Friday, December 3, 2004

MP Martin's tight rope

PM Martin is walking a fine line. On Ballistic Missile Defense (or as I call it Escalation of the Constellations) he pretends that the Canadian government is still investigating the issue, meanwhile we have already agreed to include it as part of NORAD and to allow the USA to use our airspace to shoot down incoming Nuclear Missiles. The only thing we have not agreed to (yet) is putting anti-missile missiles in the Canadian Artic.

Also, as of this week, we have signaled to the world, through the UN, that Canada is willing to take a stronger position in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and begin voting on resolutions instead of abstaining. Finally, PM Martin has promoted drastic changes to the UN, the development of an L20 group of leaders and the ignoring of sovereignty to protect to citizens of nations with despotic governments (i.e. Sudan).

At first glance it appears that the Prime Minister is carving out the Blue Grit position that many suspected he would. In a minority government situation this is dangerous to say the least. As time goes on in Parliament PM Martin is increasingly alienating the NDP, BQ and the Red Grits in his own party. In fact, as MP Harper moves the Conservatives further left to attempt gains in Quebec and PM Martin moves the government right, the only coalition to be had is a Liberal-Conservative one.

So the natural question is where is PM Martin going with all of this? Surely he runs the risk of having prominent Chretienites flipping to the NDP in a future election and further jeopardizing his chance at a majority government. Or maybe not.

PM Martin surely sees the writing on the wall at the UN. The UN Oil-for-Food program scandal has been bubbling under the radar for months and could boil over any day. By distancing himself from the UN and promoting the L20 he anesthetizes his party against the position that former PM Chretien took in Iraq. If the UN were to be proven to be in the bag for Saddam Hussein any high road that PM Chretien may have taken would collapse from under him and the Conservatives could have made great political gain in a subsequent campaign. Team Martin will be able to avoid such a charge, if only he can keep is ever loosening coalition of Red and Blue Liberals in tact.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004


(via Andrew Coyne and I will link it once it becomes available)

You see, in Canada we gave up believing years ago, in religion, in ideals, in pretty much of anything, really. Secure as we were under the American defence umbrella, we were infantilized; having no need to defend ourselves, we could not understand why anyone else would have more. Or perhaps it is this: having renounced even the wish to defend ourselves, having absorbed the notion that the country could be destroyed at any moment by a vote of half the population of one province, what was left to believe?
If we cannot even bring ourselves to believe in the country's existence - as a first principle, from which all others follow - how is it possible to take a definitive stance on any other question? And so, by and large, we haven't.

This sentiment has come up frequently over at the Shotgun group blog lately, especially here and here.

Both posts quote a Washington Post article with this money quote:

Part of what's irksome about Canadian anti-Americanism and the obsession with the United States is that it seems so corrosive to Canada. Any country that defines itself through a negative ("Canada: We're not the United States") is doomed to an endless and repetitive cycle of hand-wringing and angst. For example, Canadians often point to their system of universal health care as the best example of what it means to be Canadian (because the United States doesn't provide it), but this means that any effort to adjust or reform that system (which is not perfect) precipitates a national identity crisis: To wit, instituting co-payments or private MRI clinics will make Canada too much like the United States.

This is what I found annoying about the whole "Greatest Canadian" exercise. Over and over it was pounded into our heads that the Canadian values are tolerance and diversity. Douglas was great because of this, Trudeau was great because of this, even MacDonald was great because of this. They disqualify of Cherry is that he is somehow intolerant and undiverse (if that is an actual state of being). I have no problem with the concepts of tolerance and diversity but they are not the bedrocks of a civilization. What about the values of hard-work, responsibility, entrepreneurship? The early settlers came here to make their lives better, yes some were fleeing intolerance but they came to find economic opportunity; a place to raise their families. The early dream of immigrants was to live in an environment where their children could have more opportunities than they had. It was inherently an optimistic belief that drove people here. Without this belief in the future and striving for greatness society crumbles and leaves tolerance and diversity in shambles right along with it.

Canadians are more than heathcare, more than tolerance and diversity. We are a great and courageous and yes kind people. I fear the results if we ignore our legacy of greatness behind for the empty promise of anti-Americanism.