The cover of the National Post was priceless this morning – it showed Buzz Hargrove shilling for the Bloc while Paul Martin stood beside him, scratching his head with a worried look on his face. You could just see him thinking, “Oh, shit… he really did say that. Damn. I should stop wearing this jacket he gave me.”
After laughing at that photo and cracking jokes about sending a framed copy as a gift to Liberal HQ, the NDP War Room got down to business making fun of Martin for campaigning on socially progressive values while standing beside various Liberal MPs who voted against same-sex marriage (and were never censured by the party for doing so). 1, 2, 3, 4 The Liberals responded by issuing a press release (“Layton Has Turned his Back on Protecting Rights”), which should have been entitled “NDP Not Criticizing Harper in Ways Strategically Convenient for the Liberal Party”. All of a sudden it’s the NDP’s job to go after Harper for being anti-queer? Why isn’t it the Liberals’ job? Oh, right— because no-one would take them seriously, after so many of their MPs voted against equal marriage.
In more serious news, Harper has lately been claiming that having the Senate and civil service full of Liberal appointees and “activist” judges will hamper his powers for years to come. It’s pretty clear that if Harper sees our current judges as political appointees, he’ll make an effort to install ones who hold his own views. This is pretty scary, and it’s come up before: in 2004, a Conservative MP told a filmmaker “Well the heck with the courts, eh. You know, one of these days we in this country are gong to stand up and say, the politicians make the laws and the courts do not.… If the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is going to be used as the crutch to carry forward all of the issues that social libertarians want, then there’s got to be, for us conservatives out there, there’s got to be a way to put checks and balances in that.” Maybe Martin wasn’t so out to lunch with his proposal to scrap the Notwithstanding Clause after all… (Has anyone else seen the phrase “activist judge” in mainstream political discourse this side of the US-Canadian border before? Hearing it from Peter Mansbridge’s mouth sent a shiver down my spine.)
Meanwhile, a staffer in Liberal candidate Chris Axworthy’s campaign office was caught accusing their Conservative opponent, MP Maurice Vellacott, of sexually assaulting his church secretary, on a live call-in radio show. (Vellacott had never even been a member of the church in question, let alone on staff there.) The caller apparently made no effort to disguise the number, which is listed in the campaign office’s contact information on the Liberal website. Are people really that stupid, or was somebody just mad at Axworthy for taking the last timbit during that morning’s pep talk? I suppose we’ll find out during the defamation lawsuit.