It’s a Cloudy Cool Day in the Neighbourhood

Back East, in Ottawa, Mounties visit the Albert Street offices of the Conservative Party of Canada, ostensibly to collect such evidence as might be available in support of a complaint issued by Elections Canada. Unsurprisingly, the media are there; so is a video crew working for the Liberal Party.

Is “In and Out” — Jason Cherniak’s favourite subject, these past two days — the scandal to tar and taint the Government when nothing else so far has stuck? (The Government has done more damage to itself — the musings of our Foreign Affairs Minister, L’Hon. Maxime Bernier, come immediately to mind — than the Opposition has to it.) I don’t know. What I do know is that I think three things:

If “In and Out” isn’t illegal, it’s damn close to the edge, at least for my tolerance of it. Politics is group morality in action: what the law (suitably interpreted) might allow to slide by, good moral reasoning should not. From my comfortable chair this day in Vancouver, it looks to me as though the moral line was crossed. What that means, of course, is that the Conservatives are just as untrustworthy as the Liberals have already proven themselves to be, both tapping the public trough for party benefit.

When Everyone’s a Crook-of-sorts, It’s No Longer Relevant, at least when making selections between parties on the basis of trust, accountability and honesty. Allegations and to spare exist to show that “in and out” is hardly a Conservative Party invention: apparently the meme was in the air in most of the parties and in various geographies across this land. I didn’t vote for the Conservatives in 2006 (although I was mightily glad to see the Liberals dispatched into Opposition for a rebuilding and rethinking that they have yet to undertake), and one of the reasons then was that I didn’t think they were any better than the Liberals at keeping their hands to themselves. The pursuit of power over principle will always “justify” any action thought to bring power closer regardless of how close to the edge of moral and legal limit it skates.

Only the Partisan Minority Cares, in Any Event, for Jane and Joe Citizen could care less. When it comes to crimes against the Canadian people, the “making irrelevant” of politics that our parties have undertaken — and accomplished — should rank near, if not at, the top. Blogging Tories and Libloggers, Media columnists and editorialists and personalities, that’s who cares these days. Not many others.

Hmmm … the sky is lightening to the south west. Perhaps the clouds will lift for a while. Of course, that’ll take the temperature from under normal for spring back to full on wintry chill. Perhaps another latté…

Meanwhile, over in Victoria, the Board of BC Ferries — a corporation organized as would be any other publicly-traded joint-stock corporation, except that there is only one shareholder (Her Majesty in Right of the Province of British Columbia) — gave itself a 60% pay rise yesterday. That’s base pay for the indignity of having to sit on a corporate board; meeting attendance fees are extra. This consumed the provincial Question Period yesterday, but, of course, the real question — can the Crown simply remove ministerial oversight (a Crown Corporation) at will and not complete the task, selling off its ownership stake? — wasn’t brought up at all. No, the Opposition called for the Minister of Transportation to step in and roll the increase back, and the Minister claimed to have “expressed his displeasure” to the Board. As he did, no doubt, to the Translink Board for its self-pocket-lining moves (oh, my mistake, there taking the Board away from community control and making them Ministerial lackeys was a “good move”).

But, of course, it’s poor service and rapidly rising fares that consume those citizens who use the ferries regularly, just as it’s poor service and rapidly rising fares that consume those citizens who travel on buses and the Sky Train system.

BC’s media, of course, wasn’t going to put the effort in to sorting this out that they did to reporting on the RCMP’s actions in Ottawa, mind. Can’t go against the Government, you know. Thank goodness Gordon Campbell and crew don’t have a central bank at their disposal, because the subservience they receive from the media in this province would otherwise allow them to complete the Zimbabweanisation of Canada’s west coast without further worries about how to pay for it.

My word, there goes two cars driving with their headlights on (not just the standard daytime running lights). It’s not that dark out there…

As for the City of Vancouver, there is little to be said. Yes, the rolling wonder-wit, Hizzoner the Mayor, will face a challenger for his party’s nomination; Sam Sullivan’s bag of tricks will no doubt see Peter Ladner off without even breaking a sweat. (Will he, as in the documentary Citizen Sam, then put his foot on Ladner’s throat and press for daring to take his poor results as Mayor on?) The same bag of tricks will no doubt dispatch whomever surfaces as the Vision Vancouver candidate — that is, if COPE doesn’t split the vote and elect Sam in a landslide.

The City, of course, continues to do everything and thus nothing; to (under Sam’s leadership in Council) block real debate. The NPA councillors, one of whom is running against the man, continue to vote as sheep. (Remember, the NPA has, with Sam himself, a margin of one: six-five votes would convert into five-six if even one sheep decided to make his own record.)

It could be a nice country, province and city, couldn’t it, if it wasn’t ground down by the likes of these.

I’ve said all along that what I am is a Tory — which doesn’t make me a Conservative, despite the inability of headline writes to ever note the difference. The smell arising from the dung heaps of Parliament Hill, Victoria’s Inner Harbour and 453 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver disgusts me. Since, in all locations, all parties present are complicit in what’s going on, there is effectively no possibility of change on the horizon.

So, Liberals, topple the Harper Government — or not. It makes no difference. We’ll have an election sometime, and little will be changed (if anything) as a result. Just as Campbell’s gang will be re-elected again in Victoria (and Sullivan in Vancouver) on the backs of supporters who, Huey Long style, would prefer to be robbed blind rather than consider sending them a “get packing” message.

As for me, another latté, and more watching the clouds scud by. I just can’t get wound up today about any of it. It gets easier each day to ignore them.

Perhaps that’s the real future: neighbourhoods that just ignore the lot of them and work to make things work (possibly even better) on a scale more appropriate to the efforts of individual human beings. Certainly it’s hard to have a world-circling ego when your platform is a few houses on a street.

The one thing my MP, my MLA and my current mayor and councillors can count on is that, when they deign to ask, I will be voting against. For none of them personally nor by affiliation deserves to be returned again to suck at the public teat.

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