The Monkey Trap
A Letter To The Editor
The Liberals have become prisoners of their own making. And yet, the Liberals may learn from the folk wisdom of Dr. Seuss: “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” – or, in other words (my words): “Let Go of the Rice.”
Tuesday, 21 May 2019
Dear Sir or Madam,
In a CBC news report, “Liberals block opposition bid to bring Mark Norman before committee to testify” (dated May 16), Senior Defence writer, Murray Brewster states: “While acknowledging questions still linger about the case, Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen said the committee was not the appropriate forum to investigate the factors that led to the country’s second most power military officer being hauled into court.” He then quotes the Kingston and the Islands MP: “It is not the job of the committee to reexamine information that has been examined by independent agencies [referring to the public prosecution service and the RCMP].” The report continues: “Gerretsen, however, said that asking the committee to investigate what went wrong would amount to ‘re-litigating’ the matter. He ducked the question of whether there should be an independent investigation or review.”
Segue back to the expulsion of former cabinet ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott on April 2, when the nation watched as the Liberal caucus stood triumphantly and applauded their leader and themselves. As two principled women of integrity were muscled-out without just cause, I also thought of the constituents in their ridings. The sordid display and its (much) wider ramifications deeply shocked and distressed me. Andrew Coyne states: “Canadians have fallen desperately out of love with Justin Trudeau.” The damage is undeniable and with it, the weakening of the prime minister’s personal political brand.
Robert M. Pirsig in his book, Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974), described “the old South Indian Monkey Trap”. The trap “consists of a hollowed-out coconut, chained to a stake. The coconut has some rice inside which can be grabbed through a small hole.” The monkey’s hand fits easily through the hole, but his clenched fist can’t fit back out. “The monkey is suddenly trapped.” Not by anything physical, but in this instance, the Liberals are trapped of their own choosing to the personage of their leader. The old adage “When you see rice, hold on tight!” underscores how the Liberals once succumbed to the dreams of rice.
The metaphor of the monkey trap is powerful. It illustrates what can happen when politicians place their own ambitions and political hunger first, or who put their unflinching adherence to the tenets of Party ahead of listening, ahead of their own constituents. The Liberals have become prisoners of their own making. And yet, the Liberals may learn from the folk wisdom of Dr. Seuss: “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” – or, in other words (my words): “Let Go of the Rice.” If not now, then assuredly on October 21, 2019.
Andrew (“Andy”) BROOKE
This letter to the editor was sent to the Whig Standard and to date has not been printed.