STEPHEN Harper is once again primed to let clever politics trump good government.
The Conservatives plan to introduce fall legislation that will see MPs picking up more of the cost of their relatively generous pensions and waiting longer to collect them.
Such legislation would be popular with much of the public who believe the public-sector trough has become gold-plated. The other parties have indicated they too would endorse such a measure. The legislation debated by itself would showcase politicians of all stripes endorsing the reality of the leaner times.
That is anathema to Harper. In calculated and slippery fashion, the pension legislation is apparently going to be included in another Tory omnibus bill this fall with measures that the NDP and Liberals would typically oppose. Of course if they do so, they will in future be branded with the tag of "opposing pension reform."
The Conservatives celebrated the joy of a majority with the recent budget legislation, jamming it full of other measures that had nothing to do with Canada's finances.
Harper does know better. He has said himself that omnibus bills are undemocratic in nature, creating a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-youdon't voting dilemma for politicians. In 1994, he denounced the omnibus bill proposed by the Liberal government of the day as "what we might call the kitchen sink approach" and asked the Speaker of the House to rule the bill out of order since it violated the spirit of democracy.
Does politics excuse hypocrisy?