The Shotgun Blog
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Handling of federalism, not Adscam is Liberal weakness
Winnipeg Sun editor John Gleeson says that the Liberals under Jean Chretien won re-election despite being scandal-ridden:
"... the Liberals were exposed as pirates raiding a foreign vessel called Canada, and Canadians in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, much of the Maritimes, most of Ontario and a good chunk of Winnipeg voted for them anyway."
It is true that Chretien won not once but twice after displaying incredible arrogance and corruption. So why are the polls showing a Conservative lead right now? Political Staples explains why, "The Prime Minister has proven himself to not be up to the job," by fumbling the federalism issue and that is "why Canadians reacted so quickly to the 'explosive testimony'." I think there is something to that and if the Conservatives are to win an anticipated Spring election (I'd say there is just a 50-50 chance of an election before the summer), they must exploit Martin's handling of paying off some provinces and not others and the perception that Ontario is getting a raw deal in paying Ottawa much more than it gets back in federal handouts. This puts the Conservatives in the awkward position of saying Ottawa should give more money (overall) to profligate provinces but it could be the election clincher for them. The fact is, as I describe in my book Jean Chretien: A Legacy of Scandal, the former prime minister set the scandal bar so low that almost any wrong-doing does not rise to the level of outrageous ethical breach but instead is accepted as business as usual. Martin has a policy weakness on federalism and it is incumbent upon Harper to expose it and capture political ground over it.
(Cross-posted at Sobering Thoughts)
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It seems like a tough call Paul. If all provinces get more federal money, all that means is that taxes go up for everyone. The return on that, more wallowing government, isn't worth the investment. Trying to regain control of welfare (sorry, redistribution (sorry, equalization)) is a difficult problem now that it's gotten this far out of control.
Posted by: Tony | 2005-04-12 10:22:22 PM
My sense, from afar, is that Canadians have reacted "explosively" to the Adscam revelations because the Liberals had pulled a very thick piece of wool over the eyes of most of them. The truth was not apparent to most Canadians until it became really, really - I mean REALLY - obvious. Until the Libs were caught with their hands in the till, the majority was cutting them extraordinary slack. Such a degree of slack as to enable them to put the sponsorship program in place. This is the REAL scandal - one that dwarfs the diversion of funds to the Party. Here, you had an overt diversion of public funds on a massive scale with nothing of substance to show for it. Since when it has it been a proper for a government to spend mega-millions on a propaganda program to enhance its position vis-a-vis a particular segment of the population?
So, now there's a deep sense betrayal - one that fuels anger, which will hopefully drive fundamental change.
Posted by: Texan | 2005-04-13 8:15:38 AM
David Frum on Adscam:
He has nailed it - there really isn't much more one might say about it.
Posted by: Texan | 2005-04-13 8:48:08 AM
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