Time?s up! Canadians have been fair in giving Paul Martin a chance to prove that he?s different from Jean Chrétien, that he can offer a better vision for Canada. Even I was willing to give the new Prime Minister longer than the two-and-a-half months he?s been on the job to show the country what he?s made of.
Well, he blew it. Canada has finally lost its patience. Mr. Martin has already reneged on so many promises he made when he was the Liberal leadership hopeful that the nation now feels that neither Paul Martin nor the Liberal Party can be trusted to continue running our country. Here are five reasons why Mr. Martin has run out of time:
1)The Public Works sponsorship scandal. Mr. Martin?s performance throughout this escalating controversy has been inconsistent and unbelievable. He can?t seem to decide where to lay the blame, just so long as it doesn?t land in his lap as the man who ran the country?s finances through the height of this Liberal money-laundering scheme.
2)CSL and government funds. Oops! Last year, the government reported that it did just $137,000 in business with Mr. Martin?s company CSL, when the actual amount we now know was $161-million! Why did Mr. Martin, who admits he knew the original figure was incorrect when it was reported, keep quiet on the multi million dollar ?accounting error??
3)The gun registry. The new Prime Minister promised a review of the firearms debacle, yet before it has barely begun, he?s pledged that the gun registry is here to stay. Despite the supposed federal spending freeze that he announced with great fanfare when he took power, the gun registry is running at $20-million over-budget for this year alone. It is now on track to hit $2-billion.
4)Missing: Slayer of the Democratic Deficit. After just one week in Parliament as PM, Mr. Martin moved his first closure motion. He moved for closure on a piece of legislation that, like all his legislation thus far, was a recycled Chrétien bill. He?s also backtracked on allowing a free vote for his backbench MPs on the gun registry.
5)Stephen Harper. As Canadians disappointed by Mr. Martin?s performance keep watch over the Conservative Leadership contest, Mr. Harper has suddenly emerged as a sincere and legitimate choice to lead the country. It?s one thing for voters to turn away en masse from the Liberals, but they want there to be someone they can comfortably choose to turn to.
After 10 years on the job as your representative in Ottawa, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly the political fortunes of a party, a single politician or a government can take a turn ? for better or worse. There are still several weeks to go before an expected Spring election. Plenty of time for Paul Martin to continue to try to prove himself. Plenty of time for the Conservative Party of Canada to make its mark on the Canadian electorate. Anything can happen ? and probably will!