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accountable

Accountable. Ugh. Don’t get me started.

First, here’s the gist of the definition of accountable: If you are held accountable you are held responsible. Accountable also means that something is explicable.

Now the diatribe.

Here in Canada, before it came into power, the political party that now forms the government promised in an election campaign that, if elected, it would be open and accountable. When it got into power it was anything but. It acted as if they thought that accountable meant fully exposing and taking responsibility for anything that made it look good, but doing its best to hide and shunt off responsibility for everything else.

The government passed a toothless Accountability Act. Then it proceeded to sack, launch ad hominem personal attacks against, or put roadblocks in front of any government watchdog that uncovered anything that would be uncomfortable for the government. I don’t get it. How is the hell is that accountable?

And when some minor scandal or instance of incompetence arises what does the Cabinet Minister responsible do? He says something to the effect of, “I am fully accountable for this, which is why I’m openly, clearly, and without reservation declaring that it was all the fault of some junior staffer who has now been fired.”

And when Parliament was going to vote non-confidence in the government, the government prorogued (shut down) Parliament until it could make some changes that would get the opposition parties to pull back from the threat.

Then when Parliament demanded that the government turn over to Parliamentarians some possibly damaging documents, which is Parliament’s constitutional right to do, the Government prorogued Parliament again.

When Parliament came back in session, it passed a motion declaring that the government was in contempt of Parliament. The government ignored the motion. Then Parliament voted non-confidence in the government, the government fell and new elections were called.

This was possible because it was a minority government. For the benefit of those of you not familiar with a Westminster Parliamentary system like Canada’s, what this means is that the party in power had a plurality of seats, but not a majority of seats in the House of Commons in the Canadian Parliament. So, if the opposition parties voted together they could defeat the government.

And here’s the good part. And I mean “good” as in “abysmal and depressing.” After all of that, after all of those assaults on accountability and good governance, what did my fellow Canadians do? They voted again for the same government, only this time giving it a majority government. (I voted, but for another party.)

So, accountability? Yeah, right.

By the way, I’m writing this in 2013. The party that is currently in power is the Conservative Party of Canada. Our Prime Minister is Stephen Harper. If you’re reading this sometime later another party might be in power.

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