Monday, December 29, 2008

Harper's Broken Promises:
A Comment by Democracy Watch

Reprinted from Toronto Star, Letters to Editor, December 29, 2008

Written by Duff Conacher, Co-ordinator, Democracy Watch

With his appointment of 18 Senators, most of whom are Conservative party cronies, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has added another broken promise to the 27 democratic reform and government accountability promises the Conservatives have already broken since they were elected in January 2006.

In their 2006 election platform, the Conservatives promised to establish an independent Public Appointments Commission to ensure fair, merit-based and widely publicized searches for qualified candidates for the PM and his cabinet to appoint to government agencies, boards and commissions.

Harper broke this promise after opposition parties changed the Federal Accountability Act to ensure the commission would be non-partisan and operate independently of cabinet, and be accountable to Parliament if it did not ensure fair appointments. The Conservative cabinet has gone on to appoint more than 1,000 people to key government positions, many with ties to the Conservatives.

They also broke their promise to "Prevent party leaders from appointing candidates without the democratic consent of local electoral district associations" and Harper showed his dishonesty further by appointing several Conservative candidates for the recent election. He has also made false claims about why he has broken these promises, as usual blaming opposition parties for his failures.

The PM also used his so-called "Accountability Act" to cut the ethics rule that requires him and his cabinet and senior officials to be honest. He obviously wanted to protect himself from being found guilty of breaking the honesty rule.
Canadians deserve better. The Conservatives are practising dishonest, unethical, secretive, un-representative and wasteful federal politics as usual. The key question is, will the opposition parties offer good government to voters?

Duff Conacher, Co-ordinator, Democracy Watch, Ottawa

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