Monday, December 01, 2008

Nixon to China

This American political saw says that only Nixon could have made the trip to China because of his political background as an avowed and aggressive anti-communist. When the time came to break down years of diplomatic deep-freeze between China and the US, it was Nixon who could be trusted with the job.

I'm amused at the hard Tory line that the coalition is a pact with the devil because it relies on the support of the BQ. In full, the talking point goes: The coalition is a coup d'etat by a socialist/liberal alliance supported by the separatists against a legitimately elected government.

Because many others have dealt with most of the spurious charges inherent in that statement, I want to deal with just one: the dangers of a government based on separatist support.

First it's ironic that this is coming from the same Steven Harper who did everything he could to suck up the soft Quebec nationalist vote in the last election. Never mind his "Nation" resolution in the House of Commons. Thanks to him, he's given a new rhetorical tool to the Quebec nationalists that they can dine out on for generations.

So at a minimum Prime Minister is, and not for the first time, an expedient hypocrite who loves to accuse people of the same evil tactics he indulges in. But in this case his claim is outrageously misplaced and inappropriate.

Let me explain: my personal litmus test for any federal political is the separatist issue. Any politician in this country who plays footsie with separatist forces, goals or ideals (Clark, Mulrooney) is one I won't go near. Some people draw the line at same-sex marriage, abortion or capital punishment but for me it's separatism that does the initial sorting into those politicians I can support and those I have no time for.

That's just one reason I'm no fan of Harper. It is also my first principal motivating factor behind why I backed Dion in the leadership race. I said at the time:
While many in the Liberal party quaked about provoking separatist fervor in Quebec, he dared to bring logic and clarity to a murky issue. Through a Supreme Court reference, he established clear ground rules on future referendum conditions including the substance of the question, some conditions under which future referendum campaigns could be fought and the circumstances under which the federal government would open negotiations. These principles were written into the Clarity Act which has become, I believe, the ultimate tool to deter the kind of nationalistic shenanigans which threatened the integrity of this country in the past.


When Dion says the Canada is a country that works better in practice than in principle, he recognizes the kinds of hard choices and compromises that needs to be made without sacrificing certain bedrock principles.
Enough said.


rgl said...

Thank you for such clarity. I am glad to have stumbles upon your blog site. The demonizing of the Boc has been the greatest damage that Harper has done today. His strategy will create great rips in the Canadian fabric which will haunt the Conservative Party for a long time. Talk about egocentricity.

Simon said...

Thank you, sir!