May 16, 2005
by David Orchard
Even way out here on the prairies at seeding time,
above the noise of the tractors, we can hear the howls
of righteousness from the new Conservative party and the
Bloc Québecois in Ottawa.
The government is corrupt. It should resign. Not now,
MPs ill with cancer travelled all the way from
Alberta and BC to vote to topple the government, but
still it wouldn't resign. In fact, the government almost
appeared ungrateful for the sacrifice these MPs informed
us they had made to get to Ottawa for the vote.
Our media seem to be on board
– one widely
watched national news programme shows Mr. Martin and
other Liberals on wanted posters, old west style, then
we are shown the "posse" out to get them: Stephen
Harper, Peter MacKay and John Reynolds.
John Reynolds? Is this the same John Reynolds who
attempted to become a GST Senator for Mr. Mulroney in
1990? Did not Chuck Guité tell us that corruption was
worse under the Mulroney administration than under the
Liberals? But now Mr. Reynolds is riding with the posse
and singing in the holier-than-thou choir.
Right beside him is Peter MacKay. Peter MacKay? Is he
not the lawyer from Nova Scotia, an officer of the
court, who signed a contract to rebuild the Progressive
Conservative party, not to merge with the Alliance,
received in return the votes needed to win his
leadership crown, then promptly betrayed his signature,
his firm handshake and his repeated words of promise?
But of course, that was then, and, as the saying
goes, this is now. That must have been all of two years
And Mr. MacKay's new leader, the king of the
self-righteous brigade, is none other than Stephen
Harper. "Yon Cassius," Shakespeare's Caesar once warned,
"has a lean and hungry look." Is this the same Stephen
Harper who counselled, urged, demanded that Mr. MacKay
betray his solemn commitment to rebuild the Progressive
Conservative party? Is this the same Mr. Harper whose
party seized and refuses to return some $70,000 in
campaign donations to a former candidate for the
leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of
Of course that was simply seventy thousand dollars of
individual donations made under Canada's electoral
finance laws. Nothing to get excited about. Nothing
compared to $50,000 put into envelopes and described to
Speaking of $50,000, wasn't it the Bloc's
counterpart, the Parti Québecois, that, we were told,
received $50,000 as well? But of course, it's only
Liberal corruption we are supposed to speak about today
which, I suppose, is why so little mention is made of
the hundreds of thousands in cash paid to Mr. Reynolds'
old friend, Mr. Mulroney, by Karl-Heinz Schreiber. Also
Back to the Conservatives' partner in the saintly
chorus, the Bloc. All in white robes and sporting halos
as they intone each day about the rot in Liberal ranks
and clamour for an immediate election
– which will,
coincidentally, consolidate their grip on Québec.
Is this the same Bloc whose members pledge an oath of
allegiance to our country and its institutions, accept
monthly pay cheques and pensions from the federal
treasury and then do everything in their power to break
up the nation? Is this the same Bloc whose members'
federally funded offices across Québec function as field
offices for the movement to pull Québec out of Canada?
As Jimi Hendrix put it, "Excuse me, while I kiss the
Did I miss the public inquiry Mr. Parizeau and the
Bloc's founder Lucien Bouchard called to look into the
misuse of public money to promote the break-up, rather
than the preservation, of the country?
I must have been asleep in front of the television
when Mr. Mulroney –
or was it Kim Campbell –
called a public inquiry in the full glare of cameras to
look into charges of Conservative party kickbacks and
why exactly that cash was paid to Mr. Mulroney in those
Funny, it seemed that it was Jean Chrétien, in 2003,
who cleaned up the federal campaign financing rules in
Canada, modelling them on René Levesque's legislation in
Quebec. Was it not this same corrupt Chrétien who picked
up the phone and called in the RCMP on troubles he
smelled in the sponsorship programme? Wasn't it his
almost as corrupt successor, Mr. Martin, who set up the
televised commission to investigate the sponsorship
Of course, being way out west, sitting on a tractor
so long, you miss a lot. I'm sure our new government
under Mr. Harper, Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Duceppe will make
us all proud, and of course after the coming referendum,
there will be so much less territory and money for
Ottawa to have to worry about anyhow.
David Orchard is the author of the bestseller, The
Fight for Canada - Four Centuries of Resistance to
American Expansionism, and ran for the leadership of the
federal Progressive Conservative Party in 1998 and 2003.
He farms at Borden, SK and can be reached at tel (306)