This is gonna be a fun book to read, eh? Sheila Copps has come out swinging with a series of accusations against the current Prime Minister: He wanted to scrap the Canada Health Act, privatize the CBC and send our troops to Iraq.
Now, obviously these accusations come from a person who is not a big fan of the PM and must be taken with a grain (or a giant heaping) of salt. However, I don't think the accusations are so shocking that they can be dismissed outright. After seeing the Health Deal's weak accountability standards and Martin's decentralizing tendencies, it's not overly shocking that he'd want to replace the Canada Health Act with something less binding. We saw Pettigrew dismiss the Health Act last year and Martin hasn't lifted a finger to stop private clinics from operating in Quebec despite his tough words in the last election.
The Iraq "revelation" shouldn't even be considered a revelation. It's been hinted by dozens of journalists that Martin was pro-war at the time. Paul Wells mentioned a few months about how Martin's advisors lectured him on Chretien's "wrong" decision to keep Canada out of Iraq. Several writers and people close to the scene have hinted likewise. Warren basically said as much in his blog today. And if you think it's just Martin's detractors who believe this, go back and try to find a single word Martin spoke against the war back in 2003. I'll be the first to concede that John Manley and many others in the Liberal caucus would have sent our troops to Iraq but it's abundantly clear Martin would have done the same. We didn't need Sheila to tell us this.
All of this just goes to show how ridiculous last spring's campaign was. Very reminiscent of John Turner's death bed conversion to nationalism in '88. But if these revelations are true, it shows just how disingenuous the entire Liberal campaign was (throw in the "surprise" surplus). Of course, like the revelations in this book, that's not much of a revelation, is it?