Friday, May 25, 2007

Miller/McGuinty: A Complex Solution for a Simple Problem

A fascinating contrast here.

In response to the most recent evidence provided Canadians of serious societal decline--namely: the murder of a 15 year old boy in the hallways of his Toronto school--Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Toronto Mayor David Miller condemn as responsible 1) the handgun that was employed by the murderer, and 2) the United States. They recommend that the one be banned, and--a little more cryptically--that the other "take steps." What precisely those steps might be isn't elaborated beyond this, but I suspect something along the lines of just the one: that the U.S. should quietly accept responsibility for (as Chris Selley points out) the murder of a Canadian boy, in a Canadian school, by (odds are) another Canadian boy.

Au contraire:

In response to the accumulation of evidence provided the citizens of France since November 2005 of serious societal decline, President Nicholas Sarkozy condemns as responsible--get this--the French themselves! Now this is a novelty, isn't it? Imagine suggesting that a country is responsible for the things that happen within its own borders! That its citizens take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions! Scandalous!

To elaborate: Monsieur Sarkozy apparently believes that neither gasoline nor matches are the determining factors in, say, a nationwide blight of car burnings. Rather, he's under this weird impression that a preponderance of bad behaviour has something to do with the fact that good behaviour isn't being encouraged or even taught. (For those who don't know our other official language see here).

Now don't get me wrong: getting a bunch of kids in the habit of vouvoient-ing their teachers rather than tutoient-ing them is, no doubt, about as useful to the task of re-civilizing a country as an elastoplast is in treating first degree burns. But, still. It seems to me that this is a far cry from turning your back on a murdered child to, first, curse the Svengali-like powers of persuasion of an inanimate object, then, wave your limp-wristed fists at a border.