Friday, November 02, 2007

The real Harper shines through

In response to calls for a public inquiry into the Mulroney settlement paid for by taxpayers to the tune of $2.1 million when it appears that key facts were not disclosed to the government at that time, Harper's exaggerating his response and threatening the Liberals in kind. This is completely inappropriate, needless to say, when the likes of Andrew Coyne are speaking forcefully on the need for this issue to be cleared up, in an inquiry, as he did on last night's At Issue panel. I suppose by Harper's logic that Andrew Coyne best prepare himself for an inquiry on some facet of his life too? Either everyone is investigated or no one is investigated. Welcome to Canada under Stephen Harper.

Here's our gracious PM on full display today:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has dismissed calls by opposition parties for a public inquiry into reports about cash payments made to former prime minister Brian Mulroney, saying allowing the government to launch probes against former political adversaries was "extremely dangerous."

"Do they really want to say that I, as prime minister, should have a free hand to launch inquiries against my predecessors?" Harper asked reporters Friday in Halifax following a speech to the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.
Yes, I can see now, why it would be "extremely dangerous" as put by Harper. Because he clearly can't see the national interest involved and has to trash two former PM's needlessly in fending off a legitimate set of questions. Paul Martin's CSL? Please. I've never heard that there was anything remotely illegal about his business. Running ships off shore or locating a business elsewhere in the world qualifies as an equivalent matter to Harper, apparently. Here's Harper on that, by the way:
Harper also issued a thinly-veiled warning to the Liberals, saying he could use the opportunity to investigate former prime minister Jean Chr├ętien's involvement in the controversial sale of a golf course in his Quebec riding — even though the justice system has already dealt with the matter.

Or, he said, he could also launch an inquiry to look into Paul Martin's involvement with Canada Steamship Lines, a company Martin held in trust while he was prime minister.

"This is not a route that I want to go down," Harper said. "And I don't think that if the Liberal party thought twice about it, it is a power they would want to give me."
Um, I think you already have that power to call an inquiry, Steve. Martin called the Gomery Commission to review the sponsorship matters, so I certainly think you have this power....

But it appears Harper has decided to go to the mattresses for Mulroney. And everyone gets to see how Harper handles a legitimate line of inquiry. Threats, threats, threats. This is becoming a pattern. Don't like the questions in the House of Commons? Threaten the opposition with lawsuits if they repeat them outside the House, as they've done on the Conservative in and out election scandal and now with the Mulroney questions. And now threaten them with public inquiries when they have the gall to ask for one into a legitimate set of circumstances.

It's really not a good look.