Volume 96, Issue 3

Thursday, June 6, 2002
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"Real" world?

Off the cuff of glory

Ivey brings in the bucks

Gay and lesbian info hits the web

Western engineers hit the finish line in Michigan

London health officials battle "tanorexia"

Ship Liberal sailing into very rocky waters

Darth Chretien?

Double cohort applications process unclear

In the eyes of a reporter in sweats

Of egos, ethics and ignorance

News Briefs

Of egos, ethics and ignorance

Res Ipsa Loquitur
Emmett Macfarlane
News Editor

People who vote for Jean Chrétien and the federal Liberals can be described in one of two ways – ignorant or stupid.

In the past, the ignorant could be forgiven because they were simply satisfied with the status quo – and if the Liberals stand for anything, it's the status quo.

By definition, this class of Liberal voters remains uneducated about exactly what Chrétien and his cronies are accomplishing. In a way, this doesn't matter because they haven't accomplished a whole lot. In another way, their ignorance is frighteningly bad, as the past few weeks have shown.

A quick look at a couple of Jean's greatest hits will remind us that he got away with mishandling billions of dollars in the human resources department and lied about eliminating the GST. Taking responsibility in Chrétien-like fashion, he shifted the blame to his cabinet ministers – Jane Stewart and Sheila Copps.

Chrétien even got away with calling an opportunistic election in 2000 – just three and a half years into his previous mandate – but we can forgive voters for his victory because Stockwell Day's ineptitude didn't give them too much of a choice. After all, what were they going to do, vote NDP?!

The current patronage scandal has helped shed some more light on just how arrogant and complacent the Liberals have become. The disgraceful government contract handouts and lack of ethics seem to run right through Chrétien's caucus.

The PM did an admirable job in defending his government at the outset – he left the country and let deputy prime minister John Manley deal with the opposition's questions. When he did come back, Chrétien deftly responded to questions in the House with something along the lines of "we did no such thing wrong with dis thing and dat other one."

I understand he was even more eloquent in French.

Eventually, even Chrétien realized too many of his MPs had been caught giving their friends access to the public cookie jar. Jean did the only thing a self-respecting prime minister would do: he shuffled the two most obvious perpetrators out of their cabinet spots while denying any wrong-doing had taken place.

For his next brilliant move, Chrétien declared an end to any fundraising by contenders to his throne.

He had played one too many cards.

Paul Martin, Jean's most likely successor, seized this opportunity to let the nation know he was mulling over his future options. Before we knew it, our dictator pulled the trigger and gave Paul the axe.

Unfortunately, the Liberals won't necessarily fall apart, even though Martin has a lot of caucus support. Martin has been blessed with at least the short-term label as the victim in this mess. He did a pretty good job as finance minister – he was only canned because both his and Chrétien's egos are so big that not even all of Joe Clark's hot air could fill them.

So far Martin's been taking the "high road," not clarifying whether he resigned or was fired (by the way, he was fired) and avoiding Ottawa like it had a plague (it does and has since '93).

Martin had better wake up, because as he crawls along the high road it's going to paint him with another label: yellow-belly.

After all of this, there will be no one ignorant enough to vote Liberal again. Only the stupid will be left to blame.

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