Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tories Stick Their Fingers In Their Ears

YOU HAVE TO HAND IT TO STEPHEN HARPER WHEN IT COMES TO PARTISAN MANEUVERS. He doesn't play any phony games, pretending that parliament's processes mean anything. There's only two rules in Harper's Machiavellian playbook: 1) do anything to prevent popularity falling 2) drive through a right wing agenda. When Harper's agenda becomes clearer to the average shmo - usually preoccupied with trying to work, pay the bills and feed the kiddies - and the Tories start to drop, as they are around the detainee scandal and climate change, it's time to kick in the secondary playbook.
We've now seen enough of the Harper playbook when it comes to squelching debate to know what it means: lie, smear, throw tantrums, shut down parliamentary committees, fire parliamentary watchdogs, defy parliamentary motions, and their newest nuke: prorogue Parliament.
Of course politics is a dirty game and we're all cynics now. But I have to admit that I am astounded with what callous disregard for the most basic pretenses of public accountability the Tories are acting. They have simply stuck their fingers in their ears on the detainee scandal and now refuse to talk about it.
My faith in the human race's ultimate ability to discern truth can't accept that people won't see this juvenile display, and I mean three-year old juveniles, and not be disgusted. The Tories have gotten lost in the Ottawa bubble and become disconnected from how cheap maneuvers look to the people watching it from the outside. They are literally giving weapons to their political opponents. You would have to be a pretty blinkered Tory supporter to justify their complete and utter refusal to cooperate in the most basic way with Parliament. After all, this is how the limited democracy we have works in this country. You can't say that the Opposition are being oppositional with a straight face. If you think they're blocking your agenda go to the polls. Otherwise suck it up. And, in any case, the Tories, by contemplating proroguing Parliament yet again - this time using the pretense of the Olympics - are putting the lie to their previous complaints to be concerned about the speed with which their legislation could pass through Parliament.
It remains to be seen it Harper will be able to get away with this present Tory tantrum, or whether Peter MacKay can survive the storm of the detainee scandal. My hope is that the anti-war movement re-mobilizes in the new year to keep up the pressure. Dislodging that particular Tory fixture from an already wobbly edifice could strike a fatal blow. It we become hypnotized by the spectacle of their floundering and flopping and fail to act, there is a good chance that they will, as in the past, recover and put it all behind them.
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