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November 26, 2005
Liberals Fall Into Folly

With a no-confidence motion all but assured of passage on Monday, the Liberals had a choice as to how they would conduct their last days at the reins of power. They could demonstrate a steady and confident hand on the till, governing responsibly until the last possible moment -- or they could turn the Commons into an Ottawa bazaar in which every bill that could suck up to some small constituency gets tabled despite the fact that it will not survive to a vote. To their shame, the Martin-led Liberals chose the latter course, one that has even the notoriously biased media and punditry scratching their heads:

With possibly 72 hours left in the life of their minority government, the Paul Martin Liberals introduced legislation Friday meant to crack down on gun violence and ban the bulk export of prescription drugs to the United States.

The timing of both measures, which have virtually no hope of passing before the expected defeat of the Liberals in a confidence vote Monday night, were called an insult to the intelligence of Canadians by at least one political observer.

"Like so much else they're doing, it's election posturing," said Michael Bliss, a history professor at the University of Toronto. ...

The fact that both public policy measures, especially gun violence, are being dangled in front of the public like political carrots, with no hope of being passed, is something that will add to the general cynicism about politics and the coming election, said Bliss.

"This is what we've come to in Canada," he said. "It's really bleak."

What we see in the last throes of the Liberal minority government are the cheap legislative tricks that kept them in power, magnified under the stress of the ignominious failure of a pure no-confidence motion. They have spent the last couple of years trying to claim the moral high ground from Conservatives and the BQ despite having operated an unprecedented money-laundering and kickback scheme in the Sponsorship Programme, and the only way they've hung onto power this long is to have rented it from the NDP. Like a one-trick pony, they now exit the stage the way they have commanded it -- only now the trick has been exposed, and the audience has tired of the fraud.

An honorable government would have agreed to elections as soon as the testimony from the Gomery Inquiry went public, in order to allow the Canadian voters to determine whether to hold the Liberals responsible for their actions in Adscam. A responsible government would have tried to accommodate the offered compromise of a February election in order to avoid the need to hold the debate we saw in the Commons this week. These last-minute, here's-what-you'll-miss bills cynically introduced by the Grits this week show that Martin and the Liberal leadership qualify as neither honorable nor responsible, if Adscam itself hadn't already exposed them.

Will the Canadian voters finally punish the Liberals? We shall know in January.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 26, 2005 8:13 AM

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