Goodale commentary: Harper’s Contempt
Stephen Harper planned this week to be all about his 2011 budget. Instead, focus has shifted onto his contempt for Canadians and his disregard for the law.
It’s a sad moment for our democracy when four senior Conservative officials (including two Senators – Mr. Harper’s closest friends) have to appear in court, as they did last week, on charges of seriously violating Canada’s election laws. This is something you’d expect only in a banana republic.
It’s a sad moment for our democracy when the Speaker of the House of Commons must rule, twice in one day, that this government is treating Canadians with contempt by wrongfully concealing essential financial information, tampering with documents and deliberately misleading Parliament.
It’s a sad moment for our democracy when a respected independent official (the Information Commissioner) suspects the Conservatives of systematically subverting Canada’s access-to-information laws, and calls in the RCMP.
It’s a sad moment for our democracy when a television network (APTN) uncovers worrisome evidence of potential influence peddling by a former senior member of the Prime Minister’s personal staff, and Mr. Harper has to scramble to call in the Mounties just before the story hits the headlines.
It all adds up to serious, repeated abuse of power.
And you could add – the misuse of prorogation (twice) to wrongfully shut-down Parliament, the mindless destruction of the census, and the denigration of public watchdogs (from the Nuclear Safety Commission and the Parliamentary Budget Officer to the Veterans Ombudsman and the Chief Electoral Officer).
And add as well – mega-millions of dollars (largely your tax dollars) wasted month-after-month on abusive, deceitful advertising calculated to slander and mislead.
This is what you get from a warped Conservative regime that puts jails ahead of schools, warplanes ahead of healthcare, and extra corporate tax cuts ahead of pensions or affordable housing.
Ralph Goodale, M.P.