This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Paul Martin, Headwaiter (Part One of an ongoing series)

This Magazine Staff

Came across this comment the other day:
I’ve learned something interesting: if you give away ice cream, eventually a lot of people will complain about the flavours, and others will complain that you aren’t also giving away syrup and whipped cream and nuts.
I was reminded of this as I read in my morning paper that the cities are already clamouring for Paul Martin to double his promised money from $5 billion to $10 billion. As in health care so in funding for municipalities: Why stop at $10 billion? Why not make it twenty?
Further on in the front section, I notice that Jean Charest got creamed in 3 out of 4 byelections yesterday. That’s odd, because on the weekend, they were talking about the “Charest bounce” from the health care deal leading the Libs to victory in at least three ridings.
Dearest Mr. Martin, you pathetic, insecure man, here’s a tip. Remember the parable of the ice cream. Giving something away doesn’t make people like you, it makes them resent you. Two things every prime minister for the last 35 years has understood:
1. The federal government never gets credit for spending in provincial jurisdiction.
2. The federal government never gets credit for devolving powers to the provinces.
The underlying principle, which everyone except Paul Martin seems to have learned in the schoolyard: The weaker you act, the weaker they treat you.

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