Tuesday, April 26

Number 19 - The Orchid Man

John J.C. (The Orchid Man) Abbott, June 1891 – November 1892

Our third Prime Minister was just as inept as Mackenzie Bowell, but so much more dull - this man’s claim to fame was his great collection of orchids. He reluctantly took the helm of the divided Conservative cabinet, one of the “cursed four” who followed MacDonald.

Abbott had a long history of supporting Canada, as he was against Confederation and thought America’s policy of annexing Canada was a great idea. Abbott was not just known for his great patriotism, he was also known for his brilliant work morale – “I hate politics” was one of his favorite sayings. He also hated “notoriety, public meetings, public speeches, caucuses and everything of which is apparently the necessary incident of politics.”

Abbot governed from the senate and by many accounts it was John Thompson who was actually holding the reins, I suppose growing Orchids takes a lot of work.

A year and a half as PM, and the only info I could find on the guy was that he liked Orchids…he’s definitely number 19.

Monday, April 25

Number 20 - The Bitter Santa Claus

The Rt Hon Sir Mackenzie Bowell, 21 December 1894 - 27 April 1896

This will probably be the easiest choice, let me tell you why...

Here are some descriptors used to describe our distinguished fifth Prime Minister:

  • tiny, stupid man
  • a bitter Santa Claus
  • he "hated Catholics and Grits"
  • a paranoid little Englishman with much to be paranoid about
  • an irascible old gentleman who, despite his long political experience, works himself into a white heat on very slight provocation
  • an honest man, but a weak man

Here's a description of his cabinet while he was in power:

"a ministry without unity or cohesion of any kind, a prey to internal dissensions until they became a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men."

Not only that, but he also pissed everyone off (the public and his cabinet) with his handling of the Manitoba School Question. When his entire cabinet mutinied - he called them "a nest of traitors".

What a truly spectacularly, awe-inspiring, terrible Prime Ministership.

The polls have changed, therefore, reality has changed.

Grrr.

Sunday, April 24

Greatest Canadian Prime Minister

One of my favorite hobbies, like any politico geek worth their salt, is to rank the Canadian Prime Ministers.

So for my first "special feature" on Trudeau's Children I will rank the PMs past, from worst to best, listing a new one everyday and then defending my decision. I'll release them one at a time in a barefaced attempt to improve my readership from 2 people a day, to at least 2.5 people per day.

Of course I'm not going to start right now, I'll start tomorrow, with the worst Prime Minister that has ever had the privilege to lead this great country.

Oh, and sorry, but it can't be Paul. He's still in office (as of this week) so I can't really offer a full judgment on his leadership.

Thursday, April 21

A fake picture is worth 1000 words...

Wednesday, April 20

Address to the Nation

Oh my.

This address to the nation is really reframing the sponsorship scandal. I can't remember the last time a PM addressed the nation when it was not directly related to an election. Canada's decision to stay out of Iraq, the 25 Canadians killed in 9/11, the four soldiers killed in friendly fire even the four slain RCMP - as far as I'm aware, none of these required communicating with the Canada. Paul Martin and the Liberal Party are in trouble and an address is needed? I'm a Liberal through and through, but this reeks of ego. This is symptomatic of what's wrong with the party right now - we put the party ahead of Canada. By saying that the distress of the political party is more important than say an attack on national symbols (like the RCMP), we're revealing a systemic problem. When people use the country to help the party it's not healthy. Liberals need to start using the party to help the country.

Trudeau had a vision of a just society, unfortunately, Paul Martin has a grand, bold vision of a just Paul Martin, who's "mad as hell".

Monday, April 18

Kinsella Testimony

Bah - I have to agree with Adam Radwanski, this Kinsella slagging is pretty silly. What I don't understand is why the heck Martin is liked so much more than Chrétien (or at least defended so much more). I'm sure there's an obvious reason, but it's not readily apparent to me.

Chrétien’s name is being dragged through the mud with Gomery and all, but this Earnscliffe stuff isn't exactly keeping Martin in pristine condition.

Also, why don't they leave Kinsella alone? For all his flaws (sometimes he skips a day in posting on his blog) at least has a good sense of humor, which is more then you can say for most Politico types.


Sunday, April 17

TC hypocracy?

I just noticed that I posted that we should focus more on policy issues, less on polls, in my tribute to Don Newman. Then a few posts later whip Wells for doing so. Hypocrisy me thinks? Quite possibly.

Wells: okay, maybe not dry...

Paul Wells responded to my post about him in the comments section.

I'd like to clarify if I may. As a young politico (well maybe not politico, maybe more like Canadian Politics dork) I tend to hang out with other young people who are interested in Canadian politics. Mr. Wells is a big favorite of my young (and somewhat dorky) friends and myself. They respect his opinion, but I'll be honest, none of them seem to take the time to read Mr. Wells' posts when he is weighing in on his, well, more obscure topics. In a perfect world they would read about EU restructuring and it would have broadened their knowledge and enriched their lives. Instead they (including myself) look at the headline, skim the first line, and then move on. Maybe it's because we're not uber intellectuals, maybe it's because we have MTV attention spans or maybe we're just too busy/lazy to keep up with anything that's not a little more sexy like Gomery.

Sure all the other pundits talk about it, but most of them are too polemic and sensationalistic; they lack the wit, insight and depth of Paul Wells. I want Mr. Wells to cover this event more, because he's not going to start prophesying the rapture like Jim Travers et al. Everyone else covers Gomery ad nauseam, but not everyone else covers it as well as Wells does. (That's got a bit of ring to it)

In the mean time, I'll make an effort to read everything, because there is a good chance that it's the laziness/short attention span/IQ shortfall that are to blame for my lack of enthusiasm and not my grandiose call for moderation.

Saturday, April 16

Those commie pinko freedom haters...(The National Post?!?)

Neo Cons sure are predictable. You constantly hear nattering from the right about the liberal bias in the media (ironically, mostly from FOX News).

It's funny because it appears that they're attempting the same strategy up here, with their complaints about the commie National Post (yeah, that's right, the Post).

Hopefully this tactic won't have the same success that it did in the States. It most likely won't, because the political culture in Canada is quite different from the one in the States. Yet I'm not entirely sure how or why it had so much traction in the States, let's just hope the hypno-toad tactics of the Neo Cons continue to be futile in Canada.

I suppose we should be all right as long as we don't have a huge threat to our security like the Americans. I just hope that this sponsorship scandal doesn't have a similar destabilizing effect on the Canadian public. Once again it probably won't but it won't be from a lack of effort (or talking points) on the Neo Cons part.

Wells Run Dry

Inkless Wells has an excellent post on the Sponsorship Program. I really think he should weigh in a bit more on this sponsorship stuff. He goes off on tangents about EU constitutions when one of the most important political developments of the decade is unfolding. His wit and insight would definitely increase the quality of the blogging debate.

Warren Kinsella has also been quite mum about the whole affair, but it's understandable considering his close personal proximity to the whole affair.

I think Wells owes it to the this Canadian politics blogging community to put aside his poli sci comparative politics and jazz hobby in order to chime in with some more wit and sarcasm, much like he did today.

Friday, April 15

The Emperor Has No Clothes

And then there was scrum:


Establishing the Gomery commission has cost me and my party political support, but it was and remains the right thing to do, because it is needed to defend and protect the integrity of our political process. And let me tell you that that matters a great deal more than the ambitions of any political leader - Stephen Harper, Gilles Duceppe, Jack Layton, or myself. - Paul Martin


"Ha ha ha ha ha" -Me

More like:


"Establishing the Gomery commission has cost me [it was supposed to have been Chrétien] and my party [aka the PAUL MARTIN liberal PARTY] political support, but it was and remains the right thing to do, because it is needed to defend and protect the integrity of our political process. And let me tell you that matters a great deal more than the ambitions of any political leader [except for me]- Stephen Harper, Gilles Duceppe, Jack Layton, or myself." -Paul Martin [not really Paul Martin]

In case you didn't catch that, I'm getting really annoyed at Mr. M. for his sanctimonious claims of being a martyr for democracy, when he only ordered this silly excuse for justice called an inquiry because nobody told him that once you have the top job you can stop attacking the guy stabbed in the back to get the job. It never stops, the hypocrisy with this guy, it just never stops.

Trudeau is shaking his head (or rolling in his grave I guess) wondering - just how did this porky pig, waffle baby, get a hold of the Liberal party?

P.S. - I'm not the only one who feels this way - leadership speculation is really heating up at the grass roots level. Mr. M.'s days appear to be numbered.

Wednesday, April 13

St. Kilgour - Yeck!

Check out this picture of David Kilgour in the Ottawa Citizen.


Could they have photographed him in a more saintly manner? Not likely, with the beam of light shinning down from heaven on to him, while he piously looks up into the heavens and the Peace Tower symbolizes over his left shoulder. Wow, talk about photographic editorializing - this is so over the top.

Would a saint defect for purely and unabashed political opportunism once, let alone twice? I've heard, amongst Conservative circles that Kilgour has tried to defect to the cons before, but they wouldn't take him because he's such a nut job. I completely understand why they're taking him now but it will be poetic justice when they actually have to work with him.

Update:

Those lucky ol' Conservatives don't have to work with him because he's not running in the next election.

Monday, April 11

Today on Politics...sage advice

Don Newman won an award this week. In his speech he talked about how politics in Canada has become too focused on short term polling and we're missing the point of what government and politics are all about. We aren't focused on policy issues like we were during the Meech Lake, Charlottetown or patriation days. This is a blip; I'm sure all of us who are interested in politics got into it with some sort of altruistic motivation (well most...). I'm going to try and follow his advice and keep in touch with that part of me that isn't completely cynical (I know I can find it, just shove Jon Stewart and Rick Mercer aside, dust off they ol' genuine it's in there somewhere...).

Mr. Brault

There's an article in the Globe and Mail about Mr. Brault's choices of restaurants, and subsequently what he ordered at said restaurants.

This is a relatively interesting article because it reveals a lot about Mr. Brault's character and I would infer his large ego. The Globe story says "half the point of going to Buona Notte is being spotted through the enormous windows on St. Laurent Boulevard". This is a man that likes attention, and likes to be spotted and is about to have his life ruined by a criminal trial. Would it be realistic to infer that his large ego would be stoked by being an infamous celebrity? Would a man who is allegedly willing to launder vast sums of money have to moral fortitude to - you know - tell the absolute truth about what happened even if it meant less headlines, less attention.

He has not been convicted, but by his own admission he laundered money. He might be telling the truth, but his own actions have indicated that he likes to be seen in windows - can we really trust what he's doing now that he's in a large window being watched by the entire country?

This all may seem like common sense, but some even applauded this man when he left the courtroom. All of this hub bub is based on this source and it seems like many have lost sight of who this source is...

Sunday, April 10

Gomery

I wonder what the repercussions of the Gomery inquiry will be...

The conservatives that I know are gleefully salivating. The Liberals that I know (myself included) are glum, introspective and nervous as hell (certainly not mad as hell). Consequently the cons are making grandiose predictions like "you'll be reduced to two seats!"; and the Libs are morosely pouring over past election totals, riding by riding, making proclamations like (well we can't lose this one, so we'll keep at least 40 seats - well hopefully).

I guess the only conclusions that I can firmly make are that nobody really knows what's going to happen, net yet anyway. What has me the most worried is my gut - my instinct is that this is not going to end well. The only consolation is the fact that I'm young and the party can rebuild so that it will be back to it's ol' self again by the time I'm in my prime.

It's times like this that one really needs to look inward and remind oneself why in fact they became Liberals. For me it doesn't take much digging to remember...Trudeau. Even after his death he's still able to lead us, what a guy.

Founding Statement

This blog is intended to be a testimony of one of Trudeau's children. Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Not one of his biological or legal children - one of his spiritual children. Meaning I was born after the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As such, the Globe and Mail referred to my generation as "Trudeau's Children" in a special report on my age group.

This blog is intended to be a dialogue (or monologue I guess) of Canadian politics through the lens of one of Trudeau's children. That means that I value a just society, federalism and Liberal values and I use these tools as a lens to view Canadian politics.