Rhetoric in the face of terror hurts the message

"Don't worry about what you did wrong but take a share of the credit when anything goes right."

There’s nothing funny about the alleged terrorist plot to blow up the B.C. Legislature on Canada Day.

The thought of massive carnage inflicted by terrorists is often something we only see from a distance be it in the Middle East or some large American city.

However, the foiled plot reminds us all that there are no specific targets, especially when the so-called self-radicalized terrorist emerge from the shadows.

The work done by law enforcement often goes un-noticed and un-heralded and Monday was such a case.

Everything went off as normal in Victoria, children were laughing, music played and people were having fun celebrating Canada Day.

Meanwhile, the hard work done by the much-maligned RCMP not only saved countless lives at the scene but rescued many more from the potential ripple devastation of losing family members or friends.

There can never be an accurate gauge of how many lives might have been altered if the terror plot had succeeded but there’s no doubt the undercover police work deserves our gratitude.

And while the officers prefer to remain anonymous in such situations, that leaves plenty of spotlight on the politicians to fill the void.

Government officials are now tripping over one another to pat themselves on the back, get a few bonus points for thanking the RCMP and remind us that they are vigilantly protecting our democratic values.

It’s all good to a point. I believe it’s well-meaning to have a leader come out and show the citizens that they are standing up to any threats and support law enforcement.

However, as we saw with Premier Christy Clark on the steps of the Legislature Tuesday, they tend to go overboard.

“We are back at work today, undeterred and unafraid,” said Clark, never one to shy away from a photo opportunity or a media scrum.

Oddly, such a boast from many of today’s politicians rings hollow. And that’s when the public begins to tune out the sound bites from politicians.

To make it sound like even terrorists could not prevent our dedicated leaders from doing their job on a daily basis is basically a spin-job concocted by backroom speech writers.

Even if terrorists are thwarted, let’s not forget the only people who have derailed the Legislature or Parliament in recent years are the politicians themselves.

That’s why the word “prorogue” has moved into the mainstream of our lexicon.

In 2008, Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament to avoid a non-confidence vote. He did it again in 2009 to dance around questions regarding Afghanistan prisoners.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty used that tactic to duck questions regarding gas plants.

And of course Clark pulled the same stunt last fall to avoid Opposition questions. In fact, the B.C. Legislature shamefully only sat for 19 days in almost a full year (May 31, 2012 to May 14, 2013).

So for Clark, who doesn’t yet hold a seat in the Legislature, to defiantly stand up on the steps in Victoria and boast that nothing can stop the Legislature from doing its daily duties sounds more like rhetoric than reality.

Her blanket warning to terrorists that “they will not succeed,” is more hyperbole much like when she told Stanley Cup rioters that they will all face the harshest penalties under law.

Well the Canucks’ 2011 Stanley Cup run is a faded memory but they are still parading rioters through the court system.

But that’s the way the political spin system works.

Don’t worry about what you did wrong but take a share of the credit when anything goes right.

And despite what our leaders say about standing up to terror, it’s no secret that the constant reminder of the threat is the type of vitriol the government loves to keep in the spotlight to help finance more security measures and push the boundaries of our individual freedom with clandestine surveillance.

While Clark is saying “(Terrorists) want us to be governed by fear. They want us to look on each other with suspicion.”

Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews reminded us “(Monday’s) arrests demonstrate that terrorism continues to be a real threat to Canada.”

So what do we actually take out of the events that unfolded on Canada Day?

On one hand we should be thanking the RCMP for a job well done and the expertise in which they performed it.

On the other hand, we should be telling our provincial and federal leaders to take a more subdued tone and offer comfort and praise rather than cockiness and warnings on the heels of thwarted threats.