Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Rick Mercer : 22 Days of Snow Days

Excerpted :

"It is ironic that while our parliament has been suspended we are a nation at war. On New Year's Eve we greeted the news that five Canadians were killed in a single day with sadness but not surprise. We are at war because ostensibly we are helping bring democracy to Afghanistan. How the mission is progressing is open for debate but this much is certain – at present there is a parliament in Afghanistan that it is very much open for business. Canada has no such institution.

In Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai's government faces fierce opposition at every turn; many of his cabinet choices have been rejected in a secret ballot by the more than 200 parliamentarians that sit in the legislature. Simply closing parliament down and operating without their consent is not an option for Hamid Karzai; to do so would be blatantly undemocratic or at the very least downright Canadian. If Hamid Karzai suspended parliament on a whim we might be forced to ask why Canadians are dying to bring democracy to that country.

Stephen Harper doesn't have that problem. The Parliament of Canada has been suspended for no other reason than the prime minister simply can't be bothered with the relentless checks and balances that democracy affords us. He doesn't want to have to stand in the House of Commons and hear anyone question him on any subject. I don't blame him. Parliament is filled with jackals, opportunists and boors. The problem is, like it or not, they were elected.

I also don't blame the Prime Minister for wanting to keep his ministers out of the spotlight. This is a prime minister who could argue he is Canada's greenest PM simply because he's the only one who has gone out of his way to give potted plants key portfolios.

The problem is he is the one who appointed Cabinet and like it or not they are supposed to be accountable. A minister's job is not to hide in their riding; it is to be accountable in Ottawa – or at least that was the promise. This prime minister has gone from the promise of an open, accessible and accountable government to a government that is simply closed.

It is too bad that prorogation isn't something that our soldiers have in their arsenal. When faced with the order to head out on a foot patrol in the Panjwaii district of southern Afghanistan, to risk their lives to bring democracy to that place, wouldn't it be nice if they could simply prorogue and roll over and go back to sleep. Soldiers don't get that luxury. That is afforded only to the people who ultimately order them to walk down those dangerous dusty roads in the first place."

Thank you, Rick Mercer.
I would quibble with your "we are a nation at war" and that we are "helping bring democracy to Afghanistan" - but let those who use those words today to defend our rogue prime minister eat them now.


Anonymous said...

"he's the only one who has gone out of his way to give potted plants key portfolios"

Good one.


Dave said...

I would quibble with "we are a nation at war"

And indeed, you should quibble.

We are not a nation at war. We are a nation in a war. The former is tract of jingoists and propagandists; the latter is the unbelievable luxury of a country able to divert a small portion of its national wealth to overseas adventures without creating the slightest hardship for those manning the domestic coffee houses... the immediate relatives of those killed excepted from such luxury of course. They pay heavily while the rest of us suck it up at Starbucks. If you're a war movie lover, however, it's a small price to pay. In fact, it's no cost at all. No death is real until it appears in your own life.

I hope Harper's offspring are lucky enough to do a foot patrol in Afghanistan.

Alison said...

Dave : Yes, and the word "quibble" wasn't near strong enough.

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