So, imagine that you were getting a hard time at work. Your projects were coming in for a fair share of criticism, and people were starting to ask if you were getting the job done, if you were meeting your targets and your budgets.
It would be tough sailing, but you would have to deal with it; sometimes, questions come with the turf.
Unless you are Canada’s Conservative federal government.
For the government, the motto might be “when the going gets tough, the tough get going … right out the door.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, off on an extended photo-op in the Arctic, has announced that, for the third time, he plans to go to the Governor General and ask to prorogue Parliament, coming back sometime in the fall with a new throne speech. It means that, in the interim, the prime minister and federal cabinet ministers will not have to deal with thorny questions about the misbehaviour of his Senate appointees and other issues that might otherwise be worth discussing.
It’s plainly obvious that this government has a particularly myopic view about its role in a parliamentary democracy. What matters is not the established process of a government proposing legislation and having that legislation tested and improved by our elected representatives, but instead, the Conservatives’ own particular agenda.
Parliamentary process? Why, that’s just a bunch of foofaraw that gets in the way of a government that implicitly knows what’s right doing exactly what it knows to be right. This democracy thing is just a pain in the neck — like strong environmental legislation, it just gets in the way of doing the important stuff fast.
How tightly does the Conservative world spin around its own axis?
Well, stop for a moment and read just one of Prime Minister Harper’s travelling-in-the-North news releases, headlined, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper invests in skills training; supports local resource jobs in the Northwest Territories.”
The body of the release? It starts like this: “Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced support for a new mining sector-skills training program in the Northwest Territories and in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, which will help Aboriginal participants acquire the skills they need to fill local jobs in the rapidly expanding mining industry.”
You could probably be forgiven for thinking that the prime minister was actually investing his own money in the venture. That may be exactly what the release says but, of course, he isn’t. But the wording, in its own way, goes a long way in explaining the attitude of the current ruling party.
Our money, you see, is automatically his money, to spend as he wishes. It’s not the government spending money to help workers — no, it’s Stephen Harper who’s doing it.
Just like our Parliament is his Parliament, something to open and close at his whim.
Perhaps it’s time someone pointed out that he was elected to Parliament by the people of this country, not selected to permanently host the Stephen Harper show.