Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Kingdom of Dada

Andrew Coyne has never tried to hide his political convictions. As a columnist for The National Post, his opinions were grounded in classical economic theory. He had no patience for social engineering. And he was skeptical of big government. But he always insisted that any government -- regardless of party -- should be fundamentally competent. And he has suggested, on more than one occasion, that the Harper government -- despite what some see as its brilliant targeting of voters -- is incompetent.

In the latest edition of Macleans, he writes of the Harper government:

Far from convincing the public that it has no ideology, it simply confirms [Canadians] in the impression that it is both ideological and devious. And since its stratagems and deceptions are invariably found out, we should perhaps add to the list: ideological, devious, and incompetent.

It's more than a question of competence, of course. It is a question of moral legitimacy. It is a matter not just of the Harper government's legitimacy but any government's legitimacy. As Coyne writes:

BUT NOW we are beyond the minister, and beyond even this government. Because if this sort of conduct is allowed to stand — the minister’s first, and then the government’s in its backing of her — then it is not only this government that becomes a moral farce, but also Parliament, since it is Parliament’s job to police such things. And if the Parliament we elect can be so effortlessly mocked and defiled, then it is really us who have been as well.

This is now about us. If Ms Oda does not resign, or if Mr. Harper does not ask for her resignation, then there are grounds for a non-confidence motion. There are some issues which are more important than the management of the economy. Mr. Coyne, economist though he may be, recognizes this fact. He rightly asserts that those who do not recognize the fundamental principles at stake are living "in the kingdom of dada."

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