Musings —04.01.2013 06:46 PM—
As uprisings go, it sure ain’t The Mutiny On The Bounty.
Not yet, anyway.
As you may have heard, last week Official Ottawa was agog over the fact a couple of Conservative backbench sheep finally got up on their hind legs and bleated “no” to the boss. An avalanche of columns and news stories immediately ensued, including some that actually went as far as suggesting Stephen Harper’s corpse might soon be swinging from the yardarm.
The Toronto Star: It’s a Conservative “revolt!”
It’s “a rare show of courage!” enthused The Globe and Mail. It could be the beginnings of a “leadership challenge!” wrote one respected columnist.
Um, not quite.
The beginnings of the mini-mutiny can be traced, mostly, to the abortion file. Some of the nobodies and lunkheads in the Conservative caucus still want to try to make abortion illegal. They have devised all manner of clever motions and resolutions to achieve that.
Ship captain Stephen Harper, however — to his credit, and to the surprise of people like me, who wrongly said he had a hidden agenda on abortion — has said no way. He has ruthlessly crushed any and all attempts to kickstart the abortion debate.
Harper has been more resolute on the abortion issue, in fact, than any prime minister in a generation.
He deserves credit for that. He said he wasn’t going to reopen abortion, and he meant it. Harper’s party pledged to leave abortion alone in successive election campaigns, and they did just that.
The motley crew below decks, however, aren’t satisfied.
So they’ve devised dishonest tactics and tricks to move the country back to the bad old days, when the only choice women had were coat hangers in back alleys.
Some of the MPs say they are focused on “gender discrimination,” or what constitutes “complete birth.” They’re lying. They want to make abortion illegal and they lack the guts to say so out loud.
Some of them, meanwhile, aren’t upset about abortion at all. Instead, they’re upset about something else — two tiny letters, which they would like to see appended to their names on fancy letterhead: “P.C.”
As in, privy councillor. They figured they’d be in cabinet by now and, seven years in, the mutinous MPs have finally figured out they won’t be. So they’re popping off at Captain Harper.
Should the conservative captain be concerned? Yes and no. Yes, because when your government is slipping in the polls, as his is, you need all the shipmates rowing in the same direction.
But, also, no. This pipsqueak revolution, led by pipsqueaks, is nothing like what Jean Chretien loyalists (like me) had to contend with a decade ago. Back then, ambitious Paul Martin supporters used every dirty trick in the book to hurt Chretien and drive him out.
Chretien, however, fought back and ended up staying far longer than he’d planned. All the Grit mutineers ended up doing was sinking the S.S. Liberal. And themselves.
Captain Harper quickly put down last week’s rebellion, and the anti-abortionists and the overambitious sailors have — for the moment — gone quiet. If I were advising Harper, however, I’d advise this: Throw a few of the nobodies overboard and make everyone watch as the sharks tear them to pieces.
Things will be shipshape again, and in no time at all, too.