Sunday, August 21, 2005

Straw Men

Is anyone else getting a little annoyed by the attack strategy we've seen on an almost monthly basis this year that people's political opponents are "helping the separatists". We first saw this back during non-confidence-mania when the Liberal talking points were that Stephen Harper was in bed with the separatists to bring down the Liberals. The implication was that Harper should put aside his political ambition and disgust in a government perceived to be corrupt and adrift because the BQ would do well in an election at the Liberals' expense.

Then, in the most bizarre political claim of the year, Stephen Harper claimed that the gay marriage law lacked legitimacy because it was sailing through with the support of the Bloc. This statement, more than his cowboy costume, is what has convinced me Stephen Harper is going to have a very difficult time ever becoming Prime Minister of Canada.

And now, Andy Savoy has jumped on the bandwagon. Savoy claims that Bernard Lord "played into the hands of the separatists" by having the nerve to ask Michaelle Jean to "clear the air" about her separatist and FLQ connections. It's unclear as to whether or not Savoy feels that Jean's statement "played into the hands of the separatists" or whether Paul Martin letting/urging her to make this statement to clear the air "played into the hands of the separatists".

I've been as critical of the separatist cause in Quebec as anyone but it's ridiculous to suggest that you can't question the government because it might help the separatists. That bears an eerie similarity to the Republican Party's masterful use of the "you're with us, or you're with the terrorists" line over the past few years.


  • Of course, the same argument could be used against criticism of the Michaelle Jean. That her critics are trying to stir up a "separatist bogeyman".

    By Blogger C. Banana, at 3:24 PM  

  • I would say that the only thing wrong is that by acknowledging half-truths and innuendo in the overly dramatic way that people were demanding for "played into the hands of the separatists" as they (separatists) got to dictate the direction of discourse in Canada (yet again) even when their proverbial chips were down because they were (as usual) able to throw English Canada into a convulsive frenzy of self-doubt and finger pointing. Similar to some sick political, reality version of Juste Pour Rire where English Canada is always the hapless, clueless target.

    So, even when the Government has the upper hand it seems to still lose in some way or another not at the hands of separatists but by its own support base. I mean, what better way is there to win an ideological war that that?

    I don't believe this milquetoast approach to asymmetrical federalism where the extreme factions get to drive the bus helps Canada in the slightest. So again if there was any "playing into the hands of separatists" I would say it happened in that fashion. Which is why I said in my blog on this is that the separatists can come out on top on this one because federalists dropped the ball and it shouldn't have happened like this if Canada wants to work properly.

    By Blogger Canadian Perasma, at 5:43 PM  

  • Zowie, great post CG!

    By Blogger v, at 6:47 PM  

  • Good post CG, Candian politics is really starting to sicken me, maybe they should try something different, like beating the hell out of each other during question period like in Korea and such.....

    By Blogger DazzlinDino, at 10:15 PM  

  • Right, because it's only Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition invoking the separatist bogeyman. The Liberals were never trying to deflect the criticism by calling Le Québécois a 'hardline sovereigntist' publication.


    By Blogger Optimus, at 11:55 PM  

  • CG:

    How dare you. A post like that will play into the separatists hands!

    Okay, I'm joking.

    But I will tell you this: we are infantilizing politics in Canada.

    CG - I'm the Quebec Harpermaniac, but my Canada includes (and loves) you too!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:48 AM  

  • Optimus,

    Maybe you ought to read his post again. He lays this at the feet of the Liberals during the non-confidence debate as well.

    Hell, I'm sorry to say I have used this very argument on more than one occassion.

    CG has made a great, non-partisan post and observation.

    My only criticism is that, while for the most part this is just political mudslinging, ther are times when this do in fact "play into the hands of separatist". Figuring out what is a legitimate reason to say that and what is just political hyperbole is tha hard part.

    By Blogger Mike, at 11:32 AM  

  • Quebec Harpermaniac says:

    Mike - here's one valid "playing into the separatist hands".

    Had Chretien joined the Iraq invasion during the Quebec election, that would have "played into the separatist hands" because Landry would say, "Quebec would not, as a nation, participate" - everybody whoops it up and the PQ win.

    Chretien opted out of Iraq because of Quebec politics. Nothing more.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:47 PM  

  • I find the Conservative response to the new GG extremely hypocritical. As the leader of the Queen’s Official Opposition, Harper has a past of his own, which to many does not seem entirely supportive of federalism. In 1994 in a speech he gave to the National Citizens Coalition, an organization which he eventually took the reins of in 1997 after quitting politics the "first" time, Harper said: “Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion.”

    But, hey, I certainly don’t want to dig up his past, it is possible after all, Harper has become a federalist and “reformed.” Pardon the pun. The Reform Party's roots were extremely anti-government, anti-Quebec, at least from my experiences at Monte Solberg's "Town Hall Meetings." I remember him saying at a Forum in 1993, when he first ran for Parliament, that if the Reform ideas could sweep the country, his Party would not have a reason to exist within 9 or 10 years. Interesting remark for a Radio guy from small town Alberta. But the voters down here ate it up. "Vote for me, and I promise I won't be in Ottawa long enough to let the power corrumpt me!"

    By Anonymous Fran Irwin, at 12:22 PM  

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