The Prime Minister and "audacities"
First, apologies for being AWOL from this blog and Twitter for the past few days. I've been in the midst of feature-writing and a quick one-day trip to London, ON and my old alma mater of UWO.
Enough about me. On the way back and forth from London, I read Lawrence Martin's new book, Harperland, and we have a story posted online now.
One thing I didn't include in the writeup was what Martin is calling "The March of Audacities" -- a long list at the back of the book, on all of Harper's audacious moves in politics. As a device, it's very similar to the appendix that Martin put at the end of his 1997 book on Lucien Bouchard, called: "The Contortions of the Mind," which was a 50-item list of Bouchard's "brazen" contradictions and reversals.
Martin says that his "March of Audacities" (do you get the feeling he wanted to make this the title?) should give you a sense of the book, in tone and content. So I'm going to put the list here (it stretches over two pages at the end, in tiny type). Make of it what you will:
The march of audacities: It included the following: The in-and-out money shuffle. The David Emerson appointment. The unprecedented vetting system. Naming an unelected senator to cabinet. The Tushingham censorship. The elimination of the Access to Information database. The scrapping of the appointments commission. The Cadman affair. The nixing of the Court Challenges Program. NAFTA-gate. The misinformation campaign on Afghan detainees. Reversals on half of the promised accountability measures. The secret handbook on how to obstruct committees. The launching of personal attack ads between elections. The smearing of opponents for being anti-Israeli and not supporting the troops. The attempt to censor publication of a book by Tom Flanagan. In addition: Attacking Elections Canada. Attacking Dalton McGuinty as the small man of Confederation. Declaring Ontario the last place to invest. Ordering police to remove journalists from a hotel lobby to prevent coverage of a Tory caucus meeting. Labelling Louise Arbour a national disgrace. Attempting to discipline an academic for criticizing the government. Making a bid to vet even the press releases of the auditor-general. Scripting supporters' calls to radio talk jocks. Blocking information on cabinet ministers' use of government jets. Hiding justice department studies on crime. In addition: Belittling gala-goers. Releasing an online attack ad featuring a bird defecating on the opposition leader's head. Plagiarizing the Australian prime minister's speech. Hiding a firearms report to prevent embarrassment on the gun registry. Downgrading Diane Ablonczy for her support of gay pride week. Smearing the bank executive Ed Clark as a Liberal hack for his statement on the deficit. The Rights and Democracy fiasco. Attempting to strip political parties of public funding. Alleging that he opposition leader has no right to form a government. Declaring Brian Mulroney persona non grata. Slashing the budget of the Parliamentary Budget Officer. In addition: Putting Tory logos on government cheques for stimulus funding. Withholding details of stimulus funding. Granting stimulus funding disproportionately to Tory ridings. Firing the nuclear agency head Linda Keen. Halting Peter Tinsley's probe on Afghan detainees. Ousting Paul Kennedy from the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP. Smearing Richard Colvin. Defying Parliament's right to documents. Padlocking Parliament. Snuffing out democratic challenge to MP Rob Anders. Barring cabinet staffers from testifying before committees. The record-breaking omnibus budget bill. The move on Statistics Canada.