for it. His shoes will not be easily filled.

    That said, judging by the progressive response to this story (and the ugly fascist way some “progressives” treat those who dare to think for themselves and go out of lockstep with the prevailing hysteria), I’m not sure I’d trust a Liberal or NDP government any more than I trust the conservative gov’t.

    They can all Get Fucked, IMO 👿

  73. 74 JJ Monday, January 16, 2012 at 7:35 am

    …it should have been obvious that social progressive could probably be counted-on to make themselves look bad and or crazy by virtue of a predictable overreaction

    Tru dat
    I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would want to undermine their own intellectual credibility (and that of the entire progressive movement) by going full-metal freakout over anything, before examining the FACTS.
    Stephen Harper must be laughing his fat ass off. Well played, “progressives”.

  74. 75 fhg1893 Monday, January 16, 2012 at 7:51 am

    My personal theory is that nobody reads Heinlein anymore, what with his evil gun-toting right-wing extremism. Wait a minute, didn’t he kick-start the sexual revolution with Stranger in a Strange Land? Oh yeah, that’s right, he DID have something to do with that… Why did we forget about him again…? Uh…

    Anyway, seems like everybody, progressive especially, but mostly, everybody forgot about this little gem:

    “What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!”
    ― Robert A. Heinlein

  75. 76 JJ Monday, January 16, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Great quote, so true.
    I think both sides of the political spectrum have a tendency to jump at the first piece of information they get, without fact checking it. When I see something that looks *interesting*, I double and triple check it using different sources — ie. see something on CBC, doublecheck it with a conservative media source, triple check it (if possible) with a more nonpartisan source. Somewhere therein usually lies the Truth.

  76. 77 J. A. Baker Monday, January 16, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Geez… 77 comments, counting this one. You sure know how to write the click-bait, JJ. 😛

    I’ll admit that I don’t follow Canadian politics as closely as I should sometimes, but I did get a chance to glance at this issue, and from what I saw, I’d have to give Harper the benefit of the doubt on this one, even though I don’t fall on his side of the aisle on many issues.

  77. 78 fhg1893 Monday, January 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Well, part of the problem is that the media doesn’t do details. Details tend to be really important, but the media just kinda glosses them over.

    And with the Internet, there is no excuse not to dig at least a little.

    Another part of the problem is that these days, you can’t seem to tell anybody that they’re wrong about something. Especially bad in progressives, but applies everywhere. Consider that old dead horse we’ve been flogging for a while. There I go, preaching to the choir again…

  78. 79 JJ Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Hi JAB
    Well, half the comments are my replies, so its really only 40 or so comments from actual commenters 😛
    Click-bait, hahahaha. Anything that goes against the grain will have that initial effect, but then the blog in general ends up suffering because people really can’t stand different opinions. Usually they just decide you’re an asshole (because you tell the truth) and don’t want to read you anymore. I don’t know when mindlessness became a “progressive” trait, but it’s apparently bad form to think for yourself, and even worse if you express it.

    That said, I don’t believe Harper is trustworthy on most issues, I find him sleazy and opportunist at best, but on this he was clearly caught flatfooted.

    However, if I feel differently from the rest of the progressive blogosphere on anything again, I can guarantee you it will be a cold day in hell before I write about it.

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