Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Harper Channels Three Wise Monkeys

FOLLOWING THE HARPER TORIES THESE DAYS IS LIKE A LESSON IN LYING TO YOUR MOM. There's a lot of smart kids out there watching the Great Tory Helmsman and learning a thing or two, not least a great riposte when the parents hand down a grounding: "But the Prime Minister did it..."
And who could blame them? I mean, we all know that governments lie most of the time, that they cover their screw-ups and try to lay the blame on others. But Harper and his band of merry yahoos have set a new gold standard in open clandestinity and subterfuge. As James Travers notes in an editorial in yesterday's Star:
"Bogus economic action plan cheques, skewing stimulus spending to Conservative ridings and stonewalling the inquiry into the treatment of Afghan prisoners are only the most recent additions to a long list. Among its starred items are a manual instructing Tories how to thwart Commons committees, the systemic sabotage of access to information laws that are accountability's cornerstone and the financial gutting of the public budget office Harper is now determined to make irrelevant."
The past week alone we've been exposed to the Tories use of public money to hold pep rallies for the Leader, aka town halls on the economic recovery plan. We have Peter MacKay, either utterly incompetent as a minister of the government or utterly incompetent as a convincing liar telling us that he can't figure out how he missed a full year's worth of reports on Afghan torture. In fact it's like the whole Conservative cabinet are standing around scratching their heads: "did you see those reports?" "Shit, no, I was in my riding greasing the palms of developers and other community leaders with public money." "Don't look at me, I was campaigning against gay marriage and abortion. I had no time to look for any so-called reports."
At first I thought that they took us for idiots. But now I think that they really just don't get how this game is played. You see, Chretien was something of a mobster don. He was corrupt but he understood "the little guy". He was, after all, The Little Guy From Shawinigan. He was a paternal populist. And he listened to the people until they didn't want to listen to him no more. Then he went off to be a lawyer and consultant for some gas companies running pipelines through the south of Afghanistan - a war that he brought us into. This guy knew how to feather his bed. Harper should give Chretien a call, get some tips on taking with one hand and giving with the other.
Meantime, they've got a hole to dig themselves out of. On top of everything else that "detestable murderer and scumbag" former Armed Forces chief, Rick Hillier has come out with a book about war and politics. He details at some length how the Tories specifically and directly tried to hide the coffin of the first female Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan, Capt. Nichola Goddard.
The Tories are wont to go on about supporting the troops. In fact, I recall the Tories chastising the opposition, in particular Jack Layton, about raising the torture scandal in parliament because it gave aid to the Taliban figthing against Canadian troops. And yet, the truth is the troops have only ever been fodder for the Tories. They serve as a means to try and undermine anti-war sentiment. They serve as a means to defend gas pipeline development and prove to the US that we're on board with whatever crazy military adventure they can dream up. But when they die doing what the government has told them to do, well, then they're no use to Harper any more and they should be hidden from public view.
These guys sure do make it tough to like them.
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