UPDATE AT THE END OF THE POST.
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?