Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It Matters


While Conservative blogger's ignore what is going on in the Ethics Committee for the most part, they ignore how the party they adore is diminishing our institutions and democracy. Perhaps I should rephrase that. I suppose because the CPC's intent is to diminish and reduce our institutions they are happy not to highlight the hearings while hoping the Con's accomplish their goal. Oddly, the hearings are showing us just how vital our institutions are in our system.

Today's testimony did more to damage the CPC case than the supposed 'hostile' witnesses who spoke yesterday. Interestingly enough, the person who did the damage was someone who honestly believed he was being their 'champ'. You had to feel sympathy for him in a sense because unlike the Con's, he really seemed to believe what he was saying.

His name is Doug Lowler and he was the official agent for a candidate in Trinity Spadina, (Olivia Chow's) riding. He's one of those witnesses who love to talk, which often isn't a good thing.

He confirmed that the party passed $49,000.00 dollars 'in and out' of the campaign books. He said he had no idea how the party was going to spend it on advertising and had never heard of the ad agency Retail Media, but he speculated that Conservatives must be part of the firm. He didn't know who they were and he didn't care. He confirmed that the Conservative party told him he didn't have to attend the hearings and that other witnesses had also been contacted by the party with the same message. He added that the CPC were not happy he was going to attend. He told the committee that the CPC was going to send him 'talking points' so he would be in sync with the Con MP's, but they didn't make their way to him in time.

The bottom line is, this man swallowed what the party told him about the advertising scheme, hook, line and sinker. He believed that the advertising guidelines were flexible, that every party did it and it made sense because it was a way to get money into a campaign so they could be competitive with other parties who were more successful at fund raising. It was an opportunity for the campaign to claim their 60% rebate from EC which would be a windfall for a campaign like his.

It sounds like I'm making this up doesn't it? I promise you I am not and those who saw the proceedings I'm sure will back me up.

The clincher was when he told the committee that he believes everyone who has been called should appear before the committee. They are in the right and should come to prove it. I'm sure the brain trust at CPC HQ, were positively apoplectic by that point.

And that's the thing isn't it? They know full well that they contravened the rules and have done everything in their power to shut down and diminish this enquiry of the committee.

Consider that none of the witnesses showed up this morning and we now have a first hand account stating that in fact the CPC is urging witnesses not to appear. If you had a strong position, why would you do that?

So the BT's and the CPC are either ignoring or doing everything in their power to make a mockery out of parliament, with no regard for the potential damage they are doing. It's disgusting really.

Here are some headlines from today's hearings.

Tory witnesses spurn ethics committee
Tories accused of obstructing ethics committee
Tory witnesses duck committee hearings
Ex-candidates say Tories urged them to accept in-out plan
Tories allegedly told to snub committee

The committee will be back at it tomorrow, with EC people if memory serves, (I can't find the witness list at the moment). At least we know they will show up.

Update - Oh and the Con's were so damned smug today. Guess what?


Anonymous said...

What if the tories win there court case?

ottlib said...

Which one?

The civil case brought by the Conservatives against EC or the possible criminal ones that could be brought by the Elections Commissioner?

knb said...

At this moment in time I cannot see how they could.

Much is made of this being so very complicated and while I agree Election law is difficult to wade through, if I get it, it cannot be that tough.

If they do win, it's bad news for democracy.

btw, they aren't tories, or the Tory party. They are quite a different breed and they are Conservatives. That term is thrown around far too often implying that they are the same old PC party. That they are not.

knb said...

Good point ottlib.

Red Canuck said...

Anon - HA! Keep dreaming, buddy.

KNB - I updated my post with a link to your blog. :)

knb said...

Thanks RC.

Steve V said...

Knb, your update link might be the big story out of today. For all the moaning and whining from Conservatives, once again they show they are their own worst enemies, most of the damage really self inflicted. In some way, they're just so detached from reality, seeming to forget that almost everything ends up coming out in the wash. It honestly blows my mind some time, how they can convince themselves that what they do is acceptable, or won't come back to bite them. If I can be blunt, the first two days basically portray a "who the fuck do they think they are" flavor to Canadians.

Anonymous said...

An interesting sidelight to the Doug Lowry matter. He works in the
financial community and yet he's so naive about things that he can't see money laundering when it's under his nose!

I wouldn't trust him with my estate or my legacy.

RuralSandi said...

I think most people say Tories because it's easier to type, etc.

Actually, I say keep it up as Harper apparently really dislikes being referred to as a Tory.

I watched - I am disgusted.

The BT's mock Szabo - good grief the man was so patient. They are trying to get to him, attacking him personally.

Wallace looked like the class dunce and Tilson had a smirk on his face (boy would I like to wipe that smirk off).

I wonder if Finley will show up now...it will be interesting.

I wonder if it would be better is MP's that are lawyers only be on these committees.

Anonymous said...

Elections Canada blew it and the Cons will come out of this smelling like roses.

This is an arcane and esoteric issue about differing and reasonable interpretations of the Canada Elections Act.

But knock yourself out knb.

penlan said...


I feel the same towards Mr. Lowry as you did. Sorry for him. He was/is used/abused by the CONs & doesn't even know it. And believes every single thing this Party says.

But he did give out lots of information that had the CONs cringing. It was enlightening to say the least & what he said can't be "taken back".

I, too, dislike the use of using the word "Tories" as it denotes a different Party that no longer exists thanks to Mackay & Harper.

I get dumped on, here & there, for using the word "CONs", but to me that is exactly what they are - con-artists. So obvious due to the different scams, like Cadman, In-Out, etc. that they have perpetrated on us all.

Their behaviours at the Ethics Committee is apalling & I sincerely hope they are held in contempt of Parliament once the House sits again. If it does.

penlan said...

Anon at 7:53 AM

Yes, the CONs will come out smelling like roses - dead, stinking, rotting roses that have been sitting in putrid water.

knb said...

It honestly blows my mind some time, how they can convince themselves that what they do is acceptable, or won't come back to bite them.

Steve, I think part of that attitude comes from getting away with a hell of a lot when they first came to office.

Media gave them a pass and as a result, so did Canadians. With that their arrogance grew as quickly as Harper's waist line.

The other problem is the calibre of people they have. While they should be admired I suppose for choosing to serve the public good, there are so many that are small minded, purely ideologically driven and limited in their exposure to a big picture. Not all of them of course, but many.

As to what they've portrayed thus far, I'd say you're bang on.

knb said...

david toronto, I found his line of work ironic to say the least.

He may be a clever bean counter but he didn't strike me as someone who would do well with nuance.

He like many was used by the Con's.


knb said...

Sandi, re Tories, I suspect you're right, it's just my pet peeve, ;).

I doubt Finley will show up, but I hope I'm wrong.

I see your point about lawyers, but the concept is to have individuals who reflect the nation being one of the checks to power.
That said, Tilson and Hiebert are lawyers.

I wonder what happened to Poilievre.

knb said...

The law may be arcane to some anon, in which case it should be tightened and clarified, however on this issue it seems pretty clear to me.

knb said...

It truly would be something if they were held in contempt penlan.

Today should prove interesting.

penlan said...

Yes, interesting IF witnesses show up.

knb said...

I was wrong about EC showing today.

It's Retail Media, official agents, (most won't be there), some ex candidates and Finley.

Omar said...

While I admire Mr Szabo's dogged tenacity and cool under fire persona, I would like to see him grow some balls and stop coming across as such a namby-pamby whipping boy to these fucking Conservatives. I mean, just, wow.

knb said...

It seems he has litle choice Omar. He has to go to Milliken and I presume that can only be done while the House is sitting.

It really is outrageous how he is treated. Who does that in real life?

Omar said...

I know, I know. It's just that this entire charade makes me boil. I'd love to have the opportunity to wipe those smug and smirking smiles off those Conservative faces. I tend to be a bit of a thug myself at times and sometimes fire is best fought with fire. Szabo is really doing a helluva job in spite of the challenges presented by the dirtbags sitting across from him.

knb said...

I'm not a thug, but I share your sentiment.

What I cannot get over is the mentality of those members. How can they not know that they look and sound like jackasses?

Whether they are being disruptive or making stupid (non)jokes, they look ridiculous. You can only assume that the people they associate with are similar.

Omar said...

I suppose Jean Chretien being flippantly dismissive about missing advertising millions sounded pretty asinine to those of the opposing political bent.

I'm assuming you've heard Robert Thibault's latest faux pas? Any notion I had about casting for him has gone up in a puff of smoke this past week. I am definitely in the market for a candidate to vote for in the upcoming election. Shall it be green or orange? I haven't decided.

knb said...

Yes, I heard what he said and while I think it was stupid, the media have gone over the top with it, imo.

CTV carried that as their lead and not a peep about the committee meetings.

I wish you luck in your choice. Do you know the candidates?

At least I can vote for Szabo with a clearer conscience, though why he'd want to run again after this is beyond me.

Omar said...

I may not even bother voting to tell you the truth. It hardly seems worth it most days..

knb said...

Hmmm. I think we give up our right to complain if we don't vote.

Why not go Green if you believe in the principals of their platform?

Omar said...

I have no idea what their principals entail other than the obvious one. I've heard Lizzy May is rather conservative, but I've never investigated that assertion. West Nova had three chances to vote for an NDP candidate who imho would have made more than a fine MP, but so it goes. Maybe I'll run for the Marijuana Party!

knb said...

There you go!

Yes May is a social conservative on some issues, actually I think abortion may be the extent of it, but I don't think it's part of the party platform, though I can't be sure.