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Conservatives in contempt of and contemptuous of Parliament

I was surprised to see that the Speaker ruled not just on one contempt ruling, but both on the same day. Obviously he felt both were similar in their nature and both could be ruled on at the same time. In both cases, he found that 2 breaches of Parliament by the Conservatives has appeared to have taken place:

The Conservative government has been dealt two blows in the House of Commons, bolstering charges that it has lied to the country and kept information that is politically sensitive under wraps…the government refused a request to provide breakdowns of the costs of its planned corporate tax cuts, of its various plans to bring in tougher crime legislation, and estimates of the costs to buy a fleet of fighter jets… Milliken on Wednesday said that this government’s stonewalling was “unsettling.” Worse still was the refusal to provide an explanation for denying a perfectly legitimate request.

The Conservatives have been denying Parliament a chance to see their costing estimates to 2 proposals of theirs they claim is essential: buying new fighter jets (one without a formal tendering process) and building new prisons for hosting supposed increases from “unreported crime”. Why are they so scared to show what the costs are, if they believe these two initiatives to be so essential? Might it be because they know more Canadians will balk at two potential election platforms of theirs if they see the costs involved?

The second ruling of course is to due with Bev Oda:

Milliken also ruled against embattled International Aid Minister Bev Oda, who is accused of lying to Parliament with a tortured explanation of a political decision to deny funding to a long-standing charitable organization, KAIROS, that often disagreed with Conservative policies. Oda first suggested bureaucrats had rejected the KAIROS application before it was revealed that someone had inserted the word “not” into funding documents after the bureaucrats had okayed the cash, in order to stop the money from flowing.

The next step: the Speaker has given his approval to House of Commons committees to investigate and vote out a recommendation to the full Parliament whether in both cases the Conservative Government and Bev Oda was indeed in contempt of Parliament. If as expected, that happens, it would then come back to a vote in the House, as well as I believe the discipline involved if that vote confirms the contempt motions.

If this happens, it will be the first time in Canadian history that both a government in general and a government Cabinet Minister will have been found in contempt of Parliament – a rather odious achievement, and another reason for going to the polls (see my prior blogpost).

Ever wonder what pre-government 2004 Harper would say about how 2011 Harper is acting? You need not, as here he is in his own words:

“I believe when a government has to decide to become accountable, it’s time to demand a higher standard of government – it’s time to demand better”

Truer words have never been spoken, Mr Harper.

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16 comments to Conservatives in contempt of and contemptuous of Parliament

  • Stan

    Yet Taylor’s Blog shows the Elections Canada site with the NDP, Bloc, and Liberal in and out transfers….

    They all do it.

    • Jon Pertwee

      Duh, its a partisan blog you are citing. Try finding something with less partisan spin Stan.

      Empirical proof Stan. Its not that hard. Just dont submit a partisan blog (poorly written as well) as proof.

      Here’s an old quote from a favourite ConBot.

      “PROOF is what people will base their decision on, and you simply have none.”

      Fred From BC

  • Stan

    “Hi Phyllis, We are told by communications folks in BC that these were radio ads with the Candidate’s personal tag on the end — therefore a local expense to be reported under the Candidate’s expense ceiling, regardless of who pays. For rebate purposes, we were asked to bill each campaign — in the case of VanEast, $2,612.00. The good news is that the Federal Party will transfer $2,600 to the Federal Riding Association as we agreed to pay for the ads. We hope that you are able to squeeze this in under the ceiling. Some expenses are not considered election expenses subject to spending limits, such as fundraising costs. Please have a look at the totals and get back to us if you think we have a problem.”
    —-

    Sounds sinister, doesn’t it?
    That’s the NDP email describing their own in and out scheme.
    Call the CBC and get them to camp out on the NDP’s doorstep in time for the Elections Canada raid.

    Oh, wait…

    • Redrum

      Except that Elections Canada DOES review ALL those items, and it only denies rebates to those it deems invalid, and it only leads to charges when the party does it on such a systematic scale that it’s clear to them that it was a concerted attempt to abuse the rules. Which means the NDP case was legal, and the CPC’s weren’t. Which is why the media doesn’t report on the former.

      And there’s a big difference between a radio ad that actually runs in the candidate’s region and actually clearly announces their name at the end — thereby making it eligible as a riding-level ad — and the national CPC ads at issue, which were TV ads, some of which didn’t even run in the regions of the candidates who were claiming them as expenses, and which only listed specific candidates in TINY print that flashed at the very end of the ad, like side effects in the old (pre-mandatory audio) drug ads.

      • Stan

        Do some homework dummy, both the NDP and the liberals used the exact same scheme as the Conservatives.

        http://www.stephentaylor.ca/2011/03/in-out/

        • Redrum

          Both transfer money back & forth, as is their right, but only the Cons overspent the limit on national ads, and claimed national ads as regional ones, and submitted falsified invoices to try to get taxpayers to pay for 60% of that.

          Elections Canada audits ALL the expense claims that you clowns caught with your hands in the cookie jar are trying to deflect attention to… and they do rule against some. And they determined that the 65 or so CPC ones at issue were improper. And illegal. And the second highest court in the land — the Federal Court of Appeal, which could very well be the FINAL word on the matter, since the SCC is likely to determine that there’s nothing more to be considered, here — has ruled that that was a perfectly reasonable judgment on EC’s part.

          So spare us the whines (everybody does it, they’re picking on us, it’s a conspiracy, ADSCAM, ADSCAM).

          Take your punishment like a man, Stan.

          • Jon Pertwee

            Its funny that Stan goes around calling people fools and dummies and cant grasp basic math himself.

            Typical of him to cite Stephen Taylor’s blog. Why dont I ask the dog at the end of the street for his opinion. Carries about the same empirical weight as opinion.

            Nice try Stan

  • wilson

    Liberals have conveniently forgotten that Milliken also found 2 former Liberal Ministers in contempt of Parliament.

    ‘Mr. Milliken found prima facia evidence of contempt of parliament against Art Eggleton(2002) and Anne McLellan(2001).
    In both cases the matter was sent to committee where a Liberal majority exonerated the cabinet ministers…
    Contempt of parliament charges could only be secured by vote in a minority parliament situation.’

    h/t Martin from Erwingerrits blog

    • Redrum

      Hard to forget the Eggleton case since it was referenced in his Oda decision, there, Wilson… or did you decline to actually read it?

      But let’s step back for a sec. & consider:

      1) ‘but they did it too’ is a VERY lame defense… esp. when ‘they’ got turfed out of gov’t for things like that. (Which is what should happen now!)

      2) the Eggleton is doubly instructive, since

      a) it impacted how the Speaker decided to deal with this one — fairly, by the same means — with the Speaker himself giving the Minister the benefit of the doubt that it wasn’t a deliberate misleading of the House & to refer it to Committee to decide otherwise on that, if the evidence warranted it, and with him forcing that options and preempting the Libs from immediately calling a non-confidence on the Oda case; and

      b) the substance of the Eggleton affair was actually on him being cagey about when the Canadians started taking prisoners, and what they did with them — i.e., basically, the same sort of matter the FIRST decision going against the CPC was about, last year, showing they failed to learn that that could land them in hot water.

      3) The McLellan case was about leaking info. before a bill got tabled…. something the Cons. almost ran afoul of, too, a couple months ago when the MP Kelly Brock’s staffer leaked the budget preconsultation doc to the lobby firms, and something they’ve continued to thumb their nose at when they leaked the latest Budget Estimates to the media before they tabled them in the house a week or so ago (which, ok, wasn’t actually a Bill, but still, why should the reporters get told hours before the MPs how the govt intends to allocate its departmental budgets over the next year).

      http + ://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/speaker-scolds-tories-over-budget-leak/article1818021/?service=mobile

      www + .parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/House/Speaker/rulings/ruling_3_1_e.html

      • Jon Pertwee

        Oooh burn!

      • wilson

        And did committee find Eggleton and McLelland in contempt of Parliament….
        NO

        The Liberal majority in committee exonerated them.

        If the Opposition majority in committees spent less time playing gotcha on Harper,
        and more time doing their jobs,
        the Ouimet fiasco could have been nipped in the bud, and not handed half a million.

        Of course her payout isn`t even close to that of
        Liberal Senator Lavigne,
        nearing $1 million, just awaiting verdict on breach of trust, obstruction of justice and fraud charges.

        So far he has been paid $132,300 annual salary X 5 years, and $315,355 for perks,
        and he does NOTHING for the money.

        • Redrum

          playing gotcha on Harper IS their job as the Opposition, dimwit.

          but, yes, they were all asleep at the switch and/or too trusting, in not tweaking to why the whistleblowing reports kept coming out as clean as, er, whistles; Pat Martin’s admitted that.

          But what’s more unconscionable than that lapse of oversight is the govt’s buying her silence off with a half million dollar gag order

          • Jon Pertwee

            “he does NOTHING for the money.”

            Probably similar things are said about Wilson at work when she is supposed to be doing her job but is cut and pasting.

        • Redrum

          BTW, yes, it is scandalous that that disgraced, exiled Senator is still drawing a salary for doing nothing, but not AS scandalous as the three recent Harper appointees who are getting salaries for the very partisan business of running the Tory fundraising & advertising efforts (the same two that are charged in the In & Out shenanigans) and the new one (Larry Smith) now running for office as an MP… on the taxpayer’s dime.

  • billg

    It wont win an election but its sure disappointing to hear Conservatives spin this. I’ve voted twice for Harper’s Cons and this is friggin bugging me. They are not any better then what I voted out. Is it the HOC’s that makes normally sane people do really stupid things? Is it the work load?
    Why the secrecy on such simple files? I did not vote Liberal or NDP or Bloc, but, other people did and the MP’s they voted for have just as much right as Con MPs to look at govt papers and documents. I’m a swing voter, I cant vote McGuinty Liberal in Ontario like the last two times, and, if the budget is not a fiscally conservative one then my vote, like the other 10% of swing voters is up for grabs because, comtempt for parliament by any party is unacceptable.

  • foottothefire

    I’d like to sue…yes, sue. Sue Conservatives for theft, fraud, misuse of public funds.
    Where are you Eddy Greenspan?

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