Thursday, April 25, 2013

Government By Distraction

Bill S7 is a deeply flawed piece of legislation. Its provisions for "preventative detention" and forcing people to answer questions are unlikely to pass a Supreme Court challenge. But the bill passed yesterday amid all the yelling and screaming about political attack ads. Susan Delacourt writes in The Toronto Star:

While the stage had been set in Ottawa for a debate over whether MPs are free to speak their minds, a new wave of ads created a battle over the freedom to wage partisan advertising wars instead.

Liberals are crying foul at yet another set of looming Conservative attacks on their new leader, Justin Trudeau, which are due to be mass-mailed to voters in flyers financed by the public purse.

Government House leader Peter Van Loan said his party was making no apology for organizing a Parliament-funded mail-out to warn voters away from Trudeau.

It's all part of what has become Standard Operating Procedure for the Conservatives: government by distraction. They divert attention from controversial legislation by directing public attention away from what they want to accomplish. And, when all the yelling and screaming is over, a bill is passed.

Bill S7 also diverts atttention way from a Liberal motion which would take the muzzles off Stephen Harper's caucus:

A Speaker’s ruling on Tuesday appeared to make it a bit easier for dissident Conservative MPs to stand up and make statements in the chamber. British Columbia MP Mark Warawa, one of the leaders of a vocal group of Conservatives who has been bristling at party control, got a chance to speak on Wednesday.

But a Liberal-led attempt to loosen party control over the daily members’ statements appeared headed toward defeat when the Commons votes later in the week. Van Loan made clear that Conservatives were content with how Tuesday’s ruling from Speaker Andrew Scheer had opened up room for more independent statements in the Commons. 

Stephen Harper knows how to use the red herring. The problem is that all those rotting fish -- which decompose from the head down -- are beginning to stink.


Lorne said...

It sounds to me, Owen, as if the trained seals known as the Conservative caucus have been thrown an extra fish and been reminded of their true place in the Conservative animal kingdom.

Owen Gray said...

I'm mystified, Lorne, why the Harper caucus is so tame. When the party vets perspective candidates, they must make sure that "self respect" counts for nothing.