It would seem that the Con's had some candidates and official agents who would take everything head office said at face value and others who used their heads. They really are a party that requires candidates to be blind followers and that has certainly been reinforced today. They may not be chosen that way but we have witnessed them oust candidates that disagree during general elections and by elections.
An interesting fact that came out of the meeting today was that of 26 people who received a summons to appear, only 3 have done so. Given that, Pat Martin is insisting that further action be explored tomorrow. The Con's continue to deny that it has anything to do with directives from the Party, in spite of sworn testimony, but it's pretty clear that a number of these witnesses had indicated that they would come to committee then suddenly declined.
The other thing that was interesting is how the Con's received a bit of evidence today from Retail Media (RM) that they believe bolsters their case. In their submission, RM included a letter stating that all ads had the appropriate tag line. They clarified that what they meant was they gave media outlets the appropriate tag line and had not actually checked all the ads, but the Con's of course ignore that and use it as evidence that everything was on the up and up.
If you want a blow by blow account, you can go to Kady's for her unique, but accurate take.
For my part, I thought I'd just summarise what the Conservative members have been articulating for the past 3 days. The script doesn't change much, so it's easy to do in a few sentences.
Pierre (we did the same thing as everyone else) Lemieux spends his time misrepresenting testimony given by Mayrand, misleading witnesses as to the facts and the actual issue at hand and reassures the witnesses who participated that they did absolutely nothing wrong! He doesn't want them to worry. Oh, he's also fond of telling us that if he wants to put a farmer on his campaign literature, that big bad entity called EC can't do a thing about it!
David (dour and testy) Tilson spends more time chastising the Chair and disagreeing with everything Szabo does than he actually spends asking questions. Turning red, yelling, mumbling and grinning are his specialities. Oh, and the whole world is against the Conservative party and that's NOT FAIR!, is an edited favourite refrain.
Gary (Point of Order) Goodyear is the prickly partisan who is determined to make a mockery of everything the committee was set up to accomplish. He delights when one of his staffers passes him what he apparently thinks are clever quips. Things like, calling the opposition the jury, or the proceedings illegitimate, kangaroo court and the Liberal Chair appointed by Liberals.
To be serious for a moment, the disregard of process and institutions that this man brings to the table should be alarming to all, let alone his constituents. How he doesn't see this is beyond me.
He repeatedly reads e-mails from other parties, describing events that he parallels to the what the Con's did. They're different of course, but facts are the last thing on this guy's mind.
Today he bluntly said that the Chair was keeping info from the Con's but feeding it to the Liberals. He crosses the line as a matter of course and if he's your MP, I suggest you have a real embarrassment sitting in the House representing you.
Mike (aggrieved boor) Wallace. He too spends most of his time misleading and whining. According to him, the Chair doesn't like him and is always picking on him. He offers little by way of substance and repeats his twisted talking points, usually to sympathetic witnesses.
My advice to viewers is don't watch him too much. He makes the oddest faces, is never listening to what a witness or questioner is saying, has put that damn earpiece in his mouth more times than I can count, (are they reused? Yuck.) and generally displays boorish behaviour.
Dean (I think I'm Matlock) Del Mastro, goes after witnesses, the Chair and the opposition with a booming voice and feigned indignance. When he questions, he uses the same nonsense as the others and often closes with, 'no further questions'. I'm waiting for him to add 'Your Honour' as confirmation of his delusional state.
I think Kady was kind to him in terms of his ability to guide, (read lead) a witness, but for heaven's sake, he's a used car salesman. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but what's the first thing you learn in sales? How to frame the question to elicit the answer you prefer, (notice most of his questions are 'closed' questions) and how to close the sale.
In short, it would appear that the Con's really put lightweights on this committee and it's a mystery as to why. My best guess is that they felt they would be the most successful at making a mockery of things. Yet another example of the Con's using their own.
They were right on that count, but with that assumption I'll presume they expected that the media would report it as such. Big headlines, the Committee is a Zoo, etc. That little plan backfired and the only ones looking like buffoons are them. Perhaps the media is seeing how they played others for dupes and realise that they were treated in the same manner. Who know?
On a final note, the official agent for Cynthia Downey who ran in NFLD and now has no time for the Con's, was visibly disturbed today. I felt for the guy. His name is Darren Roberts and he clearly believed the party was being honest with him. He thought the party was giving him money that would go toward signs etc. that he would receive as a result of the wire transfer. He's of course the one who is on the hook for all of this now. Isn't it disgusting how this party uses it's own?
Thus far, I've witnessed no shame on the part of the Conservatives. To the contrary. They are apparently proud of their actions. Pride goeth before the fall, and all that should probably be considered by some in that brain trust.
Given that Stephen (arrogant) Harper is at the helm, don't put money on that happening.
Last point. Even before all of this nonsense, the Con's didn't appear to be in very good shape.