Friday, April 28, 2017

No Teachable Moments


Michael Harris was not impressed by the final Conservative leadership debate:

For what felt like hours, the candidates alternated between snarking at their colleagues and making grandiose claims about their own fitness for high office — the latter usually amounting to a reference to the real jobs they had before stumbling into the distorted universe of contemporary politics.

The more the hopeful talked, the more it became apparent that defeat has taught them nothing:

Former House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer offered fresh proof that his party is where dinosaurs go when they retire. With a smarmy smile pasted on his youthful face, Scheer insisted that the Conservatives were not crushed in the last election by Justin Trudeau and the Liberals because of their policies in government.

Heavens, no. It wasn’t the dysfunctional fighter jets without price-tags, the snitch line, the long string of deficits and the burgeoning national debt that put an end to a decade of Harperian bliss. Nor was it the serial lying, the politicization of the Justice department, the RCMP and just about every other department of the public service that could be brought to heel by executive intimidation.

It wasn’t a hopelessly one-sided Middle East policy, the abandonment of Canada’s veterans, the instinct to bomb first and talk never, or the personal destruction of the PMO’s enemies in trumped-up police investigations and show trials. (Luckily for the rest of us, the biggest one — the Duffy trial — went terribly wrong for the government.)

No, see … the policies were great. Canadians loved them. It was just that they weren’t explained properly, said Scheer, pointing a rhetorical finger at rivals Chris Alexander and Kellie Leitch. He, grinning Andrew, will be the Explainer-in-Chief and bring the voters back to the CPC tent, or boat, or whatever it is.

There was one exception. Michael Chong's time as a Conservative has taught him a few things:

Chong, who took on Harper as a Conservative minister and paid the price, knows that without a credible environmental policy — including a carbon tax — the Tories will never win in a city like Toronto. Now, facts may not matter much in this race, but I can’t be the only one who remembers that Stephen Harper proposed a cap-and-trade system in 2006 and 2008 — years in which the Conservatives won federal elections.

Chong has learned something. The rest of the pack have had no teachable moments.

Image: new957.com

18 comments:

Lorne said...

Perhaps the saddest aspect of this unseemly spectacle, Owen, is the likelihood that, with the exception of Michael Chong, none of the contenders has any real reason to run, except the mantle of 'leader'appeals their oversize egos.

Owen Gray said...

Like the easily forgotten O'Leary candidacy, Lorne, their reasons for running amount to ego trips.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

They are also completely unaware Owen, of how pathetic they sound to Canadians.It's like their going through the motions of what they think a leader of a political party should be. In reality they really don't know.

Owen Gray said...

Spot on, Pam. They don't know because they don't learn.

Toby said...

Chong really hasn't learned much. A carbon tax is fifty years past its effective date and won't accomplish much unless it hurts. What is needed is that all governments stop subsidizing carbon and let fuel prices float up to their real cost. When the price goes up people make more responsible choices. Of course it's tough on the politicians when that happens; check Turkey with gas at $2.04/litre. http://www.globalpetrolprices.com/gasoline_prices/ Prices are shown in US$ but you can change it to Canadian$ in the drop down box. Check the price in Hong Kong.

Owen Gray said...

$15, Toby? I wonder how many electric cars are being sold in Hong Kong.

Toby said...

Hong Kong gas price $2.64 Canadian. Public transport is easily available everywhere in Hong Kong.

Lulymay said...

This current crop of Cons vying to be leader of their rudderless group have no idea what it actually means to be a leader because they have no experience in that role. The main reason being is there was only one "dear" leader during the dark days of Stephen Harper -- and that was himself. He was the only one in charge and he made sure anyone who didn't understand that was immediately thrown unceremoniously under the bus.

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for clarifying that, Toby. Obviously, I didn't go to the tight source. If we're going to save the planet, we'll have to invest in public transportation.

Owen Gray said...

He had no succession plan, Lulymay. He feared anyone who might challenge him for the job

The Mound of Sound said...


The last time I recall seeing genuine party renewal was under Pearson when he recruited and groomed Trudeau, Marchand, Lalonde and, subsequently, Chretien. With the other stalwarts - Turner, MacEachen, Gray, Lang, Basford, Sauve, Mackasey, Allmand, Pepin, LeBlanc, Macdonald, Mitchell Sharp, Barney Danson and others - there was a depth of talent that served the LPC well for many years. Actually when you think back on that era even Justin Trudeau's cabinet seem like second-stringers and the Tory pickings are decidedly worse.

Owen Gray said...

During those days, there was a deep pool of talent in all the parties, Mound. A friend of mine -- who lives in Ottawa -- talks of the times he would sit in the House and watch the debate between Trudeau, Stanfield and Lewis. He says that the level of debate was high and civil. It was not without its pointed jabs. There was the day David Lewis looked over at Trudeau and responded, "There but for Pierre Trudeau, goes God!" Apparently all sides -- even Trudeau -- appreciated Lewis' wit.

Toby said...

Since that time virtually all power resides in the PM's office which means stagnation in Parliament.

The Mound of Sound said...

Yes, I had a stint of covering Question Period in that era and it was a far cry from what goes on today. An element of genuine malevolence came into being when Preston's Reform MPs showed up in the Commons. In some respects a bit like Canada's Khmer Rouge. The taint of that bunch lives on among some Conservatives.

Owen Gray said...

True, Toby. Things have gotten much more presidential.

Owen Gray said...

The tone of the Harper party was consistent, Mound. It boiled down to one word: contempt.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Owen Gray said...
$15, Toby? I wonder how many electric cars are being sold in Hong Kong.



https://electrek.co/2017/02/22/hong-kong-electric-vehicle-incentives-tesla/

It can be done.
It has with carbon energy tax credits.

TB

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, TB. Of course, it can be done.