In a league of their own: Karzai, Harper, Guergis
Local institute names ‘worst’ politicians of ‘09
What do Prime Minister Steven Harper, Springwater mayor Tony Guergis and Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai have in common?
They all made the Creemore-based Mad River Institute for Political Studies’ list of Worst Politicians of 2009.
“Each year we choose those in the public service who our members believe have disappointed Canadians the most,” said the institute’s president, Byron Montgomery. “In another sadly forgettable year, we looked at numerous worthy candidates.”
In making the list, Prime Minister Harper and Opposition Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff tied for Worst Federal Member of Parliament.
The institute said Harper made the list for “undemocratic actions, which have led to perhaps the least accountable Canadian government ever, at the expense of average Canadians; for having the Governor-General prorogue parliament…[and] for a stimulus budget that practically throws money at ineffective, short-term programs at the expense of long-term infrastructure.”
Ignatieff made the list “for failing to make his party the real Official Opposition,” the institute said, adding that early “in the year he had his Liberals simply back Conservative actions while criticizing but not offering alternatives.”
Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty and B.C. premier Gordon Campbell tied for Worst Provincial politician.
The institute said McGuinty made the cut “for introducing the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) with no public consultation. In fact, he doesn’t appear to have told the members of his own caucus, or finance minister, before making the decision; for scandals at Crown agencies eHealth and Ontario Lottery and Gaming that, with proper oversight would never have happened.”
Campbell also made the list for introducing the HST without consultation and “for the Olympic hangover that will be left after the games end – a huge deficit, probably in the hundreds of millions of dollars, that was promised would never happen.”
Springwater mayor Tony Guergis, the Warden of Simcoe County until he stepped down at the end of his term in December 2009, was named the Worst Municipal Councillor.
Guergis picked up the dubious honour for “flip-flopping on the issue, then ignoring overwhelming public sentiment and attempting to force the construction of a landfill, Site 41, on the top of a watershed that supplies fresh drinking water for as many as four million people; for promoting the idea Simcoe County should become Ontario’s newest regional government, apparently so he and his fellow councillors could get extra powers and pay.”
Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, was named Worst International Politician “for corruption; his own cheating in the election that saw him re-elected as president; for tolerating the Taliban, violence, fraud, the drug trade, and most every other social vice to stay in power.”
Former eHealth Ontario CEO Sarah Kramer was named Worst Civil Servant “for [allowing] $16-million in untendered contracts.”
The institute says its Lifetime Achievement Award goes to “all the do-nothing” politicians in Canada “for getting elected, then sitting back and just doing what you’re told, collecting ever larger pay cheques, then getting re-elected again and again, while just sucking at the public trough.”
The Mad River Institute for Political Studies is a non-profit group dedicated to raising the standards of ethics, accountability and responsibility throughout society.
Members of the institute each year nominate candidates for the Worst Politicians list.
The institute’s board of directors selects the winners.
For more information on the institute, visit www.madriverinstitute.ca.