Monday, April 27, 2009

Annals of attack politics

This was a classic example from the Harper government and it deserves to be noted: "Harper inflamed isotope crisis with partisan remarks: government document." Canadian Press has obtained a briefing note prepared for new Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt and it describes the impact of Mr. Harper's remarks in the House of Commons regarding Ms. Keen, when he said this:
The government has independent advice indicating there is no safety concern with the reactor," Harper told the Commons in December 2007.

"On the contrary, what we do know is that the continuing actions of the Liberal-appointed Nuclear Safety Commission will jeopardize the health and safety and lives of tens of thousands of Canadians." (emphasis added)
Keen, of course, was doing her job, as head of nuclear safety, independent of the government, and it was laughably ludicrous to suggest, as Harper surely did, that partisan motivations could have been driving the shut down of the Chalk River plant. Instead of focusing on the governance issue at hand, the incident became another example of Conservative partisan distraction:
"The issue of Ms. Keen's demotion became the catalyst for media commentary on the issue of the prime minister's relationship with the public service, an issue - along with the prime minister's politicization of the affair - that underpinned much of the Chalk River affair," the briefing note says.

The news analysis said the isotope crisis was "comparable in volume to the Mulroney-Schreiber affair."
A big shout out, by the way, to the briefing crew at Natural Resources for telling it like it was. These are the little episodes that keep recurring for this government. The latest being the Harper-Mulroney soap opera, all piling up over time to tell a story of one of the most partisan governments in recent memory.

Speaking of which, you'll also read in the report that Dimitri Soudas, a Harper spokesperson, is still needlessly blaming Ms. Keen in response to the briefing note's revelation. It was all "fact" Harper was speaking, stated Soudas, when we know how Mr. Harper's words resonated. So, they've learned little from their past on this file. Stay classy, Harper minions. Way to pad that record for women voters by continuing to attack the internationally award winning Keen.

A very useful reminder of how Mr. Harper and his second-rate ministers interact with the independent institutions of our government. Not very well and with a lot of contempt for rules, laws and independence.

See also: CanPolitico.