The new normal


An enterprising Ottawa Citizen reporter discovers that two members of the Finance Minister’s economic advisory council stand to benefit from the Finance Minister’s budget.

Total number of related queries posed by the opposition in subsequent sessions of Question Period: 0.

Generally respected independent MP Bill Casey stands in the House and suggests someone with the governing party has falsely accused him of embezzlement in an attempt to defame him.

Total number of related queries posed by the opposition in yesterday’s session of Question Period: 0.


The new normal

  1. Doesn’t surprise me about the lack of questions about who benefits from budget in economic advisory council. More than two members could be seen as having conflict of interest and I think they have ties to Libs, at least.

    And about Casey, maybe oppo’s want to be sure of facts before they start asking questions. What happens if Casey is wrong and no one in governing party attempted to defame him? Or maybe a minor, non-player, in Nova Scotia was behind the accusations but can PM be held to account for that?

    • “maybe oppo’s want to be sure of facts before they start asking questions”

      The purpose of QP is to elicit the facts. If the Government doesn’t have them handy, it has to go find them.

      • Jack M

        I agree about QP but I was thinking of lawyer adage about not asking witnesses questions if you are not certain of the answers.

        • Not a bad approach generally, but in the Casey case I think all they’d need to know beforehand would be that no Liberals or NDPers were involved in the scandal. As that seems very unlikely, it seems to me they’re missing an opportunity.

          Likewise, if I were the PM I would already be knotting the ropes to hang the people responsible for this. Damage control is easy in the first moments of a scandal, and the opposition has given him a big window to deal with it. If he’s too stubborn to take it, on his head be it.

          • “no Liberals or NDPers were involved in the scandal.”

            That’s what I was thinking about. Casey made his statement and shortly after QP starts. II think it’s was wise for Oppo to avoid questions because they don’t have details. Now that it seems more than likely that Cons are behind this, I imagine questions will be asked.

    • It’s QUESTION period, not ANSWER period. Who needs facts?

    • JWl
      Funny “situational ethics” you have there. You aren’t suggesting that liberals be held to a higher standard than the Harper crowd, are you? Since that might prove to be riilly rilly hard!

      • Don’t know what you mean, kc. I would never waste my time thinking Libs have higher standards than anyone else because that would be laughable.

        • JWL
          But i coulda sworn you thought the libs were holding off until all the facts were in; or were you to busy laughing?

          • I was suggesting the oppo’s were waiting until they were certain they had nothing to do with it. Now that it appears likely one Con was going after another, I am sure questions will be asked.

          • JWL
            I see. Rather cynical of you, but probably not far off the mark. Pity no-one’s concerned with the loss of a man’s reputation ; but i guess that sort of thing’s passe these days.

          • In real life, I am not too cynical. When it comes to politics, however, I find cynicism to be helpful.

            I agree that it’s a shame that Casey is being dragged through mud for no apparent reason but you shouldn’t get involved in politics if that kind of thing really irks you. Anyone who really cares about their reputation should not get involved in politics. I think it’s a shame that we have gotten rid of standards like they had when the blue bloods were in charge. I wish we could have similar standards today but have the proles in charge instead of the panjandrums.

    • Right. Because question period is never used to slam the government with innuendo on things where the whole truth is not known yet.

      • But when Harper and his CONs turned QP into the Spanish Innuendo with such artful skill during their years in opposition, why shouldn’t they also feel the same turgid, lame heat too?

      • john g
        I’m with you there! Rat pack anyone? Ah, those were the days!

  2. Institute for Quantum Computing is a not-for-profit I believe so it is not clear how there is a conflict of interest. Neither Lazaridis nor RIM would get any direct benefit from the investment.

    The Home Depot connection is a bit more troubling.

  3. I’d be more troubled, frankly, if Flaherty had in mind to spend stimulus money in the home reno and high tech research sectors and did not consult or seek advice from prominent Canadians in these sectors.

    As for the decision to allow the reno grants to extend to the laying of sod, it seems there are many qualified to consult in the pastime of dirt throwing …

    • I think this is a non-issue as well. If you are going to ask 11 of the best and brightest commercial minds–all from different industries– to form a committee to answer the stimulus question, what are the odds there wouldn’t be a conflict of interest with at least one of them?

      I give kudos to the opposition for not making this into a ‘scandal’ when it is simply commonish sense.

      Furthermore, Mr. Casey seemed well able to speak for himself, and I hardly think he himself would want the Liberals, NDP or Bloc turning his very real personal affront into political hay. Again, kudos to the opposition for not taking the cheap advantage. Having said that, if a week goes by or something with nothing said by the government, the opposition would be right to give a little reminder about the explanation and/or apology owing.

      This is the kind of stuff we want from our politicians. Let us not complain because they aren’t playing the smear game well enough.

      • But Jenn, that leaves the brightest and best non-commercial minds to contribute by doing home repairs , calculating their tax cuts and dividing them into Tim’s units , and watching money disappear into banks.

        What a waste. They could be stimulatin’ .

  4. Aaron, I’ve give you and the enterprising reporter (although both cases were reported by other media the day after the budget) the Home Depot one, but what exactly has Mike Lazaridis done wrong? How does he stand to benefit from the funding for the Institute for Quantum Computing.

    The institute is part of the University of Waterloo and is conducting university research. If any money is made through the commercialization of research, it goes to the university and is invested back into the university on research, and hiring TAs and professors. These kinds of institutes are common, I’m sure Wells could talk your ear off about this.

    Lazaridis helped found the institute, sits as a volunteer on its board, and has donated his own money to get it going. What exactly is the benefit he’s alleged to be receiving here? It’s certainly not monetary. The worst that can be alleged is that he *might* have used his position on the council to get access to senior officials or politicians (access I think someone of his stature would probably have anyways) to say ‘hey, as long as you’re funding university research, this would be a good project to consider.”

    I find it hard to fault the guy for that, and I think it’s inappropriate to link him with the Home Depot case.

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