Government: Only Blatant Hypocrites Need Apply

Written by Sarah MacMaster

Just two days after they voted with their socialist and separatist friends to keep the long gun registry, the Liberals were demanding tough and immediate action to counter illegal tobacco smuggling through the Akwasasne Reserve that straddles the Ontario – NY border. It wasn’t because smuggling traffic had dramatically increased in the Cornwall corridor, and it wasn’t because bloodbaths had suddenly ensued. No, it had nothing to do with that. The National Post had just published a series devoted to tobacco smuggling, and the Liberals, desperate for anything that would allow them to dodge the fact that they had just given rural Canada the middle digit on the gun registry vote, gratefully seized the story as a deflective device. It worked. With the all the diligence and critical thinking that we can expect from Canada’s press corps, Iggy’s press releases were printed verbatim. And the Conservative Party let itself down by failing once again to seize a proffered opportunity to expose the hypocrisy of Her Majesty’s opposition.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t spend a little time and answer the questions that should have been asked. We’ll start with a bit of math and then move into the ethics part a bit later.

After ten years, the gun registry has cost Canadians over 2.2 billion dollars. That’s 220 million per year. Now if we divide that by $100,000 (a police officer’s salary and benefits), that equals two hundred and twenty more officers employed over a ten year period. Now let’s think about taking all those cops, stationing them along the St. Lawrence from Long Sault to Lancaster, and giving them free rein to devote themselves to nothing else but the smuggling problem. Holy smokes, (okay, lousy pun) you have to agree that even after making allowances for holidays, sick-leave and shift coverage, that two hundred plus officers would have to make a serious (maybe fatal) dent in the profits of the contraband entrepreneurs.

Yet here was Mark Holland, the Liberal public safety critic who led the charge to retain the gun registry, insisting that the Conservative government’s failure to stop the smugglers amounted to negligence of the highest order. The headlines read “Liberals demand Enforcement”, but Iggy’s real position was buried in paragraph three. According to Holland (quoted in the National Post), “the federal government should be in talks with First Nations leaders, developing a mutually respectful way to replace the cigarette business with other employment.” Replace it with what, exactly? What would be fair substitute for the profits from a boat-load of smokes? A few days weaving cat-tail mats? A week’s work turning out miniature canoes? I don’t think so, but then again, realistic solutions aren’t the Liberal way. How about a nice new government-funded office where all the ‘stakeholders’ could meet at tax-payer’s expense to burn sweetgrass and tax-dollars, to give the appearance that something was being done. Ah, now you’re talking. No need to enter a political minefield by using nasty words such as crackdown, arrest, and tough sentencing.

And on a somewhat related issue (we are talking about hypocrisy and lousy priorities) comes the news from Ontario that many people with cancer often can’t afford to pay for life-saving medication. When in hospital, the drugs are covered by Canada’s publicly funded health care, but unless someone has private medical insurance through their job (i.e. government employees), the medication isn’t covered once they leave the hospital. (So much for the Liberal fiction that our health-care system is universal, egalitarian and effective.) It’s bad enough that people have to deal with the ravages of cancer, but on top of that they have the added stress about how they’re going to pay to save their lives as well. Now here’s the connection with the gun stuff.

During the gun-registry debates, Liberals from both the federal and provincial wings advanced the argument that retention of the long-gun registry was a worthwhile thing, on the grounds that “if someday, it saves just one life, it will be worth it.” And they voted like the sheep they are to continue the waste, because maybe, at some unspecified date in the future, there might be a ghost of a chance that they could conjure up a story about the usefulness of a 2.2 million-dollar taxpayer-funded mega-dump in Mirimachi, NB.

And in the meantime, their Queen’s Park counterparts refused to give ten cents to Judy Pope who was suffering from kidney cancer. They denied her request to fund the $3,000 plus per month cost of the medication that she needed to keep herself alive…so she died.

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