Prime Minister Stephen Harper had a chance to be a leader, ethically accountable, humble and contrite by accepting responsibility for the Conservative Senate scandal, even to put it behind him. He blew it.
Instead of accepting responsibility, Harper tells us Canadians want the Senate to change.
But what is needed isn’t Senate reform. Ethical conduct in appointment, yes. Patronage and partisanship, no. Divisive provincial Senate elections, absolutely not.
But that is what Harper wants and where he wants to deflect his Senate scandal. Harper is using the scandal of his making and that of his party to push the Reform Party – his old party – divisive agenda on the Senate, to rewrite 1867 as 1776.
What we see in Harper’s failure of leadership today is Harper’s choice to deny responsibility for his appointments to the Senate and choice of chief of staff, to deflect responsibility onto the Senate itself and onto individuals – others – who he says should be held accountable and away from himself and his party.
Harper is saying such individuals should leave his party and caucus. Instead of accepting responsibility for his ethical and leadership failures, Harper chooses to exploit the moment to advance the divisive “new Conservative” Reform Party agenda and policy directions.
Harper needs to be held accountable and to pay the political price, which ranks with his conduct in the 2008 prorogation crisis he originated, in calling for his resignation and a new ministry formed.
Brian Marlatt, White Rock