Tuesday, July 30, 2013

On coopting

Paul Wells offers a note of warning for the Libs in recruiting Chrystia Freeland as a candidate. But I see a greater problem for Freeland herself in pursuing the role.

It's not hard to see how Freeland might seem appealing as a means of papering over the Libs' disconnection from the general public:
Chrystia Freeland, winner of the 2013 National Business Book Award for her book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else (Doubleday Canada), has confirmed her foray into federal politics.

The race to replace MP Bob Rae in the Toronto Centre riding is gaining momentum as the Thomson Reuters editor and managing director has confirmed she will be seeking the Liberal party nomination. 
But it wasn't long ago that an opposition party similarly looked to press its advantage in a perceived area of weakness for the incumbent government - with little regard for whether it intended to follow through on its assurances. And that didn't exactly work out well for the star candidate involved...
Years after a nondescript public servant wouldn’t play ball with institutional sleaze (and became a national hero in the process), Allan Cutler still has Canada on his mind. He is as troubled now as ever he was when Jean Chretien had his name embossed on golf balls to keep Quebec in Canada.

“I had hoped after Gomery that things would change. If anything, it has gotten worse. We have an epidemic of corruption at the federal level. Whistleblowers are even more unwelcome now than they were then.”
...nor for the writer whose criticism was seen to define the problem:
Savoie's passionate condemnation of centralization didn't slow it down. In an odd way, it may even have contributed to it.

"An adviser to a prime minister asked me if I'd sign a copy of Governing from the Centre," Savoie says. "I leafed through it and I noticed that he had read it, he had underlined a few things. And I said, 'Now you're going to do things differently?' He said, 'No, no, no. We use it as a manual.' "
Now, I have no doubt that there are plenty of Libs hastily grabbing copies of Plutocrats for their summer reading. But given that the actual direction of the party under Justin Trudeau has involved backing the Cons and corporate interests at every turn, there's little reason to think Freeland's call to serve "everyone else" is being treated as anything other than a cookbook - nor that the Libs see an expose about the global elite as much besides a manual to gain entrance to the club.

We'll see whether Freeland herself manages to gain any traction on the Canadian political scene. But all indications now are that she's mostly being used to brand continued plutocratic rule with a large red "L" - and the rest of us shouldn't see that as an improvement.

1 comment:

  1. Greg,

    I am glad to see precedent whispered to you...

    Some three months ago, she reminded me...

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    http://bydantan.blogspot.ca/2013/04/precedent-whispers-they-can-be-touched.html

    ...in the intervening time, the Liberal "Gepetto's" behind Justin Trudeau's "Pinocchio" will market the pampered scion as a social-democrat. NDP veterans will recognize this as that fine Liberal tradition of "flashing NDP, governing Red Tory". They will shamelessly recall the daring legacy of the father, despite the cruel rejection of Pierre's policies from both the party & his own son. More importantly, they will offer endless vagaries & soothing statements-of-intent, hoping shiny hair & teeth distract from decades of broken promises & political betrayals.
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