Oh, look ... another broken promise by Stephen Harper (emphasis added):
Harper changes tune on appointments
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is choosing which Conservative MPs will become chairs of Commons committees, reversing a parliamentary reform that he championed while leader of the Official Opposition.
Opposition members are concerned that the role of MPs will be significantly weakened as a result, because the chairpersons' loyalties will be to the Prime Minister rather than the MPs on the committees, who may at times wish to publish reports critical of government policy.
Well ... all right, but is this really that big a deal? I mean, how bad could this be? Oh, Jesus ...
The new selection process is expected to be used next week, according to Saskatoon-Wanuskewin Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott, who issued a press release titled "Vellacott accepts Prime Minister's Nomination as Committee Chair."
Mr. Vellacott is one of the more controversial MPs in the Conservative caucus, an evangelical pastor who frequently issues anti-abortion press releases.
Mr. Vellacott told The Globe and Mail he has been told he is the Prime Minister's choice to chair the Commons aboriginal affairs committee and is therefore unlikely to be challenged when chairs are selected next week.
You aboriginals are so fucked. And as for Harper's consistency on this topic:
Mr. Harper was a vocal critic of appointing chairs when he was leader of the Official Opposition. In 2002, he co-wrote a letter to The Globe with Chuck Strahl, now the Minister of Agriculture, accusing the Liberals of "posturing" on parliamentary reform.
"Standing committees of the House should not simply be extensions of the Prime Minister's Office, and members of Parliament should choose their committee chairs by secret ballot and set their own agenda, free from the Whip's direction," Mr. Harper and Mr. Strahl wrote.
All right, at this point, I've pretty much given up on that "openness, accountability and transparency" stuff. Now I just want them to stop being such pathological, lying douchebags.
Am I still setting my sights too high?
BONUS TRACK AND CC CHALLENGE: Sadly, Canada's aboriginals might be familiar with some of Maurice Vellacott's recent work:
Maurice Vellacott drew fire in 2004 for defending two Saskatoon police officers convicted of leaving a drunken aboriginal man on the outskirts of town on a -25 winter evening.
Sure ... taking a man who had no problem with leaving an aboriginal man to freeze to death in the middle of winter and making him the chair of the Commons committee on aboriginal affairs. What can possibly go wrong?
Along those lines, I'm asking my readers to consider the upcoming Commons committee chair positions and submit their choices for who they would consider the most inappropriate, hideously-unqualified people that could possibly be given those positions by PM Stephen Harper.
It might be hard to top evangelical, anti-abortion, aboriginal-hater Vellacott's choice to be in charge of aboriginals but give it your best shot. And, remember, given this government, no submission might be too horrifying or unthinkable that it might not actually come to pass.
The lines are open.
You may recall, cc, that Vellacott was also the member that moved a "conscience clause" to allow pharmacists to refuse to fill birth control and plan b prescriptions last year.
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