Thursday, August 25, 2005

Instead of government we had a stage

This (more here) is most certainly not helpful, except maybe to the Liberals: I'm struggling with what to call Michaelle Jean, if only because there are so many shades of meaning: defector, traitor, spy, double agent. It might be one of those things where we won't really know until well after the damage is done. I see. I am by no means a fan of the GG-designate; the Prime Minister's decision was and remains a blatant display of tokenism and political point-scoring. Michaelle Jean probably won't be the most eloquent, thoughtful or dignified person to hold the position, true, but to suggest that her motivations for accepting the appointment are downright sinister definitely crosses a line. There's no evidence she's anything but a left-leaning nationalist (and even sovereigntist) Quebecois with the ambitions and know-how to game the political system for professional advancement. Yes, parts of that are rightly objectionable to various people for various different reasons, but the whole is well within acceptable limits of behaviour. Imagining complex scenarios where she might be a French catspaw, or could use her position to enable an otherwise wholly-preventable secession (If the Governor-General's recognition thereof is the single last thing preventing an independent Quebec, it's already a done deal, for crying out loud) is delving deep into the fever swamps of conspiracy theory, and I fear will serve only to further paint conservatives as recalcitrant whiners. Even worse is counterfactually playing with facts and definitions, to demonstrate possible justifications for using the word "traitor" et al; it's intellectually dishonest, and more than a bit desperate. As scandal goes, that the Governor-General may be a sovereigntist - given the utterly immaterial and purely ceremonial role of the office - isn't that impressive. I sincerely doubt, once the summer recess is over and the House is back in session, that Michaelle Jean's life, career or qualifications will still be useful or interesting enough to attack Paul Martin with. Throwing around loaded terms like the above may feel good; righteous indignation always does. But I would urge Angry and any others still raging about Ms. Jean's appointment to let it go, soon. Wallowing in blunt, bombastic hyperbole has a way of making one look petty and delusional.

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