“Only in Canada, you say?” Only in Canada could a governing federal political party devise a scheme to kill political separatism costing $250 million that would instead fertilize a flowering of the separatist sympathies it was supposed to eradicate — and co-incidentally destroy the political party which devised the wacky scheme.

Yes Virginia, only in Canada, could a political version of The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight come up with such an inane exercise. Call it The Politicians That Couldn’t Think Straight.

Or here’s another thought.

Maybe this was never intended to be an exercise in political mind control.

Maybe that was just a cover story to hide the real intent — to move millions of dollars surreptitiously into the bank account of the Liberal Party of Canada.

It doesn’t really matter. Whichever way you look at it, it would make you laugh, if it didn’t hurt so much. Instead anger and outrage stalk the land and we will now head into an election and live through another period in our times when the spectre of the break-up of the country is pushing hard to come out of the closet and into the national psyche.

A recent poll from Ekos suggests the Liberals are trailing badly in the province of Quebec and that the clear beneficiary of “Adscam” is the Quebec nationalist party — the Bloc Québécois.

The poll suggests that the Bloc has a 12 point lead over the Liberals, with the Conservative Party still in the dust, commanding the loyalty of only eight per cent of the voters. Even more interesting, the Tories have not moved upward a single percentage point since the scandal broke wide open.

Here in the eastern region of the country, loyalties have not shifted at all if the poll is to be believed. Conservative support is at 33 per cent, the NDP are up two points to 12 per cent, and the Liberals have dropped only one per cent to a commanding 47 per cent.

Curiously, in British Columbia, the Liberals are actually up six points to 40 per cent, while the Conservatives are up four to 31 per cent, with the NDP at 21 per cent support.

But it is in Ontario, where elections are usually decided, that the outrage is most evident in damage done to Liberal support. There the Liberals are down five points to 38 per cent while the Conservatives jump six points to 34 per cent.

That means a 15 point lead by the Liberals in Ontario has shrunk to four points, statistically within the poll’s margin of error — dead even, so to speak.

Couple that with the likelihood of the Liberals winning but a few seats, or even none at all, in Quebec, and it is apparent that the venality and greed of Liberal Party operatives have stirred up a witch’s brew in the cauldron of Canadian politics.

We are all the victims of federal Liberal skullduggery. Never mind the money. It is what they have done to the political psyche of the country — the shredding of the last ounce of political morality, ethics, decency that is the most terrible of crimes committed in the name of national politics.

Never mind that a few scam artists will be forced to fall on their own swords; never mind “who knew;” do not buy the notion that it was but a few renegades who lapsed from political grace. Be sure about one thing: this scandal would not have happened unless there was a political culture in effect whose values were lower than those of a common street criminal.

That is the real loss to us as a country. It is those values in those we trusted for governancethat have created everything from total cynicism (“That’s the way the game is played”) to absolute outrage at the obvious violation of our political system.

Either way, it is the most significant loss of our political innocence in my lifetime.

It is so grubby, so obscene, this selling out of our political ethos.

It is not the political legacy Jean Chrétien would have wanted.

Nor is it the one Paul Martin would have wanted to inherit.

Martin’s attempt to deflect the public outrage by suggesting it was “the other guys,” some cabal of amoral political operatives who somehow managed to sneak into the Liberal tent, simply won’t wash. It does not have the ring of truth, only of desperation.

The Canadian voter is like Diogenes and his lamp, trying to find an honest person, trying to find someone who may speak the truth.

Trust is a curious commodity — once tarnished, it is extremely difficult to polish back to lustre, or believability.

Liberal politicos will need gallons and gallons of polish to wipe the tarnish off this one.