March 10, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 83  

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Now voters have an alternative

From the Far Lane
Emmett Macfarlane


At some point in our lives, everyone gets that rather helpless feeling that ‘people are stupid.’

For the past 11 years, Canadians have certainly seemed bereft of sanity, continually subjugating themselves to inept Liberal Party rule under the leadership of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin. Watching the past three federal elections has been like watching millions of little kids foolishly lick the school yard flag-pole on a cold winter day to see if their tongue will really get stuck.

You would think that after a $1 billion human resources boondoggle, $1 billion wasted on a registry for legal guns and most recently a $250 million sponsorship scandal, Canadian voters will redeem themselves.

One might also wonder why voters seem unperturbed at how dilapidated the military has become, the fact the health care system remains inadequate or that the Governor General recently spent more than $5 million touring northern Europe for no reason.

To top it off, the coronated (i.e. unelected) prime minister is considering sitting on his throne until the fall instead of calling a spring election because of the current scandal. Martin wants to release a few spending initiatives (or bribes) before the election, to show he’s not the fiscally conservative finance minister of yore.

That’s because the Liberals continue to ride the sweet economic policies of their predecessors, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, which they opposed until they formed government and realized how beneficial free trade is to the country.

Before last year, the Liberals could cling to dictatorship by virtue of the lack of a realistic alternative. But with the newly unified Conservative Party of Canada, voters can finally look to a party with a plausible chance at knocking Martin off his throne.

But even under their pathetic leadership, the Liberals would still garner anywhere from 38 to 42 per cent of the vote in an election, according to recent polls.

The Conservatives are mired in a leadership race, which for Canada’s sake will hopefully see Stephen Harper win. His opponents, Mr. anti-charisma Tony Clement, and the highly unqualified Belinda Stronach, lack his experience and substance.

There’s also the New Democratic Party, which is actually harder to forget than you would think, given its leader, Jack Layton, and his penchant for cameras, microphones and reporters’ asses. But let’s be serious.

Hopefully, once a Conservative leader is in place, Martin will respect the little thing some of us like to call democracy and announce a spring election. Let’s just hope Canadians don’t still have their tongues affixed to the frozen flag-pole.



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