Thursday, June 18, 2009

Excellent . . . Another Committee!

Lots of Nortel Workers, many with decades of service, have been laid off without severance pay and with their pensions lost. This week a number of Nortel executives are getting big bonuses. And while this is going on did the leader of the opposition choose to do something? No, instead he decided to do what politicians do best; strike up a committee.  It is like something out of Monty Python. I am just amazed. Anyone who thought that Mr. Ignatieff’s MO was different from the standard politico can now see the light. Just what the unemployed in Canada need: another committee of Liberal and Conservative MPs who will spend three months of per diems to decide . . . absolutely nothing. Meanwhile more people will become unemployed this summer and more people will lose their homes while Ignatieff enjoys his life of comfortable prosperity.

Here’s an idea: instead of going on the BBQ circuit, Mr. Ignatieff should be compelled to spend the summer months living in social housing on four hundred dollars a month. Maybe then he would understand that what people need are not more committees. What we need is genuine people of action to lead in troubled times.  

I suspect that the scenario will play out something like this: this committee will be entirely unable to come to any kind of agreement and their report will reflect this. This indecision will not derive from any genuine ideological difference but will exist because Ignatieff see EI as a wedge issue and has already instructed his MPs what they are permitted to decide. Ignatieff will then make a big show out of his attempt to find compromise with Harper’s government and will make his argument concerning the need for an election. The Liberal will probably win and when they get into power we will see that their policy stance (where it can get out of a committee) is almost indistinguishable from the Conservatives. They will not reverse most of the horrendous legislation that Conservatives have brought in and we will have seen, once again, a quiet shift to the right in Canada. And Harper will resign with a huge pension and a high paying job in the private sector.

Politics has become something like professional sports; two teams of rich men fighting it out but whose victory or loss means very little to them since they will be wealthy whether they win or lose. Only instead of meeting in an arena they met at a committee tale. Maybe we should make this dubious EI committee meet on the lawn of Parliament and we could set up bleachers and sell peanuts and beer. And after three months of cheering, the spectators can go home just as empty and unfulfilled as when it all started. 

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