Monday, May 24

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.

For what exactly is this election about? Is there one theme, or agenda, that demonstrates the concept of "vision"?

The neo-Tories (a/k/a the Northern Alliance) want a U.S.-style system: Lower taxes, two-tier health care, smaller government, increased continentalization, etc. etc. etc.

But if that's what voters desire, then what is the real point of difference between us and Americans? You thought we had an identity crisis before Stephen Harper became a contender? Just you wait.

I'm not above voting for the Northern Alliance. Hey, after freeing Kabul, they just might prove to be the ideal Ottawa enema.

As for the New Democratic Party--predictable. Jack Layton, the great Confederate general in the Tilley Hat, cuts a fine pose for the cameras, with his exotic (and churlish) wife, Olivia Chow, in tow.

But, other than Layton, what does the NDP have to offer? Social conscience? Perhaps. Bench strength? Maybe not.

Just think of Jack and Olivia as the poor man's Bill and Hillary.

Then there's our old pal Paul Martin. The steamy steamship kingpin. He's like Shrek, only dressed in corporate whiteface. Martin will, without a doubt, get elected in some form. But why?

If the word vision were incumbent upon any politician, or any political party, it's this man.

Yet, after the visionless--and generally inarticulate--decade-long reign of Jean Chretien, we have another technocrat in charge. PM's only saving grace is that we can at least understand him when he speaks.

The thing is, he has nothing whatsoever to say. Just listen. There's the EFFECT of vision, but nothing legit.

No sense of who we are, or where we are going. No risk. No candor. No purpose.

What is the meaning of Canada? What is our role in the world? In the 21st century, it's simply not enough just to not be an American.

If you want to know what being Canadian is all about, given how the 60th anniversary of D-Day is rapidly approaching, maybe you should ask the World War II veterans while you still have the opportunity.

While their vision was that of the Colonial and the Monarchist, the vets had a clear focus--a focus that has gone without being updated.

Now the veterans, like Canada's self-concept and raison d'etre, are withering away.

And Paul Martin's corporate steamships will never storm a beach.