The lumps of coal in 2009
Lots of interviews with the Liberal leader are now published and online. (National Newswatch has handy links to the series.) You can find my story here, and also this interesting little sidebar -- Michael Ignatieff's answer when I asked him about low points in 2009. Frankly, I was watching that moment too and could not believe what I was witnessing in the House of Commons.
Speaking of inglorious politics.... wait a minute... is anyone talking about the sorry state of Canadian politics these days? In case you've been otherwise occupied, a recap: in the last week, the Conservative government decided to defy an order of Parliament, to boycott a Commons committee meeting on Afghanistan/torture, and now we're hearing talk that Parliament itself may just be shut down (prorogued). And should you want to criticize/question these decisions, you will be accused of abandoning support for Canadian troops -- at Christmas! How very un-Bing-Crosby-like of you.
There's our own Jim Travers in the Star today.
Out there, if Conservatives have it figured right, the manipulation of an inconvenient Parliament will slide by with the same ease as the piece-by-piece deconstruction of democracy.
Susan Riley, in the Ottawa Citizen, with her usual eloquence, sent this dispatch yesterday.
But at what point do Canadians become alarmed at the absolute control, the intolerance of dissent and the manipulative messaging, often publicly funded, that characterizes this regime? Why aren't we worried now? We elected a minority government in a modern liberal democracy, representing a messy range of opinion. Yet that government operates like a not-so-friendly dictatorship.
And then there's Lawrence Martin, from earlier this week in the Globe, warning us that collective apathy has allowed the government to do whatever the heck it wants, democracy (the d-word) be damned.
If your campaign is waged effectively, you will enfeeble the checks and balances in the system and give the d-word a good clubbing, emerging very much in control.
That's effectively what's happened in Ottawa over the past four years. The Prime Minister is now in such command that he can get away with pretty much anything. And he is lauded for his conquests.
Does anyone care? The evidence would seem to indicate otherwise.
**** (Image of stocking comes from http://www.thestockingplace.com/images/1009.jpg)