View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – Harper Government Steering in Murky Waters – May 16, 2013

View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – Harper Government Steering in Murky Waters – May 16, 2013

dr evil 2CFN – It seems as though most days are dominated by more bad news stories for the governing Conservatives.

Spin it anyway they want, and some of their spin is hilarious, the reality is the Conservatives have been digging themselves deeper into the mud with each passing day. As we saw in the Labrador by-election, the public will only stand for so much before they punish a party.

As the latest Senate scandal gets murkier by the hour, it’s a fair question to ask what on earth they are thinking in PMO.

Rather than jump into their bunker and defend senators under investigation, why didn’t the Prime Minister suspend them from caucus until all the facts were in the open and the investigations/audits completed?  If wrong doing was proven then the suspension could be made permanent. Either way the public would have seen a Prime Minister taking the integrity of his Senate members and government seriously.

The same holds true for the Penashue file. Rather than let the minister announce that he was resigning and seeking re-election, the Prime Minister should have announced that he had removed Penashue from cabinet and turfed him from caucus. Others such as Helena Guergis and Garth Turner had suffered that fate before.  If the Prime Minister had done that there could have had a fresh nomination with a new candidate. The by-election results would most likely have been the same, but at least the Prime Minister would have been seen to be on the side of what is right and fair. Instead the public watched as the government lauded the individual and backed him to the hilt in the by-election. What type of signal does that send to the public?

In both the Penashue case and the recent Senate revelations the public is left with the impression that the Prime Minister is protecting individuals who have done something wrong. The public quite rightly should be asking why?

At the very least these individuals should have been put at arm’s length from the caucus and the Prime Minister. No matter what the circumstances, no one should have written a cheque to cover off a Senator’s reimbursement. That was just plain dumb. If the Prime Minister wasn’t aware of this, who came up with this idea that shows such poor political judgment?

The Conservative caucus must be stunned at this on-going drama that unfolds day after day. Revelations of wrong doing or questionable deals impact not only the reputation of the Prime Minister, but also will play out at the local constituency level where Conservative MPs must face re-election. Conservative MPs should be concerned. How long will it be before the caucus demands action and for heads to roll?

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails. To sponsor this column please  email jamie@cornwallfreenews.com!

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23 Comments on "View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – Harper Government Steering in Murky Waters – May 16, 2013"

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Clifford S
Guest
I’m already wondering what’s going on with the 90000$ that the right hand man of Harper paid to get Duffy out of trouble. That’s just messed up. Any hapless Canadian citizen would get audited, grilled, and raked over the coals for what Duffy did. But not the untouchable Duffy. No, his debt was paid off. While the others caught up in the scandal did not receive the same treatment. Why is it that the guidelines are clear on their paperwork, but not clear on Duffy’s? What a nasty situation. Duffy should be fully responsible for what happened, no one should… Read more »
PJ Robertson
Member

What ever happened to Conservative accountability?

As Clifford S implies, we’d likely be behind by bars for less.

Eric
Guest

If a friend was giving another money to get over a hurdle, that would be one thing. But when you have people voting on bills, that is very very different.

I would like to see investigative journalism on what all chiefs of staff do in their spare time. For example, MP Mauril Belenger’s chief of staff Mattard Alexandre Michaud. He is also a vice president with taxpayer funded ACFO Ottawa and has done work with a group towards making Ottawa bilingual. It may all be above board, but journalists are not making any connections.

http://www.acfoottawa.ca/a-propos/le-conseil-d-administration

http://www.jereveottawa.ca/user_files/users/50/Media/etude.pdf

Dave White
Guest
Just when you think it could get no worse and when you think that Harper’s Conservatives could not sink any lower, they come out with their latest scandal and once more try to pull the wool over Canadian’s eyes. I guess that if they wanted a ‘show boy’ of honesty and integrity then they should have picked the Michelin Man, Humpty Dumpty or the Pillsbury Doughboy instead of Mike Duffy, you know, the Senator from PEI (Yeah right!). Of course with the ever growing Senatorial scandals, the Harper government used Duffy as an example of ‘integrity and leadership’ in returning… Read more »
Edudyorlik
Guest
@Eric May 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm Great post Eric. Love that stuff that keeps people aware of things that are going on. Too few (including the very journalist that you mention in your post) doing this kind of thing. Keep it up… 🙂 and in that vein i ADD… Ah yes, what a wonderful “political situation” us Canadians find ourselves in. On the one hand we have the … Bad choice in Senators, Military spending, jail building, don’t care about your fellow man – first one to the top wins – Conservatives and one the other hand we have… Read more »
Dave White
Guest

Humpty ‘Duffy’ sat on a wall
Humpty ‘Duffy’ had a great fall
All the King’s horses
And all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty ‘Duffy’ together again!

Stan
Member

Clifford: Senator Duffy made certain errors in his expense report. Perhaps it’s not even him that wrote the reports but someone else in his entourage. The thing I like is that he offered to pay back the money that he had received in error. The other two senators, one Liberal and one Independent have both refused to pay back any monies. They are both going to fight this in court!
Do you not think that Duffy did the right thing?

Dave White
Guest
Coulda, shoulda, woulda. Come on Stan what planet are you on! Humpty ‘Duffy’ went huffing and puffing all the way home (or more correctly, summer cottage in PEI) and back when it first broke out and said he would return the 90 grand but didn’t believe that he should. As far as ‘Indepependent’ let me remind you that Brazeau was another of the ‘annointed’ Conservative Senators that Harper hand picked (as a reward for losing his election bid in Quebec as an MP). Also, now Humpty ‘Duffy’ is also a new independent. That makes it two to one for the… Read more »
Dave White
Guest
Look people, Harper has a majority in both the House of Commons and the Senate. If he was serious about his ‘broken’ promise about Senate reform it would have been done. Last night on CTV’s political panel discussion the Conservative member deflected all blame from the CPC to, get this, the Liberal Senators for blocking any Senate reform. What is surprising is that they can spin their lies with a straight face. Seems the CPC don’t quite understand what a majority means. I guess they spent too many years in the oblivion of being the official opposition, or If I… Read more »
Eric
Guest

Dave White, is it all that easy? No party will want to open the constitution and deal with anything, it would appear. And if it gets open for the Senate, there are a few other areas that need change.

Constitution of Parliament of Canada

17. There shall be One Parliament for Canada, consisting of the Queen, an Upper House styled the Senate, and the House of Commons.

PJ Robertson
Member

Humpty ‘Duffy’ — Brilliant, Dave!

First of a series, I trust. Who’s next? Bring on the rest of the clowns. What can you do for Baird, McKay, Clement, Van Loan. Kenney, Oliver, Kent, and Blue Sweater with the hair?

Clifford S
Guest
“Stan Stalk May 17, 2013 at 8:34 am Clifford: Senator Duffy made certain errors in his expense report. Perhaps it’s not even him that wrote the reports but someone else in his entourage. The thing I like is that he offered to pay back the money that he had received in error. The other two senators, one Liberal and one Independent have both refused to pay back any monies. They are both going to fight this in court! Do you not think that Duffy did the right thing?” No, sorry Stan Stalk. There was no leadership here. In fact it… Read more »
Dave White
Guest
Well PJ that will be tough one but with Pamela Wallin’s resignation from the Conservative caucus we can now relate these 3 now independent senators to the Three Little Piggies. I will bet that for Harper this was a week that he would sooner forget. Some mornings it is just not worth getting out of bed. No Eric, it is not that easy to get rid of the senate, however despite the BIG talk by Harper more than 7 years ago, he has done nothing, nada, zilch to make any changes. In fact, he has appointed (annointed as in the… Read more »
Dave White
Guest
The senatorial scandals are merely a distraction from the bigger picture of lies and half truths (if that) from the Conservative Party of Canada. They blast us with their Economic Action Plan adds about their great economic policies yet lose track of billions of dollars on security money that should be protecting us from terrorist attacks. It is no different than the 50 million or so that was spent in Tony Clement’s riding in cottage country for border security during the G8 summit talks, yet his riding is hundreds of kilometers from any border. Remember alos the fake lake? If… Read more »
PJ Robertson
Member
Good, fact-based posts, Dave and Clifford S. Here are some more facts: 2006: Harper declared there would be a new code of ethics on the Hill. There would be Transparency and Accountability in his government, and anyone violating the law would be charged and put in prison. 2013: no Transparency, no Accountability and Conservatives who violate the law, such as Peter Penashue and Mike Duffy, are instead praised as “honourable,” supported, and in Duffy’s case bailed out with a gift of $90,000…until he’s found to have double-dipped, when he’s turfed from caucus, sits as an Independent, and still collects $130,000… Read more »
Edudyorlik
Guest
I second the declaration that these are good posts. Pat on the back to all involved. As far as a “conclusion” goes PJ, I would say, (and i believe many would agree) the WHOLE damn political system and (so far) just about ALL politicians are a joke. The system is broken. To get elected the politicians become beholden to those companies who provide the big cash donations and they all depend on it so, the answer to — who is really running the show — is held within that statement right there. When we have one party (the Conservatives) doing… Read more »
Eric
Guest

Edudyoulik, don’t forget the Feds Language Commission. 23.9 million a year (15.1 million in salary alone) to handle 505 complaints. Divide that by the 415 admissible complaints and you get $57,000 per complaint, that is $10,000 more than the average Canadian annual salary……..90,000 doesn’t sound quite so bad all of a sudden.

Highlander
Guest
Eric May 19, 2013 at 6:38 am Well said Eric ,but how many of those complaints come from Quebec and their violation of the “OTHER” official language . Wow $57,000 per complaint I guess they deem that as a good investment …..whatever it takes in the interest of social engineering! Graham Fraser is sending in the troops to airports to see if bilingual service is available ,yet many violations of the language charter in Quebec go unanswered …..a very one way street here! Edudyorlik May 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm LIVE WITH IT — as they are so blatantly saying… Read more »
Dave White
Guest
I was going to take a break this long weekend, however as more players fall like dominos it was hard to keep silent. The latest to fall is Nigel Wright, Harper’s right hand man and the man he just days ago stated he was standing behind and in whom he had full confidence. How can the King claim to have clean hands? Likely not but only the King can call for a judicial inquiry and that is unlikely since he is probably the most wrotten apple in the basket. This weekend CTV (God love them) published another scathing report on… Read more »
peter
Guest

@ P.J

I guess you have forgotten about Shawinigan gate , the sponsorship scandal and Carolyn Parrish .

PJ Robertson
Member

Oh dear, peter. Scraping the barrel, aren’t we? Last time I checked we are in 2013, not 2004 or 1997. In any case, the Liberals faced the music and paid big time. Time now for the Harper crowd to face the music.

peter
Guest
@ P.J. I have always said they are the best of a very bad bunch. As far as I am concerned they are all ( politicians ) moral degenerates. it doesn’t matter what political stripe they have. Wheather we are 2004, 1997, today, the Francis Fox incident, the Mulroney scandals, people should remember all of them. I cannot think of one government that has not been tainted by scandal. it is almost a given someone, somewhere is any government of the day will screw the public. This is what is so predictable about our governments. It is also why, people… Read more »
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