"I Believe The World Needs More Canada"
Just in case you were wondering, here is Aljazeera's take on the coronation of Paul Martin as Liberal leader. There's nothing particularly controversial in the article, but I guess it's just interesting to see that every now and again Canada's politics warrant mention in the international media. As a Canadian, though, it's comforting to know that our new Liberal-Leader-soon-to-be-Prime-Minister has Bono's endorsement.
It's interesting reading the various arguments about Jean Chretien's political legacy, like this one by John Ibbitson. The thing is, until I heard Chretien speak last night, for the life of me I couldn't think of a single defining characteristic of Chretien's reign that was significant. Sure, he got rid of the deficit and he (barely) beat back the Separatists, but both of those things were just as attributable to Martin. Sure, he made the PMO the centre of the government, consolidating the real power with the Prime Minister's office and essentially rendering Parliament a rubber stamp. I'm still I'm still trying to figure out if that's a good or a bad thing (bad in the sense of being profoundly anti-democratic, good in the sense of ensuring stuff gets done). But a legacy? Well, JC reminded us just how much things have changed since he became PM, and how much even as he leave now Canada seems to be fairly impervious to a lot of the economic problems that have lately fallen on the United States, Japan, and most of Europe (mostly the result of the deficit-free budgets of the past several years). Certainly people are more optimistic: even students, not too long ago sure their world was turning as sour as bad wine, are more optimistic. So perhaps that's Chretien's achievement: he got us out of the Mulroney funk, or rather he led us as we got over it.
This blog has to express its own surprise that politics has been coming up so much lately here, mainly because there are a lot of changes happening in Canada, and there's an overarching sense that we've entered a new period (in Ontario especially where most of us have recently seen major political changes at the federal, provincial and municipal governments in the past two months). There's just a lot going on, and a very real sense that there's change in the air. Now we have a provincial premier that at least doesn't act like a rube or look like a mafioso, and soon we'll have a Prime Minister that doesn't commit the same sort of verbal atrocities that Dubya commits.
Let there be hope.
Addendum: This blog should also add that Bono's speech was surprisingly effective, and a nice change from the stumping and thumping typical of political party conventions. Sure, his delivery was often slow and stilted, and but it was also an effective mixture of poignancy and humour, of emotional sincerity and Irish charm. The speech itself was also surprisingly on-point, especially as he made the connection between Canada's capacity for international leadership and the Third World debt crises. He also made a good point, that perhaps Canada is in a unique position to provide leadership, in large part because Canada has not been tagged internationally with the same stigmas with which other Western countries have been tagged, especially the stigma of indifferent self-interest that so engenders suspicion-- and sometimes hatred-- throughout the world. All in all, it was a pretty good speech, especially considering Bono is by no means an orator-- or perhaps because he isn't. It was a nice break from the onanistic professions of self-love from the politicos. It's usually a bad sign when musicians start talking about social policy, but this blog will allow Bono an exemption from that rule. Just don't tell the divas. *Shudders at the thought of P. Diddy or Britney Spears trying to discuss the need for an international war crimes court.*