Skip to comments.Dear Stephane: Be a man (Stephane Dion, Canadian Liberal Opposition Leader)
Posted on 03/24/2007 1:50:19 PM PDT by Clive
On Thursday, Stephen Harper endured a second straight day of Liberal attacks over allegations that Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan may have mistreated three Taliban prisoners. The Grits' hysteria prompted the Prime Minister to shoot back that the opposition seems to care more about the rights of Taliban detainees than the safety of our troops in Kandahar. His zinger in turn provoked Liberal Leader Stephane Dion to charge that Mr. Harper was trying to bully him. It seemed a particularly feeble -- dare we say, whimpy -- accusation for a grown man to make.
The exchange also demonstrated that while the Liberals love to dish out partisan invective, they can't take it when it's aimed at them.
Since last fall, the Liberals have labelled Mr. Harper a Neanderthal over his government's cuts to the Status of Women Canada budget; implied he is racist for axing the $5-billion Kelowna agreement on native funding; claimed he is anti-democratic for "stacking" the committees that advise on judicial nominees; accused him of "undermining our Canadian values system" by eliminating funding to the left-leaning Court Challenges Program; and suggested he was homophobic for reviving the debate on same-sex marriage. They have called him a "control freak," "Bush-lite," "deceitful" and a practitioner of "Republican voodoo economics."
Two weeks ago in Halifax, during his cross-country tour aimed at saving his sagging leadership, Mr. Dion accused the Prime Minister of hard-heartedly abandoning the poor by cutting social programs and of attempting "to change our culture to a rightwing republican state."
Whatever one thinks of the truth of these puffed up accusations -- and we don't think much of them -- they are perfectly above-board. Indeed, they are the lifeblood of a parliamentary system based on a government held to account by a zealous opposition. So why can't Mr. Dion and the Liberals stand it when they are the subject of return vitriol?
The answer, we suspect, is twofold. First, Mr. Dion's roots are in the academy, and so his temperament remains geared toward the more rational discourse that prevails in classrooms and academic journals. Second, Mr. Dion originally served in Cabinet with the Liberals during a period when the conservative opposition was weak -- and the Liberals were constantly on the offensive. Now that the tables have turned, Mr. Dion is disoriented.
"This is certainly a pattern," Mr. Dion told Parliament, referring to the Prime Minister, "where he acts as a bully and I don't want to follow this way, I don't want to do that."
Then don't follow it, Mr. Dion. Or do. Either way, stop whining like a child whose older brother just got a bigger lollypop. Act like a leader, or at least a grownup politician. Accept that in the cut-and-thrust of political jousting your opponents are going to make allegations against you and your party every bit as outsized as the ones you make against them.
Debates in the US congressional system are positively courtly in comparison to those in Canada's parliamentary system.
Question Period is noted for verbal cut-and-slash.
This person has lost touch with reality.
"Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small." - Henry Kissinger
The worst thing you can do to a liberal is have the ability to call them out on their BS publically.
"Politics is the bloodiest of sports" - Stephen Harper and his team would know all about that, because his Tory / Alliance / Reform members learned at the feet of the master - Jean Chretien - who subjected them to just about every dirty trick in the book before they got to power.
And now it's payback time. Get the popcorn and enjoy.
Please send me a FReepmail to get on or off this Canada ping list.
If "he's bullying me!" is the best retort Dion can come up when he's been pinned on an issue, I'm fairly hopeful about the results of the next election.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
Dion looks like Billie Jean King in drag !
It's the same all over the world....