Tuesday, May 15, 2007

PM Harper Claims Parliamentary Immunity in a Law Suit Against Him as Conservative Party Leader!

OK this is going too far! Prime Minister Harper has crossed the line and thrown his personal responsibility and reputation for accountability and transparency out the window. The irony of the circumstances under which “our” Prime Minister is using this device is as breathtaking as is the arrogance of the Right Honourable man’s actions in the first place and in the trial tactics.

The Globe and Mail is reporting that Prime Minister Harper, the leader of our nation, has invoked parliamentary immunity to “extricate (himself) from the matter.” The “matter” is a “tangle of court cases” brought against him and the Cons over an “agreement” (the existence of which is in dispute) that saw Ottawa South nominated candidate Alan Riddell “step aside” in exchange for the Harper Cons repayment of his “election expenses” (the payment of which is apparently still outstanding)

Why was Riddell sidelined you ask? Well so the Cons could replace him with the Adscam poster-boy, Gomery whistle blower and the epitome of how the Cons were going to be cleaning up corruption in government, Mr. Alan Cutler. Cutler lost. Too bad!

The PM’s parliamentary privilege is being invoked in a personal libel action against Stephen Harper and a Con Party President NOT the Prime Minister. The tactics being used by the Cons are somewhere between Monty Python and the Sopranos for ridiculousness, especially if you are Canada’s New Government. You know them as the new kids on the block who are all about the Accountability and the cleaning up of government corruption guys. Spare us the histrionics and hypocrisy Mr. Prime Minister.

There is a culture that has emerged in the CPC. It is not only from this incident. There were similar pay offs in the nominations of Stockwell Day, and the replacement of Ezra Levant, the former self-styled “Stockaholic” fan of the former leader of the Alliance Party. He “volunteered” to step aside for expenses so the newly minded party leader, Stephen Harper, could run in 2002 in Calgary Southwest. Then we have the courts setting aside the Conservative nomination of Rob Anders in Calgary West – twice - for breaches of its own processes and rules.

The RCMP recently decided that certain “new evidence” uncovered in the Day nomination fiasco was not new after all. They said had it all along and decided not to investigate further if this payment scheme was evidence of a Criminal Code violation. You ready for more irony gentle reader. Minister Day is currently the RCMP’s boss. You would have thought that the Mounties would have had another police service conduct the further investigation under the circumstances right? Dreamer! Who needs the appearance of justice when you are the corruption killers? When you are the Cons?

There is a place for privilege and immunity but that goes to the Office of Prime Minister not to the Leader of a political party, as appears to be the case here. The G&M story quotes Mr. Riddell’s lawyer saying if the immunity is applicable to Harper in this case, the legal actions can’t proceed “…until the government fall and an election is called – or possibly until parliament is prorogued.”

I will follow this matter carefully and post on it as it develops. In the meantime let’s hope for principles of democracy and fairness and transparency and accountability will be honoured by the Harper government. And lets watch this carefully since it is an opportunity for citizens to judge the quality of character and capacity for governance of the current minority government and its leader…and our pro tem Prime Minister.

The Cons ought to be providing a full public disclosure as a matter of course just so we ordinary little-people citizens can come to an informed decision if we can trust these people to represent and govern us.

I am ready for an election. I have at least made up my mind of who not to vote for at least. I will be watching for the evidence the true character and the capacity for governance of the other political options very carefully.