Also getting in on the Gomery discussion is Mike Brock, a very deserving winner of the Conservative blog of the year. Brock takes issue with the context argument so I’m going to try and clarify why it was important for Chretien to establish the context behind the program. Basically, the perception in the public is that this scandal was about the Liberal Party giving kick-backs to their friends. And because of the sensationalization of this inquiry, a large segment of the population is under the mistaken opinion that Chretien was the mastermind behind this. It didn’t help when Gomery had his brain fart before Christmas or when Martin said their was “political direction” a year ago. It was therefore necessary to explain why the program was brought into being. It was not created as a way to money launder, it was created to save the country. Yes, a lot of bad things happened but Chretien admitted as much when he testified on Tuesday.
The point is, this program was one part of a greater unity strategy that worked. Brock points to the Bloc’s recent success to try and paint this unity strategy as a failure. Yes, the Bloc is doing well, but separatism is still polling way down. Jean Charest is Premier of Quebec, Chretien made huge seat gains in 1997 and 2000, and Lucien Bouchard never got to call another referendum. In addition, we have a Clarity Act that will make it very difficult for Quebec to separate in the future. The situation is A LOT less serious than it was back in 1996. That’s what people forget. Jean Chretien has spent his entire career fighting for Canada. For him, it was a war. Sometimes, the general makes a bad decision, but it’s ridiculous to skewer him over the mistakes people bellow him may have made when every other decision in the unity plan worked. Neither the PM nor the Minister of Finance micro-manage every single decision that occurs in government and painting them as culprits in this is disingenuous. I think the reason Brock and a lot of those on the right don’t like Chretien is the same reason I can’t stand Klein – he’s a winner. Like it or not, Jean Chretien is arguable the most electorally successful Prime Minister in the history of this country. He had every right to tee off against those who were trying to destroy his name. Yes, I’m biased, I like the guy. But I’d defend Brian Mulroney’s right to clear his name if he got unfairly blamed for something occurring under his watch. With Bernard Roy and Gomery Pyle ambushing and degrading Chretien, just like Mike, Chretien had every right to go "on the attack".
And heck, the golf ball gag was the funniest political stunt since Barney the Dinosaur and Doris Day. Regardless of your political stripes, you've got to admit that.