I've been trying to put a finger on what bothers me about SteveBob LargePants and his fevered haste to wrangle up an election, one that seems doomed to return yet another minority. It isn't that he's breaking his own pet law about fixed election dates. We've seen example after example of Harper and his Cons saying one thing and doing another, legal or otherwise. There's the ongoing saga of the dubious legality of the In 'n' Out scandal, the use of 10% mailings for the endless campaign, his instant appointment of a senator then appointed to cabinet and the loving embrace of Mr Emerson after his stroll across the floor. Harper has tried to freeze out the press corps, take absolute control of message, stifle the opinions and free speech rights of public servants through intimidation, firings and imperial edict. His party's website and public communications are little more than smear, innuendo and attack, 24/7. I think that among his many failings, flailings and fibs, what bothers me is his utterly undemocratic approach in this rush to the polls.
This minority government leader has not seen fit to allow parliament to work. He has made every effort to impede the workings of the house. His party has filibustered committees, even circulated manuals for the disruption of the nation's business in those same committees. He has now declared, through some magical foresight of his very own, that a parliament that is not currently in session is somehow dysfunctional. His issue seems to be that the opposition opposes his will. He is not prepared to wait until the house reconvenes, until a confidence vote fails or until the elected representatives get to represent. He whines that his government is blocked at every turn, yet the record would indicate otherwise, he has been quite successful in moving his legislative agenda forward. That is clearly not the issue. He declares that the opposition parties have no confidence in the government, yet he has survived every confidence vote he has been able to manufacture. For good or ill, democracy is a pesky and fractious means of government and a minority rule is even more contentious. It is founded in disagreement, argument and compromise. It is more than obvious that Harper is utterly unwilling to compromise, to reach or even seek accord. He is an autocrat lost in an unfriendly system that denies him his every whim.
So rather than allowing the house to go back to work, he stomps his foot. Rather than facing the repercussions of his and his party's mistakes, errors and machinations he wants to slam the door shut on the people's right to seek answers and investigate the doings of their elected government. Simply enough, the election that he is ginning up in such a panic is devised to prevent inquiry and disclosure. It is an attempt to use the democratic process as a coverup for scandal and a screen to hide failure looming on the economic front. When it comes to responsibility and accountability, we need only cast a glance at Tony Clement, a veteran of Mike Harris's Ontario government, who has learned nothing from Walkerton. As health minister he has abandoned even the appearance of responsibility as he cracks wise in America while Canadians die. The Harper response to the listeriosis outbreak is to try and weasel out from under responsibility. And this is the legacy of the Harper rule to date, it is somebody else's fault or they did it too (even if they didn't). Adscam, for ever. Harper has made every effort to reshape Canada and Canadian government in his own image, it is long past the point where he can blame every problem and failing on the Liberals of days gone by. It is high time that Steve actually stood by his word and faced his responsibility, made himself accountable and allowed a vestige of transparency in his own government.
Let the house sit. Let the committees work. Let the questions rise and the answers fall. Harper has talked the talk, now is the time for him to walk the walk. And that walk is not a mad scramble to the polling station amid a litany of smears and obsfucation.