This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The Honest Broker

What a difference a year can make. It wasn't all that long ago that the leading contender for the federal Liberal leadership tweeted that he could be persuaded to support Quebec separation under the threats to Canadian values he views emanating from the Conservative-led government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. That was back when the Liberals were struggling with their diminished prospects after the last federal election that brought the Conservatives a majority government.
"There is a way of viewing social responsibility, openness to others, a cultural pride here in Quebec that is necessary to Canada," he said during a talk with host Franco Nuovo,  nationalist Quebec writer.
"And I always say that if I ever believed Canada was really the Canada of Stephen Harper and we were going against abortion and going against gay marriage, and we were going backward in 10,000 different ways, maybe I'd think of wanting to make Quebec a country."
During the talk show Nuovo expressed surprise at Trudeau's remarks, leading the man to  add: "Oh yes, absolutely. If I no longer recognized Canada, I know my own values."
Absolutely and without a shadow of a doubt he knows his own values.
"To have Mr. Mulcair pandering to his sovereigntist or soft-nationalist base in Quebec at the expense of national unity indicates a brand of cynical politics that is exactly what the country needs least. If the Supreme Court asks for a 'clear majority', and if Mr. Mulcair says 50 percent plus one is a clear majority, how would Mr. Mulcair define an unclear majority?"
The same way, one might assume, that he is capable of recognizing that the values of which Mr. Trudeau spoke so passionately and which are upheld as well by the NDP, were assured by the Prime Minister to be protected by Parliamentary recognition and law as Canadian accepted values in the general social contract. That there is no threat to those values being undermined by the current Conservative government.
Perhaps under the influence of his fabled charismatic charm, perhaps as a result of sheer forgetfulness, perhaps because of a sense of overweening civility, courteous to a fault, the interviewer who reported later on the content of her conversation with Mr. Trudeau, did not gently remind him that his current indignation over the stance of Quebec separation does not quite reflect his remarks of a year earlier.
But this is Justin Trudeau, the statesman, the man who would be king - and if not king, then prime minister would do. If it was good enough for his father it is most certainly good enough for him. And he is now in preparation mode for undertaking a political battle that would see the Liberal Party and the NDP struggle against one another for Quebec support in the next election. 
Although the Conservative Party proved it could win a majority without Quebec, neither of the two opposition parties is likely to be so fortunate. And since the NDP - initiated under the leadership of the late Jack Layton - courted Quebec separatists with a compassionate understanding of their grievance and vowed to support the 'fairness' of a low-threshhold majority, they announced themselves in opposition to the Clarity Act.

And duly introduced Bill C-470, drafted by Thomas Mulcair and MP Craig Scott, to counteract the Clarity Act. They will not stand to be part of Canada's political majority that would bully Quebec into remaining in Confederation. And this, of course, is the party that aspires to become the government in the next election. They should be so lucky. Canadians should be so unfortunate. 
Their bill was dubbed the "Unity Act", and if that isn't double-speak, what is.

"Mr. Mulcair should know better. To bring forward that motion is the height of both hypocrisy and political gamesmanship of the worst kind. If I needed another reason to cross out the idea of co-operation with the NDP, that's an obvious one", sputtered the self-righteous leader-in-waiting of the Liberal Party of Canada, and newly-minted champion of Confederation.

Obviously, no one ever sat young Justin down and took the time and patience to clarify for his edification what 'hypocrisy' means, what 'political gamesmanship' means and precisely what 'values' and their declaration commit the honest broker to.

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