A pox on their houses. All of their houses.
There was a time in this fair land when the railroads did not run. Gordon Lightfoot said so. But farsighted people — some of whom were in it for the money, some for glory, some for the greater good — managed to set aside their differences, lay down the rails and tear up the trails... or something like that.
They were nation building. Nation building is something that takes leadership, imagination, hard work and, most importantly, compromise and cooperation.
Which pretty much explains why Canada isn't in nation-building mode these days. Not that we don't need nation building. We have a highway system that borders on third-world standards in much of the country and what we do have is insufficient and costly in terms of lost productivity as people sit idly in their cars and trucks going nowhere. We have schools, hospitals, bridges, and ports that need to be built, repaired or upgraded.
We need social policies to help lay the foundation for young people to grasp the idea that education and hard work are more likely to lead to success than hoping for a spot on Canadian Idol, et al. We need other foundational policies that address income inequality and dissuade adults from believing Lotto 6/49 is a retirement plan.
Instead we get high-school hijinks in the House of Commons. We get the sinking feeling we're being led (sic) by bozos who belong in a circus rather than the nation's capital. We're dished cynicism when we hunger for leadership.
And we take solace in believing we're somehow better off than our neighbours south of the border because we don't have an orange-haired billionaire buffoon on the verge of running things. Hell, the panty raid in Parliament last week looked like an unreality TV show worthy of The Donald.
There's plenty of blame to go around and plenty of parliamentarians deserving blame. It would be easy to say if I were a card-carrying Liberal I'd be burning my card. But I'd be doing the same if I were carrying any of the other party's card.
This is not some kind of sophomoric moral equivalency argument, although it's hard sometimes to not fall into the trap of saying they're all the same or one's just as bad as the others. The blame for what happened falls squarely on the shoulders of the Liberal leadership, with but a soupcon of blame for the antics of the NDP. What happened in the wake of Mr. Trudeau's lapse of sanity and pugilistic idiocy, the overwrought, hyperbolic faux victimization, belongs to the opposition.
But I didn't vote for the opposition. I voted for our Liberal candidate and, by extension, Mr. Trudeau. That I feel like a fool for having done so I can live with. After all, the choices were miserable.
It's human nature to forget — repress may be a better word — the bad and remember the good, the hopeful, the desired. It's the coping mechanism that lets skiers remember their epic turns and forget their garage sales. The same human quality that helps golfers recall those few perfect strokes while either forgetting or lying about the other 99.
That Rock 'em-Sock 'em Trudeau crossed the floor of the House and got physical, both intentionally and unintentionally, with other members of Parliament is forgivable. Stupid but forgivable. He didn't slug anyone and didn't use any words he probably hadn't used to hurry someone along up the steps to Spanky's.
What he did, presumably to get things moving along, was incredibly inappropriate but it didn't rise to the level of insanity displayed by the half-dozen NDP members engaged in the Dance of the Wounded Buffalo, presumably to keep the minority whip from moving on to wherever the heck he was going and keep the too-hurried vote on the assisted dying bill from moving along.
Hello people; you're supposed to be running the country. There's serious work to do. Remember?
This whole embarrassing spectacle was borne out of frustration. Punchy was frustrated with Mulcair's Marauders using the floor of the House to practice their roller derby blocking. The NDP was frustrated with Punchy's Liberals trying to do their best imitation of Mr. Harper's my-way-or-the-highway style of governing.
I'm frustrated with the lot of them.
But I'm mostly frustrated with Justin Trudeau. I want my vote back, Justin; you're a fraud. Sunny ways my ass.
You've been silent on reforms to Bill C-51. That was supposed to be a high priority.
You've been both dishonest and duplicitous in greasing the way for the odious sale of military vehicles to the Saudis and continue to be truculent even after being confronted with evidence of their use against civilians.
Your stack-the-deck manipulation of the investigative committee that's going to stickhandle your promise to do away with the first-past-the-post election system is both cynical and dooms it to endless rancour and disagreement. If you're not going to put the issue to Canadians in a referendum, you have to at least make the system designing the solution both representative and consensus-building. You can't ram election reform through in bullyboy style.
Your government's pathetic efforts to draft physician-assisted death legislation falls far short of the requirements outlined in the Supreme Court decision last year. Your heavy-handed effort to curtail debate on it and hurry it along to a late night vote drove the unimaginative NDP to their ridiculous display.
And your Motion 6 From Outer Space must have given Mr. Harper a hard-on and left him wishing he'd had the stones to float something so undemocratic, opaque and contemptuous when he was striving to perfect that trifecta. In words you may be capable of understanding — words right off the primary school playground — who died and named you dictator, dude?
Thanks, JT. I was doing my best to put my cynicism aside. I'd almost managed to uncharacteristically convince myself you'd run a different style of government. One that was more inclusive. One that sought to cobble consensus. One that tackled the tough jobs and moved this nation forward. Well, what a dick I was.
Slipping back into my well-earned coat of many cynicisms feels comfy, like a warm fire on a cold day or seeing my home come into view after a long time away or that first sip of fine scotch at day's end.
I guess this means the honeymoon's over. Now if you'll kindly reengage your brain and start governing like an adult, even some of the time, maybe I can slip in a cute dog and cat column every now and then.
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