Thursday, May 08, 2008

None of our business they say

It's an interesting and hypocritical sweeping line the Conservatives attempted to draw in the House today, one of the most raucous sessions of late, following their fearless leader's throw down this morning. Bernier's girl none of our business said the PM. Yes, the Foreign Affairs Minister dating someone with past links to organized crime just none of the Canadian citizenry's bidness. And then the Conservative boo-birds howled so loudly during Question Period that it became virtually impossible to ask questions. To which Mr. Goodale appropriately railed:
“This is not about Madame Couillard. This is about national security,” said Mr. Goodale.

“This is a fundamental issue of democracy and if the government is not prepared to let the people of Canada have their say and ask decent legitimate questions, then this government stands exposed as government that is denying fundamental democracy.”
See, Mr. Goodale knows a thing or two about having his personal integrity trashed by Conservatives on the national scale. I think he deserved that moment.

The private relationships of cabinet ministers are absolutely the nation's business. Not the prurient sexual details, of course. Nobody gives a rat's ass about that. Do whatever the freak you like. In that regard it was quite comical to hear Van Loan invoking Pierre Trudeau's iconic statement that "the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation." Only when it comes to Mr. Bernier and Conservatives, of course. Because the Conservatives definitely have no hesitation about getting their claws into our personal business.

We all know that if the Conservatives had been in power and not Jean Chretien, we'd have no gay marriage in this country. And they're right in there in the film industry's face on C-10 though, aren't they? Quite willing to be making editorial choices for Canadians when it comes to film content. They're going to pick and choose which films are worthy of tax credits. Not to mention C-484 and its attempt to infringe upon women's reproductive rights by backdooring into the law language that threatens those freedoms. They're creeping into a woman's right to choose quite freely. So it's quite fascinating to see these guys try to have it both ways. For Maxime, this is all sexual, gossipy innuendo, leave the poor guy alone. But when it comes to social issues for Canadians...watch out, the Conservatives make it their business.

I actually find it hard to believe that Ms. Couillard, with her problematic relationships a thing of her past, posed much of a threat of any kind in terms of putting Bernier in a position where he might be disclosing matters of state to organized crime or be placed in a compromising position. It appears to have been a remote possibility. But it was there.

And Bernier's choice of partner does tell you something about the Foreign Affairs Minister's judgment, whether Conservatives like it or not. In the same way that Brian Mulroney's choice of Karlheinz Schreiber as a business partner spoke to Mr. Mulroney's judgment and the issues arising from it became the nation's business. Whom you choose to associate yourself with in your private life, if you are a very public person, and here, national political figures in whom the nation has its trust, matters. There are not many among us who, in such a high profile position, would choose such a controversial partner and inject them into the full viewing public's spotlight, knowing the buzz that would be created. There is a recklessness there that you know the PMO is not pleased with, despite the PM's protestations about the item being all a matter of gossip.

I'm sure if Mr. Dion or Mr. Rae or any other high profile Liberal so associated themselves we'd hear nothing about it from the integrity-laden howling band on the Conservative benches, right?

At least there was one Conservative thankful for the heat on Mr. Bernier today...and we're lookin' at you, Ms. Guergis...