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Let me get this straight…You put the Lime in the Coconut…

June 26, 2009

Tell me if this makes sense.  Over the past month as the discussion of a possible election was in the air the governing Conservative party launched a series of very negative attack ads on the the Liberals and their leader Michael Ignatieff.  Most of it boiled down to implying that he is uppity and elitist, mostly true, and reminding Canadians that he hasn’t spent a lot of time in Canada over the past few decades.  In other words, not lying at all, but spending taxpayer money to raise insignificant, superficial issues in an attempt to tarnish his character when there are more than enough serious crises’ to deal with in a cooperative way.

Now Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that the negative adds they ran had the effect of delaying an election, which Canadians don’t want, and so were justified.  That seems a bit circular to me.  You decide what Canadians want (or want to avoid in this case), even though you are losing in the polls because people don’t trust your handling of the economic crisis. Then you have the gall to say that any action taken to achieve what you think Canadians want, is justified.  Notice, they are now not saying that we shouldn’t have an election because Ignatieff is a Harvard elite who’s lived outside Canada too long.  They are saying it was ok to attack him because Canadians don’t want an election because he’s a Harvard elite who’s lived outside Canada too long.  I think I need another coffee.

Next week he’s going to remind us that ‘we all know’ that Canadians want lower gas prices so he’s going to throw more money at expanding the oil sands.  Its a case of the ends justifying the means where the mean is something you wanted to do anyways (attack Ignatieff on character issues and wound him) while the end is something you aren’t qualified to make judgement on (when Canadians ‘want’ and election).

I don’t think Canada needs an election right now either, MPs are elected to govern and they should try to work together to do that. But if they can’t work it out, which is what was happening last week, then a defeat in parliament followed by a reconfiguration of party alliances or an election is how it is settled.  Hurling insults on trivial issues to avoid making concession on substantive issues is a juvenile negotiation strategy and I hope the media and the opposition parties don’t let it stand as a legitimate one.

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