Saturday, March 26, 2011


It was a motion whose time had come, perhaps not soon enough. The Harpercrites have been in contempt of Parliament since they first became a minority government in 2006, it just finally caught up with them. And they have not been scandal free since. Once in power they threw out the last vestiges of their Reform Party platform for the expediency of maintaining power at all costs.They had become the very Mulroney Conservatives that Reform had been formed against.

Canadian Government, Beset by Scandal, Collapses

C. E. S. Franks, an authority on Canadian parliamentary practice who is professor emeritus of political science at Queen’s University in Ontario, said it was the first time a Canadian government had been found in contempt of Parliament. Eight individuals have been found in contempt, he said.

Professor Franks said the Conservatives deserved credit for their economic record and for governing “reasonably competently,” but he was very critical of the government’s approach to politics.

“It’s treated Parliament like the enemy,” he said.

Walkom: Yes, contempt of Parliament does matter

But there is a bitterness to this prime minister that has infected his entire caucus. All politicians are partisan by definition. Harper’s partisanship is over the top. He not only disagrees with Canadians who are liberals and left-leaners. He seems to despise them.

All of this was manifest before he took over the merged Conservative Party. In those days, he disparaged what he called the moral failings of liberals, calling them nihilists bent on the destruction of western values.

In power, his rhetoric was often more restrained. But as former nuclear regulator Linda Keen found, those he believed tainted by Liberalism could expect no mercy. Keen was axed in 2007 because she insisted that Canadian nuclear plants have back-up power systems — systems we now know that Japan’s ill-fated Fukushima reactors famously lacked.

But her real sin was to have been appointed to by a previous Liberal government. That, Harper suggested, made her inherently untrustworthy.

Opposition MPs and others who had the temerity to disagree with the government were given equally short shrift. Canadians who questioned Ottawa’s handling of Afghan prisoners were treated as traitors. Richard Colvin, the veteran diplomat who testified to this mistreatment, was savagely and personally attacked.

At one point, when it looked like his government might be defeated, Harper simply shut down the Commons.

And while Harper flippantly dismisses the contempt charges against his governance and government, he continues to abuse his power by claiming as the outgoing PM that any form of Minority coalition government is 'illegitimate', in particular the one formed in 2008 after the fall election when he and his government refused to accept there was a recession and that they had to do something about it.

"Canadians need to understand clearly, without any ambiguity: unless Canadians elect a stable, national majority, Mr. Ignatieff will form a coalition with the NDP and Bloc Québécois," Harper said. "They tried it before. It is clear they will try it again. And, next time, if given the chance, they will do it in a way that no one will be able to stop."

"Imagine a coalition of arch-centralists and Quebec sovereignists trying to work together," Harper said. "The only thing they'll be able to agree on is to spend more money and to raise taxes to pay for it. We've all got too much at stake. Now is not the time for political instability."

Of course that was 2008 and he was in power. In 2004 then Liberal PM Paul Martin had a minority government and a coalition was formed by Harper, Duceppe and Layton against the Martin government. It was legitimate and legal then but not now says Harper.

Harper wanted 2004 coalition: Duceppe

Duceppe says Harper lying

OTTAWA - Stephen Harper is warning that the Liberals will form a coalition with the NDP and Bloc Quebecois if the May 2 federal election results in a minority government. But when he was Opposition leader, Harper didn't seem to mind the idea of governing with the support of the NDP and Bloc. Here's the text of a letter Harper and his fellow opposition leaders sent to the Governor General in 2004:

September 9, 2004

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,

C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.

Governor General

Rideau Hall

1 Sussex Drive

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1


As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government's program.

We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.

Your attention to this matter is appreciated.


Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.

Leader of the Opposition

Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Gilles Duceppe, M.P.

Leader of the Bloc Quebecois

Jack Layton, M.P.

Leader of the New Democratic Party

Harper has always had contempt for Parliament, when he was a Reform MP and even more so as spokesman for the right wing business lobby NCC, but no more so than over the past five years in power when he acted like he had a majority not a minority.

Now he tries to run an election campaign to become King of Canada with a Conservative majority that does not reflect the values of the vast majority of Canadians.

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