Martin’s pseudo-patriotism will backfire on Liberals
Shipping tycoon Paul Martin’s scurrilous assaults on Conservative leader Stephen Harper have brought Canadian politics to a low the likes of John Diefenbaker, Lester Pearson and Brian Mulroney could never have imagined.
You can even add to that list Pierre Trudeau, for Trudeau tried to belittle his opponents with his supposedly superior intellect, rather than dishonest attacks on an individual’s personality or legitimate and above-board philosophy.
But then we are seeing, in Trudeau’s own words, that style really is the essence of a man. And the style of Martin is very, very worrying and unappealing.
Martin who spent a decade yearning to be prime minister after losing to Jean Chretien in the 1990 Liberal leadership race, knows if he doesn’t win a majority government on Jan. 23, his political career is finished.
Well, he’s not going to win anything like a majority government come election day, so that’s perhaps why he appears to be panicking and throwing all kinds of mud at Harper.
Mud that isn’t going to stick with any intelligent voter.
I can’t say I see Harper as changing the world in an historic sense—as did Sir Winston Churchill when he refused to capitulate to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s hordes, or President Ronald Reagan in toppling Soviet Communism and freeing hundreds of millions in the Soviet empire from enslavement—but I do know Harper is a decent family man with honourable values.
Objectively, he may well come close to having a legacy of the type of Mulroney’s free trade pact with the U.S., and as a man who, on the domestic side, turns our nation right-side-up again.
Martin suggests Harper has a hidden agenda—the rusted-out Liberal ruse—in that he somehow intends to take rights of millions of Canadians as set out in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms away from them.
This is purely fictitious and Martin knows it.
No one can take away any right enshrined in the Charter.
Yet, why, if it is not a legitimate process, is an opting-out clause also enshrined in that constitution?
A Constitution, and an opting-out clause, given this country by one of Martin’s Liberal predecessors, Trudeau himself.
That said, taking away the rights of Canadians is something Martin knows about very well, for did he not do that to his cabinet ministers when he forced them to hold their noses and vote for his same-sex marriage bill?
In no other nation with a British parliamentary system is a cabinet minister—or individual MPs—forced to vote for a government bill unless its loss would mean the government’s own defeat.
Harper is actually going to give Canadians—and all MPs—more rights by allowing free votes in the Commons.
Gone will be the dictatorial stance of the PMO.
Martin must have learned his hit-and-run smear attacks from his direct predecessor, Chretien, who seemed to get his morning jollies from slurring Reform party leader Preston Manning and Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day with the most outrageous and wild accusations.
Chretien’s frightening hyperbole worked against Manning and Day, but let’s hope voters are a little more attuned to what Martin is up to.
Take the hypocrisy of Martin wrapping himself in the Maple Leaf flag and telling everyone how he ardently loves Canada, while suggesting Harper doesn’t really love this nation.
What a laugh that slur is.
A while back, in a speech to an American audience, I drew a scenario in which a U.S. presidential contender owned a shipping line.
Then I asked what would happen if that politician and shipping line owner took down the Stars and Stripes flag on some of his vessels and raised foreign flags to avoid paying American taxes.
The audience looked perplexed. This would never happen. That presidential contender would be finished within a day.
When I explained the prime minister of our nation did just that, they found it hard to believe we would elect someone to the highest office of our land who was so unpatriotic he put personal wealth ahead of the good of the nation and its principles.
Surely if any party leader is entitled to wrap themselves in the Maple Leaf flag, it is Stephen Harper and not Paul Martin.