Friday, January 30, 2004

Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the Right, here he is stuck in the middle with you!

PM the PM must wonder how he can catch a break. On the left of the spectrum he's got Smilin' Jack Layton trolling Liberal retirement homes, searching for warm bodies of the centre-left days of yore. Jack of course is still waiting for wallflower Sheila to come to the dance, bookworm Lloyd to drop in at the NDP offices and of course that ancient warrior Paul Hellyer to make up his mind. While he tries to palm pilot his way through the Liberal party membership lists, the right are also doing their best to help out their Liberal brethren.

Word out of Washington as reported by Gillian Cosgrove of the National Post (sorry folks, no link, the Asper empire have made their website a pay as you read affair and I'm not inclined to line their pockets) is that Brian Mulroney has been "talking up" Paul Martin to the Americans. The Mulroney's and their friends the Desmarais' recently did the social circuit in Washington, including a party at Ben Bradlees home, where they met the likes of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bob Woodward and host of other "power" people.

The Mulroney's also spent an hour and a half with Dubya and his dad in the Oval Office. Talking with Condoleeza Rice and other assorted Bush cabmins about Canada and the USA. (an hour and a half that's about 89 minutes more time than Jean Chretien got in four years!!!). Mulroney was privy to just how bad the relationship was between Mr. Chretien and Mr. Bush; the loathing, the spite, the nasty comments he heard it all. He felt he should do his national duty and try to smooth things over. Apparently Brian spent the weekend telling one and all great things about PM the PM, and how he is going to re-connect the Canadian-American wiring.

Now that's not necessarily a bad thing, considering how relations deteriorated during the Chretien/Bush years, but for a Liberal PM to have a former Conservative PM doing your point work is kind of a dangerous ledge on which to walk. Especially when the Conservative is one who's mere name can elicit howls of outrage from one segment of society, countered by the huzzahs of support from another.

The appearance of Mr. Mulroney as a cheerleader for Mr. Martin while probably helpful in relations with the Americans, is not going to be as beneficial in national issues. Already many Canadians are of the opinion that the Martin years will be a more Conservative period in our lives, little did we know that they would be championed by the main Conservative proponent of the last twenty years. As far as Liberals go, having Brian Mulroney endorse you is possibly not the most positive development of the day. This will fuel Sheila Copps conspiracy theories for months!

Now while you probably should not feel embarrassed when someone says nice things about you, it depends on who is doing the speaking, in some things perhaps silence is more helpful than praise.

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