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I pretend to be a Conservative MP handing out government money..

..and crediting it to my party instead. Here I am sending you all your very own partisan infrastructure stimulus funding novelty cheque:

Do you also want to be a Conservative MP for a day? Create your own novelty cheque.

By the way, on a more serious and related note, read the Jim Travers article this AM on this pork-barrelling the Conservatives are engaging in:

Almost daily reports that the ruling party is favouring ridings it holds now and those it hopes to win soon mask deeper problems. Conservatives either don’t know or won’t say precisely how all those taxpayer dollars are being spent.

Call it confusion or obfuscation, Ottawa’s […]

This guy 'gets' Harper; hopefully we will as well.

I saw this fellow being quoted over at Impolitical’s blog this AM, but I think his analysis of Harper is well worth repeating:

Michael Behiels, a native of Alberta’s Peace River country, teaches Canadian constitutional history at the University of Ottawa. He says Harper’s approach to politics and governance is shaped by his Christian fundamentalism. “Harper is a fundamentalist ‘values’ conservative and his evangelical Christian views drive both his domestic and foreign policy agendas,” Behiels continues. “On foreign policy, Harper is a dyed-in-the-wool Republican who maintains that the U.S., Canada and the U.K. have a mission, a religious duty, so to speak, to impose an American form of democracy on […]

On being too clever by half.

Ok, maybe it’s just my biased self thinking this, but it appears those of a more objective nature are thinking the same thing, if not outright saying it: I think the strategy to bring Health Minister Tony Clement in after Linda Keen testified about the circumstances of her firing from the Nuclear Safety Board totally backfired.

Keen was as sharp as a tack and very knowledgeable with her replies, while Clement just droned on the same tired-out and overused line the Conservatives have used about “needing to save lives” and looked clueless when cross-examined by the Opposition. I think this is a case of some PMO Conservative strategists concocting up […]

Elizabeth May guestblogs on the Linda Keen/Gary Lunn nuclear fiasco at Scott’s Diatribes.

(Foreword: There have been many comments on the blogs over the firing of Linda Keen in the middle of the night and the circumstances surrounding it. One of those was from Chris Tindal, Green Party blogger and candidate who I met at the Progressive Blogger BBQ in Toronto last August. I casually asked Chris out of the blue if Green Party leader Elizabeth May would like to express an opinion on the Keen firing and how Gary Lunn and Harper have handled the situation in an op-ed on a blog. A day later, Ms. May contacted me and was pleased to do so, so my thanks to Chris for arranging […]

The Afganistan panel farce about to end with the conclusion everyone knew it would come to.

This news is about as surprising as being told that Christmas will occur this year on Dec 25, 2008. The Manley Afghanistan panel believes in the status quo:

Many people who have contributed submissions to the panel say they came away with the impression that Mr. Manley and his fellow members are essentially in favour of staying the course in Afghanistan.

Even less surprising; the fact that the panel had already essentially decided that to be the course of action while listening to submissions:

“I basically said we should stay and continue our role,” said Canadian military historian and author Jack Granatstein, summarizing his submission to the panel last month. […]

Trying to change the channel.

There has been some discussion lately on what Stephane Dion said or didn’t say about what we should be doing with regards to Pakistan in the fight against terrorism. The interpretation of this has been jumped on by the Conservatives and their Blogging Tory supporters, led of course by their leader, Stephen Taylor, which has caused some bloggers on the Liberal/Progressive side to go after Taylor, as well as wasting time trying to defend Dion for what he said or didn’t say.

As I argued at the one site, this is actually nothing more then the Conservative government’s attempts to change the channel on both Helena Guergis’s breach of security […]

Judged by the company one keeps.

My title could be taken literally as well as figuratively, when describing what the Toronto Sun discovered (yes, the Toronto Sun) with regards to the circumstances surrounding Resource Minister Gary Lunn’s grilling by the Natural Resources committee yesterday:

Taxpayers shelled out to pay a private image consultant to coach Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn for his televised appearance before a Commons committee in Ottawa yesterday.

At least we have an idea what Minister Lunn was doing while being incognito all these weeks; he was being coached on the proper spin for replies to tough questions, as well as stalling tactics to run the clock out on hostile questioners, but it […]

On trying to monopolize patriotism

I could talk this morning about Secretary of State Helena Guergis jeopardizing Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff’s security and possibly their lives while they were in Afghanistan under news blackout – all in the name of hyper-partisanship (and by extension Stephen Harper and his Conservative strategists in the PMO jeopardizing their lives – because in this control-freak environment they run, no one releases a press statement like this without their knowledge or approval), and I could talk about how hypocritical it makes Guergis look after her past statements of wanting decorum in government, but there are others out there who have ably covered that angle.  Instead, I’m going to focus on the fact that this is another playcall out of the Republican playbook that the Conservatives have decided they’re going to employ as a tactic up here. That strategy has been employed before, which is for the Conservatives to try to claim only their party loves and supports the troops, and everyone else are Taliban lovers.

The attempted politicization strategy of the Canadian Armed Forces has been going on for awhile with this bunch, but this latest salvo that comes from Guergis and her Conservative puppet masters is beyond the pale, even for this sorry lot. As others have said, it is usually tin-pot dictators who politicize the army, not Western democracies.

However, because their mentors in the US of A have done it and had success with it in the past, and this sorry Conservative bunch worships the ground George Bush and his strategists walk on, it’s no surprise that they would stoop to new lows in demonizing the Opposition and trying to imply their stance on Afghanistan somehow makes them disloyal or not supportive of our troops.

Even Conservative appointees dont like being scapegoated.

The lack of political savvy of Harper and the Conservatives in general over this Chalk River episode has been amazing to witness. As I mentioned yesterday, after Harper accuses the Nuclear Safety Board – and specifically its head Linda Keen – as being Liberal hacks endangering the safety of Canadians, we have the Globe and Mail discovering that the former head of the AECL who submitted his resignation was a former Canadian Alliance fundraiser who was picked by the Cons as they refused to hire another candidate despite independent recommendations to do so.

Today, the Globe talks to that former AECL Chairman, who isn’t particularly thrilled he was being made the scapegoat by the Cons for their handling of the situation, as he reveals that his resignation took place before the isotope story broke and was nothing more then an attempt by the Cons. to scapegoat him for the problems at Chalk River:

Michael Burns told The Globe and Mail he submitted his resignation as chair of the Crown corporation on Nov. 29, before the medical isotope crisis stemming from the Chalk River shutdown became public. His departure was announced last Friday with no explanation, but was soon linked by a key cabinet minister to the Chalk River situation..Health Minister Tony Clement has since connected leadership changes at AECL, including the replacement of Mr. Burns, a Vancouver energy executive and onetime Tory fundraiser, as well as the appointment of a new CEO, with the need to give the organization better management. “Well, maybe they do [need better management],” Mr. Burns shot back. “But this is a clumsy piece of political opportunism. If they’re going to do it, they could do it with a little more skill.” Asked whether he felt treated unfairly, he responded: “What’s unfair in politics? I just know that the facts won’t support it. I was gone for a totally different set of reasons. They dragged this resignation out and attached it to the isotope situation … They could have taken more care.”

In otherwards, Harper and Clement and the Cons. decided to make this resignation appear as if they were taking action on the crisis and holding someone accountable for the problem, when that wasn’t the case at all. To be sure, Michael Burns does talk about some of his complaints he has had with the CNSC in this article, and he does try to claim he was picked to be the AECL head for his expertise, not his Canadian Alliance connections, but he also rejects Harper’s charge that CNSC Chairman Linda Kenn was playing partisan politics with the CNSC’s decision to shut down the Chalk River plant.

Again, as with yesterday’s story over the partisan hacks charge, I’m not sure why Harper and Clement and the Cons. assumed the media wouldn’t bother trying to get Mr. Burns’ side of the story, or that he would stay quiet and take the scapegoating lying down.

I said at the start this was a lack of political savvy on the Conservatives part on this issue. I’ve changed my mind – it shows their total ineptness on this issue, and a very clumsy attempt to cast blame elsewhere other then at themselves.

Harper opens mouth, inserts foot.

Harper blamed the crisis over Chalk River on the “Liberal appointed Nuclear Safety Board”, making it out to be the fault of Liberal hacks (though as I pointed out, all are eminently qualified to be on the board).

Now, it turns out, the Globe and Mail has discovered that the recently resigned chairman of the Atomic Energy Board of Canada was a former fund-raiser of the Canadian Alliance Party, and that he was picked for the position over the advice of independent recommendations to choose another candidate.

Apparently, Harper doesn’t think the media does any fact-checking up here or something. They’re not perfect, but they aren’t quite to the compliant […]

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