Thursday, November 26, 2009

Why Do Conservatives Hate Public Accountability?

Perhaps it really is unique to the brand of political conservative that has arisen in Alberta, but whether we look at the federal scene or the provincial scene in Alberta, we see the same basic patterns emerging.

In Alberta, the provincial government has been steadily whittling away at anything that resembles meaningful accountability to the public for years. Alberta's legislature barely sits long enough to execute the semblance of parliamentary process; the government is awarding itself discretionary powers to act above and beyond the regulatory processes it created itself not so long ago.

Federally, what do we see? We see Mr. Harper trying to render critics - real or potential - mute. Either by force of law, such as making anything at all to do with Afghanistan prisoner handling secret documents, or by simply claiming that anyone who criticises the government's actions is lying or making claims with no merit.

Looking back over the history of the Harper government, I have not seen a government so focused on hiding reality from the Canadian people in years - with the possible exception of the Klein and now Stelmach governments in Alberta perhaps.

Whether it is Harper's intransigence in his handling of Omar Khadr, the Isotopes Affair, his abuse of prorogation of parliament, the costs of his Softwood Lumber Deal or the spending cuts he instituted in 2006, Harper has done everything in his power to avoid being accountable to Canadians when it matters.

It has become harder, not easier, under Harper to get information out of the government, and he has carefully pared down the ability of the public to get any visibility into the government and its actions - what is he hiding?

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