Between the shenanigans of Rob Ford and Stephen Harper, I am really losing faith in the political process. Ford calls his council’s decisions “irrelevant” and Harper is shrugging off allegations of voter suppression and robo-calling. Their arrogance and their dismissiveness is astonishing. My brain is spinning with so much to rant about, so I’m going to try to stay focused and deal only with Harper and the Conservative party in this post.
Great column by Tim Harper today in The Toronto Star, calling for Canadians to get angry. We’ve been sitting on our butts for too long, accepting the Conservatives’ sleaze tactics. Have we forgotten that they prorogued Parliament to avoid being defeated by an opposition coalition (and then they shut down again a year later to avoid having to face up to charges of holding Afghan detainees)? Have we forgotten that they limited journalists to a fixed number of questions during the last campaign (can you say “withholding freedom of speech”)? Have we forgotten that Tony Clement approved spending on a new gazebo and a fake lake for the G8 Summit and denied he had anything to do with it? Who do they think they are?
At least Bob Rae had the decency to do the right thing (and swiftly) when he fired a Liberal staffer who was behind the Twitter smear campaign against Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. Rae then apologized unequivocally in the House of Commons and took full responsibility as a leader. That’s classy. He seems to be the only leader to have heard Jack Layton’s parting message to Canadians.
The Conservatives are conveniently trying to turn the tables on the robo-call allegations by hounding the Liberals for the Vikileaks30 controversy, even after Rae apologized and took action. These are two entirely different things. The public broadcasting of Vic Toews’ divorce proceedings via Twitter was sleazy, yes, but not unethical, unlike voter suppression. For Harper to not even say he will have an independent investigation launched into the allegations is irresponsible. He instead chooses to lay the burden of proof on Elections Canada, which has been collecting mounting evidence of voter suppression tactics.
Politicians like Harper feel no accountability to the people who voted him into office, nor to the Constitution that he feigns to uphold. With his majority government in place, he’s become too smug. He pretends he’s taking action by having junior staffers fired, hoping this will sweep the issues under the rug for good. But what kind of leadership are you demonstrating when you do this time and time again, and never take responsibility for the actions of your staff? This guy is a piece of work. In a corporation, the Board of Directors would fire a CEO for this kind of abuse of power. In a democratic Canada, you and I are the Board of Directors – we can fire our Prime Minister with our votes. Remember this come the next election.