Friday, November 2, 2007

Steve sez no to inquiry against Big Chin

In response to a question today about whether the feds were going to call an inquiry into Brian Mulroney's secret commissions, Stephen Harper said no.

"Do they really want to say that I, as prime minister, should have a free hand to launch inquiries against my predecessors?" Harper said. The PM also suggested that if they were going to reopen the books on Mulroney, then perhaps questions about the business dealings of Chrétien and Martin should also be investigated.

Frankly, I say, why not?

After all, a Prime Minister is prima inter pares, first among equals. We expect a PM to adhere to the highest ethical standards. And even when they leave office, people still address former PMs with the title even if they no longer hold it out of respect. That's because we hope, perhaps forlornly, that they still live up to those standards.

Taking $300k in several brown paper bags, or holding a controlling interest in a shipping company while taking a corporate raider approach to slashing government spending (even though such cuts were necessary) isn't exactly my idea of ethics. We need this out in the open. We should expect the answer that Harper gave -- after all he's the most secretive PM in modern times.

But that's not the answer a leader would give. A leader would put all the cards on the table -- investigate all living PMs, including an outside investigation of himself, and let the chips fall where they might. After all, Clinton ordered a probe into his and his wife's financial dealings when they were still in Little Rock. Were it not for that we never would have heard the names Paula Jones, Juanita Broaderick or Monica Lewinsky. (The common links: Vernon Jordan and Linda Tripp.)

Who's the missing link here? Guess Harper doesn't want us to know. Because the truth would humiliate a lot more people than just him and Mulroney.

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