Those Stairway Words

The French have a phrase for them, les mots de l’escalier,  those elusive words that didn’t come  when they would have been most useful but do come, too late, as you’re on your way upstairs to bed!   I was plagued with them yesterday and it was most frustrating.

For the first time in my life I had actually been on a soapbox – literally – on a box! – mike in hand! – on a street corner!

I fell into it in all innocence by dropping by late in the afternoon to Peterborough Square at the heart of the city.  I knew the Council of Canadians was holding the first of a daily street corner soapbox  people’s session – no Party candidates allowed, please – with the subject for the first day being the F 35 stealth fighter/bombers.

Trouble was, I stood too close to the box and after the organizer had laid out the rules and given a pep talk she asked, “Who’s up?  Who wants to say something?”

Being a gaggle of good Canadians, none of us moved.  So she arbitrarily handed the mike to me.

Now I’m not an extemporaneous speaker, I’m a writer.  But okay, what the hell.  I did manage to unload a little rant, basically on the point that before one can talk intelligently about any kind of high tech military hardware it would be nice to know what vision the PM has for the country. (So far I can’t see that he has any vision other than Canada as a feeding trough for Corporate Creatures and a colonial support legion for the US military.)

Let’s face it, this was a mostly left-of-centre bunch that was gathered on a small open area by the main street but soon one courageous dissenter took over and made his far-right-of-centre points with considerable aplomb and clarity.

I didn’t take notes but basically his thesis was this:

1. Harper is an excellent Prime Minister.

2. Trudeau was the worst we ever had.

3. The Bob Rae NDP government was a disaster for Ontario.

4. If a member of the armed forces was standing with us could we look him in the face and say we didn’t want him to be well equipped?

5. Other countries, like China, are going to be after our resources and we must be ready to protect those resources.

There were a few hecklers but it was a decent crowd that was into the spirit of the occasion. A few folk took over to malign the F35.  There were, however, no specific rebuttals to the right-winger’s specific points.

In my opinion, most of what he had said was rubbish but in my writing-oriented brain nothing gelled.  Not until I arrived home.  Then along came those damned delayed  mots de l’escalier.

I should have offered a few soapbox counter opinions. After all, opinions are what a soapbox is all about.  So here, too late, rebuttal from my digital soapbox.

1. Harper is undoubtedly the most dangerous prime minister we’ve  ever had.

2. Trudeau gave us a Charter of Rights and Freedoms with real Supreme Court teeth in it.  Without it, there would currently be no restraints on a PM like Harper. Any PM who can be found in contempt of Parliament and then campaign for a majority knows  no shame.  If Harper returns to power even without a majority he’ll undoubtedly try to mould the Supreme Court into his own ideological image, thus eventually gutting the Charter as is happening in the United States.

3.  The real disaster for Ontario was Mike Harris‘s self labelled “common sense” crowd who bequeathed both Jim Flaherty and John Baird to Harper, one being a startlingly incompetent finance minister and the other a Government Poo Bah with the most aggressive personality the House of Commons has seen for some time.

4. As for equipping the Forces I have never heard anyone say they don’t want to have our uniformed men and women suitably equipped for suitable ends.  The F35s, however, are apparently unsuitable for border patrol, don’t have the range for Arctic patrol, are useless for search and rescue, and are slow enough they could be outfought by a current  F18.  Their major attribute seems to be the “stealth” factor –  ideal for the initial stages of undeclared pre-emptive strikes against another country.

5.  I agree that others are already coveting our resources, but I see no need for anyone to attack us. Recent Canadian governments, both Liberal and Conservative, seem perfectly willing to give resources away to anyone with cash, be it other countries or Corporate Creatures – usually, these days, the latter. It’s far easier now to buy us than to fight us.  If today’s crowd had been in power some 70 years ago Hitler could have acquired us for about the cost of one Panzer Division and spared a lot of blood.

The only country that might, eventually, be a real military threat would be the USA, and that won’t happen until their water runs out.  General “Andy” McNaughton, co-chair of the International Joint Commission from 1950 to ‘62, said that if Canada and the United States ever go to war against each other it will be over water.

But don’t worry.  While they’re still thinking about invading us we’ll pre-emptively unleash our F 35s upon them.

Alas, I remained silent.

Have a nice day.

By the way, here’s a link you’ll find more interesting than today’s blog .

And here’s little taste of its contents.


About Munroe Scott

Munroe Scott is a veteran of the freelance writing world.
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One Response to Those Stairway Words

  1. lionel strange says:

    As you point out Munroe, the F35 does not seem to fit any Canadian requirement. Now we find out that it comes without an engine. Next week we may find that it comes without wings! Perhaps it will come without anything. That will be real “STEALTH.

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