Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"We always follow the law as we understand it"

Interesting slip from Harper:
"'Our position is that we always follow the law as we understand it,' the prime minister said in response to a reporter's question at a joint news conference with U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon in New Orleans.

'We were following in the last election the interpretations that had been put on that law in the past,' Harper said. 'If those interpretations change, we will of course conform, but we will expect the same rules for every single party.'"(emphasis added)
Well, thanks for clearing that up for Canadians, Steve. You follow the laws as you understand them. Kind of like your pal there, W, who follows the laws as he understands them, by appending his litany of "signing statements" to laws that Congress has passed which often give him, the imperial executive the power to ignore them or apply as he deems fit:
President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.
That's a radical view that Harper's let slip. He's arguing his party's defiance of Elections Canada is a matter of legal interpretation when in fact the laws are clear and his in-and-out scheme is being roundly denounced as a radical assault on Canadian election practices:

“To my knowledge, there has been nothing equivalent to this,” said John Courtney, a political scientist at the University of Saskatchewan's Diefenbaker Canada Centre and an expert on Canada's electoral system.

“There's always little nickel and dime stuff in every election, but this is not nickel and dime ... those are major sums, at least by Canadian standards.”

“There's nothing that I'm aware of of this scale involving a major party,” added Aaron Freeman, co-author of The Laws of Government: The Legal Foundations of Canadian Democracy.

What part of following the rules don't the Conservatives get?