It has been acrimonious, divisive and angry: But at least the Congress of the United States of America has been debating issues of seriousness and importance to the nation's citizens.
In our Great White North, it seems the Harper government has just about abandoned domestic politics to focus on Canada's waning and damaged reputation on the world stage. Ours is not a superpower...never will be. There is a sense, to me apparent, that we've lost our direction about what's relative and important here at home.
Here is what I know: Mr. Harper's Conservative Party, our Federal Government, in the public opinion polls has been stuck in minority territory since their defeat of Paul Martin's government back now over four years ago - In January of 2006. Meantime the self-anointed, natural governing "Liberal" Party, has basked in a frantic national leadership comedy of errors worthy of a Monty Python skit. Last week's "should I vote yes...wait...maybe I should vote no!" Flip-flop over the attempt to embarrass the Tories on abortion being just the latest in a string of Mike Ignatieff's headline grabbing failures.
Little wonder therefore that the current session of Parliament bereft of any ideas, solutions and suggestions obliges Ottawa's national media gallery to fret, argue and ponderously opine over the visit of some flash-in-the-pan American right-wing pundit, one Ann Coulter, rather than focus on anything of real concern to Canadians.
Dudes - Here's what up! Since that January election of 06, the nation has sunk from a staggering $15-Billion (or so) annual surplus to an even more staggering $50-Billion deficit. Lest anyone forget: Just one year ago (March 31, 2009) the books weren't only balanced, but we were still $500-million on the plus side. And, depending whose manifesto you support: The heretofore Tory darlings of the Fraser Institute, or the Liberal leaning Conference Board of Canada: The stimuli have been a waste, or the best thing since Alex Bell invented the phone. Crap! Either way we, and the grand kids, will be paying this tab til near the end of time. (2012 if you believe the Mayan - Halleluyah! I digress.)
Instead, doubtless to "hang ten" (Dude! Surf talk- OK?) in the afterglow of February's La-La land Olympics; the Harper Government has hitched the nation's image to a series of international blockbusters with little measurable payback...just likely more debt for us. While we'll probably never know just how many billions of dollars the Jean Chretien Liberals ultimately committed to the increasingly obvious frustrating folly of Afghanistan. - Later in the week it seems the current government will commit to a minimum, $100-million investment just to (maybe) have a limited say over the future of Haiti. A sad nation, somewhat like our Ontario, that is obliged, hat-in-hand, to seek sustenance outside its borders. Aye, Ya, Ya ye!
Wait there's more! Come the month of June the Prime Minister will step centre stage to host the G-8 in Huntsville, Ontario; and the G-20 in Toronto. Worthy as they may be: Additional commitments are sure to follow. Take a number! These days fifteen minutes of world fame neither come cheap nor are they likely to be about what matter most to Canada's down-home domestic agenda.
If successive governments and weak opposition have succeeded in soiling our international reputation, then we'll spare no cost for a headline on Fox and CNN.
Only money, right? Let the Good Times Roll!