Monday, April 20, 2009

Picking A Strange Hill to Die On

In a post on his blog today Warren Kinsella is promoting a strange video suggesting that Stephen Harper doesn't like Brian Mulroney very much.

Not a great secret.

Presented in the form of a storybook, replete with "The Dance of the Sugar Plum fairy" playing in the background, the video chronicles Stephen Harper's turn away from the Mulroney-era Progressive Conservatives. Harper had worked for then-Calgary West MP Jim Hawkes as a Parliamentary aide, but would quit over concerns about Mulroney's fiscal policies.

Harper would run unsuccessfully against Hawkes as a Reform party candidate in the 1988 federal election before defeating him in 1993.

After a falling out with Reform party leader Preston Manning, Harper left the party to become the President of the National Citizens Coalition. The video highlights Harper's criticisms of Mulroney and Harper's suggestion that the then-governing Liberal party not settle Mulroney's libel lawsuit out-of-court so the RCMP could continue investigating the matter.

"Not nice," the video muses, complaining that Harper has rarely been there to help Mulroney.

Yet when Kinsella's Liberal party called for a judicial inquiry into his dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber -- who promised startling revelations regarding the Airbus scandal, but only if he wasn't extradited to Germany -- Harper initially refused.

Not exactly the actions of someone pursuing a grudge against a former political opponent.

The video is an interesting exercise in branding and counter-branding. It seeks to brand Brian Mulroney as largely an innocent victim of Stephen Harper's malice and lack of niceties. Meanwhile, it tries to counter-brand Harper as a vindictive and petulant individual for whom personal hatred of Mulroney is motivating his government's actions vis a vis Mulroney, as opposed to the persistent demands of the opposition parties.

It's unsurprising that Warren Kinsella would be so eager to help promote such a piece of online tripe. The video in question banks on the short memories of its viewers, hoping that they'll separate the Oliphant inquiry from its real-world context -- the demands by then-Liberal leader Stephane Dion that Mulroney be investigated.

This is unsurprising from someone who demands that the sponsorship scandal be separated from its context. He has long railed against holding Jean Chretien responsible for the sponsorship scandal, but refuses to acknowledge the simple fact that the sponsorship program was run out of his office, by his personal staff.

Then again, Warren Kinsella has a history of pcking strange hills to die on. One recalls Kinsella's recent accusation that several conservative bloggers covertly receive paycheques from the Conservative party -- an odd accusation from an individual who has, in the past, accepted paycheques from the Liberals.


  1. Patrick,

    True, I suppose one could try, all day long, to "brand Brian Mulroney as largely an innocent victim' in this inquiry. But at the end of the day all we would have is a piece of cooked meat! Ha, ha, ha... (oops, awkward silence ensues)...

    p.s. Don't mean to imply it is really that 'cut & dried', but no matter what happens in this inquiry: the last thing we are going to ever think is that Brian Mulroney (or 'BM' in Doucet's notes) is truly "innocent". Fact is, the man took hundreds-of-thousands of dollars from an arms dealer (for whatever?) and didn't bother reporting it to Revenue Canada for 6 years. Tell me... what part of that seems "innocent"? The only guy I ever knew who did business that way (i.e. cash-envelopes and hotel rooms) was my former coke dealer. Again, and not to be obtuse, FACT IS most people who enter into legitimate business or consulting arrangement's with a "contractor" in this country get a signed contract, invoice for services, and report the income. Don't they?

  2. Oops, forgot to mention that, otherwise, this was a pretty good (albeit touch on the defensive) post!

  3. The thing is that I really do think that Mulroney is largely innocent -- of anything other than extremely poor judgment.

    But the Liberal party demanded this inquiry. Now that they're getting it, I'm a little offended at the extent their attack dogs will go to try to use this to their advantage -- even to the extent of pretending they didn't demand the entire affair.

  4. Never thought I would see the day when the "Big Chin" became a poor victim of circumstances to be defended by the big red Liberal machine.

    People really are dumb.

  5. Well, they think it'll help their numbers in Quebec. Won't help anywhere else -- especially in the west.


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