Sir Edmund Becomes a Campaign Issue Going Into Election Day

Next week at this time, it’ll be over. The longest federal election campaign in many years will have come to an end. And if you missed it, I want to quote from publisher John Gardiner’s column “Notes From The Garage” last week. He had me laughing. Here is part of what he wrote.

“Well, it’s good to know the whole country of Canada is about to have a giant brain fart and elect a Conservative government. Gawd, I’d move if there was anywhere better on the planet. I wonder which underprivileged minorities this group of right-wingers will decide to punish into oblivion. Sorry guys – you can run but you can’t hide. A Tory is a Tory is a Tory. Tories generally believe that poor people deserve to be poor, social assistance programs should be done away with and that if you have money you should be able to buy all the education and health care you need. Tories worship the system and the wealth it creates above all else. I’m not making any of this up. Read some conservative philosophy sometime people. Don’t believe what you read in the newspapers. Get out your Sir Edmund Burke and see for yourself.”

I couldn’t stop laughing. I thought man! Life under a Conservative government couldn’t be that bad, could it? Well I dunno. In my panic I quickly turned to my loyal computer. Who was Sir Edmund Burke?

What to do? In 2006 there only one thing to do when you don’t know somebody. You “google” him. So there I am, “googling” Sir Edmund Burke. Burke, born in 1729 in Dublin Ireland, surely would have been upset if he had known I was about to “google” him. He probably would have thought he was about to be “drawn and quartered.”

So I learn that Burke was a part of the Rockingham party, a group of great landowners. Burke chaffed at the political corruption of the time. Here are a couple quotes.

“Politics”, he characteristically observed, “ought to be adjusted not to human reasonings, but to human nature; of which the reason is but a part, and by no means the greatest part.”

He also was quoted as saying, “Tyrants seldom want pretexts”.

I emailed John and told him I’d done a little research on Sir Edmund and I thought he was somewhat of a hip guy. He railed against King George III. I’m sure if he were with us today, he’d be consumed by the Gomery trial. Something tells me he wouldn’t think Canadians were about to have a giant “brain fart” by electing a Conservative government.

However, we’ll never know. The latest seat projection blogs one week from Election Day put the Conservatives at 140, Liberals 67, BQ 59, NDP 37. That’s hard to believe, especially in the light of the last 13 years, but maybe it’ll be reality. If that’s the case, I’ll have to help find John find peace in a new Canadian political environment.

In the next week, it’ll be like a big football game in the last two minutes. As of now the NDP is asking Liberal voters to abandon a sinking ship and vote NDP. Stephen Harper is actually visiting Quebec, PEI and Newfoundland. When the campaign started he couldn’t be elected dogcatcher there. Paul Martin is talking about a seven-day sprint to Election Day. The two-minute warning has been sounded.

In my mind it’s not over. Yes, the government might flip, but there is still time to limit it to a minority. With almost 60 seats coming out of Quebec for the Bloc it makes it very difficult for any political party to get a majority government. Paul Martin is a decent guy. He might just have an eleventh hour rabbit up his sleeve.

What’s bizarre about this is our economy is zipping along like it’s a canoe caught in high tide. We’ve got a burgeoning federal government surplus, an unemployment rate of 6.5%, low inflation and low interest rates. Liberal politicians couldn’t hope for better. However, when the political winds of change howl, they howl. Is it a big blue wave or a little blue wave? Will Canadians in the last week, hearken back to Sir Edmund Burke and avoid a gargantuan “brain fart” as John says. I dunno.

What will be important to remember as we descend toward Monday is to remember just who we are. Remember, a Canadian is a Canadian, is a Canadian, regardless of political views. Next week that should be top drawer for everybody.