Saturday, April 26, 2008

At least Nixon denied wrong-doing

First, some good news: I'm opening up comments to all users; however I am continuing to moderate them.

Adding my thoughts about the article in the Guardian the other day that some others have commented on:

Some writers have found some stark parallels between Richard Nixon and Stephen Harper. Frankly, I think Nixon was a whole lot better. Yes, Nixon set out to undermine constitutional government although he didn't go as far as Bush and Cheney have. But Nixon had some redeeming qualities. He actually cared about the environment as well as workplace safety and attempted to build bridges where none existed before such as when he opened a door to Red China. In other words, he had a bit of a conscience, at times. Harper, on the other hand, is bent on coming off as an "environmental" guy by protecting some wildlife sanctuaries here and there but is content on letting air and water emissions continue unabated. As far as labour standards go, he'd be quite content to making the federal civil service a "right to work" environment with the Rand Formula out the window -- thus destroying federal workplace unions. And as far as bridges go, he's burned just about all of them. He doesn't have a conscience the way most Canadians would understand it.

But the stench of campaign finance fraud could very well be Harper's Waterloo. Consider when Woodward and Bernstein began their investigation of the Watergate break-in. What began as a laughable bugging attempt was the tip of a massive fraud that began with $25,000 in misdirected campaign contributions, which escalated to $350,000 and then over $1 million; all to fund domestic espionage. Imagine if $10 million went missing from the coffers of Clinton or Obama or McCain and the press would have a field day.

No hint that this kind of tomfoolery has happened at the federal level in Canada although it's well known the Alberta provincial government (which is basically the martial arm of Harper nowadays) has long illegally bugged environmental groups such as the Pembina Institute; and during the dark days of Duplessis' reign of terror in Québec that unions were the subject of similar intimidation tactics.

But to think that a party could transfer funds to a local district not for local campaign literature with local issues, but to then ask for the money back and have the ads labelled as "local" with no reference at all to the local issues -- at the orders of head office -- then to attempt to get the local candidates to ask for the 60% of matching funds they're entitled to for getting at least 10% of the vote in a particular district, fails to pass even the most basic sniff test. If the allegations are true, Canadian taxpayers have been defrauded of $700,000 and the very reason why we have public financing is undermined.

It's good to see some Conservatives, like NL's Joseph Goudie, have a conscience about the wrongness of this game of musical chairs.

I too would like to know why Harper is bragging about what he did.

See also: Runesmith's thoughts about this.

Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers.

No comments: