Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Some People Are Slow Learners. Some People Never Learn.

Rona Ambrose has embarked on a cross country sales tour. But what, exactly, is she selling? The product is not "new and improved." Gerry Caplan writes:

They have learned nothing. They have understood nothing. They are the Bourbons of our time, though with rather less monarchical glamour.

They are Canada’s own Conservative Party, already making clear their determination to recover what only months ago they believed might be theirs in perpetuity. So blinded are they by this sense of entitlement that they remain heedless of their own uncontrollable drive to self-destruction.

Caplan believes the evidence for this conclusion is in the party's tone deafness. Consider potential leadership hopeful Tony Clement: 

This week Mr. Clement was at it again. He is insisting the Liberals release a report that ostensibly justifies why they’re not cancelling the reprehensible $15-billion arms deal the Harper government signed with Saudi Arabia. I’m with him here, of course. But this would be the exact self-same report that Mr. Clement and his colleagues themselves refused to release publicly back in their day.

For those who enjoy hearing politicians make fools of themselves, listen to Mr. Clement’s As It Happens interview with host Carol Off. His bottom line: “I’m saying that if the judgment of the public was that we [the Harper government] weren’t transparent enough and that they elected a government that promises to be more transparent, I’m calling on the government to live up to their promises.”

And, of course, there is Ambrose herself, who has vowed to stop electoral reform dead in its tracks unless there is a referendum. And she's prepared to use the Conservative dominated Senate to do it:

More obviously bizarre is the party’s vow to use the Senate to help force a referendum on the government. Can they even be serious when they threaten this option? Have they been stuck with Matt Damon on Mars for the past couple of years? Is there a more discredited, undemocratic institution in all of Canada than our Senate? Does it have a jot or tittle of legitimacy left? Dare the Conservatives actually mobilize this misbegotten chamber to thwart the will of the elected House of Commons?

Some people are slow learners.  Some people never learn.


thwap said...

Thank Gord that the NDP was sent back to third place irrelevance and the Senate is saved as an institution. Because I remember hearing that promising to get rid of an unelected house of retired party hacks was a threat to Canadian democracy, ... or something.

It didn't make sense the first time I heard it either.

Owen Gray said...

That old saw, "Don't believe everything you hear," is good advice, thwap.

Anonymous said...

I think Mr. Clements make a valid point. While it may be true that the Conservatives haven't learned to accept second place (does any defeated party worth being called a party do that?), it's also true the Liberals haven't been much more transparent than were the Conservatives. It could be Prime Minister Trudeau realizes that it's not always the wisest course for a government to be completely open with its electorate. And Ms.Ambrose? Why, if a party is powerless to defeat a plan they disagree with, should they not resort to all constitutional means to stop it, including using a disreputable senate which they earlier had promised to get rid of? While I'm a long-time admirer of Gerry Caplan, in this instance I think his comments lack objectivity.

Owen Gray said...

In fairness, Anon, Caplan admits that all legitimate democratic options should be open to the opposition. His point is that the Conservatives' claim that they are the voice of democracy is a bit hard to stomach. And he believes that the demand for transparency applies as much to the Liberals as it does to the Conservatives.

The problem is that the Conservatives are just as hypocritical in opposition as they were in government.

The Mound of Sound said...

To understand what's going on, Owen, you need look no further than the Republicans when Obama entered the White House. Suddenly he was being held responsible for the 2008 meltdown that fittingly concluded the Bush/Cheney reign of error. Iraq and Afghanistan were transformed into Obama's wars. Everything the Republicans had inflicted on the United States to such dreadful consequence was transformed into the sins of this Democratic president.

Ambrose and Clement and the rest are clearly working out of the Republicans' playbook. Chapter and verse. They have nothing substantive to offer so their fallback position is projection.

Owen Gray said...

Their source of inspiration has been Republican strategists like Frank Luntz, Mound. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery. But it's no sign of brilliance.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

Under Harper Owen, the reform/alliance/cons were constantly campaigning. They still are. This continuous campaigning is an actual strategy they think will help them win in 2019. It's probably the reason why they say the ridiculous things they do say. Their speaking to their base.The rest of Canada doesn't matter.

Owen Gray said...

The last election proved that just speaking to their base won't put the Harperites in the cat bird seat again, Pam. As Caplan says, they learned nothing from the last election.

e.a.f. said...

I would love to see that one, the Con dominated senate try to block any leg. passed by the new Parliament. Trudeau would be so lucky. He would have a very good chance of the premiers agreeing to eliminating the senate. Not a good plan there Rona.

As to wanting a referendum, Harper didn't have one when he formed 2 classes of Canadians or implemented his form of the citizenship act.

Tony Clement is a joke and with his type of pronouncements, he is simply making things worse. Of course it does keep his name in the press and ditto for Rona, which maybe the name of the game. As the old Hollywood saying goes, I don't care what you say about me, just spell my name right.

Owen Gray said...

Perhaps, e.a.f, it really is a case of bad publicity is better than no publicity.