By Jason Menard
At the rate we’re going, this country is going to wake up with one heck of a hangover on Jan. 24 th. Of course, when you sleep with the Conservatives, don’t be surprised when you wake up with blue balls.
Canadian memories may be long, but they’re selectively so. While this orgiastic flagellation of the Liberal Party of Canada continues for the sins of its past continues, we are crossing into a dangerous new area – especially for left-leaning Canadians. In the zeal to punish the Grits we’re setting the stage for a Tory majority government.
We remember the Liberal transgressions because they’ve been thrown in our faces repeatedly by the opposition. We forget the steps the Party has taken to clean things up and the measures for greater accountability that have already been put into place. And that’s fine because, as an electorate, we have the right to feel swindled. We have the right to choose to go another way in government. But for those on the Left, is letting the Right into absolute power the right thing to do?
Since we’re on the topic of memory, let’s not forget where the Conservative Party came from – Reform. This party, just a scant few months ago, was watching its leader bleed out from the knives in his back. And the hidden right-wing agenda is not so hidden, but Stephen Harper and his handlers have done a masterful job of taming the wolf and parading him around in sheep wear.
In fact, some Canadians view the Conservatives as a gentle, moderate alternative to the ruling Liberals. They believe Canada will be the same as it ever was. But these are not your father’s Conservatives. People are forgetting the opposition they felt for the Reform and its offspring, the Alliance. Those parties were dismissed as too right wing, yet when the swallowing of the old PC party by the newer Reform/Alliance was finally complete, only the old PC guard – your father’s PC party – was upset about the merger, because they knew the moderate small-c conservative voice was silenced.
Yet, in this election campaign, another voice has been silenced – or gagged, as you may have it – in that we’ve yet to hear the annual right-wing outburst that would shed light on the truth behind the image. A friend and astute political observe recently said to me that his concern was that the right-wing hawks have had the gaffer tape stretched across their mouths for the duration of the campaign, and it’s only a matter of time after an election for the tape to come off.
The Conservatives have done a masterful job of defining the media coverage. Their policy-a-day platform has kept the media interested on what’s next, without leaving the time to delve into backstory. The campaign promises of a GST tax cut have been well received by those who will be most negatively affected by it – the poorer members of society. And, finally, when all else fails, they’ve effectively rallied the public against the concept of Liberal corruption.
But what are we forgetting? Are we forgetting that Harper eagerly swallowed Bush’s weapons of mass destruction claims in Iraq and would have sent Canadian troops into a questionable war with no definable exit strategy? Are we forgetting that Harper has gone on record supporting a continental economic and security integration with the U.S. that would include a broadened continental energy strategy? Are we ready for that?
Consider what appear to be the issues facing this world in the next few years. The back-burner flames that are Iran’s nuclear issues appear to be on the verge of raging. With his support of the U.S. stance on Iraq, do we expect any different when and if the U.S. unilaterally decides to take proactive measures against Iran? What about our richest natural resource – water? Already the U.S. is looking for additional supplies of fresh water and we have more than we can imagine. Water is going to be the new oil in a few years, but do we want someone so eager to cede control of our natural resources in charge? Gay rights? Abortion? Social programs? Do you really know what you’re getting, or is this “at least it’s not the Liberals” conviction enough to base your vote upon?
You don’t want the Liberals in, fine. But don’t go thinking that the Conservatives are a moderate, closer-to-centre alternative. A Conservative minority may not be a bad thing, as long as there’s a solid NDP/Liberal presence to hold them in check. But are we ready for a full-scale paradigm shift in the House of Commons to the right? Remember, a majority means five years – FIVE YEARS – of right-wing leadership with limited opposition.
Thanks Jack Layton for being Harper’s most effective campaign tool. You’ve been so effective in bashing the Liberals that the Conservatives are now on their way to a majority. And your decision now to target the front runner may be a case of too little, too late.
So what is a left-leaning Canadian to do? Do you hold your nose and vote for the Liberals because they’ve at least proven that they can effectively manage a country? Do you cast your ballot for the NDP, which has never had an opportunity to show what it can do at a federal level? By splitting the left-wing vote are we allowing the Conservatives to pass in the far-right lane?
The Conservative Party is a political Trojan Horse for Canada. The Tories appear to be a gift for those voters disenchanted with the Liberals – but we all know how that gift worked out for the Trojans.
We have to choose the Canada we want, but when it comes to who will rule ad mare usque ad mare, we have to keep in mind another Latin phrase – caveat emptor, buyer beware. Personally, I’ll choose to live in Soviet Canuckistan over America North any day.
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