Member of Parliament for Edmonton Southeast, David Kilgour


New Advents Facing A New Year

Edmonton - Tuesday, December 30, 2003 - by: Ron Thornton Marriage, Be It Same Sex, Same Family, Same Harem


Just before I hit the eggnog and begin my holiday celebrations, I thought I should take one more glance at the Canadian political scene for 2003.


It was a year for new arrivals, as one Prime Minister stepped aside to make way for the new. Still, with all his money and privileges, I can't help but think that when Paul Martin looks upon you and me, he feels the same sense of kinship that we feel when we look upon cattle. What common bond must he feel when he looks down from his ivory towers upon us ignorant paupers? While I am sure he appreciates our value, I'm not sure if his appreciation for us stems from his being a vegetarian with a love for pets, or as a carnivore with a more consuming passion, as he gazes into our cheery little bovine faces.

not all
need to be

I long ago learned that what promises spew from the lips of politicians mean nothing without some follow-up action. The Prime Minister promises new improved ethics in his government, so why is it that just days after swearing in his new cabinet the newly installed Minister in charge of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency wonders if he was in a conflict of interest? If one was really serious about being ethical, wouldn't one ask a prospective cabinet minister if he had been involved in any dealings with the ministry? Would they not be interested to know if that ministry had just landed an $800,000 windfall into the lap of a cultural centre whose board of directors included the candidate's dear boy just four days prior to pop taking over the candy store? I don't blame Joe McGuire for helping out his son and his colleagues to seek a government grant, as that is what dads do. However, someone put Mr. McGuire in this portfolio without asking the right questions, or they simply could not have cared less as to how this might look. Then again, maybe Mr. Martin believes that not all promises need to be kept.


Maybe some should not be. It would seem that Peter MacKay broke a promise, one to keep his Progressive Conservatives from merging with the Canadian Alliance. However, his pact with those who might best be termed as progressives or neo-liberals seemed to lead down a path that led only to permanent electoral oblivion and financial bankruptcy for his organization. MacKay risked his political future, as dismal as it would have been had he stayed the course, to do what he thought was right. It would seem that would include even setting aside his own leadership aspirations in favour of another.


In fact, he and some others in the new and improved Conservative Party appear to have their own Lord to praise over the holiday season. Once again, New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord is being viewed by some as the new anointed one who might lead the hybrid of Tories and one-time Reformers into the promised land. Lord is a fine looking chap and bilingual, but what do we know about the fellow other than he came within a hair of being booted from office in last June's provincial election? Well, he reorganized the provincial power company so that it opened the door to private involvement while under the umbrella of a public utility, which I think was smart. He forgot about high car insurance, which was not.


No one doubts that Stephen Harper is among the smartest political leaders in the country, but the soon to be former Canadian Alliance leader and future Conservative Party contender seems intent on being a five-star chef in a fast food world. In an era of short newspaper quotes and television sound bites, the self-described policy wonk seems insistent in providing long intelligent answers to a media with a ten second attention span. No one cares that Paul Martin appears to be stealing old Reform ideas. What we need to know is if what Martin promises and what we think he is promising are the same. For example, do new ethics in government mean someone asking the tough questions and taking the necessary tough actions, or just better ways to avoid detection? Now, there is an eight second sound bite Mr. Harper can feel free to use.


Not since Ed Broadbent went out to pasture over fourteen years ago has the NDP managed to find a leader who has the fire and spark of Jack Layton. In fact, he has even managed to convince the old war horse to return to the fray in the upcoming election as a star candidate. Within a few months we should discover how many might be enticed to abandon the Liberals to support the socialist house that Jack rebuilt. He seems to have won some media converts, as witnessed by the fact that no one has harassed Layton for failing to have even attempted to yet enter Parliament since becoming leader. It is treatment that must make Joe Clark envious.


Then again, some folks just don't get any respect, as Parliament's own Rodney Dangerfield, Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe, can attest to. His party is an ineffective one trick pony, especially so since the effective forum for separatists or those wishing disassociation with the rest of Canada  lies within the provincial arena. However, with the PQ now in opposition within Quebec, the BQ might use its voice in Parliament to describe how exactly an independent Quebec would differ from its present status, to outline with clarity and detail the benefits that await, to give shape to the dream. The dream does have some shape, some detail, some clarity, does it not?

best and
worst of

As we close the old year and welcome in the new, there are some things we seem to be clear about in regards to 2004. We know a new party shall emerge with a newly selected Leader of the Opposition, with a spring election  anticipated as a new Prime Minister seeks a mandate. A new leader on the left will test the electoral waters for the first time, while a strictly regional party will be appraised as to whether or not its message continues to resonate with much impact within its provincial borders. With apologies to Charles Dickens, I think we can safely say that for some it will be the best of times and, for others, the worst of times.

the best

My wish is that you enjoy the very best of times this holiday season, and may 2004 be one of promise for you and yours.


Ron Thornton




Retrun to Ensign - Return to Saskatchewan News

This page is a story posted on Ensign and/or Saskatchewan News, both of which are daily web sites offering a variety of material from scenic images, political commentary, information and news. These publications are the work of Faster Than Light Communications . If you would like to comment on this story or you wish to contact the editor of these sites please send us email.

Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
Box 1776, Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada, S0E 1T0
306 873 2004