let us call the Senate what it is: a reward for the party faithful; an occasional arbiter of legislative common sense; and a supreme seat of patronage that looks like a violation of democratic principle to most Canadians, and like its epitome to those who rest their backsides in its cushy red chairs. ( email@example.com)
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“Harper’s broken promises Dec 29, 2008 04:30 AM With his appointment of 18 Senators, most of whom are Conservative party cronies, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has added another broken promise to the 27 democratic reform and government accountability promises the Conservatives have already broken since they were elected in January 2006. In their 2006 election platform, the Conservatives promised to establish an independent Public Appointments Commission to ensure fair, merit-based and widely publicized searches for qualified candidates for the PM and his cabinet to appoint to government agencies, boards and commissions. Harper broke this promise after opposition parties changed the Federal Accountability Act to ensure the commission would be non-partisan and operate independently of cabinet, and be accountable to Parliament if it did not ensure fair appointments. The Conservative cabinet has gone on to appoint more than 1,000 people to key government positions, many with ties to the Conservatives. They also broke their promise to “Prevent party leaders from appointing candidates without the democratic consent of local electoral district associations” and Harper showed his dishonesty further by appointing several Conservative candidates for the recent election. He has also made false claims about why he has broken these promises, as usual blaming opposition parties for his failures. The PM also used his so-called “Accountability Act” to cut the ethics rule that requires him and his cabinet and senior officials to be honest. He obviously wanted to protect himself from being found guilty of breaking the honesty rule. Canadians deserve better. The Conservatives are practising dishonest, unethical, secretive, un-representative and wasteful federal politics as usual. The key question is, will the opposition parties offer good government to voters? ” Duff Conacher, Co-ordinator, Democracy Watch, Ottawa
In 2004, when Scott Brison left the Tories to join the Liberals, Mr. Harper said: “Leaving a party and defecting to the other side for 30 pieces of silver is part of corruption.” Then, on the day after Mr. Harper won an election campaign on ethics, he was the one handing out the silver. There is a striking hypocrisy in this, and in many of Mr. Harper’s subsequent actions — where he behaves the same as the cynical Liberals he once compared to Judas Iscariot. It continued this week, when Mr. Harper appointed 18 senators, something he had promised not to do, all the while denouncing the Liberals for blocking his efforts at Senate reform. Mr. Harper, an old Reformer, swore he would be different from his Liberal and Progressive Conservative predecessors. But when faced with the same temptation, he behaved in exactly the same way as prime ministers always have — he appointed old bagmen and political organizers who had been helpful to him in leadership races and election campaigns, along with a few high-profile Canadians as a fig leaf.
Also now, He promised to establish a Public Appointments Commission to review all political appointees, then reneged when the opposition sniffed at the man he selected to head it, and has continued to make partisan appointments without scrutiny. What makes Mr. Harper different from other hypocritical politicians is not his reversals but the withering brutality of his attacks on his opponents, reinforced by a legion of talented spin doctors and advertising experts. It suggests either a psychological inability to recognize that his actions are morally equivalent to those he attacks — or, more likely, a willingness to be as mean as is useful. That meanness, though, has recently backfired on Mr. Harper, twice, at some cost.First, in the recent election campaign, his harsh comments about culture cuts cost him the Quebec seats he needed to win a majority. Then, in the fall fiscal update, his attacks on the opposition’s funding almost cost him power, necessitating another round of hypocritical attacks that boosted his support in the West and burnt his bridges in Quebec. If Quebecers have permanently soured on Mr. Harper — which would put a majority out of reach — Mr. Harper’s appeal would fade in the rest of the country. Having lived, for three years, by the sword, he risks dying from a self-inflicted wound.