Monday, May 19, 2008

Clark snubbed!

It's easy to understand how bitter feelings can die hard, but I simply don't buy the explanation that PMS couldn't reschedule a portrait unveiling in Parliament for Joe Clark. The unveiling has been a long time coming, in part because Clark was still quite active in politics for another 24 years after being unseated as Prime Minister -- 17 of those as a sitting member.

But consider that Jean Chrétien attending the unveilings for two of his rivals: Brian Mulroney (Progressive Conservative) and John Turner (Liberal). Paul Martin attended the unveiling for Kim Campbell even though he had a role in creating the platform that resulted in her mass decimation at the polls. In fact, the records show the only other time there was a snub was Mulroney telling Pierre Trudeau to eff off -- and with some reason, over the constitutional issue.

The fact, though, that the two would still rather avoid each other shows a fatal flaw in the conservative movement in this country. The merger between the PC and Reform parties was hailed as a partnership of equals -- instead, it's turned out to be the Christian far-right steam rolling over their more pragmatic "allies." Little wonder many PCs have found their way to the Liberals or to fringe parties, because there is no voice for the centre right left in this country.

Bottom line is, Harper should have found a way to reschedule the unveiling. This is just petty on his part. But he himself set the precedent: When he was running in the by-election that put him in the House a few years ago he refused to debate his four opponents in the district, not even acknowledging their right to exist. He did not want to be attacked for fear of being exposed for his vulnerability: his insecurity and power hunger.

Now all he can do, all he wants to do, is blame the current problems of the country on the previous administration -- all of them. Harper may legally be the Prime Minister, but he sure isn't acting like one. By contrast, when Trudeau lost to Clark in 1979, he made a point of having his sons reach out to the latter's daughter in a show of fellowship. They were the real gentlemen. Harper isn't one and he never will be.

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tdwebste said...

I agree Clack was snubbed by Harper.

Agree there can never be fair partnerships with a far-right who believe on their own self rightness and deserved absolute power.

Castor Rouge said...

We are talking about a man that took down paintings and portraits of other PM's to soothe his own vanity. It shouldn't be surprising he wouldn't stick around to unveil a picture that wasn't of him.

Anonymous said...

Harper doesn't owe Clark a damned thing. Joe Clark can go screw himself.

Clark practically endorsed the Liberals right before an election. And if Harper had listened to Clark's terrible political acumen, then the parties on the right would still be divided today. They would never have formed the government, and the Liberals would still be in power. Really, its no wonder you Liberals lament him so much. In any other case, you Liberals would never have given a sniff about Joe Clark.

BlastFurnace said...

It doesn't matter who did what to whom or when, I always thought that those who have been Prime Ministers share a unique fraternity and from that should come respect. Decorating one's private offices (under the custody of the PMO) and the official portraits that line the Hall of Honour (under the custody of the House and Senate Speakers) are two different things.

As far as Clark endorsing the Liberals, who could blame him? A democracy should be about offering as many choices as possible, not taking some or all of them away. The term "progressive conservative" never was an oxymoron except in the minds of the far right. If Canada had proportional representation, the PCs would still have been a vital force in our discussions.

Harper's actions here snuffed out any hope of pragmatism left on the right. He of course has the right to do that, but it shows total lack of class.

Stephen LaRose said...

If Clark were leading the Conservatives today, the Tories would be at 55 per cent in the polls.