Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Harper/Conservative History of Incompetence

In 2006 Stephen Harper's party "swept" into "power" with a very slim minority... At the heart of an overblown (by the Conservatives and their friends) Adscam (no senior Liberal was ever involved, let alone found culpable in a court of law), Harper promised competent government with integrity. While no-one really thought they could be more "competent" than a Liberal government which had purged deficit spending and built up a 12 Billion dollar emergency "contingency" fund, voters did (to some extent) buy into the scandal...

Upon election, Harper gave a "victory night" speech that was rapt with lip-service to accountability and "competent" governance. The very next day (or very shortly there-after), he uncorked the "book of lies and skulduggery".

The Conservative PM - who had railed against the very existence of the Senate, patronage, and floor-crossings - in one day completely reversed his views on all 3:

- He appointed a Liberal floor-crosser DIRECTLY into his first cabinet (Emerson)

- He appointed a Conservative hack to Senate

- He appointed said "hack" to Cabinet

Competence in spending tax-payer's dollars was a rallying cry for many Reformers - and even Harper himself in the months leading up to the election... What did he do to build "competent" government? This:

Harper appointed the entire Mike Harris Class of '95 - that "competent" bunch who destroyed Ontario's economy. Flaherty, Clement, Baird... sound familiar to Ontario voters (who remember Walkerton, teacher's strikes, and the almost catastrophic collapse of Ontario's economy under Harris.

Fast-Forward through the past couple of years, and we have the following:

The Cadman Affair. Harper threatened a lawsuit, then apparently withdrew it - without even asking his Liberal accusers for an apology (because none was needed, when all they had done was stated the facts as they knew them...)

"In-and-out" scheme? Who will be accountable for that? Along the same lines, why does the tax payer have to pay for their partisan "10%ers"? These are sending a very CLEAR POLITICAL MESSAGE...

Income Trusts - What was in the "redacted" document that Flaherty provided with his "proof" of "tax leakage" (when all experts have indicated there IS no leakage)... This scandal is FAR from over... and the incompetent Minister of Finance has a lot to answer for...

The Bernier Affair - and lack of subsequent inquiry - Remember, this was when it came to light that the Cons had a BOOK on how to hold up Parliament. Just what was in the documents Maxime was leaving around other people's homes (and potentially in public places)?

Listeriosis... Bad enough that the Harper Conservatives scaled back on inspections (you know, it's all "bloated big government bureaucrats"), but when people die and the Minister Responsible jokes about it... Why is the Minister still a Minister???

Various Ministers and Conservative MPs attacking, insulting, or further marginalizing minorities... Sask MP joking (quite acidically) about gay people; Jason Kenney snapping rotorts at South Asians demanding an apology on the Commons floor for the Komagata Maru incident (couple this with his earlier statements about "hot-headed Sikhs" and we wonder why he is still in Cabinet - I guess Harper likes Kenney's take on the situation?).; Carrying on the assault on Sikhs, Mr. Harper's party jumped on Liberal MP, Navdeep Bains with accusations of "terrorist connections". Total horseshit (coming straight outta that Alberta caucus, I'm sure). Here is what Tory-friendly editorialist, Don Martin of the "National Pest" had to say about that: "Only a creative Machiavelli could link the Liberals' stand against investigative hearings to the possibility a junior MP's relative might eventually have to testify before one, but that's the grassy knoll Mr. Harper's dark side spotted as he entered the Commons… Mr. Harper should apologize and distance himself from the unseemly linkage quickly. But he won't. When his dark side seeps into the spotlight, being this Tory means never having to say you're sorry."
Don Martin, National Post, February 22, 2007

Conservative MP lashing out at a teacher about the singing of "Oh Canada"... adding to a series of events eventually leading to the teacher being physically threatened, and being practically run out of his town...

Mulroney-Schreiber. The Harper Cons have done everything possible to prevent anything from tarnishing the Conservative "good name" - including denouncing any inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair. I guess you're not allowed to criticize former Conservative PMs either, eh? This one's still being "looked into" too... stay tuned for more info.

Isotope-Gate. Who can forget this scandal? Harper's crew - as typical Conservatives do - cut back on inspections at government facilities (including nuclear plants). The nuclear "watchdog" indicated a plant had to close for saftey reasons, and shut it down. Harper and crew forced the plant to open - with the public at risk. In the process they took the name of an expert in the field through the mud. They attacked her, and chased her from the job. Very typical Conservative tactic: If you don't get what you want, bully and attack someone - preferably a public servant. Even if they're telling the truth, lie, distort and bully until you have your way. Doesn't hurt that the right wing of the media wants to tell "both sides of the story" - even when one side is a bunch of conjecturing liars, and the other "side" of the story is the expert in the field...

Bullying, threatening, and generally taking the discourse of Parliament down into the gutter. Gutter politics is Harper's "by-line". He can't live without it. It's all he knows. Keep watching for more of the same in the months to come. More importantly, keep watching him blame it on an Opposition that he claims won't let Parliament work.

Misleading Canadians on the Recession/Depression that already existed... Harper said Canada wouldn't even run a deficit (even though we were), let alone head into the worst "recession" on record. During the Fall 2008 election the INDEPENDANT Parliamentary Budget Officer was pretty clear that the Conservatives running a deficit ALREADY. At the time Harper and his "incompetent crew" had demolished the 12 Billion dollar Liberal contingency fund (just the thing we would need for the current financial mess) by giving Canadians useless and meaningless tax cuts (I'm talking about the GST cuts). The GST cuts, in turn, got even MORE Canadians into debt - and DEBT is at the heart of the very issue causing the financial crisis today.

Harper and his crew shot the $12 Billion contingency fund, who knows when, in 07/08, then added $13 Billion in further deficit. This money would have been a HUGE benefit to out-of-work assembly plant workers in Southern Ontario (of course, we know what the Alberta Party thinks of Ontarians - see the next entry on this list)...

Government Openly Advises NOT To Invest In Ontario - In keeping with their partisan bent, Jim Flaherty advised investers NOT to invest in Ontario. This wasn't good for the Ontario economy... Certainly it cost many thousands of jobs. It seems that the message coming across was something straight from a Calgary Reformer's mouth...

Atlantic Accord Take-away - Harper insensed Danny Williams (a Conservative Premiere) and the rest of Newfoundland with his "go-back" on the Atlantic Accord. Apparently Harper would like to take more away from the people he said had a "culture of defeat"...

Komagata Maru "Swindle" - South Asian groups were looking forward to an apology in Parliament for the early 1900s incident which led to the wrongful imprisonment and deaths of several countrymen. Harper went to Surrey, BC, to a South Asian festival, and instead of offering a public apology in Parliament, eked out a pseudo-apology in front of a local crowd - knowing full well that it was not public, not in Parliament (and hence written into the record of the land), not sincere, and NOT what the group had asked for... To add insult to injury, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister - Jason Kenney - basically blurted, "that's your apology" and there won't be another one. What an asshole way to deal with a group!

2008 "Fiscal Farce" (Fiscal Update) - Harper, knowing full well (he claims he knew since 2007 about the recession, but then claims in the 2008 election that we won't even run a deficit... hmm, hmm, hmm-hmm... pants on fire...) that the economy was in trouble. So... what does he do? He attacks women by moving to eliminate pay equity programs. He also goes after unions, with legistlation to prevent their freedom of expression... And finally, among piles of "lack of action" on the fiscal front, he decides to attack the Opposition parties' legal funding.

The principle of tax-funded party apparati is a good one. It ensures that "special interests" don't dominate politics, that parties are accountable to the public, and that the rich don't dominate politics (which is what would happen in Harper's little world). Harper sought to destroy this in the most partisan way, and even though his very pretext was extremely undemocratic, he tried to insinuate that the parties in question were doing something wrong. That's bastardhood at it's finest. That could rank up there with "King of the Pricks". At a time when Canadians at large have finally "found out" about a recession which we were already in; at a time when a government has finally flip-flopped again and admitted a recession; at a time when the public needed leadership the most, MR. HARPER CHOSE, INSTEAD, TO PLAY PARTISAN GAMES.

NAFTA-Gate - "Someone" in Harper's office decides it's important to interfere with the Democratic nomination process in the US. They accuse Barack Obama of saying something he didn't, and created a scandal which jeopardized Mr. Obama's chances of winning the Democratic Party's nomination for President. Lucky for Liberals everywhere, the Obama juggernaut was too much for such juvenile Conservative games.

Original Ideas R Us - Harper copies anything "good" that he does. The speech to support the invasion of Iraq (yeah, don't let him lie to you on that point too - he DID support Iraq being invaded), while he was still "Bush Lite", was cribbed from John Howard (Aus PM). The first Conservative budget included "NEW" plans from "Canada's New Government" which looked suspiciously like the old Liberal Programs - just re-rolled out under new names, at cost to taxpayers like you an me.

The "Grand Stroke of Incompetence" - Harper and Flaherty kept telling us "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" and it's a good time to buy stock (or, "there's some good deals out there", or something like that), when the World economy, but ESPECIALLY that of our biggest trading partner was in full recession (80% of our trade is with the US). Mr. Harper - who professes to being an "economist" would not listen to the advice of the top economists in Canada. He can't say he never heard them, as they were speaking out in every major paper, on TV, and through the Opposition in Parliament. Harper is either the most incompetent "economist" AND PM in History, or he WILLFULLY mislead Canadians through an election, all the time knowing the government had a serious deficit on it's hands, and the economy was tanking. I'm one to believe the "willfull deception of Canadians" theory, because Harper himself is telling us now that he knew of the recession back in 2007! On top of that, he and Flaherty bailed out Canadian Banks to the tune of $79 Billion!

Bank Bailouts - Anyone hear about this? Good. I thought I was the only one. The $79 Billion taken "per capita" is actually LARGER THAN THE US BANK BAILOUT!!! Are we all asleep that we missed this momentous event... an event that said clearly, "Hey Canada! We're in a little bit of deep shit here..." This is truly a scandal, because it is another sign of a government that KNEW, BUT HID THE TRUTH FROM CANADIANS. It is also adding to the theme of Conservative incompetence.

The "mis-truths", "redactions", and outright lies are so numerous that this government actively re-writes history AS IT HAPPENS, and seems to get away with it, as corporate media friends look the other way.

Here is a good listen of "questionable" ethical activity (unethical activity?) by the Harper Conservatives JUST IN THE FIRST FEW WEEKS OF THEIR 2006 GOVERNMENT:


At Scandalpedia, you'll find a litany of Conservative Scandals under Harper. Lot's of detail there for "Mr. Integrities" fateful rule of Canada...

Years from now, we'll be looking back at the Harper government, and calling it the most incompetent, most corrupt, and most juvenile crew since RB Bennet. The anger, bullying, and incompetence are more than any awake and aware citizen can fathom - or put up with.

Time to throw the bums out.

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Ian said...

You forgot (or said indirectly) how his government has not really done anything since May last year, opting to instead prorogue frequently and call unnecessary elections (that break his own election law). Also he advised his MPs to filibuster committees against Dion to make the Libs look more incompetent. The list goes on...

penlan said...

Excellent post! Thanks for ALL the reminders, the links, & we also know there is so much more - let it all be revealed!

PeterC said...

Isotope-Gate update:
Just a little radioactive waste in your drinking water Ottawa, nothing to see here.
Also, the sale/lease back of government property to cover deficit (just like Ontario where a certain finance minister was finance minister) The sale of the radio spectrum (a good thing(?) in and of itself and planned for a long time) used to cover that same deficit when sale of government capital assets wasn't enough. Fiscal planning my left butt cheek.

WesternGrit said...

Don't you just LOVE their "tax cuts for Canadians" TV ads??? Apparently it truly IS their only solution for the mess we're in. Forget that everyone sees next to nothing. Forget that if we do see something we'll store it in a sock or under our mattresses.

Frankly, it displays how "out of touch" and bereft of ideas this government actually is...

Ideology aside (and I can't stand their ideology), I feared their incompetence. I feared the incompetents who ran Ontario taking charge. I feared the Mike Harris gang of fools. I was shocked (but not surprised) that for the Harper Reformers, these Mike Harris Conservatives were "gods". They were, after all, among the few who had any "experience in government". No matter that the experience was tarnished with incompetence, corruption and failure at the Provincial level in Ontario.