Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holiday loose ends

Two loose ends from the past few days that deserve a bit of attention.

First, Professor Errol Mendes explains why it is that Harper's Senate appointments constituted an ungainly somersault:
"Mr. Harper may have had the constitutional and legal authority to appoint the 18 senators, but given the grave concerns about his use of the Governor General and prorogation to avoid defeat in the House of Commons, legitimacy is a serious question. This avoidance of certain loss of confidence in the House of Commons triggered a constitutional crisis which will be entrenched in the history books of this country.

But the prime minister chose not to wait until he could demonstrate that he had regained the confidence of the House of Commons. This is perhaps the most serious strike against the Mr. Harper, in that he has failed to understand that the high calling of his office requires him to take care to make decisions that are not only authorized by law and the Constitution, but also have legitimacy in the eyes of those who support his party, and also across a broad Canadian consensus.

This failure will be a hallmark of his legacy."(emphasis added)
That great line, that he doesn't understand the high calling of his office and what it demands of him in terms of decisions, is an undercurrent running through the Harper government. Pick an issue that they've bungled and you'll find echoes of this theme in it.

Secondly, what must a Conservative speechwriter be thinking when they have the gall to write lines like this:
"In his annual Christmas address, Harper emphasized Canada is 'blessed' to be a democratic country '... where we resolve our differences peacefully ... and always count on the protection from a common rule of law.'"
The PM who fled from a confidence vote, hiding behind the skirts of the Governor General, speaking at year's end of the blessings of life in a democratic country. Just wanted to point that out. You know, for the irony, and all...