Prime Time Crime


(Prime Time Crime exclusive June 27, 2005)

What a difference a year makes

By David Marley

Well, here we are on the anniversary of our country's last federal general election, with Canada Day soon to be upon us. We live in a country that is blessed in a great many ways and yet suffers from the innumerable miseries of a national government that is perhaps the most corrupt and certainly the least accountable or representative in the industrialized, democratic world.

And what do the public opinion polls indicate Canadians' views to be concerning their options among political parties? After a year of "Mr. Dithers" in the prime minister's chair, spouting various inanities, platitudes and obvious untruths, and with revelations of power lunches and worse coming from the Gomery enquiry that would make Tony Soprano envious, the governing Liberals are down two percentage points nationally, from 37% to 35%, with the Opposition Conservatives down three, 30% to 27%!  And Smilin' Jack Layton, the "Fuller Blush man", is leading a resurgent NDP in the urban and suburban regions of English-speaking Canada.

And here in "Lotus Land"? Well, in BC the Liberals have gained fully 13 percentage points, going from 29% on election day in 2004 to 41% today. The NDP remain essentially the same at 29% (up from 27% recorded on election day one year ago). And the Conservatives? Imagine, in a year that has revealed perhaps unparalled misfeasance on the part of a national government, the Opposition has managed to fall an astonishing 14%, from 36% support received in the 2004 election to a pathetic 22% today. In the Lower Mainland, they're no doubt even further behind their rivals.

How can this possibly be, you ask. Well, it's clearly not due to the bulk of Conservative public policy prescriptions. At the newly merged party's first national convention, held in Montreal (that notorious hotbed of Conservative electoral support) earlier this year, Messrs. Harper and company conspired to reduce Conservative policy to little more than "Liberal lite". Except, of course, with respect to the emotionally-charged issue of  so-called "same sex marriage". Here, of all places, Mr. Harper would choose to draw his "line in the sand", confirming for every undecided elector even remotely likely to vote Conservative that to do so would be to risk electing Canada's version of the Taliban into office.   I don't think so, Mr. & Mrs. urban and suburban Canada.

No problem. John Reynolds, the Conservative's national campaign chairman, claims he's "not worried". Well, I guess not. After all, he's not seeking re-election and, regardless of the next election's outcome,  can look forward to a comfortable retirement income courtesy of Canadian taxpayers. Well, if he was truly on top of his job, he ought to be very worried indeed, deeply worried about the future of our country. Anyone who has been paying even remote attention in recent times knows that Canada is well on its way to becoming a democratic tyranny, with the democratic aspect fading more rapidly with each passing year.

Meanwhile, for now at least, we're apparently stuck with an Opposition led by someone who is so busy demonstrating his contempt for any and all who don't immediately grasp his superior wisdom and general greatness that he can't be bothered to learn the essentials of his trade. Establishing decent relations with the parliamentary press gallery is evidently too much of an effort. Getting out and meeting the folks? Don't be silly. What could they possibly have to say that's worth the time and effort to even pretend to pay them heed?

O Canada, do we stand on guard for thee? If so, then let's get off our respective duffs and help get this guy, Harper, out of office and replace him with someone who can restore a measure of democratic competition to our nation's politics.

Can't end this rant without some relevant quotes:

"Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason." - anonymous.

"Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber." - Plato.

Enjoy Canada Day and then resolve to help take back our country's government from the crooks, sleazoids and incompetents.

(Prime Time Crime exclusive June 30, 2005)

Wheels coming off?

By David O. Marley

Today's National Post reveals that in recent weeks four senior advisors have left the Conservative Party, including yesterday's departure by Geoff Norquay, the party's communications director. Don't know the others but I know Geoff Norquay very well. He was the PC Party's research director in the early 1980s, during which time we worked closely together for almost three years, and went on to become legislative assistant to prime minister Brian Mulroney throughout the nine years of Mr. Mulroney's government. Geoff is a man of great integrity and much political knowledge and skill.

When Geoff assisted Belinda Stronach's campaign for party leader, I was surprised but impressed that she could get him onside. Then, nine months ago, when he joined Stephen Harper's team as communications director, I thought that there might be hope for much improvement over the inept public relations effort that had previously been the case from Harper's office. Clearly, that didn't transpire.

Mr. Harper is notorious for not being willing to take counsel, preferring to follow his own judgment on policy, strategic and other matters. That approach has cost him, at least in Geoff Norquay's case, the advice of a very skilled and highly-respected individual. Yet another indication of an impending implosion? My guess is that the proverbial last straw for Geoff was Harper's incredibly inane suggestions that 1) somehow the passage of Bill C-38 was tainted because the Bloc Quebecois voted in its favour (having been only too happy himself to have their support mere days earlier on the budget and related non-confidence motions), and 2) if elected, the Conservatives would re-open the "same sex marriage" issue and attempt to repeal the legislation just passed.  

The inevitable defeat in the coming federal election is just as well because we desperately need time and some hard thinking about who is best-suited to lead our party in the subsequent electoral battle with a Liberal Party led by Michael Ignatieff (who, by the way, evidently has a most interesting article in this past Sunday's NYT Magazine). The re-election of a weak Liberal minority government under Paul Martin gives us the necessary breathing room.

David Marley is a former lawyer and political advisor and can be contacted at


Prime Time Crime current headlines

Contributing Writers