Cheryl Gallant was almost a political genius

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by Nick Taylor-Vaisey

Jonathan Hayward/CP

“If you’re raising money for a political party, you should be saying you’re raising money for a political party. Otherwise, it’s false advertising.” —NDP MP Charlie Angus

Cheryl Gallant was a political genius. The longtime parliamentarian from a rural riding west of Ottawa perfected political fundraising. She’d found a way to sap untold amounts of money from willing constituents, and she’d unfurled her scheme in broad daylight. She came so close to changing the game—so close, but so far.

Gallant opposes, utterly vehemently, the federal government’s plan to ban the incandescent light bulb. The bulb, beloved if ever a light source could be thanks to its romantic glow, is inefficient and burns out relatively quickly. The feds banned the manufacture and import of incandescents, effective this year, requiring consumers to turn to compact fluorescent lights or light-emitting diodes—CFLs or LEDs, as they’re known in common parlance.

Ever the staunch traditionalist, Gallant launched a campaign to save the incandescent at stopthelightbulbban.ca. She heralded the old ways of lighting homes as “safe and affordable,” and encouraged letter writing and, notably, political donations. Write a letter to three cabinet ministers with the power to stop the ban, and maybe they’ll listen. Donate to the cause, and the cause will endure.

None of this is objectionable, so far. An MP happens to be the advocate for a last-chance campaign. So what?

Glen McGregor, an Ottawa Citizen reporter who’s reported frequently on ethics and money in politics, started asking some questions. He discovered, after the newspaper made a tiny donation, that the campaign funds didn’t land in just any old pot of cash: they ended up in Conservative coffers. The money ended up in the hands of the Conservative riding association in Timmins, Ont.

Gallant, presumably, from time to time, convinces donors to support her campaign and her party. At the same time, she somehow managed to solicit funds from people opposed to the bulb ban, her own party’s policy. What a trick. Support the ban? Donate to the party. Oppose the ban? Donate to the party.

Perfection. Except, well, not so much. McGregor pointed out that Gallant’s website had promised a tax receipt to donors, as is standard for political donations, but that “donations to public-interest campaigns … would not typically qualify for a tax receipt unless the money goes to a registered charity.”  Gallant’s people initially defended the website, but something seems to have changed.

Today, stopthelightbulbban.ca redirects to Gallant’s own website. So much for an act of political genius.

ABOVE THE FOLD

Globe: Supreme Court justices considered the legitimacy of Marc Nadon’s appointment to the top court.

Post: Calgary’s Damian Clairmont, who joined a Syrian rebel group, is reportedly dead.

Star: Pearson airport’s board will investigate its temporary shutdown during a recent deep freeze.

Citizen: MP Cheryl Gallant is funneling donations from an anti-Tory campaign to Tory coffers.

CBC: Oscar nominees will be announced today.

CTV: A Danish tourist suffered a three-hour gang rape in New Delhi, India.

NNW: The left-wing Broadbent Institute wants to train campaign workers.

MOSTLY MISSED

Near: Cracks in sea ice are pulling mercury out of the atmosphere and contaminating the Arctic.

Far: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked for the world’s help after 86 civilians died in Iraq.




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Cheryl Gallant was almost a political genius

  1. This comment was deleted.

    • Not catty at all. Judging women on their appearance has been a long glorious tradition in our society. Nothing sexist about it at all. They better not dress sexy or they’ll get themselves raped.

      …says the comment writer “Sig” with a healthy scoop of sarcasm.

      • Even calling myself “catty” is sexist, Sig. Men don’t act catty, just women do, right?

        • I have yet to see any men here write about female’s hair colour and claim blondes are stupid. Is your bleach blonde = dumb theory only true for Cons or for all women?

          • You think it’s women writing blonde jokes?

          • Seems to be an equal-opportunity thing. I know I’ve personally heard more blonde jokes from women than men (including from some blondes).

        • No. Judging women by their appearance is sexist and unfair, not just catty. Both men and women have been doing this and they should stop.

          Not once in my post did I single out women or men who were doing this, and I have no idea what gender you are Patchouli.

          • I appreciate that; I knew I was asking for trouble by asking the question, and I should have stated (for what it’s worth) that the dumb blonde is a stereotype, not a fact. Anyway, I am still curious as to why the conservative women play into this, even though I have outed myself as sexist and unfair. I guess I think being a woman in politics is hard enough — invites lots of inappropriate criticism like mine — so why the desire to play into the stereotype?

            And I also need to point out that Justin Trudeau’s hair is constantly discussed in these fora — and it’s done in a way to make him seem feminine and lightweight, so it’s the same pretty hair stereotype as the bleach-blonde stereotype.

            As long as it’s more useful to say a comment is racist or sexist, I guess we cannot speculate on anything. Nevertheless, I still think Rempel’s Twitter photo plays herself into a frothy female stereotype and wonder why she would do that to herself. I don’t agree that women in sexy clothing are asking to be raped, but I also would never wear sexy clothing to the office because I don’t want men at work to think of me as sexy, but rather as competent.

          • So you don’t like it when commenters talk about Justin’s hair but now you feel the need to talk about CPC members hair.

            You are so full of logic! You are so great. LOL

          • You said it yourself …’It makes them seem frothy and light’. It’s like Fox ‘news anchors’…..you can be an anchor, you can be an MP even a minister….as long as you look frothy and light. Some women are willing to make that bargain. It’s like the Prairie Muffins….they really believe that stuff.

          • Thank you for that, Emily; as a feminist, I myself am not particularly comfortable with what I’m asking about and was concerned that it would be offensive to you and others. I’m not trying to offend, or to say these women ARE dumb — just that they all choose a look that is very negatively stereotyped. And I don’t see the women in the other parties making this choice, so I am genuinely curious.

          • Con women have to appeal to their base….pink, low cut, blonde hair, lots of makeup. Especially the Alberta ones.

            I find it stupid that they have to do that, but querying it is anything but offensive.

          • Your post, especially that part about “the women in other parties not doing this” me made me curious so I did a quick search and viewed a broad cross section of the pictures available at parl.gc.ca. No particular theme that I could spot, some blonds, some brunettes, some short haired some long, in each of the party’s elected members. So you’ll forgive me if I assume that there is something else at play here.

            As far as Emily’s obvious dislike and stereotyping of westerners is concerned, that’s just her. None of the idiocy that spews forth from her surprises me anymore

          • EVERYthing has to be explained step-by-step to Cons.

            Sigh….could any of those women get elected in Alberta as Libs or NDP?

          • last time I checked, with one exception, no one gets elected in Alberta as a Lib or New Democrat.

          • EXACTLY! Which means the women can only get somewhere politically if they are Cons.

            So they talk, act and look…..Con.

          • Thank you for the link; I also just spent a few moments looking at the photos there and my original question remains: I don’t know whose images you looked at, but as far as I went, I didn’t see any other female MPs from other parties with dyed blonde hair. And I also noted that, since those images have been posted, Eve Adams and Dianne Ablonscy have gone blonde — and add to that list Lois Brown. Collectively, it implies something — not sure what, but the oppo women are not all bleach blondes. And please don’t respond to me, only to spew hatred at Emily. That kind of weakens anything else you may have written about this — indeed, YOUR remarks directed at her, in a response to ME, make me “assume there is something else at play here.”

            It seems impossible that you scrutinized the images and do not see that the con female MPs seem determined to be blonde, with the collective exception being those of visible minority heritage.

          • Patchouli, I was merely being efficient with my posts.
            As as far as my opinion of Emily, there is ample evidence on this forum to support my premise.

          • Disagreement is part of life. Get over it.

            And if you want to disagree with me….do so openly. Don’t hide behind others.

          • Who’s hiding? You read the post, you responded. “Get over it”

          • I found it by accident. You didn’t have the guts to speak to me directly.

          • Justin now admits that he claimed expenses he should not have claimed. Oh well, he blames members of his staff for making the mistakes! Too funny.

            Like I have said for a long, long time now: Time to investigate Trudeau’s expense claims.

          • The answer is simple. Blond dye covers the grey hair better. In politics, if you have any ambitions as a woman, you can’t look old. I saw a Wellesley alumni magazine featuring Hillary Clinton with a classmate, and she looked 30 years younger than her classmate in a stretched, fake looking way.

            Men on the other hand, can look old, but not too old.

          • But I would think a darker dye would actually cover the grey better, which raises another can of worms/issue and could be said to go to the heart of what the original poster was saying.

          • A darker dye shows roots quicker. Blonde has the advantage of disguising grey hair better. But to get back to Patchouli’s original comment – I doubt that all of these women have serious grey hair issues – they aren’t in the age range. I’m 60 & yes I have a fair amount of grey hair, but these women are all a decade or two younger than me. I have a hard time believing that grey hair is an issue for them.

          • Grey roots are more noticeable when the colour is darker. So in terms of maintenace blonde may be easier – can go longer between dye jobs?

          • “I knew I was asking for trouble by asking the question”
            It’s a good question to ask. I’ve wondered the same myself. In my personal life, I don’t know very many women who colour their hair blonde. I just don’t get it. (And to add to your list above: Stella Ambler is another “blonde” Con)

          • Thanks, Kay, for taking my question seriously.

    • It shows better on Commons TV, sort like a turban, when they surround the PM. I think they feel it reflects how CRAP is truly a party of the people, instead of an ad for Nice ‘n’ Easy.

    • Maybe the pmo got a case lot deal at cosco?

    • I thought it was a picture of Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Go’s circa 1981?????

    • Why would these beautiful blondes dye their roots grey? LOL

    • Wow, what a bunch of sexist garbage!!

      Here, have a look at the CPC’s women’s caucus:

      http://www.kellyblockmp.ca/2/post/2013/07/the-conservative-party-of-canada-womens-caucus-withprime-minister-stephen-harper.html

      Seems there’s plenty of non-blondes in there.

      But thanks for perpetrating the idiotic stereotype that all blondes are stupid. You’re really doing a service for women. And I suppose next you’ll tell me you’re a feminist or some garbage like that.

  2. Cons use their base for their own benefit….and the base never catches on.

    It’s like televangelists who get the widow’s last dollar to keep their personal planes in fuel.

    • I thought people were proud of Justin now catching up to CPC fundraising. Must we now believe that Justin’s fundraising efforts are a bad thing?

      You people are a hoot.

  3. Emma Goldman – Anarchy:

    Even were the workers able to have their own representatives ….. what chances are there for their honesty and good faith? One has but to bear in mind the process of politics to realize that its path of good intentions is full of pitfalls: wire-pulling, intriguing, flattering, lying, cheating; in fact, chicanery of every description, whereby the political aspirant can achieve success.

    Added to that is a complete demoralization of character and conviction, until nothing is left that would make one hope for anything from such a human derelict. Time and time again the people were foolish enough to trust, believe, and support with their last farthing aspiring politicians, only to find themselves betrayed and cheated.

    • I fully believe in anarchism, it’s just tough to get the followers organized.

      • Yogi would liked that one.

  4. Does the Tea Party of Canada give receipts now?

  5. A regular charity would have a 25% tax rebate, but by kicking it up to a political donation it receives a 75% rebate. One wonder how many donators that support other parties are incensed. Surely, this cannot be legal under the Elections Canada Act.

  6. Got excited that a MP did want to save incadescent lightbulbs….much friendlier wavelengths of light for the eyes and safer. Too bad donations were sent to Conservative coffers, this will throw a worthy cause under the bus.

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