Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stephen Harper: Prime Minister of False Pretenses

Harper is the Prime Minister of False Pretenses, namely the false pretenses he invokes for breaking his many promises.

Harper alleges that Parliament is dyfunctional (of Harper’ own making) , so he reneges on his fixed election date promise.

Harper alleges that Income trusts cause tax leakage (by Harper’s own manipulative math), so he reneges on his income trust promise.

Meanwhile the press is unable to connect the dots.......and so our democracy suffers and the Harper Despot continues unabated.

Harper is architect of parliamentary dysfunction

Frances Russell
Winnipeg Free Press
September 3, 2008

PRIME Minister Stephen Harper is rushing Canada into an October election on the pre­text that Parliament is dysfunctional. But it's his government, and particularly, Harper himself, who are the chief engineers of parliamentary dys­function.
Over a year ago, he ordered his office to draft a 200-page blueprint for disrupting and denigrating the work of com­mittees. Then he ordered it circulated to all Conservative committee chairs. Its advice runs the gamut from denying quorums to shutting commit­tees down by ordering chairs to flee the room, and from instructing Conservative wit­nesses not to appear to telling them to appear on the wrong day or at the wrong hour or both.
If the chair is an opposition MP, then the advice for all Conservatives is to treat the committee with disrespect and derision, including shouting and/or refusing to leave.
This recipe for dysfunction reached its apotheo­sis recently with the contemptuous behaviour of Conservative MPs and witnesses before the ethics committee examining the Conservatives' alleged abuse of more than $1 million in taxpayers' dol­lars for election advertising in 2006.
But the Harper-engendered dysfunction reaches beyond committees to Parliament itself. Fulfilling his election promise to the red-meat remnants of the old Reform party, the prime minister early in his mandate inserted what he knew was a Trojan horse right into the centre of Canadian parlia­mentary democracy -- the fixed election date.
In one fell swoop, as many constitutional and parliamentary experts warned him, he turned the central dynamic of our system of government on its head, robbing the sitting prime minister of the ultimate authority inherent in responsible govern­ment, the ability to dissolve Parliament to over­come obstruction -- or dysfunction.
Harper's fixed election law transferred that power to the opposition leaders. Then Harper compounded the error by committing Joe Clark's fatal mistake; believing he could govern as if he had a majority although he only had a minority. Canadian minority governments of recent mem­ory worked because the largest party recognized it had to strike accommodations with one or more opposition parties.
Harper, who apparently relishes his growing reputation as a schoolyard bully, isn't about to ne­gotiate anything with anyone unless the negotia­tion itself is a partisan coup.
So, for over a year, the prime minister has been trying to force his own government's defeat. The Liberals have been refusing to oblige him, prefer­ring (surprise, surprise) to use their new-found power to decide dissolution to choose the date best for them, not their chief opponent.
Frustrated past endurance, Harper has recently taken to complaining about the tyranny of the ma­jority. Given the prime minister's predeliction for brass knuckle partisanship without limit, this is, to say the least, disingenuous.
Any tyranny is antithetical to democratic forms. Most particularly antithetical to those norms is the tyranny of a minority that assumes the right to proceed as if it is the majority, refusing to bend or compromise on anything with anyone. And that last definition fits the Harperites like a glove.
So now Harper is bemoaning his own fixed election date law, saying it only works in a major­ity government situation. But he was just three months into his mi nority mandate when he boasted about its many noble democratic features. "Fixed election dates stop leaders from trying to manipu­late the calendar," he said in Victoria in May 2006. "They level the playing field for all parties."
Last week, the prime minister set out yet an­other far-fetched election rationalization in his shop window. He's free to call an election because, suddenly, he can't get his agenda passed. But that, too, doesn't accord with the facts. He has gotten almost everything he presented to Parliament through except for his crime bills. Even the Con­servatives' many friends in the media note that Harper has achieved the bulk of his electoral plat­form -- as much, therefore, as most majority gov­ernments manage -- and has little but scraps left. Or if he does have more, he's unwilling to share it with Parliament and the public.
Is Harper panicking, as Liberal leader St├ęphane Dion says? Respected pollsters Harris-Decima and Nanos Research both put the Liberals in the lead just last week. Is he afraid of all the scan­dals bubbling away merrily on every burner on the Conservative stove? Afraid U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama will win in November? Afraid of bad economic news? A defi­cit?
Or is he following the disturbingly anti-demo­cratic and sinister playbook of his longtime friend and mentor, University of Calgary political sci­entist Tom Flanagan? Flanagan told Canadian Press Harper is betting on an increased minor­­ity, "enough to throw the Liberals into turmoil," giving the prime minister "a virtually free hand in Parliament" and an opportunity to launch "a prolonged war of attrition" ending in the Liberals' destruction.
Whatever the reason, the need for an election now -- subsuming four costly byelections -- has nothing to do with anything he's telling Canadians right now.


Dr Mike said...

Don`t you just love the way this guy runs roughshod over this country.

To hell with you & I.

Lie to income trust investors--who cares , no one will notice after a year or so--they are old , so maybe some will die before the next election--at least our buddies in big business are happy.

Fix an election date--who cares , when the time comes we will blame it on the opposition---the public will eat it up because they are too stupid for words anyway.

Fire anyone we do not agree with--it`s easy to find some lackeys & yes-men to replace them--the public won`t notice because they are consumed with their miserable lives which we so generously gave them.

Running this country is easy--just mow down anybody or anything that gets in our way & keep the media in our back pocket where they belong.

Ho hum , it`s great to be king.

Dr Mike Popovich.

Robert Gibbs said...

Canadians truly are idiots.

Nothing like having the country’s dueling, banjo-playing rednecks electing the Trailer Park Boys with a majority to run roughshod over Canada, eh?

The rest of Canada feels sodomized.