Sunday, May 20, 2007

The end of amateur hour

The fiasco of partisan bickering in the house reflects the failure of the Reform/Canadian alliance wing of the Conservative party to learn how parliament works, or get over the cynical idea that Canada is governed by a parliamentary dictatorship. Certainly, all parties vie for popularity, but usually, they have recognised that some measure of cooperation is necessary. Members of Parliament also recognised that the committee process required a high degree cooperation away from the partisan grandstanding in Question Period. Unfortunately, Canada's New Government, as the Stephen Harper Conservatives style themselves, has embraced the view that "winner takes all" and that opinions of the plurality, or today the majority of Canadians who didn't vote Conservative don't count.

This rather petty and puerile attitude has lead to the subsequent result:

Conservatives' lead dwindles: poll
Sat May 19, 2007 11:52 AM EDT
TORONTO (Reuters) The Strategic Counsel survey for the Globe and Mail newspaper found the Conservatives had 34 percent support while the Liberals had 31 percent. In an April 26 survey by the same pollster, 36 percent of those surveyed said they backed the Conservatives and 30 percent favored the Liberals.

Canadians expect their politicians to compromise on solving the issues. This reflects the diversity of opinion amongst canadians, and a certain recognition that nobody is going away, so we have to get along.

A disturbing sense of entitlement pervades many politicians of all stripes, (Don Boudria's son was coronated as his successor in his riding- the Liberals haven't been chastened enough in the last election). This sense of entitlement leads to pompous ad hominum attacks on critics. This defensive attitude serves only to dishonour its authors and diminish the political process in the eyes of an already disillusioned citizenry.

I think most people want their MP's to represent their interests, not steam-roll the interests of other canadians. Hopefully, this parliament will fall, and a more cooperative spirit arise in the next one. At least, I'd like to see the amateurs sent packing.

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"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster