Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Better than Ezra

Ezra Levant, Calgary’s own Ann Coulter, is at it again in today’s Calgary Sun. Now, for those of you who live outside of Calgary, the Calgary Sun is sort of the type of paper Pat Buchanon would shake his head at and scoff “right wing lunatics” towards. The Sun prides itself on insightful editorials on topics such as “the problem with gays” and “Ralph Klein is a socialist”.

I’m only saying this to explain that I’m not including Ezra’s column because it’s dramatically worse than your typical Sun column, rather because it’s quite representative of the Sun and, by consequence, the thinking of many Calgarians. So, here are excerpts from Ezra, with my comments added:

Ontario must do its duty
Its voters can save the Liberals -- and they must not

On the other hand, the Liberal party is in a shambles. Chretien's former staff and ministers fire public broadsides at Paul Martin. Liberal MPs are defecting, like Edmonton's David Kilgour did. The next Liberal leadership campaign is under way, with dauphins like Brian Tobin and John Manley organizing to dump Martin. The party has a multimillion-dollar debt.


First of all, David Kilgour’s defection is not exactly something many Liberals are crying over. Losing sleep over that would be equivalent to the Tories lamenting than Randy White won’t run in the next election. And, believe me, John Manley and Brian Tobin are making a lot less noise on the leadership front than Belinda Stronach or Bernard Lord. Certainly far, far less noise than Paul Martin made at any point from 1990 to 2003. Which leader got a higher percentage at leadership review this year?

There is only one reason Ontarians should not -- must not -- vote for the Liberals. And that is because to vote Liberal is to join in the brazen, public, shameless corruption of Canada's public institutions.

If Harper goes around telling people that the only reason not to vote Liberal is corruption, he's going to be in trouble. The problem facing the Conservatives is that they have not really given Ontarians a reason to vote for them rather than, say, the NDP. The Liberals and NDP are far more in touch with Canadians (well, Canadians in Ontario) on the policy and values issues than the Conservative Party. The Conservatives will be in for a rude awakening if they don't give Canadians a single reason to vote for them other than “Liberals are corrupt”. After all, Canadians remember this country’s last Conservative government.

Martin's conduct over the last 10 days is that of a red-faced schoolboy caught doing something naughty -- begging for time, shifting blame, desperately looking for allies. He's found one in Jack Layton who, for the fee of $4.6-billion in spending, will prop up the Liberals. That Martin would sell off his 10-year reputation as a prudent finance minister for just a few more months in 24 Sussex Drive shows how desperate and amoral he is. Nothing counts to him except maintaining his grip on power. If Adscam crimes weren't enough to make him blush why would perfectly legal overspending do so?

I’m with Ezra on the desperation front but, even with this NDP deal, the government will still be in surplus. And let’s not forget that last election the Conservative platform was far, far, more costly than that of the Liberals. Far more than $4.6 billion more.

A more politically attractive Conservative party couldn't be conceived.

Well, obviously not, or else they’d be over 30% in the polls.

Here's hoping that Ontario will throw Martin out -- and hard. If it doesn't, don't be surprised if Alberta and Quebec throw Ontario out -- or more accurately, try to leave themselves.

This is the ultimate juvenile argument (which will likely resonate with many given the Sun is written at a Grade 4 level): If we lose, we’re leaving. Ezra and the Sun have been complaining about Quebec doing this sort of stuff for years. Now he’s saying “if Alberta doesn’t get what it wants, we’re going to throw a hissy fit and stomp out of the country.”

Look, I’ve been as critical of Paul Martin as many of the Conservative blogs but if the polls show Canadians don’t want Stephen Harper, then there’s obviously a reason for it. Instead of whining over it, the right wing would be far better served trying to figure out why, and doing something to address the problem.

12 Comments:

  • You know what I've noticed? Everytime I read the Calgary Sun I feel a little dumber. I didn't know it was possible for something like that to happen but I've experienced it first hand.

    -Socialist Swine

    By Blogger Socialist Swine, at 2:49 AM  

  • This is the ultimate juvenile argument (which will likely resonate with many given the Sun is written at a Grade 4 level): If we lose, we’re leaving. Ezra and the Sun have been complaining about Quebec doing this sort of stuff for years. Now he’s saying “if Alberta doesn’t get what it wants, we’re going to throw a hissy fit and stomp out of the country.”

    This would be more reasonable if Ezra were talking this way following the 1993 election. But Albertans have been left out in the cold for the past 13 years. When do we start exploring alternatives to smashing our heads against the Ontario border?

    It would also be more reasonable if Canada had some national institution (like, I don't know, a Senate) which could balance regional interests with those of the House. But, after 13 years of having prime ministers who both favour Senate reform, that still ain't a reality. Perhaps the separatist threat would galvanize the feds into action on this front?

    By Blogger PR, at 3:44 AM  

  • Peter:

    Considering you have to re-open Constitutional talks to get Senate Reform, and seeing as getting unanimous provincial consent is a virtual impossibility, I think you're out of luck on that frint.

    It would be better for the Conservatives to join the NDP in advocating reform of the House to better reflect voting percentages such as some form of proportional representation.... but didnt your Conservative Convention just wipe that position out in its incessant attempt to look "moderate"?

    Pity... thats a reform I wouldnt mind seeing in place.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 5:57 AM  

  • Peter, why should a smaller population have equal representative in an effective senate? Isn't that against every democratic fibre in your body?

    By Blogger Jason Cherniak, at 10:23 AM  

  • Jason: Senate reform would likely see all provinces receive the same number of senators, rather than the current system which under represents the west.

    That said, I'm not sure that Alberta would feel that much better if its 10 (or however many) senators could be equalle by PEI's, population 150,000, 10.

    Peter:
    Left out in the cold for the last 12 years? Alberta has helped set the national agenda, and it was because of the reform party and its children that we have seen a real move towards fiscal accountability neoconservative governing.

    I also think that people forget that every province has an institution that balances the centralizing interests of the federal government: their own provincial government. Canada is a federal system, and the best people to look out for the province aren't those that travel to the capital to take part in the federal government, where they must balance other province's needs, its in the local capital, where the only thing that you have to demand is better stuff for Alberta (or NS, or Ontario, or where ever.)

    By Blogger an MP, at 12:19 PM  

  • i favour senate reform and i am pissed that the liberals let this issue get hijacked by the alberta right wing who have their own motivations. if you've ever read any of link byfield's speeches or anyone from the firewall crowd, senate reform is part of the agenda to make a virtually independent alberta. they think quebec has taken over ottawa for its own advantage and they want to do the same thing, i.e., make constant separatist threats in exchange for more and more independence. at some point extreme provinicialism becomes indistinguishable from an independence movement. (aside: am i willing to see ralph klein in charge of a provincial police force? hell no.)

    By Blogger robert mcbean, at 1:11 PM  

  • There's nothing wrong with Senate reform. I just can't imagine why Albertans would want a 3E Senate. Wouldn't that translate to Alberta having 1/10th of the Senators? Yeah, that's better than the current situation, but you'd have the Maritimes dominating.

    And PR won't change anything - most provinces have roughly equal seats for their population. If anything, PR would just lead to perpetual Lib-NDP coalition governments...the Conservatives would hardly ever form government under PR.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:33 PM  

  • I agree. It's surprising the stubbornness that some westerners put in the EEE senate, which would mean that the Maritimes would have 40% of the votes in the senate instead of 30% (32 of 104) now. (Even 30% would be too high if the senate began throwing its weight around.)

    The reason, presumably, is that Reform (where this idea first really took root) saw Ontario and Quebec as enemies to be weakened at any cost. It's interesting, however, that over time the Equal part of the EEE has been toned down by some of that movement. (Morton, for example.)

    My view: we can have steps towards equality without being equal. If PEI has 4 senators with a population of 150,000, Ontario's 24 senators (pop. 11 million) is far fewer than a rep. by pop. formula. So, there would be nothing wrong with having ceilings and floors resulting in PEI 4; Nfld. 6; NB, NS, MN, SK 10; AB 14; BC 18; QC, ON 24. (One could probably find a way to jig the system so that as AB and BC grow, their number of senators does too, until in the fulness of time they too reach the ceiling of 24.)

    But as far as I'm concerned, a EEE is really a non-starter.

    By Blogger buckets, at 2:29 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Robbie, at 4:12 PM  

  • Doesn't the Sun run Coulter's column too? I've seen her in some Calgary paper at my grandparent's farm house. I have to admit, I was a little jealous. You don't get that in Saskatchewan.

    The thinking behind a triple-e senate and things like the electoral college in the US is to balance state/province rights against the power of the majority. If there are 2 voters in PEI or Sk. and 20 in Ont. why should politicians bother with the little guys?

    Better to over represent them than to have them totally ignored.

    By Blogger Robbie, at 4:15 PM  

  • "and the best people to look out for the province aren't those that travel to the capital. . .where they must balance other province's needs"

    Sounds to me like something more Albertans ought to do. Maybe they'd gain an *actual informed perspective* on what Ontario and the rest of the country really thinks of them. AFAIK, Alberta ought to begin to actually *balance other provinces' needs*, rather than always bitching about being downtrodden. All over this country, everyone makes an effort to understand that they're on province of ten with unique needs, and finding the balance is tough, but that calls for *co-operation*. I have no patience for Alberta's 'baby with the bathwater' take on Ontario. Buck up. Try travelling. Maybe even overseas; Alberta does *NOT* have it rough in Canada, and forcing Ontario to toe the line on Right politics is never going to fly.

    By Blogger Sigma-6, at 5:19 AM  

  • No Robbie. The nutbar rag "Western Standard" runs Coulter's column. And who is the Western Standard's publisher? Why, Ezra Levant, of course!

    Ezra has the IQ of a doorknob.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:50 PM  

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