Sunday, April 15, 2007

My Planet, My Party

This blog headline My Country Before My Party should actually read "My Planet Before My Party", since it is quoting this apocryphal tale by Paul Wells
about Dion and Charest

Phone rings. Campaign headquarters, informing the minister of his schedule for the next day. Dion listens, impassive, then confused, then increasingly angry.

"Sherbrooke? You want me to campaign in Sherbrooke?" Jean Charest was the incumbent Progressive Conservative candidate in Sherbrooke.

"But our campaign message in Quebec is that people should vote for the candidate who's best positioned to beat the Bloc Québécois. In Sherbrooke, that's Jean Charest, not the Liberal. Don't make me campaign against Charest!"

I don't know whether he won that argument. His line of argument stuck with me. After the election, some Liberals were upset that Dion had, in general, been so reluctant to criticize Charest. One asked him a question about that in March 1998, at the cabinet-accountability bear-pit session at the Liberals' biennial convention. Hey, Dion, why so soft on a Conservative?

Dion stepped forward and prepared to make, maybe, three points. He ticked off his forefinger and began: "My country before my party." The hall erupted in a standing ovation. He looked surprised, shrugged, and went back to his seat.

It may be worth reminding everyone, because we seem to forget, that in 1997 Canada was still in a kind of free-floating national-unity crisis that began in the last six months of Meech Madness in 1990. Dion's reasoning was pretty damned simple: the country was in danger. One mustn't waste time fighting the reasonably like-minded.

So I was struck by the opening paragraph of the May-Dion communiqué yesterday: "The planet has reached its limit. The human-caused damage to our natural environment is devastating."

Though in nuanced Liberal language Dion could also say My Planet, My Party, as he has on other issues like the Anti Terrorism Act, Afghanistan and the Anti-Scab Legislation.


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janfromthebruce said...

Eugine, I want to connect some dots here with your previous post neoconservatism and two elites essentially saying that we must limit individual choice to save the collective.
Similarly, Dion and May believe in the common principle "that the needs of the state (Canada and the planet)supersede the rights of the individual."
As you mentioned, "Strauss did not think that it matters which religion is embraced. A people needs its moral and legal code, and religion is something to base that on. Its "truth" need not be the real truth, since the little people are not capable of handling the real truth. The real truth is for the paternalistic elite, who will spin myths for the common people to believe in to keep them in line." The new religion is the saving the environment, the planet, and the little people needed to have less democracy by these elites working behind the scenes together as they know what's best.
You go in your previous post, to state that "The elite uses the preservation of western civilization as an excuse to create a sense of crisis and to aggrandize its own power at the expense of moral limits."
But really caught my eye was when you said this:"In cooked-up crises they cry gloom and doom, or take advantage in the cases of real crises, then claim problems are curable by the end of liberalism." Liberalism in this sense is the freedom to choose who one wants to vote for in this riding, thus the limiting of individual freedom.
Thus backroom deals as justification of a means to an ends, no matter if it limits citizen choices, supersides party constitutions or policies, as they have decided that the crisis of climate change means that any means justifies ends.
Funny, how just months ago, Dion sure didn't have that crisis as his mantra, or he would have doggedly been working at cleaning up the clean air act, May wouldn't have been wishing outloud that the clean air act committe failed, or that May wouldn't have supported Dion's first idea of intensity targets as great for the environment. I mean our planet is in crisis and how either of them a few short months ago could have accepted those environmental policies knowing the end is near.
But now it is all different. Pretty hard for me to believe all this sincerity now, and sure reminds of me of 1993 Cretien book 'Straight from the Heart' and how he was going to save Canada. Oh yah, I am a believer.

eugene plawiuk said...

Or to put it another way Proportional Representation and democratic reform that could actually allow the Greens or other smaller parties get elected thus widening the voices in Parliament have given way to Liberal Green Strategic voting.

eugene plawiuk said...

And I just wanted to say Jan that is really connecting the dots between two disparate blog items, though you know it makes sense.....