Better the lesser evil than the greater folly

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Last month, I weighed in on the pending collapse of Paul Martin’s minority Liberal government. Ever since he ordered an inquiry into the sponsorship scandal, the media have feasted on revelations of financial impropriety and backroom shenanigans.

Under normal circumstances, the government should be voted out, but these are not normal times in Canada. The usual alternative to the Liberals, the Conservative Party, has been missing in action ever since Brian Mulroney and his band of Yankee sycophants signed away Canada’s economic future with the Free [sic] Trade Agreement.

Here’s why.

The virtual annihilation of the Conservatives in the 1993 election–”the first of three successive majorities for Jean Chrétien’s Liberals–”paralleled the growing popularity of the religiously reactionary Western-based Reform Party. Given the ineffectuality of the Conservatives, and the unpalatability of the Reformers to moderate Canadians, especially in Ontario, the Liberals seemed to have a permanent lock on power.

Then, in late 2003 Conservative leader Peter McKay merged his party with (read: sold out to) Stephen Harper’s Reformers, which by this time went by the fatuous title of the Canadian Alliance Party. The party was renamed the Conservative Party of Canada, but as I wrote, the name was wholly misleading. Despite the presence of a few legitimate conservatives, it should be known as the Christian Reactionary and American Zionist Yahoo (CRAZY) Party.

Therefore, I reluctantly encouraged Canadians to re-elect the Liberals because the alternative was worse. My recommendation did not sit well with two readers. One of them, Kim Petersen, wrote a rebuttal entitled “Canada’s lesser evilism,” here at mediamonitors.net.

“The present writer was struck with bewilderment that writer Greg Felton, an ardent supporter of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, would embrace the colossal failure of the lesser evilist strategy for Canada… Felton has denounced the recent pathetic Liberal Party record vis-à-vis a moral approach to the plight of Palestinians and noted the insidious influence of a Zionist cabal within the Liberal Party. Yet, in the event of a quick election, he concluded: ‘Sad though it may be, voters have no choice–”re-elect the Liberals.’ This is factually inaccurate and suggests either an ideological bias or a flawed grasp of the current Canadian political situation.”

Although I have liberally denounced the government for kowtowing to the zionist lobby and for allowing zionists to invade the policy-making apparatus–”and Petersen cites numerous columns of mine to this effect–”the issue is one of reason versus unreason.

However bad the Liberals appear to be at the moment, they are at least amenable to reasoned argument on foreign policy. Under Chrétien, many of whose ministers are still in the House, Canada did its best not to sell out to the Bushites and the B’nai Brith. Even though it didn’t always succeed–”as happened in January 2003 when the government unjustly included Hezbollah’s social wing on a list of banned terrorist organizations–”the capacity for fairness is there.

In addition, Social Development Minister Ken Dryden rightly said the Nazi holocaust should be universalized to encompass man’s inhumanity to all men. This is brave and necessary comment because it undermines the dogma that Jews have a monopoly on suffering and that the holocaust is their private property. The poison gas Zyklon B was first tested in 1940 on 250 Roma children at the Buchenwald concentration camp, but the cult of Jewish victimhood admits no outside members.

Also, pressure from within the Liberal caucus forced Martin to keep Canada out of the U.S.’s wasteful ballistic missile defence program.

With a Liberal government, Muslim voters, if they organize themselves properly and lobby effectively, can help Canada reclaim its Middle East policy.

Here’s where Petersen shows his misunderstanding of Canada’s political system. He argues, that for the sake of the Palestinians I should endorse the New Democratic Party. This is dangerously naïve.

The NDP is Canada’s perennial third party. It has never come close to forming government and it never will until it loses the image of a party of Big Labour and does more than offer platitudes about human rights. The party to date has not forcefully condemned Israel’s illegal occupation and colonization of Palestine, much less its daily breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Typical is the conduct of MP Ed Broadbent, who thankfully will not be running again. He agreed to be guest speaker at a Congregation Beth Shalom event called “Voices of Hope and Harmony, Canadian Voices Oppose Suicide Bombing,” which merely serves to stigmatize the Palestinian resistance. Would he speak at an event called “Canada must stop making excuses for Israel’s criminality?” Don’t hold your breath.

The NDP may have its heart in the right place but there’s no evidence that it has a backbone. So much for Petersen’s claim that the NDP is “the pro-peace party.”

The only two national parties that have the potential to form a government are the Liberals and the CRAZYs. I might be inclined to think otherwise if Canada didn’t still have the antiquated and grossly undemocratic first-past-the-post electoral system, by which a candidate can squeak by with as little as 33 percent of the popular vote.

Unless its support in a given riding is already strong, a vote for the NDP at the expense of a Liberal would almost certainly allow a CRAZY candidate to win, and if that happened in enough ridings the party could form a minority government.

Given that the separatist Bloc Québécois is set to trounce the Liberals in Quebec, Liberals need to pick up seats elsewhere. To do so they not only need to get the vote out, but also attract CRAZY or NDP voters. Since the former is unlikely, ridings where the NDP finished third offer the best hope. The best scenario is a strong minority government in which the number of Liberals and NDP MPs total more than the combined opposition, but NDP votes must not come at the expense of Liberals.

I said Canadians should reach for an airsick bag at the thought of Stockwell Day, an inveterate Israel-firster, becoming foreign minister. (By the way, this is not an ad hominem comment, as Petersen charges, because it is addressed to the office, not the person.). The CRAZY party has nothing to offer except abject capitulation to Israel and the U.S.

Whatever may be said about the Liberals, they’re better than that.

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Mr. Greg Felton is a Canadian writer on the Middle East. He writes a political column every second Thursday for the Canadian Arab News, and is writing a book on the rise of fascism in the U.S. He contributed this article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from Canada.

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