Friday, August 10, 2007

Inappropriate

Apparently this is a big occasion. Judge Gomery's retiring and that seems to call for a parting round of thoughts on accountability and how well the Conservatives are doing in "cleaning up Ottawa." Let's see what the judge has to say about the subject on the occasion of his retirement:
Speaking on his 75th birthday and official retirement date, Mr. Gomery praised the Conservative government's showpiece Accountability Act, which included reforms to electoral laws and lobbying rules. But the former head of the inquiry into the sponsorship scandal warned that the job is far from over.

I thought [the Accountability Act] was a marvellous case of good intentions. As to whether or not those good intentions are going to be translated into government action is something that I think will take a little time,” Mr. Gomery said in an interview.

To make his point, Mr. Gomery highlighted two key – yet unfulfilled – Conservative promises: creating a Public Appointments Commission and making the registrar of lobbyists into an independent officer of Parliament.
Yes, there are the token notations of things that need to be done but nevertheless he seems to be rooting for the Harper team, egging them on, lest the baddies in Ottawa, code speak for Liberals, no doubt, spoil the tremendous work Steve and his crew have done to date.
Mr. Gomery said there is a strong level of support for the status quo in Ottawa, and that the Conservative government can't afford to slow down.

“Once a government is comfortably established, it becomes part of the inertia. Once people are in office, they develop a way or a habit of doing things, and I think there is a heavy pressure on politicians from the public service to conform to past practices,” Mr. Gomery said.
Yes, let's just all wave a magic wand, close our eyes real tight and hope that the shining instances of accountability that are the hallmark of the Harper government just continue, right? Hopefully, as Justice Gomery suggests, the Conservative government won't slow down and we can expect more exemplary behaviour like the following:
I think you get the point, right? The point is that Judge Gomery's a might off in his expressions of goodwill for Conservative accountability today. Accountability is not just about the technicalities of the law you pass for show. It's about your substantive behaviour as well, especially when politicians so sanctimoniously ride into office on the concept. (Not to mention this government's failure to provide the accountability that they owe the Canadian people as they "answer" questions in the House of Commons in their daily performances in Question Period and hold the media off at unprecedented arms lengths.)

And there's this:
Mr. Gomery was more hesitant to comment on the case of Liberal bagman Jacques Corriveau, who also cited faulty memory in his testimony before the inquiry. Mr. Corriveau's home was the site of an RCMP search this summer.
I should hope so. It would be highly inappropriate for a judge to be commenting on such a situation where the RCMP is in the midst of conducting an investigation.

Perhaps the Judge might have been better off to deploy such restraint with the remainder of his farewell musings.