Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Dan Gardner rightly points out that the Cons' continued efforts to trash our parliamentary institutions now that they have a majority shouldn't come as any surprise - even if they still demand plenty of outrage:
Got that? If a member of Parliament insists on knowing the cost of the crime bill - fulfilling the most basic function of Parliament as guardian of the public purse - then he doesn't care about victims of crime. The swine.

This is the Harper government exactly as we have always known it.

If you are critical of the government's policy on Afghanistan, you support the Taliban. Question military spending and you hate the troops. Express concern about the cost of the crime bill and you don't care about victims of crime.
Want to debate the crime bill on the floor of the House? Too bad. Want to ask Tony Clement about his blatantly political misappropriation of $50 million, or the promotion of Tony Gazebo to a cabinet position which requires him to guard against precisely that sort of greasy-fingered management? Fugeddaboutit.

And then there was the bizarre decision of a Conservative-dominated ethics committee to examine the CBC's efforts to avoid access to information requests. How many other far more pressing matters are there in the ethics file? A dozen? And what is it the Conservatives hope to discover? New techniques for stonewalling access requests? Not likely given all the ways the government keeps information locked down. Observers were also stunned by the list of witnesses sought by the committee. Among many odd choices was a federal court judge called to discuss a decision he delivered last year - something which is never done because it violates the separation of legislature and judiciary. But why let the Constitution get in the way of a cheap shot at the CBC?
And in the same vein, Susan Riley has her own take on what Con majority government has meant:
Government MPs now dominate Commons committees and they have been busily burying leftover scandals, lingering embarrassments, and uncomfortable findings from previous auditor-generals' reports. They are excising troublesome items from committee agendas, sometimes behind closed doors, which means opposition MPs cannot even disclose what was said.

They are imposing closure on their controversial "tough on crime" omnibus bill, apparently; they know what the experts say, they know what the Opposition thinks and they don't care.
All authoritarian regimes find it more efficient to dispense with democratic protocol, but, while tempting, it can be dangerous - especially when this same impatience with criticism, and unwillingness to compromise, attends the introduction of new bills, or responses to unexpected events. Sometimes the devil is in the details; sometimes what looks like "common sense" - forcing prisoners to clean up city parks, say - is costly, dangerous and impractical.

Anyone who remembers the Chrétien era will recall that resistance was futile: what his close cadre of advisers decided became law and dissent, within or without, was ignored or ruthlessly shut down.

Harper used to hate that. Now he takes it a step further.
- And if Riley needed more examples of the Cons' abuses of their position, they continue to prove that they think accountability is nothing more than a punishment to be imposed on others - this time by simultaneously trying to tie up the Parliamentary Budget Officer with studies of every single private members' bill while holding their own government bills to a lower standard of study.

- pogge reminds us that while the Cons are pushing a myriad of questionable trade agreements, the Libs have proudly taken credit for their role in promoting one of the worst signed to date.

- And finally, the Star weighs in on why Tony Clement is unfit for cabinet.

No comments:

Post a Comment