Sunday, September 17, 2006

Denying responsibility

Chuck Strahl appears to want to sound philosophical or wise in the CP's preview of the fall session in the House of Commons. But in trying, he nicely hints at the Cons' unwillingness to accept their own power in government:
"The things you can't control, you can't control. It's a fact of life," Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl said following a Conservative caucus meeting Friday.

"Can you control drought on the Prairies? Can you control what happens in Afghanistan, or when Israel and Lebanon tie into one another? You don't control any of those things, and I don't know who could suggest that you should or you can."
Of course, in each case it's clear that nobody holds total control - but it's equally clear that Strahl simply wrong in trying to downplay expectations of his government doing anything on issues where there's plainly some significant ability for the government to influence events.

After all, the Cons not only have the ability to assist farmers affected by a drought, but are going out of their way to avoid the fight against global warming - a decision which is likely to increase the incidence of drought in the future. The Cons have similarly gone out of their way to present continued aimless war in Afghanistan (and the resulting casualties on all sides) as an inevitability rather than a choice. And the Cons helped to egg on the Israel/Lebanon conflict by taking sides immediately and rejecting any attempt to end the violence, rather than stepping up by seeking peace from all sides.

In each case, there are undoubtedly limitations on what the Cons or any other government can do. But that doesn't excuse what looks like an attempt to disclaim all responsibility or ability to act on these issues either. And if the Cons really think their place in government gives them no ability to influence events whatsoever, then it's long past time to give power to somebody who's actually willing to use it to good ends, rather than to deny that it exists.

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