Thursday, June 15, 2006

Curse Words and Arm Gestures

If recent events are any indication, it would seem that politicians in both the East and the West are beginning to take their jobs... just a little too seriously, and in the process, all outward forms of decency and politeness that one has come to expect from within the halls of politics are being thrown out the window.

While Quebec Conservative MP Jacques Gourde was busy making a rude gesture toward the opposition, which Tory MP Pierre Poilievre reciprocated in full view, mind you, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman and current Taipei City mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was stating before the KMT Central Standing Committee that Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) would "die a horrible death" if he didn't step down immediately.

After the twain storms had abated, Ma apologized for making the remarks, noting that it was "improper" and "set a bad example for society," while the Canadian MP in question apologized if his gesture had been "misinterpreted." The last person I recall apologizing for a silly remark being "misinterpreted" was U.S. President George Bush, who contended that his infamous "bring it on" remark could have been misinterpreted (hmmm; I believe it was heard loud and clear, and the insurgent groups in Iraq certainly did act on that invitation).

What's going on with the people who supposedly lead us? As the Liberal Leader Bill Graham mentioned after the arm incident, such behavior "is an insult to our democracy and to the Canadian people who sent [them] here to do serious work." The readers of this page can make up their own mind as to which of the two unbecoming incidents, the bras d'honneur or the threat that someone would die a horrible death, is worst (it would be interesting to see what the reactions would be if the aforementioned slips were interchanged, with Graham, say, claiming that Harper would meet a terrible end if he didn't step down soon, but I digress).

I had promised myself that I would avoid touching on the issue of terrorism in today's posting, but strive as I might, I cannot avoid doing so. With all due respect, Mr. Graham, where was your indignation, your accusation of "an insult to democracy," when the Crown requested a publication ban on the trial of the Group of Seventeen (see entries below)? For all I (and probably the majority of Canadians) care, MPs can flick, filip and raise fingers, wave their arms, dance, mistake the now-famous bras d'honneur with the Italian salute, and pretty much shout whatever insult they want at each other, but please, please, try to maintain the priorities that we, as voting Canadians, have given you. I am all for politeness within the halls of power, but to raise a political storm on arm gestures days after the Opposition failed to provide even a modicum of resistance to a decision that truly represents a fundamental threat to our hard-won democracy? Now that is an insult.

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