A Noble Spirit Embiggens The Smallest Man

ken_drydenKen Dryden has just edged out Hedy Fry as my favourite comic-relief Liberal leadership contender.    Up until today I thought Hedy had a lock on the generation and retailing of alternate realities, but Big Ken has come on strong.  The man knows how to meticulously craft an ill-reasoned notion and sell it—it’s a gift, I tell you.

Liberal leadership candidate Ken Dryden called today on the Conservative government to reopen the debate on Canada’s role in Afghanistan.

“I don’t believe we should start a pullout now. But we should start a very close re-examination of where we are and what we are doing,” Mr. Dryden told reporters in Ottawa as he unveiled his “Big Canada” platform, which focused on the Kyoto agreement on climate change, the Kelowna Accord on aborigional issues and a national child care program.

Scott Deveau and Bill Curry, “Dryden calls for debate on Afghanistan
Globe and Mail, 05 September 2006.

According to Mr. Dryden we need to build a Big Canada of big ambitions, big pride, and big national endeavours, like these:

  • Cut child poverty in half
  • Make Canada one of the top five most productive countries on earth
  • Lead the world in alternative energies and energy efficiency
  • Building on the Kelowna Accord, finally and forever make Aboriginal peoples full participants in the economic and social success of Canada
  • Build a truly inclusive, accessible country for Canadians with disabilities

It’s interesting that Canada defending her principles and citizens does not factor into the bigness of the Dryden vision.  He wants good solid reasons for us to be in Afghanistan.  I can think of about twenty-four off the top of my head, plus many more hard-headed reasons that mesh well with our strategic imperatives.  Apparently the blood, sweat and tears of our men and women in uniform (not to mention the reconstruction and stability of Afghan society) are not big enough for him.

Child poverty—hmmmm…  Aren’t the vast majority of kids, by strict personal net worth standards, in the poor house?  See any kids out buying cars and houses?  I don’t see too many of them shuffling into office towers in the financial district.  Obviously the leading cause of child poverty is poverty-stricken parents.  Those parents would probably appreciate the opportunity to upgrade skills, get better-paying jobs, pare down expenses and save more money.  What’s your plan for that, Ken?  Or are you just interested in saving a few revenue-generating kids who blew their lunch money nest-eggs in ill-advised stock market speculation?

My understanding of the Kelowna Accord is that it basically aims to improve the lot of First Nations peoples through increased government funding and additional entitlement programs.  Seeing as the first 120 years of mismanaged government funding hasn’t worked out so well, perhaps we could try something new this time around?  No?

Maybe it’s just semantics but I’d rather have a Canada of big achievements (versus ambitions), big deeds (versus boastful words), big individual liberties, and big quality of life.  For all of us—including natives, people with disabilities, and the rest of us.

Category: Amor Patriae  Tags:
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