Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hubris in stone-walling, hair-splitting & distractions...the new style of government

Canada's unemployment rate is running at 7.3% currently just slightly lower than the U.S. percentage of 9.1%. Ben Bernanke says, in the U.S., that this is a national crisis, but in Ottawa, the headlines are about flags, abuse of government jets, abuse of G8 funding, and now the opening of the abortion debate.
Only in Ottawa, you say; pity!
While the world is watching the real threat of a global meltdown in the economy, with a potential Greek default on its debt, (in fact some are saying she must default), and the Canadian dollar falling daily, the Conservatives in Ottawa are "distracting" from their own policies of do nothing to stimulate jobs, and do nothing to address global warming and climate change, with the kind of news stories that could be called marginal given the seriousness of the current situation.
Not only that, but, there are some other dangerous warning signs in the way these stories are surfacing.
Tony Clement sits stoically while the opposition pummels his reputation with e-mail evidence that he did indeed orchestrate pork-barrel spending of lavish proportions in his home riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka. Other cabinet ministers, like John Baird the government's attack-dog, answer for him in the House of Commons. So part of the political story is stone-walling.
And then there is new evidence today that Peter McKay, the current erstwhile Minister of National Defence has spent $3 million on government jets for his own professional transportation. Not bad for a defeated leader of a former Progressive Conservative party that "merged" or was swallowed by the Reform Party, to morph into the current party of government.
The member who has opened the abortion debate says publicly that his group has learned the lessons from the Harper government that 'when we spoke quietly behind closed doors' we were listened to only briefly. So now we are becoming aggressive and we will get noticed. He is right on the process front. This is a government that can and will only pay attention to the loud voices, and they believe the world responds only to loud voices. As if a loud voice made thinking unnecessary. So we also have a government of social and political bullies.
There is another disturbing development with the confluence of stories coming out of Ottawa.The Prime Minister declared in the election campaign, and, according to one of his party's pundits, demanded that all candidates for his party sign a commitment (recall those U.S. pledge forms against raising taxes of any kind at any time) not to re-open the abortion debate.
Now that Brad Trost, the MP for Saskatoon–Humbolt, has gone rogue on his and his party's commitment not to open the debate, we can all take it to the bank that religion trumps political commitment.
And then there is the matter that Bev Oda and her department have funded International Planned Parenthood, but only in counrties where abortion is not permitted, as their way of 'finessing' the abortion debate. Unfortunately, it was their own member, Trost, who blew that slick move out of the water.
And then there is the distraction of a private member's bill to fine or to put in jail for up to two years anyone (or group or agency or corporation) that prevents any Canadian from flying the Canadian flag. This apparently refers to citizens who have been told to take their flag down, by their condo corporation's board. And that is merely a tempest in a tea pot, legally overriding provincial and municipal laws, not to mention condo bylaws. More political theatre for the "little guy" (in this case a few veterans) while all the while championing the rich and the big corporations.
So we can see that stone-walling, aggression, hair-splitting and religious fundamentalism are all evident from the government, not to mention a complete overt campaign of distraction/cover-up so that the truth becomes the final casualty, in this Ottawa version of the "fog of war"....
And the media, so busy just barely covering the tops of these many icebergs, hardly has either the time or the resources to uncover the government's chicanery.
What is the appropriate political principle here? Isn't it that governments are not defeated by their political opponents; they defeat themselves by their own hubristic chicanery.In this case, so drunk are they on their own "majority" that they have already lost their way, and we are only months into a four-year mandate.

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