So, finally, the traditional media opens an eye and observes democracy being subverted by odious Conservative party tactics. Barbara Yaffe in the Vancouver Sun and Shaun Thomas in The Northern View have both come out swinging. Barbara Yaffe: (Emphasis mine)
An aggressive Conservative plan has bestowed a group of British Columbians with a representative from the governing party before they've voted one in.So, to clarify this, Harris would have objected to what the Conservatives are now engaged in on the basis that his party, when in opposition, was a part of the official opposition, therefore could still get things done.
Houston Mayor Sharon Smith has been appointed "government go-to person" for the NDP-held riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley by the federal Conservative caucus chair for B.C., Dick Harris.
[...]Throwing in the waste bin the principles that make representative government in Canada function, Harris explained on a local radio show the other week: "To have access to the ministers, realistically, you have to be part of the government. You want to contact the Prime Minister's Office or even the prime minister when you need to, it helps immensely to be part of the government."
He said Smith, working through Conservative channels, would be able to get constituents' concerns in Cullen's riding "right to the ministers involved."
Asked if Conservative MPs in Opposition -- before January 2006 -- were thus ineffective, Harris elaborated further.
"There's a bit of a pecking order in Parliament. As a member of the official Opposition you're quite a bit closer to government than, say, a member of the fourth or the third party.
"There seems to be a cooperation between the official Opposition and the government when it comes to riding issues, so we were able to get a fair amount done.
"It's a matter of having the access and being effective with the access and, quite frankly ... the fact is, it hasn't been happening" in Cullen's riding.
[Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch] says of the Skeena situation: "What [Harris] is essentially saying is that it matters whether your MP is from the ruling party or not, which is saying, essentially, that the ruling party MPs get -- what? -- more favours from the public service?I wonder how Mr. Harris spells corruption?
"Is he implying that ruling party MPs can somehow solve a constituent's problems that are dealing with the bureaucracy, in terms of immigration applications or small business problems or just general citizen problems with government?"
Apparently if you didn’t elect one of their candidates, the Conservative government doesn’t really care what you have to say.It's worth keeping an eye on how "national" this goes.
At least that was the impression I was left with after reading a news release from B.C. Conservative Caucus chair Dick Harris, which urged people with “concerns or issues with the Federal Government” to contact Sharon Smith, who will be running for the party in the next federal election. Apparently, according to Harris, Smith will provide residents with direct contact to the federal government, which we have not had since 2004, and will “represent constituents of her riding.”
That is quite possibly the most arrogant, ignorant and blatantly misleading thing that I have ever heard from any government or government official. Ever.
But, says Mr. Harris, having a fourth party MP “just doesn’t cut it” when it comes to getting things done for the riding. To me that just seems to be the Conservatives admitting that they ignore the concerns that come from any riding that didn’t vote for them or are represented by them, which is shameful in and of itself
And perhaps even more importantly, in what strange and twisted reality does the Conservative Party of Canada or any other political party have the power to appoint someone as our representative on a federal level? They don’t have that power now, they never had that power and they never will have that power! Only the people of the riding have that power, and for the Conservatives to even think they can tell us who we are to talk to is both insulting and a massive slap in the face to the entire democratic process.
In the meantime, there's something I've been itching to do. Having spent the past few years using the stories produced by the traditional media as feedstock, and having listened to or read the line, "The bloggers are abuzz with this story", and then to have a comment quoted in the form of some quaint bullet, turn about is fair play.
(Cue important sounding music) Over to you TGB!
Thanks, FF! Well, since Blogging a Dead Horse first broke this story several outlets have weighed in with new and often revealing information. Once the importance of this story came to light an entire team started to dig. JJ, ACR, CC, Dawg, Chet and Tim have been keeping on top of this one.
(Pan to big plasma display with expanding windows)
So, FF, let's hop over to the ragosphere and check out what the big corporate media reaction is to this....
(Expanding window displays Vancouver Sun masthead)
Well, apparently, FF, the ragosphere isn't saying much yet, but once they see the importance of this story I'm certain we'll see all kinds of response and commentary.
Back to you, FF.
I just had to do that.