Friday, November 01, 2013

The Quaint Notion Of Responsibility

While Rob Ford insists that he has no reason to resign, and the prime minister's story changes every day, Andrew Coyne writes that the concept of responsibility has become a quaint notion -- a relic of the past:

There was a time when public office holders were expected to take responsibility for these things, as a matter of personal honour if nothing else. But conventions last only as long as they are observed. Today, the prime minister clings to his position — I was the victim of a conspiracy involving everyone around me — as tightly as Senator Duffy clings to his paycheque.

Indeed, the notion that conventions matter is itself a convention. In recent years they have been discarded by the dozen, and the faster they fall the less any of them are missed. A glance at the headlines is enough to see how little remains.

Consider the case of Mr. Harper:

To recap, the prime minister is not responsible. He is not responsible for appointing Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau to the Senate. He is not responsible for appointing senators from provinces in which they were not resident, and he is not responsible for their subsequent activities shilling for the Tories across the country at public expense.

No, the people who are responsible are his enemies. Mr. Ford claims that The Toronto Star -- which broke the story of the video allegedly showing Ford smoking crack cocaine --  is the source of his troubles.

I have a friend of fifty years, a true political conservative, who has taken to referring to Mr. Harper as Prime Minister Nixon. Harper lost his support the day David Emerson crossed the floor and joined the government. He also originally supported Rob Ford. But not now. He says he's tired of the chain of lies.

One wonders how many other conservatives feel as he does.


Lorne said...

Conventions such as taking responsibility may be a quaint notion in political circles, Owen, but the real question that should concern Messieurs Ford and Harper is whether the voting public feels the same way.

Dana said...

Not enough, Owen, not enough by a long shot.

We have to remember that critical thinking is considered heretical by a significant percentage of Harper's base and is impossible among even higher percentage of the voters. And as always young voters will remember to vote sometime after their 50th birthday.

The fork in the road is only just appearing and the woods are deep and dark yet.

Owen Gray said...

A large percentage of Harper's base operates on the principle that vengeance is theirs, Dana.

Responsibility is not an issue for them -- just as it isn't an issue for Harper.

The problem, however, is that vengeance generates a reciprocal response.

Owen Gray said...

Both men seem to appeal to a slice of the electorate who tell them that they can do no wrong, Lorne.

And both men operate on the assumption that their slice of the electorate represents a majority of voters.