We expect governing parties to use the leverage they gain by being in power to remain in power. It’s part of the game called politics, and there’s a certain amount of latitude granted because none of us are saints, and it would take a saint to completely avoid the temptation.
But there are limits, and an expectation, too, that the party in power will not be too exuberant or blatant about brainwashing us with our own money.
At least there used to be. But it would seem in the era of hyper-partisan politics that has been brought on by the Progressive Conservative party under the rule of Prime Minister Stephen Harper those boundaries haven’t been blurred, so much as erased.
The ‘Harper Government’ knows no restraint whatsoever, it would seem, when it comes to attaching their brand to government documents. A recent media release about youth employment initiatives in the Cowichan Valley that came across our desk uses the phrase ‘Harper Government’ no fewer than seven times in a page and a half.
Once should have been too much.
The Government of Canada does not belong to Stephen Harper – much as he does not like being reminded of that fact. Nor does it belong to the Progressive Conservative Party. The Government of Canada belongs to, and acts on behalf of the 35 million Canadians who make up this country, be they of PC, Liberal, NDP, Green or any political stripe.
Prime Minister Harper is not a stupid man; and his advisors are not stupid either. They know a boundary is being crossed when they paste the phrase “Harper Government” all over every official document. They also understand what it means when we accept that kind of crass paternalism as ‘normal.’
Craig Spence, Editor