Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Tipping Point

This weekend, I read a book by Malcolm Gladwell, called The Tipping Point. It is a best seller and discusses the phenomenon of social epidemics, such as fashion trends, disease, or behavioural patterns such as crime. The gist is that sudden and sweeping change (an epidemic) may be brought about by the confluence of seemingly small factors, the right people, and the right context.

The mention of crime naturally conjured up the words Gomery, Adscam and Liberal. Social epidemics, as expressed in political terms, have happened at regular intervals in Canada's history. In Alberta, it was the sweeping in of the Socreds in the thirties and the sweeping out of the Socreds in the early seventies. More recently on the national front, it was the sweeping out of the Liberals in 1984 and the sweeping out of the Progressive Conservatives in 1993.

The three rules of the Tipping Point are the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context. If we apply those rules to current Canadian politics, it's easy to conclude that Paul Martin and the Liberals are at their Tipping Point.

The Law of the Few suggests that social epidemics are heavily dependent on people with a particular and rare set of social gifts. In Canada at the moment, we can imagine that "gift" might also mean "curse". Paul Martin's curse is that of being one who has been hanging around in much too close proximity to corruption and possibly criminal activity for much too long to plead ignorance and innocence with any plausibility.

The Stickiness Factor refers to messaging, whether intentional or incidental. When something is repeated often enough, or is catchy enough, it sticks. Even non-smokers would be able to complete the sentence "Winston tastes good, .........................". Okay, maybe non-smokers as old as I am. The incidental message that Canadians have been receiving for over a year, and particularly loud and clear in the past few weeks, is that Liberals and their government are corrupt and possibly criminal. It matters not whether it's this group of Liberals or that group of Liberals, or whether it's all Liberals or just some Liberals
-- it's Liberals.

The Power of Context says that human beings are a lot more sensitive to their environment than they may seem. Canadian voters tend to have a high threshold of pain and short memories. The key to getting people to change their behaviour is the feeling of distress that can develop in the proper context. That context today is that we simply can't accept the demonstrated conduct and attitude of far too many Liberals and their successive governments.

Mr. Martin, you are at The Tipping Point. Begging is unseemly for the leader of a country like Canada, and I was embarrassed for you last week. It's time that Canadian voters gave you the final push off the cliff of political oblivion and put you all out of our misery.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Closure and justice denied.

It has been twenty years since the worst mass murder and terrorist act in Canada's history took place, with the loss of Air India Flight 182. We are no closer to seeing justice done than we were on June 23rd, 1985. On that day, 329 mostly Canadian lives were consumed by an explosion at 31,000 feet and their bodies were buried in the Irish Sea. Two more lives were lost at Narita Airport in Japan shortly before Air India 182 went down.

Their histories will live on as a shameful example of Canada's inability to deal with reality. Their futures and those of their descendants are forever lost to us. In good conscience, we cannot go into that future without the illumination of a public judicial inquiry on behalf of the familes and on behalf of the future safety of all Canadians.

After the recent verdict of innocence, I was extremely impressed by the reactions of the families. Although they were deeply hurt by the apparent lack of justice, they all spoke passionately and calmly and with a deep respect for being Canadian. Their grace and dignity in a very difficult and painful situation set a fine example. We owe them the closure and justice that are being denied.

It has been twenty years of justice delayed, and there is no question that this is now justice denied. The Canadian justice system has been tied in knots of impotence by those who are clever enough and rich enough to do so. The members of the RCMP, CSIS and other organizations have undoubtedly done their best. The net result, however, is that someone has gotten away with 331 counts of first-degree murder.

Justice Josephson said in his judgment that the acquittals of Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik were the result of unacceptable negligence in the handling of evidence. It took twenty years to get to this point. We're no smarter or more reassured that we have fixed the situation, let alone brought the guilty parties to justice. On a scale of lives lost, this is 165 times more egregious than the miscarriage of justice in the O.J. Simpson case.

We have no decent option other than holding a full public judicial inquiry into this case. It will not be about guilt or innocence for the crime. It will be about the ability of our public safety and security apparatus to ensure our safety. It will be about finding out how terrorist individuals and organizations could have so effectively manipulated our security and justice systems.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Solicitor General, and Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Anne McLellan, spoke in Parliament yesterday about the futility of a public judicial inquiry. Instead, she will seek advice from an eminent but un-named Canadian, before she proceeds.

She opines that it might be premature to hold an inqury. Premature?! Twenty years!? After she has consulted the mystery Canadian, she will have a chat with the families and listen to what are their concerns. Madam, they have given you their concerns loud and clear. They want a public judicial inquiry. Please quit hiding behind your authority and ability to prevaricate and obfuscate and respond.

She wondered aloud about whether B.C. might appeal the Josephson decision and said that any public judicial inquiry couldn't take place while that appeal was in progress. Nonsense. The appeal would address the evidence and the public judicial inquiry would address the process.

She spoke of the investigations that our partners-in-justice in India and Ireland had conducted. Indeed they have, and members of their organizations have concluded that our process was flawed and incompetent.

Has anything changed? She would have us think so and, in fairness, some positive changes have been made. However, evidence is still routinely being destroyed, and who knows who will get away with murder in the future because of it? How many witnesses will live under death sentences by organized crime and terrorism and have to live out their days in witness protection programs?

Yesterday in the House, Ms. McLellan and her Parliamentary Secretary did the Ali shuffle that they are so good at. We've already spent $130 million on this case, they offer as a reason to quit. Well folks, you've also spent one billion after another on an idiotic gun registry to absolutely no positive effect. How about giving a bit of the same sticktoitiveness to our national security? I think that Canadians would understand.

The irony is that Canada, itself, was not even the direct target of this heinous crime. Canada is a rich multi-cultural mosaic, and I enjoy that very much. An unfortunate by-product of that benefit is that we have also inherited many Old World hatreds, terrorism and criminality, that are now being played out against Canadian citizens and our country.

Our justice, security and immigration systems have had their hands tied, despite their best intentions and the dedication of the individual members of their organizations. Yesterday, Anne McLellan repeated the old (and true) expression that a government has no greater responsibility to its citizens than to ensure the security of the state. Well, madam, you and your government have let us down in the areas of justice, immigration, national security, national defence, and more. I don't think that you have what it takes to fix it. Move over.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

If the glove fits...........

The Liberals must have been watching reruns of the O.J. Simpson trial this week, when they reacted with such indignation to the revelations coming out of the Gomery Inquiry, courtesy of an American blogger. They are now throwing themselves on the gullibility of the population with their hand-wringing plea that is they, the poor misunderstood Liberals, who are actually the victims of fraud in the case. Heh?!?

It would be funny, if it were not so pathetic. One expects that, at any moment, Johnny Cochran will rise from the dead and march into Parliament brandishing a bloody glove for one of the innocenti to try on.

We will leave no stone unturned in our search for the guilty parties, intones the Prime Minister's pet parrot, Scott Brison. He is looking remarkably naked for someone who was just voted the Best Dressed Male MP. Maybe, like O.J, they should start golfing around the country in search of the guilty party, and maybe they should start in Shawinigan.

We will send our lawyers to Gomery to defend the honour of the poor, downtrodden Liberal Party ............ at taxpayers' expense. How about defending taxpayers' expense at the cost of Liberal (dis)honour?

It must be those dastardly "parallel" Liberals, declares the Prime Minister's French Lieutenant and Transport Minister, Jean Lapierre. What the heck is a parallel Liberal? That's right up there with "my dog ate my homework" and "collateral damage". Don't buy an airline from this guy.

The Prime Minister is in desparate auto-flail trying to tie the Conservatives to the separatist Bloc, because both parties are outraged at Liberal corruption. It's not that the NDP aren't outraged. They are, but they are not the threat to Liberal hegemony that the Conservatives represent. All Canadians should be outraged.

If you have been watching Question Period, you've seen the Deputy Prime Minister poking and tugging at the Boss's sleeve, as if prompting him to another evasive and defensive retort (as opposed to answer) to a straightforward question by Stephen Harper, etal. That's not surprising, since her performance as the defender of public safety and emergency preparedness has just been panned by the Auditor General.

The Liberals' inability to accept responsibility for their actions and their playing the victim should come as no surprise. This fits right in with their habit of upholding criminals' rights over victims' rights in our out-of-touch justice system. Wasn't she also Justice Minister?

If you have surfed "Captain's Quarters", you'll have a taste of what everyone who has sat in on the Gomery Show knows, but Canadians-at-large can't be trusted with. It's pretty bad, but hardly a surprise. It will also get a lot worse, if you're a Liberal.

The Bloc smells blood in the water and would force an election tomorrow, if they could. The Conservative approach is much more sensible and measured. Let's let Gomery do his job. Let's take the testimony out from behind a silly and ineffectual publication ban. Let's allow Canadians to judge the full depth and breadth of Liberal corruption and, then, let voters pass their judgment at the polls.

The Eighth Commandment is pretty simple - "Thou shalt not steal." The O.J. defence won't work. The glove fits. Wear it like a man (or woman) and take your lumps.