Wednesday, September 05, 2007

We Have Always Been At War With East Asia Watch

In which Tory-friendly columnists now say that dictatorial rule by the Prime Minister is okie dokie (as long as the "quality" of government doesn't suffer), even though that contradicts what the Tories (in their various iterations) themselves were saying for the past 13 years.

Here is one small example of past Tory complaints, from Mr. Jay Hill, who is now I believe, a minor player in the court of His Psychotic Majesty (from just a couple of years ago):
I would argue that the concentration of power in the Office of the Prime Minister, which is at the root of much of our democratic deficit, has grown not lessened under this Prime Minister's watch.

The multitudes of government powers that ultimately rest with the Prime Minister are staggering. The exclusive monopoly over the central powers of government have even led the current Prime Minister himself, in his address to law students at Osgoode Hall in the fall of 2002, to state that the essence of power in Ottawa was “who you know in the PMO”.

This leads me to the recent appointment of the Prime Minister's friend Glen Murray to chair the round table on the environment and economy. Despite a rejection from the environment committee and the House, Glen Murray continues in office. The opinion of the House is of no consequence. It is “who you know in the PMO”.

His recent choices to fill the vacancies in the Senate were a slap in the face to the people of Alberta who elected their senators. The opinion of the people of Alberta is obviously not important to the Liberal Party. Again, it was “who you know in the PMO”.

“Who you know in the PMO” has to go.
I guess that last sentence is no longer operative in this newish government.

And here is one from Mr. Stockwell Day warning of the toxic nature of too much power concentrated in the hands of one man:
Mr. Speaker, the power consolidated in the Prime Minister's Office would be a dream for anyone who wants total power. The Prime Minister can and does appoint the Governor General who is also the commander in chief of the armed forces, all lieutenant governors, senators, Supreme Court judges, Federal Court judges, the cabinet, key positions on regulatory agencies and the heads of major boards and commissions. That is a dream for anyone who is seeking power.

Lord Acton said that power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Therefore, it is no surprise that judgment is corrupted when one has that much power. I am not even putting a moral tinge to it, just judgment itself.

To put my question in context, I attended the Summit of the Americas with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. There were emerging democracies throughout Central and South America and there are those who have been dictators who would like to cling to power. They see Canada as having a system where one person has a huge amount of power and also does not put out information on billions of dollars being spent. It is a deterrent to emerging democracies. It is an incentive for those who want to consolidate power all in one office. Here is the clincher. One person raised the issue at the Summit of the Americas of the corruption in Canada. That was a very embarrassing moment for me.

Has the member considered or has he heard at committee if the Liberals have considered the effect of maintaining this air of secrecy, maintaining this level of power? Have the Liberals considered the effect not just on Canada's reputation, but on emerging democracies and those who would try to consolidate power? Have they thought about that?
I'll bet Mr. Day doesn't ask these questions out loud, anymore.
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