What do the new session of Parliament and the new Liberal leadership race have in common? The pledges of decorum and civility. Call me jaded, but the "new" always brings the "ideal", which then fades quickly as people revert back to standard practice.
If you look through the annals of history, you will see, and this isn't Canadian specific, political contenders calling for civil debate and constructive dialogue coming out of the gates. We see the same sentiment expressed from the various Liberal leadership camps, "we're all Liberals, this is a discussion amongst family". Sounds great, but rarely does the rhetoric hold, once strategy and ambition move to the fore. The simple reality isn't necessarily a reflection of the characters involved, but it's part of the template to throw a few elbows as well as throwing your opponent under the bus whenever possible.
The "fresh" leadership race has already seen it's first salvo, from a candidate who hasn't even formally announced, maybe a new record. I remember, oh 10 days ago, Bob Rae on television, pledging to run a high signal campaign that focuses on ideas, not his opponents. Well, this past weekend certainly made those assertions ring hollow, the opportunistic Rae rushing to Toronto to cry foul in front of the media, the word STUNT comes to mind. A minor event in the grand scheme, but a clear signal of what lies ahead, it will get messy, it always does. The only question, a matter of degree, and on that score, Liberals can all hope for a relatively mild affair.
The same air of new beginning is wafting through the halls of Parliament, apparently all parties agree that the level of discourse MUST change, things will be different this time. I don't doubt the sincerity, I just question the human nature, many of the same characters, old habits die hard. I'd be more inclined to believe all the proclamations if a party came forward with a concrete code of ethics, talk is cheap, put it in writing. We should all rewind the tape from today after a few weeks of parliament sitting, the deterioration will be noticeable, and that will appear tame compared to a solid year of debate. Again, all Canadians can hope for is relative decorum, and that would be a good thing, but the rhetoric of today is embarassing in it's utopian want.
Come to think of it, we will probably see concurrent vibes develop as both the leadership and the new parliament proceed. Right now, "decorum" is the word, by the time of the vote and the new budget, I suspect it will be replaced by "testy". It is just the way of things.