Tag Archives: Democracy? Suckers!

Mmmm… Proroguey!

If anyone seriously thought that the Dear Leader wouldn’t prorogue parliament for the next couple of months, you really need to give your head a shake. And why not? The fact of the matter — that I’m entirely confident will be affirmed by opinion polls — is that most Canadians don’t and won’t care in the least bit that their elected representatives have been furloughed for the balance of winter.

Going Prorogue Update: Coverage from last night’s The National.

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Filed under STEPHEN HARPER Govrnment of Canada

“Democracy” in Action!

Painting the Red Chamber Blue!

As someone who’s long defended the Senate in its present form and has argued that if “reform” is to take place then rather than the trimming around the edges that Harper has been practicing, it needs to be of a more fundamental and sweeping kind that would address, for example, the regional inequalities inherent in the present arrangement, it would be kind of unseemly and hypocritical of me to criticize Stephen Harper for his proposed pre-Xmas “stuffing” of the Senate with 18 Conservative appointments.

That, my friends, is the way the system works. Or at least has worked throughout most of its history. Only Sir John A. Macdonald, John Thompson, Pierre Trudeau and Paul Martin recommended with any frequency the appointment of Senators belonging to opposition parties; all together, only six opposition Senators have been appointed on the recommendation of other Prime Ministers. For what it’s worth, during his tenure as PM, Paul Martin appointed 17 senators (12 Liberals, 4 Conservatives and 1 NDP). It would nice to have seen that slightly more balanced and ecumenical approach continue, but it was, as noted, the exception rather than the rule.

So, I’m not going to accuse Harper of being a hypocrite in this instance, although it does seem somewhat interesting that the fellow who last week was howling with outrage about the “undemocratic” maneuvering of the opposition coalition and was wrapping himself in the flag, touting the patriotic virtues of “democracy” would: rely on the “undemocratically” appointed vice-regal Governor General to grant him the authority to shutter parliament under prorogation; and would then utilize the shut-down of the House of Commons to increase the Conservatives’ influence in the Senate, a place that we can all agree, is profoundly “undemocratic” by nature. Rather funny that.

Another seeming paradox to Harper’s appointments comes from an anonymous government official who states that each new senator “will be a Conservative and is likely to share the prime minister’s views on Senate reform.” Really? Well, it’s a little hard to see how becoming part of the “problem” (if you want to call it that) will advance the cause of “reform” but that’s not to say there isn’t method to Harper’s madness, so to speak.

In a speech to his caucus two years ago, Harper said: “Imagine that after a century and a half, democracy will finally come to the Senate of Canada.” Well, for the time being at least, it looks like “democracy” will remain something that’s simply imagined and, as Martha Stewart would say, “that’s a good thing.”

Update: Here’s an example of the quality of Senators that we’re likely to get from the Conservatives by way of the “democratic” process. I believe this fellow was “elected” by the voters of Alberta — twice! Good grief, he’s dumb as a bag of rocks.

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Filed under Conservative Party of Canada, Economy, Idiot Bloggers, STEPHEN HARPER Govrnment of Canada

Harper’s Hoary Henchman

Here’s a little blast from the not-so-distance past. Specifically, November of last year when Conservative candidates Mark Warner and Brent Barr — earnest and decent fellows by all accounts — were both summarily dumped by the party at the behest of “Mr. Nice Guy” Stephen Harper’s shadowy backroom political fixer, Doug Finley. At the time of their dismissal, vague reasons were given to the effect that the party had “concerns” about both men and that they weren’t “team players” — thereby effectively casting a shadow of doubt over their characters; a rather despicable, sleazy thing to do.

Today though, we get a little more insight on the matter from an article in the Toronto Star profiling Harper’s ruthless “pit bull” in all his villainous glory. Here’s a salient part of the exchange between Finley and Mark Warner, the candidate who was abruptly dismissed from Toronto Centre.

Warner says Finley’s office summoned him to Ottawa, where he met with Finley on the 12th floor of Tory headquarters at 130 Albert St. Finley apparently yelled at Warner several times during the five-hour session, including over his edict Warner couldn’t fill out a questionnaire about equality from a gay-lesbian alliance. “He said if I answered it, I would be denounced by the Prime Minister and everybody else in caucus.”

As for Barr, he was dumped for no apparently good reason in favour of the Conservatives’ current candidate in the (now presumably cancelled) Guelph by-election, former city councilor Gloria “MIA” Kovach, even though she had previously lost the nomination.

”At no time did [Finley] ever answer any of my emails,” says former Tory science minister Bill Winegard, who supported Barr. “It was pretty silly. They said [Barr] wasn’t working hard enough but he had a business to run and he would have as we moved closer to the election.”

Winegard still asks: “Who are these people in Guelph who got rid of Brent? Did these folks have a board meeting? Did they talk to anybody? … They complained to Ottawa and he was thrown out.”

Who indeed? In fact, as Barr said in the video, the assertion that he “wasn’t working hard enough” was a complete falsehood (as evidenced by his worn-out foot leather from canvassing). Whatever the reason, as in the case of Mark Warner, it was another flagrantly broken campaign promise by Stephen Harper who vowed in 2005 that he wanted to “clean up internal party politics, beginning with grassroots democratic control of the nomination process.” Unless, of course, his henchman sours on them for whatever reason or they decide to do something foolish like deviate one iota from the party line.

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Filed under 2008 Canadian Election, Conservative Party of Canada