Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Sound of Backbone

I came across a discussion of this open letter on DailyKos. It's written by Canada's former Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy, who is currently president of Winnipeg University (Wow, Canadians like politicians who are capable and intelligent. Weird.).

Dear Condi,

I'm glad you've decided to get over your fit of pique and venture north to visit your closest neighbour. It's a chance to learn a thing or two. Maybe more.

I know it seems improbable to your divinely guided master in the White House that mere mortals might disagree with participating in a missile-defence system that has failed in its last three tests, even though the tests themselves were carefully rigged to show results.

But, gosh, we folks above the 49th parallel are somewhat cautious types who can't quite see laying down billions of dollars in a three-dud poker game.

As our erstwhile Prairie-born and bred (and therefore prudent) finance minister pointed out in presenting his recent budget, we've had eight years of balanced or surplus financial accounts. If we're going to spend money, Mr. Goodale added, it will be on day-care and health programs, and even on more foreign aid and improved defence.

Sure, that doesn't match the gargantuan, multi-billion-dollar deficits that your government blithely runs up fighting a "liberation war" in Iraq, laying out more than half of all weapons expenditures in the world, and giving massive tax breaks to the top one per cent of your population while cutting food programs for poor children.

Just chalk that up to a different sense of priorities about what a national government's role should be when there isn't a prevailing mood of manifest destiny.

Coming to Ottawa might also expose you to a parliamentary system that has a thing called question period every day, where those in the executive are held accountable by an opposition for their actions, and where demands for public debate on important topics such a missile defence can be made openly.

You might also notice that it's a system in which the governing party's caucus members are not afraid to tell their leader that their constituents don't want to follow the ideological, perhaps teleological, fantasies of Canada's continental co-inhabitant. And that this leader actually listens to such representations.

And that's not the half of it. You can read the rest of the letter here.

Clearly Mr. Axworthy recognizes the weakness of the White House elite in Washington, who haven't the courage to handle even the simplest unfriendly questions.

Highly-respected journalists who go "off the reservation" don't get to ask questions in the White House Press Pool, but tax-evading, uncredentialed, plagiarizing "escorts" [note: one definition of escort is "a person, often a prostitute, who is hired to spend time with another as a companion."] who toss out Rove-inspired on-message commentary, get regular air time ... at least until they're exposed.

Thank you Mr. Axworthy.

Could you come have a chat with the information log-jam that used to be our media. While you're at it, perhaps you could swing by and speak with our formerly-representative legislature? Show them know where the backbone goes, and teach them how it works.

The favor would be much appreciated.


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