Stephen Harper's government of public accountability is apparently about to defang, muzzle and generally neuter its own watchdog of budget honesty.
In the past year, Page has been at odds with the Harper government on just about every major economic prognostication, from the size of the projected deficit to the anticipated depth of the recession.
So far, he seems to be batting a thousand, while the Conservatives are proving no more honest with their numbers than the Liberals were.
How much is this annoying the Competency Challenged Conservative Caucus?
A Conservative cabinet minister says most of the fun folks in his party "can't wait" to put a choker on the parliamentary budget office and its dogged bloodhound, Kevin Page.
The only thing yet to be decided, the minister says, is whether to eliminate the office, or put Page on a short enough regulatory leash to render him harmless.
"The guy has become just a complete pain in the ass," the minister said. "We can't put up with that anymore."
In other words, Page has been doing his job far too well.
Clearly, the PM and his control freaks could not allow this sorry state of integrity to continue.
This would not be a reaction to the provocations of the Dion era confidence measures. This is following through on the condition laid out when passing the budget. If the Bloc and NDP decide to form a coalition with the arts hating, pay equity denying, western firewall building Conservatives to protect their jobs over their stated principles, then so be it. Let them swing in the wind.
And, perhaps as a sign of spring, Weston looks back on the last three years and recognizes the chilling effects of the long winter of Harper's rule.
Fact is, the meddlesome budget office is only the latest target in a sustained and systematic assault on dissent, led by a prime minister who brooks no criticism from within government.
The campaign to undermine oversight started the moment the Harper administration was sworn to office.
It began with the Law Reform Commission, wiped out presumably to prevent the facts from getting in the way of the Conservatives' law-and-order agenda.
Down went agencies set up to protect women's rights and pay equity.
A popular program that provided funding for Charter of Rights court challenges of laws, government policy and other issues -- scrapped.
The chief science adviser to the prime minister was eliminated.
The country's chief electoral officer was publicly demonized over the issue of veiled voting, his having upheld the precise laws introduced by the Harper government.
When Canada's supposedly independent nuclear regulatory commission shut down the Chalk River medical isotope reactor for safety reasons, it was off with its head, Linda Keen.
Today, many of the most important watchdogs in the entire federal system have been leashed in, starved for cash, and otherwise hobbled.
The head of the RCMP Public Complaints Commission, for instance, has been begging the Harper government for enhanced powers and increased funding to help fix what ails the police force, and restore public confidence in the Mounties.
The Harper government's cornerstone promise of open and accountable government has instead been a determined effort to instil the entire federal system with a culture of secrecy.
Time to end with a poem.
Spring has sprung,
The grass has riz'
I wonder where accountability iz.Recommend this Post