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More on the Liberal grieve-fest

Colby Cosh writes a column on the Liberals' public grief-posturing that is so cynical it could never be published. But he's right:

In truth, I can only feel proud that so many of my fellow Canadians stayed home. Until now our prime ministers had foregone acting as popes of the Church of Sacred Emotion. But on Saturday the dignitaries in attendance delivered a familiar Clintonian sermon on the theme of empathy as the greatest of all virtues. (How fortunate that it's also the very cheapest!) The Governor-General, always ready with a quote, told the empty seats that "the key to life" is to "try to feel in your heart's core the reality of others." The obvious corollary--and clearly McRae will go along with this--is that how you conduct yourself matters not at all. But if she could really "feel... the reality" of a hundred and fifty thousand dead in her "heart's core", she certainly wouldn't be up to standing at a podium, channelling Margaret Laurence like some fatuous cocktail-party guest.

Paul Martin dug even deeper. "South Asia's pain is our own," he said. Let me rephrase: he said it to the families of a bunch of people who had been drowned or smashed to death by a giant tidal wave. I mean, fancy that! Most of you may have thought you were encountering, at worst, a negligible sort of gloom at watching the casualty figures mount up. But according to Mr. Martin, you were actually suffering. Of course, he cannot mean it; it would be monstrous for him to claim a genuine share of South Asia's pain, for himself or for Canada, in complete earnest. The statement was intended only to reassure the listener of Paul Martin's cosmic-scale sensitivity and good intentions.

It is hard for me to see why those of us who have actual grieving to do must do it in public. The only interests it serves are those of the people who aren't really grieving at all, but who wish to give the appearance of grieving--who wish to rudely annex the shared aura of the suffering for their own purposes. What might those purposes be in the case of those denizens of Ottawa who did show up? Since I feel able to confess not having had my life seriously interrupted by the tsunami, it falls to me to meet rudeness with rudeness, and point out that South Asians are amongst the Liberals' favourite client groups, and that they carry political weight in this country well out of proportion to their numbers.

UPDATE: Cosh wrote this piece based on a really dumb Earl McRae column in the Ottawa Sun. Today the Sun readers let him have it:

Kathy Kashuba. "Maybe it says people don't want to listen to PM Dithers natter on. Or listen to extravagant GG yatter on. PM Dithers can go to hell."

Grayme in Sudbury. "The seats were empty because a national day of mourning is an empty political gesture. Did you see Paul Martin's January 3rd visit to a Markham school to posture and prostrate himself? A more pathetic and misguided performance I have never seen."

Bruce Mills, Dundas, Ont. "The Canadian public seems to have grasped the difference between genuine compassion and a grandstanding, self-aggrandizing photo op. Canadians are fed up with the Liberals telling them what to do."

Stephen Morford. "Canadians have shown their caring and generosity ... they apparently don't feel the need to publicly wallow in fake pity at a political photo op session."

And there's many more. It makes me feel warm inside...


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I agree with Colby, I couldn't possibly stomach the idea of Martin as griever-in-chief in a collective Oprah moment share-our-pain moment. I practically heave at the thought of it. I am delighted that everyone ignored them.

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