It’s getting ugly

  • March 1, 2007
There was an interesting contrast in the news last month between the attitudes of today’s youth toward politics and the way it is practised at the highest levels in this country. Among Canada’s young, there was inspiring idealism and belief in the nobility of political life. Among our politicians, not so much.
It was reported in the Globe and Mail that hundreds of “ambitious young Canadians” had competed as part of The Next Great Prime Minister contest. This CBC-hosted event features a special presentation with Rick Mercer on March 18, in which the four final contestants will be grilled by former Canadian prime ministers. Granted, a significant prize ($50,000 and a six-month internship with a major organization) comes with winning, but it is still laudatory that so many young Canadians see public life as a valuable and worthwhile career.

It is also surprising, considering what the pros are making of it. At the same time as the young people were participating in their contest, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was accusing Liberals, with no evidence worth the name, of refusing to back his security measures to battle terrorism because they wanted to protect a relative of one MP. It was also shortly after the Conservatives had bought a series of vicious commercials lampooning Liberal Leader Stephane Dion. The Conservatives refuse to apologize in either case.

Not to be outdone for debasing the reputation of politicians, the opposition in the House of Commons joined efforts to pass a private members’ bill to force the government to live up to the Kyoto Treaty obligations, even though not one of the opposition parties offers a plan that will realistically meet those obligations. They all know the obligations cannot be met unless there are very real measures to reduce Canadian consumption of fossil fuels, though none but the Conservatives are willing to admit it. It was an exercise in embarrassment, pure and simple.

The cynicism and pure opportunism of Canada’s political class at the moment, as demonstrated by its federal party leaders, is enough to make those young people want to turn to a nice quiet career in real estate.

Attaboy, Telus

Last week we chastised the west coast communications giant Telus for its plan to sell pornography over its cell phones. In this we joined a chorus of protest against the plan, led by Vancouver Archbishop Raymond Roussin.

Before our paper could hit the streets, but after we put the paper to bed for the week, Telus surprisingly changed its mind, citing the public outcry.

Not the best of reasons, perhaps, but at least the top brass at Telus listened to the public. If only more corporations would do the same. Hurray for the voice of the people, and attaboy Telus.

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