Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005


I feel like I've over-waited to post on the revelations at Gomery, as they increasingly seem poised to bring the government down. I'm not sure that's a good idea right now. And I also can't see how it can happen, if the opposition parties are at all savvy.

Let's start with my own party. Does the NDP really believe it can improve its seat-count in the House of Commons? When minority governments fall, Canadians have a long-standing habit of abandoning third parties, and organizing their vote around one or the other of the possible governing parties. It gets worse - Layton's public opposition to the Clarity Act was damaging enough last election. If this election turns out to have a strong sovergnist edge within Quebec, the divisions in the NDP over Clarity will be front and centre. It'll be a disaster.

The Bloc seems to be riding a wave of Liberal unpopularity in Quebec, so they'd want to go to election. (I don't entirely understand this wave, beyond what the rest of the country is experiencing. There's no good reason for Quebecers to be angrier about the scandal than anyone else. I think part of the complaint from Quebec is that there was a sponsorship program in the first place - naturally the sovergnists wouldn't like that. They were angry that busloads of Canadians arrived for a rally during the 1995 referendum as well. Tough shit, sovergnists.) But really, where does the Bloc hope to grow? They have almost every seat they have any chance of winning already - most of the seats they don't have are so strongly federalist, they'd vote for any yellow dog that wasn't the BQ. Maybe even the Tory. Letting the Tories get their feet in the door in Quebec is probably not good for the long-term life of the BQ, notwithstanding a successful referendum.

Now, I can understand the Tories wanting to go. In several ridings, the last election became a referendum on Stephen Harper - will he protect my individual rights? Does he respect the Charter? That referendum didn't go well for Harper. The revelations at Gomery shift that focus to the government. At the same time, I think he still risks those questions re-emerging over the course of the election. He needs to find opportunities before he goes to the polls to prove his dedication to the Charter. Tonight's vote on same-sex marriage is not likely to help - it may shift the focus right back off of the Liberals, in fact, in favour of displaying the cracks in the Reform/Tory plaster job.

Don't mistake me. The numbers are small (by government spending standards, anyway) but the accusations are extremely serious. Canadians deserve an accounting. But an election right now might only serve to put the Gomery inquiry on hold. Paul Martin wants the election to be delayed until the inquiry has a chance to report. The opposition parties are probably not in the best position to punish the Liberals for Adscam. Just like my argument around the publication ban, my desire to punish the Liberals is not as pressing as making sure it's done right. We'll get our chance, and soon, but now would be a mistake - a tactical mistake for the opposition parties, but far more importantly, a mistake for our ability as Canadians to mete our justice upon the Liberals and upon the individuals responsible. Patience will only help us on both counts.

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