February 23, 2009

Conservative Cowardice

By thwap

CANADA - This weekend I was checking out Canadian Cynic and blogging contributor "LuLu" had posted about Stephen Harper's government's saying "fuck you!" to accountability in Canada. According to the Globe & Mail:

OTTAWA — The Harper government has delayed for months the release of notes on
conference calls held at the height of last summer's deadly listeriosis outbreak
— a lag some experts say breaks Ottawa's own information laws. ... Privy Council
officials at first said they had records as requested, but needed four months
“to consult other government institutions” about them. Then Ann Wesch, the
access to information director for PCO, wrote a letter dated Feb. 10 stating
that in fact “the records retrieved do not fall under the scope of this request.
Therefore we have no records relevant to your request.” The explanation for the
flip-flop? Records retrieved were handwritten notes — not minutes or
transcripts, said the PCO analyst questioned about the response.This, despite
the fact that the word transcribe is in part defined in the Canadian Oxford
Dictionary as “make a copy of, esp. in writing .. . write out (shorthand, notes,
etc.) . . . .”
As Univeristy of Ottawa expert on federal information law put it:
“It is silly,” he said. “I would even say it's infantile to be making this sort
of distinction. “This goes against the spirit of the act and the letter of the
[Access to Information] act.”
As was stated earlier in the article, twenty people died because of this failure of oversight. We all remember at the time that Harper was lamely arguing that these deaths were the fault of the Liberals, as if his own sweeping changes to the regulatory regime never existed. (We also remember Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz making jokes about poisoned food and deaths during press conferences at the time.)

Now, despite the fact that Harper is blaming the Liberals he lacks the confidence to provide us with the information about what his government was doing in response to these deaths. We have a right to this information. This is OUR government. There is no "national security" issue at stake here (which Harper loves to use to hide information about his torture policies).

This contempt for democracy, this contempt for accountability, this callous disregard for human life, this craven toadying to corporate interests, this is all an excellent example of the sort of long-standing behaviour that should have written off this party of morons, losers, murderers and thieves long ago. This is the party that pompous idiot Charles Adler had the gall to describe as "mature." This is not maturity. This is a bunch of brazen vandals spitting in our faces, confident that there is nothing that can be done about it. And you know what? Thanks to the cowardly, useless AND COMPLICIT Liberal Party, combined with the ignorance and confusion of almost half the electorate (this includes the full-time stupid 30% of the population that will stick with "conservatism" through thick and thin), there really isn't anything we can do about this.

In the face of murderous negligence and subsequent callous contempt for the law, for the principles of open government, the decent portion of Canadian society is powerless. This has to change.

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