In candid moments with confidants, the Prime Minister [Chretien] would accuse Martin of being soft on separatists and too eager to grant concessions to the provinces.
-Susan Delacourt (p.98 Juggernaut)
Say what you will about a CBC bias, but Terry Milewski has a biting report tonight which can be seen here. In it, we see a clip of Martin panning Harper's UNESCO proposal. One problem: Martin said the exact same thing last year, and Maleski has the video to prove it:
"Quebec must not only be with us at the UNESCO table. The door must be wide open to them. And I promise unequivocally, it will be."
Here's what Martin is saying today:
Speaking to reporters in Ayr, Ont., Prime Minister Paul Martin said: "Let me be clear: My position is we are one country, and you don't strengthen Canada by weakening the federal government."
Canada is one country that speaks with one voice internationally, "not two and not ten," he said.
Problem is, Martin has never had this opinion before. One of the reasons I could never support Martin for leadership was his position on Quebec. He supported Meech. He opposed the Clarity Act (albeit in his usual, "stay silent and leak it through backbenchers" kind of way). He brought in Jean Lapierre to be his Quebec lieutenant and tried to drive Stephane Dion out of the party. While I do appreciate Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, I doubt it's legitimacy. For his entire career he has believed in the Mulroney federalism and suddenly he'd like to have Canadians believe he walks in Trudeau's shadow? I don't think so.
This shouldn't surprise anyone. Martin quietly doubted Chretien's decision to stay out of Iraq and ran commercials attacking Harper on it last election. Martin quietly opposed same sex marriage until this election and now he's viciously attacking Harper on the issue (without ever once saying he supports Same Sex Marriage - it's the Charter, stupid). Martin quietly made his objections to Kyoto known during the leadership race and now is attacking George Bush on it. He quietly complained about Jean Chretien's poor relationship with George Bush and now...well, see the last point.
There's also talk Martin will try to fight the rest of the campaign by painting Harper as a patsy the provinces can push around. Oh boy. Why doesn't he just fight the election on decisiveness? Or on off-shore tax havens?
[Cross-Posted to CTV Weblog]