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Your Conservative government lack of accountability update.

First comes this little morsel:

More than 90 per cent of the thousands of new infrastructure projects across the country are slated to get funding from the Conservative government without being required to undergo a federal assessment of their environmental impact..As a result, out of more than 3,000 projects that were approved for funding under the government’s multibillion-dollar infrastructure stimulus fund this year, only two per cent will go through a federal process to evaluate their environmental footprint

Wouldn’t want any pesky regulations getting in the way of doling out their pork-barrel money, now would they? This is being challenged in court, by the way, so perhaps in the end, they will hopefully be forced by the courts to be accountable:

The exemptions for federal assessments were not introduced through legislation in Parliament and have been challenged in court by two environmental organizations, Ecojustice and the Sierra Club of Canada. “It seems like they (members of the Harper government) are just making decisions arbitrarily,” said Justin Duncan, a staff lawyer at Ecojustice.

Next on our Conservatives lack of accountability theme comes this rather bad attempt at trying to whitewash the Listeriosis crisis:

The federal government has appointed the top bureaucrat at Agriculture Canada to lead Ottawa’s overhaul of food safety after an investigation into last year’s deadly listeriosis outbreak called for an independent expert to direct the effort…in her final report presented to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz in July, Weatherill called on the clerk of the privy council, the bureaucratic wing of the Prime Minister’s Office, to appoint an “independent expert” to lead a review involving top bureaucrats at Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to sort out the roles of federal departments and agencies in food safety.

Ritz said his deputy minister of agriculture is an independent expert on the file, so the appointment means the “recommendation has been fulfilled.”

If anyone buys that Ritz’s deputy is “independent”, they’re either naive or a Conservative partisan.

Our final lack of accountability update focuses on a Hill Times report that shows how determined Harper is to avoid any more press scrutiny then he has to, and how he’s copied the former President Bush’s tactics of being in friendly venues when he does announcements outside of Ottawa by stacking the room with his supporters in an attempt to intimidate any tough questioning:

Military discipline handling a potential political crisis like swine flu, though, is only one aspect of Harper’s single-minded focus on controlling his own image and his government’s messaging. His avoidance of the news media on Parliament Hill has become nearly obsessive. For at least two years, following his battle with the press gallery in 2006, Harper has snubbed the front door of the Commons for Question Period. He established a covert route to get to the Chamber from his third-floor Centre Block office, ducking down through a narrow hallway behind the public gallery atop the west side of the Chamber, down a small staircase, and then scuttling into the government lobby through a back door across from the House Speaker’s Chamber.

No Prime Minister has ever avoided the front entrance to the Commons and no one, at least outside of Harper’s inner circle, understands why Harper does…Outside Ottawa, Harper most often arranges his news conferences at venues packed with party members, who usually applaud his remarks and occasionally express disapproval at reporters’ questions. Favourable PMO photos of Harper now arrive at media in-boxes across the country on almost a daily basis. Gallery veterans are convinced Soudas has a black list, journalists who won’t be recognized for questions.

Conservative supporters will often dismiss this with a “The Liberals did it too!” – a rather oft-used defense, but a not very good one for a party that claimed it was going to change the way things were done in Ottawa vis-a-vis accountability.

Things have changed alright, but for the worse under the Conservatives.

1 comment to Your Conservative government lack of accountability update.

  • Roll Tide

    I read the article in the Hill Times, thanks for the link.
    Those Conservatives sure are politically shrewd. I am glad we do not look like the Joe Clark-Robert Stanfield amateurs, as much as some Liberals wish.

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