Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Religion and Politics

Pondering politics!

The same-sex legislation is attempting to merge oil and water. Mixing religion and politics has always been hazardous at best. It cost Larry Spencer his political career and has conservative Member’s of Parliament in a difficult dilemma. Andrew Scheer, Member of Parliament for Regina Qu’Appelle, worked for Larry Spencer and wild horses couldn’t drag him into a fight with the Alliance/Conservative leadership over the Spencer fiasco. He was afraid of the political ramifications for his own political future. Spencer’s Ottawa staff member quickly resigned and rushed off to work for the Office of the Leader of the Opposition. So much for loyalty! I traveled to Ottawa in a failed attempt to assist Spencer with damage control, but Stephan Harper and his operatives had already made up their minds. They wanted nothing to do with mixing religion and politics and they reneged on a promise to provide Spencer with a copy of the taped discussions. I suspect the tape has since been destroyed and now they are embroiled in another controversy over the Gurmant Grewal tapes. Harper has since ordered Grewal to take stress leave in the hopes the issue may go away.

It seems you have to be careful when you are talking to a conservative M.P. The tape may be running. If you ever get banned from a conservative M.P.’s office it is likely because they had ran out of tape. Polls regarding the Grewal tape weighed in on the side of the liberals and the conservatives lost badly in their attempt to score any political points on the liberals. It was a dumb strategy from the out set, as the conservatives should have stuck with the sponsorship scandal. In politics you should never get off a winning horse and you should never place yourself in a defensive position.

Now the conservatives have all changed their position and decided discussions regarding religion and politics are one of the same respecting the same-sex legislation. This position is only about votes. It is now all right to discuss the issue without fear of being kicked out of caucus. I know Andrew Scheer and the nominated conservative candidate for Wascana both have strong religious beliefs. That is a good thing, but you can’t practice it only on Sunday. You have to play the religious card every day or not at all. Recent Globe and Mail polls indicate that 77% of those surveyed did not believe politicians should be guided by their personal religious beliefs. That is more than three out of every four voters. It will be interesting to see if Saskatchewan Member’s of Parliament will take the moral high ground on issues like same-sex legislation. If not, they may feel a tad uneasy at the Sunday Service and with three of every four voters. I know, they are just polls and they don’t apply to Saskatchewan. Don’t worry. Be happy!


Larry Birkbeck