Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Liberal Leaders

I watched bits and pieces of the Liberal leadership convention on the weekend. (My television can be configured so that I can play Super Mario Golf on one half while I get broadcast signals on the other half. Handy, that.)

The front runner was a quiet professor named Michael Ignatieff. Well versed in international politics, well travelled, quite intelligent, he seemed to have a lot of the qualities that one would admire in a statesman. Then I read this particular piece: Ignatieff on Iraq

This is Ignatieff going on about the importance of fighting "preventative" wars - wars against enemies which aren't actually a threat but might someday be a threat. He gives the garbage example of Bosnia and Kosovo, where NATO invented a genocide out of non-existent mass graves to justify an invasion of a democratic nation that wouldn't play ball with Wall Street.. He also gives the rationale that "we" have to stay in Iraq until it's better than the way "we" found it.

So: Ignatieff out. I'm glad he lost. He might as well sleep in Harper's bed with attitude.

Next up: Bob Rae. This has to be some kind of joke. This is the man who, intentionally or not, destroyed the NDP in Ontario. He intentionally antagonized his base - the teachers, nurses and public servants. He formed himself in to a caricature of socialism - the ridiculous idea that "everyone is equal" and the only thing preventing a mentally retarded child from becoming a neurosurgeon is the stigma placed on him by those around him. He gave money away like it was going out of style. He "de-streamed" high schools so that the slowest and smartest kids were crammed together in one classroom. He could not possibly have done a better job of setting back socialism if that had been his goal (and maybe it was, I'm not a mind reader).

Now, when the chance comes, he jumps for leadership of the Liberal party? Glad he lost.

Stephane Dion and Gerard Kennedy were rounding out third and fourth place. Kennedy, realizing he could not win, threw his support to Dion, putting Dion over top of the two leaders. Dion was one of Chretien's guys and found himself on the outs when Paul Martin took over as leader of the party. Things shifted and, being as popular as he was in Quebec, he became Minister of the Environment in 2004, a post he held for approximately 18 months before the government fell.

Dion is proclaiming himself as something of an environmentalist. There is some conservative material attempting to blast him for his record as Minister of the Environment, but this material is clearly inaccurate.

I find it hard to believe that Canada's greenhouse emissions actually rose 34.6% in the 18 months Dion was Minister of Environment. More likely, this is the number for the entire increase while the Liberals were in government.

Is he sincere? I have no idea. But he isn't a horse-jumping joke like Bob Rae, and he isn't a pro-Iraq-war bandwagon jumper like Ignatieff. If he actually implements the laws in his 70-page environmental book... if he actually fails to behave like every other politician once in office ... then, yes, he sounds great.

But does anybody believe politicians anymore?

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