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No Catholic Prime Minister.

Paradoxically, Canadian Catholics have reason to be satisfied with the outcome of the recent election, since for the first time in half a century no Catholic Prime Minister was either elected or was left waiting in the wings. The only interruption to the Catholic succession in that time occurred during the few months when Kim Campbell was in office.

Liberals following Pierre Trudeau included John Turner, Jean Chretien, and Paul Martin. When the Liberals got tired and let the Conservatives in, they too produced Catholic leaders--Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney. Always there was a Catholic Prime Minister for whom we had to apologize, because he was invariably a bad Catholic who supported abortion. When so-called "same-sex marriage" came along, Paul Martin defied Church teaching on that as well, and embraced it wholeheartedly.

Jekyll and Hyde

As Barbara Kay noted in a National Post column on January 25, 2006, Martin was a Hyde in office, a Jekyll in defeat. Her lust for a liberal rout dissipated on election night in the wee hours, she said, when Martin delivered a gracious concession and retirement speech. "He revealed himself," she wrote, "as once again the benign, civilized Dr. Jekyll he was before power--or, more accurately, the fear of losing--turned him into the erratic, irrational Mr. Hyde.

"Martin proved himself to be leadership material when he conquered Canada's massive debt. But in the 1995 referendum campaign, he blew into Quebec on a palpable wave of Liberal fear, warning that a 'million' jobs would be lost in Quebec with a separatist victory. This was an incredible gaffe--especially coming from a finance minister--since there are only three million employed people in Quebec, and the contempt that greeted his panicky blunder helped the separatist cause." So she was disturbed, but not surprised, she says, when Martin became PM and the pattern repeated itself.

A more thorough and more devastating analysis of the last Prime Minister came from Father Raymond de Souza in the Post--"The corruption of Paul Martin." As he writes, Martin became a caricature of the man who will say anything to win a vote. "If getting power meant undermining his predecessor, he would do it. If heading off Adscam meant throwing his predecessor's allies overboard he would do it. If winning the 2004 election meant trashing Stephen Harper in hysterical terms, he would do it. If keeping power meant allowing the NDP to rewrite the budget he would do it.... And finally, if it meant conducting a near-maniacal election campaign--disgorging smears, proposing constitutional amendments on the fly, playing fast and loose with national unity, and descending into a caricature of the man who will say anything to win a vote--then he would do it in spades, and have the chutzpah to declare that this election was about his values."

The tragedy of Martin, he concludes, is that his long grasp for power turned him into a man who knew only in the end how to grasp for power. When his corruption was complete he lost the job for which he had paid a very heavy price--his integrity.

One hopes that Mr. Martin has done the Catholic community a final favour: by carrying the rejection of Catholic teaching to an extreme, he has exposed the bankruptcy of the Trudeau-Martin line of thought for everyone to see.
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Author:Dooley, David
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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