Monday, May 23, 2005

 

Confession of an Idealist

In response to my posts The 8 Minute Conspiracy and The 8 Minute Hour Conspiracy about the phone calls between Tim Murphy and Gurmant Grewal, Thunderbuck left the following comment:

You're kidding, right? You might be suggesting some kind of political ideal, but it's honestly never going to happen.Are you really saying that Tim Murphy is supposed to ignore a phone call from an opposition member, when a motion is pending that could bring down the party that employs him?
Give yourself a little test here. What if it was 1979, and it was Joe Clark's conservatives about to be defeated on John Crosby's budget. If a Liberal called up Joe's people, wouldn't they be nuts not to at least LISTEN?


Well, I must admit there are some fundamental values that I've never been able to overlook - like integrity, honesty, respect for the law, things like that. And Murphy did a lot more than listen. But more importantly, it's inconceivable that he wasn't obliged to inform the Prime Minister at all times of what was going on. Equally, there can be no doubt that Murphy was completely aware of the legal issues involved; his choice of words clearly reflect that he knew that he was violating the intent of the law, if not the letter of the law.
If the prime minister, through the actions of his staff (whether or not Martin ever does more than pay lip service to the concept of accountability), allows his staff to disregard the law, then why shouldn't he (the Prime Minister) be prosecuted just like the rest of us? If a police officer breaks the law, his punishment is almost always more severe because he is judged to have betrayed his position of trust. This should be doubly and triply true for the Prime Minister's staff, to say nothing of the Prime Minister himself. Laws that are not respected are worse than no laws at all.
We're talking about the PRIME Minister here, the leader of our country for goodness sake! And it's not the first time, is it? One would think that after his near-death experience with Adscam, that he would be thankful to have dodged the bullet and be anxious clean up his act, if only to demonstrate to Canadians that he can be believed about anything. But this incident with Grewal - taken in conjunction with the other similar accusations of interference made recently - says just the opposite. Which ought to make this scandal more damaging to the Prime Minister than Adscam.
Likewise, even though Stephen Harper is as desperate as Martin to control as many votes as possible, if it should turn out that Grewal was acting alone, then Harper is no better than Martin if he does not deal with the situation immediately and decisively by expelling Grewal from the CPC, thereby demonstrating to Canadians that he does stand for change and will do what it takes to prove it. (Yes, this may mean there can't be an election soon, but there probably won't be one anyway - so Mr. Harper, why not do the right thing: don't try to put a positive spin on an illegal act - bite the bullet and prove you're different!)
In many democracies, both Grewal's and Murphy's actions would have been dealt with immediately by a serious, arm's length criminal investigation on the initiative of the Chief Justice or equivalent. As we can see, neither the Federal Courts, nor the Speaker of the House nor the Superintendent of the RCMP is showing any initiative in this matter. Their inaction doesn't mean this is a trivial issue. But rather it's further proof of how the entire machinery of government in Canada has been pervasively subverted by 30 plus years of Librano mentality and ruthless disregard for the laws and democratic traditions of our country..
The only "right" thing that the Prime Minister can and must do is to request the Speaker of the House of Commons to conduct an immediate public investigation and to hold parties responsible as he see fit, with recommendations of criminal charges, if any, being referred to the Solicitor General immediately thereafter. After all the controversy of the past few months, anything less will be a slap in the face to all of us.
If Canadians' collective response to this is a momentary shrugging of shoulders, then honest, responsible government and democracy are not as high on other Canadians' lists of priorities as on mine. On these points, I will always be an idealist.

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