I’m angry today.
It’s -28 degrees Celsius here right now. And with a 40+ km/h wind coming in from the north, it makes for a wind chill factor of about -45. It’s the first day of real winter here on the prairies.
But that’s not what’s making me miserable. I’ve lived in Saskatchewan all my life. Cold, I can handle.
It’s abuse of power that has my blood boiling. Earlier today, in a PS to his Journamalism post, pogge sent me to Paul Wells’ blog at Macleans.ca. Paul strings together the true story of our Prime Minister’s disdain for Parliament, then summarizes his opinion:
In short, he’s been a bit of a twit, has our dear leader. It does us no good to have a Prime Minister who flies to Winnipeg and Peru singing Kumbaya if he can’t set foot in Parliament without bringing a blowtorch. He clearly cannot stand the place. That’s a problem because at some point, he’s going to need a functioning Parliament to get anything done.
Well, that’s a problem if he actually wants to do something. Turns out that’s a big “if.” It’s becoming more and more obvious that the impasse in the House of Commons is an expression of the Prime Minister’s own conflicted feelings about the place. He showed on the Afghanistan war that when he wants to he can lead a government that bends and concedes in pursuit of its goals. But that was about soldiers. He cares about soldiers. He has never convinced me he cares about the economy, or believes any government can do anything to affect its course. Build roads? Bail out car companies? Take advice from Jack Layton? He’d sooner cut off the opposition’s allowance, then hit the road to tell more fibs about Stéphane Dion.
From a springtime of committee chaos to a summer of ultimatums to a fall election, a December crisis, a tasty prorogue-y holiday feast, and the near certainty of another New Year psychodrama. I could swear there was a pattern in there.
OTTAWA–The Conservative minority government is letting people take advantage of some tax measures in its fall economic statement, despite the fact the Tory fiscal plan hasn’t been passed by Parliament.
Ottawa issued a news release yesterday announcing that Canadians can take advantage of a proposal to reduce the minimum withdrawal from their registered retirement income funds by 25 per cent for 2008.
The Canada Revenue Agency has advised financial institutions that it can administer the proposed change before the law is passed, the release says. It also says if the proposal does not get passed by Parliament, the agency would not apply penalties to anyone who follows the proposal.
It’s a blatant abuse of the rule of law. Apparently, Steve the Sweater Guy is above that. I mean, we know that, don’t we? Certainly, we witnessed it quite clearly when he broke his own fixed date elections law.
This action seems to fit well with what James Laxer has identified as Harper’s “paranoid style” of political maneuvering. Though the corporate media and the CBC praise Harper’s political acumen, Laxer cuts through the spin to the real deal:
By paranoid style, I mean, that Harper belongs to the resentful right, whose adherents understand the world in simplistic, binary terms, and depict those who disagree with them as the agents of endless conspiracies against the forces of righteousness. (A telling example of the paranoid style is the way Conservatives have taken to labeling the Liberal-NDP coalition as “un-Canadian”. This ludicrous term is lifted from “un-American”, an unsavory epithet that was much employed by McCarthyites during the 1950s who believed they had a corner on what it was to be American. Until the Harperites appeared, no politicians in Canada were so certain of their monopoly of virtue as to label their foes “un-Canadian.) [Go read the full post.]
Stephen Harper is absolutely paranoid that he may lose his reign on power and he will do anything to hold onto it. He knows that since he has not produced a majority government for his right wing alliance after three elections his leadership will be under review. It’s likely he would be replaced. And there are already rumours about who might do that.
He is paranoid and my guess is he will hold desperately onto every power Parliament affords him right now and use it to undermine his opposition. He will continue with more questionable acts, such as rule by Order-in-Council and edict, over the next few weeks. It’s a trick Grant Devine used in Saskatchewan and other rightwingers have used elsewhere and one I’ve been expecting.
Here’s hoping the coalition has the courage to see these treacherous acts for what they are and bring down this would-be dictator come budget day.
Addendum: The Jurist over at Accidental Deliberations has also added to this.
But it seems clear that Harper would rather govern illegitimately by fiat rather than not at all. And every step the Cons take to evade the need for Parliament to pass Canada’s laws moves us further from anything that could possibly be described as democracy.
Bonus for making it this far: Bruce.