Sunday, August 25, 2013

Of rules and rulers

I'll readily agree with the Star's editorial board that we should expect our lawmakers to have some respect for the law. But while David Climenhaga draws one contrast between Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper, I'll point out what looks to be a more apt comparison - one which also involves sheer personal indulgence rather than any statement of principle:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper went ATVing today...on the runway at Tuktoyaktuk.

He took off, and left his RCMP detail in the dust. They then chased him. Two officers on ATVs, and some more in pickup trucks.

Harper roared up and down the Tuktoyaktuk airport runway. He was going very fast. His security detail continued to chase him.

When asked if he had a licence to drive an ATV, especially on a runway, Harper said, "I think I make the rules."
Of course, the correct answer to that is...no, no he doesn't, as discretionary executive power doesn't extend to exempting the Prime Minister from vehicle licensing laws and airport safety standards based on nothing more than his own whims. In fact, that's more the territory of tinpot dictators than democratic leaders.

But Harper, his security detail, the RCMP and his party are all perfectly fine with that modus operandi.

So, to sum up...

Bad: a leader who believes himself to be above the law (particularly while voting for strict mandatory sentences for those not so privileged).

Worse: a leader who believes himself to be the law. Which is what we're stuck with now.

And more importantly, better: a leader with respect for both the law and the people who enforce it. Which is hopefully what we'll have as a country once the next federal election is in the books.

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