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If only we could do away with Parliament entirely

The government is once more displeased with this democracy it must function within


 

The government is once more displeased with this democracy it must function within.

The Conservative cabinet has decided to ban its political staffers from appearing as witnesses before committees, setting up a new standoff between the government and opposition MPs just days after resolving the dispute over Afghan detainee documents … “Ministers are the ones who are accountable and answer to Parliament,” said Mr. Soudas, adding that a “government-wide” policy on the issue will be laid out on Tuesday.

As Kady O’Malley notes, this can only mean the Prime Minister will be showing up Tuesday to testify at the ethics committee in Mr. Soudas’ place. And once there, he might be asked when precisely between May 2004 and today did he decide it was not necessary for Parliament to hear from all requested witnesses, and whether senior ministers such as Jason Kenney and Peter MacKay agree with him now.


 

If only we could do away with Parliament entirely

  1. Well, on the PM appearing before committee, theoretically yes, if thats the logic they're using on staffers.. but while that would be amusing to see Harper forced (er.. asked.. as I was reminded below, Cabinet Ministers are the only ones not able to be subpoenaed by a Committee) to appear before a Parliamentary Committee (don't think the Cons have really thought this new 'policy' out very well), but as Kady says:

    "There are, of course, some annoying parliamentary traditionalists out there — including the one behind this keyboard — who will point out that, although this latest tactic may get full marks for procedural chutzpah, it is, alas, completely unenforceable, since Parliament has the power to send for persons, papers and records."

    .."If the committee wants to hear from Soudas — or any other staffer — it can authorize the chair to issue a summons, which has the same weight as a subpoena from a court — and if the witness still refuses to show up at the appointed hour, the House can pass an order to have the Sargent-at-Arms go forth and fetch them, … after which they will be brought before the Commons Bar to face the same questions that they would have been asked at committee, as well as possible contempt charges."

    Once again, the Harperites are trying to weaken Parliament and avoid accountability.

    (That said, I'd pay good money to see the Sgt-of-Arms haul Soudras before Parliament (Committee of the Whole))

    • Touche'! And Kady, too!

  2. I'm not so sure I'm concerned about POLITICAL staffers not being allowed to appear as witnesses before committees, since it seems to me that their primary responsibility is to their respective parties, not the government. All we would likely get from them is "party line". I WOULD be concerned if the interpretation of "political" staffers would include Deputy Ministers and ADM's, however.

    • …"it seems to me that their primary responsibility is to their respective parties"

      Who pays their salary? The party – or the people of Canada?

      • The same people who pay Kady's salary,
        the Canadian taxpayer.

        • cmon wilson ol boy
          loosen up, its Victoria Day

          besides – CBC earns lots of ad revenue and I am sure Kady is careful to get paid from the free-enterprise bucket, when they're cutting cash at the end of a shift

          • I dare say I'm glad i'm not subsidizing wilson's blogging salary, right? Buhler? Ahhhh!

        • Petty, petty, petty. I like Kady. She's smart and curious. She does the committee meetings and has a thurst for facts and delves into rules, etc.

          She sure earns her money.

          I think you should start attacking Duffy and a whole lot of other journalists who got their start at CBC. Duffy, what an ingrate. Without CBC, he wouldn't be anywhere.

    • Ministers are protected from prosecution by Parliamentary immunity. Political staffers aren't. So ministers can obfuscate, dither, misdirect, or just plain lie to a committee without fear of consequences. Likely political staffers have been breaking the law by delaying or preventing ATI requests and Harper (unsurprisingly) doesn't want people to find out about it. In any case its an amazingly dumb thing to do because as Kady said it's unenforceable and I'm pretty certain that opposition MPs are familiar with that old expression "where there's smoke there's fire".

  3. Political staffers are paid by the government, and have extremely important roles within the government as a whole. To exclude them from oversight is insane.

    • John, Loraine…yes, political staffers are paid by the government, but they're HIRED by the party, presumably on the basis of their work for the PARTY (for the most part). They're essentially the same as constituency office managers and executive assistants, which MPs get an allowance for. Treasury Board MIGHT be involved in the hiring process (I'm not sure), but it's certainly not going to fill a position over the objections of the party involved. So I would argue that their primary loyalty is probably still to the party; "you dance with the one that brung you", as they say.

      Although the principle of ministerial responsibility has been (deplorably) weakened over the last few decades, it still exists. I would be very concerned if Ministers attempted to deflect responsibility and accountability to their political staffers, as the Ministers are ultimately responsible for their portfolio, AND those that they delegate responsibility to. It remains to be seen if the Conservatives actually attempt to do this.

      • ''for the most part'', ''they're essentially'', ''probably still''… These are your words (and they really make an argument flimsy)!

        Lemons might be oranges what with their similar attributes. They are so very citric, they are so bright in colour, and oh, how they are both juicy… But a lemon IS NOT an orange!

        Staffers are Government officials, your attempt to redefine that (all the while acknowledging it) is bizarre.

        • I'm not quite sure what you're objecting to. Are you suggesting that political staffers (lemons) are NOT government officials (oranges), or that they ARE?

          Unlike the vast majority of posters on this, and other blogs, I very rarely make unqualified assertions, because I understand that my assumptions, interpretations, and knowledge are not necessarily shared by everyone else. I'm not particularily concerned that my opinions "prevail"; instead, I try to contribute to rational discussions by offering a point of view. I also don't "attack" others for their positions, because I really don't see the point of that.

          • I am saying a Government official's main accountability is not to a Party.

            Concerning these ''attacks''… It is not an attack to say that ''for the most part'', ''probably'' does a disservice to a point of view, it's a point of fact. It is also not an attack to sat that it (not you, the argument/point) is bizarre to acknowledge what something is, and then go argue that it isn't! That was essentially (part of) your ''point of view'' – That a Government official is, well, a Government official, paid by the tax payer and involved in the (high level) operations of Departments, and then turn around and say that, due to the partisan nature of such positions, it answers to a Party above anything else.

            If I can add one more thing. You said ''I would be very concerned if Ministers attempted to deflect responsibility and accountability to their political staffers'' in your original post. There's Lisa Raitt and her assistant, the PM and Soudas (about ten times so far), there are more… Not worth any concern?

          • I think there's an important distinction to be made between a "government official" and a "party official" ('coz that's what political staffers are), even if they're both paid by the same public purse. In an ideal world, one could argue that the loyalty of both should be to the people of Canada. However, in light of the dysfunctional world of Canadian party politics, where the PMO holds an inordinate amount of power over appointments and party discipline(much more than in, say, the UK or India or Australia), I think it may be a little unrealistic to insist that this loyalty to the government supercedes loyalty to the party. Or perhaps I'm overly cynical about the motivations of politicians and their supporters.

            If, as you suggest, political staff are professional enough to bear first allegiance to the Canadian taxpayer, then it seems to follow that it doesn't matter what party they support. In that case, why wouldn't political staffers from the opposition parties ALSO be appointed to critical "government" positions, on the basis of merit? It rarely happens.

          • Political staffers are positioned between the party in power and the actual mechanisms and structures of government. Their main role is to promote the policies of the party within the permanent bureaucracy of government, and ensure that no policy comes from the high levels of Departments that contradicts party policy. If they were as "professionally" motivated as you suggest, they would oppose poor policy on the basis that it would be bad for Canada and her taxpayers. I haven't heard of this happening in recent times, and I think that if a political staffer DID do this, they wouldn't be a staffer very long!

          • I appreciate that qualifying my assertions may not make for the strongest of arguments, but I think it may widen the range of discussion because bald assertions tend to be baldly refuted. Or at least, so it seems judging by the often vitriolic discourse one finds in these venues.

            With respect, I did NOT say I felt your comments were an "attack", I merely said I do not attack people for their positions. If they can argue their positions coherently without resorting to personal attacks, I can respect their positions even if I disagree with them, and will then attempt to persuade them otherwise. THAT type of dialogue strikes me as more useful than ad hominem attacks.

          • Yes, I AM concerned about Lisa Raitt and her assistant, and Stephan Harper and Soudas, as well as all the others! However, I (perhaps naively) have a great deal of faith in the Canadian electorate, and I don't believe that it's fooled by attempts to deflect responsibility to political staffers; I think ultimately it sees the elected official as responsible, at the very least for poor hiring decisions.

          • Perhaps?

    • 'To exclude them (Political staffers) from oversight is insane.'
      Exactly, that's why the Minister is responsible.

      That's why Chuck Guite was charged instead of the Minister of Public Works, Galiano (he got a cushy post in Denmark, Chuck got jail time)

      • So point us to Harper's guite — beside the fact that guite was a conservative (who was found to be guilty by a nonpartisan official called to rule by the government of the day, which wasn't conservative — because your cons don't have the guts or ethical moral compass to have their decisions/actions face questions)… Another load of horse hockey from Harper's henchnuts.

        • Guite was found guilty because they couldn't nail the Liberal cabinet minister who specifically gave him the instructions. In essence Guite took the fall for a cabinet minister. Was it Alphonso Gagliano? Who knows.

        • Whoever said Guite was a conservative? He was actually a non-partisan public servant. He was never a politcal staffer.

    • They get oversight from the Government. In the form of the minister they work for. The committees aren't part of the cabinet forming the Government.

  4. Time to redistribute the PM's considerable dictatorial powers. The Prime Ministers Office is choking the evolution of Canadian democracy. The Cabinet should be selected by the Caucus and the members of the Cabinet should select the PM. This will make the PM subject to the will of Cabinet and bring a much needed "team" emphasis to government. Cooperative corporations organize themselves this way. The party system would need to make adjustments to this fundamental reform.

    • We elect parties for their leadership. We know, going into elections, who the Prime Minister will be. Your 'reform' further distances the voters from the selection process.

      • We don't elect parties. We don't elect leaders. We elect MP's. The way our system works is precisely as Phil says. Its just our MPs are too afraid to exercise their powers… They stick to their leaders like glue.

        • The ballot lists both the candidate and their party. Sure we elect the MP to Parliament, but the purpose of your vote is made quite clear.

          • If you want to reduce our Parliament to an electoral college, we should become a republic. At least then we'll have a real legislative branch.

  5. Time to redistribute the PM's considerable dictatorial powers. The Prime Ministers Office is choking the evolution of Canadian democracy. The Cabinet should be selected by the Caucus and the members of the Cabinet should select the PM. This will make the PM subject to the will of Cabinet and bring a much needed "team" emphasis to government. Cooperative corporations organize themselves this way. The party system would need to make adjustments to this fundamental reform.

  6. another example of harper's attempt to turn this country into a dictatorship. and still… canadians support this demagogue's ecomaniacal agenda.

    • Definately not all Canadians. Call to action my friends.

  7. This is just another example of the Harper Government keeping it's promise of being more TRANSPARENT and OPEN. NOT! I would like the Harper government to let everyone know where we can get a copy of the Harper Government Dictionary of Canada so that we know THEIR definitions of words rather than the REAL definition. If Harper ever gets a majority then we could be looking at a dictatorship.

    • This is nonsense. The committees are used to discredit Government as a matter of course. This isn't a transparency issue at all. It's really more about the tactics of opposition in a minority setting. Though, it's equally about the tactics of the party in power in a minority situation. The simple fact is that the Conservatives have been running in a minority much longer than any minority typically exists. These are the necessary tactics of 'keeping things together'. You can hate them for the 'ruthlessness', but it's not at all about transparency.

  8. If it's unelected party staff that are making decisions (about access to information requests, for example) then they need to be held to account too. If they aren't willing to appear before the committee there is no way they should be making these decisions.

    The opposition and committees should simply ignore this new "policy". Don't abuse the power of subpeona, but keep summoning whoever they need to hold the government to account. Political staffers making important decisions on information to release are perfectly relevant witnesses in this inquiry.

    • If it's unelected party staff that are making decisions

      This. If person is in a position to make decisions about how our government is run, it is expected that they work within their authority, and that they exercise that authority lawfully. If they don't, they need to be held accountable.

  9. As my progressive blogging colleague points out, this attempted banning of staffers was done for an obvious reason:

    The Cons' new policy is that all committee questions must be directed toward the lone group of people who can't be subpoenaed to testify. So all answers will be granted solely at the Cons' convenience.

    And when cabinet ministers do deign to appear, they'll be free to answer that all decisions were made at lower levels, with the staffers responsible under strict orders not to provide any more information.

    • "…they'll be free to answer that all decisions were made at lower levels"

      Will they, actually? What if, as I suggest above in response to John and Lorraine's point, this actually re-inforces the principle of ministerial responsibility and accountability? I agree that Minsters SHOULD NOT be exempt from subcommittees' powers of subpoena, and that the current exemption should be removed, but even as it stands, it seems to me that there would be an increase in the public's expectation that Ministers be accountable.

      • Of course, the next time the Cons are in favour of ministerial responsibility when that means taking ownership of anything controversial will be the first. See e.g.: "don't blame us for hiding Afghan detainee documents, it was all the bureaucrats' doing".

        • After seeing their act of 'non-answers' and ignorance of questions in the session called 'Question Period' why are we shocked that they've now deigned those who've been their regular scapegoats as offlimits? Could it be that the members of the CONs' ethically-challenged foot soldiers finally said 'enough!' to being sent home without their supper after another ministerial screwup?

  10. "As Kady O'Malley notes"

    The same Kady O'Malley who angrily opposes reforming the UNELECTED senate? And who not so subtly admits that she does so to thwart elected Conservative governments and to maintain a permanent Liberal veto over the peoples' elected representatives?

    I see three (3) claims that Harper is dictatorial so far in this comment thread, and yet he has set records for the length of his minority governments, which could only be possible with co-operation of the opposition. His seat count actually increased in the last election, which is atypical of fascist parties in 21st century Canada.

    That's why you Liberals always lose elections. You always lie and nobody ever believes you. Harper actually *gains* votes every time you call him a dictator because the average Canadian rightfully concludes that that isn't really possible given his minority government.

    Thanks guys. Thanks for very clearly showing Canadian voters why they should trust Harper over you. You could scarcely be doing a better job. And thank you, Aaron, for suggesting that the guy who wants to finally bring democracy to Canada by reforming our undemocratic senate is a dictator, that's another 500 votes for our boy Steve.

    • Here is a first CPC paid "commenter". Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

      The unelected Senate is unelected for a reason: to remove it from partisan spirit. Harper, AFTER SAYING HE WANTED TO ABOLISH IT, packed it with his bots. If Senate blocks the 5-billion-plus 'law and order' (except for Jaffer, and the BMO fraud, of course) expenses, I think it is doing its job very well. Harper is using every trick in the book to circumvent democracy AND YOU KNOW IT. Harper has a MINORITY government!!! 'Nuf said.

      • I'm pretty sure it was the NDP that wanted to abolish it. The conservatives wanted a triple E elected senate.

    • Um okay, now back to the real world…

    • Ummm…there are many valid arguments concerning the reform (or even abolition!) of our senate, but increasing democracy is not one of them! Given the power of the PMO(staffed mainly with political appointees) with respect to approving candidates and enforcing party discipline, I don't see how having even MORE trained seals will increase democracy. Surely you don't think that MP's are sufficiently independent as it stands now?

      To the extent that the Senate does work as a chamber of "sober second thought" (that means relatively free of partisan considerations), it is because Senators are able to contradict the "party line".

    • You are dillusional. No matter, if they had elected senators – Harper still gets to say yes or no. So, if a province elects and NDP'r or Liberal and Harper doesn't like it, he can turn it down.

      What a farce

    • There is so much wrong with this post it is hard to know where to begin, but I shall try.

      First, I am going to ignore all the weaknesses in your senate reform argument (which has nothing to do with the topic here) except to note that retaining the senate as is means a guaranteed conservative senate majority, so whatever point you were trying to make is lost in the facts.

      Second, the reason Harper has retained power in a second election has very little to do with him, and a lot to do with a weak opposition. It is not that people like him, it is that people do not believe the liberals are ready to return to government.

      And third, liberals do not "always" lose lections. They lost 2 in the past 20 years. In the history of Canadian elections, how many have been won by the liberals and how many by the conservatives?

      Maybe you are too young to realize we had elections in Canada before 2006?

      • Right on Gayle, but unfortunately, the Cons are like Texans. They want to change historical facts to their conservative liking – truth bedamned.

      • Gayle. The Liberals only lost 2 elections in the past 20 years? Yeah, but they lost 4 in the past 30 years, and 5 in the past 40 years. Your math is selective.

        • That was my point so thanks for that.

          When someone claims the liberals "always" lose elections, that just sounds kind of silly when compared to the facts, don't you think?

          • I happen to agree with you on your main point. I, too, think it is silly to say that the party known as "Canada's natural governing party" always loses elections.

            However, I just found it strange you selected only the past 20 years. For many of us, our attitudes towards the current Liberal Party, both positive and negative, were shaped by the policies adopted by Pierre Elliott Trudeau. And, unlike some on this board, I happen to think some of his policies were positive, while others, especially his economic policies, were failures..

          • I think you're getting a little picky here – Gayle was simply pointing out that Liberals don't always lose elections.

    • Hey Kerela – trying to set a record for the most thumbs down on a single post? I added to your tally – more than happy to help out. Now maybe you can qualify for a position in the PMO's office.

    • Any links to kady's "angry" opposition?

    • Fruitcake

  11. I think this is yet another one of Dimitri Soudas's lamentable brain farts. He is actually making Sandra Buckler look smart and intelligent by comparison, which is no mean feat.

    Of course, this could be a Harperian ploy to force an election. What with the European debt situation and the auditor general's annoying habit of wanting to do the right thing, it could be a long sticky summer for Dear Leader.

  12. If only we could do away with Parliament entirely is unreaitistic, rather Get rid of the lying Cons , the Conservatives

  13. hmmm, when the cons agreed to a procedure for evaluating security concerns, looks like I accurately predicted they would just find another spurious issue to delay matters.

  14. No real attempts yet at defending this (just a cheap shot at Kady)… I suppose they're slow to distribute the talking points on Sundays. If Iggy says anything, I guess they can just reply with "I don't know how you do things down in Harvard, Professor, with your university girls and your drug orgies, but here in Canada we do things differently."

    I enjoyed it that Soudas took a little swipe at the US though, that was cute in a disingenuous sort of way.

    • Soudas is unelected, to who is he accountable. This government would be laughable if they werent so dangerous.

  15. I take it when Harper campaigned on accountability he meant to the Conservative Party not Canada as a whole.

    • Holding a Minister responsible for his/her staffers IS accountability.

      • If that were the case, the ministers should just try to speak instead of them in the first place. I don't how banning someone else from that improves the situation one iota. It only increases the likelihood of not being able to prove anything, and then of course there is no problem(for the conservatives).

      • Then I early await the Prime Minister's appearance at the committee in Soudas' place, and his honest and fulsome answers to the committee's questions.

        I don't think I'll hold my breath though.

    • Accountability to the Party? Not even that. Conservative Party members are expected to display proper obeisance at all times, and to nod appreciatively at any and all of the Dear Leader's utterances.

  16. You are all missing the Ministerial Responsibility theme and the Adscam connection,
    -(lack of) Ministerial Responsibility referred to by Judge Gomery in his conclusions about Adscam
    -and Ministerial Responsibility included in Harper's Federal Accountability Act

      • Wilson's point? Don't you see it? Shove in every negative as possible and make sure adscam comes into the picture.

        So obvious it's pathetic. PM talking points.

    • You know the Tory talking point barrel is near empty when they start dragging out the old "adscam" chestnut again. Clearly, Dimitri is so nervous about being subpoenaed to appear at Ethics Committee that he has taken the weekend off and left Pierre Poilievre at the tiller of the ConTroll machine.

    • …and what you are missing is that the Conservatives are making every effort to thwart the release of information that is potentially critical to the government. Given the opportunity, the government will prevent us from ever finding out whether or not there is another Adscam in the future. How will we ever know?

  17. Yup. Anyone who still supports the Harper Tories must contend with the fact that they are supporting the least democratic government in North America. Harper governs not merely as though he had a majority and a mandate–Things he's never had–but as though he were the Supreme Generalissimo of some banana republic.

    I've had it with him, and will never vote Conservative again while he remains a dominant feature of the party.

  18. I am beginning to think that the best alternative for CANADA is the The Bloc.

    • If they'd ditch the separatist stuff and run a candidate in my riding, I'd vote for'em.

      If they just ran a candidate in my riding, I'd still be sorely tempted.

  19. Yes, I've also had it with Harper. I'll never vote Tory again, Federally, until Harper's defeated.

    • Gee, you'll never vote Tory again. As if you ever voted Tory in the first place…

      • Yes. Do cling to that comforting thought.. anybody who's not voting tory obviously never did. There are no dissaffected conservative voters. No, none at all. La la la..

  20. And agin they will get away with it because not enough people care sufficiently to get them to act and because the other parties would be no better. People had better wake up and do something – soon it will be too late.

    • Yup….lets have an election and throw out the Conservatives. Let's elect the Liberals and we will see all those changes that you consider to be anti democractic today. Yup lets just do that. The Liberals have feasted on these shortcomings for most of the past century while in government. They made no attempt to change it. What makes you believe they are going to change something that has worked for them in the past. You guys are living in some sort of nirvana.
      It just ain't going happen.

  21. Is this civil discourse in Canada. What most of you seem to forget is that this is a minority government. No dictatorship with minority government. We have a considerable leftish orientated liberal media which take every opportunity to lambast everything the government does, when they placidly accepted the same thing under a liberal government. It seems that you believe them. Nothing that Harper has ever done comes even close to the Cretien scandals and deceit. When Ken Panzer writes I think Canada should have a Bloc Government, Jim writes 'people had better wake up before its too late! ' too late for what? And anon writes 'this could be a Harperian ploy to force an election'. Since when was a election dictatorial or undemocratic.

    Lets face it, the liberal, cbc, toronto star, ottawa citizen are all upset with the fact that the conservatives top the polls ( how undemoctatic) and they dare not force an elections because the Conservatives (heaven forbid) might get a majority.

    perhaps we should just have in perpetuity, a liberal dictator. That I suspect is the only way to make everybody happy, except for the majority of canadians..

    • Looks like another staffer came online to try and spread his Conservative Kool-Aid.

      • Wow, excellent rebuttal Scott!

        • Wilson, how about another story about Harper's tough childhood. I'm still laughing over the last one – that he had to practice piano on a cardboard keyboard.

          • LOL – my husband practised on a cardboard keyboard too. In fact, we still have it. And, they had a piano in the house. It was a common way to learn in those days.

            Maybe a method in their madness – less noise.

            Harper had it tough as a kid? Give me a break. Leaside folks were quite comfortable. His mum was able to stay home while other mothers had to go to work.

            His dad worked for Imperial Oil – they made very good money and still do. My husband's niece works for Imperial Oil (since out of school) and does very well indeed.

            The BS about Harper average guy is just that.

        • Scott immediately scored 4 with his rebuttal. Looks like Wilson thinks like tiger woods, which would go along with his other ethical challenged choices of so-called leadership…

        • That post, with all its paranoid conspiracy theories, did not merit a serious reply. It was not intended as serious discussion – just more CPC victimhood.

          • They just don't get it that being a victim is being weak. Blame everyone else – my mother would let me away that nonsense when I was a kid, nevermind when I'm an adult.

          • Whoops – I meant to say "my mother WOULDN'T let me away with that nonsens……"

    • Peter, the concern about "dictatorship" relates to party discipline and the power of the PMO, not the government itself. Do you understand that distinction? As long as SH rules his cabinet, caucus, and party membership with apparently no tolerance of dissent, people are justifiably reluctant to entrust him with majority power in government.

      • Party_of_One……..Canadians will not elect a party that is divided among itself. Canadians will not elect a party whose leader they feel cannot lead his own party. They will not elect a party who focuses on non scandals, has no policies and does not resonate with them.

        Harper as any good leader needs to have all of his party moving in the same direction. He needs to ensure that all MPs speak with one voice. That is called party politics in Canada. Look at the media this morning. The Libs are now sniping at Iffy. The old Chretien/Martin fighting is still going on albeit under the surface publicly. Iffy cannot even get the caucus to vote unanimously on their own resolution about abortion and on the gun registry.

        Instead of focusing on what the media says think for yourself. Don't buy the spin on process, tactics and strategies. Many Canadians see that as white noise and that is why they support Harper.

        Do you think Canadians are going to go to the polls and say I will not vote for Stephen Harper because he won't let his staff testify at the kangaroo courts known as committees. Think about it.

        • Wow. You mean that liberal biased media is attacking the liberals???

          Will wonders ever cease.

          Anyway…

          • Gayle…..sometimes you simply cannot ignore a gift when it is handed to you on a platter. Even for the Liberal media. There will be more of this Gayle.

            Poor Mr. Rae was hoping Iffy would stumble and he would be there to assume the mantle of appointed leader. However, that was put to bed today in the Hill Times. The party has no time for Rae as leader. A good soldier but nothing else. Can't say as I blame them. Once a socialist always a socialist. No matter how you dress it up.

          • It's cute the way you make stuff up to explain when the facts do not fit your paranoid conspiracy theories.

            When someone in the media publishes something that paints the CPC in a negative light, the only possible reason can be bias. When the same is done to the LPC, it is because the media simply cannot ignore the truth.

            The sad thing is that you really seem to believe this paranoid conspiracy theory of yours. The fact that it is illogical is something you simply ignore. It is kind of like a cult.

      • The problem I have is that the "dictatorial powers" that SH has and exercises are far less, due to minority situation , than Trudeau or Cretien had My sense is that if SH was really misusing his powers, he would lose a confidence vote and there would be an election. I'm not sure trust (hidden agenda etc) enteres into the equation, hopefully people vote for who they would like to see running the country.

        • I guess you missed the document showdown.

    • Here's a project for you – list all Liberal media and then all Conservative media.

      You will be shocked. About at least 95% of media in Canada is conservative leaning. That's the truth.

      Just because Harper tried to drill in your head that the media is all liberal doesn't make it so.

      • I always get suspicious when people quote stats. The problem is that not all media is equal. For instance the Toronto Star (very lib/ndp) has the largest circ. in Canada. CBC with its country wide coverage is very liberal. Now lets look at the Ottawa Citizen? I suspect if you looked at coverage you would find that the media is generally left of centre.

        I would also like to point out that Canada was considered to have a lib media many years before Harper. So your last comment I would suggest is just playing the "blame Harper" for the fact I cannot sleep at night.

        I think that the Liberals should spend their time telling us how they would run the country instead of demonizing Harper.

      • well done! Someone who HASN'T drank the Kool-Aid.
        yes, for the first time in a long time the media was in danger of being almost balanced, but a last minute (undisclosed) purchaser fixed it a few weeks ago at mere minutes before midnight.
        Liberal biased media? LOL that old canard again?!?!?

    • ""Looks like another staffer came online to try and spread his Conservative Kool-Aid."

      I had 14 replies to my comment. Not one, not one had any comment on what I said. No I am not a staffer, no I have no connection with any political institution, I just feel from what I read of the comments here, that they serve no purpose, they generally are factually garbage. I sense is that if you cannot contribute to the discussion is reasonable manner then why bother.

      You cannot prove the theory of evolution by disproving another theory, because there are multiple theories ie justify your own position whilst repecting the opinion of others.

      • You're pretending to be neutral and unbiased, therefore people will not take you seriously.

    • "That I suspect is the only way to make everybody happy, except for the majority of canadians.. "
      Sadly, Peter, the majority of Canadians voted for parties other than the Conservatives. And they all appear to be left of Tory. So you seem to have finished off your rant by kneecapping yourself.
      My love to Helena!

  22. Another punk move over a holiday weekend.

    Time to toss out the anti-nationalists of the CPC, whose sole mission seems to be to hobble the federal government for the foreseeable future … with chaos and debt … ensuring that the MP from Calgary SW gets his provincial firewall wish after all.

    Harper is a public vandal. He builds nothing. Wrecks what he finds. Shrugs. Soon he'll be shilling for oil shale as a private vandal.

    • I have to agree with you. He and his party of hicks have been nothing but divisive to this country. Although, a lot of the racsists that I grew up with in Calgary seem to like him. (I never knew they were racsist until I looked on facebook and seen out of their hundreds of freinds not a single asian of black freind)

      • Podium……why don't you stop with the vile and venom. Demonizing people with whom you don't agree with is not very becoming and is actually a turn off. Nobody will take you seriously my friend. You need to get out more.

        • Agreed. Also, a short course in grammar and spelling would not go amiss.

      • Is there an "are you a racist" app for facebook now?

  23. Liberals, you're in the Enchanted Forest,
    gazing at your reflection in the magic mirror, where an old hag sees a young beauty.

    Your party and your leader both are sitting at 25%.
    Chretien is on bended knee, in 'talks' with Broadbent to try to get 'the fix' in so as LibDippers can get back into govt thru the backdoor.
    It's not Harper and Conservatives that Canadians are rejecting, it's you.

    • I'm no huge fan of the Liberals or the NDP, but might I remind you that the Conservatives do not have the support of Canadians either.

      Also, I highly doubt that Canadians would dislike the level of cooperation happening in the UK, if it reoccurred here as well.

      Or do you consider the UK case to be some kind of euphemism for copulation as well?

      • Yeah, what is holding the CPC back from a clear majority?

        • A combination of Harper, CCRAP, and the Bloc mixed into a pungent nutty flavoured milkshake.

    • Wilson, you are just too funny at times and oh, the melodrama. To think that either Chretien or Broadbeent would be on bended knee is so funny.

      They've had discussions apparently (an adult thing to do – discuss) and have not discussed with Libs or NDP.

      What do you think Harper and MacKay did? And, MacKay lied and mislead like a weasel.

    • Sounds like the Reform and the PC's not too long ago…

  24. Umm…wilson? Do you consider 30-35% a resounding endorsement for the Conservatives? Personally, I think most Canadians are pretty disenchanted with ALL politicians of ALL parties, and I think a big part of that is due to over indulgence in partisan "sniping" by all parties. That, and the lack of a coherent, consistant, and articulate vision for Canada's future…of any party.

    • … that's 30-35% of 60% eligible voters, now that Harper's strategy of disillusioning the electorate, all-out-negative attacking at all hours, and insulting their intelligence. His votes went down last election, too. Against the one the CONs and their trolls labeled as the weakest opposition leader of all times. But then, they also said if there was going to be a recession it would have happened all ready…

    • Party_of_One

      I know this. The Libs sitting at 25% in the polls and its leader with a -26 leadership poll is not going to win the next election despite what the anti Harper crowd says on this board.

      I am sure you were equally discontented with Chretien when he won a majority with 38% of the electorate in 2000. No party gets 50% of the vote these days. It is becoming increasingly difficult with the country regionalized and the Bloc taking almost 40 seats in Quebec.

      You want vision. Look at what's happening in the world today and what the impact it has on Canada. The world is in a mess and you want the PM to elaborate on some great vision. The vision is to reduce the size of government, eliminate the deficit, lower taxes and reduce debt so that our kids and grandkids don't have to pay for our excesses. There that should make you happy now that you know the vision.

      • And a great vision it is !

        Too bad about the lousy implementation – 4 years and we have a bigger government, a larger deficit and more debt.

        • Wallace…be careful what you wish for. The cuts are coming. You may not like it when all those Liberal leftie programs start falling by the wayside. However, keep encouraging the government to cut, cut, cut. Cause that is what will happen. Trust me.

          • Whether I trust you or not is irrelevant. I'm a long term PC voter ( Stanfield was leader the first time I voted PC) who trusted the all-new Conservative party in 2004 & 2006 – look what it got me.

      • That's not vision, holinm, that's accountancy.

        I don't buy the mythology that ANY party is in favour of ANY government being larger than it has to in order to provide the services that people want. And I'm curious how you can work to eliminate the deficit AND lower taxes concurrently…I see no evidence that this works in the short term, anywhere. MAYBE over the longer term, say 10 or more years as the economy grows…but Stephen Harper's government INCREASED spending, even before the recession hit.

        There are some things that governments HAVE to do, because the private sector can't or won't. Mostly that's because governments have to think in terms longer than the yearly or quarterly statements that businesses think of, AND because governments are generally held responsible for the well being of it's populace.

        It's totally valid to have a discussion about what governments should or should not do; I'm still not hearing any clear articulation of how ANY party thinks we should develop both our society and economy. As I said, no vision.

      • That's not vision, holinm, that's accountancy.

        I don't buy the mythology that ANY party is in favour of ANY government being larger than it has to in order to provide the services that people want. And I'm curious how you can work to eliminate the deficit AND lower taxes concurrently…I see no evidence that this works in the short term, anywhere. MAYBE over the longer term, say 10 or more years as the economy grows…but Stephen Harper's government INCREASED spending, even before the recession hit.

        There are some things that governments HAVE to do, because the private sector can't or won't. Mostly that's because governments have to think in terms longer than the yearly or quarterly statements that businesses think in, AND because governments are generally held responsible for the well being of its populace, something that businesses clearly are not.

        It's totally valid to have a discussion about what governments should or should not do; I'm still not hearing any clear articulation of how ANY party thinks we should develop both our society and economy. As I said, no vision.

  25. The best way to find out what a cabinet minister is up to is to ask one of his underlings. They are after all less accomplished liars than the boss, or they would be the boss. We are afterall talking about the reform party who changed there name to conservative. They have done nothing but mislead and lie to the canadian people. They wouldn't be trying to hide stuff if they didn't have anything to hide. Accountable government? More like a crime family. Wake up Canada!!! Get rid of these clowns and their three ring circus

  26. I would also like to add, that I think that we were all doing quite well when the liberals were in power. We weren't involved in anybody else's wars, we were respected as peacekeepers. The police didn't go around tasering or shooting people to death.(at least not like now). It seems like Harpies only agenda is to punish people. Let's face it, Harpie and his cronies belong in Texas and sound like the Republican party. Yee Haa

    • "Pepper? As for me, I put it on my steak."

      And it was Chretien who sent troops to Afghanistan, and Martin who sent them to Kandahar.

  27. How can any Liberal with a stright face call the current governemnt corrupt and dictoral compared to the Liberal governments of the past?

    I use to wonder how the previous governments were able to get away with their past performances but seeing the dillisional posters here I have my answer. What a scary bunch Liberals are. Thank goodness your such a minority and luckily for Canada your days of disgracing this country are at an end.

    • And, to think, Harper's worse.

      How do you keep a straight face when Harper has misrepresented all that he presented to you guys?

    • Who launched the adscam investigation? My god it was one of those liberals who can't keep a straight face!

      but the harpies will never investigate their own – they're too busy driving down voter turn out by rendering our gov't disfunctional

    • Ridiculous statement. The past liberal government put us in the enviable fiscal postion we are in today. They also were respected internationally and made Canada a country deserving of respect and admiration. Today we are looked upon as rather ridiculous, regressive and rather repugnant.

      • close…it's no longer enviable. Harper et al have blown a 13 billion surplus,3 billion contingency fund and accumulated a 40 billion+ deficit…all while blowing their own horn for economic policies that they fought tooth and nail against when in opposition
        He's got one of the most bloated cabinets on record (second only to Mulroney) and spends like it's a never ending trough. BUT – if you point this out? All you hear in reply if : "adscamadscamadscam"…..

  28. The problem which results from being but just another pro liberal media outlet is that even when said outlet comes up with a legit point, they still end up only preaching to one side of the myopic poli scale
    In other words – even when liberal shills attempt to not sell their personal/masters point of view, most non partisan readers go – pffffft, not those guy's again.
    Just a thought

    • "non partisan readers"

      sorry – you ain't halfway eligible for membership in that group

  29. Are these rules being made on the fly? Are these the loop[holes of our democracy? Are the opposition part of the checks on governing party? Is there anything to hide? (hidden agenda trait of this government). The poll showed most Canadians wanted audit of M.P.’s expenses irrespective of whether their internal audit was stringent. This is TRANSPARENCY. No money to conduct the audit – then why waste money on 10% out of towner flyers at taxpayer expense? Are the staffers even if they all perform correctly out of reach from citizens (via their M.P.s) questions – like ‘despots’ of previous times. Lets improve on our democracy – let the staffers testify in an open society.

  30. It strikes me that Stephen Harper is the Canadian political equivalent of Tiger Woods… the best player of his generation but pathologically unable to keep his hubris in his pants.

  31. Really, really ugly comment thread, much uglier than usual. I have seen the future of Canada and it is Greece: a civil war, on one side savage public sector leeches (red shirts) and on the other side the Canadian people. When people are as hateful as the "red shirts" in this thread violence is absolutely unavoidable, and make no mistake it will be the "red shirts" who initiate violence.

    It's over, Canada, as a viable state. Too ugly, too angry. What international investor would invest in a country of infants who sincerely believe the leader of a minority government is a dictator? Investors look at the insolent, indolent attitude expressed by many in this thread and invest elsewhere. I mean look at this:

    First Red Shirt: Let's face it, Harpie and his cronies belong in Texas and sound like the Republican party. Yee Haa
    Second Red Shirt: Yup – religion, guns and babies, hot dang

    These are actual quotes from above.

    Anti baby. How the $!%@!$#s does one develop an anti-baby agenda? How? Anti-religion is a given with these geniuses, who live in a 95% religious world, but they're explicitly going on about how babies are evil now? PEOPLE! THIS IS NOT COOL!

    I have to concur with the other non-red shirt in this thread: I am now, after reading this thread, embarrassed to be a Canadian. Chidlish, whiney, moochy, anti-baby, anti-free speech, anti-private sector, ugly, insolent.

    • You should go live in rural Alberta or Saskatchewan for a while. I grew up and worked there. I'll tell you something about that place. I have never seen a bunch of anti east, anti non-white,anti-gay,anti-french, intolerent people like I have in the prairies.

      I'll tell something else, I recently got hooked up on facebook with a lot of the people that I went to school with back in the seventies and eighties. Out of their hundreds of freinds there is not one black, asian, or middle eastern face. Guess what? They think Harper is just great. They should come live in T.O. for a while. It would really be amusing.

      You sound like a reasonable person. And I really think it would do you a world of good to live in The Battlefords, or Medicine Hat for a while. Perhaps then you wouldn't be spewing out that creamy deluxe with nuts in it. Hell, you might even have a valid opinion then. Come on, anyone can read a news tidbit and draw crude comparisons. So, go on and grow a set of cajones, pack up your family and go live there, and then tell us what you think.

    • First of all, this is a blog comment board, so toughen up– it does not portend the coming Canadian Civil War for cryin' out loud. International investors likely have sounder sources on which to base their decisions. And that crap about people being "anti-baby"? You've misconstrued other's comments. Er, I think we can be sure that no one on this comment board thinks "babies are evil." Thanks for a laugh though.

    • Ugly yes and Canadians angry yes.

  32. I can see that Harper's Party's privately paid "communications' firms is hard at work here on this blog trying to spin and explain to us Canadian rubes what our democracy is all about. These blog mercenaries are the lowest of the low, being paid to spew Harper's ideology for minimum wage. And attempt to pass themselves off as the "voice" of the people. How Orwellian is this Prime Minister.

    • JACKTHEWHACK

      Its not your fault if you are a rube. However, we Conservatives don't need anybody to tell you and the rest of the anti Harper crowd that your venom is misplaced. You need to look at the ineffectivness of the parties you support. The opposition parties are in complete control of the election calendar. If they don't like what you and they are apparently seeing exercise the fundamental right of going to an election. Canadians will tell you guys in spades what they think of the parties you support.

      Carry on Rubes :-)

      • "Canadians will tell you guys in spades what they think of the parties you support."

        That they continue to support those parties as well?

  33. Who Cares .these committees are all politics.They drag them out at the cost of the taxpayer for months.Strictly showmanship for public consumption.Guys like Pat Martin have not got an ounce of decorum and take full advantage of parliamentary immunity from being sued.He is really a coward who never puts his money where his mouth is outside the safety of the house

  34. Nothing says "accountability" like an army of taxpayer-funded political staffers who are banned from testifying about what their bosses had them doing.

    Seriously. As the fox is ultimately the responsible party, what's the problem with banning testimony from the chickens? I'm quite certain that the fox will give us an accurate and transparent account of what went on in the hen-house.

    (Actually, as "the fox" in this case is the Prime Minister, I'm pretty certain that HE'LL refuse to testify too, but you take my point).

    • Simple.
      Effective.
      It's got it all, except accountability.

    • Ha! I was right.

      The PM sent Baird in instead. So, not only does the committee apparently not get to question the taxpayer-funded staffer they wanted to talk too, they apparently can't question the person he takes his orders from either!

      I'm shocked.

  35. How about being realistic in what we can do? We can't get rid of all these clowns on the hill but if a new party was to form, one that actually had polices open to the public scrutiny while it was running. One that actually told us what they would do before getting into power. One that defined essential and non-essential services, one that would not spend more then it took in tax wise, one that started to eliminate some of the waste, some of the departments, duplication, one that actually wanted to get government out of the lives of normal people, a party that stood for something. A party that didn't spend our money like it grew on trees. A party that supported and promoted our real BNA and UEL history. All the mainstream parties now stand for absolutely nothing and until people realize that the entire system is a mess as is, it will only continue to get worse. Liberal, Tory same old story. They have created the debt, the mess this country has become over the last 4 decades and both parties are clueless in regards to fixing any of this.

  36. If the Conservative staffers can't be subpoenaed to testify, then any Canadian who receives a subpoena does not need to speak at any committee.

    • So much for law-abiding.

  37. Under the guidance of Mr. Harper and his cronies, Canada is rapidly heading toward becoming just another banana republic. We, as a country and as individuals, have so much potential that is being quashed by those that we have elected to serve us – a concept that seems to be lost on them.

    It's hard to remember way back in time when the CPC was a grassroots movement that was founded on the basis of complete accountability to their electorate. The Harperites, and more specifically Mr. Harper, seem to have developed into the exact opposite of what they started out to be.

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

  38. Mr Harper behaves like someone who has a lot of issues that are gonna need burying.
    Set the groundwork to hide the bodies – Y'know, they're so much easier to hide with a majority

  39. Mr Harper behaves like someone who has a lot of issues that are gonna need burying.
    Set the groundwork to hide the bodies – Y'know, they're so much easier to hide with a majority

  40. Mr Harper behaves like someone who has a lot of issues that are gonna need burying.
    Set the groundwork to hide the bodies – y'know, they're so much easier to hide with a majority

  41. Instead of a "Tea Party" perhaps a coffee party. If enough people are fed up with the actions of Harper and his band of incompetents, let them make noise. And lots of it. Tim Hortons would be a good place to begin the revolution.

  42. Harper = Napoleon

    Already taken the fiscal conservatives for a ride, and now that he's milked that, he's playing the social conservatives and the bible thumpers to maintain his seat at the head of the trough…

    C'mon folks, how long do you wish to maintain this delusion of the CPC as anything more than a hack political party that is capable of absolutely nothing?

  43. People who think holding elections define what a democracy is are very stupid. It's not even the most significant element of a democracy.

    Most authoritarian regimes on this planet were elected.

  44. Give this party enough rope and they'll get the job done,BUT it's unfortunate they're turning this GREAT COUNTRY into a Banana Republic in the eyes of the Civilized world………….A DICTATORSHIP IN THE MAKING.

  45. We as Canadians are slaves getting F#^@ in the ass by government, and all we do is say thank you may I please have some more .

    The politicians are set for life while we are slaves for life.

    We dont even have basic access to medical care unless we go to another country and pay for our care. Ask all the people dying on waiting lists.

    I have always thought Harper looks like a retard with his squinty eyes and buck teeth, ( no offence to any “special” people )

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