Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Opening up the pod

Dr. Dawg has the definitive roundup of stories about the Cons' attempt to appoint a new set of representatives for NDP-held ridings. But let's take a closer look at a couple of the new links that have surfaced today.

First, a quote worth highlighting from Shaun Thomas of the Northern View:
Apparently, according to Harris, Smith will provide residents with direct contact to the federal government, which we have not had since 2004, and will “represent constituents of her riding.”

That is quite possibly the most arrogant, ignorant and blatantly misleading thing that I have ever heard from any government or government official. Ever...

(P)erhaps even more importantly, in what strange and twisted reality does the Conservative Party of Canada or any other political party have the power to appoint someone as our representative on a federal level? They don’t have that power now, they never had that power and they never will have that power! Only the people of the riding have that power, and for the Conservatives to even think they can tell us who we are to talk to is both insulting and a massive slap in the face to the entire democratic process.
Second, via Barbara Yaffe, let's note that Democracy Watch is once again on top of the Cons' anti-democratic actions:
Conacher told CBC radio the Smith appointment is "improper" and an investigation should be launched by Canada's new ethics commissioner, Mary Dawson.

Conacher says the naming of Smith as a government liaison person violates the Conflict of Interest Code for MPs.

Harris "is essentially saying that the federal government system is corrupt and is run by the ruling party only, and that voters who vote for other parties will not get served."
What's particularly interesting is to remember that the predecessor ridings of both Skeena-Bulkley Valley and Vancouver Island North were part of the 1993 Reform sweep of the West, and haven't voted in a governing-party MP since. Based on that track record, the voters in both ridings seem to have widely rejected both the Mulroney Cons' own reputation for corruption, and the principles of patronage politics in the meantime.

Which means that in addition to being anti-democratic, the Pod People Plan also looks to be counterproductive even for the Cons' own purposes by offering the strongest statement yet that the Reform concept of up-front, grassroots politics is dead and buried as far as the Cons are concerned. And hopefully if the story gets adequately reported, the resulting backlash - propelled along by Conacher and others who may once have taken the Cons' promises at face value - will help to ensure that the Cons' ability to deliver their promised patronage gets cut off before long.

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