On Harper's 55th birthday, crunching some numbers for the 9th longest-serving PM

Campaign 2006- On the Harper Plane
Stephen Harper, then aged 46, speaks to reporters on his campaign plane, the day after winning the 2006 general election that would make him the country’s 22nd prime minister. (DAVID AKIN)

Today is Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 55th birthday. It is also is his 3,005th day in office. (The Library of Parliament counts his first day as Feb. 6, 2006, the day he and his first cabinet were sworn in.)

At 3,005 days in office, the country’s 22nd prime minister is its 9th longest-serving prime minister.

Here’s the top 15 as of today: Continue reading On Harper's 55th birthday, crunching some numbers for the 9th longest-serving PM

"Les premier ministres" meet in Quebec

Le premier Ministre du Canada Stephen Harper et Philippe Couillard, premier ministre du Quebec lors de la soiree du Gala Triomphe, jeudi le 24 Avril 2014 a Quebec.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Quebec’s le premier ministre Philippe Couillard met for the first time today in Quebec City. It was a cordial meeting, a Harper aide said, though, so far as I know the meeting was not on any official itinerary distributed ahead of time to the Parliamentary Press Gallery. (His attendance at the Gala Triomphe was on his public itinerar) The meeting wasn’t necessarily a secret but neither the PMO nor the premier’s office seemed to be making a big deal of it.

Photo journalists were not invited in to take a picture of the two men meeting (though I note, the first Alison Redford and Stephen Harper as Premier of Alberta and Prime Minister, there were photos.) though I fully expect that new racy newsmagazine 24/7 to have the “exclusive” pix any day now. My Sun Media colleagues in Quebec, though, snapped the two men together at an event honoring athletes. (Above)

In the meantime, Harper’s office has helpfully distributed this “read-out” of the meeting between the two men:

“Prime Minister Harper indicated that the federal government intends to work closely with the government of Quebec to advance common priorities related to the economy and job creation. They discussed a series of issues, including infrastructure and energy development, and also identified avenues for collaboration in other priority sectors, namely Premier Couillard’s “maritime strategy”.

The two leaders highlighted the importance of Quebec playing a leadership role within the federation.”

Colleague Charles LeCavalier has the write-up on the meeting for our French language papers.

I say: Good luck, Premier,  and good luck, prime minister, as you both work to make a more prosperous Québec “nation within a united Canada.”



North Korea stares at Abbott and Harper (and me)

Tony Abbott at the DMZ
Australian PM Tony Abbott April 9, 2014 at the DMZ between South and North Korea.
PMHarper at the DMZ
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the DMZ in December, 2009. (PMO Handout)
David Akin at the DMZ
Your correspondent at the DMZ, Dec. 2009. The blue hut that Abbott and Harper were photographed in is over my left shoulder. And that tall building in the background? That, folks, is North Korea.


Last week, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea. Here’s The Sydney Morning Herald‘s Philip Coorey reporting on Abbott’s visit: Continue reading North Korea stares at Abbott and Harper (and me)

The smartest money Marc Mayrand ever spent

So here’s the conspiracy theory.

Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand surely knows that the Harper government —  and its majority in the House of Commons — has a dim view of his impartiality. Whether that view is deserved or not is not the issue: The fact is Conservatives believe Mayrand has improperly interpreted and unfairly applied Canada’s election laws. And Mayrand or anyone at Elections Canada would have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to know this.

And now, here comes that same government with a request last fall for his suggestions on how elections law ought to be changed.

Mayrand certainly knows that there would be a good chance that this government will not heed his recommendations and, in fact, may even try to diminish the power of his office. If that happens, his only recourse will be the court of public opinion. Continue reading The smartest money Marc Mayrand ever spent

The "budget leaking plan" of the Ontario Liberals

Budget Rollout Calendar 2014-04-01

The document above, obtained by the Ontario Progressive Conservatives and provided to the media on April 1, 2014, is an alleged Ontario Ministry of Finance document.
The PCs claim:

“The Budget Leaking Team’s “Pre-Doc Communications Rollout” plan is 11-pages long covering 39 announcements over 27 days leading up to the Thursday, May 1, 2014 budget date.
•There is $5.7 billion in explicit new spending. This will widen the hole that already exists in the Liberals’ deficit projections.”