The Shotgun Blog
Thursday, June 11, 2009
The Liberal doth protest too much, methinks
Two days ago, the Chronicle Herald published a story in which they describe a taped conversation between Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt and her then aide Jasmine MacDonnell. The two women are heard discussing the issue of the radioactive isotope shortage that has resulted from the May 15th shutdown of a 52-year-old nuclear reactor (the reactor was shut down due to water leakage). Raitt says to MacDonnell that it is "good" that Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq is avoiding media exposure over the isotope "crisis", because it will allow Raitt to take all of the credit when the crisis is resolved.
It is hard to deny her conclusion. We have not seen a lot of coverage involving Aglukkaq in the matter of the isotope shortage and, in the normal course, the ministerial politician appearing to do something will generally get the credit for problems resolved by the bureaucrats for whom she actually works.
Raitt proceeds to speak of the reactor/isotope issue as "...sexy...Radioactive leaks. Cancer.” Again, she is correct: the media are attracted to such issues, which is why we so recently have discovered that a Minister Lisa Raitt exists.
And so it is with much eye-rolling that I read about Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's exchange with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Parliament yesterday:
Ignatieff said Raitt's comments are evidence of an insensitive minister and the government's "deep cynicism about the issues facing our country."
When Harper accused him of political opportunism, Ignatieff said: "The cheapest politics there is, is to call a crisis a career opportunity."
Please. Clearly, crises are career opportunities for politicians. Indeed, one cannot usually expect a sitting government to lose an election in the absence of a crisis, or recent crisis, of some sort. That is precisely why the daily political activity of opposition parties having nothing substantive to offer (i.e., of parties that routinely get elected) is comprised wholly of the exploitation (and exaggeration) of crises.
Ignatieff's exploitation of Ms Raitt's career crisis is no exception to this rule. He sees the exploitation of Ms Raitt's frankness - an honest and correct statement that the reactor/isotopes issue would attract media attention, that he who takes credit for resolving a crisis gets the credit for its resolution, and that such credit is good, for her, as a person whose career it is to resolve crises - as an opportunity to build his own career.
However, his hypocrisy explains his outrage. Note that Ignatieff expressed outrage not that Raitt had made a crisis a career opportunity, but that she had the gall to call it a career opportunity. For Ignatieff, it is okay to gain--to advance ones own career--by exploiting (even fostering) another's misfortune so long as you do not openly admit that you are doing it for personal gain. Anything else will do. The trick is to pretend that one is not participating in politics as a career at all. For example, one might choose to say that one left another country, and a great job at Harvard, not as a matter of personal gain but as a personal sacrifice for the benefit of Canada. Or duty...or whatever...so long as one does not admit that one has a desperate and obvious desire to see himself in a history book with his name preceded by the words "Prime Minister".
And that, dear reader, is why we can never expect Mr. Ignatieff to apologize to Ms. Raitt for using her ass as a box in which to plant his pole as he attempts to vault himself into the highest and most powerful office in the land...as a personal sacrifice, mind you. For him to apologize would be for him to admit that his participation in politics is very much a matter of career. For him, by admission, effectively to call his exploitation of Ms Raitt's crisis a "career opportunity" would be "the cheapest politics there is". Isn't that convenient?
How fortunate then, for him, that I have saved him the trouble.
What do you expect, in the absence of any meaningful policy alternatives to the Conservatives? What does Canada stand to gain with him as PM, apart from the resurgence of the Liberal brand, if only as a minority Parliament?
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-11 12:21:43 PM
I don't see what the fuss is all about concerning Raitt. Is anyone surprised that a politician ... gasp ... wants to use a situation to advance her career? The real solution is to get government out of the isotope industry.
It is the gov't's involvement and that is ruining the isotope industry; all at taxpayers expense of course.
Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-11 1:37:59 PM
Um...Charles? We're talking about NUCLEAR REACTORS here, not lemonade stands. The government is going to be involved. Get used to it.
What do you advocate privatizing next? The Canadian Armed Forces?
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-11 1:45:10 PM
"...using her ass as a box in which to plant his pole..."
Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-06-11 1:52:00 PM
Uh Shane. The reason we have a shortage, which is putting so many peoples' lives at risk, is precisely because the government is involved. We need to deregulate immediately. But of course statists such as yourself have never bothered to actually analyze the situation in order to understand what's happening.
Your stupid policies are putting peoples' lives at risk. But in all honesty, I have come to expect such economically illiterate responses from someone who cannot even grasp the simple concept of inflation.
Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-11 2:30:36 PM
Fact Check: Ha! Yes, as it turns out, those are the technical terms - pole, box, plant - used in the sport of pole vaulting. All very clean, but I'll deny no double entendre.
Posted by: Paul McKeever | 2009-06-11 2:33:55 PM
Here's a good start for your analysis Shane.
Of course. This is only a primer. You're going to have to do hours of tedious work and interviews with both government and industry experts to have a full grasp of the situation.
Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-11 2:37:02 PM
"Uh Shane. The reason we have a shortage, which is putting so many peoples' lives at risk, is precisely because the government is involved. We need to deregulate immediately. But of course statists such as yourself have never bothered to actually analyze the situation in order to understand what's happening."
You want to deregulate NUCLEAR POWER. And as the collapse of the Big Three proves, the fact that a concern is in private hands is no guarantee of competent management. The government, at least, is answerable to the people. Private companies are answerable only to their stockholders or, if not publicly traded, to no one but the owners.
"Your stupid policies are putting peoples' lives at risk. But in all honesty, I have come to expect such economically illiterate responses from someone who cannot even grasp the simple concept of inflation."
Can the smug, self-important happy slapping and put some meat on your complaint. First of all, they're not MY policies; I did not enact them. And secondly, you have yet to come up with a credible alternative other than deregulate, deregulate, deregulate. By the way, did you ever respond to my last post about Brazil's inflation being caused by massive government debt, and that the printing of more money was a symptom rather than a cause of hyperinflation?
Yeesh. You're as cuddly as a cactus and as charming as an eel. You also think you're God's gift to the world. No wonder you don't get along with anybody.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-11 2:57:14 PM
"Here's a good start for your analysis Shane. "
An opinion piece? This is your idea of proof?
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-11 2:57:59 PM
"All very clean, but I'll deny no double entendre."
Except for the word "ass."
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-11 3:01:01 PM
"You're going to have to do hours of tedious work and interviews with both government and industry experts to have a full grasp of the situation."
And you, of course, have done all that. Because otherwise, by your own words, you don't understand the situation either, in which case you can zip up your fly, and do your cruising elsewhere.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-11 3:02:42 PM
Harper needs to go.
We need a dose of REAL Liberals -- instead of the Harperites in Liberal drag -- in order for a freedom oriented, small government renaissance to occur.
Frankly, we need to start hearing from the Westerns secession movement again, too.
We are well past the point where we need Big Bro in Ottawa mismanaging our affairs; We can mismanage our own affairs -- with our own money -- from right here in Edmonton. Stelmach has proven that!
Posted by: Zager Evans | 2009-06-11 9:35:28 PM
Yes, we'll separate. When do you propose forming our own army, starting up our own mint; printing our own money and passports . . or should we just become another US state? I'm sure Harper will serve as Governor of Alberta after he loses his other job. He's a Republican in disguise, trying his best to turn Canada into US North; but if that doesn't work out, I'm sure Alberta will oblige and take on the Stars and Stripes for their flag.
Posted by: Elizabeth Montgomery/Calgary | 2009-06-12 4:55:10 AM
At least U.S. North would not tolerate the dysfunctional and destructive tug-of-war between Ontario and Québec that sets the tone for the entire country, Elizabeth. There are worse examples to emulate than that of the most successful country in human history. And some Canadians, at least, have an identity beyond not being American.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-12 6:27:51 AM
"And that, dear reader, is why we can never expect Mr. Ignatieff to apologize to Ms. Raitt for using her ass as a box in which to plant his pole as he attempts to vault himself into the highest and most powerful office in the land..."
that's... original... and a disturbing visual...
...and, holy crap, funny! ;D
Posted by: shel | 2009-06-12 12:43:37 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.