Ralph Goodale discusses Canada's resident "enfant terrible" government... Ralph spoke to a packed room at the LPCBC Policy Conference in Surrey on Saturday.
Mr. Goodale encouraged the large gathering to lead the fight for change in our great land.
RALPH GOODALE’S REPORT
A commentary by the Member of Parliament for Wascana
January 21st, 2013
HARPER GOVERNMENT UNDERMINED BY ITS OWN SENSE OF IMPUNITY
Stephen Harper’s government is perhaps best known for its over-reaching sense of impunity – the notion that “might makes right”.
They believe that a majority (for the time being) in the House of Commons should allow them to get away with anything they want, with no regard for what others believe or hold dear. They trample on people, values and institutions, just because they can.
A sense of impunity leads to excessive ministerial behavior – like Bev Oda’s orange juice, Jason Kenney’s limousines, Peter MacKay’s helicopter rides to fishing holes, Tony Clement’s ornamental gazebos and sidewalks-to-nowhere in Muskoka, Julian Fantino’s misuse of government websites, and Jim Flaherty’s meddling at the CRTC. They think they’re exempt from the rules.
That sense of impunity also leads to massive mistakes like the F-35 fiasco. It’s the biggest sole-sourced, untendered procurement (against all the rules) in Canadian history.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer, the Auditor-General and the private firm of KPMG have all exposed the incompetence which riddled this file since the Conservatives came to power in 2006. Worse still is the deceit. They kept two sets of figures to hide the truth. What they disclosed to Parliament and the public was deliberately misleading.
And make no mistake. They haven’t changed. There’s no admission of wrong-doing. No apology. No change of course. Just a lot of spin and blather to obscure that reality that they’re plowing ahead to get the exact same result as first contrived.
Their sense of impunity also corrodes democracy.
No questions ever get answered in Question Period. Parliamentary committees are forced to go behind closed doors to conduct the public’s business in secret. Ministers’ offices delay and subvert Access-to-Information. Omnibus bills and Closure motions are used routinely to kill debate and stymie scrutiny of legislation.
In addition to the vicious attack-ads they use to malign political opponents, there’s also a systematic campaign of character assassination designed to intimidate non-governmental organizations, public servants, scientists, statisticians, Officers of Parliament, public-interest “watchdogs”, even churches and charities – to shut them up.
So much for freedom of speech! From the Parliamentary Budget Officer to the Nuclear Safety Commission, from ecumenical groups like KAIROS to Indian Chiefs like Theresa Spence, if you dare speak truth to power, this government will try to slander you.
That same sense of impunity also leads to the illegal election financing scam for which the Conservative Party was investigated, charged and had to plead guilty.
And don’t forget the still unexplained election irregularities in Etobicoke-Centre, Peterborough and Labrador, and the massive on-going investigation into thousands of illegal telephone calls, starting in Guelph, but potentially contaminating elections in some 200 ridings across the country.
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