1.26.2006

reek

This really disturbs me. Emphasis mine.
Harper failed to meet ethics czar on Grewal

Stephen Harper failed to meet federal Ethics Commissioner Bernard Shapiro despite repeated attempts over four months to interview him for an inquiry into the Gurmant Grewal affair, Mr. Shapiro noted in a report released yesterday.

Despite a code of conduct that says it is an MP's duty to co-operate with an inquiry by the commissioner, Mr. Harper's office told Mr. Shapiro he could not find time in his schedule to answer his questions between August and November of last year. Instead, Mr. Shapiro spoke to an aide.

The report was ready last Friday but delayed to prevent accusations of political favouritism in the last days of an election campaign. In the report, Mr. Shapiro wrote that he wanted to ask Mr. Harper when he knew about the surreptitious recordings of conversations that Mr. Grewal, then a Conservative MP, had with senior Liberals about switching sides for a crucial no-confidence vote.
So this report was suppressed, but in the middle of the same campaign, the RCMP went public with an investigation of a Liberal cabinet member, for which they admitted there was no evidence?

The Conservatives based 90% of their campaign on the Liberals' supposed corruption and their own squeaky-clean image, harping on government accountability as if no Conservative would ever dream of doing anything but the upstanding straight and narrow. Lo and behold, mere days after the election, we learn that Mr Harper wasn't quite as accountable as he likes Liberals to be.

And this was known during the campaign and suppressed?

This stinks.

18 comments:

Lone Primate said...

Yeah... say, someone wanna remind me again; what was the big reason we needed to replace the Grits with the Tories? Was it... the Grits were making a mess of the economy? No... no, that wasn't it... uhhhmm... was it that the Liberals had involved us in bloody, imperialistic wars where our young people were being chewed up as they became murderers for Big Oil? Nope... no, I don't think that was the reason. Was it that they'd mishandled the Constitution and had us on the brink of dissolution and civil war? No... it wasn't that either. Now, what was it again? Ohhhh yes! They were arrogant, they thought the rules didn't apply to them, they were doing sneaky things behind our backs, and we needed someone ethical who'd restore Canadian politics to the above-board and fair. THAT was it, wasn't it?

Again, like I said yesterday... guy's not even prime minister yet.

L-girl said...

And the Tories won by such a slim margin! How would the vote have gone if this was known???

I'm seething.

This really sucks.

LP, I don't know enough (yet) to understand what you posted about yesterday - so I couldn't really the discussion very well. Could you summarize or explain?

redsock said...

The report was ready last Friday but delayed to prevent accusations of political favouritism in the last days of an election campaign.

Seems like delaying this information -- Harper didn't have any fucking time since August?!?!? -- was a wee bit of political favouritism.

I see the Globe and Mail could barely fit this on its front page. Bah.

Polunatic said...

The fact that Harper opted out of the investigation leaves a lot of questions still unanswered.

As for accountability, the conservatives say that they sent someone on Harper's behalf. But Harper was a direct witness, having had at least one conversation with Grewal.

Polunatic - Harper Opted Out

Lone Primate said...

LP, I don't know enough (yet) to understand what you posted about yesterday - so I couldn't really the discussion very well. Could you summarize or explain?

Could you be a little more specific? I was spouting off quite a lot yesterday. :)

Wrye said...

LP, maybe this will save some of the labour of Hercules. I think this is what she's wondering about--Harper's constitutional plans. So, it's a hostory lesson:

1. First, Pierre Trudeau repatriated the Canadian constitution. In doing so, he did not meet all the demand of the Separatist premier of Quebec--who had just fought a referendum on separation and lost.

2. Brian Mulroney came to power in 1984 by exploiting Francophone discontent and promising them the moon (exploiting ethnic divisions for power---that always works out well). The result:

The Meech Lake Accord.

which failed, followed by:

The Charlottetown Accord

which also failed--largely on a tidal wave of Anti-Mulroney sentiment. Mulroney was swept fropm office, and Quebec fought a second referendum on separation, which also lost, by a razor margin. Jean Chretien fought an extraordinarily poor campaign for the No side.

Anyway, suffice to say, that trying to renegotiate the fundamental compromises on which a country is founded is just not a good idea. Politicians jammed their fingers into every goddamned grievance in this country and tried to make hay. This is what Harper evidently wants to revisit, one way or another.

L-girl said...

Polunatic, thanks for that. I'll check it out.

Could you be a little more specific? I was spouting off quite a lot yesterday. :)

Ha! :)

You linked to a column by John Ibbitson and said "The guy's not even prime minister yet and he's already setting up the first lethal injection" - then you and Sharonapple were chatting about it. I need more information!

Wrye said...

Yup, see my links.

Also see Tilting At Windmills

For a less alarmist persprective--noting that I am an alarmist, of course.

As to why this is a "lethal injection", well...the victim is the country, at least as we've known it. Lierally, even.

It has been observed in the past that Harper doesn't understand how and why Canada works. It's also been observed that the Reform Party's problems in getting a majority in Canada would disappear if your were to remove Quebec from the equation. Hence the suspicion that Harper (and his predecessors) wouldn't be prpared to fight for a unified canada or would let Quebec slide quietly out the door. (hence la-mancha's "good faith" comments in the link) Will a PM Harper genuinely try to engage with Quebec, or will it be a sham? Or will it (as I suspect it will) simply get bungled by people with little understanding of or sympathy for the issues involved?

Lone Primate said...

Meech Lake? Mulroney's 1990s Barney-Fife-on-a-bomb-squad style constitutioneering? Is that what the question was about? We had that out in spades last summer, as I recall, up and down, left and right. I didn't think there was much more to (re)say on that point...

L-girl said...

OK, I will read and try to understand Wrye's links. I do remember the old discussion re Meech Lake, but I barely understood it at the time, not having the background or context with which to make sense of it. I'll read all this (later) and give it a go.

I have a question for the P.M. of Wryeberta. How alarmed are you, really?

Trevor said...

no! no constitutional talk! I can't stand it! I think my head nearly exploded when i breezed over someone using the expression "ROC" in that thread! agghhhhhhh! :)

Not to make apologies for the Liberals (corruption is corruption -- but as it was with Mulroney and with provinicial governments of every strip there, this corruption was a Quebec thing -- not sure when or why their political environment got this way, but it seems to run through everything in the province.), but I still have a hard time balancing bringing down a relatively successful government over AdScam against the frightening team of dictatorial, Orwellian neocons in charge down here. Even progressive Americans who asked me about the Canadian electiuon were wistful - "You can bring down a government for THAT?"

I wouldn't ever give up that right -- but as always, be careful what you wish for...

And just today, Dubya gave a press conference, repeating 3x that "Americans and their government do not torture" or sopmething similar. I've given up trying to parse everyone's words for the loopholes, because the regime here doesn't even seem to care about needing loopholes anymore. Nero, bust out that fiddle.

rant over...

Wrye said...

Alarmed, no, concerned yes. I know what these guys are and what they're capable of. This happened with Mulroney in 1984 and Bush in 2000, as well. The second they're elected, the media "discovers" their platform contains things like the PST, free trade, and so on.

Harper wants to settle the Quebec question as a top priority. But we can't talk about why the country is so allergic to that question without remembering how badly it went last time. It really is one of those things that needs to be done perfectly or not at all. And I think that's asking a lot from a rookie prime minister.

If Harper's strategy is to end run around parliament and the constitution by going directly to the premiers, what is that but Meech 3?

Anyway, for general cause for concern...

Ian Welsh on:
The Conservative Platform (one of the biggest premptive I told you so's I've ever seen-aimed at the readers of 5 and 10 years from now wondering why they didn't see it coming)

and

The Conservative Economy

Lone Primate said...

Harper can do some of these things, but one thing he cannot do is willy-nilly reinvent the Senate. Even to change the number of senators provinces have, nevermind the means of getting them there, requires an amendment to the Constitution -- and one with the unanimous consent of the provinces at that, if I'm not mistaken. You might just suck "we'll do anything for Canada" Ontario into gnawing its foot off and handing it over for others to eat... but goooooood luck getting Quebec to give up the tiniest crumb of power at the federal level. You'd have a better chance of peeing your name in linoleum.

L-girl said...

Alarmed, no, concerned yes. I know what these guys are and what they're capable of. This happened with Mulroney in 1984 and Bush in 2000, as well. The second they're elected, the media "discovers" their platform contains things like the PST, free trade, and so on.

Grrrrr. [lapses into angry reverie]

You'd have a better chance of peeing your name in linoleum.

This man makes me ashamed of my poor command of metaphor and simile. I kid you not.

I'm going to read all these links over the weekend (when I should be working, but will not be because my editors are so lame and will not start the stupid project).

By Sunday night I'll be more informed. Thank you very much, signed, your humble student.

Carrie said...

The media was ruled behind the scenes by Mulroney et al. Today, I found an old Globe & Mail magazine dated May 2004 with Mulroney on the cover. It states that Mulroney has a LOT of power, more than he ever had as Prime Minister. He is on the board and actively involved in Quebecor (newspaper publishing ruler!) and very very verrrrry close with Shrub Senior. By now, he's probably also equally close to Shrub Junior.

Harper has had Mulroney's guidance throughout his entire campaign. This is one of the main reasons by Harper is such a nightmare. On his own, he'd hang himself. With Mulroney's coaching however, we are in dire times.

Echo Mouse said...

Shoot, I posted from my new blog by mistake. The above comment from Carrie is me :) Sorry about that.

sharonapple said...

On the whole Grewal-Dosanjh situation.... I was proud of the fact that Grewal and Dosanjh had their conversation in Punjabi and no one really cared.

He is on the board and actively involved in Quebecor (newspaper publishing ruler!) and very very verrrrry close with Shrub Senior. By now, he's probably also equally close to Shrub Junior.

And it explains why the media is so kind to his disasterous term as prime minister. I can't believe Maclean's placed him eighth in a list of prime ministers -- above Chretien (!?).

Oh, and about the whole Quebec-Charter-Distinct Society thing, l-girl, another good source of information is in Against the Current by Pierre Trudeau. It's a collection for the former pm's writings, and there's a section on his opinions on the Constitution and the various accords Mulroney produced. Trudeau had an interesting view of the situation, and it's sad how nothing has changed from then to now. To quote:

"The provincialist politicians... need a Quebec ghetto as their lair. If they didn't have the sacred rights of French Canadians to defend against the rest of the world, if we could count on the Charter and the courts for that, they would lose their reason for being. That is why they are once again making common cause with the nationalists to demand special status for Quebec.

"...[O]ur current political leaders lack courage. by rushing to the rescue of the unhappy losers, they hope to gain votes in Quebec; in reality, they are only flaunting their political stupidity and their ignorance of the demographic data regarding nationalism.

"...The Pequistes will never stop demonstrating that the Meech Lake accord enshrines the betrayal of Quebec's interest. And a person as well-informefd as [newspaper columinist] Lysiane Gagnon was able to twit Mr. Bourassa thus: "Quebec didn't achieve even a shadow of special status... the other provinces fought tooth and nail for the sacrosanct principle of equality. And they too will have everything Quebec asked for!" (La Presse, May 1987). Does not the very nature of immaturity require that "the others" not get the same "trinkets" as we?

"...It has become clear that all the demands made of Canada by Quebec nationalists can be summed up in just one: keep giving us new powers and the money to exercise them, or we'll leave. If Quebecers are offered the chance to have their cake and eat it too, naturally they will accept. But as Canadians the also know that a counry must choose to be or not to be; that dismantling Canada will not save it and the nationalists cannot be allowed to play the game of heads-I-win-tails-you-lose, or to hold referendums on independence every 10 years. And anyway, you cannot really believe in Canada and at the same time claim the right of self-determination fo Canadian provinces.... For unscrupulous politicians, there is no surer way of rousing feelings than to trumpet a call to pride of race. French Canadians will be rid of this kind of politician if the blackmail ceases, and the blackmail will cease only if Canada refuses to dance to that tune."

The final part is probably the motivation for the Clarity Act. It was based on Stephane Dion's idea that you should make separation difficult for Quebec, and therefore undesirable.

Most politicians thought that Quebecers would hate the Clarity Act -- but they really didn't react to it. The Clarity Act is possibly one reason the focus has moved from direct separation from the rest of Canada to getting independence in everything but in name for Quebec. How much power should the federal government give up? As it is Canada's already one of the most decentralized countries in the world.

Article on the Clarity Act:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarity_Act

Lone Primate said...

Harper has had Mulroney's guidance throughout his entire campaign. This is one of the main reasons by Harper is such a nightmare. On his own, he'd hang himself. With Mulroney's coaching however, we are in dire times.

I'm not overly concerned by this, oddly enough. And I'll tell you why. First of all, Harper's, what, in his 40s? He's old enough to remember what happened to Mulroney, and why. He might listen to the guy, but I doubt he's going to let Mulroney pick out his tie and matching shoes in the mornings. Secondly, and relatedly, Harper's obviously a guy of some ego. He's a politician. Very few such people are content to be someone else's marionette, even privately. He's going to want to be perceived as his own person... naturally. Combine those two points, mix in the lukewarm mandate he just barely got, and throw in a grain of salt, and I believe you have the recipe for Stephen Harper's relationship to Brian Mulroney, if he's prudent.

If not, I think you'll see an election no later than 2008.