Public displays of accountability -

Public displays of accountability

Aaron Wherry on how the PM should begin the week


Conservative MP Joan Crockatt celebrates this past week as a triumph for the Harper government.

Our govt has the highest ethical standards demonstrated by 3 resignations: 2 from Senate caucus & the PM chief of staff.

It’s a clear demo of accountability folks from some other parties could emulate. #liberals

Indeed. It is by precisely that measure that the Nixon administration is widely considered to be the most ethical in American history.

How might the Harper government demonstrate even higher ethical standards this week? The Prime Minister could start tomorrow by convening a news conference, at which he could stand and face at least a dozen questions from reporters. The Prime Minister’s Office could release any and all paperwork related to the agreement between Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy. The government’s leadership in the Senate could also appear publicly to face questions about their knowledge of the situation.

Conservative MPs could aid the government they support by demanding that Nigel Wright appear before a parliamentary committee and inviting Mike Duffy to do likewise.

Ms. Crockatt is right, in a way. Ensuring that certain consequences follow from questionable actions is part of being accountable. But so is fully and completely explaining the events in questions and opening oneself to public scrutiny.

Update 10:36pm. Ms. Crockatt would like to explain herself.

After a deluge of sarcastic comments from Twitter users — such as, “That’s like a criminal saying he has the highest ethical standards because he went to jail” — Crockatt told the Herald that her comment has been misinterpreted. When asked to clarify what she meant, Crockatt said, “That accepting the resignations was the right thing to do.”


Public displays of accountability

  1. What consequences are you referring to for the Hon. Senators Wallin and Duffy? they still get the same salary, they just don’t have to go to caucus meetings anymore. Seems like they’re better off.

    • And they most likely won’t have to enter the Senate again while drawing their pay.

      “Accountable” after the fact and only when caught, never contrite in reality or appearance. Two months after this secret-never-to-be-revealed deal was made between the PM, the PMO and Duffy.

      • If we learned only one thing from Andy Thompson, it’s that Senators must poke their heads in once per session to remain on the payroll.

        • And produce a valid medical certificate to remain on payroll.

  2. Paul Martin Called a royal commission when he found out about behaviour like this. Where is the royal commission if Harper Government is so ethical?

    • Here’s an idea: I’m all for a Royal Commission on this if you agree to pay for it. Hint: Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples cost over $50 million in taxpayers’ money.

      • Let’s get Nigel, he funds everything!

        Hey Nigel!

        (This will make sense to people of a certain age who used to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings.)

        Edit. By the way Orson, this is the rationale of every gov’t that wants to hide things, I remember the Chretien Liberals using it often.

        • Nigel only made $2 million a year while working for Onex. I don’t think he has that much spare cash. Let’s let the RCMP and ethics commissioner do an investigation first. As for Ad scam, the commission revealed almost nothing and it cost us $14 million. Do you think people who steal money can be counted for honesty just because they are called in front of a Royal Commission?

          We just had one in Alberta and all of the fat cats had amazing memory loss on the stand. There were so many “I can’t recall who told me that or where I heard that…” The commission findings will be pretty much useless and we’ll still have the same corrupt provincial government.

          • It costs an obscene amount of money to keep criminals incarcerated but you don’t often hear people advocating that we stop prosecuting crime because it is not cost effective. The process is worth the cost.

          • So you think that $55 million Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples was worth the cost? That was good value for the money spent?

          • Any particular reason you want to talk about the cost of the RCAP rather than Gomery, or do is it just the almost quadruple price tag?

          • I am not sure why the Gomery inquiry would be seen as a good deal for the price tag of $14 million dollars. The final report was highly criticized and Mr. Chretien actually took the matter to federal court because of the way he was allegedly misrepresented in it. Then the federal court ordered the Canadian taxpayers to pick up the tab for Mr. Chretien’s lawyers. Chretien claimed Gomery was bias toward Mr. Martin and against him (Chretien). The whole thing turned into a bout of ugly infighting in the Liberal party. What an dignified ending to what was supposed to be a fact finding mission into corruption in the government..

          • I’m sure that’s all nice but you didn’t address my question, nor can you as it wasn’t directed at you.

          • I think almost all public inquiries are grossly expensive and inefficient, such that the main beneficiaries are the squadrons of lawyers who are hired to fill the various roles. They are billing buffets for lawyers. That includes Gomery.

          • I am surprised that you would use that comparison. It seems most people on here believe that a good majority of incarcerations and prosecutions in this country are also a waste of money and unnecessary. I am sorry I don’t agree that the process is usually worth the cost in regard to these inquiries.

      • Royal Commissions are the acknowledged method of sweeping things away into oblivion (or, under the rug). The GG could fire Harper, or we could have another RoboElection.

    • We certainly had Dingwall in front of a public accounts committee of the HoC for less than that – actually, in the end, for nothing.

  3. How about demonstrating the highest ethical standard by not having these ethic failures in the first place?

    The only reasons those resignations occurred is because your reformist government has been caught with the hand in the cookie jar. It leaves one to wonder if this would have occurred if the leak on the 90K did not happen. Furthermore, it clouds your entire party ethics and credibility when it’s obvious that your party leader knew of this yet praised the folks who did this anyway. Also past “ethical” lapses have been glossed over and even praised by the CPC.

    The horse has left the barn, ms Crockatt and the only option left is for your leader to admit his meddling and resign.

  4. Eureka! I now understand what the government means when it talks about “ethical” oil.

  5. First, the only resignation was Nigel Wright… the rest well Canadians are paying the ‘independent’ Conservative Salaries until they are 75. Second, calling a Royal Commission would be an actual act of ethical and moral behaviour and that is something the Conservative Government prefers to use solely as talking points not as operational directives. Third, doing the right thing for the country, as a whole, would actually take strength of character which the Conservative Party is seriously lacking. Lastly, the word ‘Honourable’ has been sullied beyond all description after the Poilievre treatment and should be stricken from the Canadian vernacular for a period of at least 10 years.

  6. This just in: To address Senate crisis & restore Canadians faith, PM
    Harper will fly to Columbia to watch a trade agreement meeting….WTF?

    • “We still got some Leaderin’ to do.”

    • To be fair, it was on his docket for a while and he’s picking up a suitcase for Rob Ford. Also, not sure you can decline Columbian hospitality.

    • Looking for pointers I’d say…

  7. I think Conservative
    MP Joan Crockatt is eyeing Duffy’s soon to be vacant position as ‘Class Clown’

    • Never understood when people said “what a crock!”, that crock was short for Crockatt.

      • What a crock is actually short for “what a crock of shit”. According to the urban dictionary this saying refers back to Roman times when people excreted in a jar (or crockery).

        • True, and when the emperor had filled the crockery to the brim with his shit, he called for a servant to proudly display the “crock a shit” and proclaim to the assembled court about its virtuous smell and consistency as it was carried away. Over the years, this class of servants became known as “crock-a-shitts”. Later the name was shortened to “crocka’tt”, and finally modernized to its current form “Crockatt”.

          • Hahaha! You made that “shit” up!

          • you probably just cut & pasted that from

          • so what lenny???? it’s the first time I hear this and it made me laugh

  8. Oh right, high ethical standards. Like undermining democracy with omnibus bills and proroguing Parliament. Like ignoring the robocalls scandal which basically means the entire PMO is a fraud. Like Bev Oda. Like MacKay’s helicopter lift. The list goes on and on and on.

    How could be demonstrate better ethical standards? How about by resigning – after all there are so many crooks in his cabinet that he’s either corrupt or incompetent; either way he’s not fit to be a leader. Or at the very least call a new election to address the robocalls issue. But of course – that’s not going to happen. Instead he’ll just throw people to wolves and have people like Crockatt smile and say how nice it is, over the sound of gurgling screams and cracking bones.

    I’ve heard some unbelievable crap but this article takes the cake…

  9. The usual Conservative tactic is attack. The Sun Media rep tried to turn around Angus’ press conference by bringing up the Mulcair bribe attempt in the 90’s.

    But if the Cons bring out Poilievre to do his thing in the Commons and attack Mulcair on not reporting the bribe, it will open up the door for the NDP to use that word in response.

    The Cons better be careful not to open doors they don’t want open. That’s the word they don’t want flying around.

    Will we hear about “sponsorship”?

  10. Joan Crockett’s “through the looking glass” logic would be hilarious if it weren’t so prevalent and persistent in this government. The disrespect for the citizenry conveyed in her words is shameful. We hear this baffle gab every time one of them opens their mouth. It is so dishonest and destructive and yet it has sustained their government for seven years. Why do they continue to get away with this?

  11. Survey after survey indicates both politicians and journalists near the bottom of the ‘held in high esteem’ scale. Being both, (along with Mr. Duffy and Ms, Wallin), ‘Crockateer’ ably demonstrates why.

  12. The thing to remember is that Harper has been pushing for Senate reform from day one and he has gotten little help from the opposition or the media. If we were the honest non-partisan Canadians like we pretend to be, we’d be saying” By golly , Harper was just proven right, eh!”

    • I`m afraid you`re in the wrong place if you expect to get any support for something sensible to come out of this mess, like Senate reform.

      Wells and Wherry simply use this opportunity to press a few buttons to get the Harper-Hater crowd to vent their anger.

      You won`t find any constructive solutions around here to a corrupt system of Senate appointments that Harper and Manning tried to change in 1993. Liberals and Premiers ignored them at that time and also in 2006 when Harper delayed the appointment of Senators in the hope that there would be some cooperation to reform a useless Senate.

      Look, if you want to get 97 thumbs up around here, you should compare this Duffy thing to Paul Martin calling the Inquiry on Liberals systematically stealing public funds in brown paper bags or maybe like the idiot below who has taken this opportunity to speculate on Vic Toews firebombing an orphanage.

      • Get yourself a dictionary. Look up “hyperbole”… then look up every word in that definition including the articles and prepositions so that you might, within a period of some years, begin to understand the concept. Then get a dedicated volunteer tutor to redo your entire education starting from grade three. I don’t know how old you are now, but I hope that within the space of 5 to 10 years you might be able to tell the difference between a joke and actual speculation about the real world.

        I know you CPC partisans object to comments about your intelligence but trust me when I say that I have never disparaged your intelligence with half the efficacy that you manage yourself. Nor would I make the effort. Quispam made a stupid comment and then you just blew him out of the water with a WMD of stupidity.

        • Settle down gar—-we all know you were going for the cheap laugh—which is why I said you were only speculating.

      • Well, Andrew, I really didn’t expect to get any support, your response was a welcome surprise. I read a few of the comments and I can’t believe the political naively of some Canadians. Maybe they’re all teens who haven’t had much experience in the real world. The firebombing thing sounds extremely immature. I know these guys aren’t stupid but they seem to treat politics like a sport but they don’t recognize what is important and what isn’t. They don’t seem to have any ideas of their own but simply keep repeating the political spin being fed by the media. They should be asking why Harper keeps getting elected and is it possible, as the opposition claims, that Harper has done nothing right in all his yrs in office. We have to make decisions based on such common sense and reality and trust the law to dig out real corruption and not some talk show host. We will seldom have all the necessary details to make accurate assessments. There will always be people who break the laws or bend the rules or abuse their expense accounts. you can’t blame the CEOs of any organization, be it CBC, CTV, etc. To pretend otherwise is juvenile. The Nixon admin was caught in a criminal act and people went to jail. The only comparison here is that liberals went to jail for Adscam. Are people simply not interested in truth and reality?

        • No elected Liberal was charged, let along went to jail. Crooked businessmen in Quebec were charged, found guilty and sent to jail. You were making a fine argument until you decided to pump your chest in defense of the Regime while telling little white lies about the Liberals. Now, sadly, you have as much credibility as Mike Duffy. That’s what partisan rants do, they rob people of credibility. Suddenly, nobody is listening.

          • Do you think somebody is going to be charged and go to jail this time? Is that our barometer for whether or not the actions of a politician are corrupt? Come on! When in Canadian history has an Ottawa politician gone to jail? You are right about partisans but defending ad scam is not the way to prove that you aren’t a partisan. It doesn’t matter if you yourself want to stick your head in the sand and pretend that ad scam wasn’t a big deal. What matters is the perceptions of all those people who no longer vote Liberal because of ad scam. If you want Justin Trudeau to be the Prime Minister in 2015, you guys better start admitting what all of us believe….that ad scam happened…the party was corrupt in 2005. Then you can start selling your re-birth as a brand new party under a brand new leader with very high ethical standards. You can tell people that you have seen the corruption in the Conservative party and you don’t like it. You can say your are are a different kind of party. Denying you have ever had any corruption is arrogant and treats the voters as though they have no sense. Do you know that a Edmonton major in the 1960’s went to prison while in office for fraud (a land scandal). He was re-elected some 25 years later to the major’s office. His name was William Hawrelak. He died in office the second time around and they named a big park after him. We can all forgive a misstep, even if it is criminal (given enough time) just don’t try to play us for fools. and pretend it didn’t happen. Even Paul Martin admitted to the political corruption that was adscam.

          • I agree with you. I think the Liberals missed a huge opportunity by refusing to admit their culpability and by refusing to name the Quebec candidates who received illegal campaign contributions during the time of the Sponsorship Scandal. I forget who said it earlier today – perhaps Senator George Baker? – but you must not let loyalty undermine your own integrity. The Liberal Party never disavowed the candidates who profited directly from the Sponsorship scheme, and there were most assuredly some, and that will always count against them in my view.

          • Let me repeat: Not one elected Liberal was charged with any wrongdoing. That’s the facts! I made no suggestion that Ab Scam didn’t ruin the Liberal brand, just as the In and Out scam, the 3 Billion dollars gone astray, the robocall scheme and the recent scandals surrounding the PM’s office won’t ruin the Regime now in office. But not one Conservative was charged in any of the above scams/scandals (yet) and that is also the facts. (Gordon Campbell was elected premier of B.C. after a DUI charge, as well, so I know what you mean by people ‘forgiving’ politicians and still voting for them.) But we have to stick to facts. The minute you deny facts, then your point of view becomes opinion only and, like a–holes, every has on. But the facts can not be contested. Sorry. Just so you understand, NO elected Liberals was charged with the sponsorship scandal. That was my point.

          • I didn’t deny facts. No one has to be charged or go to jail for corruption to be rampant. No Liberal was charged in ad scam. No Conservative as been charged thus far with anything either.
            It doesn’t mean corruption isn’t occurring. I don’t care if any Liberals were charged. That just means the paper trail wasn’t solid enough in the eyes of the prosecution to take someone to court. Lots of charges never happen even when crimes happen. I understand YOUR point. My point is that the voters don’t care if anyone went to jail. It is all the voter’s perception of what happened. We now have two national parties with histories of corruption. My prediction is we will see a new ‘right’ movement come out of the west. When they don’t like the voting options, they start up a new party.

          • The court of public opinion. Parliament. Let’s have Duffy, Wright, Harb, Wallin in front of the HoC public accounts committee – and, I need add, hold the meeting in public, not in camera,

          • I would be FULLY agreeable to such a thing but I would also like to see the RCMP investigate all of it. If criminal activity took place, let charges be laid.

        • Quite a lot of noise with little to no real information or an actual argument, just pointing fingers in all directions, add a few distractions, spread the blame to everyone else and their dogs and you have earned you pay for the day. Then you turn to sneer and slur inexperienced naive Canadians who can’t possibly understand the world the way you do in your omnipotent manner. Typical con chest pounding arrogance. Then it’s the evil media’s turn who are not asking the right questions, so it’s their fault. You ask a foolish con propaganda driven question “why does Harper keep getting elected?” as if there has been that fanciful shift to the right the NP preaches or Harper has done anything at all right for Canada, he has not. His reform movement got both their minorities on the fallout from Gomery and Liberal infighting, not to mention Duffy’s back stabbing Dion. They got their “majority” on 39% of the votes cast while the left was severely split, and he had to resort to cheating to even get that. Harper did not get elected, he gained power by default and by fraud, not by his good graces or his leadership abilities. What is most galling about your clap-trap post is your excusing these thieves and liars by telling us naive Canadians that since there will always be crooks and thieves that it’s okay to steal and lie. That the CEO – Harper – is not at fault, it is his fault. It is his fault. As someone else already pointed out, you lied directly and with intent when you said Liberals went to jail during Adscam, nothing more than a con central talking point. Your entire commentary is nothing more than PMO propaganda and spin.

          • Your reply to Quispam simply proves his-her point that it will be a long time before Liberals are fit to govern.

            I`ll repeat what was said earlier and tell you that voters will not elect a Liberal Party just because you hate Harper.

            C`mon guys– try to become a substantive, principled political Party, instead of an entitled bunch hoping a pretty boy will convince enough naivety out there to send them back to the trough.

          • You guys just don’t get it. Those people who showed up and voted Conservative in 2011….the ones you disdain so much….you NEED them to vote Liberal in 2015 because let’s face it, they actually SHOW UP TO VOTE! Getting caught up in semantics over whether or not there was adequate proof to send a Liberal to jail for ad scam is diminishing the corruption that happened. How is that any different than the spin you are so disgusted with the Conservatives for doing? MOVE ON! You need to take a page out of Paul Martin’s play book and admit ad scam happened. There was corruption in the Liberal government in 2005 but under Justin Trudeau in 2013, the Liberal party is squeaky clean. This denying isn’t going to work to switch voters over to your party and you need to do that because right now it looks like all we have in Ottawa are crooks who don’t want to admit that they are crooks.

      • That’s because it has nothing to do with Senate reform. It has to do with the poor judgment of the sitting prime minister who chose to appoint to the senate persons who were investigation for wrongdoing. It has to do with the prime minister and his power to recommend appointment, something his reform project does not address.

        • And all I`m saying is that if Senate reform had happened in 1993 or 2006 as Harper had wanted but couldn`t because of the laws in the Constitution and Liberal and Premier unwillingness, then there would never have been a Duffy in a equal, elected and effective Senate.

          If liberals are sincerely wanting more democracy in our institutions then they will use this opportunity to push for Senate reform.

          If they are simply using Duffy to get another slam at Harper, while hoping they will soon get their chance at the Senate trough, then they are hypocrites—-worse than Duffy.

          • I guess Harper didn’t know about the Constitution when promised never to appoint Senators. Poor fellow.
            How was he to know that a dead-beat dad, and a guy with ethical problems of his own wouldn’t make good Senators.
            It’s not his fault!

          • He never would have appointed a Senator if Liberals had agreed to reform Senate—-hence liberals = hypocrites.

          • So when he made the promise he was actually speaking on behalf of the Liberals. Thanks for clearing that up.

  13. Just wait until Vic Toews firebombs an orphanage, Joan will then nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    • That’s nothing.Ted Opitz will seek, nay, humbly demand, both a statue and canonization. In a gentlemanly way, of course.

  14. soon there will be ANOTHER appointed senator by the name of Nigel Wright .

    • Nigel Wright makes 2 million dollars a year in the business world. Do you really think he wants to take a cut in pay to $130K to be a senator? He is only 48 years old. He only took the job in the PMO for 2 years as a favor to Harper. He was always going back to the business world. Maybe when he retires, a Conservative PM will appoint him as a senator. Gawd knows the institution will still be there in all its glory in another 20 years.

      • Senators are allowed to have outside jobs. He can continue to collect his two million. How much do you think Duffy makes on the speaking circuit on top of his senatorial salary?

        • You would have to read the article in the Walrus about Nigel Wright. He doesn’t work just 9-5 at Onex. He puts in 12 hour days. The only way he could do both jobs, is to miss a lot of time in the senate and the only way you can miss THAT much time is to have a medical certificate from a physician. You can hardly be too sick to attend the senate but well enough to work at Onex.
          The other point is WHY would Nigel Wright want to bother? He has been sooooo far under the radar his whole life. He donates a lot of his money to charity so if he were in the for the money, he would just be less generous to his charities. He isn’t in for the glory because he never gives interviews. Also, what a hassle being in the senate is. Gawd he apparently took a 75% or so cut pay to work in the PMO and look how badly that turned out. Plus he gave Duffy 10% of his per diem salary. No, I think he will stay in the business world that makes sense to him. If he is a really nice guy like they say, he must be thinking the old adage is true…”no kind deed goes unpunished”.

          • You sound like quite a fan of Nigel Wright!

          • No. The only person I am real fan of is Steve Nash. I also have great respect for Bill and Melinda Gates for the work they do with their foundation. I never even knew Nigel Wright existed until this weekend. However, since the story broke, I have done as much research as I could on Nigel Wright and all the information would seem to suggest he is very squeaky clean. He is kind of a Bill Gates. He has no enemies. He is considered a friend by almost everyone who they interview. He is very generous and devoted to charities. He is heavily involved in the Anglican church. He was adopted as a child. He has never married. They know nothing about his private life. Let’s put it this way, if there is ANYONE in Canada who would give $90K to pay off a friend’s bill to the taxpayer, he would probably be that person. I think that is why the journalists, some of whom are friends of his (Andrew Coyne being one) are so shocked by his behavior. They don’t understand what happened and why he made such a misjudgment. I think they genuinely have hard time believing he would do something unethical.

            All that being said, I totally support a full RCMP investigation, including support from the ethics commissioner into Nigel Wright’s activities with regard to this cheque and his dealings with Mr. Duffy. I don’t think his reputation should preclude him from being investigated.

  15. Sorry, Ms.Crockatt, as I’ve said elsewhere, that’s spin, not spine. As a newcomer to the Con caucus, you seem awfully eager to tarnish your own reputation by publicly defending this stinkfest.

    • It is her job.

      • Cheesy way to make a living.

        • Some people enjoy that kind of work. I think they call it public relations. Did you ever see that movie, “Thank you for Smoking”?

          • Nope. Haven’t seen it.

            Anyway, I thought her job was MP for Calgary Center. I wonder if the good denizens of Calgary Center know that she’s moonlighting as a (not very convincing) public prevaricator for disgraced senators.

          • Sorry…the movie I mentioned is a satirical look on at how to spin anything to your benefit. It’s awesome entertainment and I believe the political parties are using it as a play book.
            As for Ms. Crockett she is a “cup 1/2 full” kinda gal when it comes to her colleagues misdeeds. I am not sure what her constitutes think. It is a long weekend so we haven’t had much feedback in the Calgary Herald yet from citizens in Calgary. We will have to wait and see.

      • Her job is to do what is best for her constituents.
        Her job is not to put ‘party’ before all else.
        Ask Nigel what happens when one does that.

        • Of course that is all true. At this point though, Nigel Wright has not been found guilty of any crime so you cannot ask her to throw him under the bus. All she could say is ‘no comment’.

        • She came out before the by-election and claimed “To me, the job is to support the Prime Minister in whatever way that he thinks.”

          She got elected.

          Presumably the people of Calgary Centre are quite happy with having a sock-puppet for an MP.

  16. Sick, just sick.

  17. This comment was deleted.

    • I think you should go and talk to Rob Ford. Then go to speak with Tim Hudak.

  18. It isn’t “ethics” if a person resigns when a person resigns, or is dismissed, after being caught doing something wrong. The ethical person doesn’t do the wrong thing in the first place.

  19. This comment was deleted.

    • Please go somewhere else. I bet you are a right wing masquerading as a left wing because of all the filth you are spewing out.

      • Say what?

  20. Wow, how do you screw up an undoubtedly Tory War Room/PMO-approved talking point + bonus gratuitous Liberal attack that was surely handed to you to be tweeted verbatim? Clearly Crockatt’s not ready for prime time. Hope her constituents are watching closely her ridiculous efforts at defending these outrageous actions by completely missing the point of the whole scandal. As if being turfed from the Conservative Party and the PMO even begins to demonstrate ethical behaviour. She should be ashamed, but self-respect and dignity continue to remain elusive in this Tory caucus.