Skip to comments.Mark Steyn: Still ironing out the wrinkles (Canada!)
Posted on 12/05/2005 1:16:06 PM PST by NZerFromHK
Well, they got away with it. Paul Martin wants to make it absolutely clear that he takes the Gomery report very very seriously, so hes hiring 300 new federal auditors.
Wow! Three hundred new auditors! Let Paul Martin be perfectly clear on this: this isnt the old Liberal party culture of corruption, no sir. Its the all-new Liberal party culture of corruption, now with full supporting cast!
Granted, the sponsorship program that got him in this mess in the first place did, in fact, go through four separate federal audits, all of which raised red flags. Presumably, the red flags raised were those Sheila Copps Maple Leafs, federally funded to the tune of $45 per and outsourced overseas to a company that neglected to attach any eyelets, sleeves or halyards, thus rendering them unflyable. So as soon as the red flags were raised they promptly fell down again, and life in the Liberapalooza sponsorship program continued as before.
But who knows? Maybe if it had gone through not four but 54 or 104 audits, at some point someone would have raised a red flag that stayed up, and the hordes of Grit wheeler-dealers would have said, You know something? Auditor #102 is right. We need to cut this stuff out. Maybe 300 new auditors arent enough. Maybe we need 3,000. Theres no way to know till the next scandal. But the prime ministers willingness to hire 300 just for starters is a sign of how seriously committed he is to giving the appearance of doing something. And if half those 300 new auditors start putting in expense claims for four-figure lunches, well make sure each auditor is personally audited by 300 new auditors all of his own. And if thats still not enough well hire a bunch of Quebec public relations firms to launch a campaign to attract more auditors. As many as it takes, even if it takes the entire adult population of la belle province.
To get the flavour of the world the Liberals have made, consider this chipper press release from Scott Brisons Public Works and Government Services Department outlining the scale of the reforms:
As part of this new approach, integrity provisions will be embedded in all contracts to provide a clear statement of the obligations currently set out in the Criminal Code, including prohibitions against paying, offering, demanding or accepting bribes or colluding with others to obtain a contract.
Who knew? As Messrs Martin and Brison see it, we had plenty of jolly useful laws against bribery and so forth, the only problem was we didnt put a big enough sign up in the lobby. Now, when you enter the reception area, youll be greeted by a placard saying, Travaux publics et services gouvernement aux Canada--PLEASE DO NOT OFFER A BRIBE AS A REFUSAL MAY OFFEND. That should do the trick, shouldnt it?
Back in the Trudeaupian golden age, you may recall, the great mans barnstorming transformation of Canada was momentarily halted by a storm about barns. It emerged that some overzealous officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had burned down barns belonging to Quebec separatists. The press was briefly exercised over this, but M. Trudeau gave one of his famous shrugs and airily remarked that, if people were so upset by the Mounties burning down barns illegally, perhaps hed make the burning of barns by the Mounties legal. As the great George Jonas commented:
It seemed not to occur to him that it isnt wrong to burn down barns because its illegal, but its illegal to burn down barns because its wrong. Like other statist politicians, Mr. Trudeau seemed to think his ability to set out for his country what is legal and illegal also entitled him to set out for his citizens what is right and wrong. He either didnt see, or resented, that right and wrong are only reflected by the laws, not determined by them.
This is a distinction all but lost in the decayed Dominions political culture. Mr. Brisons new guidelines are anxious to promote the idea that Adscam happened because the parties involved were not up to speed on whats legal and illegal. Thats not the problem. Its that they no longer know whats right and wrong. Id wager very few of the vast numbers of Liberal cronies, bagmen and wardheelers were unaware that what they were doing was against the law. And, if they were happy to break the existing laws, giving them three or four more laws to break and a couple dozen more regulations to ignore and 300 more audits to file in the basement is unlikely to change their basic approach to government. And why should it? In a one-party state, they are the law. They rule their fiefdoms: these are, in Alphonso Gaglianos casually proprietorial phrase, my crowns.
The language of the Westminster parliamentary tradition assumes integrity: my right honourable friend, the honourable member and, in the House of Lords, all that stuff about the noble earl opposite. The minute you can no longer assume it, the minute you have to have armies of ethics commissioners to put it all down in sub-clauses and appendices, the game is up. Queen Elizabeth Is reign had the courtly intrigues of the Earl of Essex. Queen Elizabeth IIs has the kabuki transparency of 300 earls of ethics. When Liberal hacks drone on about da Canadian values, we should know what that boils down to: we now live in a political system where, when dealing with a minister of the Crown, one is obliged to sign a piece of paper undertaking not to offer a bribe to him or accept one therefrom.
The Gomery process represents a rare example of strategic clarity from the famously perfectly clear Martin: by tarring the entire political culture, he preserved his own viability within it. I doubt anybody believes the official version--that the minister of finance was apparently unable to see beyond the end of his nose for an entire decade--but those few thousand voters in Ontario who decide federal elections have reacted not with Boy, those politicians. We really need a change in Ottawa, but with the traditional pseudo-cynicism of the eternal sucker: Boy, those politicians. Everybody does it, eh? And, if everybody does it, why change? The beauty of the Gomery report is that, while it may outline various breaches of this or that guideline or even law, the meta-story, as they say, is wholly favourable to the one-party state: as David Warren summed it up, it confirms the Liberal Party pays for its friends.
Furthermore, from the point of view of those of us on the right, if the issue is Liberal corruption, were unlikely to benefit from any fallout. One notices in conversation with progressive friends that they now regard the Liberal party the same way they did the Soviet Union: nothing wrong with Communism, just a few wrinkles putting it into effect; nothing wrong with Liberal party values, just a few wrinkles in the Quebec branch of the promotions department. On that turf, no good will accrue to conservatives, as various NDP poll upticks here and there already indicate. Thus, the magnificent reduction of Canadian politics: the looming showdown in Vancouver Centre between Hedy Fry, the incendiary promoter of bogus Klan scares, and Svend Robinson, the light-fingered gay. Yes, yes, Svend, I know, that characterization is homokleptophobic, but youll have to win the election to get it made a new hate crime. A fantasist vs. a kleptocrat is almost too neat a précis of the Canadian political scene, even if, for 100 per cent accuracy, the respective party labels should be reversed.
In the end, people get the government they deserve--as weve seen on the news from Paris these last couple of weeks, and before that in the German election. My sense right now is the Grits are heading back to majority territory. Cmon, Ontario, prove me wrong.
It is true that at the end of the day, people get the government they deserve.
In a country with more or less free elections, absolutely.
Not really applicable to others.
In case it has escaped you, we are fighting against liberals for our very country.
realistic enough to know the chance of turn-around for Canada is - not much bar a miracle.
Why, thanks again, for your support. /barf
All in all, a breakup might be a good thing. That's what eventually happens to big, unwieldy socialist states.
It's a decisive election for the country - I still hope that Ontario will do the right thing.
Don't hold your breath, man. Most Ontarians can't even speak English or read & write.
Count me in with you - ASHAMED!!! in fact DOUBLE ASHAMED. If Ontario puts the Liberals back in this country IS COMPLETELY FINISHED!! COMPLETELY!!
CO, you should only feel shame if you don't try.
Talk to people, tell them what us Conservatives stand for.
Most people don't pay attention to politics, and many won't, even during this election, until after the 'Holy Days'.
We have 1 1/2 months to convince our families, friends and neighbors that the Conservatives will make a better government.
We know it. It's a fact, right?
Let's spread the good news this Christmas.
I'm with you. Get ANGRY at the snobs in Ontario who WILL NOT vote conservative and get Ontario cleaned up. If you can do that, you will take back Canada.
fan fan - I WORK with the local Conservative Party and I did with the Reform before it. I am doing MY part here. I can't control what happens in Ontario and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried. We've been stung too many times. If EVER there was a time that people should have a change of mind it's NOW. If this doesn't do it, NOTHING will. So GET OUT THE CONSERVATIVE VOTE guys.!!! I'm donating to the Party and so far Stephen Harper couldn't be better. Martin looks and sounds rediculous and frantic. But then I read Mark and I wobble.
Canada is dying.... The Liberals are gaining in Ontario at the moment while dying in the West. The Maritimers, God Bless Them, are like crack whores needing a new fix from the crack dealer in Ottawa. The Quebeckers are savvy but we all know the seperatist flap is a sham. Anyone who isn't willing to die for independance isn't serious.
If the Liberals get a majority or even a strong minority, I'm gone.
You are experiencing, first hand, the disconnect between most people , and their politics.
Like the promise to cut the GST to 5%,..... the best policies are ones that people can understand.
So GET OUT THE CONSERVATIVE VOTE guys.!!!
I'm donating to the Party and so far Stephen Harper couldn't be better.
This culture of corruption transcends everything else.
This election is not (only) about liberalism vs. socialism vs. conservatism. It is about the very foundation of our democracy.
Building political structures on a base of corruption; is akin to building levees on mud and silt. No matter how well built the programs are; the whole works will fail if the foundation is corrupt.
I'm just an outsider looking in (American) but it sure seems to me that you Canadians have a good guy in Stephen Harper. Hope that a majority of your countrymen feel the same.
Wow, the Conservative Party should hire you as our presss agent.
Rather than persuading Canadians that conservatism is superior
to liberalism/socialism/communism on rational grounds, you would
basically argue that unles they vote Conservative, the country is finished!
And you could add your unifying tagline that the West should seperate.
Thanks for being a patriotic Canadian.
Thanks for understanding my passion because one of our other posters is "sick of my Ontario bashing"!! LOL I know Stephen Harper, he is a really good man, he would do wonders for this country, and I just hate to see it go to the dogs AGAIN. I'm doing all that I can where I am.
Very well explained. You summed it up just about right. The Maritimes unfortunately, goes for whoever promises to bail them out with $$.
I just heard on the news this afternoon that Ford is closing a HUGE number of North American plants or dealerships. Whatever one it was it was a very large number. Is there a Ford plant in Ontario besides a GM one? I'm not sure. Ford is apparently "re-structuring"!! That probably means moving to another country or downsizing to the point that the jobs lost will not be coming back.
Thank you LZ. It looks like it might be closed.
FWIW Hargrove is saying he thinks it is safe based on the last contract negotiations