Thursday, January 10, 2008

Harper Still Doesn't Understand

If I hadn't heard about Harper's comments regarding Lunn's actions today, I might have thought the man had figured out when to shut up.

The prime minister took aim at the head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission — Linda Keen — saying her decision to shut down the reactor could have “needlessly endangered” the Canadian medical system.

Mr. Harper stressed that members of Parliament overturned Ms. Keen's decision in less than 48 hours and he remains “troubled” by Ms. Keen's recent actions.

Obviously, neither Mr. Harper, Mr. Lunn or their respective advisors have taken the time to actually read the CNSC letter of a day or so ago in response to Mr. Lunn's blatant threats.

Perhaps even worse is the fact that neither Mr. Harper or Mr. Lunn seem to understand the arm's length relationship between the Government of Canada's various regulatory or judicial commissions and the House of Commons.

I suspect that Ms. Keen, in her current capacity, has little or no flexibility with respect to the processes by which the CNSC is obliged to operate - bound quite strictly by the acts of parliament that created and guide the CNSC's existence.

This is far from the first time that Harper has played politics with government bureaucrats - there was the whole uproar over veiled voters last September - and again, Mr. Harper was running around threatening to fire people for daring to disagree with him.

This man doesn't get it. He clearly does not understand Canada's governmental structures and the roles of various bodies which exist adjunct to parliament itself. He seems to think that as soon as the laws that bind these commissions are a problem, that the commissions should simply bend to his will - even if it means that they would have to break the very laws that govern them.

To borrow a phrase from criminal law, "Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, Mr. Harper".


Justine said...

One of the many things that bothers me about Stephen Harper and his government is that they seem to think that political interference is the norm. Do you think it's this "Parliament reigns supreme" notion run amok? Those folks hate the Charter and the constitution curb on the power of Parliament, so maybe they also hate any kind of curb.

There are really only two reasons for this kind of behaviour: stupidity, or wilful disregard of rules and conventions. If Harper really is intelligent, as he's supposed to be, then I have no choice but to consider that his actions stem from the latter. Unfortunately, most of the things this government does don't disturb ordinary voters. I hope the Liberals can find a way to show people just how dangerous the Conservative approach is.

Grog said...

As far as I can tell, Harper and Co. would like to have Canada adopt the US style of government.

They clearly do not understand or appreciate the (albeit different) checks and balances present in the Westminster style of parliament that Canada has.

Justine said...

Which should end any further pretense that the CPC is anything but Reform V3.0. No "conservative" party would have such blatant disregard for the institutions of government. I think it's time that the press started calling a spade a spade. Tories? That party was killed.

Grog said...

There's a reason I often refer to them as the Con$ or HarperCons.

The name "Tory" has a certain political nobility in our culture that I don't think this lot deserve the right to appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Here, add this term to your lexicon; Conservathugs. Sounds appropriate, don't you think?