Bozo utterances, liberalism, and Conservative sabotage

May 30, 2014

UPDATE: In the following article it looks as if Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s intern may well have misrepresented himself, baited his target, MP John MacKay, and then recorded the response.


The media feeding frenzy over a clandestine recording of MP John MacKay’s comments about Justin Trudeau makes me wonder if Canada has turned into the autocratic Kingdom of Harper more than we realize.

I knew John MacKay at Queen’s. Likeable guy, very bright and principled, but even then his brain had a mind of its own, and he would occasionally branch off into candid comments for which his listeners loved him.

First time I saw Justin Trudeau he was fishing his brother out of Poonamalee Lock and back into the family houseboat. He was about ten at the time. Since then he has appealed to me for much the same reasons I cited above for my esteem for John MacKay.

Both men are liberals. The essence of liberalism is the airing of divergent and often conflicting points of view. The basis of the liberal revolution was the invention of the watch. The opposing spring principle showed that an object could be held in place indefinitely by the balanced, conflicting actions of two or more springs. Modern liberal democracy emerged as a corollary of that principle: a thesis and its antithesis do not destroy one another; rather, the synthesis of the ideas emerges as the workable principle.

Only in the Kingdom of Harper is it forbidden to give loud voice to dissenting opinions late at night when the lights are dim and spirits flow. In the teaching profession we called such comments “venting.” Those who vented these bon mots before their peers in the evening usually got things out of their systems and pulled with the rest of the team the next day.

How else do people get their minds around change?

To my mind the real story is in the clandestine recording made public as news: has politics degenerated to where thinking men and women can no longer express opinions in the process of forming them? If that is the case, then Western society has degenerated into the nightmare state Orwell predicted in 1948.

In conclusion I ask you this: can you name a single case where the publication of a clandestine recording has led to better government?

Update, 2 June, 2014

Yesterday’s story about anti-abortion groups planning to pack nomination meetings of all parties during the 2015 federal election cycle provides another angle from which to view Trudeau’s pro-choice-or-no-nomination stance with candidates.

It looks to me as though JT’s crew, far from having a Bozo moment as MP John MacKay so regrettably suggested, had intelligence enough to put measures in place to head off the anti-abortionists before they tore up future nomination meetings. Future whipped votes on abortion in the House of Commons are a non-issue and everyone knows it, but nomination meetings where a few dozen determined people can really throw their weight around are a potential threat to the rights of everyone.

Hard as it may be for journalists (or readers) to believe, Trudeau is sometimes so far ahead of the pack that he appears stupid. Plato’s expression, not mine.


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