Restoring honor and dignity to government, that was the Tory mantra during the election. You can make a strong case that we are presently witnessing the most unseemly era in Canadian politics. No overt scandals, if that is your measure, but clearly the gutter tactics and mean-spirited rhetoric are unprecedented.
Watching the vote in the House of Commons yesterday, it was striking to listen to what sounded like a drunken frat party as members voted. Catcalls, embarrassing banter, coming from our government, which is supposed to set the tone. Parliament has descended to a point where any sense of decorum is an illusion.
We don’t have intelligent disagreement any longer, no if you divert from the Tory opinion you are labeled soft on something, maybe even extremist. We run dishonest attack ads outside of an election. We use international forums to public embarrass the previous government (see Nairobi). The government website has deteriorated into a partisan propaganda source, with the requisite Liberal bashing. Every sentence, every move is clearly political, nothing just happens without calculation. Issues are toyed with to maximize political advantage, the agenda is really just a marketing campaign.
The real tragedy, you don’t go back. Other parties react to this environment and develop their response within the new rules. If we look at the evolution of hyper-politics to our south we see our future. Partisanship has always been part of the dialogue, but never has it consumed everything the way it does now. Harper views everything as tactical, which has eliminated any sense of common purpose, on even the most simple of questions. The tone is mean, the rhetoric outrageous and the naked self-interest serves to undermine the stature of government. I have come to the conclusion, this government is soft on decency.