Saturday, August 16, 2008

Walking The Halls, Tail In The Air

Today's Lawrence Martin column does an excellent job of exposing the Conservatives hypocrisy on "dysfunction". I've used the analogy before, but Harper complaining about parliament functioning properly is akin to the SKUNK bitching about the SMELL:
Cry us a river, Tories, but who wrote the book on chaos?


Oops. Maybe they forgot.

Last year, the governing Conservatives prepared a secret handbook on how to disrupt parliamentary committees and create chaos. No mere pamphlet, the book ran to 200 pages.

It instructed committee chairmen to select blatantly biased witnesses and tutor them in advance. It gave the chairmen pointers on how to obstruct parliamentary business, to storm out of meetings if necessary.

Team Harper never expected its opus to be made public. But the media got hold and the headlines poured forth - "Tories blasted for handbook on paralyzing Parliament" and the like.

The Prime Minister's Office had all the committee chairmen return their dirty-tricks texts. Given the Conservatives' red-handed embarrassment, it was expected that they might show a touch more temerity in the future.

Hypocrisy, of course, abounds in the nation's capital, all parties being guilty. But this week's hypocrisy moment may rank as one for the ages. The Conservatives wrote the handbook on obstructionism, they've followed it to the letter on many occasions, and they now come forward to proclaim that they are somehow the victims and that they may have no recourse but to go the polls.

Harper really comments on his own party's success, his plan achieved. Let's hope this point is made in an election campaign, because it really does reveal the most basic Conservative hypocrisy, undercutting everything they supposedly stood for in the last election.

UPDATE:

Something pungent in the air.

18 comments:

900 ft Jesus said...

the gall of Harper, making such an accusation, as though anyone but the brain-dead indoctrinates will buy it.

Had a discussion with a friend about such Harper methods. He figures Harper is so isolated, listening only to his own voice and ideas echoing off his tightly controlled inner circle that he is incapable of seeing that he can't control the minds of all. He fails over and over to recognize the independent minds of human beings because he already thinks he has all the answers.

He's one scary f--k.

Anonymous said...

Steve you said it all yesteday. This "conservative " government is only capable of tearing down what they don't want but have no clue how to build.

Interesting how many people like myself who are former PCers asre hoping for a Liberal win and working towards it so that this gang of thugs breaks up into its two parts and a new right wing party emerges that wants to build again. I long for the days where we argued apples with oranges instead of now where it is apples and elephants.

Anonymous said...

Parliament isn't disfunctional - Harper is.

His whole caucas are like a disfunctional family.

Anonymous said...

If Harper's government is so horrible, why do the Liberals keep proppin it up? I think it's because they are providing middle of the road government and haven't made any serious mistakes so the Liberals are biding their time.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:26: wishful dreaming

Deb Prothero said...

Dion has been biding his time for very good reasons. First, he needed to get The Green Shift ready and now he's asking for input. For me, the plan was worth the wait. Building anything but especially building consensus takes time. Running a slash-and-burn style government doesn't.

Dion also needed to have the leadership candidates get their debts paid off - his is now under 250,000. No point going to an election with those debts on the books.

The problem is with an impatient electorate that wants instant gratification. Dion is taking principled steps one by one. Personally, I think it's been worth waiting. If he'd gone in the spring as everyone was crying for, we wouldn't have as much evidence of Harper's intention.

Harper's ideology makes him want to tear down all of Canada's institutions. He wants Canadians to agree with him that nothing is working, so they'll vote for him. Then magically, Canada's institutions will disappear.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Good post. Yes that was funny, Harper blaming the Liberal's for a dysfunctional parliament.

They are equally to blame. Although to be accurate, only the CPC actually built a manual to teach their people.

I think PMSH is looking to force an election because he thinks Dion will continue to paralyze the house but refuse to vote against anything, essentially causing a continuing stalemate of leadership.

So Harper may force the election, perhaps even going for a walk through the fall leaves with his boy.

Tomm

Anonymous said...

900 ft,

Your paranoia is frightening.

Harper may not be your cup of tea, but for you to demonize the man is very un-Canadian. You really should stick to ideas. That is what we need to discuss.

This is lost on you, isn't it?

Tomm

WesternGrit said...

The astonishing thing is, Harper is referring to the committees, and it has been NOTHING but Conservatives stonewalling the committees, storming out, refusing to accept requests by Parliament to attend as witnesses (could be contempt of Parliament). It has only been the Cons because they are the only ones who have something to lose with the ongoing function of the committees. It is their election financing scandal that will come out...

They have good reason to not only break with protocols - but also to break the very rules that govern these committees, and they are doing it with absolute contempt of our systems.

Growing up on the the Prairies, the number one thing I ever heard coming from the mouth of Reformers (careful to differentiate them from PCs) was their hate of Parliament, "Ottawa bureaucrats", and Easterners. They were so vehemently against the "system in Ottawa", and very clearly felt that destabilizing the country so Alberta and Sask could have "more say" was the key to their happiness. This is exactly what they are doing now, and a big part of Canada is letting them get away with it - unknowingly, of course...

Zorpheous said...

Steve, you need a nifty graphic for this post, might I suggest one from the Wingnuterer?

Steve V said...

Too funny, on the same page there. Nice.

JimmE said...

I'm old enough to remember conversations amongst Alberta Liberals where we wondered "should we send delegates to this REFORM party convention?". Many of my friends who followed what Presto orchestrated were appalled how right wing every thing that came out of that convention was. One thing many western LIBERALS thought was interesting was the idea of giving MP's a voice.
Deb Grey must be doing doughnuts on her Harley listening to what this person who calls himself the present PM has done to the premise of Parliamentary independence. Mr Harper has proven himself to be a hypocrite of the first order.

900 ft Jesus said...

Tomm - "to demonize the man is very un-Canadian"

un-Canadian. That's pretty funny...
What are the CON attack ads all about? Or the demonization of Trudeau - he can be dead 200 years and he'll still be the great socialist evil.

A politician's personality flaws are part of the discussion and ideas that need to be considered since they reflect how that person performs politically.

Harper's inability to grasp world politics, or even seriously consider ideas other than his own (obvious by how he scripts nearly all messages, not trusting even his own party people to speak) and his conviction that he is right despite reports, studies, public opinion make him function with blinders on.

When asked if he was going to watch "An Inconvenient Truth," he said he might, but that he didn't expect to learn anything new. And that from someone who considered climate change a hoax.

It's impossible to serve a nation if your mind is that closed.

Anonymous said...

900 Ft,

Trudeau did horrible things to western Canada (and Quebec?). Has Harper done horrible things to ANY part of Canada?

Trudeau created a new charter when we already had a Bill of Rights.

Why? Really. I don't think that was ever explained, at least that I recall.

Your criticisms of Harper are hear-say and 3rd hand at best. If you know nothing about the man then limit your criticisms to his actions and spoken views. Listening to Julie Van Dusen or Jim Travers could be dangerous to your mental health.

Tomm

Steve V said...

Tomm

Just wondering if you could point me to the last Jim Travers piece that was positive towards the Liberals? Are you even paying attention, or is this just some kneejerk line you picked up on at BT's?

900 ft Jesus said...

Tomm - some of Harper's actions and spoken views:

introduced the dirty tricks handbook to disrupt committees, designed after the Republican one.

greatly limited media access to MPs

rarely lets his MPs speak for themselves

buried report after report that should have been readily available to the public.

Access to information has become far more difficult since he has been in power

Undermined international efforts on coming to an agreement on climate change

Refused to sign the original petition against the death penalty, internationally

revised policy on defending Canadians facing the death penalty abroad, stating defending Canadians will be decided on a case-by-case basis, overthrowing the previous Canadian stance that all Canadians are entitled to the same rights and protections

called Canada a Welfare state that doesn't mind being such

ignores reports from existing agencies designed to make such reports, then hires his own people to come up with reports that reflect what he wants them to

other provinces - Danny Williams, a Conservative premier is going on a nation wide campaign against Harper - shows dissatisfaction in Newfoundland. Casey was ousted because of Harper's actions concerning Atlantic provinces - read the papers, those provinces aren't very happy. Steve's polls are also down in QC and ON - Flaherty's ridiculous attacks, Harper's insulting attempts at vote buying in QC. Oh, let's not forget the nation-within-a-nation farce.

"succeeded" in blocking 100 countries in their attempts to label asbestos hazardous

I can go on, but then why bother? This is all pretty well known, and if you won't see the flaws in Harper as a PM, you probably never will.

Now go ahead and sling an insult, if you wish. Far & Wide runs a very professional blog, and I won't waste his space on nonsense.

WesternGrit said...

Picture this Liberal campaign ad:

"Stephen Harper says Parliament is disfunctional" (insert image of Baird foaming at mouth, or ALL their committee antics - with ominous music in background). "Stephen Harper would like you to think he's been promoting integrity in government..." (lists of the scandals - particularly the election scams)... (announcer now raises tone:) "Stephen Harper says Parliament is disfunctional and the Opposition parties are playing dirty tricks..." "Stephen Harper wrote the book on dirty tricks" (words describing Harper's Parliamentary disruption manual, with an image of a large book in the background)...

"The only thing disfunctional about Canada's House of Commons is Stephen Harper's government..."

"On Nov 21st, vote Liberal..."

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Jim Travers thinks Harper is not worthy, perhaps 900 foot is his blogging nom de plume?

900 foot,

My apologies, those are certainly positions and decisions taken by Harper. I guess we just disagree on most of them.

Please consider that some of them are also positions of the previous government.

The points you make relative to the media are not positions, only Harper's attempt to minimize the damaging negative spin put on by the journalists, who do not care for Reform/Alliance/Conservative positions on social justice and other policy issues. Your disagreeing with the way he handles the media may be an indication of being secretive, to you. To me its an attempt to minimize the media spin. By the way, it's not working. The media isn't reporting his words at press conferences, they will paraphrase him and put their own tone to the results, just like the comments on Danny Williams last week.

He's damned either way it seems. Perhaps that is why Giorno is changing tack.

Tomm