Monday, February 10, 2014

Lights Out for Michael Harris

I've noted on this blog numerous times the spectacularly-poor quality of Michael Harris' work offered via iPolitics. Errors of fundamental fact have so routinely slipped past Harris -- presuming that you invest any faith whatsoever in his care for facts -- that one begins to suspect that iPolitics editors, as they were, may have pressured Harris to simply leave the facts out of it.

After all, he's not good with them.

So in his most recent offering on iPolitics, Harris dispenses with them altogether, and instead simply throws wild speculation into the wind to see where it winds up. His current bone to pick with the Harper government has to do with the Fair Elections Act.

Certainly, the FAA isn't without its share of flaws. For example, it's prohibition against Elections Canada promoting the act of voting is, quite frankly, simply bizarre.

But the decision to determine whether or not the Elections Act has been violated -- and thus crimes committed -- from the Chief Electoral Officer to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is not one of them. Yet this is precisely where Harris chooses to assail Bill C-23, and in fairly bizarre fashion, too:

"There were some good things in Bill C-23 — the elimination of the easily corruptible practise of vouching, tighter rules for robocalls, and harsher fines for preventing someone from voting. But with this prime minister, there is always a catch. In this legislation, it is the way Harper has disbanded EC’s investigative arm.

Once that power is passed over to the Public Prosecutor, all roads lead to the PMO — just the way Harper likes it. Elections Canada reported to Parliament; the DPP reports directly to the government in power. One venue is public, the other private. In that one move, we have probably seen the last investigation into a government member’s election expenses — unless they finance their campaigns by directly removing gold bars from the Mint.

From now on, Parliament will simply never know — because Harper holds all information close. Who knows? Even Dean del Mastro might rise Lazarus-like from the muck of Peterborough politicking if they figure out a way to make all this stuff retroactive."

Incredible. What Harris has chosen to do -- with or without a preponderance of thought -- is to dispute the very basis of criminal justice in Canada. He's practically inferred that practically all criminal prosecutions in Canada are personally directed by the Prime Minister of Canada. In short, that the Prime Minister -- or at the very least the Minister of Justice -- personally decides which crimes in Canada are prosecuted, and which are not; that in Canada crimes go unprosecuted by the personal order of such.

That's literally the one and only way Harris' razor-thin argument works. Frankly, it's one hell of a bold statement, one that requires some very serious factual corroboration if it's to be taken seriously. Yet Harris doesn't even attempt to support the argument he infers.

Perhaps with good reason. If it could be demonstrated that the Prime Minister or the Minister of Justice had given such directions to the DPP, it would amount to nothing less than a Minister of the Crown committing a very serious crime. It's called obstruction of justice.

Make no mistake, this is precisely what Harris has done here: set out to raze the entire institution of criminal justice in Canada to the ground just to damage a government that he doesn't particularly care for.

Don't hold your breath waiting for Harris to back up his inferences. After all, the last time Michael Harris chirped about Peter MacKay, it ended badly for him. Very badly. As in, his home publication printing a humiliating letter badly.

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