Conservative rule gives lie to promises

I recalled the birth of the New Right — Alliance, Reform, and the new Conservatives.

I recalled the birth of the New Right — Alliance, Reform, and the new Conservatives.

They wanted a change of government style and values. They wanted an accountable, transparent, scandal-free and open government. Stephen Harper also wanted an end to omnibus bills, tighter controls of lobbyists, and freedom for local MPs to openly express their own ideas and those of their constituents.

These ideas and values brought the newly united right, under a new Conservative party, into power. So how have they done over the last nine years?

Omnibus bills, so loathed by the earlier Stephen Harper, are now bigger and more common than ever. Closure in debate, another no-no for the new PM, is now used on almost every bill.

The dream of transparency is long gone. Every request for information to the government must be vetted by the PMO [Prime Minister’s Office]. The international body, Reporters Without Borders, ranked Canada 18th in the world for access to government information.

Accountability was another excellent reform ideal which has all but vanished. Every parliamentary officer, such as the chief electoral officer, has had their powers of investigation curtailed. Some have been fired for challenging government data.

Lobbyists, once a no-no for Stephen Harper, now openly prowl the halls of Parliament, visiting the offices of the PM and MPs.

Independent MPs, once a high priority for Stephen Harper, have vanished. Every local MP must have their speeches, announcements, or any public statement, vetted by the PMO.

What happened to a scandal-free government as dozens of Conservatives and the PM’s appointees are in trouble with the law?

But enough! What happened to the democratic and open values? What happened to the ideals of a young Stephen Harper?

How do I vote now?

 

Earl Belcourt

Cobble Hill