Paul Martin and the Olde Liberal Party "Game" of Obfuscation ...
Recently, the sitting Prime Minister has been plying the old Liberal trade of obfuscation
. Oxford defines obfuscate as communicating in a way "to make unclear or unintelligible."I would argue that the Liberal Party of Canada has used this tactic consistently, and throughout its History.
Reciprocity. The War in South Africa. Reciprocity again. Conscription. King-Byng Affair. Empire Free-Trade. The Great Depression. The Second World War. Conscription again. Welfare State. Korean War. The Pipeline Debate. The Nuclear Arms Crisis of 1963. The Flag Debate. Canada Health Act. Economic Nationalism. The FLQ Crisis. Wage & Price Controls. The National Economic Policy. The farewell Peace Crusade of Pierre Trudeau. The Liberal Manifesto of 1993. Daycare Policy. The repeal of the GST. The Gun Registry.
And now we have - Daycare Policy, Handgun Bans, and the Kyoto Protocol! On most issues of National importance, the Liberal Party obfuscates. The lean right and/or left, or both ways - if they can slice and serve it that way, and get away with it.
Mackenzie King - which was a swear word in our House - summed up the Liberal method perfectly when in talking about the possibility of Conscription in the Second War he said:"Conscription if Necessary, but not Necessarily Conscription"
This constant tweaking of the language in order to confuse the people, is undertaken for one reason only - to give the Party sufficient "wiggle-room" in case they have to back-track on an election promise. Case in point: Daycare Policy. The Liberal Redbook of 1993 promised that a Liberal Federal Government would fund up to 150,000 new Daycare spaces across Canada. Of course this never happened, and it is a real point of debate for all of us, as to how it should happen. (There can be no debate that the issue is real, pressing, and cause for concern ...) . Apprarently, it is now on the front-burner. Sure Paul ...
Another case in point - repeal of the GST. Pledged in 1993, yet nothing has happened in 12 years of Liberal Government. We can debate whether or not repealing the GST is foolhardy or wise all we want, but the fact remains that the Liberals pledged to repeal the consumption tax, and the fact further remains that they did not repeal the tax. No explanations were given, but they sure liked to crow about all their budgetary surpluses didn't they?
And now we have the issue of handguns. Paul Martin says that a Liberal Government would ban handguns in Canada. What could this possibly accomplish? The fact that 90% of all handguns used in Crime are sourced illegally, and often from the United States, would mean that such a ban would not only be ineffective - but illogical as well. Ban handguns in Canada all you want Paul, but that would not mean any reduction in handgun crime. Better to press the Americans for better gun control on their side of the border, better inderdiction of the smuggling of US arms into this Dominion, and tougher measures and sentences for those who use handguns in the commission of crime in Canada. That could work, eh?!
But there are votes to be had - via such obfuscation - in the urban Tornonto and "905 Belt," isn't there Paul?
Better to make misleading promises, fracture the electorate over single-issue policies, and count on the Stephen Harper and the CPC to fumble in English-Canada, than to defend the indefensible (the Sponsorhip Scandal) in Quebec. If we had better alternatives, we could make the Liberals pay for all the obfuscation. But we don't have better choices do we?
Vote Conservative (they are not Tories ...) and watch them give everything to the Americans?
Vote NDP, and watch the Special Interests & Radicals take over?
Vote Bloq Quebecois, and watch nothing happen?
Vote Green and ?
(The most tragic thing I have seen in my life in politics was the mess the Brian Mulroney made of the Conservative Party between 1984 and 1993. By not facing the electorate in 1993, he left the Party to twist in the wind. Not only that, he single-handedly allowed for the rise of the Reform Party, and fed it all kinds of fertilizer in its early years. In the end, the Conservative vote was fractured in Canada, the neconservatives (neoliberals proper...) were empowered to feed on the carrion he left behind, and the Liberals were handed an extra eight years in power. The Liberals did not win these elections. The necoservatives handed them to the Liberals. Only a Tory party could win them, and the neocons ensured that it could not breathe.)
Despite all of this, the Liberals continue on with their obfuscations and arrogance. Now Liberal spokseman Scott Reid has offended everyone in taking-on Harper's useless daycare tax concession. That Harper's plan is insufficient to help deal with the real issue that the provision of Daycare represents, is beyond debate; that Reid's attempt at confusing the issue was inelegantly handled, is also beyond question. Inelegantly handled on purpose, I submit, which has handed the issue over to Harper and the CPC - who do not care a wit about this pressing issue that affects millions of Canadians on a daily basis. The CPC is now distracted by this sideshow. They cannot get "on message" now, because the Liberals have succeeded in blurring the issue into a melange of confusion.
See how it works?
The dangerous thing about all of this, is the fact that Paul Martin has now scored points with the electorate over Kyoto, painting Harper and the CPC into a corner on the issue; on one hand, Harper can back the Protocol and support the Canadian position as it stands (unlikely, as he is beholden to "Big Oil"), or he can defend the Bush administration (as he did blindly & foolishly on the Iraq War) - and appear once again as "bootlick" to America. In the course of all of this obfuscation, we move further and further away from dreams of Liberal accountability for the Sponsorship debacle.
In achieving this, the Liberals have now guaranteed that the issue starts to move away from the Sponsorship Scandal, and toward single-issue policies; amongst them: Daycare, handguns, and the Kyoto Accord.
More are coming, I am sure.