When Marc Garneau -- Canada's first astronaut -- was not invited to a ceremony celebrating the Canadarm's contribution to space exploration, the Harper government blamed that oversight on the officials at the air museum and space agency, who issued the invitations.
Hard to believe, writes Michael Harris:
And is the Harper government actually claiming that it never occurred to them to glance over the guest list or to invite our first Space Man to the Canadarm ceremony?
Bottom line? The crunchy cons chose to punish the rival politician rather than honour the astronaut.
It is bred in the bones of this regime. Everyone knows that the Harper Conservatives have made a policy out of excluding sitting MPs from events to announce federal initiatives in their ridings. It’s dirtbag politics at its grimiest and the message is as unambiguous as a punch in the gut: “All goodies come from Steve, not your MP, or the government of Canada.”
When these folks are caught in a lie, they always blame a bureaucrat. Consider the case of poor beleaguered Peter Penashue:
When he was caught breaking elections rules by exceeding spending limits in the form of non-monetary contributions, the first response was that he had done nothing wrong.
When that bull wouldn’t fly, the minister blamed an inexperienced member of his campaign team, Reginald Bowers, for his troubles. Except the fall guy wasn’t exactly a neophyte. Natural Resources minister Joe Oliver appointed Bowers to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board because of his “decades of experience in business and economic development.”
And when Penashue resigned after admitting that he had spent $47,000 more than he was entitled to under the law, the prime minister endorsed his re-election bid in Labrador.
Now we discover that Human Resources Minister Diane Findlay was warned in a memo a year ago that temporary foreign workers were filling jobs that could be done by unemployed Canadians:
"Evidence suggests that, in some instances, employers are hiring temporary foreign workers in the same occupation and location as Canadians who are collecting EI ( Employment Insurance) regular benefits."
The problem isn't the public servants. It's the dolts to whom they answer.