The Harper Index - The Conservative FrameThe Conservative Frame

"Aspirational goals" for greenhouse gas reduction invite ridicule
  Technological approach an excuse for inaction.

"Muzzling" strategy could be turning off the public
  Decline in "intensity of comfort" with Harper majority could be tied to image as controlling.

"Support Our Troops" frames war as loyalty
  Toronto debate recognizes feel-good gesture as political statement.

Afghanistanization could conceal many intentions
  History of getting 'locals' to uphold American interventions will not inspire confidence.

Support our Troops slogan endorsed by National Citizens Coalition
  Toronto's famous political billboard confirms politicization of the phrase.

Abortion debate could be reopened despite Harper protests
  In spite of controlling tendencies, PM has never quashed anti-abortion Caucus members.

About those lost jobs:
  How to talk about the economy now.

Afghanistan – Harper imitates Bush's cut-and-run, support-the-troops rhetoric
  Canadian deaths up ante in patriotic slogan debate.

Agents provocateurs active at Montebello?
  Report of official cameraperson being roughed up follows videos from earlier in day of alleged police agents assaulting union leader.

Arctic frame for sovereignty should be cooperation, not confrontation - Byers
  Harper's combative attitude could undo years of cooperation, while credibility is undermined by social conditions in the North.

Atlantic Canada
  "A culture of defeat..." — Stephen Harper, describing the Atlantic Provinces, May 2001.

Authoritarianism creeps into culture of Harper government
  Killing CAIRS database makes it easier to delay, obfuscate and withhold information - journalists.

Black, Conrad – Helped push Canadian politics to the right
  Conviction links corporate crime with conservative politics, as in US.

Boessenkool re-emerges as a Taser lobbyist
  Long-time friend and advisor to PM also lobbied for cancer drug plan in budget

Boxing in future governments is part of Harper plan
  The next prime minister will find it difficult to undo today's changes.

Budget warning signs raise doubts that announced money will get spent
  Leaks over-hype stimulus spending – economists.

Cabinet shuffle all about public and internal "messaging" – pollster
  Afghanistan "tag team" is main event but third shuffle in 18 months also sends message about who's in charge.

Cadman affair dramatically changes election timing scenarios
  March 17 by-elections likely to go ahead, and Liberals could bring down government this spring if Conservatives sink in polls.

CBC cuts tied to Conservative ideology - poll
  Public broadcaster is starved of funding by a government with a vendetta against it.

Colombia corporate trade push meets Canadian citizen resistance
  Uribe stonewalls on tough questions from Bloc and NDP.

Colombia trade deal will increase repression – Latin American workers
  Many crises must be addressed - Victor Baez Mosquieira.

Colombia trade deal will increase repression – Latin American workers
  In-depth online video news feature offers warning to Canadians about continuing on corporate trade route.

Colombia trade deal will increase repression – Latin American workers – Part 3
  An interview with David Abdulah conducted by Ish Theilheimer for Straight Goods News.

Colombia trade deal will increase repression – Latin American workers – Part 4
  An interview with Manuel Rozental conducted by Ish Theilheimer for Straight Goods News.

Colombia trade deal will increase repression – Latin American workers – Part 5
  Peter Julian, MP for Burnaby-Westminster and NDP trade critic, is interviewed by Ish Theilheimer for Straight Goods News.

Colombia trade deal will increase repression – Latin American workers – Part 6
  Liberal trade critic Scott Brison is scrummed by Ish Theilheimer for Straight Goods News.

Compassion deficit haunts Harper
  PM's policies contradict attempts to paint him as caring.

Compromises came too late from Harper Conservatives
  Activists need to frame coalition politics correctly to win the day.

Culture wars continue with cuts to small magazines
  Funding for artistic launching pads diverted to Conservative-friendly constituencies such as snowmobiling and fly fishing.

Democracy threat countered by Youtube and indie media – union leader Dave Coles
  Agents provocateurs only the tip of Montebello story.

Dysfunctional minority likely to be more so with a renewed one
  If Harper governs again, look for more moderate image to catch Quebec voters that got away.

Economic management draws failing grade from observers
  Harper has repeatedly choosen politics over sound management - retired Finance official.

Economic update gives 12% cut to wealthy corporations, misses opportunities
  Oil industry and banks are chief beneficiaries.

Economy being hollowed out by resource sell-offs, despite PM's jokes – Watkins
  Value of US buyouts of CDN companies in first half of '07 more than four times value of CDN buyouts of US firms.

Election strategy for Conservatives focuses on Quebec and Ontario
  Pollsters discuss the Harper campaign and ways to counter it.

Ethical issues haunt Conservatives after campaigning on accountability
  Appointment of "government representative" in NDP-held riding and Pat Binns ambassadorship fuel criticism.

Ethnic strategy undermined by racial slurs
  Immigrant-bashing attitudes and a growing economic gap for racial minorities neutralize political outreach efforts to new Canadians.

Fixed election date legislation led to snap election
  One year after breaking his own law, Harper is still in control.

Flaherty, Jim – "One of nature's hard-liners" and a key player on Harper's team
  Affable style enables finance minister to skate past $6B deficit he helped leave Ontario.

Flanagan, Tom – One of Stephen Harper's closest advisors explains and predicts him
  Harper's Team provides a manual on Conservative strategy and tactics for friend and foe.

Foreign takeovers welcomed by self-serving panel on competition
  Corporate ringers told Harper what he wanted to hear – from an interview with Mel Watkins.

Framing aided by repetition, psychologists report
  Better to refute adversaries' slogans with different, positive statements than to repeat them in an attempt to disprove.

Framing mistakes and contraditions pile up
  Bad timing has played a role, but Harper is largely the author of his own undoing.

Giorno, Guy – To be Conservative campaign "script-writer"
  Former Mike Harris heavyweight helped organize anti-Kyoto front group supported by John Baird in 2002.

Gun control politics revised Canada's political map
  Private member's bill to kill long-gun registry combined with Conservative attack ads which target sitting Liberal and NDP MPs from rural ridings.

Gun registry became a symbolic issue
  Canadian right borrowed from National Rifle Association and the gun lobby in the USA, framing the debate.

Guy Giorno moves to top of Harper org chart
  Harris hard-liner fits with ideological and cerebral style of new boss.

Harper's Framing – Review of eleven key issues reveals mixed results
  How government paints itself offers strategic clues to opposition.

Image consultant
  Stephen Harper travels with a professional make-up artist and image consultant, apparently on the public payroll. Harper once criticized Preston Manning's $30,000 clothing allowance when Manning was Reform Party leader.

Image makeover signalled by surprise announcements and media outreach
  Rebranding initiatives follow on advice to steer to the centre and soften up.

Insults, discourtesy and disrespect mark Harper team's behaviour
  Targets have included AIDS activists, Nobel Prize winners and Road to Avonlea star.

International anti-poverty group singles out Canada and Harper for condemnation
  Three countries - France, Canada, and Italy - threaten to undermine world efforts - Avaaz.

Isotope privatization fiasco triggered "crisis"
  Nuclear regulator overruled to help corporate beneficiary of subsidies to AECL.

Israel continues to get unshakable support from Harper
  Problematic nature of promises takes on a new dimension with intense attack on Gaza Strip.

Keen's firing highlights public concern about safety and Conservative bully tactics
  Muzzling watchdog in isotope controversy could backfire on government and nuclear industry.

Kickbacks – Demanding party money from staff contradicts accountability promises
  Harper could be exploiting a loophole making it possible to funnel public funds into his party.

Kyoto undermined by rhetoric at APEC: Greenpeace
  Push for nuclear power could lead Canada to import massive amounts of waste.

Language change foisted on diplomatic corps
  Humanitarian concerns conflict with Conservative frame, minister dares staff to challenge him.

Lies and name-calling blow up on Conservatives
  Separatist-bashing could undo all Harper's efforts to win Quebec over.

Long, Tom – Architect of "Common Sense Revolution" to pick CBC News heads
  Rhetoric and framing expert a natural ally for Stephen Harper.

Luntz, Frank – Republican strategist appears to drive Harper's communications
  Media and communications direction changed after March 2006 visit.

McVety, Charles – Evangelical heavyweight roams in Harper's halls of power
  Lobbyist who helps run Christian pressure groups will testify on Bill C-10.

Media centre under PM's control would take a page from the Republican handbook
  Reporters appalled by attempts to subvert freedom of expression - Press Gallery president.

Medicare would end with Harper majority - Mike McBane
  Even now, the system is under extreme threats, with privatized clinics opening the door to trade challenges.

Military contracting – Afghanistan creates pretext for unscrutinized increases
  Much, possibly most, spending done without competitive bidding.

Mining companies should uphold Canada's standards abroad – Bill C-300
  Corporate social responsibility advocates in fight with industry lobby.

Minority government – Harper shows contempt for compromise by changing the rules
  Brinksmanship intended to contrast Dion's indecision with image of tough leadership.

Mission Accomplished...?
  If the mission was to waste nearly a million bucks on a photo op... yes!

Mission vs. war – How Afghanistan conflict is framed
  Canada's military involvement has been marketed as a noble cause, with help from Hillier, Horton's and hockey.

Mulroney, Brian – Former PM shaped current PM's thinking on Quebec and his politics
  Advice was to reach out to Quebec, "ditch all the yahoos", and move to the centre.

NASCAR racing – Did the Conservatives set a framing trap?
  Giving publicity to scheme flies in face of the sport's popularity and reinforces Harper's messages.

New Stephen Harper will be defined by Quebec and recession
  If deficit grows, he will face pressure for cuts that will define him, contrary to his strategy, as an ideologue.

Parliamentary democracy disdained under new rules
  Conservatives campaigning to disarm institutions of Canadian government and replace them with a regime based on plebiscites.

Phony grassroots groups peddle Conservative propaganda
  Canadians for Afghanistan and Friends of Science have connections to Harper's political agenda.

Playbook for election looks like vintage Alberta politics
  Name-calling is about mobilizing the base and creating distraction.

Poison food crisis shows Harper's contempt for government
  How many more people must die before the Harper government realizes that public health and safety must always transcend the boundaries of ideology?

Political interference charges dog Baird and other Conservatives
  Allegations of meddling in environment grants, municipal politics, and rebates through in-and-out campaign financing are under investigation.

Privatizing federal buildings a "sweet deal" for new owners
  25-year deal leaves taxpayers responsible for billions in undefined future rent and maintenance costs.

Public opinion, June 2007 – Harper has not learned to broaden the base
  Pollster evaluates public response to Stephen Harper in wake of end of Parliamentary session.

Quebec byelections – Veil controversy, sponsorship, Mulroney book, all play into strategy to win next election
  Conservative bid for Bloc votes may be countered by positions on environment, Afghanistan.

Quebec strategies bear fruit for Harper... and Layton
  By-elections redraw Canada's political map.

Recession – Harper comfortable with shrunken federal government
  But his no-deficit position would "accelerate, deepen and lengthen" any downturn — economist.

Refugee board patronage appointees will follow political directives
  Recent IRB appointees include anti-gay evangelical and brass from CLAC, the anti-union union.

Retreating, improvising and squabbling shake Harper team
  Spirit of compromise unlikely to last long, with new Commons seats a hoped-for source of Conservative support.

Ritz aggressively defends industry
  Embattled agriculture minister is known as bully and yes-man for Stephen Harper.

Secrecy is a Harper trademark – journalists
  Conservative government wins top marks again in reverse competition.

Stimulus needed
  Why we need a coalition government to deal with the economic crisis.

Surplus budgeting now framed as taxpayer benefit
  "Surprises" once scorned, now provide excuse to avoid social spending.

Symbols like hockey support Conservative frame
  National sport represents toughness and discipline.

US Right – Links
  Harper Conservatives are well networked with American right-wing activist, research, and communications organizations.

Wartime visit by PM not the first
  Robert Borden's voyages to Europe in 1915 and 1917 beat Harper by 90 years.

Wheat board ultimatum sends another ominous message to public agencies
  Frustrated by courts, Conservatives threaten unprecedented moves which critics charge will "hand over control to private multinationals".


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Friday, March 24, 2017
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