Skip to comments.Mark Steyn: Puppet Regime (Ask a Washed-Up Canadian)
Posted on 02/15/2004 8:33:46 PM PST by quidnunc
Putting The Spectator to one side (which is always a good idea in this Gilliganista phase), these are certainly strange times in Trudeaupia. The country has chosen to go to war with a puppet Triumph The Insult Dog. As his name might have forewarned, Triumph has insulted Canada. Nothing unusual about that. He insults people for a living. Whats unique in this case is that both Federal and provincial levels of government paid for him and his master, Conan OBrien, to come to Canada to insult us; they put him up in the best kennel at the Chateau Frontenac, etc. Try and imagine how the good folk of Troy would have felt if instead of just falling for that Trojan horse gag theyd actually paid the Greeks good money for it up front.
One sympathises at the politicians shock on discovering that Triumph The Insult Dog is a dog in the insult business. But in the legal sense the chaps complaining that Triumph and Conan have perpetrated a hate crime are on shaky ground: its a bit like whining that your dominatrix put your back out. And, if they werent aware that Triumph is in the insult business, then that should stand as a cautionary tale of what happens when government spends your money: they havent a clue.
There isn't really a lot to add, except new, daily examples such as the latest uncovered scandal, on which my former colleague Andrew Coyne has been writing on very persuasively. The official defence by diehard Chretienites (I think that means Warren Kinsella) is that after the 1995 referendum the Feds took a decision to throw money at Quebec; its hardly their fault if most of the money thrown ended up in the pockets of Liberal Party cronies. As Warren tells it, the reason the referendum went so badly was because there were so few visible symbols of Canada in the province: why, even the Post Offices didnt fly Canadian flags! But the Post Office is a Federal institution: why not simply instruct them to fly the flag? And surely the real problem in Quebec is not the lack of visible symbols of the Federal state but the fact that, as the 95 vote demonstrated, a majority of francophones either despise or are indifferent to those symbols. Paying Liberal cronies to paper the province is unlikely to change that.
What do the billion-dollar flag fraud, the dog puppet and Don Cherry have in common? Answer: Quebec. All three scandals are breaches of the official Federal etiquette regarding the province. Modern Federal bilingualism is, as Pierre Trudeau understood, a form of affirmative action. It starts at the top: the Governor-Generalship alternates between anglophones and francophones. In America, anyone can grow up to be President. But, if youre a francophone, your chances of growing up to be viceroy are three times those of an anglophone. Maybe there are arguments to be made in favour of that, but, after three and a half decades in which (except for two brief interludes) the Prime Ministers office has been held continuously by Quebecers, it shouldnt be surprising if there are one or two voices a mite resentful of the systems built-in bias. My old friend Paul Inkless Wells frets that the flagging-federalism scandal may have the unfortunate result of confirming redneck Francophobes in their prejudices. Old Inkless is a shrewd judge of the political scene, but I have to say this comment reminded me of the European Unions decision to shelve its report on the growing epidemic of Continental Jew-bashing lest it provoke an anti-Muslim backlash.
(Excerpt) Read more at steynonline.com ...
PS I could not believe the Speccie was looking at hiring Andrew Gilligan after his ignominious departure from the BBC. It was bad enough having to put with his Baghdad=Stalingrad articles as guest columnist. After 25 years as a subscriber, through London, Hong Kong, San Francisco and now Toronto, I'm afraid that Boris Johnson's editorship has convinced me not to renew my subscription. About the only columns left worth reading were your's, Marcus Berkman's on pop (anyone who liked 10cc can't be all bad), Chris Fildes and Steven Glover's press overview. I respected Matthew Parris' opposition to the Iraq war, but it's led to him to claim that Gaddafi gave up his WMD because of polite pressure from the UK, and as for Rod Liddle-words fail me. If I want to read anti-Blair diatribes from personal friends of disgraced journalists, I can read the Guardian online. If you're serious about buying the Speccie, please let me know, as I may be interested in investing if you and similarly minded writers were involved.
But thats becoming rather obvious, isnt it? As I wrote in The National Post on December 12th 2002 regarding what was then merely a one-billion dollar gun registry:
Last week, while cynical Liberal bigwigs were openly boasting that this record-breaking government fraud would just be another one of those things you hear about for a couple of days that then mysteriously vaporizes somewhere over Shawinigan, the radio call-in shows were full of concerned, earnest, reasonable, moderate Canadians saying that, even if it did cost a billion, it still "sends the right message" on gun control. Which is just as well, as it'll still be sending the right message when it's up to two billion.
Well, here we are 14 months later and its now drum roll, please! a two-billion dollar gun registry. And guess what? Ill bet all the earnest, reasonable, moderate Canadians still think it sends the right message. Because like so many other Liberal virtues sending the right message is a concept unrelated to reality. To go back to that 2002 column:
Extreme cases make bad law, and just because it's a cliche doesn't mean the Liberal Party of Canada can't take it to hitherto undreamt of heights. Our disarmed Dominion will be the first jurisdiction on the planet with a one-billion dollar gun-registry. It was supposed to cost two million, but, as Dr. Evil learned in Austin Powers, these days that's just chump change, they'll laugh at you. No self-respecting government plan should cost less than ONE BILLION DOLLARS!!!!! Roy Romanow's health plan needs $15-billion and all we can say for certain is that it's bound not to be enough. Kyoto? Overspend-wise, think of the gun registry as a National Film Board documentary short and Kyoto as Waterworld.
A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talkin' real money. More to the point, as there's only 30 million of us, you're talkin' our money. So far the gun registry has managed to register three million guns for $700-million. That's $233.33 per gun. Given that many of those guns are old and rusty, it's not an unreasonable presumption that the gun registry's already cost more than the guns. Which is pretty expensive for what was supposed to be a cheap way for the Liberal government to demonstrate its ideological bona fides to those who deplore the coast-to-coast "culture of male violence" as revealed by one crazy Algerian-Canadian son of a Muslim spousal-abuser...
What the Liberals had going for them was the long-held notion that they're the natural stewards of Canada, that they transcend ideology. If you want to get anything done in this country, you have to do it through the Liberals. I've heard that a thousand times. Even Barbara Amiel says it. The Aspers, I was told when this newspaper changed hands, agree. And so do millions of other Canadians, not least those of vote-rich Ontario.
But it's precisely on the competence issue, on their stewardship of the nation, that this government deserves to fail. You'd expect Trudeaupian Liberals to be lousy at defence of the realm and foreign policy. But these guys are lousy -- and wasteful and incompetent -- on their own issues, on gun control and health care.
The fact is, as Pete McMartin points out, bribing indifferent Quebecers to allow their festivals to be festooned with maple leafs isnt a failure of the system: it is the system. If its considered bad form to mention that, we ought at least to be allowed to give subliminal expression to the thought through snide cracks on NHL broadcasts or by sniggering when a Canadian government-subsidised US celebrity comes up here and sneers at la belle province. I hasten to add I speak as a man who loves Quebec, whos determined to be the last anglo living here, who has little time for anglo whining about signs and hospitals, who sees no reason why the Quebec motor vehicles department should provide service in English, etc, etc. But the fact is paying cronies to deck the hall with boughs of maple isnt the fraud; the Trudeaupian state is the fraud, and the flag business merely a logical manifestation thereof.
The other, parallel fraud is Quebec nationalism. In the last 40 years, everywhere from Slovenia and Slovakia to Tajikistan and East Timor have become independent, but Quebec, mysteriously, despite long periods under allegedly "separatist" governments, never separates. You dont think thats an accident, do you?
STEYNONLINE February 15th 2004