Wednesday, May 21, 2008

List of Conservative Crap

Seems there is a list out there of CPC "accomplishments"...

Here is my list of Conservative crap ... and I know I've missed more than a few things, so feel free to add them in comments

1. Hey, I was busy... The week after the election, it is revealed that Stephen Harper couldn't find time between August and November 2005 to talk with the ethics commissioner over the Grewal tapes issue. Fortunately for the Conservatives, the report is released at a time when it won't affect Harper's credibility, or the Conservative election chances.

2. Hypocrisy strikes: On the day the Conservative caucus is sworn in (Feb. 6th), Former Liberal industry minister David Emerson is crosses the floor and sits in the Conservative cabinet.

"Stunned onlookers barely had a chance to ask a question of the Vancouver MP and former head of lumber giant Canfor as he strolled into Rideau Hall shortly before the Tory cabinet was being announced. Emerson is the new Tory minister of international trade, with responsibilities for the Vancouver Olympics.
Pinching Emerson might be seen as Conservative retribution for the defection of Belinda Stronach, who went from being a Tory leadership candidate to a Liberal cabinet minister in about a year.
Several Conservatives responded by demanding laws forcing floor-crossers to go back to the electorate for another mandate.
In the recent federal election, Emerson was featured in televised Liberal election ads promoting the party in British Columbia as the best choice for voters.
He was also frequently under fire from the Tories in the last Parliament over a multibillion-dollar program in the Industry Department."
© The Canadian Press 2006

"That was last year. We talked about it and I decided not to proceed with it. It's one of those matters that is debatable."--National Revenue Minister Carol Skelton, Feb. 10, The Canadian Press, on her change of heart to floor crossers. Ms. Skelton, who said she was "sick to her stomach" when former Conservative MP Belinda Stronach crossed the floor to the Liberals, introduced a Parliamentary motion to restrict floor crossing in the House on Nov. 23, 2005, that was two months ago. (Quotes from the Hill Times)

So much for integrity.

3. Hypocrisy Strikes, again. On the day the Conservative caucus is sworn in (Feb. 6th), yes, Day 1, Stephen Harper appoints Michael Fortier as an un-elected member to his cabinet and is appointed to the Senate. Harper and the Conservative party had previously denounced appointments of Senators, and Harper had publicly stated that he would not appoint any senators.

"I didn't run in the election because I didn't want to run in the election. This isn't what my family was looking forward to. Even today, it's not easy."--New Public Works Minister and soon to be Quebec Conservative Sen. Michael Fortier, Feb. 7 to reporters.

"The very first thing that happens is he appoints a non-elected person. I have a real problem with that, especially when you've got so many good people to choose from. I've said for years that I don't agree that people should just be able to cross the floor. I think they should, in fairness to their constituents, sit as an Independent and if they want to run for another party, fine, put your hat in the ring and if you win fine--but not to cross." --Alberta Government Services Minister Ty Lund who's also a senator-elect in waiting, Feb. 8, Edmonton Journal

"If you allow expediency to trip principle on Day 1, what makes us think it will ever stop? It could go on forever, but I'm not saying it will." --Link Byfield, one of four Alberta senator-elect in waiting, Feb. 8, Edmonton Journal

4. Harper: Do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do: Part 1 Showing utter contempt for Canadians and Parlimentarians alike, Stephen Harper conveniently eliminates a parlimentary reform that he originally championed while in opposition.

Mr. Harper was a vocal critic of appointing chairs when he was leader of the Official Opposition. In 2002, he co-wrote a letter to The Globe with Chuck Strahl, now the Minister of Agriculture, accusing the Liberals of "posturing" on parliamentary reform.

"Standing committees of the House should not simply be extensions of the Prime Minister's Office, and members of Parliament should choose their committee chairs by secret ballot and set their own agenda, free from the Whip's direction," Mr. Harper and Mr. Strahl wrote.

Maybe he can have that reform re-introduced when he's back in opposition.

5. Harper: Do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do: Part 2 Stephen Harper again displays his lack of respect for Canadians by engaging in practises he criticised the Liberals for when he was in opposition. This article spells it out nicely:

Harper flew from Ottawa to Moncton on Friday morning aboard his Challenger jet to announce $6 million in federal funding for that city's bid on the world junior track championships.

He then flew to Fredericton for a midday announcement of $200 million in highway spending, and ended the afternoon in Saint John with a $3-million federal pledge to help clean up the city's harbour.

Preventing the former Liberal government from jetting about the country to make local spending announcements was an ongoing Conservative rationale for bringing down Paul Martin earlier rather than later last year.

As early as last April, Harper was denouncing Martin's plan to "fly around the country on a government jet at taxpayers' expense, and he can throw enough money all over the country to cover up the stench of corruption."

6. Bullshit: Calling a tax increase is just that.

News Story
Comment: Budget 2006 – The 15.5% 'decrease'
By Scott Evans, Ottawa Business Journal Staff
Tue, May 9, 2006 4:00 PM EST

When is a tax increase really a decrease?

Perhaps the most misleading bit of double-talk that emerged from last week's budget frenzy is the contention that the increase in the income tax rate on the first $36,000 or so of income from 15 to 15.5 per cent is not really a tax increase.

Yet, we witnessed Conservative MP Diane Ablonczy appearing on CPAC on budget night making just that claim.

Her convoluted logic goes like this. Since the Liberals' legislation meant to lower the rate from 16 per cent to 15 per cent was never approved by Parliament, the rate is still officially 16 per cent, and the 15.5 per cent rate taking effect July 1 therefore is actually a reduction.

Well, sorry.

Check that 2005 tax return you just filed. The tax rate on the lowest income bracket is 15 per cent. (Of course, we doubt Ms. Ablonczy actually sat down at her kitchen table to complete her tax return.)

Check the Canada Revenue Agency website. Same rate.

Check your take-home pay in July. It'll be a few dollars smaller, when the rate goes to 15.5 per cent.

This is the kind of disingenuous hair-splitting that gives politicians a bad name. Come clean with taxpayers. It's a hike in personal income tax rates. Stop trying to pretend otherwise.

7.CPC: Do-as-We-say-not-as-We-do: Part 3 Again, the CPC demonstrates that the ethics they perscribe aren't for them. A BCer in Toronto gave this excellent account of Tony clements failing in the ethics department:

The other shoe has dropped on Mr. Clement, however, with the news this week he hired a senior campaign staffer and long-time crony to his department on a $25,000, un-tendered contract for 33 days of work. Coincidentally, the maximum amount allowed for un-tendered contracts. He got $125/hour. Hey, I wonder where the Conservatives are on raising the minimum wage for ordinary Canadians?

Anyway, said the Toronto Sun:

Haugh has also played a leading role in several of Clement's political campaigns, including his leadership bids for the federal and provincial Conservatives and the January election.

It boggles the mind. Excellent post Jeff.

8. Oopsy... Tories may have taken $2M in illicit donations
Updated Wed. Jun. 28 2006
6:13 PM ET
Canadian Press

OTTAWA -- The Conservative party may have illegally accepted millions in unreported donations last year because it didn't understand political financing laws.

That's the startling conclusion drawn from testimony given to a Senate committee by the Harper administration's point man on cleaning up government.

Treasury Board President John Baird has told the committee that his party did not consider fees paid to attend its March 2005 policy convention to be political contributions.

But the Elections Act stipulates that convention fees do constitute a donation.

The Tories' 2005 convention was attended by about 2,900 party members, who paid a regular fee of $600 each, although discounts were available for some.

That means the party stood to rake in as much as $1.7 million, all or some of which should have been reported to Elections Canada as donations.

9. Do as we say, not as we do... yadda, yadda, etc, etc: No cynical patronage for those Conservatives, no siree...

Macleans. Steve Harper has decided to replace one of his vaunted 5 priorities on the fly; instead of implementing their hospital wait times guarantee, they decided that priority 5 is "strengthening our country at home and around the world." Did Steve think nobody would notice? Maybe someone should remind him about the definition of the word guarantee.

10. The Chuck Cadman affair Oh, they've been exhonerated for this... at least by the RCMP.

11. Polling Harpocrisy

Harper government polls Canadians about polls

OTTAWA - The federal government has conducted an opinion survey to find out what Canadians think of, uh, opinion surveys.
Release of the polling data comes amid pressure on Ottawa to rein in spending on public opinion research.

The poll, Canadians' Preferences in Answering Surveys, was completed Jan. 31 by Ekos Research Associates for Public Works and Government Services.

The survey of more than 2,250 Canadians last fall found 45 per cent of respondents preferred telephone surveys over Internet or in-person questionnaires.

A Public Works spokeswoman could not immediately say how much the survey cost or why it was undertaken.

A summary of the results suggest the questions were asked as part of a long-running series of polls on information technology.

The Tories are promising to spend $10 million less on government polling in the next budget year.

In December, an independent investigator reported the Conservatives spent $31.2 million on public-opinion research in the 12 months leading up to a government-commissioned probe.

That's almost twice the $18 million a year the Liberals averaged on polling between 1993 and 2006.

12. Flaherty and the Feds attack Ontario:

Crybaby federalism
Paul Wells March 25, 2008 12:46:46

"Our appeal followed the time-honoured advice for raising money by direct mail -- make people angry and afraid, and set up an opponent for them to give against."— Tom Flanagan, Harper's Team

Ontario led the country in job growth last month, nearly all of it in full-time work, much of it through a construction boom that produced job growth outstripping the loss of industrial jobs by 50%. Given the troubles of Ontario's main export market it is a stellar performance.

But Stephen Harper needs somebody to pick on, and Stéphane Dion refuses to show up for the fight. So Dalton McGuinty's Ontario government is the latest designated target, and we are all being asked to sit and smile through yet another of the Prime Minister's asinine tantrums.

Today is budget day at Queen's Park. Pierre Poilièvre, the reliably pliable eastern Ontario Tory MP, has been sent to Queen's Park to critique the budget on behalf of the federal Conservative party. (UPDATE: And the Conservative party's website is now doing a limbo dance under its own previously rock-bottom standards.) This merely extends a show that has been going on for a while now. For weeks the Prime Minister's yappy little budget terrier, Jim Flaherty, has been making apocalyptic pronouncements about the Ontario economy and the McGuinty government's stewardship. Ontario is "the last place" to start a business, and it's headed for have-not status, and it was the "strongest economic province in the federation" when his party delivered its last budget at a car-parts plant somewhere.

Now the truth, if anyone wants some, is that unemployment in Ontario is down nine-tenths of a percentage point from the days when Flaherty and his friends were running up a hidden $5.6 billion deficit. But then, nobody should depend too heavily on Jim Flaherty to pick a winner: he has the unique distinction of being the only man in Canadian history who managed to lose to both Ernie Eves and John Tory.

As for Ontario's chances of becoming an equalization-receiving province, here's Don Drummond of TD Bank saying the biggest culprit if that ever happens will be the Harper-Flaherty government. "They seem to be bent on making Ontario's situation worse at the moment," Drummond says.

Of course they are. For then Harper will have created a bogeyman Ontarians can be angry and afraid of, so he can do some fundraising against them. It's what he does.

The Senate, the CBC, assorted arms-length commissioners and regulators having exhausted their amusements for our impatient leader, he has now turned his distracted, essentially random fury on the voters of Ontario. This is because they voted wrong.

They had their instructions. Nearly two years ago Harper went to a John Tory fundraiser and called Tory "the next premier of Ontario." But just because Tory can beat Jim Flaherty doesn't mean he can beat a pro, and Ontarians stubbornly decided to elect somebody else.

Surely by now Ontarians should know that the big guy doesn't like it when his orders are ignored. And his contempt for Ontarians' electoral decisions, when the voters of that province have the gall not to vote Harper's way, is a matter of long record: witness his childish rant in the aftermath of Stockwell Day's 2000 election defeat. (And understand this: if anyone ever manages to beat Stephen Harper fair and square in a general election, we will see a display of gracelessness in defeat without precedent in the history of Confederation. This is simply guaranteed. It is what he does.)

There are two things going on here. One is the baselessness of Flaherty/Poilièvre/Harper's attack on Ontario's budgeting. Oil is at historic highs, the dollar is up a quarter in the last years, the U.S. real-estate industry is essentially imploding, five central banks pumped hundreds of billions of liquidity into the market in a co-ordinated push -- and the problem is Dwight Duncan's business-tax rates? Come on.

The other is the impudence of Harper's control-freakery. We know he likes to run everything, but here's the deal: if somebody signs up to be a Conservative staffer, you can tell them what to do, OK? You don't get to run the Senate. You don't get to push bureaucrats around for kicks. You don't get to muzzle public servants, tell reporters how to cover you, pick the next US president or write Ontario budgets. There's a Canadian constitution that says so, and just because you boycotted the 25th-anniversary celebrations of the Charter of Rights doesn't mean the separation of powers, which isn't even in the Charter, goes away by fiat.

Stephen Harper is such a clever tactician that his little games can be so fascinating we overlook their significance. The significance of this one is, well, significant: he's badmouthing his own country's industrial heartland and running roughshod over the prerogatives of a legitimately-elected government for the sake of cheap political points and to prop up his serial loser of a finance minister. It's not funny.

13. You've come far enought baby:
Unbelievable. From Progressive Bloggers post on the cuts to SWC:

Oct 9/06 - Take a look at what Stephen Harper signed during a pledge campaign in the last election back in January of this year according to feminist Audra Williams::

"Yes, I'm ready to support women's human rights and I agree that Canada has more to do to meet its international obligations to women's equality. If elected, I will take concrete and immediate measures, as recommended by the United Nations, to ensure that Canada fully upholds its commitments to women in Canada." (Stephen Harper - January 18, 2006)

That pledge - with his signature - is here

14. Maxime Bernier


Friday, May 02, 2008

Ok, just add it to the list...