Saturday, February 09, 2013

Appalling and Disappointing

The travails of Patrick Brazeau and Mike Duffy have once again led to calls for reform or abolition of the Senate. The argument is that the Senate has always been a House of Patronage, not a House of Sober Second Thought. The two aforementioned senators appear to prove the first proposition. But Tasha Kheirriddin asks some important questions, which appear to be getting lost in the nasty details:

First, shouldn’t someone in the government have known about them? Second, if they did, why did the prime minister proceed with the nomination? Third, if they didn’t know, why didn’t they? How much due diligence is actually done on Senate nominations?

For, as disturbing as the allegations against Brazeau and Duffy are, there is a real question about the man who appointed  them. Brazeau appealed to the prime minister because he liked to use that magic word -- accountability. Brazeau's called for accountability on the subject of reserve finances. Accountability -- the very issue which Mr. Harper and the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the Auditor General have argued about for five years.

No one appeared interested in red flags which were all over Brazeau's record. Keirriddin writes:

Allegations of sexual harassment and alcohol abuse, failure to pay child support and an audit launched by Health Canada into expense claims by his previous employer — these are not the things one wants to see on senatorial resumes. 

And Brazeau had a habit of saying things which were less than politic. After Canadian Press reporter Jennifer Ditchburn reported that Brazeau had the worst attendance record in the Senate, Brazeau called her a "bitch." Perhaps, becaue the Harperites treat their opponents with such contempt, they didn't see that as an issue.

Then there is the case of Mike Duffy, who constantly refers to his Island roots. Surely, the fact that his primary residence was not there was a non issue.

The Harper motto is, "Saying makes it so." The problem is that, as neat as it sounds, it's patently untrue. And a man who believes it is not to be trusted -- in both small and large matters. In Mr. Harper's own words, his judgement is "appalling and disappointing."


Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

It certainly makes one wonder about Harper's judgement. No one a young as Brazeau should be made a Senator. One has to assume Harper was using him and thought he could control his use for years to come.

When Duffy was a reporter I always thought he was too cozy with politicians. It seemed to have paid off for him. He also seems to have acquired the politicians feeling of entitlement.
I like the the two houses of government. I think each has a role to play. I would like to see the selection of Senators be based more of merit and what they have to offer Canada in the future. They should not be selected on the basis of political affiliation.

Owen Gray said...

I agree with you, Philip. We need a chamber of Second Thought. Harper, who railed against patronage appointments, has become their chief exponent.

Perhaps senators could be appointed the way we appoint judges -- which, one hopes -- has more to do with merit, than patronage.

the salamander said...

.. appalled ... and poor Stephen Harper, that faux exemplar .. feels let down. Yes.. the victim is Stephen Harper

The fact of the matter, in fact, Mr Speaker.. to roughly n gruffly paraphrase or quote our 'honorable' chief thug from Ottawalberta, is.. I'm astounded that Mr Harper managed not to include the word 'alleged' or 'baseless smear' in his homily to the nation.

I respect that whomever the alleged Brazeau victim is, they deserve privacy and protection if that is their wish or need. Any and every victim or citizen in Canada deserves to have their wishes or needs respected and honored.

But.. the sanctimony and pain of Stephen is postured, pasteurized pablum .. & nothing new there.

The spam that fell from his lips in Vancouver, regarding the 'paramouncy' of closing the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station in order to ensure more rescue boats on the water was stunning in its duplicity. I'm still trying to parse the damn message. No wonder this poseur avoids unscripted interviews.

"The paramouncy of government resources in this area is on public safety and the government is allocating its resources in a way that we believe, based on the advice we have received from the coast guard, that is best in terms of public safety," the prime minister said. (Canadian Press)

"That is to put as many of the resources as we can into actually having rescue boats in the water. That's where we put our investments going forward."

He'd also have us believe he stands on guard for the Royal Environment of Canada, and every speck of habitat, every damn caribou, salmon, bear or duck.. and a Royal beaver or two.

His nonsense about the recent Saskatchewan robocall deceit was classic Harper lie to our faces shameless procedure. ie lying about being the entity behind the calls and distorted message was “simply operating within the process.”

I need to get my head wrapped around that one... denial, deceit, manipulation, interference, obstruction.. is what Canadians can and should expect from The Harper Government .. because its simply operating within the process.

I wonder how Marshall McLuhan would have perceived and described these strange and twisted convolutions and distorted reality ..

janfromthebruce said...

We need to get rid of the senate as it has been a place for patronage. And lets not forget, the so little known, Liberal Senator Mac Harb.
He is being investigated too. According to the Toronto Star, "he's a former Ottawa city councillor and MP who claimed about $40,212 in living expenses over the same period. Harb owns a home in Westmeath, Ont., about 150 kilometres northwest of Ottawa."

He was appointed by Chretien for being a loyal supporter, and has previously been investigated for "for misuse of a special passport as part of his efforts in lobbying for Niko Resources, a company that paid a $9.5 million (Canadian) fine for bribing an official in Bangladesh."

Time for the senate to go.

Owen Gray said...

I'm sure McLuhan would have had something to say on the subject, salamander.

But, even before McLuhan, George Orwell -- in Politics and the English Language -- compared the kind of things Harper says to the quacking of ducks.

Owen Gray said...

The Liberals are not pristine on the matter either, Jan.

But the truth is that Quebec will never agree to the abolition of the Senate.

I don't think we want to open that can of worms, even though the NDP -- with its overwhelming representation from Quebec -- favours abolition.

sassy said...

Appalling and Disappointing

I've always found SH to be Appalling and the fact that he is still in PM is very Disappointing. If he had been booted out or better yet never been PM EVER those other two clowns wouldn't in the Senate.

Owen Gray said...

Precisely, sassy. You buy one, you get the other two with -- you'll excuse the expression -- no charge.