It’s not every day that I agree with interim Liberal leader Bob Rae – in fact this might be the first time I’ve ever – but it’s hard to disagree with him on this issue.
Rae accused the Conservatives of distracting the public with symbols rather than focusing on an impending economic crisis. In an article in The National Post, Rae said, “Canadians are worried about an economy. You just wonder what it is that drives them to do these things.”
Rae was reacting to a private member’s bill introduced by a Conservative member John Carmicheal. The proposed law would punish anyone forcing a flag to be taken down with a fine or up to two years in prison.
To answer Rae’s question, what motivated the Conservatives to introduce this bill right now is to deflect attention away from the economy.
The loonie’s value is dropping vis-à-vis the American dollar at an alarming pace, and economic uncertainty in Europe and the United States risks harming the Canadian economy.
Conservatives are using this issue to deflect the electorate’s attention away from more concerning economic issues. Canadians won’t forget about a potential financial crisis, but the flag flap is enough to take some attention away from bleak news.
Plans to improve Canada’s economy usually elicit a divisive response, but everybody can rally behind patriotism.