The National Post has an excellent editorial today which goes after the Conservative government's blatant use of tax dollars for partisan self-promotion.
Here's a sampling:
The latest uproar, over the government's propensity for including its party logo on giant ceremonial cheques used to distribute stimulus money, could be dismissed as just more of the same, were it not for the brazenness of the Tory reaction.
The Prime Minister's Office sent out a memo to MPs advising that logos were not allowed, but chief spokesman Dimitri Soudas assured local MPs there was nothing to stop them putting their own names on the cheques, and defended their right to claim credit for successfully funneling public money to benefit their ridings.
That's an attitude we've seen before, from haughty and complacent Liberal regimes so accustomed to power they came to treat it as a right. After less than four years in office, the Harper government appears to have similarly lost sight of the fact the money it spreads around so enthusiastically belongs to Canadians, not to Conservatives.
The aim of stimulus money is to offset the worst effects of a re-cessionary economy, not to win votes for the local Tory MP.
This government spends heavily on promoting itself. Canadians have become accustomed to TV ads presenting its economic program as a Conservative good deed, paid for with taxes that could have been put to better use elsewhere. When Conservative MPs hand over money, they not only put their own name on the cheque, the do their best to prevent MPs from any other party showing up to share in the credit.
Mr. Harper is fortunate for the moment in facing a disorganized and ineffective opposition, but Michael Ignatieff may yet figure out how to offer a viable alternative.
Hypocrisy and hubris lost the Liberals the support of Canadians, and cost them their hold on power.
They could do the same for the Conservatives if they continue disregard the principles they were elected on.