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Ex-Conservative aide gives his version of “so what?” to in-and-out scandal.

Well, there’s at least one person writing in the media who claims that this “in-and-out” scheme by the Cons is no big deal and besides the Liberals were much worse. If you think that sounds suspiciously like an argument that a Conservative partisan would put forth, you’d be correct, as that line of reasoning comes from Rob Mitchell. And who is Rob Mitchell?

If one reads the tagline, we find out Rob was a former senior aide to former Ontario Premier Ernie Eves.  Considering how short Ernie’s tenure as premier was – 16 months – and losing the one and only election he went into,  I’m not sure too many people will take Rob all that seriously (As an aside, I wonder if Rob was one of Ernie’s advisers who convinced him to present the 2003 Ontario Budget at Magna International, rather then at the Ontario legislature. That went over well, didn’t it?).

By the way, for those who still don’t understand the workings of the in-and-out scandal, Dan Arnold over at CalgaryGrit has one of the best takes I’ve seen on it anywhere.

Interesting things to watch on Tuesday in Parliament

Via Paul Wells, we find out that the BQ has introduced this motion:

Que la Chambre exprime sa pleine et entière confiance envers Élections Canada et le Commissaire aux élections fédérales. That this House express its complete confidence in Elections Canada and the Federal Elections Commissioner (Inkless translation — ed.).

I will find it extremely hilarious if the Conservatives vote no to this motion.  Come to think of it, I wonder if Harper will bother showing up for this. I’m betting Pierre Poilievre will vote against this though, since he’s busy scurrying around trying to prove that the Conservatives scheme is legal/Elections Canada is biased because of an old 1997 ruling that may or may not even be similar to this case. In any event, since that ruling (if its even similar to this case) was done before Bill C-24 was passed ( the current elections law) and that Bill C-24 is what EC used in their determination that the Cons. in and out scheme was illegal, Pierre’s running around waving that ruling is not relevant to the discussion.

Anyhow, how about guessing how many Consetrvative MP’s will vote against the motion? All? Some? Will Harper and his Cabinet be absent from the House?

[email protected]:33pm: Impolitical shows that Pierre and the Cons. are going to have an extremely tough time trying to sell use this argument. In fact, it’s rather irrelevant, since Elections Canada has already decided they are in violation of the current Elections act. All of this you’re seeing from Pierre and the Cons is mere posturing in an attempt to convince their base and/or voters in general that they are being needlessly persecuted by the Elections Canada/Liberal/CBC cabal-conspiracy. I’ve no doubt that many of the Conservative Kool-Aid drinkers will believe this – I have bigger doubts that regular voters will.

Greg Weston of the Sun is now a member of the “liberal media”.

I half expect that pronouncement from a few conservative-supporting blogsites today after Greg Weston of the Sun chain wrote what he did  in his Sunday column titled “Some Shady Shenanigans?”.  Not so much for the actual in-and-out scheme itself – as I kind of gather he’s taking a wait and see approach as to whether or not the Cons. are found guilty of this – but he condemns Harper and the Conservatives handling of this affair:

When Elections Canada initially ruled the whole manoeuvre was out of order, Harper and his party brain trust could have been contrite, admitting what they had done was perhaps an error in judgement, if not in law, and kissed off the $700,000 in candidate rebates…But contrition is not the Harper way. Instead, the gloves came off and the brawl began amid inane political spinning.

Basically, Weston is stating that Harper and the Conservatives hung this albatross on themselves. I would argue that this is more evidence that Harper supposedly being a master strategist is a tad suspect — it DOES show he is extremely partisan however. More important in this column, and more credit to Weston for pointing this out, is that this fight Harper is having is nothing new and is but a familiar pattern:

Were this an isolated case, it could be dismissed as a strategic blunder. But it’s not. Elections Canada is only one of many independent federal agencies that have stepped into the way of the Harper bullyboys, and got the full brass-knuckle treatment for their efforts. The former information commissioner, the past ethics commissioner, the fired head of the Nuclear Safety Commission – all have left with bloodied noses from Harper and his political street gang. Problem is, while the PM and his party may be winning a few rounds, they’re not gaining many fans.

That’s an extremely good narrative to use in the next election: above and beyond the In and Out scandal, the fact that Harper and his Cons. have compromised the independence of federal agencies and/or gotten rid of people whose job it is to be impartial and make objective rulings – even if it goes against the ruling government’s wishes – is not something that too many people will agree with.

With regards to the tactics of the Cons over the In and Out scandal, as I’ve stated earlier,  I hope they keep throwing Pierre Polievre out there as spokesperson either charging everyone with forming a conspiracy against them or else trying to claim that “everyone else does this” which is easily proved to be false. It gives the Conservatives no credibility on this issue, and I think you’re seeing that with some initial polling done on the public’s reaction to this scandal.

Dissenting Conservative candidates on in-and-out scheme are all sore losers: Ryan Sparrow

Ryan Sparrow, one of the Conservative officials who attempted to selectively give the Conservative spin on Elections Canada’s warrant and raid on their HQ to certain reporters, has resurfaced.

According to Ryan, all those Conservative candidates out there who are joining in the chorus about how wrong this in-and-out stunt was are just sore losers:

Conservative Party spokesman Ryan Sparrow says the allegations are merely gripes from a failed campaign. “These advertisements purchased by the local campaigns were identified as such in the tag lines required by the rules for election advertising,” Mr. Sparrow wrote in an e-mail Friday. “These are people who wanted to run for the Conservative Party. They knew the program was legal. They are speaking out now – a full two years later because they lost.”

Yes, not only are the Liberals, the CBC, the media at large, and Elections Canada all engaged in a conspiracy against the Cons, those Conservative candidates who have a conscience and who think this program was wrong are now just sore losers.

I wouldnt be surprised to hear the term “back-stabber” or “traitors” describing the Conservative candidates coming next from either the Blogging Tories or Ryan or Pierre “So What?” Poilievre.

(H/T to Impolitical)

[email protected]:15pm: Danielle has a nice summary on this scandal – a fitting end to the Conservatives “Justice Week”, as well as a summary of some of  the blogging stories this past week done on the in-and-out scandal from the Liberal blogosphere.

The Liberals plot revealed

This originally got shown first at CalgaryGrit, but I think it’s so good that I’m going to reproduce it over here to show that the secret plans of the Liberals to undermine the Conservative Government has been exposed, and how they’re doing it.

I expect to see Pierre Poilievre breathlessly release this at the next news conference he holds exposing this “conspiracy”.

Worse spokesperson ever? Au contraire! WE WANT PIERRE!

Darren seems to think “Pipsqueak” Pierre Poilievre is the worse spokesperson the Cons. could choose to defend the “in-and-out” scandal enveloping them.

I think quite the opposite, or at least look at it from a different angle. He’s the best spokesperson us non-Cons could have thrown out there to try and spout off Cons talking points on the in-and-out issue.

I for one hope the PMO keeps sending him out there, because he certainly won’t be the one to put this fire out and/or convince people there’s some grand conspiracy between Elections Canada, the Liberals, the CBC, the Russians, the Mafia, the Martians, or whoever else they decide to blame […]

Another day, another Cons scandal.

Maybe the Cons. are trying to do so many scandals at once, they’ll hope Canadians throw up their hands and not care about what they’re doing anymore, or lose track of them, or something.

Here’s the latest one:

The federal ethics watchdog is investigating a sole-source contract Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s office awarded to a well-connected Conservative…Flaherty has admitted his office broke government contracting rules in hiring Hugh MacPhie to help write last year’s budget speech and provide advice on how to sell the document. MacPhie, who had written speeches for former Ontario Tory premier Mike Harris, was awarded the $122,000 contract without tender. Treasury Board rules generally require a […]

Notable Quote(s) Of The Day

There were a couple of quotes from the prior article I thought should be highlighted.

“This undermines the most basic, fundamental tenets of our democratic institutions,” – NDP MP Pat Martin, referring to the in-and-out scheme, and calling for the 67 Conservatives who participated in this scheme to be barred from running in the next election.

The winner though, goes to Gilles Duceppes, leader of the BQ for saying this in response to the Cons complaining about being picked on:

“They say ‘we’re being judged differently,’ well yes, because they acted differently,“

You know the Conservatives are in trouble..

..when Antonio of Fuddle Duddle starts to blog over at his site that the possibility of a Dion-led Liberal victory in the next election is very real to him now. He can’t get away completely from the cheap shots (ie. calling Dion’s win at the Liberal convention accidental) but nobody’s perfect.

Also, a hat-tip to Steve for seeing this story which mentions that the affidavit names Patrick Muttart, the prime minister’s deputy chief of staff, and Lawrence Cannon, the current Transport Minister, as people who were consulted in the regional media buys that first got Elections Canada suspicious. Whoops.

Also, I noted Kady O’Malley is going through the entire affidavit, […]

Bananas anyone?

Monday mornings are usually pretty slow as it comes to discussing Canadian politics; that is not the case today. For as everyone who is politically inclined knows, the Conservatives tried to do a selective press conference with those they deemed friendly to them in the media in order to get their “spin” out on the search warrant details being released as to why Elections Canada raided Conservative Party HQ for documents (as an aside, I wonder how Tonda MacCharles of the Toronto Star feels, knowing that the Cons. invited her to this event because they felt she was friendly to them).

That bone-headed plan went out to lunch when other members of the media found out about this and did an old-fashioned stakeout of the meeting room where the Cons were putting on their spin of being oppressed by Elections Canada, resulting in these amusing scenes of Conservative officials fleeing reporters down a fire exit stairwell.

So, what are my observations on this?

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