March 19, 2004 - The Halifax Herald Limited

Let me spring a few predictions on you

THE SNOW from the blizzard of '04 is melting fast. Soon, the back-breaking labours the storm begot will be a fading, unpleasant memory. Thus, with the promise of warm weather once again in reach, and with the juice of renewal beginning to flow once more through Mother Nature's creations, I'll take heart, be brave, and look into my crystal ball and predict a few things for the remainder of 2004.

- Recently, I saw a Chronicle Herald picture of Cumberland-Colchester MP Bill Casey, an old friend, with his ever-present all-weather coat slung over his right shoulder, strolling along with Conservative party leadership candidate Belinda Stronach. I'll predict that he will be re-elected with the usual comfortable majority. But to dispel any notion that he's frozen in time, he might consider slinging his coat over the left shoulder for a change.

- Now, the future of Belinda Stronach: I predict that she will be the new leader of the Conservative party. I'll qualify it just a bit: If Harper doesn't win on the first ballot, Belinda will take it on the second. I think her social liberalism and fiscal conservatism are just what the country and the Conservative party need.

- Paul Martin will come up smelling of roses from the scandal now rocking the Liberals. He will make some significant immediate changes to the democratic process. However, the bulk of changes he envisions will not come until after he wins a majority mandate, probably with about 45 per cent of the electorate backing him, which isn't really a mandate, but, in this country, the way our politics operate, it is. Sounds crazy, doesn't it?

- However, he will, because of the constitutionalized King of the Commons mantle that comes with the office of prime minister, be sorely tested in trying to resist the temptation to become an elected dictator. I predict he will succeed in finding the moral reserve to do so. But he will quickly find that his effort to make Canada into a real democracy, without overhauling the whole process, is an almost impossible task. The reason is that the present system, which hasn't any effective checks and balances, is revered by most politicians of all stripes, and they won't abandon it without a stiff fight.

- Now, let's go to the U.S., where real democracy does flourish, for a review of presidential politics. With my fingers and toes crossed, I'll predict, come November, the American electorate will anoint John Kerry president-elect. By mid-2005, superbly arrogant George Bush, like the blizzard of '04, will be a fading, painful memory. And, we Canadians, trying desperately to give the impression that our antiquated political system is superior to that of our southern kissing cousins, will throughly enjoy the whole process. And, I might add, be secretly jealous.

The afore-mentioned prediction could be upset by environmental guru Ralph Nader who was, by running for president in 2000, responsible for Bush winning the White House in that election. It would be highly ironic if he, the most prominent consumer and environmental advocate in the U.S., is again responsible for assuring the election of a president who is rightly considered by many experts to be the biggest disaster for the environment in modern times. Perhaps, Ralph is a closet right winger?

If Kerry prevails, he will, within a few months of taking office, have most of the damage done to American diplomatic relations with the rest of the world by George II repaired. With this, he will have gone a long way toward making the U.S. a world partner again.

Now, for a few sure things:

- I predict that gay and lesbians marriages will not lay waste to the institution of marriage. Nor will they cause the world to come to an end, much less a ripple. In fact, as witnessed by the fact that so many of these couples have stayed together for such long times, heterosexuals might learn something from them - how to get along with a partner and make a relationship work. Then perhaps divorce, the thing that has caused more damage to the institution of marriage than anything else, can be brought under control.

- Federal and provincial debts will continue to rise, and much more of our hard-earned taxes will go toward paying interest. I don't foresee federal and provincial governments coming together in the immediate future to responsibly map out a plan to retire this looming monster.

- A real dilly from a recent headline: "Bin Laden cast as family man." I predict that hell will have frozen several hundred times over before world public opinion will be persuaded to believe such! If ever there was such a person, his despicable cruelty and total disregard for innocent human life makes him the world's foremost candidate for eternal damnation. It chills one's spine to consider him, the murderer of thousands of innocents, and a persecutor of women, the role model for a "family man." Only a true nutcase would ever cast him in such a role.

- One last important positive prediction: the winter blues will soon be gone and we shall soon be basking in warm glorious weather! Do I hear a chorus of AMENS?

Daniel N. Paul


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