Saturday, April 9, 2011

Contrasting Opinions

Source: CTV News: Harper Plan Would Eliminate Deficit by 2014

"Parliament hasn't voted on it, the government fell on a procedural matter."- Jim Flaherty, Finance Minister on CTV's Power Play.

When Parliament was dissolved, Stephen Harper walked outside of Rideau Hall and addressed the gathered crowd of reporters. Harper seemed angry in his address, but he was also defiant. Defiant about mentions the reason why his government had fallen from a vote of non confidence. Harper didn't mention the contempt charge against his government, and instead tried to spin a world where the opposition had voted against the budget.

Its become a standard for Conservative message bearers. Lines like "I wish the opposition parties took time to read our budget before they brought our government down" or "Well our DEFEATED budget covered that issue" or "This opposition DEFEATED out budget before they even read it." Have been thrown about by pretty much every Conservative who has given a media interview since the beginning of the election.

Furthermore, our illustrious media (whom I use for my sources constantly) have misconstrued this issue as badly as the Conservatives. CTV News, in two different articles over two days, stated that the budget was defeated; and that it was this that brought the government down.

However, that is simply not true. As we all know, I should hope, the Harper Government was brought down over a vote finding them in contempt of Parliament (the first parliamentary democracy government in commonwealth history to be found in contempt) over their refusal to release costing documents and price tags associated to a variety of bills they had put before the House of Commons.

They were not brought down over the budget, in fact there wasn't even a vote over the budget. Due to debates running over and the schedule of Parliament, a vote on the budget did not occur before the opposition could bring forward their charge of contempt in the government. As such, saying that the budget was defeated is a complete falsehood.

And now, Jim Flaherty has some what admitted to this. On CTV's Power Play, as quoted at the beginning of this post, Flaherty was defending the Conservative Party Platform...Which as many suspected, is basically a rehashed version of the budget that they put forward before the vote of non confidence.

Yet, he dances around the issue, calling it a 'procedural matter'. I guess admitting, and hence reminding Canadians, that your government was found in contempt of Parliament isn't the best vote getter during an election.

But it's one step closer to the truth than the Conservatives, and clearly some in the media, have been thus far in the election campaign.

I've said it before, and others have said this well, but re-electing or giving a majority to the only Parliamentary Democracy party in commonwealth history to be found guilty of contempt of Parliament is a down right shame. If the Harper Conservatives are re-elected, it sends a message that Canadians don't actually care about what their government is doing.

It sends a message that political parties are free to do what they want behind closed doors, to not be held accountable to the people that elect them, and that as long as they aren't caught taking money from the coffers anything else is alright.

But it's not alright.

A breach of trust, is a breach of trust, and the Harper Government was indeed found to be in breach of trust of Parliament: Which in our political system effectively means that Harper's Government was found to have breached the trust of the Canadian people.

In any other system in the world, consequences would have been handed out: Contempt is Canada's version of impeachment, yet Harper is allowed to run as an MP and is able to remain as leader of his party. And should his party win on May 2nd, he'll be allowed to become Prime Minister again.

This is unacceptable and Canadians should not stand for it; and hopefully, before May 2nd, Canadians come to their senses and realize that they can't endorse this behaviour with a vote for a party that OFFICIALLY holds nothing but contempt for the Canadian people and for the political process.

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