Geoff Norquay -- Stephen Harper's former Director of Communications -- believes that, with the RCMP's decision to drop its investigation of Nigel Wright, the Senate scandal is off the public's radar screen. But Michael Harris asks the question we should all be asking ourselves: "Does the RCMP work for us, or the PMO?"
The stakes are high here for all concerned. The hallmark of the Harper government is the impulse to politicize everything from science to the running of elections. Is justice being added to the list? There is a growing suspicion that the RCMP is now the prime minister’s police force.
The Mounties' decision is of a piece with other actions they have taken:
During the 2011 election, RCMP officers assisted in the ejection of non-Harper supporters from a Conservative rally in London, Ontario. The unwanted attendees had posted pictures of themselves on Facebook attending a non-Conservative rally and had been spotted by organizers of the London event. The Mounties later admitted that tossing the students out “was not in accordance” with the RCMP’s mandate. But it was perfectly in keeping with the Harper Police mandate.
The RCMP also forced down a small plane flying over Ottawa and Gatineau with an anti-Harper sign. The sign was produced by the Public Service Alliance of Canada; 20,000 PSAC members had been slashed from the public payroll by the Harper government. The sign read, ‘Harper Hates Us.’
Vigilant Mounties on the ground ordered the plane to return to Rockcliffe Airport, where the pilot, Gian Ciambella, was told that his sign could be construed as hate speech. He was also told that the Mounties are responsible for the prime minister’s safety.
Despite a fanciful story that Ciambella had flown too close to Parliament, Transport Canada later confirmed that the pilot had never entered restricted airspace. The Harper Police had ordered down a Piper-Super-Cub flown by a pilot towing a sign to make his living — an anti-Harper sign.
The spin is that the RCMP has been tasked with guaranteeing the prime minister's personal security. But it's beginning to look like their job is to ensure Mr. Harper's political security.
The stench from the Harper bunker keeps getting stronger.