There has always been an unpleasant stench of righteousness about the Harper Conservatives. I use the word "stench," because they obviously don't practise what they preach. They lack a collective conscience. But, Frances Russell writes in The Winnipeg Free Press, "the Conservatives' penchant for playing hardball and dirty tricks against opponents -- and fast and loose with the truth -- could be catching up to them."
The latest example of Conservative contempt for the truth is the organized campaign to plant the notion -- with three and a half years to go before an election -- that Irwin Cotler intends to resign. Then there was Peter Mackay's participation in a "search and rescue" exercise."The minister was called back from vacation and used governmental aircraft only for government business and that is appropriate," Stephen Harper said.
Russell takes a closer look at the record:
MacKay joins a growing list of ministers caught being more than a little economical with the truth. There was International Development Minister Bev Oda, who last spring repeatedly told Parliament she had no idea who had inserted a scribbled "not" on a signed official document cancelling government funding for a humanitarian aid agency offside with the government's philosophy. Much later, she admitted to Parliament that she was indeed the insert's author. But she paid no price whatsoever and continues in her portfolio to this day.
And who can forget Industry Minister Tony Clement and the scandal over the $50-million border infrastructure fund that magically transported itself some 200 kilometres north to spruce up his Parry Sound-Muskoka riding with gazebos, fancy toilets, sidewalks and parks in the run-up to an election -- causing the auditor general to cite the government for misleading Parliament. Clement was then promoted to Treasury Board president.
Misleading Parliament -- according to British Parliamentary tradition -- is a firing offence. But no Harper minister has resigned or been fired for misleading Parliament. That is because the Conservative Party of Canada has no respect for parliamentary tradition.
One can only hope that the voters of Canada have more respect for the truth than the "Harper government." -- which is, obviously, morally adrift.