-reality-show style accusations that Mike Duffy was forced- under great duress and in a truly diabolical fashion- to accept more money than most of us see all year for expenses he racked up (and no doubt he was forced to rack them up, too!)
-a Native uprising in New Brunswick that gets neither the Natives nor the New Brunswickers anywhere except hating each other worse than they did before
-a Premier of Ontario who is so disingenuous that she announced an Open Goverment Initiative- not an Open Government Initiative, you see, but an Open Goverment Initiative- because the idea of providing transparency into some parallel not-real thing that isn't quite "Government" to distract people from That Power Plant is so typically Kathleen Wynne that it's hard to believe the damn thing was a typo and not intentional
-a by-election in Toronto Centre that resembles one of those movies where two rival dance crews battle for supremacy and where there is no real story and no reason why we should care about any of the "actors" involved and yet we have to go through the exercise of pretending to care, except instead of rival dance crews serving one another we've got Chrystia Freeland and Linda McQuaig seeing who can pretend to care about poor people more whilst doing nothing
-a recent provincial election in Nova Scotia where the Liberals won a crushing majority, because, well, Justin Trudeau
What is the common denominator? All of this insane behaviour is the result of panicked rushes towards or away from something. Kathleen Wynne REALLY REALLY REALLY wants to prove that she isn't totally disingenuous and just ends up drawing attention to the fact that she is totally and utterly and completely disingenuous. An entire province of people didn't want to think too hard about the election they were in, so they engaged in a stampede to the Liberals as an offering to Trudeau. Everybody you know thinks Justin Trudeau is just the tops. They can't tell you why. They just know everyone around them thinks so, so they'd better think so too.
Duffy and Wallin and Brazeau racked up expenses and jet setted around the country because, well, that's what happens in the Senate. Duffy, if he's to be believed, accepted the money because that's what you do, that's what's expected. It's all part and parcel and somehow all the shenanigans that have taken place in the Senate before these three got there, in which guys like Michel Cogger ended up with an actual rap sheet, don't apply. None of them seemed to have the first clue that something like this could happen to them before it was too late.
In Toronto Centre the NDP have concluded that they are 100% right on the subject of scrapping the Senate altogether, and they're going to pound their pointy little heads against that wall from now till the end of November to no discernible effect. One NDP greybeard actually came into my place of business today fresh from the campaign office and started yammering to everyone he could find on the subject of consigning the Senate to the history books. And though nobody disagreed with him, you can be sure that Dame Chrystia Freeland will be the next MP for Toronto Centre, thus continuing the long, long, long, long, long streak of above-it-all Rosedale Liberals in that riding notwithstanding any Liberal contribution to Senate sleaze over the years.
The brain trust advising Duffy, Wallin et al., the voters of Nova Scotia who hoped Prince Justin would favour them by booting the NDP out, the Natives out in NB who think the rest of Canada will rise up alongside them, the lemmings in the Premier's Office who are so eager to prove their commitment to transparency that they forgot how to spell the word "Government" correctly and the phony war between NDPers and Liberals who want basically the same thing in Toronto Centre all have one thing in common, and that is that they follow the leader and do what they're told, confident that nothing could possibly go wrong. They don't know what's happening, so they follow the person at the front of the line who looks like they know what's happening.
Something about huddling together in a room with like-minded individuals removes the ability to step back and say, "Wait a second, what we're doing here is totally kookoo bananas." That's all it takes to turn YOU into a sheep being herded with all the others.
And who's doing the herding? People who think they know what's going on, and don't. Issuing threats of death from above and "If you don't do this or support him or her, here are the consequences." Making people believe that their careers and the safety of those they care about are at stake. Getting people to terrify themselves into doing unspeakably dumb things, with these scandals being the result. Spinmasters at the mercy of other spinmasters who are at the mercy of other spinmasters.
What a shame for all of these nominally progressive people, believing in the basic good of humanity, to discover that they are motivated by fear of punishment and social censure by their fellow humans, pushed to extremism because they feel- and have good reason to feel- like no one will listen, rooted to the spot, terrified to move a muscle until some overseer cracks the whip and sends them scurrying this way or that.