Thursday, October 15, 2009

Define Transparency



I've watched apologists for the Harper government do a couple of things since the Conservatives came to power. They either dismiss any or all breaches of ethics committed by the government or they resort to implying that the Liberals, while in government, did it too.

Well here is a news flash folks. Harper was elected on a platform of transparency and doing things differently. Once in office, the Accountability Act was introduced and all parties worked on that Act and ultimately agreed to it's passage. It was intended to stop what Harper had alleged and complained about about for years. Mis-spending, partisan appointments, Access to Information, etc.

You see, I won't tell you that Liberals were angels, but there weren't rules in place in some instances. The Accountability Act was designed to put new rules in place to address all of Harper's complaints.

Guess what? He still hasn't fully implemented his much vaunted Act and has proceeded to break many of the rules, laws and guidelines that he insisted on.

Still, the apologists defend him.

A Harper supporter who actually would take the time to think this through, would realise that they are supporting what they decried. They are supporting what they suggest Chretien did...a de facto support of Chretien, I guess.

Call Alanis Morisette.

Is the discussion of the cheques the end of the world? Probably not, but that is not the point is it? It is the pattern of behaviour that has become obvious and in fact you could argue it's worse than the accusations of old. Certainly much of it is more obvious and it stands out as a government contradicting itself.

Let's take a look at the Afghanistan Detainee issue. The government has effectively shut down the enquiry, in spite of screaming for transparency when the Liberals undertook the mission. Not only is their stonewalling obvious, it's stupid and will serve to make the matter worse.

All opposition parties are in favour of more info here, so guess what? It's going to go to committee and likely be forwarded to the appropriate individuals to be reviewed for obstruction of justice. Obstruction of justice people. Think a bit here.

McKay is on the hook, but so is the PM. He, the man who suggested in the House that there was a coddling of terrorists by opposition parties. He who derided the Liberals and the NDP and took shots at individual members. Sorry, it seems pretty clear that there is information that they do not want to come out, while screaming that they are the party of transparency.

BTW, this all fits with their disdain for Canadians facing the Death Penalty outside our country, doesn't it? There is a through thread to all of this.

Then today we have this. If you are committee watcher, you have heard witness upon witness complain about the Access to Information Act and how poorly it's working. Dial back a few years and Harper was one of them. All of a sudden...he's not such a fan of changing the system he decried.

Surely you can see the pattern here. When they, the Conservatives, took office it was not long after that they, shut out the press, shut down committees through filibustering and shut up our democracy by proroguing, and the list goes on.

This PM is not about transparency or a new way of doing things. He's about manipulating the system to his advantage. To coin a phrase, 'he's in it for himself'.

He's not only been the most hypocritical PM in memory, he engages in the activity with delight and disdain. An odd combination, but apt don't you think?

So I watch the die hard defenders that generally have little above a school yard taunt to bring to the discussion, and ask them to define transparency.

Forget the irony of your conundrum, the lack of logical thought speaks for itself.

39 comments:

kirbycairo said...

Yes, all you say is true. However, two points. One; the more corrupt and incompetent that Harper becomes, the more popular he gets with voters. I can't figure this one but there you are. Two; if the Liberals were any kind of decent opposition they were be all over this stuff with constant advertising and court cases suing the government etc. etc. But there is another thing I just can't figure, the Liberal make a bit of noise in question period and that's all. Harper must think he is the luckiest politician alive, he does everything wrong and the opposition just watches it go by. Let's see an immediate court case accusing the government of obstruction and daily ads on TV showing the pattern of lying and corruption. Will they come? I think not. Just more quiet indignation from the Liberals as though the good fairy of democracy is going to come down and do their job for them.

I agree with your point, But so what. Nothing will happen and Harper will engineer an election and win again with quiet Liberals sitting on their hands.

Cherniak_WTF said...

I'd like you to name a single political party that will not bend on their supposed rigid ideology for power.

This is what Harper is doing and it is nothing new.

Does it make the HarperCons hypocrites? Yes, of course. Do their supporters care? it would seem that no.

Anonymous said...

Cry me a river you Libtards, the Liberal brand is toast, the LPoC is heading fast towards becoming "da turd pardi".

KNB said...

kirbycairo...Can't figure it out? Look at what runs on CTV...you know the popular, all around station.

It's always spun with the caveat, 'much ado about nothing' What are people to think? They get top notes spun beyond imagination and have nothing else to go on.

My partner is an exec who doesn't follow politics. He's never heard about most of this until I tell him.

He doesn't obviously read the Sun and doesn't watch CTV. Guess who does though and guess who is getting their message through.

Court case? My gawd, they (the Con's) are involved in numerous court actions and the opposition parties have reported them to every commissioner we have.

Ads saying the same? Fair enough...but I hope you and all you know are donating to the party because that doesn't come cheap.

I don't think we are sitting on our hands. We are making noise and finally there are some decently balanced stories out there.

It's as I said a couple of posts back, drip, drip, drip...

KNB said...

Can't name one c_wtf. I'd like to think under Dion things would have been different and while I know you'll disagree, I still think under Ignatieff, some things could change.

He's made committments to do so.

I for one want to see that stick and will comment if it doesn't happen.

KNB said...

Anon @ 9:38...surely proves my point.

Cari said...

The Liberals should do more advertizing before it is too late.All of it has got to go to the Public.
One item , I often read, is about the Liberal colours, saying the Liberal party put its colours on the flag,... they both took the colours of Canada designated by King George the 5th, in 1921

Cherniak_WTF said...

Anon @ 9:38...surely proves my point.
Yes it does.

As a whole, Conservative supporters have to be one of the most ignorant demographics...


I think that Martin was trying to be an honest politician when it came to Adscam (and look what it cost him). The same can be said for Dion, at least he tried to be honest.

Anonymous said...

KNB,

You're asking for various things here. I will try to oblige.

Fistly, I will not defend the Conservative cheques, or say it is the same as the Liberal's did, although that was surely Rex Murphy's position. It was stupid, ridiculous and not according to Harper's professed creed. He and his party should be ashamed of this. It will most certainly cost them support.

Secondly, you asked for a definition of transparency. I'll tell you what. Gerald Keddy has already provided it. A joke cheque for over $300,000 that was signed by him, with a Conservative logo for a hockey rink. If that isn't transparently false, I don't know what is. Perhaps if rather than smiling at the irony, if he had just pointed at the logo and his name chuckling, that may have even been more transparent.

The Afghanistan detainee issue may cause you heartburn, but not me. The Canadian soldiers are dealing with nasty, ignorant, and cruel people who would slit your throat as soon as look at you. They routinely rape their own women and treat any non-zealot as the hand of satan. If some of them got handed over to Afghanistan police or soldiers who may have taken them to a bad place our soldiers wouldn't have taken them, is a big so what from me. Also from many other people in this country.

You should look inside yourself and ask yourself the same question. If Canadian soldiers are going to be there; and are going to be asked to do what they do, how should we be treating captured Taliban?

With respect to Canadian's going to other countries, like the US, breaking their laws and being put on death row. What are you defending? Do you really think that Canada should stop all form of violence in this world and be the ones putting flowers in the end of rifle barrels?

There are a lot of very violent people in this world that would clap you on the back and provide much praise for those actions.

Tomm

KNB said...

C_wtf...that is the hell of all of this.

I want honesty but whenever it rises to the top, it's stirred down to the bottom and blended with all the rest of the nonsense.

It truly makes me crazy.

Yes, Martin was trying to do the right thing and think of where we might be now.

I don't know how to make people listen.

I understand that the way Ignatieff came to power doesn't sit well for some, but that is the past. I want to look at now.

Having spoken with him a few times, I know he is trying to set a real course for this country.

For the record, I've also spoken with Rae and Kennedy. The animosity you read is fabricated.

Imagine the odds though. Most people believe, erroneously, that we are fine.

So many obstacles.

FredfromBC said...

kirbycairo said...

Yes, all you say is true. However, two points. One; the more corrupt and incompetent that Harper becomes, the more popular he gets with voters. I can't figure this one but there you are.

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Allow me to spell it out for you, then: the general public disagrees with you, and does *not* find the Prime Minister to be either corrupt or incompetent. It's not the millions of other Canadians that are out of touch with reality here...it's you. Sorry.

FredfromBC said...

Blogger Cherniak_WTF said...

I'd like you to name a single political party that will not bend on their supposed rigid ideology for power.

This is what Harper is doing and it is nothing new.

Does it make the HarperCons hypocrites? Yes, of course. Do their supporters care? it would seem that no.

---------

Well said.

I have to disagree on just one point, though: I *do* care about bone-headed moves that make the party look bad, especially ones that result in little or no advantage being obtained. Especially when everything else is going so well...sheesh...

Marpman said...

Excellent blog. The Reform Party was never about true reform anyways.
Also true of the Bush regime, effectively destroying Congress with bill-waivers...our current government has learned these lessons well.
Unfortunately, to date the Liberals have not been able to effectively counter this, but treating the Canadian people as stupid will eventually catch up to them.

KNB said...

Tomm...you kind of had me there, until you went to Afghanistan.

I need no lessons on who the Taliban are. We know.

The point that seems to be missed here is compliance. You seem cool with that but by the same token seem not to realise the position that puts our military in.

That is the issue.

Canada has agreed that torture is wrong...full stop. If we are putting our military in the position of handing off to torture, we are in violation of many treaty's.

It's not this simplistic black and white thing that the government wants to boil things down to.

As to defending or asking for clemency re the Death Penalty, you don't make sense there.

Flowers in a rifle?

We do not condone it in this country and a consistent stance would be not condoning it elsewhere. That is what we have done in the past.

No one has said this guy should come home and open up a shelter for people he discriminated against.

The point is obviously, you believe in the Death Penalty or you don't.

Harper and Nicholson do apparently, so he should have the courage to come out and say it.

Oh, sorry, did I say courage?

You see that is what is lacking. Lot's of bravado, lot's of hubris...courage? Not so much.

KNB said...

Marpman, thank you.

You are right to look south and reflect.

Here's hoping that 'catching up' thing starts to take hold soon.

Tomm said...

KNB,

You said:

"...We do not condone it in this country and a consistent stance would be not condoning it elsewhere. That is what we have done in the past."

So what is your point exactly? Precedent trumps common sense?

Because Canada doesn't have the death penalty we must throw ourselves in front of this bus whenever we encounter it?

That strikes me to be the same as the ugly American shouting his morality at some poor Thai, even though the American is a guest in Thailand and being treated as such.

The death penalty is a moral decision Canada as a nation has made. We should not inflict our decision on other nation's. I do not see how someone holding a Canadian passport in that other nation makes him or her exempt from this or any law.

We wouldn't be very happy about Saudi Arabia berating us about our intolerance for Sharia Law when appplied in Canada to Saudi citizens, or the Irish to lecture us on the sin of abortion.

The situations are analogous, unless you think our morality must trump others in their sovereign nations.

If you really do think that, defending that position will take a lot more soldiers and a lot more guns than we already have.

Anonymous said...

CWTF@10:07

I think that Martin was trying to be an honest politician when it came to Adscam

Paul Martin's CSL only got $162 Million taxpayer dollars while he was Finance Minister, that should be investigated by means of a judicial inquiry.

And Dion was the Minister who's ministry the Sponsorship Program occurred under, but when he testified at Gomery he said he knew nothing, the Sgt. Shultz defence, what a maroon.

Libtards are "the" ignorant demographic, have fun decsending into "da turd pardi" status.

RuralSandi said...

Oh Anon - do you want to play gotcha crap because we can come up with lots on the CONartists (you seem to like childish name labels). So, grow up. 12 years old perhaps. You know, you are unable to carry on an intelligent discussion so you resort to this crap. All you do is make the Con supporters look very, very stupid. Keep it up.

Tomm - supporting the troops means protecting their safety as much as possible. The terrorists have a way of paying back our soldiers and - the fact that the Cons are "lying" about the detainee issue is a problem. Why do you people insist on watering down the wrongs of Harper, yet claiming you like accountable government. Hypocracy.

As citizens we have a "right" to be informed and Harper is cutting the right off. I would think that you so-called lovers of accountable government would be upset about that? Water it all down again.

RuralSandi said...

About those 10 percenters - I've received over 25 (have to count them). I've saved all but one.

There's an article in the Star about this and this is a portion about the rules:

"Parliamentary policies allow MPs to mail out materials to constituents four times a year. However, MPs are also allowed to send mailings into other ridings, as long as the number of recipients doesn't exceed 10 per cent of the households in the MP's own riding."

I've received ALL of them from my local Con MP - way over the 4 per year rule.

I'm not sure who to contact about this, as I don't trust the weak speaker to do anything about it. I thought perhaps I'd contact Martha Hall Finlay with an offer to send them to her. Do you think that would be the right person to contact?

ottlib said...

Two words. Power corrupts.

If the Conservatives and their supporters actually did believe all of the accountability and transparency stuff they were pushing a few years ago it has been buried by the acquitition of power and the lust for more of it.

You can see it in people like Tomm and other relatively reasonable Conservative supporters. They just cannot bring themselves to forcefully criticize their chosen party for doing things that would cause them to howl at the moon if it were the Liberals doing these things.

The only truly shocking thing to me is how quickly and how enthusiastically they have buried it. Kind of makes me question their level of committement to these two concepts in the first place.

KNB said...

Yes, I would contact her office Sandi.

She may be forwarding that info to Holland, but it's worth starting with her.

RuralSandi said...

I'm going to contact her today. I don't trust the speaker/ethics commission, et al....that it won't all get lost in the shuffle.

KNB said...

Sandi, for what it's worth, she has a great team.

They are really busy working on all of this, but your information won't be ignored.

Tomm said...

Ottlib,

You said:

"...You can see it in people like Tomm and other relatively reasonable Conservative supporters. They just cannot bring themselves to forcefully criticize their chosen party for doing things that would cause them to howl at the moon if it were the Liberals doing these things."

The Consevative's should not be handing out over-sized cheques and accepting MP photo ops. They should not be turning any of this stimulus into a partisan mission at all. It is embarrassing and they will pay for it later.

The Canadian government should not be lying about what they are doing with captured Taliban. Canadian's deserve a lot better for allowing our sons and daughters to be front line soldiers.

Is that clear enough. I didn't think I was hiding my views on these matters. I was commenting on too narrow a scope.

If you will allow me to jump this hurdle, I would reiterate what I have already said.

Then, the CPC government should go further and present a list of stimulus projects, their values, and their geographical range.

Not all projects would be on the list because not all projects have gone through final approval; but those that have should be on a list such as this. I would NOT tie it to constituency boundaries. That is just too old time politics. Let the Liberal's moan about one constituency getting more and one constituency getting less. The public will see who in fact is playing partisan games with Canadian money and who isn't.

Cherniak_WTF said...

I've received ALL of them from my local Con MP - way over the 4 per year rule.
And in a short timeframe, I've received 3 from the Cons, 2 from the Liberals.

They just cannot bring themselves to forcefully criticize their chosen party for doing things that would cause them to howl at the moon if it were the Liberals doing these things.
You can easily replace Liberals by Conservatives here.


And that is part of the reason for cynicism with politics in Canada.

wilson said...

So why don't Liberals put their energies into drawing up legislative changes to advertising rules, and 10%er rules, and taxpayer money being spent on party self promotion?

Instead they for gotcha stories.

As for khadr, Benda Martin, Suaad, making national secrets public...and condemning our soldiers for prisoner treatment in other nation's hands,
you Libs are off side of how the majority of Canadians view these issues.
And it's not that Libs can't get their message out,
it's that a majority just don't agree with constantly taking the side of the criminal/terrorist by condemning our own.

FredfromBC said...

wilson wrote:

You Libs are off side of how the majority of Canadians view these issues.
And it's not that Libs can't get their message out,

----------

Absolutely. I just wonder why they can't figure that out. KNB still says "I don't know how to make them listen" as if she can't understand that people are listening to, then *rejecting* her viewpoint. She now says she doesn't like the way Ignatieff was appointed rather than elected, but adds "that's the past" as if that somehow makes everything alright.

It doesn't. And the sooner the Liberals decide to acknowledge this PUBLICLY the sooner they can start to rebuild their party. Stop hoping for a miracle, KNB, and do what you know needs to be done...

(or stop whining? your choice...;)

KNB said...

Objecting to the objectionable and pointing out fact is not whining.

As for the average man/woman, here's what a guy who makes a living speaking to them has to say:

RickMercer: Canadas Action Plan website has a hot link to Stephen Harper playing Piano. WTF. Nice to see Media picking up on it!

Drip, drip, drip...

marie said...

Objecting to the objectionable and pointing out fact is not whining. Thats the problem with this phony government and its supporters. They intrepert truth as whining. That would be a twelve years olds answer. Not too much intelligence in the Reform/Con 's playground it seems. They are still in kintergarten mode.

Omar said...

..off side of how the majority of Canadians view these issues.

Um, sure Fred. The truth is those of us who know what's what with this narrow bunch of throwbacks currently working the levers of power are divided, you simpletons have been convinced and the rest of the electorate simply don't care. There is no majority consensus at this time and if there were it sure as hell wouldn't be marching towards a Reform Party vision for the country.

FredfromBC said...

As for the average man/woman, here's what a guy who makes a living speaking to them has to say:

RickMercer: Canadas Action Plan website has a hot link to Stephen Harper playing Piano. WTF. Nice to see Media picking up on it!

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Rick Mercer doesn't make a living "speaking to" Canadians. He makes a living making Canadians laugh. There's a big difference...

I myself notice (with some amusement of my own) that the Government of Ontario website has links to Dalton McGuinty's personal pages...funny how the media hasn't picked up on *that*, isn't it?

FredfromBC said...

That would be a twelve years olds answer. Not too much intelligence in the Reform/Con 's playground it seems. They are still in kintergarten mode.

--------

Leaving aside the fact that the average twelve-year-old could easily best you in spelling, grammar and sentence composition, there hasn't been a Reform Party for several years now.
Feel free to GROW UP any time now, Marie...

(or don't, on second thought. The more childish your posts, and the more people who read them, the better..)

FredfromBC said...

There is no majority consensus at this time and if there were it sure as hell wouldn't be marching towards a Reform Party vision for the country.

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(oooooh...there's that old Scary Reform Party insult again. You guys get more desperate every day...;)

If you don't understand the importance of polls (or evidently the meaning of the word 'consensus') I don't have time to educate you about them, sorry. I will say this, though: those polls are worse than you think.

The Conservatives should have started trending downward in the polls two or three weeks ago, when it became known that Ignatieff wasn't about to bring down the government. Anyone who has been paying attention (and not just shouting "YAY!" when the polls turned in their favor) since Paul Martin will have noticed that Conservative popularity goes up as an election looms, then down again when it turns out to be a false alarm. So the Conservative numbers *should* be going down and the Liberal numbers going up...but they aren't, are they? Bad news for you guys...

KNB said...

Fred, the link on Ontario site invites you to visit McGuinty's site.

You know? All above board and out in the open.

Harper's vanity links on the other hand are hidden on government program pages.

I can't believe you guys are defending this crap.

FredfromBC said...

Blogger KNB said...

Fred, the link on Ontario site invites you to visit McGuinty's site.

You know? All above board and out in the open.

Harper's vanity links on the other hand are hidden on government program pages.

-----------

So...Harper's links are "vanity" ones, and McGuinty's aren't? Harper's links are "hidden"? Hidden how? Is there a difference between placing a link on the government's home page and placing it on a sub-page? If so, why?

I'm really not understanding your objection here.

marie said...

I'm really not understanding your objection here.
You really don't understand much of anything do you Fred?

KNB said...

Fred, I know you are not that dense.

McGuinty's link identified for what it is. Harper's not.

Harper links appear to be associated with EAP, when they are not.

Of course, the minions who report to PCO have been busy scrubbing the site, removing all the evidence that they claimed was no problem...until they of course realised it was.

FredfromBC said...

marie said...

I'm really not understanding your objection here.
You really don't understand much of anything do you Fred?

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I understand perfectly well why you didn't even attempt to answer the question, Marie.

(if there are any young children in your house, ask one of them to explain all the big words to you, okay?..;)

FredfromBC said...

Fred, I know you are not that dense.

McGuinty's link identified for what it is. Harper's not.

Harper links appear to be associated with EAP, when they are not.

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Okay, I'm taking your word for it...but I still need to know what Harper's link was disguised *as*.

Are you saying that a link to, say, regional EAP breakdowns took you instead to a clip of the Prime Minister playing the piano? Was there a deliberate deception like that...a 'bait and switch' type of thing? What *was* the link identified as, then? Seriously.