Now that the political situation in Canada is back on the front burner – like it’s been anywhere else in the past few months!, it’s starting to come to light that Page 4 of the Rimbey Review isn’t the only place where you’ll find columns pointing out the woeful situation regarding the lack of leadership in this province and/or country.
In fact, there’s a whole bunch of other places you’ll find analysis’ on those types of shortcomings including the Mad River Institute for Political Studies based in Creemore, Ontario who in providing their annual look at the Worst Politicians of 2008, used a play on words of a previously well-watched television show that has seen itself bounced off the boob-tube once and for all, or at least, that’s what many of us are hoping for.
As opposed to using the title, Canadian Idol, the Mad River Institute has instead opted to use the much more appropriate title of, Idle Canadian in describing our country’s worst politicians of the past 12 months and have even stepped outside of our borders in a few cases.
But make no mistake folks, unlike the selections made on Canadian Idol, which seem to be based more on pretty faces, tight clothes and whoever thousands of 17 year-old girls find ‘hot’, the selections made for Idle Canadian are actually chosen based on a set of rules and nobody had to phone in their votes at a cost of .50 cents each.
For one thing, all candidates for Idle Canadian must be nominated by a member of the Mad River Institute, the nominee must be an active politician for all categories with the exception of the “lifetime” award and the nominee must be an active civil servant or one the Institute describes as still “in the news”. As for the “lifetime” award, the Institute insists the nominees must have been out of politics long enough to have evaluated policies and political decisions or, if still active, must have a “long” track record. They didn’t actually go into detail as to what exactly the length of their track record has to do with anything, but nevertheless, all the ‘winners’ were selected by the Institute’s Board of Directors.
So without further ado – and as you’ve probably imagined already without any surprises, here, according to the Mad River Institute for Political Studies, are the worst politicians of 2008 along with an explanation and a number of reasons why they were selected:
Worst Federal Member of Parliament – Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
“For playing politics with Canadians: for breaking his own election law to call an election that wasn’t necessary at a cost of $300 million to try to get his majority; for continuing to bully his opponents, especially Stéphane Dion who was targeted by an unfair advertising campaign; for trying to cut off most of the funding to the Opposition political parties for partisan gain; for failing to face Parliament and running to the Governor-General to prorogue.”
Worst Provincial Politician – Ed Stelmach, Premier of Alberta
“For misleading Albertans, other Canadians, and American political leaders about the potentially devastating environmental consequences of the tar sands’ development. Not only will oil from the tar sands not be ‘clean’, as the premier recently told US Congressional and business leaders but short of some unknown advancement in technology, will be the ‘dirtiest’ oil produced on the planet.”
Worst International Politician – Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe
“For inciting political violence and human rights’ violations, while fixing his country’s June election to keep himself in power, saying “Only God” can remove him; for doing nothing to stop a cholera epidemic except to blame the British government for introducing it.”
Worst Civil Servant – Michaelle Jean, Governor-General of Canada
“For setting an awful precedent which could lead to future political chaos by permitting Parliament to be prorogued just so the governing party can temporarily avoid a motion of confidence; for not putting limits on what the prime minister could do while the House was prorogued, permitting him to appoint 18 senators he previously had said he would not appoint. So what’s to now stop any prime minister from proroguing just to save their party from losing power?”
Lifetime Lack of Achievement Award – George Bush, former President of the United States of America
“For lying to get Congress to go along with a war against Iraq and for lying about its progress; for establishing never-before-seen deficits of such magnitude it will take at least a generation for Americans to dig themselves out from the mountain of debt; for partisan and ideological ignorance that led to blind deregulation that created the conditions for the present economic collapse; for violating his country’s Constitution and the rights of citizens, again and again, when it served his purposes.”
So there you have it – the worst politicians of 2008, at least according to the Mad River Institute for Political Studies.
But before you go running off to the computer or typewriter to bang off a letter in disagreement, keep one very important thing in mind. While you may or may not like the television show Canadian Idol, you’ve gotta love the Idle Canadian list, and why?
No Ben Mulroney! – although if this was 20 years ago, you can be sure his old man would be listed somewhere above.
* * *
There’s been another development in the case of those abandoned horses that were left to fend for themselves in the mountains of British Columbia and it’s very good news, unless of course you happen to be Edmonton-based lawyer Frank Mackay who abandoned the horses, because things aren’t looking so good for him.
Last week you may have caught the news that the province’s SPCA ruled that Mackay will not be getting his horses back as he had requested, and now things have gone from bad to worse for Mackay as last Tuesday, the SPCA announced that they were laying charges under both the British Columbia Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.
Maybe there actually is some justice in this world after all.