John McCallum was a likeable Minister of Defense, content to sit back and ridicule the American invasion of Iraq without any qualms. He has been punished by being delegated to the role of Veteran Affairs minister, a toothless agency who's aim is to thank veterans for their sacrifices, ie. pat them on the back and try to convince them that losing a leg in Korea really made a difference.
It is still to early to begin trying to say that Paul Martin is a horrible Prime Minister...staring at watch...ok, how about now? After all, he has given me a couple of reasons to fear the next couple of years already, and he has barely been sworn into office.
- Suspicious Move #1- He is trying to imitate our neighbours to the south! He is going to create a "Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness", mirroring the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as if Canada is a major target of a terrorist attack. It is precisely by not buying into the "perpetual war" rhetoric that we have avoided being attacked by global terrorists. People know that Canada doesn't invade or occupy; we don't arrest people just because of the colour of their skin; we don't claim to own God (ie. God Bless America); by aping the American colossus, we risk being pulled down in its wake.
- Suspicious Move #2- Martin is cosying up to companies This is not altogether surprising, considering that Mr. Martin made his fortune in the private sector and obviously has some debts to repay, but do we have to lead our universities hand-in-hand to sure corporate control? The website of the Prime Minister's office promises to "(foster) the creation and growth of innovative Canadian companies by more effective commercialization of university research and better access to early stage financing." This will mean that any research that doesn't lead to corporate profits will be put on the back burner. By buying into the argument that the free market will provide for us all, we are going to close the door on developments that are beneficial to humanity but not to commerce.
- Suspicious Move #3- He is trying to seduce the Bush Administration Also promised in his announced changes to government, Paul Martin is going to create "...a new Cabinet Committee on Canada-U.S., chaired by the Prime Minister, to ensure an integrated, government-wide approach to Canada-U.S. relations and to be supported by a Canada-U.S. Secretariat in the Privy Council Office." Doesn't our embassy in Washington already perform this role? What does he mean by an "integrated, government-wide" approach? Are Canadian politicians going to learn to chant U S A in classrooms nation-wide? Is he referring to the frequent criticism of the Bush Administration by the braver members of Parliament over the past few years? This sort of talk is disheartening in a nation that prides itself on being "strong and free". When somebody covers your mouth, you're not experiencing freedom.
Love him or hate him, Jean Chretien has turned out to be a monumental leader. He slashed our social programs and education system in the early 90's and then metamorphized into a global pacifist and liberal moderate over the past year, vowing not to drag Canada into Iraq, attempting to legalize gay marriage on a federal level, and even courting the idea of decriminalizing small amounts of pot.
Sadly, Paul Martin has succeeded him, and if we are to remove him from the office of the Prime Minister, we'll all need to pull together. It will be tough to choose a new candidate but we've got at least a year before he holds a general election. Jack Layton, Godspeed to you & please don't give up fighting the Martin Menace.
Maybe we've been stricken by a case of bad karma. By giggling at the follies of Bush, with his "largest deficit in American history" world record & his obvious attempts at pandering to the lowest common denominator, we've been awarded a kick in the teeth in the form of Paul Martin, a spineless imp focused on winning back the favour of America. I think I'm going to do the unthinkable and actually vote NDP.
Now, enough of this unproductive ranting. I've got to get ready for a Hot Hot Heat concert @ Club Soda (7 PM, tickets are $15 CAD). Cheers!