Saturday, December 05, 2009

The reviews are in

James Travers:
In short order and with scant regard for protocol or Parliament, Harper demonstrated the rich benefits of writing new rules.

First the Prime Minister left statesmanship ashore in Port-of-Spain by using the patrolling Canadian navy to take a wild, partisan shot at rivals for supposedly not supporting the troops over Afghanistan torture reports. Then he dropped the latest suspect economic stimulus update while flying high above Siberia and far away from scrutiny. Finally, MPs were at last given largely blacked-out prisoner transfer documents leaked days earlier to good media effect.
After learning the tricks of a dirty trade from the Liberals, Conservatives are now taking political gamesmanship to the next level by doing almost anything to win, even if that makes democratic practice the loser.

Prime ministers are constrained by convention and courtesy to leave domestic bickering behind when they go abroad. Parliament's defining duty to protect taxpayers is eroded when political theatre overwhelms economic disclosure. Public respect for MPs is lost when message management leaves them begging for information that's already yesterday's news.

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