Election Musings (July)

1296310790_fb4505fa49The By George Journal is compiling memorable political quotes relating to the endless jostling and fearless prognostications leading up to this October’s federal election. Month to month, we keep a running list. Here are the clippings from the month of July.

  • “Let me just state clearly what the situation is, there has been a downturn and the reason for that has been the downturn in the global economy. It’s really that simple. Look around the world, we have another crisis downturn in Europe, we have a very significant slowdown and some other related economic problems now in China, we had very negative first quarter growth in the United States. So those things have obviously affected this country and in particular through oil prices and some commodity prices.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “For [Stephen Harper], if there is positive economic news, he deserves the credit. If the news is bad, it’s the fault of the rest of the world.” – Marc Garneau, Liberal MP
  • “We’ve had a slow growth economy since 2010, and our growth has been outpaced by countries like the U.S., the U.K., and Australia, and since oil prices dropped, we’ve gone from slow growth to flat-lined.” – Scott Brison, Liberal MP and Finance Critic
  • “And the message from the government is ‘well, let’s stick with the formula that is not working because anything else would be more dangerous.’ It really doesn’t make sense.” – Guy Caron, NDP MP
  • “Every expert in the world thinks that this country is going to grow as the year goes on and has some of the best growth prospects looking forward. As long as we stay on a plan for low taxes, balanced budget and low debt, this country is going to continue growing.” – PM Stephen Harper
  • “If the Conservatives are to be re-elected, they are going to have persuade voters that the economy cannot be run like an airplane on cockpit automation, responding only to semi-annual nudges by the Governor of the Bank of Canada.” – John Ivison
  • “Now is not the time for risky, high-tax schemes that will stall growth and undermine our financial stability with deficit spending. The NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is offering high tax, high debt policies which can undermine our credit rating and lead to financial instability. – Finance Minister Joe Oliver
  • “Yesterday, the IMF confirmed what I and numerous independent analysts have been saying—the Canadian economy will grow this year. Market volatility in China and the Greek debt crisis are further instances of a fragile global economy. Now more than ever we must stay the course with Prime Minister Harper’s plan for jobs and growth. Now is not the time to take imprudent risks with inexperienced leadership.” – Finance Minister Joe Oliver
  • “It’s time for a little budgetary truth-telling from all our political leaders in this campaign season. It’s one or the other: We get balanced budgets or we extend the deficit by a year or three to pay for all the goodies every leader is promising. Give it to us straight. Canadians can take it if you treat us with a little intelligence and respect.” – David Akin
  • “The predictable result after nine years of joyless and sometimes nasty competence is an era of ill-feeling. The government’s election strategy appears to depend entirely on the red scare against Thomas Mulcair and the NDP, and clangorous insinuations that Justin Trudeau is an idiot who will not be ready for high public office for at least another twenty years.” – Conrad Black
  • “The Harper government will be thrashed and hammered day after day — by the media. Nothing Justin Trudeau or Tom Mulcair do will match what appears to be taking shape among editors, columnists, headline writers and reporters. They’re in the Harper Derangement Frenzy zone, and the target is a sitting duck, allegedly alone in his office, a friendless man with no colleagues, no team, no strategy.” – Terence Corcoran
  • “The NDP is looking to cement itself as the only viable alternative to the Conservatives and therefore the only party that can bring about change in Ottawa in the next federal election. That said, with the Conservatives positioning Liberal leader Justin Trudeau as a politically inexperienced lightweight, they themselves might be helping set up Mulcair for success.” – Kerry McKibbin
  • “…Mulcair is still a work in progress. He’s got momentum and he’s doing much better than he was three months ago. But this speaks to the importance of any attack ads and his ability to stand up to any scrutiny as he becomes a contender.” – Nik Nanos
  • “What has effectively happened is Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau have ceded the platform to Tom Mulcair and he’s taking advantage of it. It’s kind of like starting a marathon an hour ahead of your competitors.” – Nik Nanos
  • “If you dig deep we’re looking at a high tax and debt-focused policy coming from the NDP. It remains an abstract notion. We’ll probably [see] what we’ve seen over time: people recognize … the Conservatives are ones that actually have a track record and a clear plan [on economic matters].” – Jason MacDonald, former PMO staffer
  • [on Senate reform] “The government is not going to take any actions going forward that would do anything to further entrench that unelected, unaccountable Senate. We’ll entrench it simply in this way, which is we’re just not going to make the appointments… I can’t formalize a non-appointment. That would be a constitutional change. But under the Constitution of the day, the prime minister has the authority to appoint or not appoint.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • [NDP in response on Senate reform] “In 2004, Harper said he wouldn’t appoint a senator. But in the intervening 11 years, he broke the record and named 59 of his cronies to the Senate. He seems to have had an eleventh hour conversion, probably based on some focus groups and some polling, but nobody’s going to be fooled.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • [on a Quebec referendum and what constitutes a “Yes” option] “I haven’t given up on the majority of Quebecers, unlike the Liberals who have. People have to understand that yes means yes. Yes can’t mean, ’Oh, perhaps we want a better deal’.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • [responding to Mulcair’s Quebec argument about sovereignty] “I’m sorry, but I don’t think anyone will ever accuse a Liberal named Trudeau of being afraid of going after sovereigntists. “I’ve been very, very clear that Canadian unity is an issue that is important to always address. On issues such as national unity I think it is important for anyone who wants to be prime minister and who disagrees with something like that [the Clarity Act] to explain why.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “He (Mulcair) seems to say one thing in Quebec and another in the rest of Canada.” – Mario Beaulieu BQ MP
  • “Mulcair goes for the Full Pander: Toronto is “Canada’s most important city.” – Jen Gerson (Toronto)
  • “Toronto is not the centre of the universe. And Tom Mulcair may want to tune into that if he ever wants to move into 24 Sussex Drive.” – Tom Brodbeck (Winnipeg)
  • “It’s one thing to walk into a town and remind the locals what a lovely and unique community they have, and how much better it could be if they elected the right candidate. That’s standard, retail politics. But to declare to Canadians that Toronto is the most important city in Canada (Mulcair made the same claim in Toronto last month, albeit more succinctly, during a speech to the Economic Club of Canada) and that the rest of Canadians are essentially the flees that buzz around the elephant is politically elitist.” – Tom Brodbeck
  • “The Liberals have at least delivered on the policy front. Love them or hate them, ideas have been put forward for middle-class tax plans, democratic reform, Canada-U.S. relations and more. But to implement policy you need a leader and what this summer has also done for Trudeau is show that he’s more follower than anything else.” – Anthony Furey
  • “The Liberal party’s operational code has always been in simplicity itself: to govern Canada by striking the most marketable balance between elitism and egalitarianism. They labelled it the New Liberalism, and pretended that anybody called Trudeau could win.” – Peter Newman
  • “His (Trudeau’s) campaign has been a backward march. Liberals still harbour the petulant assumption that they alone know what’s good for Canadians, and that it’s just plain dumb to vote for any other party…” – Peter Newman
  • “…the European-based and non-partisan Reuters news service stuck the shiv in Trudeau with a long feature headlined, “Backers fear that missing-in-action, Trudeau losing bid to lead Canada”, describing him as “a former teacher and one-time snowboard instructor.” Ouch!” – Lorrie Goldstein
  • “The Trudeau election campaign… resembles a monkey with a machine gun, in fact. That’s not to say that a monkey with a machine gun won’t occasionally hit the target, of course. It’s just that it can get messy; there’s collateral damage. There are problems.” – Warren Kinsella
  • “Canadians tend to focus on bread-and-butter issues at every general election. It’s either bread-and-butter issues or scandals – that’s what drives general elections. It’s sad because the bigger issues, in my opinion, is how we govern ourselves, because both scandals and bread-and-butter issues flow from how we govern ourselves. It’s not the other way around.” – Donald Savoie
  • “The Liberals have improved their fundraising efforts in recent years but have still collected just $45-million since 2011. The NDP has raised just $30-million in that period. Neither are likely to have anywhere near that amount in the bank — it costs money to run a party and at one point the Liberals were spending 50¢ to raise every $1. By contrast, the Conservatives have attracted donations of $69-million since 2011, according to Elections Canada.” – John Ivison
  • “On some levels you could say we’ve basically been covering elections like it was 1970, and it’s not 1970 anymore. The media generally has tended to cover things pretty much the same way, regardless of which news organization it is. I think there’s more potential this time that different news organizations will try to cover things differently.” – Chris Waddell, Carleton University journalism professor
  • “I love politics and all it entails, but a four-month campaign like the one we are about to endure will be like watching Shark Week on the Discovery channel. No matter how much you love watching sharks, by Thursday, you will be wondering how many more times you need to hear the words “apex predator,” “megashark” or “he’s just not ready” — OK that last one is just in the commercial breaks but you get my point.” – Quito Maggi
  • “In a volatile contest, with competitors bringing similar assets and capabilities to an unusually level playing field, victory will go to the campaign strategist who breaks out of their comfort zone, who challenges orthodoxy, who seizes the beau risque.” – Robin Sears
  • “Politics is a lot like war. You want to starve your opponent and be able to bomb the heck out of them. And the Tories currently have a decided advantage in terms of financial resources that work in their favour.” – Marcel Wieder
  • [the last of the Eve Adams footnotes] “There’s no booing for Eve [Adams]… Eve ran a tremendous campaign.” – Marco Mendicino, winning candidate, after defeating MP Eve Adams to carry the Liberal banner


(ed. – By George will be adding to this list of quotes throughout the month (this last updated on Friday 31st). To see more quotes and related By George articles on the election and/or politics, check our archives for tagged posts on “2015 Election”, “politics”, and/or “election”.

Also, see the previous month’s “Election Musings” click to the BGJ’s Election Musings Index Page. )

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