Thursday, May 1, 2008

Is There No End to Harper’s Control Freak Tendencies?

It just gets worse by the day. Conservatives smear Elections Canada in charge of ensuring our elections are free and fair, smear the RCMP for doing their job in carrying out a search warrant, fire independent watchdogs for rightly criticizing the Conservatives and now there is strong speculation that the PMO actually want to be vetting the public statements of independent officers of Parliament?

Auditor-General Sheila Fraser found allies yesterday who condemned the Conservative proposal, which could mean that Parliament's officers must vet their public statements through a wing of the Prime Minister's Office, as an unprecedented attack on the independence of the officers, who are supposed to work at arm's length. The draft proposal would lump in Fraser, along with other officers of Parliament such as the head of Elections Canada, and the privacy, information and ethics commissioners with all other government departments and demand they get high-level approval before speaking out.

The very thought of having the government vet the statements of independent watchdogs who are tasked with holding the government to account is absolutely appalling. Radwanski is right: Harper had better explain himself fast.

Regardless of Harper’s response though this is all in a line with a very troubling pattern: This government’s complete and utter intolerance of any criticism whatsoever is completely unparalleled in Canadian history.

Stephen Harper’s lack of respect for our democratic institutions merits him only one thing: A trip back to Stornoway.

UPDATE: It would appear they have backed down, most likely becuase they realized the huge storm this would create. Paul Wells also has a good take on this.

Everything else I wrote still stands though: no PM has been as intolerant of criticism as this one and his intolerance has grown worse with time.

Conservatives like Stephen Taylor like to claim that the longer Stephen Harper stays in power the more Canadians will see he's "not scary", well I think the opposite is being shown to be true - Harper's control freak tendencies and his attacks on our institutions are extremely troubling and unheard of in this country. The more Harper displays these tendencies the less Canadians will want this man as PM and what a happy day it will be when he's finally shown the door.

UPDATE 2: The Auditor General still isn't convinced the Conservatives have backed down. I think it's clear from everything this government done why she's not willing to fully trust the Cons on this.

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