He Said He Would But He Did’t…Didn’t What?

Of all the words that have been bastardized over the years I believe that ‘transparency’ is the one that has been treated the worst. Any time someone says that they want things to be more transparent or they will work tirelessly to be more transparent my B..L S..T meter goes nuts. I do not trust anyone who talks about how they want more transparency.

A quick re-cap:

-Mr. Harper always talked about (certainly while campaigning) senate reform being a ‘must’ but never made a move to do anything about it. But then again where would he put all those folks he owed.

-Prorouging parliament-twice-ignoring the will of parliament and therefore the citizens of Canada.

-Pushing through Bill C-59 and going against the recommendations of the Federal Information Commissioner, Suzanne Legault, to retroactively change the access-to-information law that will, eventually, absolve the RCMP of breaking the law with regards to the abolition of the long gun registry. Like the sly fox he is he had the bill buried amongst the minutiae of an omnibus bill that few really cared about anyway and I’m sure the thinking was that few would notice.

-Election impropriety (robo calls) could become a non issue and therefore a much greater threat and concern. Aren’t elections and the electoral process the backbone of our society? Just askin.’

Contempt for Democracy

Ethical and Transparent Politics?  Secrecy and control have been the name of the game

One of the most important issues in Canada is healthcare, yet I struggle to remember any meaningful discussion had about that portfolio in the last 5 years.  Transparent politics under Harper has meant discussion of issues on his terms, and his terms only.

Muzzling the Press

Harper restricted media access to parliament and the government in unprecedented ways- again this from someone who pledged to increase transparency.   He declared he would no longer take questions from journalists, refused to allow the media to participate in ‘scrums’ after cabinet meetings- a time when journalists ask candid questions of politicians (questions said politicians have not been able to rehearse and censor).  It’s clear that Harper’s main priority in office has been control, and muzzling the media has been a major part of that.

Senate Reform

Recall that a major policy platform of Harper’s previous campaigns was senate reform, such that senators would no longer be appointed for political favoritism, but would rather be elected.  Doesn’t ring a bell?  Harper apparently forgot all about it too, immediately after taking office.

Here’s a quote from Harper, addressing the senate. On senate reform.

“As everyone in this room knows, it has become a right of passage for aspiring leaders and prime ministers to promise Senate reform – on their way to the top. The promises are usually made in Western Canada. And these statements of intent are usually warmly received by party activists, editorial writers and ordinary people. But once they are elected, Senate reform quickly falls to the bottom of the Government’s agenda. Nothing ever gets done.  And the status quo goes on.”

Senate reform didn’t happen.  The conservatives appointed a record 32 senators, all of them Tory backers there to ensure Harper’s bills were passed, and to squash those he doesn’t support. Environmental concerns are consistently discussed as important to Canadians, yet the Harper government did absolutely nothing about it during his 5 years in power.

 National Post (Andrew Coyne) – A telling 24 hours in Stephen Harper’s world

(A damning piece by a columnist who is not known to be anti-Harper.)

If one were to draw up an indictment of this government’s approach to politics and the public purpose, one might mention its wholesale contempt for Parliament, its disdain for the Charter of Rights and the courts’ role in upholding it, its penchant for secrecy, its chronic deceitfulness, its deepening ethical problems, its insistence on taking, at all times, the lowest, crudest path to its ends, its relentless politicization of everything.

Toronto Star (Editorial) – The high price of speaking out in Ottawa

Forthright government watchdogs have a way of disappearing in Ottawa. They are quietly replaced. Their mandates are terminated or not renewed. They are suddenly found to be unqualified.  Seven government watchdogs and three senior bureaucrats have been stifled or impugned since the Conservatives took office. 

What did Mr. Harper not do that he said he would do. . . he hasn’t done a thing to create a greater transparency in what is supposed to be a democratic institution. I think this word has lost it’s credibility now. I guess you get what you elect.

Anyways, that’s how I see it–all the best–Jim

 Let me know what you think-pro/con by contacting me at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com or through my web page: jimcloughley.com

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