Dead man talking

town-hall

My life may be unconventional, but my beliefs are simple, traditional.

My country matters a great deal, as do freedom and democracy. Twice I have felt the awe of walking onto the floor of the House of Commons.

Those steps came eighteen years apart. Between them, I learned much. Elected again in 2006, I returned to Ottawa as an MP no longer filled with ambition to run the country, but with a restless populism. Two decisions came easily: This time I would give my allegiance first to the people, then to a party. Second, I would use new media – blogging, webcasting – to open up the political process.

Both of those brought me into instant and intense conflict with the prime minister. Within a week of returning to Ottawa I was ordered to go offline. I refused. Ten difficult months later I watched myself on TV being thrown out of my job, on Stephen Harper’s instruction. His was a government which did not value either populism or transparency. I was a man who believed liberty is not possible without both.

No longer in politics, I decided to flesh this story out. Not to exact revenge on the prime minister, since anyone who achieves such an office deserves respect. Rather, it’s a tale about democracy slipping away. Never have fewer of us voted than in the election of six months ago. We are more cynical, disengaged and distant from our leaders than ever.

And why not? When was the last time your MP knocked on your door, or wrote a daily blog allowing you to comment and question? Has he or she ever asked to you vote online before a tally was taken in the Commons? Sent you a personal email? Shot and posted a vid on an emerging issue, and asked for feedback?

In a few days my new book, “Sheeple: Caucus confidential in Stephen Harper’s Ottawa” will be published. Undoubtedly, it will cause a ruckus. It takes Canadians where they haven’t been before – inside the PMO, into the caucus room, into the prime minister’s home. It traces the ascent to power of a group of people I came to see were more a cult than a party, and a government insisting MPs be a silent, pliant flock.

As I conclude in it: “The story that follows is not a successful one. There’s no way to polish it. I became a polarizing figure in Canadian politics after taking a key decision in the days following the election of 2006. Stephen Harper made a demand I could not accept, and the consequences flowed.

Some people thought I was an heroic figure for choosing the path I did. Lots more believed I was an idiot or, worse, dangerous. Entire web sites were dedicated to my demise and, as an opposition backbencher, I received far more attention from political operatives and the mainstream media than I deserved. Those people in my riding who voted for a Conservative, and ended up with a Liberal, hated my guts and ultimately were revenged. Those across the nation who supported Stephen Harper, himself a polarizer, piled on.

Not a day passed during time on Parliament Hill that was not bathed in controversy and criticism. The contrast with my first tour of duty as an MP under Mulroney and Campbell was stark. None of this, the failure nor the influence, would have occurred without a blog.

The decision to become a web-based MP, to turn my time in Ottawa into an open discussion board, to poll and engage and reveal, and to see if digital democracy could improve a system that was losing relevance, is central to this story. The decision, one would also conclude, was fated. Parties and leaders do not want what a growing legion of citizens ask. A blogger with a foot in both worlds was a dead man walking.”

This is my first book about politics. And my last. Do not assume though, my fight for freedom and democracy has ended.

sheeple-cover-small1 Should you wish an advance copy, go here.

90 comments ↓

#1 Future Expatriate on 04.14.09 at 9:44 pm

Can’t wait for your book, Garth! As someone born in the US, I am woefully ignorant about Canadian politics, and there is no one better to learn about it from!

Thanks for writing it!

#2 Alberta Ed on 04.14.09 at 9:46 pm

OK, order placed. When my (autographed) copy arrives, I’ll contact my MP, Rob Anders, if he really exists, and offer to read it to him.

#3 Marc on 04.14.09 at 9:59 pm

Our riding no longer has an M.P. She resigned to run provincially.

Garth, what is your view of these kinds of politicians, who resign mid term or less then 6 months after a general election for their own interests? I think if for health reasons, or to care for a loved one facing health problems, by all means they can resign their seat. When they leave to continue working, I feel they should foot the bill for the unnecessary by-election themselves.

#4 "Joe Six Pack" North Vancouver Citizen Jr. on 04.14.09 at 10:06 pm

Nobility is just not for me…am just a regular guy…and told her Highness, she may be Queen of BC Bud and that I am a great west coast representative for her, but I just don’t want to live in a castle with moats, swashbuckling varmints around and talking in well vowelled posh vernacular.

…Anywho I digress, Garth, I believe this book will definately put you on the map across Canada…putting regular folk into the back rooms fo Parliament and really undressing those in power will endear you to every day Mr & Mrs Canada.

furthermore, it is about time your blog site can move forward from only Real Estate and into more meaty subject matters including “”””IMMIGRATION POLICIES.””””

lol

I wish you deserved success with this book.

JSPNVC jr.

#5 speculator on 04.14.09 at 10:48 pm

I started reading your blog as I wanted to know why there was so much hatred directed at you. As a member of REIN they tried to make you out to be a fool. They do not make Don Campbell out to be a fool as he has been spectacularly wrong over the last year. I have been reading your books and could consider you an idiot or brilliant. Closer to the latter. Being in Alberta Harper should have helped but with the income trust decision he screwed Alberta.
It would be helpfull for the people to be able to post to a sitting member of Parliament. Just looking at some of the posts here some better decisions could be made.
Real estate is great and my dream to own as much as possible but more important is the decisions of politicians as if I can not make a living I don’t care what my real estate does. I hope another politician runs a blog like this and listens.

#6 Westcoaster on 04.14.09 at 10:48 pm

I look forward to reading Garth. Being a pioneer in this media forum and shaking up the status quo like that takes real cajones. Well done !

#7 roy jones on 04.14.09 at 10:52 pm

I’d vote for you in a second, unfortunately I live in Alberta where Transparancy in politics has not existed for twenty years.

#8 Shawn on 04.14.09 at 10:55 pm

Bravo, I guess Harper did what he had to do and Turner did what he had to do.

It’s clear the party solidarity system is old fashioned and not what peole want. It will eventually crumble under the pressure.

The last Federal Election is the first time I seriously contemplated not voting or spoiling my ballot. (I started voting in 1978…)

#9 Investx on 04.14.09 at 10:57 pm

Garth for PM!

#10 Nicholas P on 04.14.09 at 10:57 pm

“Once you trust yourself to go mind-to-mind with great intellects, artists, scientists, warriors, and philosophers, you are finally free.” John Taylor Gatto

Thank-you for opening up this medium of communication to me Garth.

#11 Dave on 04.14.09 at 11:02 pm

wow, I never knew this story. Pretty bothersome. I will do my best to promote this site going forward!

#12 hobbygirl on 04.14.09 at 11:17 pm

Can’t wait for that new read.

I commend that you have the courage to speak your convictions loudly and openly.

It is a fact that the righteous have always been marginalized by the self-righteous and shameless self promoters we are all too sick of seeing everywhere these days. That is why every once in a while we see a light that shines brighter for a JFK or Martin Luther King. They illuminate the ideal of our common masses and whose impact is enduring through time. May the light shine brightly on you Garth.

#13 Soylent Green is People on 04.14.09 at 11:35 pm

Holy sheep, when do you freaking sleep? What book are you publishing next Friday? Your publisher must love you, plus this book sounds really really juicy. I’m def. planning to get it and read it.

Harper… BLAHAH HA H HA H AHH A CLLHHA HA H HA H AH AHH AH

#14 North Vancouver Citizen's Analyst on 04.14.09 at 11:43 pm

What do you expect from a PM who parades around in warm, fuzzy sweaters and forbids his MP’s to wish Brian Mulroney a happy birthday?
This guy is one step away from being a fascist.

On a happier note, I did catch him on CBC the other night in one of his funnier moments – they were replaying “March of the Penguins”.
He was the unusually tall one leading the rest of them to the promised land.

A touching and inspiring performance.
Maybe that’s where he got his penchant for sweaters.

#15 Bruce on 04.14.09 at 11:43 pm

I’m sure your previous books were good stuff, I just was never interested in reading what I already knew, more or less.

This one sounds like one I may have to read.

#16 Eduardo on 04.14.09 at 11:50 pm

Garth,

You’re sure doing your best to ensure Harper does not win and election again and The West goes back to being irrelevant in federal politics (not that I thought the Conservatives could win anyways, simply due to regional populations). Hopefully you sell one of these to every person in Ontario then you can take the money from the Liberal party you got for writing it and the book proceeds and retire nicely.

Believe it or not, as much I challenge you on this blog, I actually applaud the way you engage members of your constituency.

That being said, you clearly do not have a party allegiance so you shouldn’t have been representing either of them. Many people vote along party lines and they expect to be represented along party lines. I personally would have been one of the furious many in your riding, knocking on your door. But I’m going to leave it at that because it’s an old issue.

Anyways, I hope there’s some good contraversy but somehow I can see this being a giant anti-Stephen Harper rant for taking control of his party.

#17 CTM on 04.15.09 at 12:05 am

Just got “After the Crash” Looking forward…

You’re turning into Pierre Burton in at least one respect Garth, you’re writing ’em faster than I can read ’em!

Annnyyways, Steven Harper sucks, man. I mean come on!

#18 Prairie gal on 04.15.09 at 12:11 am

I can’t think of a better way to consistently engage with voters than blogging. Its a natural fit with democracy.

#19 Munch on 04.15.09 at 1:11 am

Brilliant!

I want that book!

Munch

#20 Happy Renter in North Van on 04.15.09 at 1:16 am

I worked on Parliament Hill for a PC backbencher in the Mulroney era and I have to agree with Garth’s premise… Backbenchers are neither consulted, appreciated or acknowledged by the Government of the day… I would often tell my MP, “When did you hear about this?”… He would tell me, “This is first I’ve heard about this (Government) decision.” As far as I’m concerned, 95% of MPs could be shaved monkeys and no one would notice a difference. (QP might be more interesting though)

#21 Fritz on 04.15.09 at 1:36 am

As far as democracy goes read Noam Chomsky. “Hegemony or Survival” and “Failed States” will enlighten you how modern politics really work. It is hard to disagree with his concept of corporatocracy. By the way, did’nt Chretien also rein in the Liberal Party when another one of our famous gun law votes went down? All the Liberal MPs were told to vote his way or it was the highway? One voted as per his constituent’s wishes and ended up doing a “Garth”? Many of us out West consider the democracy of both Federal and Provincial politics to be merely : ” Which way do you want to get screwed?” God Bless the internet for now we can finally circumvent the manufactured consent of the main stream media. Now that you have your book out of the way you better go for a ride!

#22 dd on 04.15.09 at 1:45 am

Man, you do stir up SH&T.

#23 kc on 04.15.09 at 2:52 am

Garth, If you actually are spilling the dirt and laying the corruption that flows from the infested halls of that building in Ottawa and you tell it like it is behind those closed doors…. sign me up….

#24 Anon - GTA on 04.15.09 at 3:11 am

Garth,

How do tons of these people manage when they (those that are 35+ ususally start having their health issues around this age) are left with no medical plan (Rx drugs, ambulance, etc… costs) once they are laid off.
Ontario doesn’t even provide Provincial Rx drug plan as Quebec provides…

#25 Da HK Kid on 04.15.09 at 3:43 am

Garth, I believe this book will be well received as not by the tale told as much (and I’m sure it is a great one) but the timing when we all are looking for the answers of why our government is a full on Ponzi scheme and how decisions are far from democratic and how our freedoms are being manipulated.

I am looking for a revolt on taxes. A revolt on HOW MONEY IS BEING SPENT! I have always joked with my international friends about Canadian Politics and the jokers and fools attempting to run the country.

BUT, as Canadians we just sit on the sidelines and let our freedoms disappear each day. Hopefully the GREAT RECESSION will open our eyes to the insanity we call our government and be less (I’m guessing) Sheeple day by day.

Good luck Brother!

#26 Jay Currie on 04.15.09 at 3:49 am

It was a courageous – in the “Yes, Minister” sense of the term – run in Parliament. I suspect your only error was to sit with the Libs. Garth, you are made of Independent stock and should have sat as one.

#27 glenpick on 04.15.09 at 5:52 am

Freedom and democracy are not the same, and are often not even compatible. Look forward to seeing this book.

#28 John From Campbellville on 04.15.09 at 7:12 am

#10 Garth should never have sat as independent stock as he has more to offer the people in Canada inside a fuctioning caucus. Not suprising Garth had a phone survey done to ask he’s constituents how we felt was the best way to serve his riding after his dismisal by stevie and most people I know had not voted for him but were happy to have him represent them based on his values. it’s time the people of Canada woke up and realized there is no more Progressive Conservative party in this country as it’s been replaced by the reform party rebranded to try and win the ultimate prize. Canadians should know by know all they got was stevie the Wolf in the sweater ( undoutedly made from big oils fake fibre).
Garth this Voter is proud to have you do what you do in the name of democracy.
Can’t wait to get my signed copy of the book I’m sure it will be interesting reading

#29 David Bakody on 04.15.09 at 7:13 am

Order placed Garth ….. please sign if at all possible. We can only hope you inspire more …. one MP at a Time could restore what is an honourable profession back into the hearts of those who choose to serve and those who accept leadership. Perhaps you should seek out a younger audience as well where adults could sit with their parents …. I remember sitting with my daughter when she attended university and a political person was speaking or the media on political matters. What great memories.

On another note:

Should Chrysler win all it wants from the workers it could spell the end to many hard years of union negotiations ….. sure y’all are LOL but it will be quite a different story when the snow ball rolls from coast to coast with lower wages, pensions and health care cost for everyone. All this while energy prices rise and “All governments” raise their costs as they increase their staff and MP”s. And the word is now out Harper has plans to bailout CAN WEST & CTV ….. I wonder why? could it be he will use them to sell wage and concession reductions for big business. The rich and powerful are not going to pay for the mountains of funds in stimulus packages …. matter of fact who do think is getting those contracts? Talk about Unions …. try Harper government non tendered contracts! Now there are headlines!

Off for a beautiful drive to SJ/NB to visit with an ode friend who is also retired. Will stop in Sailsbury for great breakfast at the Big Stop …. eat your hearts out.

#30 paulb on 04.15.09 at 7:30 am

Hi Garth, I agree with your view on housing.

Since you have so much financial experience what course of action (if any) could help us get out of this financial storm?

#31 SaraBeth on 04.15.09 at 7:36 am

Garth ~ You asked:

“When was the last time your MP knocked on your door, or wrote a daily blog allowing you to comment and question? Has he or she ever asked to you vote online before a tally was taken in the Commons? Sent you a personal email? Shot and posted a vid on an emerging issue, and asked for feedback?”

I am a landed immigrant. I cannot vote….yet.

But my NDP MP not only writes to my handicapped husband and I, she has visited our home and I have visited her office when I am looking for help.

When she is in her local office, she is available, without appointment, as much as she can be… Several times I have simply walked in, asked to meet with her, and have been ushered unquestioned into her office…been given coffee, and had a nice chat with her about different issues affecting me and mine. She KNOWS I cannot vote for her yet…but she gives willingly of her time just the same…

Coming from the States as I do… I cannot IMAGINE a State OR Federal legislator being that open and available to their constituents…not without a security check and a phalanx of people one would have to get through before you got to actually talk to the “great man/woman” in person…IF you ever did.

Coming as I do from outside your system… I have to say I am very impressed… Is it perfect? No…no system ever is… but there is an openness and a lack of “elite-ness” among politicians in Canada that I personally find refreshing…

#32 pbrasseur on 04.15.09 at 8:02 am

A book about politics!

Ouach! This time thanks but no thanks! Sorry, but I can’t think of many things less interesting than following Ottawa politics.

But I’ll keep following this blog if you keep it alive.

#33 Herb on 04.15.09 at 8:13 am

Ordered, and looking forward to getting some details you did not part with on your blog.

Sorry, Garth, I know you’ve done your bit, but we do need you back in active politics.

#34 Toronto C9 Renter on 04.15.09 at 8:17 am

Garth,

Given your inexhaustible energy for generating new books, blogs etc., you’ve clearly found your destiny and I wish you good luck with the new book.

(gosh, do you never get writer’s cramp, or at least Carpal Tunnel??)

For me, a big reason for the low quality of Canadian politicians is the lack of incentive — what is there to lure our best and brightest away from successful private lives?? Financial compensation is low, prestige for politicians (in Canada) is nil, job stress is high. In short, lots of hard work for limited reward.

Its no wonder we end up with people like our present Trade Minister in top government jobs

#35 lgre on 04.15.09 at 8:19 am

“As a member of REIN they tried to make you out to be a fool. They do not make Don Campbell out to be a fool as he has been spectacularly wrong over the last year.”

Campbell preaches to the heard, I have read his book and it’s not a bad book at all..but REIN members are way over leveraged and it will come to bite them. RE is Don’s life and so he will preach in positive territory, regardless of what is going on in the world of economics.

Nice to see another book come out Garth, I may read it (I read your 2 most recent)..I’m not that into politics as it’s all bullsh*t and nothing more, politicians all have their agenda and it’s not the people..it’s too make it into the history books along with Nero, Caesar, Hitler and so on..

#36 Got A Watch on 04.15.09 at 8:50 am

Well done Garth.

Stephen Harper is an source of constant embarassment to me. Every time I see him or one of his air-headed Ministers on TV, I want to throw something right through the screen.

And I voted for the moron. My riding has elected a Conservative consistently since the 1840’s, and we have zero to show for it. I can’t think of one thing here that the Federal Government has ever done in this riding, other than collect lots of taxes. We are just totally ignored because the vote is set in stone.

I could protest vote Liberal or NDP or Green, or not vote, it would not make any difference, the sheeple in this riding (Ontario rural) would elect a dead dog as long as it was the official Conservative candidate.

Time to get rid of the Harperite Conservatives. If that means a Liberal Government, so be it. My contempt for politicians could not be any lower, from all Parties. We need a 4 year/1 term limit, so some fresh blood can get in, and get rid of the useless incumbents.

#37 "Joe Six Pack" North Vancouver Citizen Jr. on 04.15.09 at 8:59 am

“This is my first book about politics. And my last.” – Garth

…Vdery doubtfull this blog turns back to exclusively Real Estate…We know what we need to know, time to move forward.

Imo, Federal Politic’s power will return to Central Canada…which in turn will lead to the Western Provinces “Separation”.

Ontario is an overpopulated, manufacturing Province and Quebec is the World’s leading Snow Removal Economy…no wonder they want Political Control back from the West.

With so many diverse “Needs” required by the either side of Canada…it is very excellent Ottawa Party Politics be shown for what it really is…….Power and Control.

…Did i ever mention Vancouver will become the new Financial, Trade, Cultural, Leisure Capital of the World…Vancouver don’t need the Power Brokers of Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto, New York City, Washington, the car makers in Detroit, their Muslim

DELETED. — Garth

#38 pbrasseur on 04.15.09 at 9:06 am

Politics is for the most part a fool’s debate. You get drawn into bitter and tiring arguments between this and that party when in fact once in power they are virtually indistinguishable.

The one thing they all have in common is they portray and defend statism and the raiding of pockets of honest hard working individuals while trying to stay popular.

(Here in Quebec it’s even more refined, we’re suppose to take side between nationalists and federalist when if fact the two agree on just about everything, as a result we end up with the biggest government of them all)

As far as politics in concerned the only thing I would be interested in (as another post puts it) would be a TAX REVOLT.

Politicians and the state have way too much influence in this country (and many others), the best you can do to fight that is to start ignoring them and when obliged not to treat them for the parasites that they are.

#39 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.15.09 at 9:07 am

Garth,

Not to exact revenge on the prime minister, since anyone who achieves such an office deserves respect.

I strongly disagree. The Office of the Prime Minister deserves respect, but the occupant must EARN the people’s respect. We do NOT vote for the Prime Minister. He is elected as an MP in his riding. Simple as that! He may have achieved the leadership position in his party, but that does not mean he has been ‘chosen’ by the Canadian people. We have no say in the matter in that regard thanks to our antique FPTP system. In short, what we have ais a semi-polite gang war of ideologues who serve themselves and a smal constiuency of supporters. At least they have the right colours Red and Blue just like the Bloods and the Crips.

Is our democracy in danger? Just look at how OUR (their’s actually) government has been run. Look at the fiasco of spineless Opposition that has allowed deficit budgets to occur, and now Ignatieff is saying TAX INCREASE to cover the tab. Look at the kindergarten called QP! If this is a democracy then I am a purple tufted Clang Bird!

Bring on the book! Better yet, bring on real change. We need a real leader, maybe the UoT can clone Barack Obama?

A pox on all their houses is my response.

#40 grandeprairiegirl on 04.15.09 at 9:17 am

Got it.
Am hoping for some juicy dirt in this not to be found in the papers.

Another good read is ‘The Fourth Reich’ for anyone who’d like to be enlightened. Ties alot of things together neatly.

#41 dekethegeek on 04.15.09 at 9:28 am

Garth, you self destructive saint.
You seem to be P**sing off the political elite and the “boys” in Big Business with your books. Keep it up.
What i find particularly amusing is…They dont get it. In this day and age “Blogs” are mere seconds away and as more and more elected officials are dragged kicking and screaming down the path of “accountability to their constituents” the “Leaders” will become increasingly irrelevent.
Ah the Age of Computing has finally shed some light on Back Room politics.
Gotta luv it.

#42 Gord In Vancouver on 04.15.09 at 9:58 am

Garth,

Don’t change your ways – you have plenty of support all across Canada.

This better not spread to Vancouver:

http://www.canada.com/Condos+will+auction/1497999/story.html

#43 Mike B formerly just Mike on 04.15.09 at 10:05 am

One can only hope that Harper becomes one of the soon to be unemployed.

#44 Benita Dechert on 04.15.09 at 10:11 am

I am looking forward to reading your new book.

I have enjoyed this blog, and learned a great deal from it and your last two books. The blog that inspired me the most though, was your political one. Maybe you can combine all your interests into one blog. Sort of a Pandora’s box. Topics of discussion to include politics, climate change, finances, real estate or what ever needs discussion at the time. Your blog could be a place where hope could be reborn.

Good luck with your book!

#45 WillsDad on 04.15.09 at 10:14 am

http://www.calgaryherald.com/prices+drop+first+time+since+1955/1498876/story.html

Can you say DEFLATION? Oh yeah baby!

#46 Uptown on 04.15.09 at 10:19 am

It looks like we’re in for quite a prolonged deflationary period.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/apr/15/us-economy-deflation-recession

#47 Jim on 04.15.09 at 10:21 am

Garth,
it is nice to see someone with integrity and courage. Harper is an arrogant, close minded right wing control freak who cost taxpayers millions by calling an election to save his own skin, after he tried to kick the Liberals at the knee when they were down. He is a mean spirited individual. What an pathetic contrast to Obama! The only other politician who is worse is former paver Gordon Campbell. Lucky for him he has no opposition. Who else can get away with having the lowest minimum wage in Canada while giving themeselves a 55 percent salary increase?

#48 Go Green on 04.15.09 at 10:22 am

I’ll wait until it arrives in the bookstores. I don’t have a Paypal account and don’t want to ask my DH to order it for me.

Re bailouts for media, I wonder how much this con government is currently spending, and will spend in the future, of our tax $$$ to prop up their friendly media to promote themselves. We know how they abused those 10%’ers. Iys all about free advertising at the tax payer expense so they can keep the can beef up their warchest.

#49 wellwell on 04.15.09 at 10:27 am

Garth:

One of the most charming aspects of your political journey is that, using modern technology, you tried to recreate the role of Member of Parliament as your great-grandfather knew it immediately after Confederation. In those days, M.P.s mattered because they were conduits for local public opinion. They could, and did, cross the floor more frequently because their power base was local and, consequently, the party system was weaker.

Red Tories and Progressive Conservatives are the only true conservatives in Canada, as your experience has shown. I sometimes wonder how neo-conservatives can call themselves conservative when they have no sense of history, and thus no idea how to preserve and replenish those things that deserve to be renewed.

When you were defeated last year, I thought, “At least now he has enough years in Parliament to receive a small pension.” Later you mentioned that you were donating your pension to charity. I should have known. You’re a class act all the way.

#50 O'Ryan on 04.15.09 at 10:34 am

I just ordered a copy and would have ordered one for my MP Ron Cannan,if I thought he would read it. He is a really nice guy and hard working,but if he wouldn’t be caught dead reading your book. Maybe he could tear off the front cover…nah…still too risky.

#51 RS on 04.15.09 at 10:50 am

Garth your my hero!

#52 Republic_of_Western_Canada on 04.15.09 at 11:39 am

#24 Anon – GTA —

Actually, at around age 35, those people who are taking care of themselves ( no obesity, stress management, proper exercise/sleep/diet etc) will be among the healthiest demographic.

The leading cause of death for teens and twenties are accidents. By the time you hit 35, you’ve generally calmed down a bit and have learned where all the sharp edges are and how to avoid them.

If many people are starting to have problems around that age, then they should really look at how they’re living, and not expect a nanny-state to start showering them with cheap or free medication.

This is the same kind of situation as blaming a bunch of real estate agents, marketers, builders, etc (regardless how crooked many are) for a housing crisis stemming from overselling houses. Like heroin, crack, or meth addicts, the real problem are the core consumers who decide to get on the hook for something that they should stay away from.

If a society becomes so rotten that people are doing their utmost to get knocked up, married etc, perpetrate overpopulation and mindless consumerism then that is what must stop and be fixed. If there were no market for all the nasty junk that can be produced in the world such as crack, crystal meth, or acres of detached chipboard housing and toxic mortgage securities, then it wouldn’t be built in the first place.

#53 Surmise on 04.15.09 at 11:45 am

#33 Herb on 04.15.09 at 8:13 am

Ordered, and looking forward to getting some details you did not part with on your blog.

Sorry, Garth, I know you’ve done your bit, but we do need you back in active politics.

And iff’n you duz, you’ll have a direct descendant of this man in your corner.

http://images.google.ca/url?source=imgres&ct=img&q=https://www.1st-art-gallery.com/thumbnail/185471/1/Portrait-Of-Pyotr-Alexandrovich-Chicherin-%24281778-1845%2429,-1809-12.jpg&usg=AFQjCNEmrTlnpJpuiphpdiSgGTI_O4BNwg

#54 Kash is King on 04.15.09 at 11:47 am

#8 shawn, I am someone who first voted PC (got disillusioned) next voted Reform, then Cdn Alliance, and finally Conservative (disillusioned yet again)…. I am also considering no longer voting or spoiling my ballot.
Whatever Stephen Harper is, he is NOT a conservative. Conservatives stand for “pay-as-you-go” “no debt” “no deficits” etc… etc… Clearly this is not what we are going to get… ever!

Whatever has taken control of Stephen Harper wants this country to remain forever indebted, and wants it’s citizens to remain also individually indebted.
Why are we all called “consumers”?
Whatever happened to “citizens” or “people”?

Looks like we’re all just sheep to be fleeced by debt payments ,with compounding interest , on an ongoing basis, likely for generations to come…

BTW, it’s the compounding interest part that makes the whole thing ultimately unsustainable and scary… “peak debt”

Will a real John Diefenbaker-style conservative please stand up?!

Maybe then I could be coaxed into voting again.

#55 K-W Realtor on 04.15.09 at 11:47 am

Garth, I’m hearing rumblings about imminent bank mergers with accompanying job losses in the 50-70% range. Can you make some discreet inquiries and confirm/comment?

#56 Mike B formerly just Mike on 04.15.09 at 12:13 pm

Another book hawker is on BNN just today regarding the topic of bubbles … ie real estate … stock market… bond market etc. His take on Canadian Real Estate is that the peak was late 2007 and that a 30% drop from that peak can be expected and that a bottom in RE might not happen until 2011. Basically what Garth Turner aka Braveheart has been saying for some time.

http://watch.bnn.ca/clip161323#clip161323

#57 Ken on 04.15.09 at 12:20 pm

I believe the pmo and crew are passing time till??? Kind of scary eh!

#58 Cash in King on 04.15.09 at 12:21 pm

Some things will never change. Prime Minister’s run THEIR country like dictatorships. Only yes man need apply. Non-yes man write books about their troubled experiences.

In the city with the highest unemployment rate in the country, Windsor, the outside workers have walked out on strike demanding 2-3% wage hike per year over 4 years and paws off their pension plan. The inside workers will wait until Friday before they go on strike with the same demands.

Will the last union person leaving Windsor please turn off the lights!

Savings Cash for the Crash!

#59 gold bugger on 04.15.09 at 12:22 pm

I second the mention of Chomsky’s Failed States. Reading it right now. Not sure if any of the individuals facts are surprising to a well-read person, but piled together in one book he sure makes a convincing case.

Also agree with pbrasseur about the tax revolt. Who cares which brand of politician is wielding power or in the provincial capital nearest you when all of them are merely raiders of my paycheque.

Good luck with the book. Though it won’t change anything.

#60 CJ on 04.15.09 at 12:27 pm

I look forward to the book Garth!

You mentioned the concept of “transparency” in government and the lack of voter turn-out.

I would make the point that credibility is generated by transparency.

The open-source community is highly transparent but isn’t a democracy – it’s a meritocracy. Perhaps the lack of voter turn-out is a measure of our loss of faith in democracy and the people’s desire for transparent, meritocratic governance.

You might find this article amusing: http://www.thestar.com/News/Insight/article/613535

#61 Grumpydawgs on 04.15.09 at 1:40 pm

Canwest Global has officially missed thier debt payments,announced thia AM on BNN. It looks like Izzy Aspers kids were not the sharpest tools on the bench. Had the Liberal party still been in power I may have sniffed a bail-out, but the Aspers were rabidly anti-Conservative Party during the heady Liberal days and that could be the final nail in thier coffin. Choosing the wrong side in politics has never been a good move. The local rags should take this lesson from history when lining up with the real estate whores, the bullshit propaganda campaign will come back to haunt them. FYI.

The spin douchebags are touting a ‘7%’ increase in real estate sales in March, what a joke, look into the stats and see that the market is still declining. What the spin whores want you to look at is the velocity of the decline, which they can’t hide, so they say instead it’s merely ” slowing”. LOL

Meanwhile, down in the big show the foreclosure moratorium has been lifted as scheduled and the spike in new foreclosures has gone parabolic as predicted. The number of Alt-A and Option Arm mortgages far surpasses the number of sub-prime mortgages and are only now beginning to re-set. This group won’t actually crest until late 2012. The bullshit artists and realty whores are trying to suck in as many losers and other sheeple as they can right now before the bad news goes mainstream and sinks the real estate market in the final wave down. So, don’t be a sucker, the sun may be shining but theres a very ill wind blowing in and it’s cold brothers and sisters, very very cool indeed.

“U.S. FORECLOSURE INDEX: Foreclosures Soar in March, Up 44 Percent Over February’s High
Lenders End Moratoria, Opening Flood of Foreclosures; Re-Defaults and Job Losses Also Take Their Toll

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Completed foreclosures hit another monthly record in March as 175,199 homes were lost to foreclosure, up 44 percent from February’s record high, according to the latest U.S. Foreclosure Index released today by ForeclosureS.com, a leading real estate information provider.

The number of foreclosed properties was up dramatically from 121,756 in February. Nearly 370,000 properties have been repossessed by lenders so far this year – 18.3 of every 1,000 households – up more than 38 percent from 266,986 in the fourth quarter of 2008, the U.S. Foreclosure Index shows, and up 76 percent from 210,280 in the first quarter of 2008.

The first-quarter 2009 total is the highest quarterly total of completed foreclosures since the foreclosure crisis began. Pre-foreclosure filings – filings that could lead up to a completed foreclosure – also reached their highest quarterly level, topping 600,000 for the first time since the foreclosure crisis began. ”

Good luck with the book Garth.

#62 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.15.09 at 1:43 pm

Some interesting news to ponder:

First Too much generation: Power corporation shutting down hydro-electric turbines at night because of negative pricing

At a time when rivers are overflowing with water, the Orillia Power Corporation has been shutting down the turbines at its three hydro-electric generating plants at night because of unprofitable market prices.

“Something is drastically wrong here,” said Don Fenwick, a former employee of the local power utility.

“This is the cleanest, most reliable, most efficient power there is. I worked there 29 years and we never shut down the generators in the spring when we had the most water. It sends me for a loop.”

OPC president John Mattinson said it bothered the company to take the generators out of service when the potential to produce renewable water power is at its peak.

Before the Conservative government moved from a power-at-cost system to a profit-making system, Orillia consumers directly reaped the benefits of cheap electricity produced in the municipally owned plants, Fenwick said.

Thanks Mike Harris, you imbecilic ass! Negative pricing indeed.

And more reality:

Consumer prices dip in March, post 1st annual drop since ’55

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — A key gauge of consumer prices fell unexpectedly in March and recorded its first annual drop since 1955, government data showed Wednesday, as slumping demand pushed down energy and food costs.

For the first quarter as a whole, output dropped at an annual rate of 20%, the largest quarterly decrease of the current recession, which began in December 2007.

Perhaps we should all start saying ‘Are we there yet?’

Odd, how they openly state the current Recession began in December 2007, but our very own ‘Economist’ Prime Minister couldn’t see it coming as late as the Fall of 2008. I guess he was too busy admiring himself in the Hall of Fame?

#63 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.15.09 at 1:48 pm

Now THIS is what leadership can accomplish!

Obama highlights ‘unprecedented’ tax cuts and commitment to simpler system

Obama says that “we need to simplify a monstrous tax code that is far too complicated for most Americans to understand, but just complicated enough for the insiders who know how to game the system.”

He says he’s asked Paul Volcker and the administration’s Economic Recovery Board to review the tax code and report back to him by year’s end. “We will rewrite the tax code so that it puts your interests over any special interest. And we will make it quicker, easier, and less expensive for you to file a return, so that April 15 is not a date that is approached with dread ever year,” Obama vows.

Anyone want to bet how long it will take Oddawahaha to catch on to this needed change?

#64 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.15.09 at 2:08 pm

They STILL don’t get it!

Our view on corporate compensation: Banks seek post-bust excuse to resume outsized pay: If they want to repay Treasury, fine. But let’s not repeat bonus madness.

Now, however, the sentiment has changed. With their balance sheets starting to improve, and their employees chafing at government-imposed pay restrictions, several banks are in a race to be the first to pay back the Treasury. Goldman Sachs made its bid this week, announcing a stock offering to raise money. Last week, Wells Fargo announced unexpectedly strong earnings in what was widely seen as a kind of financial preening on the Treasury’s doorstep.

If banks want to pay back Washington, great. And Treasury should allow them to do so, without regard to whether this might make other banks look weak, which was Paulson’s fear when he forced the money on the biggest banks. Even so, there is a troubling gold-rush quality to the race to be rid of government. If ginned-up profits were the old benchmarks for rationalizing outsized bonuses, breaking free of government restrictions could be the new one, with a similar incentive to take on outsized risk.

This is apparent in how quickly bank executives turned against the bailout once Congress slapped on pay restrictions. It is even more evident in the actions some are already contemplating.

Much more to read

#65 dd on 04.15.09 at 2:09 pm

#62 Bill-Muskoka

Ya, just look at Natural Gas. Multi year lows. Elecl is priced off NGas.

#66 desert dweller on 04.15.09 at 2:31 pm

Garth said: “Not to exact revenge on the prime minister, since anyone who achieves such an office deserves respect.”

I would ask Garth to reclect upon the personal characteristics and actions that are required to ascend to the top of the political organization chart, and explain how these characteristics and actions are deserving of respect.

#67 dotava on 04.15.09 at 2:37 pm

#16 Eduardo on 04.14.09 at 11:50 pm

We see Ur “smart” comments for a while now – but maybe is better 4 U to learn anatomy and where brain is located. (Sorry I couldn’t resist – U R [email protected] stupid or “dirty” – what is the same).

#68 "Joe Six Pack" North Vancouver Citizen Jr. on 04.15.09 at 2:48 pm

Garth’s 21st Century Pary Platform

Garth had already developed a “reformed” and “fair” income tax before the copy cats south of the border announced theirs

As Garth’s designate Federal Finance Minister, we both have discussed the above and other new reforms to present to the countries constituents.

Garth has deleted certain portions of my previous postings because its not the right time for more radical ideas.

And the 21st Century Party is different from all current political parties, as is Vancouver BC. from the rest of Canada.

namaste

#69 rory on 04.15.09 at 2:50 pm

Hi all… just a couple of things…

It is unbelievable, to me, the contempt many show regardless of anything. If it walks and talks it is worthy of contempt (yes, I am guilty at times). I can only imagine people like GT must just shake their heads at the outrage without the parties decrying heads roll not knowing the whole story. Chalk that one up to MSM’s and the people’s short attention spans. If it doesn’t spin well it must then be worthy of contempt …like I say …amazing (in a bad way).

Second, some are calling GT a hero for getting out and following his own path – maybe yes, maybe no. I have to imagine it is with heavy heart GT felt he had to leave and/or change parties. Being out of government does allow amazing freedoms but inside gov’t you can change those freedoms. Sheeple is a book I am sure Mr. Turner wishes he did not have to write, IMO.

P.S. – when I do show contempt for something (try not to make it personal. Again not always successful) it is usually from a real experience not from reading, imagining, guessing, following the group or blaming others for my misfortune.

#70 PTDBD on 04.15.09 at 2:51 pm

Natural gas…it’s a gas, gas, gas when you try to lock in that multi-year low into a long term billing plan. They still haven’t come down in their lock-in price. Hey politicians who wasted no time in giving yourself raises, wake up and do something for the sheeple for a change!

My provider sent me a helpful letter advising me to lock in for five years at (drumroll)………$13

That just happened to be at the market top during the last rise, whocuddaguessed? Have they come down since? Not much.

#71 dotava on 04.15.09 at 3:02 pm

#20 Happy Renter in North Van on 04.15.09 at 1:16 am

When you mentioned Mr. Mulroney – you should watch last night (they don’t like to many people to see) how Mr. commissioner and BM lawyer tried to distort the truth that our former PM deal with mobsters. As soon as we bring the truth to the light – suner we will have credibility to call self “democratic” country. Sorry but after what I see last night we are much closer to “Zimbabwe” (I am not offending people of Zimbabwe) than to democratic society.

#72 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.15.09 at 3:14 pm

#65 dd

This economy should be called the B&S Economy for Blow (Inflation) and Suck (Deflation) While we are trying to all cope with decreased asset and investment values, the others keep raising their prices. We have a LOOOOOOONG way to go before this gets resolved I think?

#73 Kash is King on 04.15.09 at 4:19 pm

Mommy !! ?

http://news.goldseek.com/InternationalForecaster/1239822034.php

#74 Stan Farba on 04.15.09 at 4:37 pm

Waiting 25 years

Todays News
In five weeks, the Dow gained 22%, its biggest consecutive five-week run on a percentage basis since 1933, when it gained 31%.

Yesterdays News

From its peak in 1929 until 1932, the Dow Jones Industrials crashed a cumulative 86%. But starting in 1933 the Dow raced ahead with a 66.7% gain. From 1933 until 1937, the Dow doubled in value. By 1937, the global economy began deteriorating once more combined with political turmoil in Europe. The Dow plunged 33% in 1937 and began a five-year bear market until 1942.

But if an investor bought stocks in late 1932, he still would have been sitting on a profit by the end of 1937 – despite the big drop that year.

It’s a different story if an investor bought equities in 1929; where he would have waited 25 years to break-even.

#75 Kash is King on 04.15.09 at 4:47 pm

Some strong opinion here:

http://www.chrismartenson.com/blog/america-being-looted/16444

#76 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.15.09 at 5:22 pm

#73 Kash is King

Please follow that guy’s ‘unbiased’ advice. You will make millions for sure!

#77 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.15.09 at 5:33 pm

And more news of interest. I bet Rush Limburger will be their leader?

Obama administration issues warning over rightwing extremists: Leaked homeland security memo says radicals may recruit Iraq and Afghanistan veterans

And the UK is going for it…the AS(ton)Sets that is!


UK liquidators act to seize classic Aston Martin from Bernie Madoff’s brother: Florida court grants restraining order on Peter Madoff’s sports car, said to have been purchased for $235,000 using funds from collapsed London operation

James ‘Bond’ (all puns intended) Madoff is NOT! You might guess the Brits will be acting on ‘Q’!!! Mmmmm!

#78 Too Old Bob$ on 04.15.09 at 7:09 pm

“#62 Bill-Muskoka (NAM)”
At a time when rivers are overflowing with water, the Orillia Power Corporation has been shutting down the turbines at its three hydro-electric generating plants at night because of unprofitable market prices.

Yep this sucks, but that’s how it works.
I use to run 3 Electrical Turbines that inject Natural Gas. At night I had to monitor electrical prices. When prices were high (between aprox. 5:00-9:00 am. and 4:00-9:00 pm.) I would run Natural Gas Compressors. Once the price dropped because everyone went to bed, skyscrapers shut most of their lights off etc., then I would switch the system to Electrical Turbines, thus saving piles of money.
The problem stems from the fact (as mentioned) the big Electrical Generation Facilities can’t shutdown immediately after the power usage drops off. We need these big units to supply enough power while there is peak demand or else it goes to “Brown Outs”. The only feasible way to respond to lower usage, is to shutdown the Turbines that react immediately. This is why the Hydro-Electric units are one of the easiest ways to respond to lower use. Just close the valves and bypass. Yep! what a waste. Some of the Companies have realized this and are starting to build more Natural Gas Turbines. At present there is one being built North of Calgary. It will be totally automated from a Control Room. During peak times it will start up to 3 Turbines as needed. (about 10-25 minute start times) and thus provide electricity at peak times. Then when things calm down, they push the button and down they come. (about 15 seconds to get off the grid). More of these Turbines are needed to help prevent the issues as mentioned above, problem is, you need to build pipelines for the gas, build the Turbines, plus profits depend on the price of gas. (which is cheap now).
Check you bill, electrical prices should be lower now or soon be. Of course they could try to rip you like they do with gasoline prices. :(

#79 Too Old Bob$ on 04.15.09 at 7:33 pm

Well Garth! this should be interesting. A bit of William D. Gairdner and Peter C. Newman format I hope. A slight change from Financial information to nitty gritty insider trading politics. Bring it on, I’m up for a good read. (how do you make a smiley face with a devil look and little horns?)

PS. Any idea on bookstores in the West. I also don’t have Paypal and don’t want to ask the kids, or they will send me to the funny farm.

On sale everywhere April 24. I like horns. — Garth

#80 Eduardo on 04.15.09 at 9:27 pm

Hey dotava,

I’ve got an idea. If you don’t want to contribute facts, opinions or ideas, shut up.

#81 Irene on 04.15.09 at 11:13 pm

Odd, how they openly state the current Recession began in December 2007, but our very own ‘Economist’ Prime Minister couldn’t see it coming as late as the Fall of 2008. I guess he was too busy admiring himself in the Hall of Fame?

He was too busy choosing which color wooly sweater he should be wearing. or maybe he was taking a frfreshcrash course in economics.And I totaly agree with you Bill, for any perdon to deserve respect, they need to be able to display respect for others. Only then will they have mine.

Cheers

#82 dd on 04.15.09 at 11:13 pm

#70 PTDBD

“My provider sent me a helpful letter advising me to lock in for five years at (drumroll)………$13”

You have to be kidding. Wonder if the provider went long and is wanting you to help them out!

#83 Irene on 04.15.09 at 11:17 pm

OOPs, this line He was too busy choosing which color wooly sweater he should be wearing. or maybe he was taking a frfreshcrash course in economics.

It should of read like this:Maybe he was too busy choosing which color wooley sweater he should wear or maybe he was taking a refresher test on a course in economics.

#84 john m on 04.16.09 at 5:48 am

“Not to exact revenge on the prime minister, since anyone who achieves such an office deserves respect.”…..I can not agree with you on this one Garth….”its not whether you win or lose its how you play the game”– in fact i can think of nothing that he has done that deserves respect… he has lied to the people over and over again,tried to turn our democracy into a one man dictatorship,threatened and expelled the representatives of the people who did not follow his every wish (the same people whose backs he rode to power on),he has piloted in candidates to ridings,bribed others to abstain from running,destroyed the careers of our most promising representatives,accused of bribery for a vote to win an election,…………………it goes on and on for pages and pages—-sorry respect i have none only contempt. …………. Looking forward to reading your book Garth.

#85 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.16.09 at 9:55 am

#78 Too Old Bob$

Yes, I know having worked in the power generation industry (nuclear) myself. Start up times are very long for boilers, less for nuclear, and almost instantaneous gas turbines, diesel, and of course, hydro generation.

We have the technology to store that generated power, but because it has become a commodity such conservation is not part of the ‘investors’ game plan.

Too bad Tesla’s ideas were never completed then the power would just be transmitted and received like radio signals.

BTW, if you get a chance watch ‘The World’s Toughest Fixes’ on Discovery Channel. Nothing like working on a tower or sitting on the edge of a helicopter fixing a live 500KV transmission line! Whoaaaaaaaaaa!

#86 TS on 04.16.09 at 11:30 am

Hey Garth we’d love to see you run for political office again! My wife and I made our first political donations in our lives to help support your efforts in the last election…and we’ll do it again if you decide to run in the next federal election.

Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later as we cannot wait to see the backside of the current egomaniac Prime Minister and his mindless robots.

#87 Too Old Bob$ on 04.16.09 at 2:57 pm

“BTW, if you get a chance watch ‘The World’s Toughest Fixes’ on Discovery Channel. Nothing like working on a tower or sitting on the edge of a helicopter fixing a live 500KV transmission line! Whoaaaaaaaaaa!”

Ya! Bill, I actually watched that documentary . It was rather bone chilling to say the least.
I used to climb a Incinerator, 360 feet straight up on a metal ladder that was bolted to the cement, just to change a light bulb. The view was spectacular, but eerie because the stack use to sway a bit from the wind. Overall thrilling. Now would I want to do the job they do in that documentary……no friggin way.

#88 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.17.09 at 9:41 am

#87 Too Old Bob$

Then you will love the episode where the crew replaces the microwave antenna atop the 2,000 foot high tower in North Dakota. They use a Jack Boom to get above the top and then remove the old one and hoist the new one into place in a mere six hours.

That tower can be seen above the clouds when flying over North Dakota and for miles, and miles away on the ground.

Personally, if I am even thinking about getting that high up in the air it will be in an airplane. LOL

#89 Glenn on 04.17.09 at 11:48 am

Your point about you being the kind of MP that “reaches out” to the public is well taken.

You are a rare person indeed!

Now, can I borrow $50?

USD plz k thnx

#90 Too Old Bob$ on 04.17.09 at 2:37 pm

#87 Too Old Bob$
Then you will love the episode where the crew replaces the microwave antenna..

Oh! I’ll keep an eye open for when it comes on again.