The Commons: The power and the responsibility

Saying ‘sorry’ is for suckers


The Scene. Peter MacKay stepped out into the foyer just long enough to turn and walk up the stairs. The small horde of reporters that had been waiting for him were left to shout questions at his retreating figure. For the record, the back of his head had no comment.

“I would suggest to the minister, if he’s open to advice,” the NDP’s David Christopherson offered to a different gaggle of reporters a few minutes later, “that he get to a microphone fast and come clean and tell the true story and then ask for forgiveness.”

It is often said that with great power comes great responsibility and maybe that was even true at some point. At it is, it would be more accurate to say that with great power one is afforded the authority to decide what one wants to take responsibility for. And that modern power means, and depends on, doing everything to avoid ever saying sorry.

It is Mr. MacKay’s current predicament that his plea of innocence on the charge that he was frivolously airlifted out of a fishing trip at taxpayer expense now seems to be contradicted by the written record. The phrase “under the guise of” is involved. And if the minister has an explanation for the discrepancy, he is not yet ready to say so.

“Mr. Speaker, I will ignore the hyperbole and the hyperventilating,” he scolded the NDP’s Christine Moore when the matter was raised this afternoon. “I have said before, I was leaving personal time to go back to work early and before doing so, took part in a search and rescue exercise that we had been trying to arrange for some time.”

Mr. Christopherson ventured that Mr. MacKay had misled the House. But if he had, the minister wasn’t afraid to do so again. “Mr. Speaker, as I just said and as I have said before in the House a number of times, I stated I took part in a search and rescue demonstration. That in fact happened,” he declared. In fact, he had a quote from a brigadier-general, which seemed to vaguely support the minister’s version of events.

Alas, Liberal MP Scott Simms had some quotes too. “Mr. Speaker, if the minister is going to start using quotes about search and rescue, then let us take a look at this one, which was uncovered by the Toronto Star: ‘If we are tasked to do this we of course will comply—given the potential for negative press though, I would likely recommend against it,’ ” the short, fu-manchu’d Liberal related. “That was about the flight, but yet the minister did it anyway. The next day is when they said it would be under the guise of a training mission of some sort.”

For the sake of emphasis, Mr. Simms put guise in air quotes.

There was not quite a question here, but Mr. MacKay, who seemed entirely unbothered this day, stood anyway, mostly for the opportunity to suggest that Mr. Simms had taken part in search-and-rescue demonstrations too. The Conservatives whooped it up, apparently feeling that this was proof of something or other.

That was enough to get Mr. MacKay through the afternoon. And with the weekend nearly here that may be enough to keep the minister in cabinet.

The Stats. Aboriginal affairs, seven questions. Government spending and Service Canada, four questions each. AIDS, three questions. Immigration, the environment, taxation, bullying, infrastructure, seniors and crime, two questions each. Iran, RCMP, Canada Post and the Governor General, one question each.

John Duncan, four answers. Stephen Harper, Peter MacKay, Kellie Leitch, Tony Clement and Colin Carrie, three answers each. Jason Kenney, Jim Flaherty, Vic Toews, Candice Hoeppner and Denis Lebel, two answers each. Joe Oliver, Peter Kent, Julian Fantino, John Baird, Alice Wong, Rob Nicholson, Steven Fletcher and Peter Van Loan, one answer each.


The Commons: The power and the responsibility

  1. I doubt very much MacKay will ever be tossed out of cabinet…for any reason.

    • That would be admitting fault.  He’s as safe as Clement.  And now we have Duncan,  who doesn’t seem to know what day it is, let alone what is happening in his Ministry but I suppose expecting him to be bounced is too much to expect.

      • Also MacKay is the last leader the PC had…it might well be that if he goes, so do the rest of them

        • Won’t happen..they’re now too enured to power in the CPC. They’ll only bolt when it’s no longer politically advantageous to be in Harper’s seal colony.

          • Entirely possible….money, chauffers….hard stuff to give up for principles.

          • Don’t forget the Liberal sponsorship[ scandal. Provincial NDP are no different.

          • @8a99ef4b286ee14621f18abc06536a6b:disqus 

            Yeah, and we musn’t forget the Sir John A railway scandal either

      • Tempest in a left-wing teapot.

        • Keep telling yourself that.

  2. Its a sad state of affairs that when a MP is caught in a out and out lie that his fellow cons gather around him and offer him all kinds of allabies, You can bet that when he is asked to prove his reasons everything will have been cleared and all evidence will have disappeared, The one thing I’ll always remember about Peter is when he called his former girlfriend a BITCH, a real gentleman, con style.

  3. This is great news for anyone who goes out on the water or the land in Newfoundland.

    You get into trouble, just call search and rescue, and pretend to be Peter Mackay. They’ll get to you double-time.

  4. What will it take for Canadians to be fed up with this bunch?

  5. I tried to post a comment on the National Post and they blocked me, I guess if I had said that Tubby and his bobbleheads were the salt of the earth I would have been welcomed with open arms. Somebody mentioned John Duncan and that brought to mind a scene on Question Period when he was asked a question about the mess at Attawapiskat and he did”nt know what they were talking about, he stuttered and stammered  and then went quiet until his fellow seatmate helped him out. The script did”nt have the answer typed out for him to follow. Do they all get together before Question Period and decide what questions they are going to ask and have the answers all written out for them?  when someone asks a question thats not on the paper it throws them into a panic. It seems its the same for both sides.Another things that seems strange is that the NDP are the official opposition but the CCRAPERS throw all their slurs and dirt at the Liberals, What the hell are they afraid of?

    • Just send your comment over to Coyne and he will take it with him over to the Post next week and they will be glad to answer your silly questions.

      • I’m sensing a little pique over Coyne going to the Post.  Interesting.

      • I sincerely hope that Coyne will make efforts to stem the racism that spews out of that rag, and maybe bring some semblance of reason to it’s editorial pages.  I suspect I will be disappointed, though.

        • I’m sure that Coyne will have a modest (positive) impact over there.

          I will miss him over here.

    • While the people need being helped out, the outstanding question is where did the 90 million bucks go.  You can only buy so many Zambonies.  Much of it may be in the people themselves.  There are two reserves on Vancouver Island where I lived. Same resources, same people. On was full of energetic hard workers; they developed an RV park and beach, had a sobriety program,  built a church and school etc. The other which I leved next to was full of drunks and burned-out houses.

      So go figure.

  6. Boondoggle.  Not a ginormous one, but nevertheless, a boondoggle.

  7. I’m not so much fussed about the obnoxious use of search and rescue assets or the outrageous waste of money so much as I’m aghast at the fact that they planned to lie ahead of time.

    You know, it’s one thing to do something stupid, get caught, and lie about it. I mean it’s bad alright, but it’s hardly new.

    No, what really really gets me is the amount of traffic involved in PLANNING the deception.

    When you’ve got Ministerial staff working with the military for nearly a week to plan an action that everyone knows the public would hate, and thus also planning to hide it from them… words fail.

    What do you even say about this kind of thing?

    If EVER someone should resign over an issue, this is certainly it.

    I mean my god, is there no limit? No line at all?

    • Theve  dug in – Fantino was up defending it and even championing the governments reduction  of wasteful spending.  What do you do with people like this?

      • Tar and feather?
        Draw and quarter?

        Oh right, it’s Canada so that would be…

        Complain and do nothing about it. LOL

      • People like you and I, who basically won’t vote conservative? We can’t do anything. They don’t listen to us and they won’t.

        People who vote conservative regularly? They don’t want to do anything, because the other option would be swallowing all that vitriol and hate that Harper has been feeding to them about the Liberals.  (There’s a reason, after all, that the CPC continues to attack the Liberals so forcefully, even though they’re not the official opposition — because it’s the only possible alternative for many of their voters. Deny them that and you’ve got your power)

        People who only vote conservative some time?  They won’t do anything because they’re not paying attention anyway. They’re too busy trying to make ends meet already, they don’t want yet another way to feel powerless.

        • Totally agree. Did you read Lawrence Martin this morning?  Very distressing, things are rapidly moving in a bad direction. 

  8. There should not even be any discussion. He should be fired immediately and he should be made to pay the taxpayer’s back every penny. He should also be fined for an abuse of power.

  9. Forget it.

    The Liberals ran an expensive fishing camp on Eagle River in  l;abrador. Cabinet Ministers galore, Prince Philip, Eisenhower, Curtis LeMay, foreign dignitaries galore, Colonels, and so on from the RHP (rank hath privilege) crowd caught Atlantic Salmon on the taxpayer’s dollar. The camp was staffed by RCAF Rescue and Survival technicians and the “guests” flown in and out by RCAF float plane.  It is ever thus.

    • That’s an odd and rather ironic justification for the behaviour of a party who rode to power with the promise to rid Ottawa of such arrogant conduct. You’re saying that, as long as the Cons can point to similarly egregious conduct by someone else in the past, it’s all good.

      Look up the word hypocrisy in the dictionary.

  10. I thought that saying “sorry” was a very Canadian thing to do…..

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