Leaked video shows the true Stephen Harper: rivals

Stephen Harper’s behind-closed-door musings about winning a majority, stamping out separatists and socialists, and keeping liberals out of the courts prove he’s two-faced, his rivals say.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is seen durnig a photo op with Graydon Nicholas

MONTREAL — Stephen Harper’s behind-closed-door musings about winning a majority, stamping out separatists and socialists, and keeping liberals out of the courts prove he’s two-faced, his rivals say.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says videotaped comments that leaked out publicly Wednesday show the true prime minister.

“There have always been two Harpers,” Ignatieff told a news conference Thursday in Montreal.

“The real Harper always comes out when he thinks he can’t be heard.”

Ignatieff tried to paint Harper as disdainful of the social institutions Canadians hold dear, like the justice system, and disrespectful of other political parties.

He also scoffed at the prime minister’s closed-door rallying cry for a majority. Harper was heard telling his troops their coveted majority was “within striking distance.”

Ignatieff countered that while he toured the country this summer he met jobless Canadians who would “laugh in your face” if asked whether Harper deserved a majority.

For political reasons, Harper has for years avoided making such musings in public.

But in the candid speech given to party members in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. last week, the prime minister repeatedly stressed his aspiration to win a majority.

He warned that, without one, the country would get a Liberal government propped up by “the socialists and the separatists.”

In the private pep talk, Harper also described how the Tories had kept leftists from being appointed to public institutions — including the courts.

“Imagine how many left-wing ideologues they would be putting in the courts, federal institutions, agencies, the Senate? I should say, how many more, they would be putting in,” Harper said.

The prime minister expressed pride in having killed off the Court Challenges Program — a government fund used by what he described as “left-wing fringe groups.”

That fund, created by the Trudeau Liberals, helped finance court cases by women’s groups, minority-language groups, gay-rights groups, and deaf people who demanded sign language in hospitals.

The NDP described Harper’s remarks as a shot at the judiciary, which undermine the justice system by calling into question its integrity.

“It’s something that you would expect in trash radio, but absolutely unacceptable coming from the prime minister of our country,” Mulcair said in an interview.

He said the prime minister should be building bridges when discussing issues, not bombing them.

Despite the shots at “separatists” in the tape, the Bloc Quebecois said what bothered it most were the comments about the judiciary.

Leader Gilles Duceppe said that, behind closed doors, Harper sounds like a member of the U.S. Republican party — and not even a mainstream one, but part of its radical fringe that rants against liberal judges.

Despite the opposition parties’ rush to describe Harper as two-faced, none of the prime minister’s private comments actually contradict anything he has ever said publicly.

He has simply avoided discussing them.

Harper has learned hard lessons about the political risk of such talk during the 2004 and 2006 elections, as he saw his poll numbers level off late in each campaign when he mused about things like judges and winning a majority.

He has been particularly careful to avoid scaring off moderate voters by talking about a majority — fearing that some soft Tory and NDP supporters could make a desperation leap to the Liberals to block him.

But Harper was far chattier in the leaked speech.

“Let me be clear about this: We need to win a majority in the next election campaign,” the prime minister said.

“I am not just saying that because we need a few more seats. We saw what happened last year. Do not be fooled for a moment. If we do not get a majority, the Liberals, the NDP, and the Bloc Quebecois will combine and they will form a government. . .

“And friends, I believe that government is within reach.”

Just Posted

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

Sunny weather improves farmers’ prospects

A harvester kicking up dust. It’s a picture that will bring a… Continue reading

Rural transit pilot project being considered

Penhold, Innisfail and Red Deer County councils to decide whether to go ahead with project

Red Deer fire station up for sale

Home sweet home at Fire Station 4

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia will head to the polls today… Continue reading

All sharks tagged in N.S. expedition can now be tracked on Ocearch website

HALIFAX — All six of the sharks tagged in Nova Scotian waters… Continue reading

Memorial service for former PQ minister Lise Payette today in Montreal

MONTREAL — Mourners will gather to remember former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister… Continue reading

Immunotherapy scores a first win against some breast cancers

For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown… Continue reading

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Most Read