This government came to power by playing the corruption card. As they hiccuped the name Gomery throughout their campaign, they also claimed that they would be the government to clean everything up.
This week they find themselves chin deep in the alleged wrongdoings of one of their predecessors. Should this government be held to account for the sins of the past? They make it a practice to paint all Liberals as crooked so should they not receive the same treatment, be held to the same account?
Well, that's a matter of debate I suppose and of course there are differences in the two cases. But when you examine those differences, it's quite interesting to draw out the facts. Conservatives hate to admit this, but Gomery did not implicate any political figure. Conversely, the former PM, Mulroney himself, is at the core of the current sordid affair.
True, Harper was not in Mulroney's cabinet, while Paul Martin was in Chretien's, but Chretien as the leader of the party was not implicated. The former leader of the Conservative, (then PC of course), is of course implicated.
So can we simply say that Harper wasn't there, therefore he cannot be linked? Nope. Not in my mind anyway. The PCO knew the information that Harper referred to on Friday 7 months ago. Seven months ago! Only 3 things can be true. Willful blindness, complicity or incompetence. In my view, with the knowledge I have now, I'd say it's the latter.
Before the right wing readers go ballistic, I will also say that by definition, Chretien not knowing what was going on, he and his office also showed incompetence. Not criminality, not corruption, but a degree of incompetence.
The PMO under Harper should have been made aware of the correspondence coming in from Shreiber. In fact, he should have made a point upon taking office that anything to do with this case be brought to his attention. Apparently he did not. It is said that he asked some questions when he took office, such as, "Is there anything I should know?" and was told no. He took that advice and probed no deeper. Therein lies the mistake.
What he failed to do, out of loyalty no doubt to his friend Mulroney, was look to the future and make the file a priority. You see, the allegations had been out there for some time and were well known. There was every reason to keep an eye on it.
Chretien on the other hand, could not ask that a priority be made of something that he was not aware of. Should tighter controls/reporting have been put in place concerning the advertising program? No doubt, but the fact remains that there was no knowledge of impropriety proceeding it's exposure. Btw, it should be noted that the Lib's called the enquiry on themselves...the Con's have not.
Looking to the future is not Harper's strength. Oh, he has a vision of a narrow Canada, but he seems unable to comprehend the breadth and impact of current decisions aimed at achieving that future. He is focused on tactics at the expense of strategy.
That is how we are being conned.
The focus on tactics as it relates to the environment for instance. Ad's and vacuous statements that amount to no real action, but they tell Canadians they are doing something finally. They are not.
The same is true as it relates to what they are doing for the military...but I won't go there today.
Accountability is the biggest laugh of all really and that is what they campaigned on. That was their platform. Their claim is that they passed the toughest Accountability Bill in history.
It was indeed passed, but what they fail to tell us is that they have not fully enacted it. Why? Well, it wouldn't allow them to apply constraints on the very issues they screamed about before coming to power. In fact, they want to avail themselves of those failings, once done, then perhaps clamp down.
Conservatives, thine name is hypocrisy.
I am glad that these issues are being reported on, but somehow it hasn't yet penetrated the Canadian psyche. Examples are provided in this particular story and I think that is great. We need more of this. We also need more than a one story wonder. The Dion is not a leader meme, has surely worn itself out? Why not stick to this stuff, the reality of what is going on?
The Dion file has merit and should not be ignored, but good grief as it relates to the country, why not hound what is real rather than that which is fabricated?
I'm sensing that the media is doing more homework and I for one am glad of it. Many more Access to Information sought documents are coming out now.
Canadians are being conned and I'm hopeful that the media will be able to make this clear. It's complex to be sure and should not be dumbed down, but the masses must be able to relate to it.
Repetition seems to be the name of that game, why not now when it matters?