The Prime Minister this week has been on a "Varnish the Tarnish" tour, making the rounds of media outlets and television network newscasts in a series of year end interviews speaking about the challenges of Canada's uncharted future.
Over the course of the next several hours he will most likely take time-off to award Christmas sinecures to 18 Tory supporters, bag men and backroom hokes in the country's biggest ever Senate packing excercise.
My gosh! All this in the same week that CTV announces it was shelving "Canadian Idol", and sidelining Ben Mulroney due to the crash of the economy. Can it get any worse? How times have changed.
Does anyone still remember the "five-point" plan? Harking back if you will to the Disneyland like atmosphere of the 2006 Federal Election. The one that elevated the Harper Tories to Government. Actually it was on November 29, 2005 - Day one of the election campaign: "Time for change; End to corruption; A brighter future." A promise a day nationwide tour in that pre-Christmas period 3 years ago. Cuts to the GST, shorter health-care wait times, a tough on crimes agenda, Senate reform, set four year Federal election terms: "stand-up for Canada."
However by the spring of 2008 once the elements of the five-point plan, minus Senate reform, were enacted by a Parliament the Mr. Harper later described as "dysfunctional"; the Tory chuck-wagon seemingly stalled. Despite, perhaps in-spite of, the Prime-Minister's best efforts to trip the Government's defeat. He was eventually forced to turn back on the spirit of his own election reforms and ask the Governor-General for the October 14th election. A signpost perhaps that Mr. Harper was prepared to sacrifice fundamental principles at the slightest pretext.
In the 2008 election that no-one wanted, Canadians sent the Conservatives a clear message. Despite a broken-down, bankrupt, and virtually leaderless Liberal Party...well, certainly the worse Liberal leader in decades... the Harper forces managed only to salvage another minority government. Conditioned as we are to accept obfuscation of the truth by the people we elect: Canadians bought into the scam. Read my lips! No-recession, No-Deficit, brighter times ahead..."Imagineers" they call them at Disneyland.
It was just about the time that Finance Department officials, mandarins and bureaucrats scattered in every which direction to distance themselves from the November "Financial Update" written in the PMO; that the country's sad reality finally sunk-in.
The playful coalition of "dink, dork and dingus" forced the Minister of Finance to back-off, whilst the Prime Minister scurried-on once more to the Governor General to save his Government's sorry "Bee-Hind". I don't know if it's in the holy water the Jesuit educated Jim Flaherty drinks...but pretty much any other Minister of Finance would have "walked the plank" over the total repudiation of his own economic plan.
The hawks are now forced to watch in disbelief as one of their own is about to plunge the country into a $30 billion (plus) deficit for the first time in a dozen years, a deficit which may extend well into the next decade. The Tory sympathizers who are about to elevate to the Red Chamber of Parliament in their Senate sinecures should remember that for the rest of us, the acrid smell of bitterness is what will be left behind as they walk by.