Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 02.18.04
Quebec City


I know nothing, I see nothing

David Olive, in is excellent book "Canadian political babble: a cynic's dictionary of political jargon," defines corruption as follows"

"A rare lapse from the Olympian standards of honesty by which government is conducted."

Mr. Olive apparently later died of suffocation, his tongue so deeply imbedded in his cheek.

I must say I was amazed last weekend when CBC Radio's "Cross-country Checkup" was inundated by surprised, nay shocked, callers all expressing outrage at the Liberal party's latest boondoggle.

So great was the uproar, that the host of the program, the ineffable, ubiquitous, silver-tongued, Rex Murphy, was himself flummoxed.

His guest, Prime Minister Paul Martin, was left to do his Sergeant Schultz routine.

"I know nothing, I see nothing."

Could it be, I wondered, that the average Canadian, resident of a nation with one of the highest literacy rates in the world, has never read a paper?

Was Friedrich Nietzsche wrong?

God is alive and well, it's history that is deadů

If Canadians had merely paid more attention in school they would surely have realized as Will Rogers did that "the more you read about politics, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other."

It's not the Liberals. It's the nature of the beast.

John A. Macdonald put together a railway and a nation with a little under the table help from gazillionaire Hugh Allan.

It cost him his job.

Brian Mulroney had "Tuna-gate," the air bus, and five hundred pairs of Gucci loafers.

It cost Kim Campbell her job.

This country's politicians have had bingo scandals in the West and oil refinery boondoggles in the East.

Our politicians cheat in referendums and fudge the figures on expense accounts.

They take limos when a train would do, first-class flights when there's a perfectly good seat in the back of the plane, and a Challenger jet when ever possible.

And when someone breaks the politically correct silence like a shattered pane of glass and suggests that maybe it's a "Quebec" thing, were horrified.

Perhaps we should have listened a little more closely to the late Robert Bourassa.

In 1975 his government was implicated in the corruption that was endemic in the construction industry.

Hitting the nail on the head, so to speak, he said, "In any case, it's only puritans from outside Quebec who worry about little things like that."

Hmm, maybe it is time to worry.