September 30, 2009

It's Time for Conservatives to Show Respect and Honour

Accountability and transparency are probably two of the most important facets of democracy. Without either of these democracy really isn't a system that is 'for the people, by the people'. Voting for and selecting our representatives that sit in parliament is only one part of the equation. It has to be a reciprocal relationship.

The people give its representatives power to make decisions on our behalf and in return the representative needs to this job honestly and openly so that the people know they are doing the job they were put in power to do. To not respect what this role means, to not be honourable enough to allow for accountability and transparency in your decision is to not respect democracy nor the people. And if that's the case then the elected official should lose any claim or ability to be in power.

To continue on, without being fully open and without respect for those you govern over, is to do so with out ethics. In such an event, the only option is to return to the people and seek re-election but not before giving full disclosure of what has transpired within the government during your tenure.

Personally, I have little issue with going into an election. My only concern is that full disclosure has not been and will not be given prior to that call. There are many questions beginning to arise from the opposition Liberals, from Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, from independent economists, the banks, their own members, etc. dealing with both the running of and the numbers within the infrastructure/stimulus program and with how advertising is being run and tendered for government programs. With so many black holes being exposed, accountability and transparency has become more necessary than ever with the current government. And yet, all those questions refuse to be addressed by the Conservatives.

Is this a surprise? Not likely. Many members of the CPC were also members of the past Ontario PC government that also did not respect our democracy and were exposed as having applied 'creative' accounting to the provincial finances. Not only that but the current government has obfuscated and interfered with PBO Page when he has attempted to shed light in the darkened areas, which only goes to raising suspicions further.

What else is concerning is that in spite of the Conservatives' claims that an election is unnecessary, there does seem to be some effort on their part to force one anyway. Why the need to go into an election now? The simple answer is likely that the Conservatives feel they can achieve a majority. But if your dead set against it, as you claim, why would you want one? To achieve a majority so that accountability and transparency can be further restricted.

Like with all serious problems and possible scandals, the truth eventually gets out. If you're in a minority it almost definitely spells doom for your party. However, if you're in a majority you can continue to tighten your grip around information and almost impede any exposure with impunity. Chretien was guilty of this when it came to Adscam when he shut down parliament right before the report was to be released, delaying it. Calling an election may have the same effect but having a majority government will allow the Conservatives to continue governing even in the event all the concerns about 'Shovelgate' or the advertising programs turn out to be true.

It's a cowardly action to take. It also flies in the face of democracy and would expose this government as having little respect for the people or the institutions it governs for. If there are no problems with the Infrastructure program or the way advertising is being run, etc. then there should be no problems with responding, honestly, to the concerns of so many and allow full disclosure. To avoid being accountable gives credence to the criticisms and gives further warrant to the call for review.

The only option at this point is to allow, without interference, PBO Page and our Auditor General, Sheila Fraser, to conduct full inquiries prior to any election. Let Canadians go into an election armed with facts and make a decision based on those facts. Otherwise, to deny Canadians this is to show little respect for democracy and the Canadian public.

1 comment:

Rural said...

"Let Canadians go into an election armed with facts and make a decision based on those facts. Otherwise, to deny Canadians this is to show little respect for democracy and the Canadian public."
Exactly!
http://democracyunderfire.blogspot.com/

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