After much prodding by other bloggers, I set this up for my own writings. The name is in honour of the two women that mentored me throughout my life on politics and intelligence issues, as well as being wonderful family members, now alas deceased. I hope to live up to their standards at this site.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Yet another CPC/Harper scandal, this time using illegally gained money to fight the last election with and then hiding it despite claiming otherwise

Back in July I noticed a story that the media had yet to discover thanks to Somena Media regarding the CPC refusing to declare 1.7 million dollars of donations. That it appeared the CPC chose to ignore the legal requirements and declare that unless a convention makes a profit no moneys donated/paid to it by attendees was a political contribution. Well the Chief Election Officer appeared to disagree then and wanted to examine all the CPC books regarding this matter. The CPC claimed it had already turned over these books and all pertinent documentation. Well it appears yet again what the CPC says they are doing and what they actually have done are disconnected from each other, in this case we have the CEO declaring that the requested information has still to be turned over to him and that the claims of following the law and having done nothing wrong in this matter by the CPC has zero basis in law and truth. Cerberus has a good post up on this and Meaghan Walker Williams also has some good material in researching it during the summer over here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Now, why is this a big deal one might wonder? Simple, the CPC had 1.7 million dollars of illegal funds with which they fought the last election with, thereby tainting the electoral process. After all when one party has more money than the other parties generated by illegal/improper means and then after the fact tries to pretend it did nothing wrong it brings into question the integrity and trustworthiness of that party, it's leader and their real commitment to democracy and the rule of law. I do not know where this is going to end up but so far the CPC actions here make it look like they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar and know it, and are now trying to do all they can to make this scandal disappear. Ironically it was the Treasury Board Baird who first broke this story in a Senate hearing on the matter of the Accountability Act a few months ago that first got this ball rolling. The responses I have seen so far from the Conservative side of the spectrum seems to be this is a Liberal scandal because they want taxpayers to pay for their convention while the CPC does not, a nice sound-bite that has absolutely nothing to do with the apparent illegal actions of the CPC in this matter and their inability to understand how to follow the same laws all the other parties managed to in this matter. This approach feels much the same as the one used to cover up the Grewal scandal/fraud by the CPC last year, change the subject and claim that the only wrongdoing is from the evil Liberals instead of the noble Conservatives despite clear evidence that the CPC has done something wrong and then tries to cover up said wrongdoing.

Yet people wonder why I consider this government to be so dangerous to the nation and our way of life. If it will not follow the rule of law even/especially regarding how we wage elections in this country why should anyone trust them to follow it anywhere else they feel they can get away with it? Why should anyone trust a party/leader like that with the powers of government whatever their party/ideology? The CPC cannot keep claiming they are the honest and ethical party when they keep trying to hide such serious matters of concern as raising, hiding, and using illegally obtained financing to fight an election with, in this case an election they won a minority government with. This has all the appearances of yet another classic example of the Harper/CPC contempt for the rule of law when it interferes with their ideology/beliefs on something and their habit of pretending they did nothing wrong and then finding some way to blame the Liberals and paint them as the bad guys. This approach works better though when the Liberals are the government, but the CPC has been the government for the last nine months now and they have got to recognize that they are entirely accountable for their own actions, inactions, and illegal acts regardless of the Liberals own actions, especially when they have no bearing on the issue, which in this case they most certainly do not.

Yet further evidence of the CPC trying to manipulate the media and prevent hard questioning of uncomfortable government issues/actions.

liberal catnip has a very good post on this matter here. I would simply add that this is of a piece with the other tools this CPC/Harper government has chosen to employ to limit the ability of the press to even ask hard questions, let alone find out information through the access to information act from which to base these questions on. I previously blogged about the various media controls this government has put into place, including their decision to make the very fact that Cabinet is meeting secret unlike prior governments of both Liberal and Conservative persuasions. What should be particularly troubling to people here is that the same person in Harper's office receiving the name of the reporter is also the same person that picks who gets to ask the PM questions according to the CPC policy of not allowing the Press Gallery to determine who gets to ask questions but the PMO's press Secretary. When this particular policy was put in place many journalists and bloggers raised concerns that this was to make it easier to reward those reporters who ask questions the government likes and to punish by blocking access to those that ask questions the government does not like. When one adds this business of finding out who is asking FOIA requests so as to know not just that a topic may be asked about but by whom it will be asked by this provides the PM's Press Secretary a means of obstructing the asking of such questions by knowing which reporter to not call upon.

This is yet one more example of the so called transparency of this government and it's clear unwillingness to be held to any prior standards of accountability our governments have had to face from the press. This is a government that at every turn has done all it can to restrict public scrutiny of its actions and to prevent the media from being able to ask awkward/embarrassing questions, because after spending two years in Opposition using the media to hit the Libs with imagined scandal after scandal along with the few real ones in the mix they know just how powerful a tool for the opposition a media asking hard questions and being able to show when government officials refuse to answer their questions is in portraying a government as corrupt, inept, and unaccountable needing to be replaced. Got to love this commitment to transparency and open government we were all promised in the last election campaign and have yet to see. This bunch makes the Liberal look like the very souls of openness by comparison, which given their history is no small accomplishment by Harper's CPC.

Harper to troops in Afghanistan: Your deaths improves the caliber/competence of the Canadian Forces!

Well, I first came across this Tuesday at The Galloping Beaver in this post of Dave's. When I read it, the linked post from Steve V at Far and Wide and the CBC article linked I could not believe it, Harper was actually claiming that our soldiers getting killed in Afghanistan may actually be making the Canadian military a better military force. Really? I wonder just how many soldiers and families of soldiers in theater would agree with that assessment? I somehow doubt that all that many would. I also wonder just how many of the families of the dead soldiers in Afghanistan would agree with this notion and that it was for a better military that their loved ones were killed and that they should be somehow take comfort in the idea that their loved ones dying improves the overall ability of the Canadian military. If I were them I would find that insulting and disrespectful to the memory of my loved one and even an implication that my dead loved one was somehow not that good a soldier because otherwise why would their death be able to improve the ability of the military?

This was a very offensive and sick thing to say PM Harper, and it shows that you have a fundamental inability to understand the military culture/mindset as well as a willingness to prostitute the military in the service of your party for partisan political points,. A pattern you started with your very first trip to Afghanistan where you used the soldiers as props and claimed that Canada would not "cut and run" ( A direct quote and a phrase Bush and the GOP have been using to tar their opponents with for years now, yet when you said this Harper there was no one in the Parliament of Canada calling for such an act).

Then there is this idea of yours that we have not pulled our weight over the last 30-40 years in military matters. Yet you provide nothing to back this assertion up and as well you by making this claim diminish/disrespect the many peacekeeping missions that Canada was front and center for in the Cold War and our work in the first Gulf War and in the Balkins in the 90s. Somehow that doesn't count in Harper's books as pulling our weight despite the reality we are not a first world nation but a second world (developing) nation. Yes, we are at the top of that category but the blunt truth is we are not a nation that has the resources and the industrial infrastructure to be considered a true first world nation. We have never colonized other nations, we have never been an imperial/great power and the main reason our economy is as developed as it is is a direct result of being the closest neighbour to the largest economic/military power on the planet for the past 60 years now. So this idea that we have not been pulling our weight is an unsupported assertion that does nothing but throw disrespect on every soldier that took pride in the peacekeeping missions they were a part of over the last few decades. Way to show respect for the military Mr. Harper!

Then there is this notion that suddenly we are raising our international leadership profile with this mission and the dying our soldiers are doing in its service. Seeing as we are not a military power the idea that we can only show leadership through the use of military force is idiotic from the outset. It also denigrates the idea that diplomacy and other methods of leadership have equal merit to them as the use of military force, or in other words Harper places military force deployment leadership above all other forms that Canada has participated in. This just goes to show how little Harper understand the real world from his nice safe and clean ideological perspective of the world and his willingness to have Canadians suffer and die in the advancement of his beliefs regardless of how well or poorly they correlate to reality, to the history of this nation, and to the values of the citizenry of this nation. It also underscores that while he sees military deployment as the most important form of leadership that he does not understand the military culture nor the proper/best ways of applying military force.

Then we come to the "clarification" by Harper's chief media strategist/communications adviser, Carolyn Stewart-Olsen. On this one I will leave this post from Dave at The Galloping Beaver to speak for me as he does so eloquently in this post he put up today. All I will add is this is the sort of stupidity and insensitivity/ignorance of the world outside the delusions of the inner circle of the Harper camp I have come to expect. As well as the disrespect these folks have for any and all that do not share their vision of what is right/wrong and noble/evil. This is yet one more piece of evidence as to why this party under this leadership is unfit to hold office/power in this country IMHO (incidentally when I use this it stands for In My Humble Opinion, for some reason people think I mean honest instead, but all my opinions are my honest ones so that doesn't work for me) and needs to be removed from the minority they have and sent back to opposition and hopefully saner Conservatives will come to power in the CPC instead of the Straussians (for those that do not know this Leo Strauss is the political philosopher that shaped the core of the neoconservative movement and Harper and his coterie are members of the Calgary School of political thought which was also heavily influence by Strauss, which explains the similarity of world view/foreign policy between Harper and the Cheney/Bush regime) that currently controls the party.