banner photo:

"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

Banner photo
Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tim Hudak scores on his own net

This week Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak announced that if the Conservatives are elected they will institute a policy requiring inmates in provincial prisons to perform 40 hours/week of manual labour:
"I just think it's the right thing to do," Hudak said Thursday. "It's time for inmates to give back to society."

The mandatory labour would include picking up garbage, cleaning graffiti and raking leaves and inmates who refuse to do it would be denied television, card games or other perks, Hudak said.

"A PC government would end the practice of letting convicted prisoners spend their time watching TV or playing cards. We will make work programs mandatory," Hudak said. "I'm not asking prisoners to do anything more than what hard-working Ontario families do everyday — and that is go to work."
I think this is a colossal mistake. Hudak has just handed Dalton McGuinty a club to beat him with in much the same way that John Tory flubbed the religious schools issue in the last provincial election.

Liberals love to portray Conservatives as heartless monsters who would put orphans and pregnant welfare mothers to work in sweatshops to earn their keep, and Hudak has just reinforced this stereotype. It makes him look like Ebenezer Scrooge - prepare yourself for commercials this fall with pictures of Hudak and a voice-over of Alistair Sim muttering "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?"
Details on whether inmates would be manacled together to prevent escape have yet to be worked out, [Hudak] said.
Is he serious? Are the Conservatives really prepared for Ontario citizens to drive past manacled prisoners in chain gangs picking up trash along the 401 under signs that proudly proclaim "Working for a Better Ontario - Tim Hudak, Premier" while sanctimonious Dalton McGuinty solemnly intones "this is not the compassionate Ontario I believe in"?

Is there really public clamour to make life in prisons harsher for inmates, even among the so-called Conservative base? Was it really necessary for Hudak to look tougher on crime by tightening the screws on people already in jail?

The only thing missing is for Hudak to defend his policy by donning mirrored sunglasses and saying "what we have here is a failure to communicate" while tapping a billy club ominously. Be prepared for that public service message from the Liberals in the fall.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Carthago delenda est

As I bask in the warm glow of last night's election results, I'm reminded of an episode from ancient history. In the second century BC after two humiliating wars with Carthage, the politicians of Rome agitated for a final decisive campaign against their rival city-state. Cato the Elder ended each of his speeches with the phrase Carthago delenda est - Carthage must be destroyed - and in the Third Punic War victorious Roman armies finally destroyed the city and sowed the surrounding fields with salt so that it would never rise again.

Well, we've had our third electoral war under Prime Minister Harper; Carthage has finally fallen and the enemy lies vanquished on the battlefield. People say that it is a sign of compassion and maturity to be magnanimous in victory. Nonsense. This triumph has been a long time coming, and it's not enough to have defeated Ignatieff; now the Liberal Party must be destroyed.

For decades Liberals have looked with barely concealed contempt across the moats of Rosedale and Westmount and down from the battlements of U of T and UBC at the rest of Canada. They've lectured us on supposed Canadian values while labelling any disagreement with their agenda as racism, homophobia, misogyny or redneck stupidity. They've used their fifth column in the media and cultural sectors to deliberately demonize and belittle our politicians and our policies. They've subjected the "Harper regime" to withering criticism while ignoring malfeasance in their own ranks. They've screamed about the Prime Minister being undemocratic and holding Parliament in contempt, knowing that recent Liberal Prime Ministers ran their own party and the PMO like Tony Soprano ran New Jersey, dispensing patronage to party friends and leaving cash-stuffed envelopes in restaurants for sycophants eager to do business with the government. They whine about civility in politics while their leader pounds the desk and tells Conservatives to "go to hell". They've foisted out-of-touch eggheads and silver-spoon socialists like Stephane Dion, Michael Ignatieff and the Trudeaus pere & fils on us with their cockamamie social engineering and command economy schemes while howling that anyone who questions the Natural Governing Party is un-Canadian. A party with no ideology other than maintaining power has the nerve to call us ideologically driven and label our Prime Minister as scary.

They have for decades systematically dismantled the legacy of a century of Canadian history. Under Liberal leadership, the thousands of Canadian soldiers killed while fighting the most appalling regimes in history and buried in foreign cemeteries became an embarrassing historical footnote - we're a nation of peacekeepers now. Our historic ties to the British Empire and its legacy have all but been erased as relics of racism and colonialism - we're more proud now of our ties to Castro's Cuba. They've worked hard to detach Canada from the United States while sucking up to despotic hell-holes like China and the Soviet Union. A nation that once sat at the table deciding the fate of the post-war world was reduced on their watch to prattling on about "soft power".

But far more insidious has been the unprecedented expansion of the influence of the state in the lives of Canada's citizens and a disturbing erosion of personal liberties under Liberal leadership. There is no aspect of life in Canada now that has not seen its regulation and control by government increased under Liberal rule. Under Liberal administrations, pervasive income-redistribution taxation policies have now made most of the population dependent in some way on the largesse of the state, stifling entrepreneurial spirit and fostering a culture of dependence. We've been told over and over that individuals, parents and families can't be trusted to make intelligent decisions with their own money; that those decisions are best left to the kindly Liberal bureaucrats of the nanny state else we spend it on beer and popcorn.

It has to stop. The Liberal Party must be destroyed and its fields sown with salt. It's leadership must be driven into political exile and it has to spend years in oblivion just to teach it humility. When the Liberal Party realizes that it is not unpatriotic to have a competing vision for the future of Canada, and that Conservatives have a legitimate and equal claim to represent the people as the government of the nation, THEN I'll welcome them back into the political arena. But it's going to to be awhile, and in the meantime I'm going to savour this moment for a long, long time.

Magnanimous in victory? Not bloody likely.

According to my calculations ...

The Liberal Party will be extinct in 2014. This graph of the number of Liberal seats in the House of Commons for the past five elections tells the story:

(click to enlarge)

The Liberals should form a coalition with the Greens ...

... one party has MPs with no leader; the other has a leader with no MPs.