Letter: Conservative government tactics cast dispersions
To the editor:
When former auditor general Sheila Fraser said the ironically named Fair Elections Act is "an attack on democracy", she wasn't speaking for Elections Canada. She was speaking as a distinguished and highly respected Canadian.
One of the Conservative's tactics is to cast doubt on someone's motives, character or job performance, if that person publicly disagrees with any part of the Conservative agenda.
Besides Sheila Fraser, other people who have been attacked by the Conservatives include: Chief Elections Officer Marc Mayrand; Liberal leader Justin Trudeau (the TV attack ads started several weeks ago); former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, whom Harper appointed; and Richard Colvin, a senior intelligence official at the Canadian Embassy in Washington.
In 2009, Colvin testified that all Afghan detainees transferred by Canadian soldiers to Afghan prisons were likely being tortured by Afghan officials.
Harper's current target is Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
In March, a Supreme Court majority--that included most of Harper's own appointees--found that he had been taking liberties with the letter of the court's eligibility rules and invalidated his latest choice (Justice Marc Nadon) for the top bench.
In April, in a 7-0 ruling, the Supreme Court blocked the Conservative government's attempt to detain thousands of prisoners for longer periods. Canada has more people in jail who are awaiting their trials than it has convicted, sentenced offenders. What judges have been doing is giving prisoners extra credit for the time they serve, to count toward their ultimate sentence, if convicted. On May 1, the Prime Minister's Office suggested that Beverley McLachlin lobbied against Nadon's appointment to the Supreme Court.
On May 2, McLachlin took the highly unusual step of issuing a press release, which stated in part: "Given the potential impact on the Court, I wished to ensure that the government was aware of the eligibility issue. At no time did I express any opinion as to the merits of the eligibility issue. It is customary for Chief Justices to be consulted during the appointment process and there is nothing inappropriate in raising a potential issue affecting a future appointment."
On May 5, Justin Trudeau told reporters Harper "is picking fights with just about everyone he can. His attacks on the Supreme Court, on the integrity of the Chief Justice is appalling, and is completely offside with the opinions of most Canadians who hold our Supreme Court in the highest regard.And to show a level of disrespect for the institutions that make up this country is something that I find completely deplorable."
Who's next on Stephen Harper's hit list, Queen Elizabeth?