Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Calgary Sun Columnist - Rick Bell: Franken-Stronach

Warning: This blog entry is about Canadian politics, something about which few people give a damn about, especially Canadians.

Belinda Stronach, the pretty young rich girl of Parliament, switched from the Conservative Party to the Liberal Party this week, and while to an American, such an idea (a conservative becoming liberal - WTF???) is inconceivable, in Canada, the differences between the two parties' ideologies are negligible. The Liberals are a little more open-minded, the Conservatives are a little less corrupt. In the past day or two, there has been much hype and sour grapes being tossed at Belinda Stronach's feet for her decision (which will likely keep the minority Liberal government in power for an extra several months), but it seems pretty clear to me what's going on:

She wants to be Prime Minister, and it wasn't gonna happen with the Conservatives.

You see,

a) the Conservatives are as likely to select a female for their next Party leader as I am likely to run the Boston Marathon next year, and
b) the Conservatives are years away from developing and nurturing support in Ontario and the Maritime provinces, so they're not going to win an election anyway.

The Liberals, on the other hand, have a leader who hasn't exactly distinguished himself over the last year or so, and even if Paul Martin manages to lead them to an election victory in the fall, he's on shaky ground (much like John Major in England). The scandal currently rocking the government involves kickbacks to the Liberal Party, and there's a good chance that many high-ranking members are going to be tainted. But lookee here, we've got Belinda, who was never involved with the scandal because she wasn't around at the time; she's pretty, bright, personable, and energetic. For WOT readers, the parallel here is Egwene's ascension to Amyrlin Seat - they chose her because she hadn't been involved in the Tar Valon coup, and they thought her strings could be pulled. I suspect the Liberal Party elite is looking at Belinda in much the same way. Certainly I expect she made her decision based in part on the career possibilities offered to her by the Liberals, so maybe she's thinking this is her best shot at running the country. Even if it doesn't happen right away, she's positioned well in case Liberal fortunes go even further south.

Now I'm not saying she'd be any good, or that this would work out best for Canada. But here's the thing - the leaders we've had over the last couple of decades have sucked pretty bad, so why not try somebody who hasn't spent thirty years being corrupted by the system, why not try somebody who isn't a career politician, why not try somebody who's already plenty rich enough to not need payoffs and bribes, why not try somebody who's not male?


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