The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

December 23, 2008

Harper again not a man of his word..


Prime Minister Stephen Harper gives out his bad Christmas present to all Canadians

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is facing tough times that now next will be made more difficult by an economy that is heading into a tailspin, and by his own poor personal  negative recent acts now too. Prime Minister Stephen Harper added another notch to his growing list of broken election promises yesterday.  No matter how he next tries to justify it, excuse it, Stephen Harper MP PM is a known liar.. not what you should have expected now from a professing Christian Evangelical especially now too. Stephen Harper acted yesterday less like a respectable  prime minister and more like the bad political party leader he has has said he never would be like.

Many critics accused Mr. Harper of hypocrisy, betrayal  in appointing a list of individuals known primarily for their service to the Conservative Party, including a former Quebec separatist. They also questioned the legitimacy of the appointments, given that Mr. Harper has suspended Parliament until late January in order to avoid defeat in the House of Commons. 

Harper arguably has no right to make the appointments now. While he has manoeuvred to escape a certain Commons vote of non confidence that was scheduled for Dec. 8, the truth is he still doesn’t enjoy the confidence of the House. Appointing senators over the holiday season is simply Harper’s way of  lying his way through while most Canadians are not looking .

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, who now holds the fate of the Conservative government in his hands, said the appointments demonstrate a Prime Minister who can’t be trusted to keep his promises.   “It’s another example of the inability of Harper to keep his word,” Mr. Ignatieff said.  “He’s made very, very clear commitments coming out of his experience with [the Reform Party] to Senate reform and he’s abandoned them. Mr. Harper had steadfastly maintained that he would only appoint senators in rare circumstances. The chamber, he said, was to be elected and he wouldn’t enlarge it, save for the appointment of individuals like Alberta senate reformer Bert Brown or Michael Fortier, who was put in to fill a Quebec cabinet post.

” Yet, for someone who professes to want the Senate to be effective, as well as elected and equal, Mr. Harper seems to have gone out of his way with his appointments to further discredit the legislative body by pandering to the very kind of cynical politics that have so turned off Canadians from the entire process and given the red chamber such a poor image.  In too many of the cases of the latest appointees, their only qualifications for the job seem to consist of being defeated Conservative candidates either provincially or federally, or having a claim on prime ministerial largesse for loyal services rendered to the party, not necessarily to Canadians in the preceding years.  For a Conservative leader who rode into office astride a moral high horse on ethical and accountable government, promising in the 2006 campaign to appoint an independent public appointments commission for positions of public trust, this is yet another blow to his credibility. Senate reform joins fixed-date elections, balanced budgets, income trust taxation and a plethora of other commitments sacrificed at the altar of political expediency. ”

The loser, the Prime Minister Stephen Harper did next again what he said he would not do before, he appointed 18 Conservatives to the Senate on Monday… Two television journalists, an Olympic hero and a covey of Conservative partisans were named to the Senate in Stephen Harper’s biggest volley of patronage since he became prime minister.  Appointees will receive a $130,400 annual salary indexed to inflation until they retire or reach age 75, followed by a very comfortable pension – and both are indexed to inflation.    Most of those appointed to the Senate   18 Conservatives   were not household names, but well-connected Tories such as defeated candidates, campaign organizers and party fundraisers.  Harper’s timing, just before Christmas when most Canadians are preoccupied with holiday cheer rather than politics, suggests the government wasn’t anxious to showcase the appointments. A common Harper occurance.  Opposition parties questioned whether Harper has the political legitimacy for a patronage spree, having averted the defeat of his minority government only by suspending Parliament until the new year.   They also questioned the timing of the announcement – given the dire state of the economy and public finances. They said filling those 18 seats will cost taxpayers $6 million a year. “This business of stuffing the Senate possibly on his way out the door, it’s obscene. It’s the only word. It’s just obscene.”

After insisting he would never appoint people to an un-elected Senate, the prime minister sent a staggering 18 curly-tailed snorters to the Red Room, confirming his election pledges aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.  Harper talks a good talk when it comes to populace issues like balancing the books, Senate reform and fixed election dates.  But when it comes time to stand up and defend those principles in the real world of governing, Harper turns into a mashed potato. 

Take the fixed election dates, one of the bedrocks of democratic reform that Harper sold to voters in 2006.  Under set election dates, no longer could governments enjoy the advantages of incumbency by controlling the logistics of election dates, he said.  “Fixed election dates prevent governments from calling snap elections for short-term political advantage,” Harper said in 2006. “Fixed election dates stop leaders from trying to manipulate the calendar. They level the playing field for all parties. The rules are clear for everybody.”  Sounds great.  But it didn’t take much for Harper to apply the potato masher to that principle. Under the threat of being tossed from office during a set Fall 2009 election, Harper called a snap election — the very kind he said he was opposed to — in September.  He did so because he knew if he went to the polls next year, it would likely be during the trough of a deep recession. Sitting PMs don’t do well amid widespread layoffs and plant closures. So Harper threw the fixed-date principle out the window for his own political benefit.

During the last election campaign, Harper also sang the praises of balanced budgets. Despite tough economic times, Harper said his government would not go back into deficit.  He even warned it was the Liberals who should be feared because it was their planned spending spree that would plunge Canada back into the glue.  “If you look at the tens of billions of dollars of announcements (the Liberals) are making, the only way these can be financed are not simply through big increases in taxes that they’re already promising — carbon taxes, the GST — but it would mean deficits and large deficits,” Harper said during the campaign. “Big deficits.”  Well, the PM took the potato masher to that one, too. Now it’s Harper who’s confirming he intends to mortgage the future of our children with gargantuan deficits in an effort to spend our way out of a recession.

Then there’s the Senate.  Harper was adamant Senate reform was needed and that he would stubbornly refuse to make any appointments to the upper chamber until there was reform.  “I don’t plan to appoint Senators, that’s not my intention, so we will be, in some cases, waiting upon an election system,” Harper said in 2006.  Well it appears there are no cases in which it’s appropriate to hold off on any appointments. Harper just stacked the 105-member political brothel to the rafters with 18 new pork-barrel appointments.  So much for the principles.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper has officially named Thomas Cromwell of Nova Scotia to the Supreme Court of Canada, forgoing a promised public hearing into his appointment pending a public hearing by an all-party parliamentary committee – a process Harper had promised to follow for all his nominees to the Supreme Court

Prime Minister Harper now sleeps in the bed he himself has made..

Prime Minister Stephen Harper certainly can be trusted not to keep his word, or his promises, but only to lie.. Fire Him, Get rid of him ASAP!

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