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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:26 am
 


$1:
Do schoolyards have master tacticians?

By ANGELO PERSICHILLI


A Marxist author wrote "life is a struggle, struggle is politics, and politics is the ability to debate. The master is master because he knows 500 words more than the labourer." Unfortunately for him, most of the leaders resorted to guns and dictatorship to impose their ideas instead of working on their vocabulary.

We know how it ended up.

Some of his grandchildren seem to have learned the lesson and resort to vocabulary to make the point. It's an improvement, and it is with pleasure that I join a debate exchanging words instead of bullets.

Let's see how important it is in a political debate to use the proper words at the proper time to reach an improper conclusion.

I've read this past week that Prime Minister Stephen Harper acts like a schoolyard bully. I agree with the schoolyard analogy to describe the federal political environment in the last decade. However, I have doubts about Harper being a bully.

Adjectives mean nothing if not used in a context where you compare two entities. A bully is a strong person taking advantage of a weak one.

The question is this: Is the government and Stephen Harper too strong, or is the opposition -- the Liberals and Stephane Dion -- too weak?

Some journalists say Harper is too strong and is abusing the opposition. Most of the journalists and politicians now calling Harper a bully are the same ones who, a few years back, were calling the then leader of the opposition, Stockwell Day, too weak, and the then leader of the Liberals, Jean Chretien, a master tactician.

The former leader of the Canadian Alliance was ridiculed, puny mistakes were magnified and he was politically destroyed. The Liberal majority called an early election in 2000 only to take advantage of the inexperience of the new opposition leader, making Canadians believe Day was an inept politician.

In fact, he had been a respected minister of finance in Alberta and now has also proven to be a very diligent and competent minister of this federal government.

What did the media write at that time? What a magnificent tactician Jean Chretien is! No bullying, right?

Now we have a minority (and I stress the word "minority") Conservative government accused of incompetence on a daily basis in the House by people who cannot handle disagreements. Harper is bombarded by unsubstantiated accusations of corruption, accused of being anti-immigrant (simply because he is trying to solve, maybe in a very indecisive way, the chaos in the immigration sector created by the Liberals), and accused of being against natives, the poor and I recently heard he hates my neighbour's dog.

We also have the opposition parties abusing their majority in the committees to find incriminating information against Harper, looking as far back as events that took place when the prime minister was in kindergarten.

So, if I understand all this correctly, they want the government to co-operate with them to destroy the government. And, for not co-operating with the opposition, Harper is a bully?

If opposition parties, and I mean the Liberals, want to defeat the government they have only to be in the House and vote against them.

That's how democracy, one of the 500 words I referred to earlier, works.

The fact is they don't dare go to the polls because they know they will not win.

The Liberals won't defeat the government for the same reason they forced Canadians to go to the polls three times in less than seven years (1997, 2000 and 2004): It's all about winning, not about issues or defending the interests of Canadians.

So, they want the government to hang on a bit more and stand still to allow the Liberals to collect more mud to throw at the government and the prime minister in particular. And Harper is a bully because he doesn't co-operate with them.

So Chretien was a master tactician when he was using his huge majority to destroy the "weak" Day, but Harper is a "bully" because he doesn't co-operate with the "weak" Liberals in destroying himself.

Which of the 500 words needed to win a political debate am I missing?


Don't know how that showed up in the Toronto sun but happy it did.
http://www.torontosun.com/Comment/2008/ ... 6-sun.html


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