The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

October 8, 2009

Harper finds even more jobs for the faithful –


The federal Conservatives were elected in 2006 on a promise to do better than the Liberals.  Stephen Harper pledged to end an array of Liberal abuses. No more care and feeding of Liberal-friendly lobbyists and cronies. No more fat contracts directed to Liberal firms. No more stuffing public bodies — from courts to the Senate to the bureaucracy — with Liberal fellow travellers. No more Liberal hubris, no more Liberal hypocrisy. Instead,  Mr. Harper’s government resorted to co-opting the Liberal playbook and refining, rather than eliminating, its many tricks. The Conservatives   introduced the Accountability Act, but remain reluctant to hold themselves accountable for much of anything. On Thursday, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson dismissed the latest attempt to improve Canada’s privacy and access-to-information laws, arguing that a collection of proposed reforms were unnecessary and cumbersome. Cumbersome is an apt word for the system Canadians must endure in seeking access to public information. As journalists, we can attest that the delays are lengthy, the user fees are arbitrary and the information — when and if it is eventually supplied — is likely to be heavily edited..  extending a broken system is hardly a satisfactory improvement.  In other areas, the Conservatives have taken the worst of Liberal practices and adapted them for Tory use. Liberal dominance of the Senate has been eroded with a steady stream of Conservative appointees, with the Prime Minister often picking Tory bagmen and partisan faithful. Boards, commissions, advisory bodies and the gamut of rich pickings available for patronage appointments likewise have been “balanced” with obedient Conservatives. A party that used to rail at the Liberals’ willingess to direct public money to Liberal ridings, and its shameless toadying to Quebec, now pours money into Conservative constituencies and laughs off its own egregiously partisan activities in Nova Scotia as just the way the locals like to do business.  The latest uproar, over the government’s propensity for including its party logo on giant ceremonial cheques used to distribute stimulus money, could be dismissed as just more of the same, were it not for the brazenness of the Tory reaction. The Prime Minister’s Office sent out a memo to MPs advising that logos were not allowed, but chief spokesman Dimitri Soudas assured local MPs there was nothing to stop them putting their own names on the cheques, and defended their right to claim credit for successfully funneling public money to benefit their ridings. That’s an attitude we’ve seen before, from haughty and complacent Liberal regimes so accustomed to power they came to treat it as a right. After less than four years in office, the Harper government appears to have similarly lost sight of the fact the money it spreads around so enthusiastically belongs to Canadians, not to Conservatives. The aim of stimulus money is to offset the worst effects of a recessionary economy, not to win votes for the local Tory MP.
  Stephen Harper appoints 5 judges with Tory links
 OTTAWA — The federal Liberals slammed the governing Conservatives on Thursday for handing out government jobs — some of which pay more than $100,000 a year — to failed former candidates, party workers and financial supporters. Just one week after the Liberal Party told the Reform-Conservatives their time was up, this government’s first priority was to guarantee the appointments of top Conservative donors,” Savage said in a release. “[Harper] promised to end political patronage, but clearly this is another promise broken for the government,” he said. Liberals say they’ve identified 37 appointments Harper and his cabinet approved in the last six weeks, where the appointee had a demonstrated link to the Conservatives. “It is an orgy of appointments,” said Liberal MP David McGuinty. “How many more rewards does the prime minister intend to hand out to his Conservative flock?”
 Yes, less than a week after railing against “left-wing ideologues” in Canada’s court system, two faced, patronistic  Prime Minister Stephen Harper had appointed five judges with ties to the Conservative Party of Canada . . but I have been saying along he would do this .. Harper is continually saying one thing to us all and doing the opposite.  The Conservatives campaigned on promises to make the JACs more independent. But once they next do get the power they do the same thign as all the others, absue it.. for they are liars and hypocrites with a hidden agenda.
In early September, in a partisan speech in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Harper said the Liberals, had they won the government last fall, would be putting “left-wing ideologues . . . in the courts, federal institutions, agencies, and the Senate.” But just a few days later, on Sept. 9, Harper and his cabinet signed off on five judicial appointments, one of whom was a Mulroney-era cabinet minister, and four others who contributed thousands of dollars to the Conservatives since 2004. While in opposition, Harper and other Conservatives frequently criticized the Liberals for appointing judges who had close ties to that party. “This is a very serious matter, calling into question the independence of the judiciary,” Conservative MP Peter Van Loan told the House of Commons in 2005. Van Loan is now the country’s public safety minister. “At at time when Canadians are looking to the courts to deliver justice . . . this news corrodes public confidence in the courts.” One of Harper’s key campaign promises from 2006 was to create an independent public-appointments commission. But the Tories wanted one of their own biggest financial contributors, former oil and gas executive Gwyn Morgan, to head that commission. Opposition MPs who agreed with the idea of a commission objected to Morgan’s appointment to run it. After Morgan’s nomination was rejected, the Conservatives dropped the idea of a public-appointments commission and have continued to make appointments, by and large, in the same way the Liberals did before them did. Political appointments are handled by senior political staff working within the Prime Minister’s Office.
 Appointed to Canada Pension Plan Review Tribunals

•Judy Dreeshen – Conservative Campaign Worker
•Joe Spina – Brampton Progressive Conservative MPP, 1995-2003
•Jeffrey Keefe – Donated to Conservative Party Candidate in 2006
•Suzanne Dery – Donated to former Conservative MP Luc Harvey
•Kelley Sherwood – Reform Party activist; appeared in 1997 Reform Party platform
•Arthur Lust – Donated to Conservative MP John Baird in 2008
•James Walsh – Donated to Conservative Party in 2004
•Robbie Grossman – VP of SI. Paul’s PC Association

Appointed to Employment Insurance Act Boards of Referees:

•Nick Katalifos – Donated to Conservative MP Maxime Bernier

•Claire-Marie Jadot – Donated to Conservative Party in 2006

•James Caroeneto – Donated to Conservative MP Pat Davidson in 2008

•Heather Jane Chutler – Former member of the Vancouver Quadra riding association board…S he is the ex-wife of Geoff Chutler, a Tory activist who ran unsuccessfully in Quadra in 1993 and 1997 for the old Progressive Conservative party.

and watch out for more..

More than 3,000 appointments have been made since the Harper government took office.

 Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s named of Raminder Gill as a citizenship judge, a job which has a top salary of $102,800 a year. Gill ran and lost three times as a federal Conservative candidate and had also served as a Progressive Conservative in the Ontario legislature. Kenney made two appointments to the Immigration and Refugee Board. IRB members earn a top salary of $116,800 a year. One of those new IRB members is a failed Conservative candidate, Gilles Guenette, and the other donated $1,000 to the Conservative party in 2004.  All appointments are based on Conservative  merit,  This is the promised Conservative accountability and transparency .


Fed rules lax on ‘sole-source’ contracts: report The Canadian Press – ‎8 OTTAWA — Too many federal contracts are being snapped up by favoured suppliers without real competition, says Canada’s procurement watchdog. Departments hand out plum contracts to lone suppliers   …   MEANWHILE


Big cheque, big logo.. if the money comes from the federal government, it should state so clearly. Now, the Government of Canada has pretty strict rules about how taxpayers’ money can used. The Federal Identity Program makes it clear that it should be issued in an nonpartisan way. No logos, no Conservative slogans, So, it’s not surprising perhaps that opposition parties are making an official complaint to the ethics commissioner In fact, in recent weeks the Liberals have held two press conferences alleging the Conservatives are using government money to promote partisan interests. They’ve pointed to pictures of Stephen Harper featured on government websites and even the shade of blue chosen for advertising the government’s Economic Action Plan. It’s hard to argue with a big cheque and an well-known logo.


Liberals say they’ve dug up 181 examples of partisan cheque presentations going back to 2007 on which Conservative emblems overshadow the Government of Canada logo. The 181 cheques total about $60 million, and for a lying conservative party that had said elect us cause we will do things different makes it even all worse too. I am amazed how the Conservative supporters now falsely , quickly cover it up and say it is no big thing too. No big thing when they do it… hypocrites…

Liberals file complaints over Tory-logo cheques, the ethics commissioner is investigating the logos and signatures appearing on funding announements. Conservatives are  a Hyprocrite: a person who pretends to be something that he is not. There’s nothing wrong with it? Get over it, right? At least while you are doing it? Hypocrites, again!  A mistake, right? No one knows how it happened, right? Right across the country?   For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

“I understand why they would want to take credit … MPs have to get elected, and re-elected. But there has to be a line drawn.” (Howard Wilson, former Ethics Commissioner, October 15, 2009) 
“La seule conclusion possible du commissaire à l’éthique doit être que cette pratique utilisée par 47 députés conservateurs est contre l’éthique parlementaire.” (Jean Saint-Cyr, L’Acadie Nouvelle, 16 octobre 2009)
“There really is sort of layer upon layer of scandal here. You’ve got not just the use of the logos but the use of individual MPs handing out this money.” (Andrew Coyne, CBC The National, October 15, 2009) 
“I’m more troubled in the end by the notion that there might be a pattern to this that has seen money go to Conservative ridings rather than other ridings, and that to me breaks or is more over the line than actually even those cheques.”  (Chantal Hébert, CBC The National, October 15, 2009) 
“The partisan handouts are just the latest game played with your tax dollars by a government that promised to do things differently. It has blanketed the airwaves with government-promotion ads at a pace six times the rate of any H1N1 public education blitz.” (Don Martin, National Post, October 16, 2009)
“It’s symbolic of something underneath it which is a habit… that says that the public’s money is their own, a program of government that says it’s entitled to use that money to the furtherance of its own partisan political interests.” (Andrew Coyne, CBC The National, October 15, 2009) 
“L’argent remis par le député conservateur, Gerald Keddy, n’est ni le sien, ni celui du parti, mais bien l’argent des contribuables canadiens.” (Jean Saint-Cyr, L’Acadie Nouvelle, 16 octobre 2009)
“The Conservative MPs who splashed their names across big stupid cheques are… behaving corruptly by using public funds for personal or partisan political gain.” (Colby Cosh, National Post, October 16, 2009) 
“It goes against everything that Stephen Harper campaigned on and against the notion once again that a new prime minister and a new regime was going to clean up the way Ottawa works.” (Chantal Hébert, CBC The National, October 15, 2009) 
“Beyond the shameful chequebook politics, there’s an apparent tendency to concentrate stimulus funding in government-held ridings.” (Don Martin, National Post, October 16, 2009)
“Gerald Keddy is not a minister of the Crown. He’s got no business anywhere near that ceremony. This is a corruption of their role. They’re supposed to be watchdogs on the public purse.” (Andrew Coyne, CBC The National, October 15, 2009) 
 Government website links to Harper piano video; Libs outraged  OTTAWA – What does Stephen Harper playing a piano and crooning a Beatles tune have to do with stimulating the sputtering economy?



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