Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Canada's Rumsfeld

When Sheila Fraser uncovered the Sponsorship Scandal, Paul Martin appointed John Gomery to look into the matter. When Ms. Fraser uncovered the Muskoka Slush Fund, Stephen Harper promoted Tony Clement. Lawrence Martin writes in today's Globe that:

As the steward of public spending, Mr. Clement is the minister charged with cutting excessive expenditures in order to curb the deficit. His ministry is also responsible for enhancing ethics and accountability in government.

Logic might suggest someone who is above reproach is best suited for the role, but what we have learned from the A-G and from journalistic inquiry suggests Tony Clement is not that person.

But logic has never been Mr. Harper's strong suit. And, while Mr. Harper has had no scruples when it comes to questioning others' integrity -- on both the national and international stage -- he believes, or so it seems, that his own integrity is absolutely unassailable.

Perhaps that is the consequence of Mr. Harper's almost supernatural run of good luck -- something Mr. Martin documented in his last column. Whatever the reason, Mr. Harper appears to be incapable of blushing or admitting a mistake. In that regard he is a lot like Donald Rumsfeld.

The difference is that Mr. Rumsfeld eventually wore out his welcome and now sits -- as certain as ever -- in retirement. Stephen Harper, on the other hand, is the Prime Minister of Canada and -- for the next four years, at least -- far from retirement.

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