Thursday, April 21, 2005

"Parliament Boy" 

Being the real news junkie that I am, always right on top of everything that's going on, naturally I didn't get home from work soon enough to actually see Layton's remarks, or Duceppe's either. I only heard most of Martin's address, and some of Harper's response, on the radio.
It won't stop me from blogging about it, of course.
I liked what Martin had to say tonight. You can discount my opinion if you want, because in general I like Paul Martin. But I thought the end of his speech hit a good tone, humble yet combative:
". . . there are people who think I was wrong to call this inquiry, wrong to expose my government to the political cost of the scrutiny that has ensued. They warn we will pay a price in the next election. And perhaps we will. But I trust your judgment. And I will not dishonour this office by trying to conceal or diminish such offensive wrongdoing. I have too much respect for this place. When I was young, I practically lived here in the Parliament Buildings. My father was a cabinet minister in four Liberal governments. He taught me that those who serve in public office have a duty to protect the integrity of government. My pledge to you tonight is that I will live up to that ideal. I went into public life because I believe in the good that government can do. And I will do my all as prime minister to make sure that your government is worthy of your respect. The final judgment on whether I have done that will be yours."
I particularly liked the image of the little boy scampering around those gilded Ottawa halls, learning integrity at his daddy's knee . . . hey, if Chretien can make himself out to be the little guy from Shawinigan, then maybe Martin can adopt the meme of "Oh, Parliament Boy with cheek of tan . . . blessings on thee, little man".
It might work.
It all depends on whether the public really wants another election right now, or not.
It appears that both Harper and the Bloc are champing at the bit. But if the public doesn't want an election anyway, then if Harper uses the Bloc to bring down the govermment, it creates the impression that the Conservatives are so desperate and so unprincipled they will ally with separatists just to grab power. So Harper really, really needs Layton to vote non-confidence as well.
But the tone of Layton's remarks indicated he is not in any big hurry to fight another campaign right now. And the public may be grateful to him for not forcing an election. So if Layton becomes the government's saviour over the next month, this could be Layton's big chance to shuck his Toronto-alderman-not-ready-for-prime-time image and finally demonstrate to the country that he IS a leader.
POGGE thought Layton's speech was a winner, as did several other bloggers he polled. Reading what Layton said, I thought his remarks came off as very 'federal' and responsible, showing political leadership for a country which needs it pretty badly.
And I must refer to a great post from My Blahg: Preview of a Conservative Government -- oooh, pretty chilling.

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