Bev Oda: Overconfidence -

Bev Oda: Overconfidence

Why on Earth would Bev Oda behave any differently?


Ben Fisher/CP Images

A very large number of the Canadians who have voted Conservative for the last four elections in a row would be pleased if they could spend $16 on orange juice in a month. So don’t tell me there is no reason to raise an eyebrow over Bev Oda’s decision to walk out on a reservation at the Grange St. Paul’s and check into the Savoy instead, where by all accounts they serve the really good stuff with breakfast.

Last autumn I defended Peter MacKay for staying at a posh Munich hotel during a security conference. My entire point was that the hotel he stayed at was the conference venue. Security delays, and missed schmoozing in the wings, would impose genuine opportunity cost on any minister who stayed anywhere else. So what’s striking about Oda is that she didn’t rack up her bill staying at the conference venue: she racked it up fleeing the conference venue for someplace nicer. Incidentally, this is what a room at the hotel she fled looks like:

But here’s the interesting question: Why on Earth would Bev Oda behave any differently?

The most significant detail in Jennifer Ditchburn’s CP story is that Oda went on this little cross-town escapade in June of 2011.

Let’s travel into the head of Canada’s Conservatives in June of 2011.

They had just spent half a year being hammered in the House of Commons by — ah, nostalgia — the Michael Ignatieff Liberals for improper respect toward Parliamentarians and the Canadian taxpayer. One item of contention was the memo-writing habits of Bev Oda. She got to sit in her very comfortable chair for week after week after week while handy helpers — John Baird, Pierre Poilievre, sometimes even Stephen Harper himself — stood up to cover for her. It was sometimes written that Oda was “in hot water” over her actions. But this was comical. The water wasn’t hot. She wasn’t in water of any temperature at all. She didn’t even have to do her own standing. And when it was over, Michael Ignatieff pulled the plug on an election, and the voters of Canada descended on him like villagers with torches. The Conservative party was richly rewarded. Bev Oda’s share of the vote in her riding increased.

And two weeks after the election, everybody trooped off to Rideau Hall, where Oda, described by the CBC as “embattled minister” — embattled? What? She’s got the Prime Minister of Canada to do her standing up for her — got her old job back.

And two weeks after that, she didn’t like the Grange. Why would she have to settle? Why would she throw caution anywhere except to the wind? She did what she did and her party did better and she did better and the PM gave her her job back. There’s no orange juice too good to celebrate the way that must feel.


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Bev Oda: Overconfidence

  1. wow.

  2. Dead on. Great post.

    If we compare the lifecycle of this government w.r.t the previous one in terms of entitlement and arrogance, we’re approaching 2003 and Bev Oda = David Dingwall

    • Do recall that Dingwall was proven right and was in fact entitled to his entitlements, in the service of exercising considerable ingenuity to return the mint from a money loser to a profit maker. 

  3. Silly Canadians.  Consequences are for Liberals. 

    • Let’s just shorthand that general rule: CAFL

  4. Yes this underlines what a non-scandal the “not” issue was.

    Nobody took it seriously. It meant nothing. I guess this the danger of crying wolf. Gets harder to keep perspective when there’s an actual problem like ministerial over spending.

    •  For everyone who voted CPC in the last few elections, this post is them laughing at you – probably using $ you donated to them to do it.

      • CPC voters didn’t care about the “NOT” scandal. In fact most Canadians didn’t.

        $16 orange juice, on the other hand, has traction.

        •  CPC voters are EXACTLY the type who would say it’s no big deal to recieve a report, then forge documents saying the report says the exact opposite of what it says.  I can’t say the same about Canadians.

          • I guess the same applies to NDP supporters in BC, because that’s also exactly what Adrian Dix did, i.e., deliberately forged a memo.  And they don’t seem to care either.

          • The NDP were thrown out. 

          • Although its 13 years ago, I recall quit differently.  In fact, I recall Dix being forced to resign and I recall voters abandoning the NDP in the following election.

          • Jan, the guy to whom the fraudulent memo was directed — Glen Clark — was thrown out.  They guy who actually drafted the fraudulent memo — Adrian Dix — is overwhelmingly likely to be elected Premier of BC next year.

          • Yes Lenny, and those same voters who abandoned the NDP back then are now back, eager, it appears, to vote Adrian The Fraudster into power.  Go figure.

          • OB

            “Yes Lenny, and those same voters who abandoned the NDP back then are now back, eager, it appears, to vote Adrian The Fraudster into power.  Go figure.”

            I think Sir John A rather set the tone there, at least we know Dix wont build a railway from coast to coast.Trudeau did a fancy bit footwork over “zap you’re frozen”…still got back in 80.Let’s be thankful we don’t have to put Brian back in,  brown envelopes an all.I think they stopped making truly ethical pols in this country after Tommy…probably took up too much of the good lords time and patience.

          •  I think we’ve just illuminated the difference, Orson. 

            Get caught, keep your job, abuse you position and get caught again and again, continue to keep your job and enjoy the support of your base.


            Get caught once, lose your job, admit what you did wrong and apologize, and spend years in the political wilderness.

        • The NOT ethical lapse is exactly why Oda feels entitled to book posh hotels and order $16 OJ. It’s called a lack of accountability.

  5. It’s funny that such expensive orange juice leaves such a bitter taste in my mouth

  6. Yikes.  I would like to see her turfed over this.  Expensing a $16 orange juice?

    Memo-gate was a joke, one of the worst false scandals invented by the opposition.  But this particular incident is not.  Funny how the opposition was laser-focused on trivial non-scandals.  They had that stupid photo of Oda smokng a cigarette.  It was pathetic. Yet they failed to notice Oda sipping on $16 orange juice.

    • Conservatives looooooove forgery!

      • You’ve reminded me why it was such a joke. It’s because of these absurd claims of forgery. There was no forgery, any sane person can see that. She sticks the word “not” on a piece of paper and people like you go ape-shit. Bizarre.

        • I sure hope I never have to conduct business with anyone with your sense of what constitutes honest behaviour.

          • GMFD  s_c_fy supports a party that was charged with cheating in our elections.  He starts with the premise that’s okay so anything goes from that point forward I would think.

          •  Indeed, as a business person I would never employ the likes of s_c_fy.  The law is NOT on his side, that’s for sure.

          • You guys have issues.  Are you all iin the same kindergarten class?

          • Is it past your bedtime? Really, when you let your politics dictate that you should act like a petulant baby, then you’ve got issues.

      • Yes, all Conservatives are forgers and criminals.

        •  Oda was, and a lot of conservatives were supportive.

          • I agree.  So naturally it means that all Conservatives are scummy by association.

          • This is tiresome, Bean.  Take a stand on Oda. 

          • Ok Jan.  I’ve never been impressed by Oda, to say the least — although it’s not like I’ve followed her career closely or really know that much about her.  Both in that memo situation and in the current situation, as far as I can tell her conduct was bad and worthy of condemnation.  How does that work for you?

          • Excellent work, maybe now you could stop slagging those of us who agree with you.  By the way, I vote for and against the NDP based on what the free enterprise party are getting up to at any one time.  Such is the nature of B.C. politics. 

          • All conservatives small like rotten eggs and should be thrown into a pit and buried.  Don’t you see?!!!  Don’t you see????!!!!!  Thwim and GMFD and Jan and that linguini fellow and the rest of Wherry’s band of socialist psychodramatic followers have a point! All their whining and bloviating has convinced me! When people get that crazy, they must be right!  So who needs democracy??!  What we need is all conservatives buried in a deep, deep pit.  And never let them out, otherwise they might vote in another conservative government! Democracy is a sham, the conservatives must be damned! Power to the people!

    • You still don’t get it, do you?
      The problem with the memo wasn’t Oda denying the application.  It wasn’t even the odd way it was done, it was the lying and misleading of parliament that happened when parliament was trying to figure out what the hell happened. Why? Because that kind of behavior leads directly to *this* kind of behavior.  

      But when Canadians signal that they don’t care how their government is treated, why do you act so aggrieved when the CPC continues to treat it in the same manner they were before? You’re really not so dumb to think that the only ethics that matter are those with a dollar sign attached, are you? Because if you are, then you should be calling this a non-issue as well, as, according to the CPC, she paid back the entire difference as soon as we found out about it.

      Of course, who knows how many things we haven’t found out about yet.

      • She should have paid the difference up front. Harper always pays when he flies for non-job related events.

        But no, the “not” thing was the NOT a scandal by any means.

        If the opposition didn’t jump on every non-scandal they’d have some credibility to demand reform.

        I think a lot of CPC voters would support that.

        • So what you’re saying is the opposition should let various attempts to mislead or hide information from parliament just slide by and CPC voters would be happier?

          Well.. I guess I can’t say that you’re wrong.
          Unethical, perhaps.. but not wrong.

      • I repeat, memo-gate was a joke. You can repeat the story-line until you’re blue in the face, it’s still the same story-line.

        Fairy tales don’t become real if you repeat them often enough.

        There was absolutely nothing, and I repeat, nothing, done wrong in that stupid memo-gate episode.

        • So what’s her punishment for  this ‘real’ scandal then?

          •  Should I have to repeat myself for your short attention span?

        • And here we see lying trolls lying in defence of lying politicans. For shame, scumwad.

          • Did you come up with that yourself or did you get help from your school-teacher?

          • Are you Dennis_F going by another name?

          • no

        • Nor do facts disappear because you hold your breath and stamp your feet.

          Changing a document after someone signs it is wrong. Period.  

          Misleading parliament about what the hell happened is worse, however, because it shows you have neither fear nor respect for the institution, which is one of the only things that keeps governance in check.

          • Now there’s a load of horse manure.

        • s_c_fy I’m not surprised you would find anything wrong with fraud when you obviously support a party that cheats in our elections.  What could they possibly do wrong?

          • Why is this blog so much like kindergarten today? This is ridiculous.

          • Of course they cheated! You voted conservative, didn’t you! All because of a robocall or some other horrible scandal! You were fooled!

            Oh you weren’t? You didn’t vote conservative?

            So you mean it was all the people that were dumber than you that were fooled, all those gullible conservative-lovers who don’t know their head from their ass.

            Nice theory…. but there was no conservative voter dumber than you. So it’s wrong.

    • You seem to be confusing opposition parties with the media. 

      • I disagree.

  7. “Incidentally, this is what a room at the hotel she fled looks like:”

    Considering she owes big time, where are the pics of his lordship, under her pillow?

    Who are you and what have you done with PWs! …reads a bit like a Coyne column…or does it?

    Subtle as ever Mr Wells…or not!… After reading the comments i can’t quite make up my mind if you’re for JDs…see, see, it was all opposition hysterics all along! Or Thwims well argued point… that sin begets more sin and eventually leads to rampant over consumption of pricy OJ and ambiguous post by PWS. I’ll go with thwim cuz i just about always do.

    And it would be nice if you speculated on just why did he give her her job back? Where was the payoff in all this for Harper? He get’s to keep a valued minister? He sticks up for a wronged minister? He gets to stick it to the liberals and process accountability nerds [ us] demonstrating that ethics are entirely situational; at least in his world, while parading his big balls of course?
    I for one still don’t get this guy at all.

    •  Oda gets to stay because she is loyal and will commit forgery when ordered to and not reveal the source of the orders.

    • LOL.. that’s a recipe that’s sooner or later going to get you into hot water. :)

      I’d suggest that the answer to why she’s still there is pretty simple: So long as you don’t actually admit fault, you can create doubt that fault was there. What’s more curious to me is why Bernier and Guergis got the boot.

      (Actually, Bernier I understand as a possible challenger to Harper.  Guergis still has me stumped.)

      • That sounds plausible – just straight denial tactics, wait it out and declare victory.  

        Guergis i suspect was a major bit of ethical blundering on Harper’s part and an injustice to a otherwise flakey performer – more upside to ditching her despite the probability that Harper got bad info and went off half cocked…god this guy is as slimy as Paul Martin on any given rainy sunday. A moral coward to boot!

        I was hoping to provoke JD. But he’s still bissfully clinging to the touching notion that lying to Parliament under the tories is not quite the same or near as egregious a lying under a liberal govt…points for loyalty and being selective…none for equity or intellectual honesty.

        Missed Well’s tittle…overconfidence, which clarifies things a bit, maybe?  

      • Thwim I think Guergis got the boot because she was talking about the in and out scheme as something she was asked to participate in and she refused because she understood it to be unethical.  Tall the was flying around during the time she was being very public.  Harper didn’t like the fact that she was being so vocal about it while they were in court charged with election fraud.

        • Harper is sexually repressed. Guergis was turfed because the rumours about her were salacious. Bernier was turfed because he was cavorting with a woman of questionable moral charactor. Harper’s dear friend Bruce Carson who was a known mutiliple felon when he was hired by Harper – only became a problem when he started lobbying for his stripper girlfriend. 

          You can be as crooked and dishonourable as you like in the CPC, just don’t get caught being horny. It makes Steve uncomfortable. 

          • That’s ridiculous.

          • I agree, it is ridiculous. But it fits the facts. Do you have a better theory?

          • Well if Mackay gets caught with a goat in his room and finally gets turfed , we’ll know for sure then.

            Wonder how naughty Jason or Baird would have to be to get turfed?

          • Maybe if either of them announced their engagement.  It seems that’s it’s allright to be gay, as long as you’re not being gay. 

          • Is that a rumour or are you just being naughty?

          • Well, a counter-example would go a long way towards refuting it. Has Harper ever demanded or accepted the resignation of any member of his caucus where there was no  element of sexual impropriety? 

            I’m not saying it’s never happened, I’m just drawing a blank on a name or a circumstance… feel free to remind me. 

    • Ok, i will be the one to say it… in a party with a racially insensitive right wing, run by a looooot of pasty white guys, they want her on the bench. To put it another way, if she were white and male she’d have been gone long ago.

  8. Moral hazard anyone?

  9. From the room descriptions at the Grange:

    General room amenities:

    Non-smoking only

    Wonder if this was responsible?

    • This has already been discussed on twitter and here, in another thread.  Whatever her reason for switching to the posher of the posh hotels, she should have paid the difference oh, say, about 10 months ago.  Long before this morning, do you agree?

      • Nope. She should have just sucked it up and stayed where she was in the first place. Thought we established there are good reasons to stay where the conference is being held. Them not letting you have a smoke in your room doesn’t qualify to me as grounds to switch, especially incurring such a huge cost to do so.

        • Her habit is getting in the way of her work, clearly.

      • Of course it would be too much for her to think that when doing work to help the most disadvantaged on the planet, indulging yourself like the Duchess of Windsor is just not   appropriate. 

    • Bingo.  So the taxpayer  funded  a Safe Inhalng Site for Ms. Oda. 

  10. Bev Oda’s misuse of government funding disgusts me and i certainly won’t be voting Conservative if this is how she makes decisions then she should be forced to leave her position, good stewards of taxpayers money  “I THINK NOT”  shame on you, this should be considered illegal

  11. I thought Harper might ditch or demote her for embezzling funds from the tax payer[ which it is] since that’s his brand rather than liberal wishy washy don’t lie to Parliament, hocus process, handwringing, limp wristed, girly man stuff.

    It seems Harper has gone too far down the slippery slope for that to fly anymore. After all when you don’t demote/fire your MoD for playing happy hitch hiker and toys for big boys bagman, what else is there seriously out there to get incensed about?
    So Odas pocket money will be garnished and she may get the hairy eyeball from the bench, but otherwise it’s full steam ahead on the Team Harper ethical express toward an eventual showdown with mom and dad peed off voter. Just ask Brian what that felt like…course it might take another decade or so.  

    • Agreed, I think Harper has locked himself into defending his crew and now he has to depend on their good judgement.  This can’t end well given some of his cabinet choices.

      • ,,,depend on their good judgement…

        Poor guy must get a lot of sleepless nights. I mean we’ve had more than a few dumb liberals in office, but can you find a grain of real honest to goodness common sense between an A team containing the likes of…

        …Oda, Tony, Kent, Bernier[ may have learned his lesson], Mackay, Pierre P., Big DD, Julien…did i miss anyone? Makes Jason and Baird seem like top drawer stuff.

  12. This government cheated to take power in the 2006 elections.  They have been charged with that crime.  Two of those charged are sitting in our Senate collecting huge paycheques and waiting for their huge pensions.  Why on earth would anyone starting on that premise expect ethical, moral, or democratic behaviour to follow?  When you start out with this kind of behaviour the only outcome can be further cheating, lying and crime followed by paranoia of always being caught.

    • Yes, all Conservatives are bad people.

      • Reductio ad ridiculum. Logical fallacy. You can do better.

        •  Past history shows there’s a good chance he can’t.

      • Not quite what he said, nor does it adequately answer the charge. Trying to match hyperpole with hyperpole doesn’t really cut it. There are grounds for suspicion at the very least over time.

        • So you think clamswithlinguini’s statement was hyperbole?  How so?

          • I’m not sure what he meant by 2006. Maybe he was referring to the infamous RCMP leak, but that was the ndp who sent that letter.

          • The In and Out – wasn’t that 2006?  They’re all starting to blur in my head.

  13. Remember when these guys weren’t going to move into Stornaway or even take their pensions? Now I don’t know if Oda was a PC or Reform, but I know what Harper was.

  14. As a conservative supporter I admit I too am disturbed by this. At the very least she should be removed from her post to ensure the right message is being sent. As for the non conservatives who are crying fraud and foul you need to think before you start throwing your stones. It was the Liberals who cost us over a billion dollars with the defunct gun registry. It was the Liberals who year after year abused their majority by living the high life on the public purse. The conservatives however are in their first majority in quite some time and previously had to govern policy via a minority. Enough with the bitterness because either your party was almost reduced to non party status or just wasn’t given a majority role. Despite the low voter turn out, the majority of the minority voted in the conservatives. The democratic process was allowed to run its course. Again, as a PC supporter I believe she should be stripped of her post and issue a public apology.

  15. A couple hundred extra dollars for a hotel stay is immaterial. I will never understand why people have a stroke over something so relatively meaningless, yet shrug when billions of dollars are wasted on obsolete aircraft and billion dollar 3 day meetings.

    • I didn’t have a stroke, and it’s not ‘just’ another couple hundred dollars.  It’s pathetic that you see things that way.

      • How about you try getting upset about something real? Like the homeless, the starving, the unemployed? The massive waste of funds on the gun registry, the unfairness of the federal transfer payment formula, the failure of this government to join Koyoto? The support for asbestos mining making Canada an international pariah, the sadly deserved loss of Canada’s reputation on the world stage? The robocall fiasco? The suppression of scientific research in this country that does not support the Conservative ideology? Check out this article in the BBC which calls Canada’s government “Orwellian” . And try to make a real, reasoned argument, rather than throwing insults around. 

  16. Precisely.  The good voters of Durham keep voting her in.  They clearly don’t care about how she spends taxpayers money.

  17. Bev Oda is just another conservative pig.  End of.

  18. if Bev is a not  ‘3 strikes-you’re out’ in the next cabinet shuffle Harper is not a very bright man

  19. Bravo.  But unfortunately, her share of the vote will increase again next time.

  20. I wonder how many conservatives in the business world, do the same thing? Go on a company trip and upgrade themselves and then try and slip the extra expenses past the accounting department. While proclaiming to be fiscally responsible, accountable and transparent the conservatives sure seem hell bent on trying to pull the wool over tax payers eyes, and then when CAUGHT, seem to think paying back the difference resolves the problem! I wonder if this could now be a new defense for criminals facing charges, stand up and tell a judge they will pay for what they stole, like Bev and the conservatives have done.. so drop the charges.. all is good!

  21. People just don’t understand — austerity is for the little people — not the anointed of the CPC.

  22. She is so accustomed to living in luxury.
    How could she settle for a five star hotel?

  23. I really miss the old PC party.

  24. I suspect it’s because the original hotel is a non-smoking hotel, and she’s a heavy smoker.

  25. What an idiot she is. Why do we put up with this behaviour? It says as much about us as it does her.

  26. This one is particularly distasteful and symbolic. Harper needs to do more than keep his head down and wait for this to blow over. I’ve always been a Harper supporter and people like me want to see something down with Bev Oda specifically and to show us that this government gets back in touch with the values that their supporters demand they hold true to.

  27. BTW, the picture of Bev Oda is perfect. Ahhhhhhahaha, screw you taxpayers