Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Harper's Words Betray His Choice

Stephen Harper defended his decision to recruit David Emerson with the following logic:
“The power to make cabinet appointments is a power that resides in the office of the Prime Minister as the highest democratically elected official in the country and this Prime Minister has no intension of acceding that jurisdiction in any way, shape or form to any government official,” Mr. Harper told reporters in Ottawa.

A forceful argument, with constitutional relevance, Harper asserts his rights as Prime Minister. However, Harper's striking reference to "democratically elected official" ironically supports the arguments against Emerson. Harper is right, we do have a democracy, wherein the people elect their officials. In asserting his right, Harper has in effect betrayed the principle of democracy. Now I realize that this fact has little bearing on the ethics probe, but it is relevant to Emerson for obvious reasons.

The Canadian people have the ultimate right, to choose their representation, which was clearly ignored in this scenario. If Harper wishes to refer to democracy, as a means to belittle the ethics probe, then it is a double-edged sword. Harper may well put into the question the relevance of Shapiro, but he does so through his reliance on democratic mandate. The same logic must apply to his appointee- you can't pick and choose where the principle applies to suit your needs. By extension, Harper uses his democratic right to abolish the democratic right of the people of Vancouver-Kingsway. Then it becomes a question of where the power lies in a democracy, with the elected or the electors. Ultimately, and Harper has made this point, the Canadian people have the primary power. I hope a reporter poses this question to Harper, with his own quote as evidence against his decision.


Anonymous said...

they voted for emerson. they still have emerson.

Steve V said...


That's some weak spin.

Anonymous said...

Thanks enjoyed the post!!