Stephen Harper has taken great pains to position his party as an honest, decent, straight talking alternative to the corrupt, decadent, multi-faced Liberals they replaced.
The Conservatives have Liberal corruption to thank for their election, and have made accountability a priority. Or at least they have made talking about accountability a priority. This gem comes from the PM’s web site:
“No aspect of responsible government is more fundamental than having the trust of citizens. Canadians’ faith in the institutions and practices of government has been eroded. This new government trusts in the Canadian people, and its goal is that Canadians will once again trust in their government. It is time for accountability.”
In December, with great fanfare, the government passed the Federal Accountability Act. Earlier that year, the government announced an accountability action plan, declaring that it was “turning a new leaf.”
And just to make sure we get the message, almost every official announcement contains the phrase “Canada’s New Government” — “Canada’s New Government announces this . . . or that . . . or the other thing . . .”
His plan seems to be working. The profound disgust engendered by widespread Liberal misconduct has led friends who ought to know better to conclude that while they may not agree with Harper on many things, “at least he’s honest.”
Is Stephen Harper honest? Or is Canada’s New Government up to the same old tricks of his predecessors, Liberal and Tory alike? This, just in from the Canadian Press:
Harper underpays for government jet
OTTAWA — Documents show Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives are paying a fraction of the cost of using the government’s Challenger jets for partisan and personal use.
Invoices obtained by The Canadian Press show the Tories are paying equivalent of commercial airfares, far less than the $9,000-an-hour cost of the Challenger.
One of those flights was for Harper and his entourage to attend a Maple Leafs game in Toronto.
As government corruption goes, this is small potatoes. But it is a sign that Canada’s New Government is anything but.