LOTS OF DAMNING COMMENTARY FROM CONSERVATIVE WRITERS AGAIN THIS WEEK
G&M (Michael Bliss) – A scandal Harper can’t prorogue
The problem is that, as in the Watergate affair that destroyed the Nixon administration, lies, stonewalling, and law-breaking in high places about initially insignificant matters can escalate to the point where they bring down vast political temples. The Senate expense foolishness now seems to involve the undermining of three of the pillars of our politics.
First: Who will ever take the Senate of Canada seriously again? The house has collapsed…..
Second: Concerns about meddling by the Prime Minister’s Office, which have floated around Ottawa for many years, have now reached a stunning level of seriousness. What at first seemed to be not hugely abnormal PMO handling of a political problem has morphed into a stinking swamp.
Macleans – In his own words: Patrick Brazeau’s speech on Nov. 4
(Well whatever one thinks of Brazeau, his revelations in this speech certainly fit the pattern of Harper government behaviour. Although we should all be grateful to CTVs Robert Fife for his investigative reporting on the Senate expenses story, Brazeau’s insights into the media are enlightening and a reminder that we need to question what we read and not jump to conclusions.)
In response to this misleading, irresponsible and incomplete news report, a subcommittee was struck to examine this exact news report. That was their mandate. I was invited to appear, and I did, bringing along documents which I hoped would assist the committee. It is fortunate that I did bring those documents along because the committee members had no idea what to ask to establish my residency under Senate rules.
Colleagues, if Senate housing rules are perfectly clear, as Senate leadership repeatedly insists they are, why was it so difficult for this committee to know what to ask of me? If everything is so clear, why were they so stumped? If the rules were so clear and unambiguous, as they say they are, it should have been a simple matter. Either I was complied with Senate policy or I was not. But they had no idea how to proceed.
Sun News (John Robson) – Harper has spun such a web of deceit he should resign or be Dismissed
(Robson is a regular guest on Ottawa right-wing radio and is a particularly obnoxious right-of-right tea party commenter so this commentary is stunning coming from him. The reader comments to this article are also encouraging. Looks like people are starting to realize that the Harper ReformaCons are not the Progressive Conservative Party of old.)
Unless it is OK for the prime minister to lie repeatedly and openly on an important matter, Stephen Harper must resign or be dismissed. On Monday, Harper told a Halifax radio audience he “dismissed” former chief of staff Nigel Wright over the mysterious $90,000 cheque to Sen. Mike Duffy.
But last Thursday, he told the House of Commons Wright “resigned.” So one or the other was a brazen, in-your-face lie….. Indeed the official story was Harper knew everything and nothing simultaneously. He knew Nigel Wright alone was behind this $90,000 cheque. But no one told him anything about the matter and he didn’t bother asking.
iPolitics (Tasha Kheiriddin) – A Conservative party at odds with itself
He accused his opponents of portraying the Tories as “unfair, nasty and ruthless” for attempting to clean house, while depicting “the offenders as victims, or even martyrs”. “I couldn’t care less what they say,” he thundered. “We will do the right thing!”
If Harper toed a hard line in the House of Commons, he put the boot down tonight. The bodies already under the bus — Senators Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau and former chief of staff Nigel Wright — remain roadkill. Delegates hoping the prime minister would tell the “whole truth” — the one Senator Duffy says the party is incapable of telling — were disappointed.
Ottawa Citizen (Andrew Coyne) – The more things change, the more Harper stays the same
You have to understand: He is not ever going to change. He is not ever going to admit error or show contrition or “let people see his heart” or “share his vision” or do any of what the dimestore philosophers Every time Stephen Harper comes to a moment where he’s supposed to “pivot” or “raise his game” or “reset,” he responds with … more of the same.
CONSERVATIVE (SECRET) CONVENTION
Canada.com (Andrew Coyne) – Conservatives’ closed doors can’t contain growing number of disenchanted party members
But the impression was that of a party closing in on itself, of a leadership that accepts no blame for the depths into which the party has sunk, but that sees itself as wholly the victim of outside enemies. As a short-term strategy for preserving internal unity, this has its uses. The problem is that the list of enemies keeps growing, and as it grows, starts to include more and more of the party’s staunchest supporters. Some of the prime minister’s closest confidants and advisers are now on the list, from Tom Flanagan to — the scapegoat of the month — Nigel Wright.
iPolitics (Michael Harris) – The man in the high tower: Harper under siege
It started with a stupid little paper sign written by some dolt bearing these words: No media beyond this point. At least there was no mention of dogs. In fact, there was even tape draped across certain passageways, like at a crime scene. That must have been where cabinet ministers were going to convene.
Beyond that point were the delegates — the real stars of this show. For those of us who work in Ottawa, the heart doesn’t flutter at the chance to get the standard non-answer from the usual suspects. The fun part is hearing what the famous Conservative grassroots has to say about all that plaster falling from the ceiling above Stephen Harper’s head.
MISCELLANEOUS ABSURDITIES AND ATTROCITIES
Ottawa Sun (Warren Kinsella) – Comparing pot to crack cocaine is nutty, but that’s what the folks in Langevin Block are doing
…. the definitive proof that Langevin is an institution for insane political people came to us last week. It appears the denizens of Langevin Block apparently started circulating talking points to the effect that Justin Trudeau’s admitted pot use was synonymous with Rob Ford’s crack use. Seriously.
CTV News – Elections Canada won’t take Liberal leadership candidates to court over loans
(Hypocrisy of the highest order: The Harper party keeps bringing up these outstanding Liberal Leadership debts during Question Period but they changed the financing rules in the middle of the 2006 leadership race! No malice intended I’m sure.. ahh ahh.)
The Liberals partly blame the Conservatives for tying the hands of leadership candidates midway through the party’s 2006 contest by reducing the maximum individual contributions that could be made to a candidate to $1,100 from $5,400.
Macleans – Vets angry as federal lawyers argue Ottawa has no social obligation to soldiers
(This is an older article but worth remembering during Remembrance Week.)
At least one veterans group promises to campaign against the Harper Conservatives because of a stand taken by federal lawyers, who argue the country holds no extraordinary social obligation to ex-soldiers.
The lawyers, fighting a class-action lawsuit in British Columbia, asked a judge to dismiss the court action filed by injured Afghan veterans, saying Ottawa owes them nothing more than what they have already received under its controversial New Veterans Charter.
Hill Times – Feds bring down legislative hammer on massive budget implementation bill
The Harper government brought down the legislative hammer on its second 2013 massive Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-4, with time allocation on debate last week and a move this week to prevent smaller parties from ever introducing amendments on all bills at report stage, but it says it’s allowing for more debate, not less in Parliament.
Government House Leader Peter Van Loan (York-Simcoe, Ont.) said that its use was within House rules and that time allocation is designed to ensure adequate debate and to create certainty for MPs.
Torstar – Canadian rail safety plans are kept secret from public
As a growing number of train derailments raise public safety concerns, documents that contain a rail company’s safety plan — and play a key role in the regulation of the rail industry — are “locked up in a vault,” say some industry experts and safety advocates.
Amid calls for increased transparency about rail companies and the products they carry, company-specific safety regimes — which detail practices, policies, employee training and more — are not available through Transport Canada.
Hill Times – Sharp decline in Parliamentary reviews of AG’s scrutiny, reports on feds’ spending, MPs say
Opposition MPs are blaming Conservative government majority tactics since the 2011 election for a sharp decline in Parliamentary reviews of the auditor general’s scrutiny and reports on government spending.
Auditor General Michael Ferguson flagged the reduction of committee reviews of his reports to Parliament in a submission to the House of Commons and the Senate earlier this week outlining the past year’s performance of his office and its plans for audit work over the coming year. “Engagement with parliamentary committees has again decreased: 30 per cent of our performance audits were reviewed, compared with 48 per cent in the 2011–12 fiscal year and 62 per cent in the 2010–11 fiscal year. The total number of hearings and briefings we have participated in relative to the number of sitting days has also decreased,” the performance report to Parliament said.