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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Governments Should Not Be Comfortable with their Watchdogs

Mr. Clement ultimately “decided on someone he was comfortable recommending to the Prime Minister,” one source familiar with the selection process said. Mr. Harper approved and announced the pick last Wednesday.

Should the Prime Minister "be comfortable" with the professionals tasked with keeping an eye on the operations of government on the people's behalf?

If the PM is "comfortable" - does that not imply he/she will feel less, not more, likely to check their actions for transparency, ethics, etc.?

We've seen a trend that precedes team Harper but has drastically sped up under their watch.

Critics are silenced or threatened.  The actual organs of Canadian democracy - like Parliament - are seen as barriers between the Harper government and voters, rather than the people's mechanism for holding government to account.

Facts that counter the Harper Conservative's ideological bent are being buried, their collection halted. Watchdog positions are being stacked with individuals likely to fall in line, serving as "government spokespersons" rather than agents of accountability.  Anyone who calls this government to task, including Supreme Court Justices, is having their credibility attacked.

The Conservatives tell us they want to speak directly to Canadian voters; in practice, what this has really meant is that they seek an unfiltered, unchallenged conduit to get their message out.  At the same time, they have actively tried to suppress arguments and evidence that counter their message.

That's more in line with North Korea than it is with the principles of democratic governance.

North Korea, the hermit state, is famous for bad governance.  Their unbalanced, poorly considered (but unchecked) policy regimen has seen human catastrophes beyond measure.  The Kim's dynastic rule has increasingly relied on opacity, internal fear-mongering about the outside world yet threats to other states as leverage to get the goods they can't afford to buy.

Not a model I would think any sane Canadian government would want to ape.  What do I know, though - I'm not one of history's actors.

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