Tuesday, May 03, 2005

To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause

I never thought I'd say this, but I kind of wish Belinda Stronach would shut up: While her party pushes ahead to try to defeat the minority Liberal government, Conservative MP Belinda Stronach warned yesterday that forcing an election before the federal budget passes is a risky strategy that could backfire on the party. Ms. Stronach said that critical portions of the budget -- particularly the billions being promised for municipal infrastructure -- are extremely important to individuals in her riding north of Toronto and other constituencies in the area. "I do have a concern that voting against the entire budget will impact negatively in my riding," she said. "However, I think it's important to say that if this government is serious about doing some good and doing what's right in the public interest, they could pull out certain elements of the budget that all parties could move forward on and agree to." But they're not serious about either of those things. They're making deals to strategically cause enough dissent among the easily-bribed to delay their collapse, a scheme which seems to be working, if someone as typically sharp as Stronach is fooled. A former rival to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper for the party's top post, Ms. Stronach made the remarks just hours before entering the Conservatives' special caucus meeting last night. The former auto parts executive would not say whether she thinks an election is necessary, preferring to make those views known at the caucus meeting. But she did say that members of her riding association are torn on the matter. Many, she said, are skittish about having a vote now if it means that critical portions of the budget end up on the cutting room floor. "They are disheartened at the corrupt Liberal government. They want to make a change," she said in response to questions. "But they're worried that some of the key programs promised that have been promised by this Liberal government will be compromised. That's the dilemma." Well. Pardon us for thinking that attempting to hold a monstrously corrupt government to account is more important than pork for your riding. That's only slightly less distasteful than those weak-sister MPs who only wanted to topple the government when the polls made it look like a sure majority win. This isn't about the budget. It's never been about the budget. Those MPs who think it is have fallen into the Liberals' trap. It's about corruption, it's about kickbacks, it's about waste, it's about pandering, and it's about the overweening arrogance of the Liberal Party, in behaving as though they have the by-God right to act like a majority government holding the moral high ground. If the matter is taken to the Canadian people - and they still, through stubbornness, mistrust, or self-interest, decide to return a Liberal government - then it's the appropriate time to make deals, because the situation is clearly hopeless, and there's no point in continuing to stand on principle. Doing so before such a popular verdict is craven and spineless. If we win this election, great; if not, fine, whatever, there's always emigration. But continuing to accommodate the current government on even a practical matter only plays into their hands. As for those Ontario MPs who prefer the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, who'd rather have the security of their seats than daring to make the case for ejecting a decidedly criminal governing party: You'd be surprised how little pity I can muster for them.

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