What's Missing in Federal Politics?
One word: Passion! During the recent federal leadership "debate" the only real story to come out of it was that Paul Martin at one point told the Bloc Leader "I won't stand by and watch you destroy this country... I am also Quebecois!" I'm paraphrasing - but that was the jest of it. Just the tinniest bit of passion in an otherwise trite high school style assembly. Call me crazy but shouldn't a debate actually have debate. Whatever. I guess that close to Christmas no one wanted to strain a hangover with shouting.
What is the power of passion? Think of John Crosbie, George Baker, John Efford (provincial John Efford that is)... hell think of Chretian. Most people didn't know what Chretian was saying most of the time, and when they did it turned out to be half-truths - but you couldn't pry the guy from office with the Canada Arm. Chretian spoke passionately about Canada. When Chretian was in Newfoundland and Labrador he was quick to say how much he loved the place. He once quipped that the reason he loved Newfoundland and Labrador so much was that we were the only ones who could understand him.
Contrast that with the leaders of late. Paul Martin takes a quick run to the province when the election is called (may as well get The Rock over with early). He promises nothing, he says nothing and then he leaves. Does a standard Santa Claus tour waving his hand to the crowd - then high-tails it out of here. "Hello, kiss-my-ass Good-bye." Waving like Santa in a parade but waiting until he gets to Ontario before he throws out the candy.
I have to say that Jack Layton has the upper hand on this one. Of course it is convenient when you can promise the moon but no one ever expects you to deliver. I think it would be really funny if the NDP did gain power. Layton would spend the next few moonlit nights on his back patio with a lasso.
Honorable mention must go to Gilles Duceppe. I'm not kidding; contrast the English Gilles with the French Gilles. Two different characters. English Gilles is like someone
off caffeine for a week. Twitchy and apologetic: "yes I want to break up the country but that doesn't mean I don't like you." French Gilles is like a rock star. Black sweater, laid back audience laughing at his jokes. I'm not sure what he was saying - something to do with Jerry Lewis and men dressed as women dating girls half their age. Gee, Lankhof, Dolphin and Wente were right; racial stereotyping is fun! And easy!
... And then Harper shows up. Harper has about as much passion as a two-dollar whore at an accountant's convention. I catch a glimpse of him on the news walking down the front steps of the Confederation Building after speaking with Danny Williams. A reporter is trying to grab a sound bite and the guy is practically running from her. Dude - there's an election campaign on the go - if someone shoves a camera in your general direction you jump on it like a two-dollar whore... no wait I already used that one... you know what I'm mean. Running down the steps like he thinks the big CBC microphone must be one of those hakapiks he's heard so much about. Harper, if we wanted to see your ass we'd look for Fabian Manning's boots.
Passion gents! "Oh yea, yesss, yesssss!" Just like that, but without the awkward silence while you look for your wallet... No wait maybe it is exactly the same?!