Skip to comments.Paul Martin: A Minister Past His Prime (Canada's Liberals In Disarray Alert)
Posted on 04/29/2005 11:23:58 PM PDT by goldstategop
When the promising Paul Martin took over the reins of the Liberal Party 17 months ago, making him prime minister of Canada, the uppermost question was: Would he win the forthcoming election by the greatest margin in Canadian history, or merely by one of the greatest margins?
When the election arrived last June, he almost lost it, gaining 135 seats in the 308-seat house, only enough to form a minority government. The rival Tories took 99 seats, Quebec's secessionist Bloc Quebecois 54, and the socialist New Democratic Party 19. There was one independent.
Last week, a distraught Martin exhausted, frazzled and visibly aging was reduced to desperation. Faced with an expected no-confidence resolution from the Conservatives and BQ, he purchased the support of the NDP by agreeing to convert his already left-of-center budget into a baldly socialist document. The concession it had previously made to his party's right wing, a cut in corporate taxes, was out. New spending on public housing, the environment and state day care was in.
Even with the NDP's support, however, Martin's survival was rendered uncertain by post-election developments. A Toronto MP was ousted from the Liberal caucus a few days after the election for making crude remarks about President Bush. Martin thereby served notice on his party's strong anti-American faction that they must keep their opinions to themselves. She became the second independent. Then another Liberal MP died, reducing the house to 307 seats. Finally, the maverick Liberal and avowedly Christian David Kilgour of Alberta quit the party caucus and became a third independent. This created the following precarious situation:
Together the Liberals and the NDP hold 151 seats, the Bloc and Conservatives 153. Two of the independents, one of them the anti-Bush lady, are committed to support the government, providing it with 153 seats. However, one of these belongs to the speaker, who can vote only in the event of a tie. This reduces the government's voting strength to 152, two seats short of the essential 154. If Kilgour voted for the government, this would create a tie, 153-153. The speaker could then cast the deciding vote and save the Martin administration.
But Kilgour will not do this. He knows his vote would do more than bring down the government. It would leave dead on the parliamentary order paper the bill legalizing same-sex marriage, something Kilgour militantly opposes. So a similar bill would have to be reintroduced before the next Parliament.
That, too, is unlikely. Popular resistance to the measure has been far stronger than foreseen. It brought together Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus at one mass rally at Ottawa where police figures placed the crowd at 15,000 minimum, making it the biggest demonstration on Parliament Hill in living memory. The national press, almost wholly pro-gay, determinedly ignored the event. But it did not escape the attention of the MPs. "Martin promised to unite the country, and he's done it," remarked one wag. "He's created one huge, united resolve to throw him out."
Martin allowed a "free vote" on the bill, but required that his 38-member Cabinet vote for it. Only "a few" Liberal back-benchers would not, said an aide. In a preliminary procedural vote, 34 Liberal MPs voted against it. In other words, the "few" turned out to be over a quarter of the Liberal caucus, and these said that their number is growing.
Martin had hoped to come before the electorate with the gay-marriage bill passed and the issue settled. But if his government is defeated first, the gay-marriage issue will still be very alive, and Martin will have to campaign as the man who plans to "do away with marriage," as the bill's critics put it.
Worse still, he will have to defend the Liberal record in the "sponsorship" scandal (described here two weeks ago), the issue that led to Kilgour's resignation. The continuing disclosures of kickbacks to Liberal cronies in Quebec and to the party treasury have given the Conservatives a sizeable lead in the polls, even in the Liberal heartland of Ontario, while foreshadowing a Bloc sweep of Quebec, resulting in new life for the secessionist movement.
Thus the Martin regime, from which such magnificence had been anticipated, seems to be turning into an equally grandiose catastrophe. Martin himself, meanwhile, prepares to face the electorate as the destroyer of marriage, the reviver of Quebec separatism, the tool of the socialists and the leader of a gang of Montreal thieves. It just wasn't supposed to turn out this way.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
I just can't get a grasp on the scene up there. They seem to have found their voice by hating the US. I don't mean that "We love Americans, just not Bush" BS; I think they HATE America, period.
In the end, history will show that Paul Martin singlehandedly backbenched Liberals for the next 20 years.
Tell me about it...I don't get it either. What in God's name did we do to Canada to earn the ire? We opened our trade, enriching the country, we're pretty clearly on the side of English-speaking Canada when it comes to cultural issues, and we've made it abundantly clear that we're prepared to throw ourselves in front of a proverbial *train* to protect their security. Aa far as I know, we've asked for nothing in return. Good grief!
I am seem to recall that Brian Mulroney's party was reduced from a majority to only 4 seats in the span of a single election.
Penis envy, plain and simple. We're well hung, and they're just a bunch of little pricks.
Good summation. There's nothing to add. I wish some Canadian would get the chip off his shoulder and calmly explain where this comes from. I mean, is it as simple as that they resent us becuase they depend on us for so much of their economy?
And that is why they hate us.
That may have had something to do with giving Canada a national sales tax, the much reviled GST. Although the Libs never got rid of it in 13 years. Canadians love to be taxed, so they can bitch about it.
You answered your own question below:
We opened our trade, enriching the country, we're pretty clearly on the side of English-speaking Canada when it comes to cultural issues, and we've made it abundantly clear that we're prepared to throw ourselves in front of a proverbial *train* to protect their security. Aa far as I know, we've asked for nothing in return.
That's why they hate us.
I worked with a bunch of Canadians for years when I was in the steel business, and on subsequent consultin roles. Subsequently, over the last decade, their mindset has turned into something that I do not understand. Ergo, I wrote off Canada about six years ago. IMOHO
Tell me about it...I don't get it either. What in God's name did we do to Canada to earn the ire? We opened our trade, enriching the country, we're pretty clearly on the side of English-speaking Canada when it comes to cultural issues, and we've made it abundantly clear that we're prepared to throw ourselves in front of a proverbial *train* to protect their security. As far as I know, we've asked for nothing in return. Good grief! >>
The only one of the Seven Deadly Sins that has no "reward" -- and whose inevitable products are hatred and rage.
Collectivized envy as a defining attribute.
(shrug) Then you should unsign NAFTA. I've never been 100% sold on it. I think the jury is largely out here on its benefits and if it was scrapped I don't forsee much of an outcry.
Don't forget that he's againts missile defense!
Maybe you can explain to the rest why the Canadian government maintains a subsidy on stumpage which results in lower product going to your sawmills?
And dont come around me with this..what subsidy BS either! I know several Canadian loggers who pay an average of about 2 dollars a cord for their standing timber from the Canadian Gubermnt. Across the boarder in the US we now pay an average of 30 a cord, and its going up. You see BUB..your timber companys have an advantage when they can obtain the raw materials (logs etc) at a low price. Then sell the finished product across the boarder using that subsidy. Hell I know one logger who has been on an island east of here that hasnt paid a friggan dime for the stumapage he obtained from your Canadian Gubermnt. They figure since he had to build a bridge to get to it he is entitled to it for free. Been working that Island for years now. AND talk about the fine forestry practices! If we did what they do there, in the USA, they'd shoot us!
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