Friday, November 07, 2008

Pick up the phone Preston

Reform Party founder Preston Manning, who gave a young whipper-snapper named Stephen Harper his start in politics back in the day, is upset about the polarization of political debate in this country:

"In the political arena, because we're such a tolerant and moderate people, the quickest way to discredit your political opponent is not to argue against their position, but to take it to an extreme and argue against the extreme," Manning said at the conference, Securing Canada's Future in a Climate-Changing World, organized by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

"That is why we have no meaningful debate on health care in this country and why this debate in the political arena gets polarized between either [someone who says] 'you want to destroy the economy,' or 'you want to destroy the environment,' which is nobody's position, but in the political arena that's what it's reduced to."

You mean like taking an environmental plan hailed by both economists and environmentalists alike and, instead of debating it on its merits, calling it an idiotic and stupid permanent tax on everything? Something like that, Preston?

Speeches before the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy are great. But maybe you should give this speech to an audience of one. Say, in the PMO.

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kenlister1 said...

bang on jeff.

The Rat said...

Yeah, Jeff, like that's the first instance of that.

We've been having eminently reasonable debates on climate change with no one using labels like "denier", with ugly holocaust overtones. And the abortion debate where we discuss restrictions on late term abortions to bring us into line with our European cousins, the ones so oft mentioned in left arguments, hasn't degenerated into slurs. And, as Manning mentioned, we are so having that important debate on the future of socialized healthcare in an environment of escalating costs sans hysterical accusations of the rich queue jumping and "American-style" health systems.

Yes, Jeff, you're right, the abysmal rhetoric of the CPC during an election where they refused to debate the poorly articulated and badly outlined plan of the second party is a one-off and without precedent. You are yours are blameless for the tone of political discussion in Canada and I can only offer you my humblest apologies.

burlivespipe said...

Funny, I thought I smelled something cheezy around here. Time to get the arsenic, Jeff.
Unfortunately, Presto doesn't have Harper's ear. But I hear he's getting a shipment of barely worn blue sweaters this Christmas, tho.

Mike514 said...

Harper has learned well from Chr├ętien. When Day was running for PM, there were discussions about the future of the health care system. Should we study other models? Sweden, England, Australia? Are they responsibly balancing private with public health care? Can we implement such a system here?

None of that mattered. The Liberals immediately stigmatized the discussion by invoking US-style two-tier health care. And no further meaningful discussions have taken place since.

And aren't you giving Harper too much credit, Jeff? (Just as I'm giving Chr├ętien a bit too much credit above?) The green shift was hailed by economists, environmentalists, politicians, journalists, and the list goes on. Some Liberals make it sound like God Himself endorsed it. And yet, Harper opens his mouth, utters three simple words: "tax on everything," and the whole idea comes crashing down. Wow. I never realised that Harper was such a powerful and influential guy.