Tone Deaf and Full of Himself
Listening to Blair Wilson, the Independent (formerly Liberal) MP for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast, this morning on CKNW’s Bill Good show said volumes to me about the lack of moral fibre and accountability in the federal arena today.
Mr. Wilson’s contention is that, having been cleared (as he put it) by Elections Canada and his father-in-law having stood down on most of the legal actions that gentleman brought against Mr. Wilson, the Federal Liberal Caucus should readmit him and make him their candidate in the forthcoming election. $9,000 in “inappropriately reported” contributions and spending that Elections Canada has not given a clearance for, yet are declining to act further upon, is “fully cleared” in Mr. Wilson’s book. So, too, his father-in-law, who has dropped some but not all of the claims against Mr. Wilson (and Mr. Wilson has not dropped the defamation suit he retaliated with), now is claimed by Mr. Wilson to be dropped, settled, finished.
Apparently part of the job is sufficient these days for a man who certainly believes in his own integrity, as he repeatedly told us this morning.
Alas, his electors do not share his opinion. Only one caller — from far-away Abbotsford — thought Mr. Wilson was “owed something” for his unwavering support of the Liberals, both financially and personally. All the other callers — and all the others were from his riding — told him to his face he had no integrity, no morals, and that they would cheerfully vote against him if he dared to run, either as a Liberal or otherwise.
If the events and games of far-away Ottawa are essentially background noise and of no account in these parts, it is clear at least that there is some sense of moral outrage at obvious takers and fakers, and the men and women who lack integrity, who make their way there as our so-called representatives. (Such self-serving attitudes are many things, but “representative” they are not: a true representative is humble, which Mr. Wilson most certainly was not.)
So, Mr. Wilson, your “performance” this morning was definitely another nail in the coffin of the Confederation, had you but considered that. But, of course, you didn’t. It was all about you, and not at all about West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast. Enough said. Go swim from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale — all that wind inside of you should certainly keep you afloat crossing Howe Sound.
Tone Deaf and Full of Something
Then, of course, as was reported Stéphane Dion (the leader to whom Blair Wilson swore fidelity) was street-walking in New Brunswick yesterday, where he received a resounding “oh” when a passer-by greeted him as a local dignitary, mistaking his identity. One might think (especially given the sheer raft of coverage given Dion these past six weeks since his Green Shift(™appropriated) was announced — sheer familiarity with his face from the television or newspaper ought to have led to recognition.
No matter. The let down implicit in that simple “oh” and walking away speaks far louder than any harangue that might have started.
That “oh”, in fact, is very similar to what he might receive in this part of the world (although one would hope that he would at least be recognised: he may not be my choice for Canada’s next Prime Minister, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a national figure). Such a lukewarm, dull response is a direct response to what more and more people now say about his proposals:
Oh, you’re the tax man.
After all, when you can’t explain the connection to emission reduction, nor project reduction amounts, nor say how the environment will be improved — but you can talk about new social spending on the back of the taxes collected — you are the tax man, pure and simple.
Make no mistake, as the economy tightens further and the effect of rampant price increases for food and energy continue to take their toll, Canadians’ concern about the environment will wane. It did so in the 1970s, when international stagflation and Trudeau’s pseudo-Marxist meddling in the Canadian economy (remember wage and price controls, anyone?) overwhelmed concerns about environmental degradation, and it happened again as the environment peaked as a concern heading into the 1990s when the economy took a tumble as the FTA, the GST and an oil price spike over the invasion of Kuwait took their toll. It is already happening again.
Already the game has changed. The Greens — who actually have some decent ideas about the economy mixed into their programme — have dropped from sight. Interventionists mostly are lining up behind the Liberals and NDP on the basis of “who can redistribute someone else’s wealth to me”; non-interventionists are mostly holding their noses and lining up behind the Conservatives (who, alas, have offered us not a government of conservation and stewardship but an “improved liberal” government — more on that in the next day or two). But the division is not turning any longer on the environmental issues.
It matters little, actually, whether one believes in or “denies” global warming. (Isn’t it interesting how global warming has become a matter of dogmatic faith that cannot be challenged without the challenger being tagged as “evil”? As any truly religious person — and I include authentic atheists here, too — would confirm, faith and doubt are always inter-twined in an honest man.) The climate changes we are already apparently experiencing are the result of the last century’s emissions (or natural processes, or a normal cycle: it really doesn’t matter). The peaking of cheap energy, on the other hand, will quickly — within twenty years at the outside — see emissions rapidly reduced: you can’t burn the fuel you don’t have. This problem, in other words, fixes itself for the twenty-first century all on its own.
In the meantime, cleaning up pollution is something we do need to do. Of course, the Green Shift(™appropriated) doesn’t tackle this problem. One would hope that the Harper Government would. Canadians have been poor stewards of their land, thinking it inexhaustible, but everywhere they have come to see that it is not, they have quickly changed their ways to preserve and restore it, most often in the places that have treated the land the worst (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan) in recent decades.
An End to Entitlement
Ultimately the small, penny-ante sense of entitlement that Blair Wilson, MP, demonstrates and the large, nation-looting sense of it that Stéphane Dion, Leader of the Opposition, has demonstrated since his acceptance speech at the Liberal Leadership Convention of 2006, are one and the same. What we citizens think, want, hope for is irrelevant: “I’m entitled to decide for you”. It matters little whether this is for personal aggrandisement, as with Mr. Wilson’s sense that he ought to be a Liberal and re-elected as same, or for some sort of intellectual adventure of “knowing better than you what’s best for you” as with the Green Shift(™appropriated) with the Hon. M. Dion. Both treat citizens as consumers: “you’ll buy what’s in the shop window, otherwise, you have the problem”.
No thank you. It’s hard for a politician to avoid the trap of feeling entitled to “know better” and, of course, to stay in power one must present oneself often as an inevitability to return. Still, decent people know better and try harder to be better. These two Liberals don’t. That’s enough reason to, as with this morning’s callers, say “you will not be returned in the next election” and be done with it.