Yesterday Was A Busy Day For Progressive Hypocrisy
If you were ever looking for examples of hypocrisy and hypocrites hard at work, you wouldn’t have had to go much farther than the disgraceful display put on yesterday by Canada’s three opposition parties.
It started with Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae, aided by NDP MP Charlie Angus ‘negotiating’ an end to the hunger strike charade by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence. It was further augmented by the whining of Green Party Leader Elizabeth May about the refusal of her fellow progressives in other parties joining forces with her to defeat the Harper Conservatives in the next election.
Let’s recap a bit so we’re all on the same page.
Theresa Spence first came to national prominence when she went before the media to highlight the appalling poverty on her reserve. It was, to hear her tell it, all the fault of the Government of Canada and the opposition, the media and progressives in general were very quick to get all over that wicked Stephen Harper and his heartless Conservative Government. The self-righteous and sanctimonious anger was so thick, we almost choked on it.
And then the truth started to leak out.
It started with a follow-up report last January by CBC’s Adrienne Arsenault who visited Attawapiskat where she discovered Theresa Spence living large and toodling about the reserve in her Cadillac Escalade. Then Sun Media published the band’s own audited financial statements and that wasn’t pretty either.
In 2011, the band had an operating budget of $34 million for a community of only 1500 people, hardly starvation wages. While many on the reserve were living in desperate circumstance, the band had more than $8 million in investments including investments in the oils sands and pipelines.
Despite the amount of money available, only $12 million of the annual budget went to programs for the welfare of the community while an almost equivalent amount went to Theresa Spence, her boyfriend and members of band council and the band office for salaries and other compensation. Fewer than 100 people were carving up over $11 million.
A subsequent independent audit revealed that Chief Spence and her band council could not account for 81% of the expenditure on her reserve. To put that into a clearer perspective, the expenditure of $27 million was not properly documented or accounted for.
Chief Spence was given the results of the audit in August and put on notice that it would be made public at some point after she and the Government had time to review it and the Minister had signed it off. Not long afterwards, she made the decision to come to Ottawa and began her hunger strike demanding a meeting with the Prime Minister.
Since starting her melodrama on Victoria Island, the audit has been made public as required by law and Chief Spence has changed her demands continuously as she dfragged her sorry hunger strike charade through six weeks.
While nobody in the aboriginal progressive communities will admit it publicly, she had become an embarrassment. She had also become a pawn to be used by cynical politicians both aboriginal and no-aboriginal alike.
The CBC referred to Bob Rae’s efforts to negotiate an end to Theresa Spence grandstanding as ‘statesman like’. Give it a rest. This was no nation to nation negotiation. First and foremost, Bob Rae does not speak for Canada; he speaks for a decimated Liberal Party and only for a couple of more months. Attawapiskat is not an independent nation. Its residents are Canadian citizens and the band is financed primarily by the Government of Canada. Let’s get back to some basic truths and take our heads out of asses folks. Evan Solomon of the CBC’s Power & Politics with Evan Solomon can dress it up any way he likes but a pig in a silk suit is still just a pig in a silk suit.
If the Conservative Government were to be unable to document properly or account for 81% of its annual budget, the Opposition Parties would be storming the barricades not negotiating an honourable resolution to something with Stephen Harper.
And that, my friends, is nothing less than hypocrisy hard at work.
People like Charlie Angus and Bob Rae are very selective in who and what they criticize. What they consider a sin for one is not necessarily a sin for another. That isn’t adherence to a set of principles, it is political expediency; nothing more than an opportunity to provide the illusion of caring while not really caring about or standing for anything much at all.
They certainly don’t seem to care very much about the Canadian taxpayer who has tossed almost $100 million into Attawapiskat over the past five years. They’d rather grandstand with the woman who has no record of what she did with the money we provided than protect our interest so that we don’t end up continuing to make the same wasteful mistakes.
It’s enough to make you shudder at the thought of any of them being part of a government with its hands on the public purse – but then we’ve already seen in Ontario what Bob Rae is capable of doing when he is in control of public money and that was just plain ugly. It made Chief Spence’s spending habits look positively responsible.
Perhaps the greatest hypocrisy of all was the fact that Chief Spence’s own band (Remember them? They’re the people everyone claims to be concerned about but never mention) had decided they had had enough. The acting chief and a member of the band council announced they would be arriving in Ottawa yesterday with an ultimatum to be delivered to Theresa Spence; end the hunger strike and return home to attend to her duties or she would be removed as band chief.
There would be no ceremony honouring her ‘brave’ stand, no statues built in her honour and no speeches given in praise of her sacrifice. Basically it was going to be, get your ass back home or get fired.
That is what gave the Rae negotiations a sense of urgency. If progressives were to maintain any illusion of dignity for having supported this woman in her self-serving charade, they needed to get her to end it quickly and with some kind of claim of victory.
Enter the Declaration of Commitment, a 13-point declaration of stated objectives that is as meaningless and pointless as this entire affair has been. None of it is binding on the Government and the provinces are already signaling they aren’t going to play either when it comes to increased resource sharing.
Well isn’t that just one major accomplishment for six weeks of fish broth and a whole of lot of hypocritical hyperbole from the progressive Opposition Parties?
And so it will end today with a ceremony that will celebrate the accomplishment of absolutely nothing beyond a meaningless declaration. It will be just more sanctimonious orgy of self-serving progressive hypocrisy.
The only good thing to be said is that after we suffer through the hypocrisy of today’s ceremony to honour this ridiculous woman, we won’t have to listen to daily reports about her any more.
And then there’s Green Party Leader Elizabeth May or the Queen of Green as some of us think her.
Ms May is greatly perturbed that her fellow progressives are not responding to her request to unite in a common, work-together strategy to defeat the Harper Conservatives in the next election. She accuses them of hyper-partisanship. Excuse me?
Ms May, who represents a party with one seat in Parliament, seems to feel that she’s a serious player in Canadian politics. She isn’t and the fact that those parties which are don’t see her as a player doesn’t make them hyper-partisan, just pragmatic. What advantage is there to them to get involved with a united strategy with her? She has nothing to bring to the table.
If anything, she would be the only one to possibly gain anything and only at the disadvantage of the other parties.
Her party represents less than 6% of the electorate and I would suggest the only reason it has even the one seat – hers – is because it threw all of its resources behind getting her elected in her own riding. So cynical is her hypocrisy that she moved from the east coast of Canada to the west coast in order to run in a riding that offered any real chance to win a seat. Her former supporters in the east were no longer relevant to her – she has new friends now.
What Elizabeth May fails to realize is that she is exactly what she condemns, a self-serving and hypocritical politician trying to feather her own nest. She is partisan, aligning herself only with those parties that come close to matching her own environmental fanaticism. She thought she was a leader and could unite the progressive left but she was wrong about that too. She mistook hubris for reality.
Her constant accusations of ideology against the current Prime Minister and her new accusation of partisanship against the opposition parties once again proves the old adage that the thing we fear in others is the thing we most fear in ourselves.
The Queen of Green is more like a yapping terrier than the queen of much of anything at all, especially principle.
All of this nonsense is wearying. It is gamesmanship rather than effective opposition with principled positions that benefit the country. It is hypocrisy where one group forgives their own sins and those whom they can use for their own purposes while condemning the same sins in someone else.
I have no issue with criticism of the government, in fact I encourage it. What I resent is the lack of principle behind what pretends to be informed government criticism these days. It is nothing less than hyper-partisan, petty politics. Issues are irrelevant, integrity is irrelevant; all that matters is scoring cheap political points at the expense of others. It is nothing but hypocrisy to condemn in others what you yourself do and quite frankly, nobody does that better than progressives these days.
I keep thinking that it would be nice to see politicians, especially progressive politicians who like to claim the moral high ground, return to simple concepts like consistently practicing the principle and morality they preach but it isn’t going to happen. It’s part of the DNA now and the only good thing coming out of it is that support for the Harper Government is increasing according to the latest polls.
You would have thought that might be a bit of a head-up for the left but apparently once hypocrisy gets into the political DNA – it’s not only a bugger to remove; it apparently is even more difficult to recognize.
Update: The Great Canadian Hunger Strike ended this morning with much fanfare followed by a press conference which unfortunately, Theresa Spence was unable to attend. She was taken to hospital because of her ordeal. She has been released from hospital which means that the effects of an almost six-week hunger strike were neither very significant on her nor life-threatening. In other words, it was all a fraud – just one, big charade that no amount of posturing by Charlie Angus and Bob Rae or all of the other great pretenders can change. But then, who ever heard of a hunger strike that included fish broth, tea, vitamins – oh, and – Snickers bars.
I resent being treated like I’m stupid and people who have supported this woman, who has much to answer for on her reserve, have done nothing but perpetuate a lie in the mistaken belief that Canadians are stupid. We’re not and those opposition politician who tried to use this sorry affair to their advantage have nothing of which to be proud although I suspect they lack the character or the values to understand that.
© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
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