Election Watch 2008 II: Harper Telling Porky-Pies?
Quote from Harper:
"I do think it's fair to say that in the past few months, and particularly over the summer, we have seen increasing signs that this Parliament is really not working very well anymore, it's becoming increasingly dysfunctional."~Steve Harper
Now this report is from the Canadian Press, so it might be presumed to have a reality-based bias, but it seems to have a few countervailling ideas.
And despite the fireworks at three politically charged committees, two dozen others have been quietly labouring away for months on a range of bills and hot topics, from the seal harvest to climate change.Still, steamin' Steve doesn't think it's working (for him):
In the final week alone before the summer recess, MPs tabled nine committee reports, sped through a series of last-minute votes, approved $335,000 worth of finance committee travel and unanimously rushed through a bill reforming military court martials.
It seems Harper's real beef is with the problems his government has faced on a set of unique committees chaired by opposition MPs.Weeell, that's understandable, innit? You're a minority Prime Minister, a placeholder in history, and suddenly people insist on asking awkward questions about your ethical lapses. Like the way you circumvented election financing rules an dat sort o' fing.
Harper was also infuriated when, on two of the remaining 21 standing committees, the opposition attempted to displace routine legislative agendas with ethical controversies.
So you accuse your opponents of somehow thwarting the will of the people, apparently forgetting your own work in that arena, and insist that the Opposition is somehow deficient for, um, opposing you when in fact the main obstruction to smooth committee functioning is ... Well, YOUR party.
Hypocrisy, of course, abounds in the nation's capital, all parties being guilty. But this week's hypocrisy moment may rank as one for the ages. The Conservatives wrote the handbook on obstructionism, they've followed it to the letter on many occasions, and they now come forward to proclaim that they are somehow the victims and that they may have no recourse but to go the polls.Oh, and let's not forget deliberately showing contempt of the Parliamentary process by ordering your minions not to testify to parliamentary committees ...
Of course, there's one easy way to evaluate whether your rhetoric is truth or bullshit:
What is dysfunctional, apparently, is the Conservative's agenda for Parliamentary action. Harper campaigned in the 2006 election on five main promises: the acountability act, a crack-down on crime, a $1,200 child-care allowance, cutting the GST from seven to six per cent, and reducing hospital waiting times.
He and his party fulfilled four of these efficiently, then cut the GST a second time, and now they're getting tougher still on crime, even though most crime rates are falling. (On the fifth promise, waiting times, the best the government has been able to do is to discover that this is mainly a provincial responsibility.) But since those promises were fulfilled, the Conservative government's legislative agenda has been less significant. That is not necessarily a bad thing - King Log is often preferable to King Stork - but it's hard to claim that the opposition is disrupting a non-agenda.
Call the election, Mr. H. I'm betting that the polls are wrong, and that the Liberals will gain while the Conservatives lose.