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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Enough is enough

I like Bill Graham. Really, I do. You've got to respect a man who's devoted much of his adult life to public service. While I disagree with him and the 23 other Liberal MPs who voted "yea" on the Afghanistan extension, I still think he's a principled man who takes principled positions.

When I read this article this morning, I got annoyed. First we "blink" on a Tory election threat, now we refuse to stand up and be counted on the Tory Federal Accountability Act. Sure, I know the political implications of having the Liberal caucus vote either way. Either you're seen supporting the Tories and "acknowledging" the fact that government (led for 12 years by Liberals) is dirty and needs to be cleaned up, or you're "against increased accountability," and thus supportive of the "corruption" for which we've been soundly criticized.

Graham is obviously caught between a rock and a hard place, here. I understand his dilemma. I "feel his pain," if you will. But running away from reporters is not the answer. Refusing to state the Liberal position -- that this is a flawed, cynical piece of legislation that unfairly targets Liberals while allowing Tory lobbyists a free reign -- is not the answer. Keeping our fingers crossed that the Senate (a bastion of democracy and accountability, if I've ever seen one) will amend the bill is not the answer.

Once again, I like Bill Graham. It's tough being an interim leader. He probably figures he's doing the best he can do given the resources he has. But it's clear the Liberals lack leadership in Ottawa. What we need is a leader with guts. And soon. We need someone who's not only willing to take a stand, but is able to articulate it forcefully and convincingly. Enough wavering, enough equivocation, enough pussyfooting. It's time for leadership. Bring on the convention.