Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Great Canadian Sell-Out


Dateline: September 27, 2006.

OTTAWA--Political analysts have described it as the most tumultuous and bitter Parliament in Canada's history. L'Affaire Lac Mistassini brought it to a clamourous end today with a vote of non-confidence, meaning Canadians will be going to the polls for a second time in 2006.

Amid raucous shouts from the Conservative bench of "traitor" with every opposition member standing to vote down the minority government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, House Speaker Lee Richardson made several attempts to call for order, but was roundly ignored.

As expected, fledgling New Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff introduced the confidence vote that has been threatening since the french-language Radio-Canada-TVA joint exclusive first reported last month on then-secret U.S. military test bases being planned in the north of Quebec, land that is home to thousands of Cree and other First Nations peoples.

Critics say Lac Mistassini could also derail any future plans to expand Quebec's extensive hydro-electric capacity, since the lease agreement is for 50 years, with the United States holding an exclusive option to renew for another 40 years at any time.

Foreign Affairs Minister Jason Kenney received repeated calls for his resignation from oppostition MPs, and was loudly heckled on Monday when he defended the lease agreement as a victory for his team's "tenacious" negotiations, saying the Bush administration had originally requested a one-time 80-year lease on the land.

Harper, with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Quebec Premier Jean Charest by his side in the Parliamentary Press Galery, yesterday made a last ditch appeal to Bloq Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe to save his government, by sweetening the pot of monetary transfers to Quebec from the lucrative deal cut by Kenney.

"We have a deal. It's a good deal for Canada and it's in our shared interest, in this North American fortress, if you will, to keep normal and productive relations with our neighbours, who I think deserve our humble gratitude for their willingness to protect us," Harper said.

But attempts to quell the outrage over the controversial deal, which would see some 14,000 square kilometres in the north of Quebec used as a testing ground for the as yet unproven Ballistic Missile Defence system, could not match the political weight of popular sentiment in Quebec, where massive union protests effectively shut down the province for three days last week, and over 80% of Quebecers say they are against the idea.

"First we had the Liberals trying to buy Quebecers with their own money; now we see the Conservatives trying to buy Quebecers with George Bush's money," Duceppe said to reporters after the vote.

"Mr. Kenney and Mr. Harper were clearly hoping to slip this in under the radar while people were on their summer vacations. Perhaps they thought Canadians would be happy counting the pennies they're saving here and there from the GST cut. But while it's certainly in Canadians' best interests to work very closely with our American allies, this deal, and the ham-handed way it was handled by this neophyte Harper government, just proved today they simply do not have the confidence of the House. That's why we're going back to the polls." Ignatieff said.

An emboldened NDP leader Jack Layton expanded on earlier remarks that the Harper government is a puppet of the Bush administration.

"Nobody wants to be a sell-out, and that's all this is, really, the selling-out of our First Nations, of Quebec and their future, the future of clean energy in Canada, and Quebecers' opportunities to develop their own natural resources. And for what? To help forward George Bush's plans to weaponize space?

"Quebecers won't take that sitting down. All Canadians won't take that sitting down. And it may have Mr. Harper's signature on it, but this sweetheart deal was never brought before the House, and it will not be binding".

Charest has also been under fire for initially signalling his acceptance of the deal, although he has backtracked in recent days, facing a continued slide in the polls that have now put his government's approval rating below 15%.

Governor-General Michaele Jean is expected to drop the writ upon receiving Prime Minister Harper at her residence sometime tomorrow.

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eteba said...

Scott,with a Harper victory,nutjobs,religious wackos,fundies and bigots will be coming out of the woodwork.As a fellow Quebecer and proud Canadian I am truly scared for our country.


GoodGrief said...

Scott, what eteba said. As an Ontarian and a proud Canadian, I am very scared.
Very thought provoking post - well written.

Cheryl said...

Scott, you articulated my nightmares perfectly. The only thing that keeps me sane is knowing that unlike the US, we can toss out a government at any time.

Anonymous said...

So uhh, you're just making stuff up in order to feel better?

The contempt that's shown for Canadians west of Ontario astounds me. We're not that scary. We're not evil. The Conservatives are no more right wing extremists than the NDP are left wing extremists.

Instead of spinning fantastic fantasies of the demise of people you disagree with, why not hope for good government. Support new legislation that's helpful for Canada. Criticize elements in proposed legislation that are flawed, and advocate a good compromise.

If you're not too busy just making things up...

Scott in Montreal said...

I just love when people post as "Anonymous". Sorry you read any anti-Western bias in this post. It sorta' reminds me how people who criticize U.S. Republicans are so often branded "anti-American". See where Harper is taking us?

Kas said...

What? There is no Western bias in your post! I'm from the boonies of BC, and I agree with you 100%. As election day winds down - I'm crossing everything that Canada is smelling the coffee today...

Scotian said...

If one is critical of the CPC then by definition one is critical of the West in the minds of people like anonymous. It does not matter whether the criticism is of CPC policy or people, in their minds the two are synonymous, the West is the CPC and the CPC is the voice of the West, and therefore to attack one is automatically taken as being critical of the other. Ironically enough though this was a mentality the CPC supporters decried when it was Liberals and Canadian values as a false perception and an unhealthy one. It is one of the greatest irritations I have had with many of those that support the CPC strongly, that they are oblivious to the hypocrisies in many of their criticisms. That a premise when applied to opposition to the CPC is a bad thing is somehow not such a bad thing when it is done in the CPC.

DazzlinDino said...

I wonder how well recieved you post would have been if you had correctly predicted the Liberal antics of the last twelve years.

What worries me the most is what exactly the Liberal party would have to be involved in to lose the faith of their voting base, nothing apparantly. Had a Conservative government been involved in Adscam, Income trust, HRDC, and the like, you all would have been calling for heads to roll. As I have said numerous times on my site, at least when the Conservatives screw up, the west is honest enough to leave them with two seats until they clean their act up.

Perhaps if Martin tried to assasinate a baby seal on National television while smoking pot he lite with a banned handgun, but even then I doubt it.....

Scott in Montreal said...

What are you smokin' Dazz? I can't make heads or tails of your last line.

But your sore-winner whining before that reminds me of the Grinch wondering why the Whos still celebrated Christmas with all their trimmings stolen.

...Only difference was the Grinch was able to figure it out.

CathiefromCanada said...

Great post, Scott.
And Dino, I object -- none of these events had anything to do with Martin as Prime Minister, or with the people he chose for his cabinet -- except Income Trust which may OR MAY NOT have been scandalous at all, we just don't know yet.
The reason the Liberals rousted Chretien was because he and his PMO were the ones responsible for this stuff, not Martin.
That said, it was Martin's attempt to keep the Liberal party together by refusing to directly and outspokenly condemn Chretien and his PMO gang that allowed Harper to tar Martin with the scandals as well.

DazzlinDino said...

My point was the prediction of doom and gloom is pretty pessimistic is all.

If I had predicted the following, you would have been a little ticked too.

Add to income trust the "Alberta can blow me" which was nice, ads using the term "we just don't know" followed by "we're not making this up", if you don't know, then yes your making it up. Throw the "beer and popcorn" comment on there, how about parachuting Ignatief while ignoring members of their own party who wanted to run. Ads of misdirection towards our military, baseless "Americanisation" tactics.

If I had been around at the time to make this prediction, what would you have said?

It's a well written tongue-in-cheek post, I just wish after 12 years you'd at least give them a chance.

If you visit my site, you'll notice I have my checks right on the sidebar, to keep them in line as well....

CathiefromCanada said...

OK, Dino, I think I get now what you meant. And OK, they'll get their chance from me -- maybe things won't be as bad as I think they might me (though Harper's pandering to his far-right anti-gay bigot supporters is still unforgiveable as far as I am concerned.)

Scott in Montreal said...

Thanks for the compliment, Dazz. I agree it was a shameful campaign on the part of the Liberals. Martin's handlers did not distinguish themselves and were tasteless at times. It'll be good for them to get their house back in order.

As far as "giving them a chance" goes, what choice do any of us have now? I just hope the Bushco machine doesn't take advantage of this CPC government to the point of such a scenario as I've put forth here. Harper and his team have a lot yet to prove IMHO.

DazzlinDino said...

I agree, and apologize for sounding trollish lately, but it's different on this side of the