3 min

The way accountability works

For most of the weekend, we’ve heard much bemoaning of the fact that Harper unilaterally decided that we’re going to extend our mission in Afghanistan – but totally in a “training mission, really far behind the wire! Really!” kind of capacity, and that he didn’t go to Parliament about it. Even though he said he would, and even though the NDP are calling it “deplorable” that he didn’t.

But guys? I know I’ve said this before, but a system of Responsible Government like we have works that way. The government makes the decision, and then Parliament gets to hold the government to account. If Parliament made the decision – like Harper ensured the last time – then nobody can be held to account – like what happened the last time. It was all “Parliament voted on it – I’m just doing what you wanted.” Which is totally not accountability. So think about how Responsible Government works, and play your part when it comes to accountability, even if you think it’s counterintuitive.

Groups are taking the electoral system to Federal Court in Quebec, trying to argue that the first-past-the-post system is against the Charter because it renders some votes as “meaningless.” Really? But just because the person or party you voted for didn’t get in doesn’t mean your vote was meaningless. The point is you got to vote, and those votes determined the outcome. I don’t remember ever reading that electoral politics is a cooperative board game where “everyone wins!” It’s not, but the point is to participate – not just during the writ period, but with the parties outside of it. That’s the way politics works.

Susan Delacourt, meanwhile, explores the feeling that some MPs are becoming as disconnected from politics as the voters.

Elizabeth Thompson looks into the cost of the table used at the G20 – some $97,000 for a massive piece of laminated particleboard – and all of the various things “donated” to Huntsville because none of it got bids on a government auction site and it wasn’t worth shipping back to Ottawa. Meanwhile, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott says police at the G8/G20 protests “exercised restraint” and “acted professionally.” Erm, okay.

It looks like the Conservatives have already fit Julian Fantino with a muzzle, since he has yet to debate any of the other candidates in the Vaughan by-election. No doubt this is the same kind of technique they perfected with the likes of Cheryl Gallant the last couple of times around, when they learned about what happens with loose cannons on the campaign trail.

Charles McVety is back at it again, this time shrieking that Bill C-389 will make it open season for “perverts” to stalk women’s washrooms. Seriously.

The slap-and-hair-pull fight between Air Canada and Emirates Airlines – part of the whole diplomatic fiasco between Harper and the UAE – is stepping up with “myth-busting” ads between them.

Oh, look – another Conservative MP inappropriately using his mailing privileges, this time to shill for a local municipal candidate.

Oh, look – 75 percent of last year’s stimulus funding went untouched, undermining the government’s claim that their program created so many jobs.

Bad idea alert – it looks like Petawawa is going to lose its counselling program for soldiers because of a lack of funding. Given what we know about PTSD and operational stress injuries, doesn’t this strike anyone as a Very Bad Thing?

And finally, as we discuss an Afghan mission extension, here is a rather sobering look at one of the problems – misunderstood aims by the West of the Taliban, who now see the war as an occupation by those who wish to fundamentally alter a conservative Muslim culture, which is one reason they are gaining followers.
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