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A little help from his friends
October 4, 2009 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Stephen Harper, Canada's Prime Minister, sings "With A Little Help From My Friends" at a gala last night in Ottawa with Yo Yo Ma and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Harper survived a confidence vote this week with a little help from his former sworn enemies.
posted by salishsea (43 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, don't get us wrong. We New Democrats are still the Cons' sworn enemies. That doesn't mean we can't agree that Ignatieff is a dick.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:38 PM on October 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


You know what... I am liking Harper more and more as the years go by - he seems to have a handle on what's going on.
posted by niccolo at 12:39 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Added context for non-Canadians: Stephen Harper is the most boring man on earth.
posted by Adam_S at 12:40 PM on October 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


Also, Stephen Harper is unlikely to get high with a little help from his friends.
posted by anthill at 12:41 PM on October 4, 2009 [13 favorites]


Also, Stephen Harper is unlikely to get high with a little help from his friends.

True. He might get BSE, though.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:42 PM on October 4, 2009


First time I've seen that guy look human, actually. He should play more often in public
posted by ServSci at 12:43 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


One of the reasons this seems to be newsworthy is because of this thing he said last year:
"I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see a gala and all sorts of people at a rich gala all subsidized by the taxpayer, claiming their subsidies aren't high enough when they know they have actually gone up, I'm not sure that's something that resonates with ordinary people. Ordinary people understand we have to live within a budget."
Lots of headlines are playing up that he seems to have changed his mind about these events.
posted by FishBike at 12:43 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I missed the spastic Joe Cocker vibe. It's a shame that Belushi wasn't around to demonstrate it for him, and to offer him a beer.
posted by metagnathous at 12:46 PM on October 4, 2009


Lately, Canadian politics makes me queasy. Just a last week, Harper claimed that Canada had no history of colonialism at a G20 conference—and with a straight face, no less. This week, he's survived a confidence vote and he's hamming it up with Yo Yo Ma. I need to lie down.
posted by LMGM at 12:48 PM on October 4, 2009


A relevant cartoon from the Walrus.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 1:03 PM on October 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


As much as I dislike the guy's politics, I have to admit that this is very well done, and it chuckled me up.
posted by lenny70 at 1:11 PM on October 4, 2009


that this is very well done, and it chuckled me up.

Same. Dammit.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:18 PM on October 4, 2009


This features my least favorite part of the concert-going experience: audience clapalong. Audiences are rarely on beat, and there's never any indication of when to stop clapping (I mean, if there were, it would be kind of weird and rude), so it just trails off or overlaps to an uncomfortable breakdown.

WOW I AM CROTCHETY
posted by CharlesV42 at 1:20 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Gah! I hate the clapalong so much too. Especially the beats-one-and-three form it always takes. The audience seems to think they are hearing a Sousa march or something.

TWO AND FOUR, PEOPLE!! CLAP ON TWO AND FOUR!!
posted by av123 at 1:40 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


that wasn't harper - that was a thin human lookalike.

It's okay, av123 - that was a white Canadian audience. If anyone's entitled to their 1&3, it'd be them.
posted by scruss at 1:52 PM on October 4, 2009


I really don't know how to square Harper the politician with Harper the jokey song-performing kitten-snuggler. Goddamnit.
posted by bewilderbeast at 2:02 PM on October 4, 2009


LMGM, I hear you. As a life long Liberal I have no goddamn clue who to support. Ignatieff is a dick parachuted in by a corrupt, dinosaur party, Harper is moving Canadian politics in a frightening direction, the NDP (as much as I love their social stance) would ruin us financially in the blink of an eye and so I'm left to vote Green or just abstain on principle.
posted by jimmythefish at 2:47 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Harper the jokey song-performing kitten-snuggler.

Are you kidding? That photo has always been the creepiest thing on his website. Poor kitteh's all "save me from his cold robotic eyes!!"
posted by heatherann at 2:58 PM on October 4, 2009


Granted my experience of Canadian politics began from square one in 2004, but for my entire "life" as someone sort of aware of the subject, the NDP have done nothing but talk up their aggressively progressive agenda and make big noises, while in actual fact working to deliberately create and sustain the least progressive government possible for the nation, all in order to make their own minor political fortunes ever so slightly less minor.

Unless I misunderstand the situation, and I may, Harper would never have been PM in the first place if not for the NDP calculating that they could gain seats when the (admittedly pretty weak and corrupt) liberal regime fell in the wake of the sponsorship scandal, and so they pulled their support from the liberal budget. So they did so, knowing full well that they were handing the government to the Conservatives.

And now they're afraid of losing the few seats they gained, and so they'd back Idi Amin if he happened to be in power, just to put off another election.

Fuck the NDP.
posted by Naberius at 2:58 PM on October 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Unless I misunderstand the situation, and I may, Harper would never have been PM in the first place if not for the NDP [...] Fuck the NDP.

You misunderstand the situation. Fuck you.

The reason we have a Conservative government is simply that the Progressive Conservatives and the Reformers merged their parties. Full stop.

Oh, and also because the last crop of Liberals pulled some really dumb shit, and their replacements are quite remarkably even worse.

Ignatieff wanted to call en election that would cost a zillion dollars and change absolutely nothing. Want to make a difference? It's called a coalition.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:20 PM on October 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


But when you try to form a coalition you get a shit storm from people who are convinced that it's "undemocratic" and "we need to take our country back" etc... The last time a coalition was being discussed I had to constantly point out to people that our system is designed to work that way. Most of the time it was like talking to a brick wall.
posted by smcniven at 3:31 PM on October 4, 2009


I'm still rocking quietly in a corner and moaning to myself over this. It's a world gone mad!
posted by jokeefe at 3:53 PM on October 4, 2009


Harper seems to have been taking lessons from Rick Mercer on seeming human. And goddammit, it's working.
posted by spoobnooble at 3:59 PM on October 4, 2009


You misunderstand the situation. Fuck you.

Meh, they're not far off; while the merger increased the Conservative caucus, the motion of non-confidence Harper introduced in 2005 obviously wouldn't have passed without the support of the NDP, who correctly assumed they could pick up some Liberal seats following the Gomery Commission.

I miss the old NDP who accepted that they didn't have a chance in hell and were content to play Jimminy Cricket to Parliament. Often annoying, but at least they stood for something.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:20 PM on October 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, Canada. You used to be so cool.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:29 PM on October 4, 2009


> Oh, Canada. You used to be so cool.

Don't worry, Blazecock. Winter will be here shortly.
posted by Decimask at 5:21 PM on October 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


These Conservatives look and sound... human.





AND THEY HAVE A PLAN!
posted by mazola at 5:24 PM on October 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


Ah yes, this from the man who said "ordinary Canadians don't care about the arts." Music? That there be an art, sir...

I bet while he snuggles that kitten, he's whispering into its ear that real Canadians prefer dogs.

(Also, I'd like to thank whatever Metafilter user who described Harper's speaking as boooorp. It's gotten me through quite a few maddening speeches, shouting "BOOORP" at the screen.)
posted by ilana at 6:00 PM on October 4, 2009


I find it hard to be too impressed when someone does a passable job singing a Beatles song that was written expressly for Ringo's limited vocal range.

I'm pretty neutral on Harper though. There really isn't anyone on the national scene in Canada that has any real leadership qualities or, you know, charisma. So he kind of fits into the current style of Canadian politician. I think Canada is doomed to minority governments until someone comes along that can actually get people rallying behind him (or her), and win back Quebec from the Bloc Quebecois (who are I think another huge reason that the conservatives are in power today).

I'm no fan of the NDP but if they were serious about actually governing (hard to tell if they are), they'd try and merge with the Green party which steals about half their votes.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:01 PM on October 4, 2009


Marg
posted by edgeways at 6:07 PM on October 4, 2009


You couldn't make this shit up if you tried. It's embarrassing!!!
/Canadian
posted by smartypantz at 7:05 PM on October 4, 2009


Well, i suppose the good thing is that Harper learned from his mistake last year for blasting the Arts. That faux pas led to a dressing down by Margaret Atwood. Now here he's doing a mea culpa of sorts and having fun. Gee he seems almost human.

This is bad news for Michael Ignatieff who is looking less human as days go by.
posted by storybored at 8:52 PM on October 4, 2009


Yeah, but why couldn't Harper warble a Canadian tune, like something by Stompin' Tom, BTO, or Nickleback.

Or is he just visiting?
posted by mazola at 9:01 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's funny how everyone is saying this makes Harper "look human". The first thing that struck me was that compared to everyone else in the video, Harper's colouring appears to be completely monochrome.

Human? Perhaps. Alive? Well, he's moving, I think we can say that much.
posted by pascal at 9:27 PM on October 4, 2009


I'm no fan of the NDP but if they were serious about actually governing (hard to tell if they are), they'd try and merge with the Green party which steals about half their votes.

The NDP and the Green Party have very little common ground. The NDP are democratic socialists, the Green Party platform is mostly eco-capitalism.
posted by Jairus at 10:13 PM on October 4, 2009


"I think Canada is doomed to minority governments until someone comes along that can actually get people rallying behind him (or her), and win back Quebec from the Bloc Quebecois (who are I think another huge reason that the conservatives are in power today)."

Yep, that's it exactly. Canadian politics is, as ever, dominated by regionalism. The only big difference between now and thirty years ago is that the regions are more balanced and there are more political parties to choose from, so every region gets to choose their favorite party and no one has to compromise. Quebec is still the wildcard because their favorite party hasn't got a chance in hell of ever forming the government, and voters there might (theoretically) be persuaded to hold their noses and vote for someone else if they can be convinced that doing so will serve their best interests. But nobody from outside of Quebec is ever going to convince them, because non-Quebecois aren't trustworthy enough.

So we're not going to see an end to the era of minority governments any time soon. At least, not until the next great "uniter" style politician rises from Quebec.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:24 PM on October 4, 2009


Lots of headlines are playing up that he seems to have changed his mind about these events.

Stephen Harper changing his mind on something depending on how it affects him personally? Get out of town! Next thing you'll tell me is that he used to think that a coalition with the Bloc Quebecois to bring down the minority government and rule in its place without an election was good for the future of Canada instead of "a subversion of our democracy". At least as long as the minority government was the Liberals...
posted by barc0001 at 11:08 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I miss the old NDP

I found an old bag I used to use to carry books around. It had an Ed Broadbent badge on it from his run for Ottawa Central. It's like remembering a passed away granddad.
posted by srboisvert at 2:30 AM on October 5, 2009


AND THEY HAVE A PLAN!

Which, of course, we all know means they really have no plan whatsoever, and are in fact lurching from season to season, making it up as they go along, and will have a hell of a lot of half-assed explaining to do when they finally run out of time.
posted by bicyclefish at 8:34 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I miss the old NDP

I am happier with them than I have ever been. The NDP are the only people making parliament work... Frankly I wish people would get over the spooky-talk of "socialists and separatists" so the majority of Canadians who are left/progressives could form coalition governments like they do in Europe. Canada lacks the political maturity to make that happen. If the NDP let the government fall last week, we’d have a Conservative majority government by Christmas – something only about 40% of people want.

The only difference between the Liberals and Conservatives is that the Liberals say nicer things, but are generally dishonest. The Liberals lied about killing Free trade and the GST, probably the two biggest controversies of the last 20 years. The sponsorship scandal was just more corruption.

People talk about Harper being a cold, kitten-eating nerd but if Harper had said the kind of things Count Ignatieff had said regarding torture and civil liberties, blood would be running in the streets. The Liberals (excepting Trudeau) aren't any more progressive than the Conservatives. The Libs fought the judicial ruling on gay marriage tooth-and-nail and put everyone through a series of trials which basically focused on the courts trying to convince the government not to keep breaking the law by making gay marriages illegal. Abortion became legal in Canada under a Tory government by the same mechanism. Neither the Tories nor Liberals actually deserve credit for those policies.

But lets look at progressive policy - the following policies were first raised by the Conservatives: the CBC (Dief), our first bill of rights (Dief), our first unemployment and old age benefit strategy (RB Bennett), the first sanctions against apartheid South Africa (Dief, and ignored until Mulroney)... the list goes on and on. Our best enviornmental Prime Minister was Mulroney. There is no need to think that the Liberals are more progressive than the Conservatives.

A progressive party doesn't subvert party democracy and hold a backdoor meeting to appoint a leader, especially one who is pro-torture.

Also, I find the Green-Bashing coming from progressives flat out weird except when it comes from Liberal supporters. The Greens are really all over the economic/social spectrum – the Green Party in Saskatchewan is a social democratic party, left of the NDP. I’d vote for them in a lot of elections.
posted by Deep Dish at 8:47 AM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, I find the Green-Bashing coming from progressives flat out weird except when it comes from Liberal supporters. The Greens are really all over the economic/social spectrum – the Green Party in Saskatchewan is a social democratic party, left of the NDP. I’d vote for them in a lot of elections.

The provincial Greens and the federal Greens are completely different beasts. Part of the explicit reason the Saskatchewan Greens formed in the first place was because the Canadian and Ontario Greens are right-wing parties, and the Saskatchewan Greens felt they were hijacking the green movement.
posted by Jairus at 9:33 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


These Conservatives look and sound... human.





AND THEY HAVE A PLAN!


Sure, you crack this joke and everyone laughs a little, but then you take a look at known Cylons and realize that 2/3 of them are Canadian, and it makes you wonder. Sit down with no preconceptions about humans and Cylons and politicians, and put the pieces together for yourself.

I'm not trying to prove anything, I'm just asking questions. Questions like, "Are all Canadians Cylons?" and "How much will I get if I sell out humanity to your presumably genocidal plot?"
posted by Copronymus at 10:49 AM on October 5, 2009


Just what we need: a Beatles tune sung by a Blue Meanie.
posted by New Frontier at 7:53 PM on October 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


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