The utter hypocrisy of Paul Martin
I don't understand how the Liberals can still be ahead in the polls. Between PM and Team's stated lofty goals and the reality falls the shadow every time. Let us start with the conference on the Kyoto Accord held in Montreal. Martin had the gall to hector America about not having a global conscience on pollution. Here Martin managed to skewer two of his election promises. First, he angers our major trading partner and security blanket; then he tries to come off as a pollution fighter, even though, under the Liberals, Canada has seen pollution emissions rise 24%. Roughly twice the amount in America. The only saving grace was that the conference wasn't held in Toronto, which was probably smogged in again.
Wattles shaking, Paul Martin stands up for the little taxpayers and delists former acceptable tax havens. Well, not all of them. Certainly not the Barbados, where his shipping empire enjoys a tax shelter that allows it to evade hundreds of millions in taxable income. A classic "Do as I say, not as I do" attitude.
Then there is Martin's "Only I can save confederation" schtick. This bit of hyberbole from a man who was Finance Minister and chief lieutenant for Quebec under Chretien's reign. In 1995, the feds nearly lost the sovereignty referendum because of hubris. Now Adscam has reduced the Liberals' hold on Quebec down to a few Anglo seats in Montreal and the Eastern Townships. He can't play the "scary Harper card" there. The Quebecois are so scared of a federal government that would stop pandering to them that the Conservatives have no chance there. Plus, it is worth remembering that Martin's chief lieutenant is Jean Lapierre, who publically refuted the validity of The Clarity Act--the supposed ace in the Liberals' hand to win a future referendum.
Perhaps there is no hypocrisy more despicable than Martin trying to fob off the aboriginals with bags of loot. He knows--every thinking person in his government knows--that the only long term solution for the present squalor and degradation on reserves is to move towards assimilation. Certainly, it would be a difficult adjustment, but over time, the natives would join in the country's prosperity. Instead, Martin goes through some sweet grass ceremony and hands over an extra $6 billion to the natives. That will placate the rapacious Indian leadership until the next crisis, he must hope.
Fixing the democratic deficit was a major plank in the Liberals' last election platform. Now Martin has to walk that plank in every leaders' debate. He stuffed the Senate with his buddies and bagmen. He and Irwin Cotler still get to pick a fellow ideologue for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. In Parliament. he gerrymanders the Opposition days so he won't have to face the thought of being brought down. Oh, I nearly forgot about Bernard Shapiro, the new, less ethically-challenged Ethics Commissioner. No lapdog he, Martin insists. However, it is strange that this epitome of ethical behaviour, Ed Broadbent, has felt it necessary to call for Shapiro's resignation. This, after Shapiro failed to act on disclosing Martin's various business dealings. There were also other shipshod actions to cover Shapiro with shame. To give Martin his due, I haven't heard him talk about ending the "democratic deficit" in this election round. However, there is still time if panic mode sets in.
"I will mend relations with America" was another slogan Paul loved. The results of his efforts can be seen in the barbed comments of Mr. Wilkins, the American ambassador. Wilkins was so infuriated by Martin's comments about "global conscience", and America's lack of it, that he bluntly told Martin and his Yankee-bashing colleagues to back off. He diplomatically issued a veiled threat about our advantageous trade with the United States. Even CBC had to admit that Paul's statement about "global conscience" rang hollow in the face of Canada's 24% pollution increase. Another invitation to The White House cancelled.
My aching knees rejoiced at the news when Martin exclaimed that the public health system was fixed for a decade. They however started aching again when I realized millions of us have the same problem, but there are not enough orthopedic surgeons to operate on them in a timely fashion. This is due to two factors. The then-Finance Minister, Martin, cut the health budget and the Liberal government of Chretien purposely restricted the building of new medical training centers. Doctors were also limited in the number of surgeries they could perform. This led to many doctors moving to the United States. But Martin, and I'm sure many in his Cabinet, are not worried because they have private health centers they can access. This access doesn't stop them from harassing provinces that allow private health care. Provinces have even been fined for this transgression. Somehow Quebec, the leader in private health care services, has managed to escape Liberal censure and those fines. I'm sure that was just an oversight, and soon Martin will notice them too. Not too soon, of course.
So there is my mini-list of hypocricies. It omits some, but I'm sure you diligent readers can fill in the blanks yourselves. For instance, making the loyalty-challenged Belinda Stronach--an instant Cabinet Minister--the Minister responsible for correcting any "democratic deficit". You can't say that Martin doesn't have a sense of humour.
© Bud Talkinghorn