I think you’ve got a bit of a problem.
You may recall that just a decade ago, you were leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, derailing the bumbling Liberals for their flatfooted attempt at covering up an oh-so-Liberal kickback scheme.
It was then that you had a stroke of genius: the Federal Accountability Act!
If we want to rush the bums out, you thought, we’ll need to make ourselves look like ethical knights on a quest to behead those morally bankrupt trolls.
And, indeed, it worked.
I mean, electorally. Practically, the whole thing didn’t shape up quite as well as planned.
You did, after all, ended up going to war with the Parliamentary Budget Officer that you created. He did sue you, in the end. The Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, on the other hand, has been an outright disaster, given that its former chief refused to investigate complaints while her successor hasn’t been much better (he just resigned.) And any improvements to the Access to Information regime, too, were also overshadowed by the awe-inspiring levels of incompetence, corruption and staggering inefficiency that have attached themselves to that system like tapeworms.
But hey, it’s not all bad. Spending caps on campaign contributions was a bold and laudable move, the new Lobbyist Commissioner was a nice touch, and appointing an Ethics Commissioner for Parliament was a top-notch idea.
But Steve, bud, we’ve got some problems right now.
For one, that Trudeau fella is waving his arms around and promising transparency. Mind you, that plan is a vapid bundle of talking points masquerading as a plan. But he may stumble upon an original idea yet, and when he does —you could be vulnerable.
Meanwhile, the NDP’s democratic reform critic Craig Scott actually has a few solid ideas —things that have proved popular with Canadians, like proportional representation, abolishing the Senate and making Parliamentary proceedings more open.
But there’s a chance here for you to recapture the mantle of transparency.
After all, wasn’t the Conservative Party a coalition of outsiders, riding into Camelot to lop off heads and do things differently?
Maybe it’s time to get back to that.
A recent Angus Reid poll found that you’re starting to get tarred with the same brush as Chretien got near the end of his term. 39% of Canadians think you’re “secretive.” 31% think you’re dishonest. 20% said “corrupt.”
Maybe you can head all this off at the pass.
Because, hey, that Access to Information system needs fixing. Also, your Open Data initiative feels like it was created by a mad Russian scientist who still thinks it’s 1988. Also, Senators keep getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar —maybe it’s time to either get rid of the cookie jar, or the Senators.
For a long time it’s been rumoured that there is an Accountability Act 2.0 sitting on a Conservative caucus shelf somewhere. Maybe it’s time that it get the dust blown off of it.
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