Election choice: Integrity or the next revolution?
Canadians are so polite.
Even our revolutions are so bloodless that hardly anyone notices.
The last time the public rose up, 12 years ago, it destroyed the ruling party without a shot being fired. Tired of the sleaze and arrogance of Brian Mulroney's government, voters crushed the Progressive Conservatives at the polls, reducing them to a rump of a rump of only two seats, and sending a clear message: no more.
The scattering of the Conservative Party to the winds led to the formation of the aptly named Reform Party by former Tories disgusted at Mulroney and his followers.
And the Mulroney Conservatives were replaced by the Liberal Party of Canada, which has shown itself to be --- a party of corruption and even greater arrogance.
Worse, the Liberals now insist they can never be replaced. Their sense of entitlement, where even a stick of chewing gum has to be charged to the taxpayers, exceeds all reason.
But their biggest crime is having convinced voters that everyone is as corrupt as them. How often have you heard the sentiment "Why bother voting. They're all the same"? In the ultimate hypocrisy, the party that cries crocodile tears about the "democratic deficit" says all politicians are equally venal and untrustworthy. Oh, and vote Liberal.
They may have flummoxed the pundits and pro-Liberal reporters, but The Black Rod wants to be on the record as saying that's not true. There are honest people out there. Decent people who believe in public service as a public good.
Some of them are even Liberals, members who still retain the capacity for shame at what their party has done and who might be capable of creating a Reform Party of their own.
Canadians are afraid of change. In the United States, they have an order of succession in the event the President is disabled or impeached and convicted. The next person in line takes the office, beginning with the Vice-President, then the speaker of the House of Representatives, the President pro-tempore of the Senate, the Secretary of State, and so on.
The framers of the constitution put faith in the people to judge the holders of the top office, to keep them or remove them by election, but to have no fear of the person holding the job--- for they can always be replaced.
In Canada, we have an Opposition Party which is, in theory, the government in waiting, the next in line, if you please. If the Opposition Party can never be the government, then Canada has become a one-party state, no different than Zimbabwe or Uganda, where the pretence of multi-party democracy is maintained only until it threatens the ruling elite.
The coming election is probably the most important election in the history of the country. There is only one issue. Integrity.
Not health care.
Not the economy.
Not national defence or crime or marriage.
Will Canada be ruled by a party of thieves, a party that has stolen tens of millions of dollars that we know of, that has made instant-millionaires of party supporters with taxpayers' money, that has wasted literally billions of dollars and goodness knows how much of that money has gone to kickbacks and payoffs and into the coffers of the Liberal Party?
The Liberals pretend they want to run on issues. But their only issue is spending taxpayers' money to bribe voters.
In the run-up to the election they were announcing a billion dollars of spending each day. Was any of this preceeded with detailed policy statements, or debate on the merits, or anything other than unadulterated vote-buying?
* Health Care? Here's 41 billion dollars. Do you want more?
* Indian Affairs? Here's four billion. Plus two billion. See you next election.
* Immigration? Here's some mega-millions. When it runs out, there's more where that came from ---as long as you vote Liberal.
* Defence? Start spending this billion. We need the news announcements asap.
* Crime? So the billion or two we spent on a gun-registry didn't do a thing. We promise to change the laws that we said all year we'd never change. Trust us. In the meantime, can we give you some money?
The Progressive Conservative Party under Brian Mulroney and his short-lived successor Kim Campbell was shattered by the decent members of the PC party as much as by the rest of the public. If the decent members of the Liberal Party don't stand up to be counted, then the message of this election will be as clear as the election of 1993: kleptocracy is good.
How do you build a country on that?
The Liberals re-election campaign has begun with a smear, hinting that the unity of the country is at stake if the Conservatives win. The future of Canada is at stake, but not the way the Liberals and the pundits see it.
If Canadians can't vote the Liberals out this time, when their corruption and arrogance has been exposed as never before, then they never can.
And that means Canadians, especially in the West, will have to reconsider what it means to stay within the federation.
The West is already irrelevant to the Liberals in terms of seats. They ruled the country after the last two elections only by the seats they won in Ontario. If the Liberals can never be replaced because Ontario will never support a party based in the West, then we have to face the fact that we have two distinct power blocs within the country, and one has the power to impose its will on the other.
And believe us, the plans are in the works. Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal Party's star candidate (and heir apparent to Paul Martin) has already declared the need for a royal commission to investigate the "fiscal imbalances between provinces and their effects on federalism."
You don't need a decoder ring to understand what that means.
Alberta has money and the Liberals in Ottawa want a piece. A kickback. Old habits die hard. And you can bet they're planning how to spend all that Alberta money already.
If Alberta lets them.
The next revolution might be coming sooner than you think.