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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Star laments lack of "serious" debate

Political columnist James Travers of the Toronto Star Liberal Party Newsletter raises an excellent point about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent low brow attack on Stephane Dion's Carbon Tax.

Responding to Harper's suggestion that Dion's tax would "screw everybody", Travers writes"it's the response of a schoolyard bully who would rather trade punches than compare ideas ...
Canadians deserve a leader who will debate serious issues seriously. They also deserve one who accepts the restraints on power that are part and parcel of a parliamentary democracy."

And yes, Travers is absolutely right. Up until Harper the bully came along Canadian politicians were world-renown for debating serious issues seriously.

Just check out the "serious" debates which dominate Question Period in the House of Commons; if you closed your eyes you would think you were hearing an Oxford Union debating club in action.

Or recall the famous time former Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau cleverly uttered a colourful Anglo Saxon word beginning with "F" in the House of Commons; or how about the time he revealed his sophisticated debating style by showing his middle finger to protesting farmers.

Pure oratorical brilliance!

More recently, former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien revealed his flair for Aristotelian logic when he actually throttled a protester.

Too bad the bully Harper can't match the lofty rhetorical standards of his Liberal predecessors.

But as Stephane Dion might say, "Shift Happens."

Posted by Gerry Nicholls on June 24, 2008 | Permalink


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It all depends on how one views it. There is validity in expecting the PM to inform the people about why this (or any) proposal is unworkable. Of course I cannot recall in my life time a PM of any party doing this.

On the other hand I am unclear as to how one can debate Dion's proposal. It would be rather like attempting to debate with someone claiming the earth if flat.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-06-24 12:38:08 PM

Liebrals from Tronna are control freaks. They resent not being in total control of everything. They're just grumpy for not being taken seriously. Indeed, why should they? They're the ones threatening to arrest people for not agreeing with climate change science while exempting Ontario's auto industry from paying for Kyoto. When they smarten up and get a grip, then maybe a debate can begin.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-06-24 1:02:54 PM

"...pent-up domestic willingness to accept collective responsibility and, within reason, pay the price."

So, we're willing to accept collective responsibility by getting rid of the proliferation of statist parties, demanding our tax money back and using it (within reason) individually to pay a premium for green consumer items and as venture capital for green startups? This is GOOD news!

Posted by: K Stricker | 2008-06-24 1:35:09 PM

The liberal party being worried about the quality of debate on serious issues seems a bit disingenuous to me.

Posted by: Tom | 2008-06-24 2:55:25 PM

A lack of serious debate...
On our streets...
In Canada...

This extension in political fearmongering and demagoguery brought to you by the Liberal Party of Canada

How's that Liberal debate going on banning gay marriage, abolishing gun control, introducing private health care, restricting abortion, rolling back taxes, joining ballistic missile defense, participating in securing Iraq, eliminating affirmative action, allowing Quebec to separate, no GST, pulling out of Kyoto, scrapping provincial equalization payments, adequately funding our military, ...

You get the point.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-06-24 3:14:19 PM

H20: but Canadians (i.e. Liberal Ontarians) don't want these things! Where have you been, getting your orders and ideas from George W. Bush directly?


Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-06-24 3:22:22 PM

They (Lib Ont.) don't have to agree with these things. They just have to debate them to appear that it "accepts the restraints on power that are part and parcel of a parliamentary democracy."

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-06-24 3:43:12 PM

'Star laments lack of "serious" debate' - Star readers lament lack of newspaper they can take seriously.

Posted by: philanthropist | 2008-06-24 11:13:18 PM

Funny how all the "bullies" one finds in contemporary politics are conservatives. It looks like the chattering classes have corrupted yet another word, for the meaning of this one seems to have transmuted from "one who commands respect or obedience by intimidation" into "one who tells it like it is" or "one who disagrees with me."

Of course, it's all just politics. The problem is the dearth of appropriate responses. A liberal won't be offended if you call him misinformed, misguided, or even just plain stupid. Liberals do not believe in evil--except when there's conservatives about. The best way to insult a liberal is to tell him his feelings don't mean anything--at the risk of alienating 50% of Canada's voters.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-25 7:28:20 AM

You are wrong, Nichols:

'But as Stephane Dion might say, "Shift Happens."'

He did not say it; it was greasy Jason Kenney and a few of the CON trained seals that said it. Read your Hansard.

Posted by: joe bleau | 2008-06-26 1:04:23 AM

Arf! Arf! Do I get a fish? Make mine coho.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-26 7:28:44 AM

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