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Posted: November 9, 2013

Harper and Ford – both will go

GerryWarner1-150x150Perceptions by Gerry Warner

“Politics, the art of the possible,” said Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Count von Bismarck uttered this classic phrase in 1867, the year of Canadian Confederation. But if the venerable Count could see the sad state of Canadian politics today he would probably revise it – “the art of the impossible.”

You know something strange is going on in The Great White North when a Canadian political event is a lead item in Jay Leno’s monologue on The Tonight Show. In fact, the bizarre machinations of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford made two appearances in Leno’s eponymous monologue this week and has gone viral around the world, no doubt much to the chagrin of many in what used to be known as “Toronto the Good.”

Residents of Calgary, once branded a hick town by the blue bloods of Toronto, are now virtually chortling over Hog Town’s political woes and have coined a new word that would probably make Bismarck rotate in his grave. The word is “Schadenford,” from the German schadenfreude, the smug feelings Calgarians get when comparing their mayor to Toronto’s.

However, the situation is anything but funny. Thanks to cell phone videos and YouTube, people around the world are watching with incredulous eyes as Toronto’s hog town besotted mayor lurches from crisis to crisis in a virtual meltdown, or “drunken stupor,” as Mayor Ford prefers to put it. No civilized person can take any joy out of the Ford affair. The man needs help, but refuses to seek it. Meanwhile the city government of Canada’s largest city has ground to a halt as the cringe-inducing antics of the mayor leads the nightly newscasts, forcing the rest of city council to rack their brains to find a stratagem to remove him from office and get him the help he so sorely needs.

Good luck with that! Individuals in total denial are not known for making rational choices. But Ford will go, one way or the other.

ColWarnerManuelMeanwhile a far more serious political scandal drags on in Parliament and the Senate Red Chamber as King Stephen wins a Pyrrhic victory by banishing three of his miscreants to the political gallows so he can continue to maintain the fiction that he knew “nothing” about the elaborate scheme cooked up in his own office to remove the troublemakers. Kinda reminds you of Manuel in Fawlty Towers screaming “I know nothing,” as Basil Fawlty beats him around the ears for his latest escapade.

Let’s cut to the quick here. Outside of the ranks of the so-called “Conservative base,” the number of Canadians that believe Harper’s version of the Duffy cheque affair could be counted on one hand, possibly two. And let’s get something else clear. It’s called the PMO because it’s the Prime Minister’s Office, the two are indistinguishable. They are one and the same thing. Now with the number of PMO staffers, lawyers and such who knew about the fatal cheque standing at almost a dozen, Harper’s claim he knew “nothing” is simply beyond belief. It’s an “inoperative statement” as one of the Watergate villains once uttered.

If Harper didn’t know about it he should have known about it. He is guilty either way.

ColWarnerRopeDopeSo where does it go from here? That’s not hard to foresee. Harper will continue to bob and weave in Question Period like Muhammad Ali trying to escape Joe Frazier, another great heavyweight champion. Only Harper isn’t trying to escape Frazier. He’s trying to escape Opposition leader Thomas Mulcair, who hits every bit as hard as Frazier and those punches take a toll.

With hundreds of emails ex-Senator Mike Duffy mentioned as a “script” devised by the PMO to deceive Canadians now in the hands of the RCMP, Mulcair can look forward to an endless cache of ammunition as those emails leak out as they inevitably will.

Watergate didn’t happen overnight. It took almost a year for Woodward and Bernstein to assemble their evidence before a president fell. But Watergate set the template and Harper is bobbing and weaving on that template until he too goes the way of Nixon.

Gerry Warner is a retired journalist from Cranbrook, (250) 489-3271.

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