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More Conservative stunt attempts at Ethics Committee “In and out” hearing

Apparently, the Conservatives getting bad publicity over Doug Finley’s stunt on Monday (trying to invite himself to speak to the Ethics Committee and then leaving in a huff having to be removed by security officials and leaving in a huff when they refused to allow him to do so and to not butt in front of everyone else who was scheduled that day) didn’t deter the Conservative strategists geniuses from trying it again today with another of their sympathetic candidates. Problem is, the Committee didn’t bite, and the guy blew up, which I don’t think the Conservatives had in mind – at least not without the opposition members goading him or something. Cue Kady O’Malley:

Goldstein, formerly the Conservative candidate in Trinity Spadina, who was one of the no-show witnesses from Tuesdays session, turned up this morning in true Doug Finleyian fashion, demanding to be heard, despite the fact that he wasnt on the schedule. Literally demanding – as in, yelling from his seat in the audience, after unsuccessfully attempting to buttonhole the chair during the opening moments of the meeting. Instead, the committee voted to hear him after the committee had finished with the witnesses who were on the schedule – the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, and the Chief Electoral Officer. It quickly became apparent, however, was not what he – or the government – had in mind. They had visions of him being hauled out by security – again, in instant classic Finley style – to a waiting scrum, which would have nicely stomped on any coverage of the hearing itself, and would – in the minds of whoever came up with this stunt, that is – underscore the Conservative claim that the committee is a farce, a debacle and a partisan witchhunt.

So the opposition wouldn’t play along, but voted to hear him after the other witnesses were finished testifying, and even decided to let him stay and watch the proceedings. Pretty reasonable, but the guy was obviously looking for an excuse to cause an uproar, and he found one. Problem is, he might have gone over the top with his antics:

When the committee began debating whether to bring Mayrand back after the lunch break, however, it apparently pushed him over the brink: He began screaming at the chair, accusing him of making allowances for other witnesses – witnesses who were there, its worth noting, on the day that they had been invited to appear…He then conducted a running scrum from the hallway, out the front door, and down the front drive, yelling the whole way, with a retinue of reporters in tow. Faced with similarly spirited questioning from reporters, he attempted to storm off, perhaps unaware that journalists – as individuals, or in the collective known as the scrum, do have the power of movement. At one point, he seemed to have escaped, but then realized that he had forgotten his companion along the side of the road, so was forced to go back and rescue her, as Conservative staffers looked on in horror.

It’s rather obvious what the Conservatives are trying to do here (note I said TRYING). They’re attempting to turn the Ethics Committee hearings into a sideshow to distract from the media reporting all the juicy details of the “In and out” electoral financing scheme and instead focus on the circus, in the hopes that the media will just point to this and say this is another example of partisan bickering.

The problem is that they’re screwing even that part up when their sympathetic witnesses start going off on rants and tangents. All this is doing is making a) the Conservatives look real bad in that its rather obvious they’re trying to short-circuit this, and b) I predict he public is oging to take a look at this and wonder why all the stunts if they have nothing to hide?

4 comments to More Conservative stunt attempts at Ethics Committee “In and out” hearing

  • Same here Devin, its really hard to work when the Conservatives are making a mockery of both the committee and themselves with their antics. Its like a bunch of kids when there’s a substitute teacher around. I’m surprised the Cons think this tactic is/will working/work with the media and public.

  • Deb Prothero

    Kady may have to account in the future for her profound effect on productivity! 🙂

  • What the Cons are also counting on, is what they believe is an issue “too complicated for the public” to understand. The Conservative media (Sun, Post, Global, major city dailies, etc.) have already labeled “in and out” a “complicated matter” (which it isn’t, unless you have the mental capacity of an Alberta Reform-a-tory MP), and they hope the public finds it the same way.

    If the Conservative plan to make this appear to be just more “partisan bickering” was rolled out in Fall, before an election, it may have had a bigger impact. I think they’re letting themselves be themselves when they think everyone is on vacation. One small problem in that – thanks to their other conservative buddy (George Dubya) and his war, oil prices/gas prices are too high for anyone to travel this summer, so a lot of Canucks are at home…

    Let’s hope the big oil companies have kept enough Canadians at home this summer that they notice the committee crisis in Ottawa.

  • The one good thing to come out of all of this is that it makes for some entertaining live blogging. All week I’ve been spending half my work day refreshing the ITQ thread.

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