Stephen Harper came to power howling about the lack of Liberal integrity. And the irony is that integrity will be Harper's undoing. Michael Harris writes:
Integrity is the great leveller — and that is bad news for Stephen Harper. It is the fatal deficit of all powermongers. The Harper government’s clothesline is sagging under the weight of dirty laundry.
The man who posed as a scourge against corruption has come to personify it. Consider the record:
Outcast former MP Bill Casey tells me that the PM changed the wording of the Atlantic Accord, cheating Maritimers out of the agreed-upon deal. The PM told him that the words said what he decided they said, case closed. Casey wouldn’t support his own government’s budget for that reason, and was cast out.
The Harper government fudged the numbers on the F-35 jet-fighter acquisition — by a minimum of $10 billion. When they were outed by the auditor general, the Parliamentary Budget Office and an independent audit, their response was more lies. Even Peter MacKay, then at Defence, admitted that cabinet had the higher number from DND but used the lower one instead.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has told whoppers about new policies designed to move science to the back of the bus, while the Harper government bulldozed its way through Parliament with omnibus legislation that leaves species at risk in Canada at the mercy of megaprojects.
And then there is the cast of characters who have, at one time or another, been the apple of the PM’s eye — and, more importantly, his appointments. Bruce Carson, who came to the PMO with a criminal record and may add to it before his latest legal problems are over. Arthur Porter, who was the overseer of our spy agency, until he ended up in a Panamanian jail fighting extradition to Canada. Election expense cheater and former Harper cabinet minister, Peter Penashue. The PM’s former parliamentary secretary Dean Del Mastro, now out of caucus and facing charges for election expense cheating. Stephen Harper may have integrity, but can he recognize it?
There comes a time when everyone's past -- good or bad -- catches up with him. Those who point out hypocrisy don't have to be saints. Mike Duffy is no saint. But he has defined what the next election will be all about.