Taking dictation from the PMO

ibbitson-csAn end of year column by the Globe’s John Ibbitson proclaims Harper’s prorogation of Parliament “a travesty… [but] devilishly clever.”

There’s an old maxim that no one ever hears what comes before the “but.” True to form, the thrust of Ibbitson’s column is to promote admiration for Harper’s cleverness, not mild regret at his abasement of transparency, accountability, and parliamentary supremacy – things the right once pretended to care about. Quote:

A senior government official, speaking on background, insisted that calculations concerning the Afghan detainees controversy played no part in the decision.

Rather, said the official, the government wanted to give itself time and breathing room to think through how to manage the economy as it emerges from recession and to put in place a long-term strategy for balancing the budget.

What conceivable reason would Ibbitson have for granting some Harper functionary anonymity from which to launch this risible proposition? The spinner contributes no novel facts or otherwise unobtainable information – merely a partisan talking point. Ibbitson doesn’t even pretend his source’s job would be at risk if his identity were revealed.

A columnist for the national newspaper should not be taking dictation from the PMO.