Wednesday, June 17, 2015

He Doesn't Practice It At Home


Eight hundred years ago this week, King John was forced to sign the Magna Charta.  But today, Errol Mendes writes, King Stephen is trying to place himself above the document which is the foundation of parliamentary democracy:

And yet, in the actions of the Harper government we see all too many instances of powerful people trying to set themselves above the law. How else can one read an attempt by the government to hide inside a massive omnibus budget bill a law that would retroactively invalidate an investigation into unlawful conduct by the RCMP — an attempt to re-write the application of the law in the past?

Harper's contempt for parliamentary democracy continues to mushroom:

What are we to think when the prime minister’s office, the highest in the land, colludes with supposedly independent members of the Senate in an attempt to alter an independent audit by an outside accounting firm of senators’ allegedly improper expenses?

When the federal government prohibits donations to political parties by corporations and trade unions with the aim of preventing big money from stealing elections — and then spends millions of dollars in public money on thinly-disguised political ads — can that be interpreted as anything but a gesture of contempt for the law?

When a government elected on a promise of accountability and transparency works to undermine every independent officer of Parliament charged with keeping the government open and transparent (the nuclear safety commissioner, the parliamentary budget officer, the chief military police complaints commissioner, the acting privacy commissioner and, most recently, the correctional investigator), is it exercising power on the people’s behalf, or merely to trash its enemies and settle scores?

Mr. Harper laughs off these abuses as picayune obstacles that get in the way of the greater good. Mendes warns:

That’s how it starts. When a government’s abuse of power is laughed off as a “loophole”, a mere detail, we’re watching the foundations being laid for arbitrary government — for government operating outside the rule of law. The kind of government the Magna Charta was supposed to free us from.

The man who preaches the virtues of democracy around the world doesn't practise it at home.


ron wilton said...

Apparently neither the harpercons nor the limping libs grasp the importance of inalienable, natural rights.

Bill C-51 is an overt attack on those rights and the populace instinctively knows that if government infringes in any way, shape or form on any of those rights there will be a stinging price to be paid.

Trudeau is learning(?) it now, harper will have learned it on October 19.

Owen Gray said...

Trudeau is learning, Ron. I worry that Harper's proverbial base doesn't get it.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

Harper and his base do not want freedom. Democracy, the rule of law, is in the way of Harpers power pursuit. As to his base, they are dogmatic true believers. I've been listening a lot to Joni Mitchell this week including her interviews. There is a short one with Charlie Rose and what she has to say about the state of the world particularly the US is pretty indicting. She is not only a great artist, but refreshingly she is very intelligent. If anyone is interested it's on YouTube at Greenroom with Joni Mitchell Charlie Rose by Charlie Rose. It's a 6:05 minute interview. If you want to go straight to her political comments they start around 4:27, but the interview itself is good. I just found it fitting in a bigger context to what's being discussed today.

Owen Gray said...

"Making vice chic." That's an excellent capsule comment on the state of the world, Pam.