Thursday, November 15, 2007

Don't Care

I'm pretty sure I'll be in the minority on this one, but I react to the whole Mulroney saga with a gigantic yawn. It's a story, but it shouldn't be the maelstorm that has engulfed the entire political and media class. What Mulroney did or didn't do is completely relevant, for obvious reasons. However, why that fact translates into a discussion of the current government, or the timing of an election, or all the other partisan considersations is beyond me. With all the problems and challenges faced, to see our system consumed with this issue is disappointing.

Yesterday, Garth Turner was making the rounds, telling everyone who would listen that it was counter-productive to let this Mulroney issue take over the public agenda. What happened Garth?:
But now that events have compelled the government to agree to hold a public inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber dealings, the attitude among Dion's caucus has been transformed almost overnight.

"The chemistry is completely different," Liberal MP Garth Turner (Halton) said after a caucus meeting in which Dion was reportedly able to tap into a rare atmosphere of collective enthusiasm.

"This really opens up a whole new chapter in this session of Parliament," Turner said in an interview. "For now, I don't think the opposition parties would dream of going to an election."

Wouldn't dream of an election, now that we see opportunity to dirty Harper's nose, on questions that are largely irrelevant in the grand scheme. So much for Garth, the champion of the people's agenda, I suppose. Don't get me wrong, quite an interesting turn to see the Harper government pulled into the mud, given the vulture-like stances of the past. That said, if I'm being impartial, this whole mess is at best a tertiary matter as it relates to the current government, certainly not something that rises to the level we are starting to witness.

This issue boils down to some simple points in my mind. Is the public interest best served by a process that bogs down the government for months to come? Is it productive to have good people, spending hours daily, trying to connect a dot and make someone look bad? An issue yes, an obsession, a worrying statement on the present circumstance.

I skipped most of the talking heads shows yesterday, couldn't bear to watch Question Period, tried to sift through the papers to find a nugget in another world, basically meandered my way around a story that I frankly don't care about.


Gayle said...

I tend to agree with you. As Scott pointed out on his blog, this issue is overshadowing some real stories, like torturing Afghan detainees.

That said, I am afraid I cannot really blame the liberals for going for blood here.

First, the media have latched on to this issue so it is not just opposition party driven.

Second, Harper contributed to this by flip-flopping. Someone pointed out all he had to do was appoint a special prosecutor (rather than someone to tell him if he should have an enquiry, which morphed into telling him what the terms should be). In the process of doing this, he manages to alienate Mulroney, which in turn forces Mulroney to turn against Harper.

Finally there is the appearance Harper has been covering for Mulroney - which is the only issue I care about, and I barely care about that.

Frankly, if there is any issue worth our time here it is why we are paying people to do Harper's job. Isn't he the guy who is supposed to be making the decisions? Yet he gets a panel to tell him what to do in Afghanistan (which he stacks with people who share his position). Next he gets someone to tell him what the terms of reference of an enquiry should be.

Anonymous said...

I largely agree with your view on this and it is really difficult to know whether Schreiber's comments have any reliability. I do wonder though about the role of the current government.

If the Liberals are telling the truth that they forwarded the letter from Schreiber to the RCMP shortly after receiving it, that was the proper way to deal with it. To simply ignore such documentation is wrong, particularly since it is known that Mulroney's statement during the last investigation that he had no dealings with Schreiber is almost certainly wrong. In other words, you and I can say we "don't care" but should the Prime Minister and his staff say that?

That guy said...

Yeah, I'm with you, Steve. I mean, sure, Mulroney's corrupt, water's wet, and so on. But he's been out of office for fourteen years now, and this stuff is even smaller potatoes than the Sponsorship Scandal was. We really ought to be talking about things that matter, not penny-ante crap of this sort.

CuriosityCat said...

Perhaps you have forgotten that Harper and his merry band swept into power by pounding one drum only during the election: Liberals corrupt, Tories clean! Liberals corrupt, Tories clean!

In power, they have selected issues which paint their party and government as (1) clean (unlike the Liberals) and (2) decisive (unlike the waffling Dion).

The Lettergate incident is important tactically and strategically for the Liberal Party because it allows voters to see that Harper and his neocons are not the clean party they claim to be.

It is important for the little boy to tell the world that the Emperor has no clothes; if this is not done, Harper might win a majority.

And then heaven help Canada!

In politics, you must go for the jugular when this is needed; and now is the time to do so with Harper on the issue of Lettergate.

Anonymous said...

I must be becoming a regular ; ). I had a sense that would be your reaction.

I tend to agree. I do think there are some valid issues here, but I think it would be unwise and unproductive to get embroiled in them to the detriment of many current issues that deserve much greater national attention.

The one thing I would say, however, is I don't think Dion or the Liberals have pushed the matter excessively. Yes, they called for an inquiry and they have rightly pointed out the convenient lack of oversight - or purposeful ignoring - of the letters Schreiber had sent to the PM months ago. Frankly, I'm glad the Liberals pointed out and reiterated their own proper steps upon receipt of a package less than 2 weeks ago. Gold star for basic competency, in contrast to the Conservative bungling.

I think the reason for the brouhaha is that anything the Liberals - or anyone - says gets played and rehashed by the media like an echo chamber. God, wouldn't it have been great if the Liberal objectives on reducing poverty could generate even a tenth of the coverage or discussion!

Bottom line is I think Harper made this as much of a mess as anyone with his bravado performance followed abruptly by cringing contortions to get ahead of events. And Mulroney must really be missing the spotlight to be playing such a ham about the whole affair - and launching new lawsuits against Liberal MPs to boot!

It really is all about him, isn't it? I certainly hope this cements his reputation for good in Canadian history. I'd say more but he apparently has deep pockets for legal action.

God Bless the Mulroney Family Name! is about all I - or anyone - can say, I guess.

Steve V said...

Okay, maybe I'm not alone ;)

To the point gayle and cc make, you can't blame the Liberals for going after a band of mudslingers who have used one issue to fuel two campaigns, and made efforts to keep the issue around while in government.

I guess my point, maybe the caucus meeting could have found the poverty initiative as inspiration, mood alterating, a bounce in the step. Instead, it would assume everyone is salivating at the prospects of trying to do what has been done to them. I suppose it is merely an accurate read of the media landscape, because substance increasingly seems a footnote, the sensational dominant.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you have become the blog I go to first everyday. Don't dare take a 4 day break again!

Admittedly, I don't like Dion and voted Torie last time (voted for Garth!), so I don't think my opinions would agree with many Lib Bloggers, but I find myself agreeing with you more often than not.

You are right that this mess is a mess that should just go away and has nothing to do with the type of country Canada is toady, or is going to be in the future. and the fact that it has taken hold in the press and that the Libs(and NDP and Bloc for that matter) are taking hold of it because there might be some residual effect on the Torie government in the next election. I must say that I am sick of politics.

Let's discuss the issues on their merits, whether you are right wing or left wing or in the middle (centre-right myself) and let's make the country better. Forget this crap that BOTH parties have been doing for far too long!

Steve V said...

"Steve, you have become the blog I go to first everyday."

Don't worry, that will pass ;)

"Let's discuss the issues on their merits, whether you are right wing or left wing or in the middle (centre-right myself) and let's make the country better. Forget this crap that BOTH parties have been doing for far too long!"

More and more, we seem to be in this vicious reactionary cycle, fueled by the media, mostly just a game of gotcha.

Gayle said...

They were discussing this on CBC last night. Hebert was the only one to point out that the conservatives set the precedent for this kind of behaviour.

I did not like it then and I do not like it now - but the conservatives can hardly complain when the tactics they used are turned against them.

On Duffy Martha HS argued it is time to move forward and she was immediately accused of trying to hide some liberal misbehaviour. I am not concerned about anything coming up about the liberals, but the conservatives and the NDP are trying to drag them into it. If the liberals try to move away from this issue they are going to be attacked for trying to cover something up.

Tomm said...


It's certainly pretty weird, but think of the theatre.

Except for the possible linkages between Schreiber and the LPC, the LPC has to love this stuff. It really does change the channel.

Did you read Chucker on this?