The grownups among us understand that no Canadian government in the last quarter century has been principle-based. The game, as we all know, is to loudly assert a passionate commitment to the Noble Cause of the Day - the Environment, Our Troops, the Elimination of Child Poverty - with an eye on the polls, while quietly pursuing a more pragmatic agenda. The trick, of course, is managing when events in the real world bring to light the yawning crevasse between the Ringing Proclamation of Principle and your actual practice.
To give credit where credit is due, our current government and their fan base have refined and formalized their response to that kind of crisis into a seamless, replicable process that puts NASA to shame. With minor variations, the Harperites can be relied upon to:
- Ignore it. Maybe it will go away.
- Once you can't ignore, Deny. It didn't happen.
- Once you can no longer deny, Disparage. It MIGHT have happened, but it doesn't really matter and is being blown all out proportion by opportunistic partisans.
- Once it's clear that you can't disparage the issue out of existence, Demean the Accuser(s). Call in John Baird to explain why the complainers are a bunch of whiny commie antisemitic liars.
- If the Reviling doesn't seem to do it, Defer. Assign it to a Committee (which you can later boycott or ignore. Or link it to some other process that you regretfully don't want to confuse. Or simply wait - because being the Harper Government, God knows there will be something else tomorrow. And never forget - ADSCAM, David Suzuki used a diesel bus, and Ignatieff is a dork.
We've seen this exact cycle spun on Afghan detainees, the repatriation of Khadr, the Chalk River Reactor, Canadian food inspection standards, cuts to arts and women's programs, the dismantling of environmental monitoring Environment Canada, Cadman, the Income Trust reversal...but now we can watch the cycle in operation from scratch.
Yesterday a feisty shit kicker and federal ombudsman for veterans, Col. Pat Stogran, broke the "news" that Harper and Co's much vaunted concern for Canada' troops ends at the photo op. To those of us with friends in Veteran's Affairs, or in care, this is no surprise. But the story seems to be attracting some attention.
Judging from a quick round of Canadian headlines and Blogging Tory sites, we're still in the "Ignore" stage. But should this story run one more day, some kind of response will be required.
So here's the deal. The first respondent to provide a series of BT posts OR Conservative press releases that cover all five stages of response will win, free and gratis, a rare copy of William McGonnagle's "Poetic Gems", the complete works of the worst poet in history.
Those five stages again:
I'll even give you a head start. You don't have to provide a link for "Ignore".