Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Their Howard Beale Moment

Yesterday Stephen Harper held a pep rally and beat it out of town. He gave no answers. He thinks it will go away. But, as Lawrence Martin wrote yesterday in the Globe and Mail, the integrity issue is reaching a critical mass. It's not about Mike Duffy or Nigel Wright anymore. It's about Stephen Harper himself, for the government and the man are one:

Mr. Harper and his band might be able to make people forget about the Senate scandal, and other affronts to the integrity of the system. But there’s simply too much out there for this government to escape the reckoning – a dire one.

Yet the Harperites still think they can avoid that reckoning:

It’s remarkable what this government thinks it can get away with. The Canadian Press is reporting that Team Harper is buying ads on the taxpayer dime to promote a job grant program that doesn’t yet exist. The ads began running in prime-time slots this week. Peter Van Loan, the government House Leader, described the Canada Jobs Grant program as a “proposal that needs to be fleshed out and developed fully.” Thus far, it hasn’t even got the approval of the provinces. Yet, our money is being used to advertise it.

Last week, The Globe and Mail revealed the Conservatives withheld tens of thousands of documents it was obligated to disclose as part of a human-rights case in which it’s accused of discriminating against indigenous children. Now, according to The Globe, the government is using its failure to hand over the files to try to get the proceedings put on hold.

We’ve learned the Tories can’t account for $3-billion from the security and anti-terrorism budget. Before this, before their attacks ads, we saw the Speaker of the Commons, himself a Tory, issuing a ruling that, in effect, repudiated Mr. Harper’s gagging of his own MPs. One wonders where Nigel Wright was on some of these abuses. Maybe he tried to do something but was rebuffed.

Three times before, when Harper's arrogance threatened to torpedo his government, he created a diversion. In 2008, when he ended public funding for political parties, he prorogued Parliament and came back with a stimulus program which he is still advertising today. In 2009, when he refused to hand over documents concerning the detention of Afghan prisoners, he again prorogued Parliament. In 2011, when Parliament found his government in contempt, he raised the bogeyman of a "separatist coalition" and scared enough Canadians to win a majority.

This time the bogeyman is in his office. And it is real. Harper will probably try to shut things down again. But Canadians have reached their Howard Beale moment.


Lorne said...

It is indeed gratifying to me, Owen, that a man who has insisted on being virtually the face of his entire government has a physiognomy now covered with egg. And this time, since that face appears to be losing its teflon coating, perhaps indeed it will stick.

Owen Gray said...

It's about time the egg stuck, Lorne. Harper was always the source of the problem. The bogeyman was always in his office.

Wright's cheque to Duffy did us all a favour. It showed us who needs to be held accountable.

bcwaterboy said...

Owen, I so hope you're right about the Beale moment but the way that this "senate scandal" is playing out in the media, harp's coming out once again, smelling like a rose. He's angry don't ya know. After this past week's events in BC, the saying that you can't put lipstick on a pig has been thoroughly debunked. The province elected a government up to its eyeballs in scandal and corruption, lead by a thoroughly empty, shallow, and stupid person who supposedly has good communications skills (says nothing with a beaming smile on her face). I'm convinced this too shall pass and harper gets a free pass. I'm extremely skeptical that the Beale moment will ever arrive.

Owen Gray said...

No one less than Jeffrey Simpson agrees with you, waterboy. And the B.C. election adds weight to that thesis.

I take hope, though, from history. Nixon was the King of the Hill in 1972. But he was persona non grata by 1974. Mulroney won the biggest majority in Canadian history. But once he was tagged as "Lyin' Brian," he was finished.

I saw an image at Lorne's website -- Politics And Its Discontents -- the other day. Harper was wearing a crown and the caption read, "The Lyin' King."

As Martin says, there is a point of no return.

the salamander said...

.. thievin .. deceivin .. Stephen ..
the carpetbagger cowboy from Toronto
sheds yet another skin ..

Now he's morphed into Stevie/Ray ..
The man/men - wacko/waldo tandem,
that can wave as they board the big jet plane
all so transparent sorry

Very accountably upset..
about bad bad bullies Duffy, Wallin
and mebbe in a year.. or two, or more
we'll truly get a redacted report ..
sealed under National Security privilege
quoth the lawyers .. fer EverMore ..

What reverse mormon, Rapture fandangle
forked tongue, injun hatin, kill the wild salmon
vote gettin, travelin egosystem, robo callin
F-35's at any damn cost
n praise be to ethically oiled n sainted Israel
bad whisky too, from our brokeback cheatin heartless
cockass, that aint got nothin for Canada,
nohow, ever never, no matter how you hurry hard
citizen and electorate suckers

Do we not get ?

Rats in the granary .. caucus creeps
unelected free loaded riders
but no elected freedom fighters ever to be seen
No elected defenders of democracy, the boreal
zero elected patriots seen on the coasts

Lots of sellouts, elected and unelected
big on China though.. so sad .. too bad ..

You'll try to jam your pipeline preachin bull shite
in our faces ? You and who's army ?
Or do you think twits like Baird & Kent & Oliver
have the parts to take on the First Nations
with the real people of Canada standing with them ?

You one misled & delusional dreamer dude..

Go away ..

Us versus you/them .. AKA the lipstick pigs ?
That's called BBQ .. you the meat ...
We eat you up ..

Owen Gray said...

Your comments -- whether in prose or poetry -- are always on target, salamander.

These people are truly toxic.