In recent years, we have witnessed the abuse of power by both Jean Chretien and Paul Martin’s Liberal governments in Ottawa. They have used that power to entrench themselves as the “Natural Governing Party,” reward their friends and foist upon this nation their own radical views. The scandal of Adscam and the scandal of redefining marriage are part of the same problem: the Liberal government views Canada as its own private property, to do with it whatever it wants.

In recent months, their tawdry behaviour has only gotten worse. In the aftermath of damning revelations from the Gomery Commission that Liberal friends received public money, and that judicial appointments were handed out like party favours, Martin became determined to hold onto power at all costs.

At first, the Martin Liberals – a government led by a former finance minister who practised severe fiscal restraint in the 1990s – got into bed with the socialist NDP and capitulated to Jack Layton’s demands for nearly $5 billion in new spending. The only purpose this served was to make it less likely the government would fall on a budget vote. Martin then went on a three-week, $22-billion spending spree, divvying out goodies to every special interest group within reach. This was not simply a shameless attempt to curry favour, because along with the pledges was the implied threat that the targeted spending would be lost if the Liberal government fell.

When it appeared that the deal with Jack Layton – a political same-sex marriage – was not enough to maintain a hold on power, Martin tried to gain the support of former Liberal MP David Kilgour by promising both money and manpower to deal with the genocide and humanitarian disaster in Darfur, Sudan. Martin was willing to send Canadian troops and treasure halfway around the world, not because the policy was a good one, but because it might bring him one more vote on budget day.

And when it appeared that Kilgour could not be bought with this posturing, Martin made a deal with Belinda Stronach, a socially liberal Tory MP who had, just 14 months earlier, almost captured the leadership of the new Conservative party. For her troubles, Martin rewarded Stronach with a cabinet post – Human Resources and Skills Development – and in return, was assured one more vote on budget day. While no other MPs switched parties, Ottawa was a buzz of rumours that several other Tories had been propositioned with offers of various patronage appointments.

Two days after Stronach crossed the floor, the budget passed with the Speaker of the House casting the tie-breaking vote, and the government survived. It seemed that the prime minister did exactly what he had to – gave away cabinet posts and offered Canadian troops and treasure to Sudan – in order to maintain his hold on power. As testimony before the Gomery inquiry has made clear, the Liberals, under Chretien, offered perks and payouts to their allies in order to maintain their hold on just enough seats in Quebec to maintain a parliamentary majority. Martin has learned well.

For (at least) 13 years, those in power have treated Canada as their own private property, to do with it as they have wished. From patronage and kickbacks to attacking the foundational institution of our society, the Chretien and Martin governments have signalled to the rest of us that this is not our country, but rather, it is theirs. They grudgingly will hear from us every few years on election day, but even then, it is on their terms. With the Liberals’ media allies and Canadians’ natural deference to authority, even our elections seem skewed in favour of the party in power.

But, for all this, Canada is not the property of one party. It belongs to us. Not only do we have a say, we have the final say. We need not grudgingly accept the Liberals’ radical agenda, nor live with their corrupt governance forever.

Canadians need to elect more MPs of integrity. They need not necessarily be Liberals or even Conservatives, but MPs who will represent our values in Ottawa, instead of Ottawa’s values in the Canadian heartland.

Restoring good government – which is a Canadian value, too – is imperative now and it can be done. People of faith and other people of goodwill who are concerned about the moral trajectory of this nation must put aside partisan priorities and make abortion and marriage the priority on election day. The Interim sincerely believes that elected officials who are willing to stand up for the unborn and defend marriage are the kind of people who will restore honesty and decency to Canadian politics. Honesty and decency are not partisan virtues – there are many members on both sides of the House of Commons who display such traits. Recall that 35 Liberal MPs had the courage to do the right thing and stand against their government at second reading of Bill C-38.

Since the time of Trudeau, too many Liberals have equated Canadian values with Liberal values; the good of the Liberal party with the good of the country. This effectively labels those who do not support abortion-on-demand and gay “marriage” (including many within the Liberal party itself) as un-Canadian.

Look at your MP (not the party) and ask yourself whether he or she represents your values in Ottawa, or whether he is defending the government’s values to you. If it is the latter, whenever the election is called, that MP deserves to be defeated. If it is the former, that MP deserves to be returned to Ottawa.