In the commentary on proroguing by Rex Murphy, the government apologist who's forced to do a lot of apologizing these days, the undertone was one coloured with amnesia. He wants to know what the fuss is about, suggesting that the only reason proroguing is an issue is because haters are using it as a vessel to direct their anger.
Well, sorry Rex, but you're wrong...again.
If it was just about government taking time off to 'recalibrate' (there was a time when I thought I knew what that word meant) then whatever, I could use some extra time to recalibrate myself (with or without lube).
But no. Many of us are so angry, we may forget where this all started, so let me remind you: Richard Colvin. His testimony regarding mistreatment of afghan detainees, and the subsequent parade of diplomats, current and former, who came to his defence after the appalling mistreatment by the Harper government, leaves the distinct impression the government has something to hide.
According to Rex “There’s not an adult in the country who doesn’t know why he [Harper} shut the shop down --- for partisan convenience.” It's a clever line – it implicitly acknowledges that mere convenience is not a good reason to shut down parliament, while also suggesting that the outrage is disproportionate - as if shutting down a committee doing investigative work is roughly as important as something something something on a bull (I forget how the line goes). He finds it amusing that there are suddenly so many defenders of the dignity of parliament, where there were none before. So let me edify Rex on how we feel regarding aforementioned dignity: There is none. Okay?
We're not pissed off at the spectacle and Cirque du Blase that is question period, which is what many think is the sum total of what goes on in Ottawa. When you shut down Parliament, you shut down all of it, committee work, investigative work, and input on minor things like disasters in Haiti.
No, Mr. Murphy, we're not mad at politicians taking extra time to work on their tans, because, believe me, the conservatives caucus could definitely use a bit of colour. We're pissed off because killing off a committee that Canadians felt was important is just one more act of dissing the detectives: Police complaints Commissioner, defanged; Military complaints commission, declawed; Nuclear Safety commissioner, fired.
And while we're on the subject, I just love the lame excuse that “Chretien prorogued parliament.” Which leads me to the question, what does that have to do with the price of tea in the Byward Market? The liberals paid the price for his arrogance, and they have a new leader. I'm happy to judge politicians on their own merits and not on their predecessors'. That's an advanced concept for Harper's communication staff, I know, but they'll learn.
Here's my favourite Scandinavian poet, Piet Hein and his poem called “Hygiene: a short piece with no reference whatever to the two-party system."
To wear a shirt that's relatively clean,
you needn't ever launder off the dirt--
If you possess two shirts to choose between,
and always change into the cleaner shirt.
I'm not saying the red shirt isn't dirtyt. At this point, it's just cleaner.
Lalo Espejo is a writer, monologist and political satirist whose work has appeared on CBC radio, campuses across Canada. He has also taught writing and presentation skills at career colleges in Vancouver. firstname.lastname@example.org