Ralph Goodale’s Report
A weekly commentary by the Member of Parliament for WascanaFor the week beginning May 11th, 2009
MR. HARPER DISLIKES ACCOUNTABILITY
Stephen Harper is a great advocate for accountability – for everybody but himself!
He used to give long speeches on the topic. He made a big deal of his so-called “Federal Accountability Act”, claiming it as his most important accomplishment.
But Mr. Harper doesn’t walk the talk.
In reality, his government is the most secretive in history. More unaccountable power is now concentrated in his hands than ever before.
To protect the public interest, Parliament has established a number of “watchdog” institutions over the years to act as a check on unbridled prime ministerial power. Stephen Harper has been in fights with all of them.
For example, the Chief Electoral Officer is responsible for ensuring fair and honest elections in Canada. The Conservatives didn’t like the previous incumbent in that post (a 30-year veteran public servant), so they replaced him, and now they’re in court attacking the new guy.
The Access to Information Commissioner says this government delays, manipulates and denies answers to questions which the public has every right to know.
To deflect attention from his own mismanagement, Mr. Harper concocted a political showdown with the President of Canada’s Nuclear Safety Commission, which even his department of Natural Resources described as improper.
When the new Parliamentary Budget Officer told the Conservatives that their financial projections were wrong, Mr. Harper immediately chopped his budget – to cripple his operation and shut him up.
But probably the most dangerous abuse of power is about food safety.
Since the listeriosis tragedy last summer, which claimed more than 20 lives – while the Conservative Agriculture Minister cracked jokes – dozens of serious questions about Canada’s food inspection system have gone unanswered.Why will Mr. Harper not allow a full, independent public inquiry into what went so terribly wrong? What is he trying to hide?
(Edit: Add to this his "non-declaration" of gifts received from various sources - we have more gifts on record/film)