Attacks threaten to go off the charts

The debate on health care in the United States, hijacked bylame-brained, right-wing radio talk jocks, is comparable to the debateon coalition government here. Level of intelligence? Subterranean.

The debate on health care in the United States, hijacked by lame-brained, right-wing radio talk jocks, is comparable to the debate on coalition government here. Level of intelligence? Subterranean.

In the U.S., Barack Obama’s enlightened effort to bring health care to 45 million Americans without it is being distorted into a socialist takeover of Washington.

But perhaps we shouldn’t chide them too much. Up here, we’re running the risk in the coming election, should we listen to the Conservatives, of socialist and separatist hordes taking over Ottawa.

Yep. It’s that bad. In every election campaign, it should be said, the bullshine metre rises. But in the coming one, look out. It threatens to go off the charts. The prime minister alleged the coalition takeover plot in a closed-door speech. His Conservatives, experts at dirtball, have dredged up an out-of-date quote from Michael Ignatieff saying he supports a coalition and are using it in an attack ad.

With their myriad distortions the Conservatives have turned the idea of a coalition into something worse than swine flu. Coalition governments have been common in Europe. Canada had its own coalition government in the First World War and the country didn’t fall apart.

We need to bear in mind also that since minority governments are frequent due to our multi-party makeup, coalitions may well be the way of the future in this country. The problem for the Conservatives — and the reason they detest coalitions — is because they have no natural partners to link up with.

No one should wish the Bloc Québécois to be a formal part of any coalition. But the reality is that minority governments will often be reliant on their support for survival.

As was revealed in a letter to the Governor General released by the Bloc last year, Stephen Harper, as opposition leader, was prepared to co-operate with the Bloc and the NDP to create an alternative to Paul Martin’s Liberal minority if the opportunity presented itself.

Last year, an agreement was reached wherein the Bloc agreed not to bring down a Liberal/NDP coalition for 18 months. Despite his letter to the Governor General, the PM, in high dudgeon, portrayed the arm’s-length arrangement as some sort of Armageddon. He scored so high in the court of public opinion with the gambit that no one dares use the c-word again.

It’s wild. It’s like the demonization of national health care in the U.S. It’s Rush Limbaugh come north.

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