NDP Leader Tom Mulcair accuses Conservatives of showing no respect for democracy

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      The leader of the federal NDP, Tom Mulcair, has claimed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's traditional backers are starting to reject the governing party.

      "What's starting to happen is even people who've been supportive, including some of the Toronto right-wing media—who've been very supportive of the Conservatives—are starting to turn on them because they realize they've reached a breaking point in terms of their respect for the very institutions that have given Canada peace, order, and good government for almost 150 years," Mulcair said in an interview today at the Georgia Straight office.

      The NDP leader noted that parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page recently pointed out that the government kept two sets of books for the F-35 fighter-jet program.

      The public was told that taxpayers would pay $15 billion, including operating costs, but the real price was $25 billion.

      "So this is not a rounding error—$10 billion," Mulcair said. "That has to be done intentionally and it was done with intent to deceive."

      Whereas Liberal Leader Bob Rae has targeted his attacks over the F-35 fighter jets directly on Harper, Mulcair's criticism was directed more generally at the Conservatives.

      Mulcair also condemned the Conservatives for imposing closure 18 times in Parliament over the past year, which he characterized as "unprecedented by any government".

      That, he said, was in addition to the Conservatives holding committee meetings behind closed doors.

      "One of the problems with all opposition parties over the years is this strong tendency to maybe cry wolf or play chicken little—use whichever image you want to use—but to affirm that the government sitting opposite is absolutely the worst thing in the history of the country," Mulcair stated.

      Then he paused before declaring: "It's true. The Conservatives show no respect for the fundamental institutions of our democracy—are doing everything to break the parliamentary institutions of our democracy."

      He claimed this was true in the "in-and-out scandal", where the party and senior operatives were found guilty of violating Canada's election-expense law. Mulcair also said we're seeing this pattern repeat itself in the robocall scandal.

      "Think that through: Conservative agents paid to phone people in their homes to send them miles and miles away to another polling station, impersonating officers of Elections Canada, to break an election result and produce a different result," he said. "That's a breakdown of democracy. It's a breakdown of law, and it's something extremely serious. The facile goofball answers that they keep putting up in the House are pathetic. I'm reassured, nonetheless, to hear that the director-general of elections is working very hard on the case. I'm expecting prosecutions."

      Mulcair emphasized that the Conservatives are the only ones under investigation.

      "What we're seeing is repeat behaviour by the Conservatives where they believe that in their view, they're serving a higher purpose—that they're allowed to cheat," he declared. "That is the essence of the Conservatives. They believe that they're allowed to cheat on elections. And once they win, they just stand somebody up in the House to give these ridiculous answers that they prepare as talking points."

      Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.



      Plum Duff

      May 4, 2012 at 9:51pm

      Give 'em hell, Tommy.


      May 4, 2012 at 10:00pm

      Talk about a breath of fresh air! The bad news is Harper Cons got their majority by cheating (eg robocalled voter suppression in tight ridings) then proved why voters had been so reluctant to give them a majority (eg vote closures in Parl, lies re F35); the good news is Canada suddenly has in Mulcair an Opposition Leader able and willing to articulate the truth about the Cons' travesties. Go Tom! And good for him to make an early visit asap to B.C. too. Maybe there is still hope for the country.

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      May 5, 2012 at 2:40am

      Saying that the conservatives show no respect for democracy is like saying water is humid.

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      The Overseer

      May 5, 2012 at 3:02am

      I think within the next three years BC and Canada will be leaning more to the left than it has before.
      The main catalyst will be due to the baby boomers need as close to free healthcare as possible.
      Secondly tax paying voters are fatigued by deceptionary practices of the Harper and former Campbell governments.
      Though Mulcair may have some anger management issues, he has been working towards this for many years and the stars have aligned for him at this junction.
      He is articulate and not afraid to speak his mind, which I think many Canadians appreciate. He is a lawyer, bilingual,was a provincial Liberal. Was Layton's point man in Quebec and delivered the party to official opposition status. The next logical step is to become Prime Minister in the next election.
      The Harper Government will soon lose it sheen and appeal. Every poll will show the popularity decreasing.
      By then Adrian Dix will be Premier of BC and the Neocons in sheeps clothing headed by party hearty Christi Clark will be scoping out trailer pads in the same RV parks as Rita Johnson and Kim Campbell.
      Good scoop Charlie!

      Arthur Vandelay

      May 5, 2012 at 6:07am

      How about showing some respect for Canada and losing the French nationality. I ask for only three things in a politician -- that they be democratic, secular and Canadian. And only canadian. I don't think that's too much to ask, tommy. St. Jack said as much.

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      May 5, 2012 at 7:26am

      Yeah, great breath of fresh air. This peckerhead and his band of leeches will gain power and we can enjoy true fiscal restraint. The NDP will keep all you under thirty fives working till you drop supporting us Baby Boomers.I must agree about Krusty Clark though, she is bottom of the barrell.

      Stop Harper

      May 5, 2012 at 10:39am

      Tom Mulcair will make a great prime minister!

      glen p robbins

      May 5, 2012 at 10:51am

      As fair as the comment is/the Conservative majority has revealed the awful side of them that Paul Martin and others warned about - but//when was the last time we had government that respected democracy - and what would Mr. Mulcair do differently -


      May 5, 2012 at 2:05pm

      The neo cons have to go. They are destroying Canada & democracy. We have seen their "efforts" with trying to "win/steal" elections. They have lied to parliament about a number of things, the latest being the F-35s. Their current "restraint" budget/deficiet reducing budget is killing people. Laying off a 1000 mental health workers who provide services to the military is a form of murder. Many of the military personnel will end up committing suicide without help. These people went willingly to fight a war which Harper went into & now he wants to abandon them. Its disgusting.

      The neo cons want to move the retirement age to 67 from 65 but the MPs themselves get to retain the solid gold pensions. The extravagence of the Conservatives is immoral especially in view of the cuts to the military medical system & First nations programs.

      The Conservatives have no respect for Canadian privacy & when Canadians disagree with them. We have only to look at Toews remarks about Canadians who did not agree with him on his "surveillance" legislation or the Conservatives remarks about enviornmentalists.

      it will be nice to see the back end of the Conservatives before they have destroyed the enviornment out here in B.C.


      May 5, 2012 at 6:50pm

      I have many a friend who say -
      "What happened to open honest democracy?"
      "When did politicians become akin to criminals?"
      "When did doing wrong become so acceptable?"
      and the clincher..
      "My children are being exposed to this and i worry for their future..."