Bad news for The Lobby means good news for the rest of us

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As years go, 2006 has been dismal for Canada politically. On almost every front, the country’s reputation, civil liberties and self-respect have taken a shellacking. Among other things, Stephen Harper and his cabal of Christian-Zionist anti-statist wingnuts have:

  • gutted this country’s environmental policy;
  • presented Parliament with a softwood lumber deal that rewards U.S. thievery to the tune of $1 billion;
  • committed Canada to a combat role in Afghanistan, contrary to the national interest;
  • showed contempt for any standard of governmental accountability; and most conspicuously,
  • reinforced Canada’s shame as a sock puppet of Israel.

Harper’s eagerness to cut off aid to the elected government of Palestine and his refusal even to express sympathy for the civilian victims of Israel’s destruction of Lebanon must be reckoned the most callous and craven acts of zionist servility in recent memory, proving yet again that the concept of a Canadian foreign policy is a transparent fiction.

(Of course, if NDP leader Jack Layton had not stupidly brought down the Paul Martin government in late 2005, we might have been spared this theocratic horror show. You might say Canada’s government is “The Parliament That Jack Built.”)

Any hope of returning Canada to some semblance of independent national government lies with the Liberal Party, and for nearly the entire year it has been leaderless and bereft of ideas. Worse, under Martin the “Little Knesset” led by Irwin Cotler officially zionized foreign policy.

However, all is not bleak. The unexpected selection this month of Quebec MP Stéphane Dion as Liberal leader is the first good political news Canadians have had in a long time, and reason to be at least cautiously optimistic about 2007.

Unlike front-runners Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae, Dion is not an ideological zionist. During Israel’s assault on Lebanon, he was one of the few Canadian politicians who said Canada should criticize “its friends.” Although Dion has not indicated that he would be willing to do battle with The Lobby, he is nevertheless far less susceptible to coercion than either Ignatieff or Rae.

Also, the manner of his selection seems to indicate a change in attitude within the Party. Fourth-place finisher Gerard Kennedy, another non-zionist, threw his support to Dion rather than contest another ballot after fifth-place finisher Ken Dryden dropped off. The rebuke to The Lobby was decisive, whether intended or not.

Many prominent zionists, like Cotler, supported Rae, who had to be considered The Lobby’s favourite after Ignatieffdeclared the destruction of Lebanon to be a war crime and caused high-profile desertions from the Party, including Cotler’s wife. Rae, on the other hand, is a thoroughly domesticated dissembler. In November, he actually praised Israel for being a beacon of constitutionality and rule of law, even though Israel has no constitution, no common citizenship, and practices apartheid.

Rae’s ignorance is inexcusable, and had he managed to win the nomination, Canadians would have been faced with a choice between Harper and Harper-lite during the next election, which is really no choice at all.

By the end of the third ballot, the voting stood at:
Dion, 1,782; Ignatieff, 1,660; Rae 1,375.
The final tally was Dion, 2,521; Ignatieff, 2,084.

Having spent my political life fighting Central Canada’s pandering to Quebec at the expense of Western Canada, I find myself in the incongruous position of fighting Western Canada and championing Quebec.

For one thing, The Lobby’s influence in Quebec is weaker than in the rest of the country, because the province’s mainly French-speaking electorate is insulated from the barrage of English-language propaganda and groupthink emanating from Western and Central Canada.

For another, the Quebec electorate is sophisticated and cultured. They are strong supporters of the Palestinians and defenders of constitutional rights, unlike the Bible-thumping, anti-statist dilettantes that predominate in the West. As a result, the most effective Opposition Party to date has, ironically, been the separatist Bloc Québécois, especially on military policy. Now that Dion, a staunch federalist, wants to define a new approach to Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, Canada might start to reclaim sovereignty over foreign policy.

To add to this rosy scenario, Harper has unwisely chosen to pander to the separatist element in Quebec by agreeing to recognize the province as a nation within Canada. This is the same grubbing chicanery that led to the destruction of the Progressive Conservative Party under Brian Mulroney. The West would have none of it, and as a result Canadians elected three consecutive majority Liberal governments.

A Dion-led Liberal Party not only gives Canadians a clear alternative, but the issue of special status for Quebec could destroy Harper the way it did Mulroney. My prediction from February seems solid: “Harper will be remembered as nothing more than a fart in Canada’s political winds of change.”

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