Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Still feigned indignation

At the very least, the media finally seems to have picked up on the reality that all Canadian national parties include some former Bloc members and/or sovereigntists in their ranks. But that leads to the next obvious problem: that it's scolding the NDP for a position it doesn't hold rather than picking up on a rather important difference in the parties' messages.

No, the NDP is neither saying "everyone was doing it" as a defence to any misdeeds of its own, nor implying that other parties' acceptance of former Bloc members is wrong while its own is just fine. And the Globe itself knows better:
“What is at issue is the hypocrisy that the Conservatives displayed when they were commenting on Madame Turmel’s former membership in the Bloc,” said Mr. Lavigne. “They did this at the same time they themselves have members of their cabinet who are former members of the Bloc Québécois.”
And again, if spun to fit the Globe's narrative rather than the real one:
Mr. Lebel has a defender in an unexpected corner: outspoken Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin: “He is one of the most affable and friendly Conservative Ministers in cabinet,” Mr. Martin told the Globe. “He’s my office neighbour and frequent gym buddy. Quite the athlete, actually.” Mr. Martin argues that you cannot “grow your party” by ignoring others and “shunning anyone who once belonged to a different party.”

“Denis Lebel reminds us that many people have been associated with the Bloc for many different reasons quite separate and distinct from the sovereignty issue,” he says. “I hope more former Bloc members come and join the NDP.
So the NDP's position is in fact consistent: national parties can, do and should accept former Bloc members and/or sovereigntists (which aren't necessarily synonymous). And the other parties' criticisms of the NDP for doing just that are entirely hollow given that they've adopted the exact same principle in putting together their past and present cabinets.

Of course, there are indeed two parties trying to say "sovereigntists for we, but not for thee". And those are the Cons and Libs - in part based on a typical IOKIYAC/IOKIYAL sense of self-entitlement, in part thanks to a delightfully brazen "but we question the NDP's dedication to federalism, therefore we get to invent different standards for them" argument.

If there's any good news, it's that it only took a week to get the media to notice the first bit of absurdity in the other parties' attacks on the NDP. And if the NDP's message machine can get the next part of its position to sink in on a similar time frame, then it should be able to put the issue to rest long before Parliament reconvenes.

[Edit: fixed wording.]


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