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The Liberal trail of broken promises.

In reviewing the Paul Martin prime ministerial era, one is struck by the number of pledges and promises that have been broken and cast aside in the time between his campaign for leadership of the Liberal party and the present. Worse still, many of the actions, policies and legislative acts of his regime have worsened what was already a bad situation under Jean Chretien, particularly with respect to what has been commonly called "the democratic deficit." Let us now look at how this came about, in a roughly chronological order.

* In July 2003, while running for the Liberal leadership, Martin indicated he was willing to give the provinces a role in choosing senators. That has never happened (National Post, July 16, 2003).

* In a July 24, 2003 Globe and Mail article, Institute for Research on Public Policy president Hugh Segal noted the Liberal party has the power to appoint all senators; all Supreme Court and federal judges; and thousands of order-in-council appointees. Today, nothing has changed.

* John Weissenberger and George Koch, writing in the July 25, 2003, National Post, noted that Canada "has effectively become a one-party state ... new policies are no longer initiated, debated and decided through democratic interaction among federal parties.... Far from democratizing his party, Mr. Martin has relentlessly sought control of the apparatus, the membership process and the leadership race."

* Lawrence Martin, writing in the Globe and Mail September 4, 2003: "These Liberals are the masters of malfeasance.... The federal government needs a thorough hosing down, a far-reaching democratization."

* Greg Weston, writing in the Oct. 12, 2003 Toronto Sun, noted that, as finance minister, Martin helped create a $10 billion series of secretive government foundations that are beyond the scrutiny of taxpayers and even the auditor-general.

* A Nov. 15, 2003, Globe and Mail editorial noted that, "Canadian democracy needs urgent medical attention.... The Liberal convention this week showed, once again, just how sick it is."

* Liberal MP Roger Galloway in December 2003 claimed Martin would give MPs major new powers that would create "a cultural shift" in how the House of Commons operates. This would finally tip power away from government toward backbenchers, he said (National Post, Dec. 4, 2003).

* Lawrence Martin, writing in the Globe and Mail, Dec. 11, 2003, noted that Martin was "commendably" promising "a new era of openness and transparency and parliamentary powers."

* Rex Murphy, writing in the Globe and Mail, Dec. 13, 2003, said Martin "has stimulated an unprecedented and gigantic range of expectations."

* In response to his first cabinet appointments, the Globe and Mail observed that "political considerations have trumped merit," while the National Post said: "Power even more centralized." Jeffrey Simpson, in the Globe and Mail, said: "The already awesome power of the PM and his staff will be enhanced." And James Travers in the Toronto Star said, "This new prime minister is omnipresent" (Dec. 13, 2003). Yet, Martin was still claiming he was going to "change the way things work in Ottawa," especially by giving MPs increased power.

* The Toronto Star's James Travers wrote August 14, 2004, that Martin's inner circle was "fairly accused of concentrating power at the centre, while treating its ministers and mandarins, as well as the media, with arrogant disdain."

* Chantal Hebert, in the Oct. 29, 2004, Toronto Star, said that, after four months in power, doubts over Martin's government had not only lingered, but spread, marked by growing confusion over his directions.

* The Globe and Mail's John Ibbitson, on Dec. 14, 2004, said that a year after promising "transformative change... nothing has been transformed." He added, "This Liberal government's legislative record is insignificant."

* On Dec. 18, 2004, the Globe and Mail's Jeffrey Simpson alluded to "the marginality of Parliament" that had persisted despite every promise that had been made before Martin came to power. Martin, Simpson added, "has centralized more power in the central offices of government than did Jean Chretien."

* A Toronto Sun editorial, January 10, 2005, noted that, with respect to the democratic deficit and a free vote on gay "marriage" legislation, "what Martin said on the campaign trail bears little resemblance to what he does now that he has secured the keys to 24 Sussex Drive."

* The Globe and Mail's Jeffrey Simpson again emphasized that "Decisions are highly centralized in the Prime Minister's Office and the Privy Council because Mr. Martin doesn't delegate" (Feb. 11, 2005).

* A Globe and Mail editorial Feb. 24, 2005, noted Martin has put aside his "tightwad days" and is "spraying money around the country like a broken garden hose ... distributing it to every interest group, region and political constituency."

* The Globe and Mail announced " a multi-billion-dollar torrent of new spending and fee breaks" by Martin's Liberals, which were being assailed by critics as a vote-buying tactic (May, 10, 2005).

* The Globe and Mail's Jeffrey Simpson on July 2, 2005, pointed out Martin's hypocrisy in accusing gay "marriage" opponents of "cherry picking" human rights, while he himself fulminated against a Supreme Court Charter-of Rights-based ruling upholding a right to private medical care.

* The National Post's John Ivison on Sept. 2,. 2005, attacked a Liberal government that had become "Orwellian," in condemning the "politics of cronyism" while appointing disgraced ex-cabinet minister Francis Fox to the Senate.

* The Toronto Sun characterized $39 billion in tax cuts and new spending as "yet another attempt to bribe us with our own money," while the Globe and Mail's John Ibbitson alluded to the Liberals' "fiscal flummery" (November 15, 2005).

This should be enough, for now, to say goodbye to the Liberals.

Tony Gosgnach is a flee, lance media person who also is assistant editor of the monthly newspaper The Interim.
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Title Annotation:Paul Martin, prime minister, Canada
Author:Gosgnach, Tony
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:939
Previous Article:To the heart of the Catholic universe.
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