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Monday, April 11, 2011

More Harper Contempt? This Time is it for the Law?

The picture is getting clearer every day about of just how bad the Harper government is (sic) and what a danger he has become to our democracy and in his indifference to his governance responsibility to Canadians.  

Now we have reports of a "damning audit of G8 spending by the federal Conservatives" from Auditor General Sheila Fraser.  However, Fraser, ever the consummate professional, will not release the report because under her enabling legislation she can only release reports when Parliament is sitting.  Where is the whistle blower who might leak this vital information for Canadians to have and help us judge the quality and capacity of the Harper Cons to govern?  BTW, where is the Harper promise of legislation to protect whistle blowers when he came to office five years ago?

Media reports quote Fraser as saying an early draft, not the final report, "...may have been released by someone outside our Office."  One can only hope.  We need a change in the law so the AG can release any report she wants to at any time she wants to whether it is preliminary or final. This arcane restriction that such material can only be released when Parliament is sitting is a relic of a bye-gone era of command and control of communications was possible and preferable.  Not the case today.

Apparently every party has agreed to the release of her damning audit of G8 expenses but only when it is done properly and according to the law.  Harper in his best dog-in-a-manger mood called on Fraser to release the final report anyway, knowing she could not do so legally.  What height of hubris would motivate a holder of the highest office in the country to make such a statement.  Actually inviting the Auditor General to break the law.  

Spare me the half-hearted homage to open accountable honest and transparent governing Mr. Prime Minister.  We are talking about allegations of misspending and illegality of some of  the $1.2billion of taxpayer money we had to borrow "to put a good face on Canada" at the G8 and to give "...the rest of the fund (as) a gift to the region.  This is money Harper borrowed on our behalf to upgrade parks and revitalize small town down towns in communities that allegedly had nothing to do with G8 activities but sure seemed aimed at helping out hapless Tony Clement, the Cons MP from the area.

Why should thoughtful Canadian citizen have the slightest respect for a Prime Minister who openly suggests the Auditor General break the law?  This is pure political posturing at best to mislead the media and the public about the truth.  At worst it is counselling an Officer of Parliament to break the law.  That is irresponsible governing but typical of Prime Minister Harper who has shown less and less respect for the non-political duties of his office.  Makes one see just how easily it was for this PM to have a five time convicted fraudster working in his office without any serious concern for the possible consequences.

John Baird, bless his partisan heart, said the "inflammatory language" in the first report is not in the final draft.  That does little to diffuse allegations of serious wrong-doing  or reassure Canadians that these guys are still worthy of our consent to govern.  Besides, what is Baird doing commenting on the content of the still secret Auditor General report and why is he doing it in public before the author can legally talk about the contents herself?  Who made him above the law? That behaviour is further evidence of contempt for Parliament and disrespect for the rule of law by the "Harper government."

This election Canadians have to realize that they are electing their own government, not Harper's government as he likes to have us refer to him.  We have to ensure in this election that the words "Harper" and "government" are never again in the same sentence except to describe a bad time in the history of our democracy.  When Brian Mulroney of all people, is prepared to "...show his unease with Harper's Tories" it is time to defeat them at the ballot box.

4 comments:

  1. Ruth Kelly2:58 pm

    Thanks for this great blog entry, Ken. This appalling behaviour rankles even more because the spineless local Conservative MPs cited G8 security costs as the reason they cwould not support Edmonton's bid for Expo 2017. While we knew that excuse was flawed, we did not realize that the extent to which the overspending was incurred to bolster favour for the Conservatives in Ontario. Alberta was made the scapegoat twice in this situation; once when we had to pay the bill for vote-buying efforts in Ontario, the second time when our legitimate efforts to host Canada's 150th anniversary were so cavalierly spurned.

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  2. Thx for the comment Ruth. They take us for granted because they think we have no alternatives. It is our fault for voting like the sheep in the Harper caucus. We need to send a strong message and elect other MPs in Alberta if that is ever going to change. Edmonton has done it before. Time to do it again? I sure think so.

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  3. Graham Fletcher10:17 am

    It's terrific that you both take a draft of a draft before the final version of a report that then still looks for comments before it becomes final; and extrapolate that, against Sheila Fraser's advice, into something about the Expo.

    The G8 debate, the Contempt discussions, the Carson thing, all break along Party lines, so so-called "facts" are pretty much opinion in so much of this.

    The Expo did not get approved because it was a second rate exposition promoting what? We have, by Provincial estimates, over $1 trillion in investment headed this way over the next 11 years, according to our Treasurer. We want to spend municipal, provincial, federal money to develop MORE business, when, during the last boom, materials and labourers were in such short supply that we had cheap crap buildings being put up in Ft. MacMurray that are condemned 5 years later? We are planning an expo that needs international commitment NOW when most countries are bankrupt, so who is going to show up five years from now?

    Why should anyone take that risk? This is good financial management, and I can tell you that a large number of the Stelmach government members were quietly relieved when the Feds said "NO".

    But Iggy would have the Feds spend money on hockey arenas for rich guys....I'm not poor but $1,000 for four seats in the reds for one game isn't in the "Joe lunch box" category. If the hockey arena is such a good deal, that is what private equity markets are for - keep your hands off my damn tax dollars to house millionaire hockey players and owners. Let 'em take it public then we can all become owners IF WE FEEL LIKE IT.

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  4. Anonymous8:32 pm

    Chapman will have an apopletic fit when Harper wins his majority. Not sure which I am looking forward to more!

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