Monday, May 07, 2012

When Things Just Don't Quite Add Up, Revisionism Won't Help You.

To my NDP friends, my latest in the National Post is about your party and the way "pacifism" is a shoe that fits you so comfortably you don't seem to notice you're even wearing it. 
In all the clever punditry that has followed Harper’s rejoinder to Mulcair, what seems to have been entirely forgotten, and most conveniently, too, is that for the generation of Canadian socialists who chose to walk in the CCF’s shoes in the post-war period, the disgraceful “pacifism” of certain of their predecessors was not a thing to lightly dismiss while getting one’s jollies with cheap jeers aimed at a Conservative prime minister. It was a matter to be properly remembered as a thing of great shame and error. 
But by 2006, NDP leader Jack Layton was unimpeachably established as J.S. Woodsworth’s rightful heir and successor. Deal with it: to merely call oneself “anti-war” was to establish one’s proper credentials as a Jack Layton New Democrat. It’s all one has to be (you don’t have to actually “do” anything) to claim to be “left-wing” and “progressive.” That is the party that Mulcair now leads, with Official Opposition status gained almost entirely by Layton’s populist and “anti-war” charms. The “questions” Mulcair asks about Afghanistan in the House are Jack Layton’s questions. 
If it's any consolation, I will have upset any number of Conservatives and probably Liberals too in my latest column in the Ottawa Citizen:. It's about Bill C-38, also called the Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act.
 It could be a whole lot of things, depending on who’s doing the shouting, but the things that Industry Minister Joe Oliver and Environment Minister Peter Kent and Fisheries Minister Thomas Ashfield have had to say about its purposes just don’t add up. Here's just one body of evidence that appears to fall well beyond the reach of Ottawa's finely-tuned sense of "the priorities of ordinary Canadians":
An April 2011 Angus Reid poll found that 89 per cent of British Columbians wanted salmon habitat laws more strictly enforced, not less so, and 86 per cent said economic development should not come at the expense of salmon habitat. Seven in 10 respondents agreed with this statement: “Wild salmon are as culturally important to the people of British Columbia as the French language is to the people of Quebec.”


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