Friday, June 14, 2013

Sneaky Steve

You have to admit, the phrase has possibilities, partly because of its alliterative panache. But, Michael Harris writes, the real strength of the phrase comes from its accuracy:

Sneaky politicians are a plague on democracy — the dark avenue to something sinister. The prime minister of Canada is the Wayne Gretzky of sneakiness. Once again, he has been caught cheating.

This week, my colleague at iPolitics, Colin Horgan, broke an important story about the Harper government stacking the selection committee tasked with coming up with the short list for the new Parliamentary Budget Officer. 

Harper doesn't want to endure another Kevin Page, whose facility with numbers showed up the faux economist prime minister:

One of the few federal bureaucrats who stood up to Harper’s cult-conservatism was the lately-departed chief of the PBO, Kevin Page. He regularly challenged the phoney books and unsupported policy of this catch-us-if-you-can government — and oh, how they came to hate him for it.

Stephen Harper, Peter MacKay and countless party bobbleheads who BS for a living on TV were caught dead to rights falsifying the cost of the F-35 fighter jet — once by Page, and then again by the auditors at KPMG.

But Harper's attempt to stack the deck when selecting the next Parliamentary Budget Officer is nothing new:

Harper was sneaky in the way he changed the wording in the Atlantic Accord, cheating Nova Scotia out of what former Conservative MP Bill Casey calculated was between $500 million and a billion dollars. When confronted with legal opinions supporting his case, the PM told Casey that the words meant what he said they meant.

After Brent Rathgeber quit the CPC in disgust, the PM suggested that he resign his seat — sneakily implying that somehow Rathgeber was morally unqualified to retain it since he had been elected as a Conservative. Stephen Harper applied a different standard when he appointed David Emerson to his cabinet fresh from winning his seat as a Liberal.

Harper was sneaky when changing the federal government’s commitment to First Nations, slipping wording into their financial transfer agreements that connected getting the money to getting with the government’s program on future policy.

And what were Harper’s monstrous omnibus bills but a sneak attack on the Opposition parties right to be informed? Those bloated non-budget bills were simply places to hide things the government didn’t want people to know about. A leader declares his views and seeks support for them. A sneak conceals his intentions and challenges you to discover them.
Yes, Sneaky Steve in an appropriate moniker. It just might have the same staying power as "Tricky Dicky."


Lorne said...

There are so many instances of the Harper cabal's abuse of power, Owen, it is sometimes difficult to keep track of its sorry record. I guess it falls to all of us to keep reminding people on a regular basis and hope they don't get distracted by the Conservatives' regular and tired diversionary tactics.

Owen Gray said...

What is so frustrating about these folks is that, while they now have a long record of blatant dishonesty, they continue to get away with it.

But I continue to hope, Lorne, that their record will eventually catch up with them.

Anonymous said...

'Sneaky Steve' - I like it. I recently saw Dean blubbering in the House of Commons and Pam crying on Pete's shoulder. These Reformers have no shame or dignity. They lie, cheat and steal from us and then expect sympathy from us.

These are dangerous people. They must be expelled from the Canadian body politic if the country is to survive.

Anonymous said...

Canada's House of Commons is fashioned as England's Westminster Parliament. England is still a Democracy. Canada is a Dictatorship.

Harper was Policy Chief for his, Northern Foundation Party of 1989. Harper had hired Wolfgang Droege and his Heritage Front as, security for Preston Manning. Never have I trusted Harper since. Harper's own Caucus named him a control freak. I totally agree with them.suppose rceour

Owen Gray said...

They would be funny, Anon -- if they weren't so dangerous.

Owen Gray said...

Harper's early involvement in politics doesn't get enough attention, Anon.