"History doesn't repeat itself," Mark Twain wrote, "but it rhymes." This week, in the House of Commons and in Quebec, politicians were replaying golden oldies. Susan Delacourt writes:
Here was interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose, for example, telling reporters on Monday why people in the West were getting fired up about Energy East.
“I’m hearing from Albertans, and from people in Saskatchewan, that this is just like the (National Energy Program),” Ambrose said at the Monday news conference. “That’s what they say. That this is just like back in the 80s when the last government … put strict measures in place that deflated the Alberta and Saskatchewan and British Columbia economy, that affected the resources sector.”
And Denis Cordere, the Mayor of Montreal and a former Liberal MP, was channelling separatist ghosts from the past:
Though Coderre is a federalist, on this issue he’s on-side with Quebec separatists, who have cast the Energy East pipeline as an unwanted intrusion by the rest of Canada into the province — kind of like the 1981 Constitution.
“Independence is also being able to say no to a pipeline,” a spokesman for Parti Québecois leader Pierre-Karl Péladeau said last year about Energy East. “Like all the other bad decisions taken by the government in Ottawa.”
The reason one studies history is to avoid the mistakes of the past, not to repeat them. But, when we exorcize ghosts we may well repeat those mistakes.