Deepak Obhrai: ‘This statement is mine’

A Conservative MP defends himself


A statement from Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai, delivered in the House before Question Period this morning, seemingly in response to the departure of Brent Rathgeber from the Conservative caucus.

Mr. Speaker, recently we have been called trained seals and it has been said we do not have any choice in representing our constituents. Let me set the record straight. It has been a privilege to represent my constituents who elected me based on the policies we put forward. These policies are made by grassroots members and elected members together. This is teamwork. We do not campaign on our personal agendas.

During my time in Parliament, since 1997, both in opposition and government, I have had numerous opportunities to put views forward and have input in public policy. Through caucus and direct access, we can influence policies on behalf of our constituents. This is teamwork. This approach is what makes one a very effective representative, and it has been an honour and a privilege to do this. Let me say, this statement is mine, my own sentiment and not approved by PMO, or anybody else.


Deepak Obhrai: ‘This statement is mine’

    • With Obhrai, it’s more like Scarf! Scarf! Scarf!

  1. Following his statement, Obhrai clapped his hands and balanced a ball on the tip of his nose.

  2. Enter a PMO lackey who patted Obhrai on the head and tossed him a herring.

  3. How can we be sure rathgeber is telling the truth. It seems odd to me, after all this time, he now decides to step forward and claim the PMO is out of control and harpo knows nothing about it. Why didn’t rathgeber do something sooner, like tell harpo his staff is out of control?

    • Behind closed doors? Maybe he did.

      • But he insists harpo doesn’t know. his statements don’t add up.

        • I don’t know why he keeps defending Harper’s integrity. I agree that is puzzling.

          • Why are the Conservatives currently “enjoying” their strong, stable majority? It is nice in Canada, that we focus more on policy that $, but it is naive to dismiss fundraising as a major driver.

            Wright, Finlay and Gerstein established the Conservative Fund around the time the party was created. Since that time, this remarkable fund has raised approximately three times the funds of all other Canadian parties combined. With that changed landscape, the idea of continual election-style attack ads became feasible. Attempting to match the Conservatives drove the Liberals deep into deficit and rendered them incapable of mounting a serious election campaign for years.

            Ignatieff and Dion were handicapped not only by their own failings, but also by being put in the absurd position of opposing the government in principle while propping it up to avoid an election.

            What is the relevance of the above? We all assume that Harper is calling the shots and Wright, Finlay and Gerstein are facilitating. That is an assumption, especially wrt caucus discipline. Perhaps Rathberger assumes something we don’t, and supports Harper while wanting to purge the PMO of Wright et al. While admittedly farfetched, it is completely consistent with Rathberger’s statements.

    • If you feed the word “rathgeber” into the Maclean’s search engine, you will see many stories from as long as a year ago, including a “maverick watch” all about Rathgeber. His timing is either good or really bad, depending on who you are, but you know, he could have gone away and thought about it all summer instead of pulling the plug now. I believe Rathgeber, because his reputation seems very solid.

      But I am not so sure that there isn’t something coming up that he wants to explore: I keep thinking about Peter McKay’s sabre rattling yesterday about leaving the party.

      There’s a CPC conference coming up very soon. What if PM got low rating, got all pissed off and petulant as is his nature, and stepped down, so that Jason Kenney — the only senior cabiniet minister who seems to be refusing to defend this stuff in HoC, takes the leadership. Then they can say all the stuff happened under Harper, and it will be a whole new clean and integrity-filled day under Kenney.

      No, this is not merely crazy Friday afternoon speculation. Haha, well, of course it is, but you know, could happen.

      • But his story doesn’t add up.

        • In what way, Justin? I don’t know how many opportunities caucus members have to actually speak to the PM. But if you mean it’s contradictory that he still seems to believe the PM’s integrity himself, yes, I also find that interesting coming from a guy so pissed off that he quit the party.

          What do you think of my scenario: do you think maybe something is afoot with some of the “mavericks?” Trost also defended Rathgeber — these are all Western MPs, so maybe they are going to splinter off again, rebuild again.

          • Duffy was able to walk up the PM, why can rathgeber, after parliament one day?

            Personally I’m not sure what to think. I know I don’t trust rathbeger, or harpo. But the whole story about the PMO controlling the mps, and harpo not knowing about. If rathbeger respected harpo so much, why didn’t he try to warn him about his rogue PMO? I don’t see rathbeger’s actions as the best way to get harpo’s attention. harpo hasn’t even addressed these now public grievances. Hell, this could all just be a ploy to distract from the whole senate scandal.

            Your theory is as good as any.

          • You’re right about the Duffy/Rathgeber comparison (but Harper chose Duffy, whereas he merely inherited Rathgeber and other MPs).

            To further your theory: I have just read that Rathgeber did NOT advise or consult with his riding association prior to quitting caucus. He may not feel he owes PMO anything, but in my opinion, he sure as hell owes his riding assocation an explanation, and preferably a heads up too.

            I cannot believe that Harper doesn’t know what’s going on in his office: you cannot be the controlling puppeteer AND claim ignorance. I think NIgel Wright was selected as CoS precisely so that he could run the fundraising arm of CPC.

          • Totally agree about harpo and duffy. What ever rathbeger’s motives, I take it more like a rat fleeing a sinking ship. I ‘m just not sure what his game is.

      • A CPC lead by Jason Kenny would move the CPC election results into Kim Campbell territory. I say, go for it Jason.

        • I am just enjoying all the betrayal. I have learned that even though I loathe Harper, Kenney, etc, everyone who votes for them does not agree with me. But if you say Kenney would bomb, then I say bring on the Kenney. Hebert just published a column saying she thinks we may be closer to a Harper stepping down moment. Insert smiley face here.

    • Enjoy the theatre; I do. Tickets are complementary with your monthly paycheck tax deductions. Once every few years, you get to select from a menu of villains to star in the Canadian version of King John (so well portrayed by the illustrious Stephen Joseph Harper).

    • You need to read the context when Rathgeber made that statement. When he was talking about how there’s “a lot of stuff goes on in the PMO that the Prime Minister doesn’t know about”, he was speaking about Nigel Wright’s payment to Duffy. In fact his very next sentence is: “We know he did not know about the cheque, and I don’t think that’s the only example.”

      He’s not saying they’re out of control, or even exonerating Harper for what happened to his bill. He’s saying that he thinks there’s unethical crap going on underneath Harper that Harper doesn’t know about.

      • Maybe you should tead the part, where he talks about the PMO using mps like trained seals. he’s also referring to that part too.

  4. There is a cabinet shuffle coming up……..

    • The B Team: Rempel, Adams, Polievre — they are all over the TV shows defending PMO because they hope to be in cabinet.

      I am interested in the upcoming CPC convention. What will happen there? Kenney has clearly refused to defend this stuff — and where are these leaks all coming from? Leaks to Fife re: Duffy and Nigel Wright. Leaks to Weston re: secret slush funds and Nigel Wright.

      In all of this — Nigel’s halo is getting a little bashed up, not as shiny as before.

      • The PMO controls who goes on which TV show, so the B team aren’t going for their own ambition, they are being sent, but it adds up to the same thing, they are the new chosen and don’t want to mess up. Rempel has had some shaky moments spouting the talking points but i guess she’s OK.

        • Yes they are being sent, but as a kind of Survivor Junior Minister episode, whether it’s answering in the H of C or going on a TV show. I’d bet on Chris Alexander for promotion at this point, but women help soften the CPC look, and you can’t ever count out Skippy so we’ll see who the audience texts to win.

          • I have to say about Chris Alexander that my estimation of him falls each time I hear him speak. He was supposed to be some kind of wunderkind but he always sounds like a complete muppet, even in comparison to the likes of Poilievre and del Mastro. Maybe he’s just bad at reciting talking points.

          • His nose is too short for his face. His hair is messy. His teeth are too Anglo-Saxon and he is not a convincing liar. And so on.

      • Yes, its very curious that all this crap is coming out now. I was suspicious that some sort of factional infighting was happening in the PMO, with Nigel Wright being somehow targeted. Maybe by Novak? It is also interesting that a lot of this is coming out in the wake of Doug Finlay’s passing, I wonder if that is mere coincidence . . .

        • What’s really a mess is the communications — inconsistent, stories changing on the fly, and the PM saying he didn’t know stuff. I sound conspiracy minded, but I think Harper is in the middle of his own Paul Martin type rebellion, where some future leader wants him out in time to rebuild. And somebody is leaking stuff to Fife and to Weston — but nobody is talking about the leaks!

          • Could very well be that, quite plausible. . .but from what angle? Time running out on the government before Canadians want them gone, or the age of the would be challenger? This upcoming convention may be more interesting than was originally expected, and maybe all the leaks are but a lead up to an endgame there?

          • I guess time will tell, but if Canadians are getting sick and tired (finally), then the CPC will want a reset, change the channel, and how better to do that than to say: look we have a new leader, and it’s a whole new day? NOT THAT IT WOULD BE A WHOLE NEW DAY, but you know, their blind base that loves the power would likely fall in line with that.

  5. seneca – successful crime is dignified with the name of virtue; the good become the slaves of the impious; might makes right; fear silences the power of the law.

  6. Mr. Speaker, recently we have been called trained seals and it has been said we do not have any choice in representing our constituents.

    What is noteworthy about this is that Mr. Obhrai got the whole thing out without dropping the giant beach ball he was balancing on his nose.

  7. i just wish that Mark Warwara would have stood up immediately after and given the exact same speech. That would have been priceless.

  8. There’s a saying about US politics: Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line. I think it’s applicable in Canada now. Conservative party members seem to believe that parroting PMO is discipline, and constitutes”teamwork,” and that cheering on the leader is their first priority — rather than serving the people of Canada, which ranks lower on the scale.

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