A tale of three governments

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If government had an odour these days we would have towear gas masks. From Ottawa, Victoria and Washington,the stink is overwhelming.

In Ottawa, the Stephen Harper government has been caught in alie about torture in Afghanistan, revealing their truenature: they don't care about human rights. It is badenough that they pursue a needless war on behalf of theUnited States, killing our soldiers for no good cause, butby allowing torture they not only diminish Canada'sreputation, they force our troops into criminal situationsthat they should never be put into.

It raises thequestion, how can one be both a loyal Canadian soldierand follow the commands of a government that has suchdisregard for law?

Besides their bungling of the Afghanistan issue, Harper'sgovernment has also had its true colours exposed whenthe National Post ran a story on a manual of dirty tricksthat the government had distributed to its key members.The document reportedly instructs government memberson how to create chaos in committees and prevent theopposition parties, which hold a majority of the seats,from advancing their legislative agendas.

One opposition MP remarked that the document shows a“flagrant lack of respect for government” while anothercalled the government petty and vindictive.

Meanwhile, in Washington the Bush administrationcontinues to struggle with its own nightmares. Wars inIraq and Afghanistan that it should have never started,wars that many in its own military say can't be won, aredragging the president's popularity down into the cellar.

The incompetence of the Bush administration is so badthat former President Jimmy Carter has publicly stated that it isthe worst administration in U.S. history. Things are insuch a disastrous state under the leadership of George W.Bush that some of the contenders for the Republicannomination next year are running against their ownadministration.

Congressman Ron Paul, one of the Republicanpresidential hopefuls who opposes the war, caused quitea stir recently when in a debate in South Carolina hepointed out that the attacks of September 11 were aresult of U.S. foreign policy. That fact did not go over toowell with the other contenders, and raised the ire of thegood old boys in the audience, but a number ofconservative Republicans, including Patrick Buchanan,have rallied to Congressman Paul's defense.

In Victoria, the BC Liberal government continues towallow in manure. Unless there is a change of heart inthe Liberal Caucus, the government will pass a bill shortlygiving MLAs a fat increase in pay and benefits — anincrease put forward by a commission of three personshandpicked by Premier Gordon Campbell who are hardlyrepresentative of the majority of people in the province.

The increase has received opposition widely across BCand is opposed by the NDP Caucus. If greed consumesthe Liberals and they pass the bill, the NDP MLAs havecommitted themselves to giving their raises to localcharities in their constituencies.

The MLA cash grab is a sleazy move by the Premier, butit pales beside some of the other issues in which thisgovernment has become entangled over the past sixyears. If one recalls a few years back the Premier wasarrested and put in jail for being a drunken sot operatinga vehicle on a road on Maui, a transgression over whichany honourable person would have resigned public office.

Later that same year the RCMP raided the BCLegislature seeking evidence in a case involvingcorruption that reached into both the BC and FederalLiberal parties, an incident that an honourablegovernment would have fallen over and gone to thepeople for a renewed vote of confidence.

Honourable is not an operative word for this government,however, and the case has been dragging on for overthree years, mysteriously receiving little attention leadingup to the 2005 election. Allegations of bribery, tainteddeals and political dirty tricks connected to the Premier'soffice are now coming out as the case makes its waythrough the courts.

Had this kind of activity come tolight under the previous government, the mainstreammedia would have been instigating a lynch mob withdaily headlines and editorials from the moment of thefirst raid. Yet under this government it has dragged onforever with little notice.

Stephen Harper, George Bush and Gordon Campbell arebirds of a feather. They lead governments riddled withcorruption and incompetency and pursue policies thatare inimical to the welfare of the majority of the peoplethat they govern. The good news is that they are allrunning out of time. The question arises, how can we dobetter in the future?

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