Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Nothing Normal


On the At Issue Panel for December 10th, Andrew Coyne and Chantal Hebert were not concerned about the 49 future appointments Stephen Harper made to government agencies just before the election. Hebert and Coyne said all the appointees appeared competent and that should be the only requirement for the job. Maryantonett Flumian begs to differ. She writes:

The real issue here has nothing to do with the incumbents’ qualifications, their partisan affiliation or lack thereof. It has to do with the legitimacy of the outgoing prime minister exercising his appointment authority for future appointments — reappointing people, in the last days of his power, whose term of appointment would be coming to an end after the general election.

The appointment authority of the prime minister and his government is an important lever to achieve the government’s agenda. In acting the way it did, the Harper government usurped part of that authority in order to continue to influence public governance after it had lost power. This is why those appointments are illegitimate and objectionable, irrespective of the objective competence (or incompetence) of the appointees.

A  number of the appointees still had time to run on their tenures:

The appointees would continue in office until their current terms are completed, period. For good behaviour appointments already in effect, cause for removal would be required — including an address of both Houses in the case of NEB appointments. (It should be noted that the government won’t have a majority in the Senate until all vacancies are filled, and might need to appoint additional senators against the possibility of the eight independent senators voting with the Conservatives.)

Flumian writes that what Harper did is called "stocking the fridge." Given the former prime minister's contempt for parliament, for the courts, for the press,  and voters in general, there is nothing surprising in what he did. During his years in power, contempt became the new normal.

But there was nothing normal about Stephen Harper.


The Mound of Sound said...

We should be grateful, Owen, that our legal system was sufficiently robust to restrain Harper from corrupting our Supreme Court as the Republicans did with theirs.

Owen Gray said...

For quite awhile, Mound, the Supreme Court -- and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms -- were Harper's real opposition.

Dave said...

Good observation, Owen. Harper came to power complaining about a Liberal dominated senate and civil service. Lacking any real political sophistication, he mad no effort to view the Constitution Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as anything but a Liberal contruct to hamstring the "serious people" with "serious" thoughts, in other words, true conservatives speaking for the silent and, as yet, unidentified "majority". He viewed the Supreme Court as a bunch of liberal activists and must have been horrified when his own appointees turned on him with the one thing he could never comprehend - The Rule of Law.
This stunt he pulled, violating convention and showing nothing but contempt for Canadians was how his mind actually works. He doesn't believe in the rule of law, convention, decency or even basic ethics. None of those things have any place in his world.

Owen Gray said...

There are two "principles" which guide Harper, Dave. Survival and self aggrandizement. Once you get beyond these two core values, you discover he's an empty suit.

Scotian said...

This is another one of those where I left a rather even by my standards lengthy comment on at the originating article's site. Basically I not only agreed with the conclusion but the underlying reasoning and did some detailed background as to why this was true, and how this illustrated the core problem with Harper all along. If you want to make sure you see it Owen, here's the link, bear with it though it was one of my more verbose comments.

As I closed that comment with, this is a fridge that needs emptying, decontaminating, cleaning, refueling, and restocking properly and in the proper Canadian tradition. This action was also not only typical of the Harperium, it was representative and emblematic of it too, which underscores why it was the worst government ever and Harper the worst PM in our history.

Owen Gray said...

As you say, Scotian, what really made Harper so odious was his hatred for how Canadian government actually works. Stocking the fridge was merely the icing on his cake.

thwap said...

Given harper's complete lack of respect, re: "Contempt" for our parliamentary system, every stupid action of his corrupt government should be overturned.

That's the minimum. Start from there.

The Mound of Sound said...

Merry Christmas, Owen, and best wishes for a terrific 2016.


Owen Gray said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Mound.

Owen Gray said...

Which means, thwap, that the Liberals have a lot of work to do. Merry Christmas.