Jim Flaherty's lecture to Manulife caused the company to reverse its mortgage rate -- and it caused a kerfuffle in the Conservative chorus. Mad Max Bernier publicly disagreed with his cabinet colleague. Even Stephen Harper's favourite economist -- Jack Mintz -- says that mortgage rates are not Flaherty's business.
What Flaherty's intervention showed us is what we have known for a long time. The prime directive in the Harper government is, "Do As I Say." This is the government that has told native peoples that pipelines will cross their land. If they disagree, they will lose their federal funding. This is the government which has told the premiers what they will receive for health care, and which refuses to meet with the Council of the Federation to discuss it. And this is the government which lectures the rest of the world on how it should manage its finances.
The problem, of course, is that lecturers should practise what they preach. On that score, Andrew Coyne writes, Flaherty is no paragon of fiscal virtue:
But then, as long as we’re talking about bad credit: Is it not just a little galling, having to listen to lectures on the evils of too much debt, from the man responsible for adding $150-billion to the national mortgage?
But it's all part of a pattern. This is the government whose first piece of legislation was the Accountability Act -- and which has done everything in its power to avoid accountability -- from refusing to make spending plans public to proroguing parliament.
In the end, nobody believes anything a hypocrite says.