Saturday, November 06, 2010

Principle versus Perfidy

Don Martin wrote an interesting piece today on Jim Prentice. In it he speaks to the respect Prentice earned among all, in the House of Commons. He briefly outlines his journey in the world of politics and points to some accomplishments that I suspect many have forgotten.

While the article is a good read, one passage in particular caught my eye.

...., there were times when Prentice appeared uncomfortable with the government's direction and would commit the Conservative equivalent of treason by ignoring a PMO command.

When approached as industry minister by senior political operatives demanding he end the mandatory long-form census, for example, he told them to take a hike.

Approached by senior political operatives? Nah...couldn't be. After all, Tony Clement has been nattering on for months about how he decided to change the long-form mandatory census based on complaints concerning an intrusion of privacy. There was nothing political about it, he insisted.

What absolute BS. We've always known that it was an idea concocted by a political party determined to eliminate that which they deemed worked against their doctrine and while that, in and of itself doesn't seem so unusual, when you consider that much of their social policy relies on convincing the public of a non-existent danger or threat, you can understand why eliminating facts that contradict their imaginary worldview, was important.

Lawrence Martin, in his book Harperland, notes that the Conservative Party was/is obsessed with the public service. The animosity that Harper held for the bureaucracy rivaled that which he felt for the Liberal party itself and far surpassed any such feeling exhibited by previous Conservative PM's. With that in mind, is it any wonder that Tony Clement chose the party line over logic and the advice offered by Statistics Canada? Is it surprising that senior bureaucrats are either humiliated, dismissed or forced to resign when they stand up for reason?

Unlike Jim Prentice, who didn't ignore reason and was a principled man, Clement spends his time calculating political points and driving the party line, even if it runs counter to conventional wisdom. Who he appealed to is still a mystery, save those few diehards who don't understand the issue and/or would agree with and argue for this government, no matter what policy it put forward.

Clement is doing irreparable damage to our county's reputation and it's ability to set sound policy in the future. He is unapologetic and content to put forward dishonest rationale that even the town idiot would ridicule.

I didn't agree with everything Jim Prentice did while he was in cabinet, but at least I could respect the man.

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