Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Powerful Harper

This was submitted to the Irving papers this weekend. (Published in the Daily Gleaner Feb. 20)

When we read that U.S. ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, thinks that the Canadian Prime Minister is the most powerful person in the world, as we did on the front page of the Telegraph Journal (15 Feb.), I think we are meant to believe that this is a good thing.

I, for one, am not as impressed by such a statement. Exceptional power requires exceptional responsibility. Given our failings as human beings, it is irresponsible and irrational to invest so much power in one person.

Mr. Harper received his mandate because ordinary Canadians no longer trusted the Liberals and their abuse of power. He ran a campaign that promised accountability and a more transparent government. Now, Mr. Harper carefully manages his party in order to limit government communication to the free press and to ensure that most government media relations are handled through the PMO.

Mr. Harper runs his government with a fear-and-intimidation management style - the firing of the president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Ms. Keen, and the absurd threat to mandate the speed with which Senate deals with the omnibus crime bill are but two recent examples. Non-partisan groups like Democracy Watch have repeatedly pointed out Mr. Harper’s failing record on accountability.

Mr. Wilkins may be correct in stating that Mr. Harper is the most powerful person in the world, but many Canadians would agree that this is not good for the Canadian public. Indeed, it is distinctly un-Canadian!

1 comment:

Matt said...

Coercion and catch phrases are no way to govern. It's great to someone who's running with a clear perspective on an issue like power.