Second Thots

Sometimes one has to step back, take pause, and have some "second thots"

Thursday, December 21, 2006


An open question for the Canadian political media

A question for the Canadian political media: Who gave you the impression that Harper and/or the PMO consulted with Dion regarding the motion to recognize Quebec as a nation?

That impression had to have come originally from either the Harper or Dion camps. Well, it had to have come from somewhere, and those two options seem pretty much obvious.

Harper has flat-out said that Dion was not a part of their consultations. Dion has said that since he talked to someone from the PMO, he talked to the PMO. Dion's characterization is the more suspicious of the two.

You can talk to a former aide of yours that is now with the PMO without being engaged in a formal discussion. If this was a personal consultation, why did Dion allow another version to hold sway for all this time? Why didn't he ever set the record straight? Was it because he wanted to enhance his federalist image on the eve of the leadership vote? Was it because he seems to have developed a habit of banking on perceived personal reputation rather than the actual record?

That's why I'd like to know, and I think Canadians would like to know, why the media reported an apparently false story about Dion's involvement with the PMO for weeks on end. And why was this misperception left dangling until Harper apparently corrected it this week?

If we want as much truth in politics as possible, and if we want our politicians to be sincere about what they do and who they are, then I think we're owed some answers to some of these questions. Aren't we?

Hello Dennis.I've read your posts on Cherniaks blog about who mislead on the subject of Dion being consulted by Harper on the nation motion.Cherniak won't post the info you are looking for because it proves Dion was the one who lied.

Heres the text of what Dion claimed a few days after the motion.

"NATIONAL NEWSWATCH - During an interview Thursday afternoon with New Brunswick talk radio show host Tom Young, Liberal Leadership candidate Stephane Dion took partial credit for Prime Minister Harper's stand asking the House of Commons to declare that Quebec is a nation — "within a united Canada." ....

Describing himself as a "trouble fixer," Dion told host Tom Young that the prime minister called him for advice on how to solve the Quebec Nation issue. Dion indicated he advised the PM on how to fix the problem. He also indicated that he will be supporting the government motion because it's very close to the solution he freely gave the prime minister.


All future references to Dion will include "Trouble Fixer." On a side note, and in addition to the above account of Dion's interview. Dion said Harper sought his advice on the situation because he was the "Unity Minister" in a former Liberal government.


Thanks paulsstuff. It pretty much confirms the picture that's starting to form around this: that it was Dion who in fact perpeuated the myth of his own involvement in the PMO consultations.

The picture is not yet complete, but I find the prospect that a leading politician might have fibbed to the media and Canadians for weeks somewhat troubling.

Again, I think we need to get to the bottom of this. I think the media needs to get to the bottom of this, too. Why did they report an apparently false story for so many weeks?



Oh, give it up. Everyone knows Harper lied.


I started digging into to this to determine if that's true. What I found tends to be the opposite. I'm providing facts and arguments. You?

_____________________________ use arguing with Cherniak about Dion lying about talking with Harper.I challenged him to post today the story i placed on here earlier,showing Dion deliberately misled the media.

Ask Cherniak about Dion's interview on radio in New Brunswick shortly after the nation motion.Guarantee he won't answer you or allow the post on his blog.

Heres the link if you need it.


Well, Cherniak is no longer disputing the public characterizations of Dion's role with the PMO. His current defence is that Dion shouldn't be blamed for thinking he was talking with the PMO. As I have pointed out, that reasoning is lame, and it doesn't absolve Dion of the responsibility to come clean with the public regarding what he has said in the past.


Dion was quoted as saying he spoke directly with Harper,that phoned him.Now Dion and Cherniak say it was the pmo.Ask Cherniak why he told the media Haroer phoned him directly.He'll call you a liar and ask for proof.

Give him the link for the article,which was also posted in the Toronto Star but is no longer in their archives.He won't post it because he knows he's caught in a blatant lie.I just tried posting it again and he won't put the link on his blog.What a loser.




I'm a bit busy now, but I'll try to get to it. I think you're right. I'll take another look at the link you gave me. However, I don't recall it containing a direct quote, but it might nevertheless prove that Dion was not telling the truth.


I just re-read the link you gave me. It doesn't mention a direct conversation between Harper and Dion, only that Dion advised the prime minister. Technically speaking, Dion's story still holds, only if he was under the impression that he was being directly consulted by the PMO.

Basically, I think Dion created an impression with the media that was false. Harper confirmed this. So, I think Dion needs to explain why he mischaracterized his role in the PMO consultations.

Either the media is too confused by all this, or they're not willing to take a closer look at what Dion was feeding them.


Personally (and I have no direct quotes to back this up, just the timing) I think they both planned to mislead the public.

This story came out a week before the Liberal leadership convention. I think Dion exaggerated the story to gain more credibility going into the vote. He needed to convince the delagates that he was a major player in Canadian politics.

Harper waited until after the convention to clarify the point. It only benefits him to have Dion as an opponent over Ignatieff or Rae. Ignatieff bleeds Conservative votes, and Rae is excellent at spinning his position (regardless of whether he has one).

Now that Dion's leader, Harper's suddenly revealing the Dion's twisted the facts. If this really concerned him, he'd have done it sooner.

It's all politics.


Luke, I'm sure it'll surprise you that I don't necessarily agree with your assessment. In fact, a common defence of misdeeds is that they all do it; that they're all up to something. In this case I don't think so.

Harper would not have been afraid of having votes bleed to Ignatieff. In fact, I think he was hoping that Ignatieff would have votes bleed to Layton. So was Layton.

As for the leak and the timing, I think that was all Dion's doing. I think he leaded the story to the press. I think he allowed the story to linger in the press for days.

You suggest that Harper should have inserted himself in a Liberal leadership race in order to attack Dion. Then what, get bogged down in a game of he/said she said?

Harper waited. He didn't go on the attack and become the story. He allowed Dion to sit on the misrepresentation. Then he corrected the record when asked about it. Seems almost textbook. Anything else and he would have been accused of playing games, which is what Dion did anyway. He also would have given Dion an out by correcting himself before the story lingered too long.


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