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diaryland: entry for 2004-03-02 (04:59)
In which our plucky young hero breaks down the party lines.

(Political content follows. Don't worry; by this time next week I'll be back to either sullen, guarded silence or eight-word entries about reality TV.)

So, Paul Martin is pondering calling a spring election. If you read the right newspapers and the right online pundits, you learn that this is an outrage for two reasons:

  1. There are, at the moment, about 7,215 investigations of the Liberal ad funding scam (or scamola) (or alleged scamola) going on, and if the Liberals get another majority government, what happens when (if) (if when) these investigations all come back unanimously reporting that our new government is a bunch of crooks?
  2. Besides, it's unfair to call an election so early after the Conservative Party's leadership race. The party doesn't have a leader right now; it doesn't have a platform; why, you're asking it to fight with one hand tied behind its back and the other still tying its shoes.

Well, reason #1 I can totally get behind (and I say that as someone who trends left). It might be nice to learn before an election whether Paul Martin is a crook or isn't. But reason #2 stinks to high heaven of prime, unadulterated bullshit, and it appals me that anyone would try to pass it off as anything other than a comical joke.

The Conservative Party of Canada is Reform III; there's no two ways about it. Stephen Harper will win its leadership convention, and he will win it on the basis of the western-alienation crowd (perhaps soon I'll start sharing some of the "National Post Theater" sketches I've been developing, just in case Monday Report comes calling). Reform has had since 1987 to put together a policy platform. Exactly how much longer should we give these guys the benefit of the doubt? Can one of the Reformoids please set a date on which we're allowed to say "Sorry, now you're just incompetent" and pay all our attention to the grownup table?

Or, maybe you disagree with my thesis. Maybe you think that the new CPC is not Reform III; maybe you even thought that the Canadian Alliance wasn't Reform II. Doesn't that make a big difference? Don't you deserve a new Year Zero, so that my arguments might be valid in 2021 but not a single day earlier?

Nope, nope, nope.

Because, you see, back when the point of calling it the Canadian "Alliance" was to merge the two right-wing parties, one of the Reformoids' major arguments was how little difference there was between the two parties. Several times, we were told that the two parties basically agreed on 90% of their respective platforms, and hey, party conventions are what the other 10% is for.

Are we to believe that suddenly, this 90% commonality has been evaporated like water on a hot griddle? Sitting back and saying "Well, I've seen the Venn diagram here, and I think I can judge the intersection, the very large intersection, of these two circles" is somehow supposed to be intellectually dishonest. I'm not impressed. If it really is dishonest, then the initial lie sprang from the Reformers. If they really don't believe that you can judge on the basis of this common 90%, then maybe they shouldn't have told the Tories to do just that during Mergermania One (which was part of Reform II; there will be a quiz).

Will I vote Liberal during the next election, whether it's spring or fall or after the nuclear war? Maybe. (There you go, right-wing readers! There's your opening to say I'm just another damned eastern sheep! Boy, I sure am a bastard who'll freeze in the dark!) Reform/Reform II/Reform III -- or, if you prefer, Reform/CA/CPC -- have had seventeen years to convince me that they're capable of putting on their pants without getting both legs in one hole. They still haven't managed that. And I'm goddamn tired of waiting for them.

It takes a lot to make the federal NDP look competent, but Reform III has managed it. I guess they could take pride in that, but if I had spent 17 years in opposition, I'd kind of want more to show for it than officially giving Jack Layton the Less Crazy Hat.

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