Conservatives are fond of strategic quotation marks. Experts become “experts” when they disagree with the government. Eight years of Tory government has produced more “experts” than you could fit into the average Ottawa watering hole. The long-form census, electoral reform, scientists, you name it. They’re easy to find: Google “harper government expert criticism” for the unofficial roll call. People who formerly offered valuable opinions are consigned to the heap at a moment’s notice.
Sheila Fraser lives among the experts. She is, without doubt, one of the most important players in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s political career. The former auditor general revealed the gory details of the sponsorship scandal that eventually unravelled the tired and corrupt Liberal government of yore. Harper’s team was, of course, among the main benefactors of that prolonged Liberal collapse. How, then, does the PM respond to Fraser’s concerns with the government’s Fair Elections Act? She’s called the bill an “attack on our democracy.”
When he spoke to reporters today, Harper reportedly sidestepped Fraser’s particular criticism—but continued to defend the legislation. For now, that means Fraser remains a respected expert in the government’s eyes. Should her words go unchallenged by the Tories, the former auditor general could well prove untouchable.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be forced to confront the harsh words of a vaunted former auditor general.
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