168

The worst month in the history of Canadian politics

Rob Ford, Nigel Wright, Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, electoral fraud, patronage, robocalls…


 
Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Brent Rathgeber, the tall, nerdy Conservative backbencher with a blog had apparently been coaxed yesterday to one of the House foyer’s three microphones by a question about the transfer of Omar Khadr to a prison in Edmonton, the city from which Mr. Rathgeber hails. Soon enough, Mr. Rathgeber was being asked about the matter of Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy, a politician at a microphone inevitably attracting other reporters with other questions.

Mr. Rathgeber said he believed the Prime Minister, but that what the Prime Minister didn’t know raised questions about the operations of the Prime Minister’s Office. He worried about the power of the executive over the legislature. He said it was now for Mr. Wright and Mr. Duffy to answer questions. He said the Conservative party’s supporters were angry. And then a reporter asked if he had a response to the news that Mr. Duffy had apparently once wanted to be a cabinet minister.

“Well,” he said, “I think it just reinforces what I said to one of the first questions as to why I haven’t commented on the story. It’s because the story changes day by day, sometimes hour by hour, now minute by minute. I hadn’t heard that.”

Shortly thereafter, the NDP’s regularly indignant Charlie Angus arrived at an adjacent microphone. “If the Prime Minister came clean, people might feel more reassured,” he offered. “I’ll tell you, when you go back home to the Tim Horton’s and you talk to people, they are upset. And they want answers.”

Finally, to the middle microphone, escorted by NDP MPs Andrew Cash and Craig Scott, walked Eric Peterson, television star of Corner Gas and Street Legal. Mr. Peterson had apparently been in the Speaker’s gallery for Question Period, invited as a recipient of the Governor General’s award for lifetime artistic achievement. And he had apparently walked out when he heard the Heritage Minister, in the process of attempting to fend off NDP questions about the Duffy-Wright affair, attack the idea of income averaging for those employed as artists.

“I can’t too strongly express my disappointment,” Mr. Peterson said, “that the Minister of Culture at a moment when we’re supposed to be honouring artists in this country chooses to insult them.”

And with that just about everyone could now claim to have been disappointed by something that occurred in the past 31 days.

***

Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Nigel Wright and a $90,000 cheque for a sitting senator. Rob Ford and a video that allegedly shows the mayor of Toronto smoking crack. Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau, Mac Harb and questions of housing allowances, travel expenses and per diems. Electoral fraud. Illegal robocalls. Patronage. Thomas Mulcair and an envelope from the mayor of Laval. Tyrone Benskin and his unpaid taxesAn investigation by Elections Canada frustratedThe Parliamentary Budget Officer frustrated againA provincial government that ignored the legislature reelected. The RCMP has come calling on the Senate and the Senate has deferred to the RCMP. The mayor of Toronto’s chief of staff has been fired and four of the mayor’s advisors have quit. The Prime Minister’s chief of staff has resigned and two of the prime minister’s chosen senators have departed his caucus.

There have maybe been a darker day or two or a more singularly profound scandal, but have we ever seen such a sustained onslaught of the dispiriting, troubling and unfortunate in the space of 31 days? Have we ever experienced a month like this? Perhaps without the most salacious items, this would have amounted to an only slightly worse month than usual. But then maybe that is an even greater indictment of the state of things.

If there is anything that those most troubling matters—Mr. Ford and the video, Mr. Wright and the cheque, the 2011 election and the inappropriate phone calls—have in common it is how little we know about whatever has occurred. Has the mayor of Toronto smoked crack in the past six months? What were the details of the arrangement between the Prime Minister’s chief of staff and a senator? Who was involved in calls that misdirected voters during the last federal election?

Of the conduct of the mayor of this country’s largest city, the actions of the most senior advisor in this country’s highest office and the proceedings of our last national exercise in representative democracy, we are left to guess at the particulars. And in the absence of clarity there can only be insecurity.

***

Sean Kilpatrick/CP

On the evening of April 21, 2005, Paul Martin addressed the nation on the matter of the sponsorship scandal—the great shame that would rightly bring an end to that Liberal government nine months later. After the prime minister had pleaded his case for the camera, the leader of the Her Majesty’s official opposition spoke with the host of the national broadcaster’s nightly news.

“I’m frustrated by the lack of forthrightness,” Stephen Harper explained. “When you’re under the kind of cloud the prime minister admits his government is under I think you would use every opportunity to be as forthright as possible.”

Eight years and one month later, on the evening of May 23, Mr. Harper spoke to reporters who had travelled with him to Cali, Colombia.

The first question was perhaps a bit presumptuous, but still basically the question of the moment. “Prime Minister, if you didn’t know what the terms of the agreement were between Mr. Wright and Senator Duffy before, you do now,” the reporter posited. “So what were the terms of the agreement, and in both official languages, if you could?”

“Well, I think Mr. Wright has been very clear,” Mr. Harper offered in response, “and I think it’s been very clear. Mr. Wright gave Mr. Duffy money so that what he felt that the right thing should be done, that Mr. Duffy should repay the money he owes taxpayers. That’s my understanding. Obviously Mr. Wright will be answering to the Ethics Commissioner on the propriety of those actions. At the same time, as you know, Mr. Wright has departed my office because he did not inform me of these actions, and should have.”

A few questions later, another reporter attempted to follow up.

“Thank you, in answer to the first question, you said that the deal between Mr. Wright and Mr. Duffy was very simple, that it was just giving Duffy money to pay back the expenses,” the reporter recalled. “There’s a great deal that suggests it was more than that, including the fact that lawyers were involved in drawing up the agreement. Will you commit to disclosing that agreement?”

Mr. Harper pleaded ignorance. “I’m not aware of any formal agreement on this. Mr. Wright has told me that this was the nature of his actions. Obviously he will be answering to the Ethics Commissioner on those facts and on the appropriateness of those actions.”

It is tempting here to pile up more questions—about the arrangement between Mr. Duffy and Mr. Wright, about the allegations of what Mr. Duffy was promised and what he was ordered to do, about the Prime Minister’s use here of the word “formal” in referring to possibility of an agreement. But let’s only recall Mr. Harper’s standard for Mr. Martin and pose this question: With these answers, was the Prime Minister being forthright?

It is possible to argue he was. It is the assurance of his office that the Prime Minister is aware only of the details of the arrangement between Mr. Wright and Mr. Duffy cited in his first response: that Mr. Wright provided personal funds to Mr. Duffy so that Mr. Duffy could repay the money he owed the Senate. So maybe here the Prime Minister has been forthright.

It is an unfortunate possibility then—if, say, the allegations about various other details of the arrangement between the chief of staff and the senator are at all true—that the Prime Minister is not fully aware of what has occurred within his office.

And that likely thus begs the question of what precisely the Prime Minister has done over the last two weeks to ascertain all of the details of whatever was occurring within his office. Forthrightness would seem to involve him explaining both how he has attempted to educate himself and whatever else he might know that might provide potential context to whatever occurred between Mr. Wright and Mr. Duffy. While we wait for Mr. Wright and Mr. Duffy to unburden themselves and for the various authorities to decide if there is anything here that requires their intervention, the Prime Minister might at least give us that. (He might also provide any relevant correspondence or documents in the possession of his office.)

By comparison, the matter of Rob Ford and the video purported to show him smoking crack is relatively simple: the failure to account for himself, and that he has let his refusal to account for himself overtake his administration, is a dereliction of duty. No politician should be asked to account publicly for all moments of his or her life, but of a matter this serious it is simply not acceptable that the mayor would leave voters to parse the tense of a statement like, “I do not use crack cocaine.” If the standard is forthrightness, Mr. Ford has failed miserably.

Thirdly then is the matter of the “open sore, weeping steadily into the political environment,” as Colby Cosh put it the other day. Forthrightness would seem to have to involve the Prime Minister, as leader of his party, explaining everything he and his party have done during the past two years to understand what occurred during the 2011 election and to ensure his party’s resources are never used for improper purposes. We should have every reason to believe that the next election will be conducted without widespread chicanery.

***

CP/Adrian Wyld

Of course, if forthrightness were to be offered now it might seem truly remarkable—a foreign sound to our ears.

As a profession, politics is, of course, about differing visions and versions. And any comment on the current state of things is complicated by comparisons that beg to be made: Wasn’t it always thus? Has it really gotten any worse? Hasn’t it, in some ways, only gotten better?

But here is another question: Can we say that we conduct our politics in a sufficiently forthright manner? Maybe the answer to that question can only ever be no. Maybe we should only ever demand more and more. But consider how poorly we fare now. How little we seem to be able to know. How unable our politicians seem to be to have a conversation about much of anything. How unwilling we seem to be to hear anything more than that our taxes will be lowered.

The government’s primary method of communication is publicly funded television ads that offer little more than slogans—”Responsible Resource Development,” “Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity.” The access to information system remains a mess. We know relatively little about how the government plans to balance the federal budget. Presumably, the consolidation of the government’s computer systems will solve most of the shortfall. The government introduced a Parliamentary Budget Officer, but seems reluctant to cooperate with it. Elsewhere there is mostly nonsense. The debate over resource development and climate change is mostly about the patriotic quality of the Keystone XL pipeline, the degree to which a carbon tax might destroy everything you hold dear and whether or not you approve of jobs. The issue of further reducing crime apparently depends on whether you side with criminals or the law-abiding. (Is there an alternative approach to which to aspire? It is difficult to say. The New Democrats seem to have learned some lessons from Conservative success. Justin Trudeau’s promise remains a fuzzy dream.)

Our political representatives might not actually think we are idiots, but they would seem to understand that we are not paying terribly close attention and comport themselves accordingly. The talking point has made an ability to discuss mostly unnecessary. A willingness to discuss is basically to be discouraged. If you’re explaining, you’re losing. At the very least, we would not seem generally interested in much of a discussion. It is now maybe less an exercise in humanity than a matter of marketing: a battle between pitchmen, a contest of commercial mascots. Twas ever thus, perhaps. But while the free flow of information and expression has seemed to become something we prize as one of the principles of our era, our politicians have made message control their preeminent hallmark of competence.

And perhaps that is not an entirely unworthy goal, but now, in these moments of crisis, our political actors seem incapable of reacting sufficiently. Mr. Ford is now nearly a walking satire of modern politics: enthusing about lower taxes even as nearly everything else about the governance of the city of Toronto seems to be chaos.

At some point such grousing about the present becomes a pointless plea that someone should do something to make things somehow better. None of this is to pine unrealistically for some Bulworth fantasy. At least not without realizing how silly that is. It is surely not all bad right now. And each of these controversies will pass, one way or another.

But, in general, we seem to have a communication problem and the makings of a downward spiral. These reasons to doubt the integrity of our politics require, for the sake of our politics, answers. There cannot only ever be more reasons to dismiss the possibilities of the political. That way only leads to further crisis. Mr. Harper was correct. What we need is forthrightness. Perhaps even in the hope that a general expectation of forthrightness might prevent future calamities from occurring.

So politician, explain thyself. And let us understand that we deserve whatever befalls us if we do not demand as much.


 

The worst month in the history of Canadian politics

  1. Next up, Dean Del Mastro.

  2. LOL no, not THE worst month, just one of many dreadful months throughout Confederation.

    I gave up on it years ago. I want a technocracy now. We need people who know what they’re doing, to run things.

    • What a great idea. I wonder how we’ll find these people who know what they’re doing. I am sure whatever foolproof method we devise will be immune to abuse, especially by the very competent people it selects. It would be terrible if it turned out there’s no way to sift out all human elements from a leader, meaning our priority should be to maintain accountability and keep the power to select leaders in the hands of the people whom they are meant to represent.

      • ‘Scientists, engineers, and technologists who have knowledge, expertise, or skills, would compose the governing body, instead of politicians, Businesspeople, and economists.[4] In a technocracy, decision makers would be selected based upon how knowledgeable and skillful they are in their field.’

        On edit: Oops sorry, I forgot the url for that quote

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technocracy

        • There are some pretty knowledgeable and skilled engineers and business people at SNC Lavalin, for example. I’m sure they’re far too professional to abuse our trust…

          • You are confusing businessmen with engineers.

        • In the event of the rise of a technocracy I would be the first to bear arms and join a violent revolution, while the current system doesn’t work very well there is little worse I could imagine that a government run by science.

          Both the Canada and US education systems right now are functioning techncracys and we have ended up with a system that is so broken that it fails to even teach basic life skills. Students are forced to learn the process of chemical compound naming or calculus meanwhile most graduate without even the most basic knowledge of finance, construction, maintenance, business, etc. A technocracy is blind to reality and would place far too much weight on that which doesn’t have any meaningful impact. You would have a society that enjoy the most efficient roadways or monetary system while the government completely and utterly ignores the social issues of the population.

          Ultimately, in my opinion, the ideal leadership is made up of people who do not want to lead. Which, I know, is a utopian impossibility, but ultimately the corruption of government stems from it being a system that attracts those who are eager for power then we are surprised when all our leaders are deeply selfish.

          • Oh puleeze…..enough with the drama.

            Neither the US nor Canada is a technocracy….they should be, but aren’t remotely close.

            And a technocracy doesn’t involve knowing calculus without knowing construction. It’s not an either/or, binary system.

            I do wish people would at least look up what something is before denouncing it.

          • I said the US and Canada EDUCATION system is a technocracy which is why it weighs technical theory above EVERY thing else. Which is effectively why the system is so painfully ineffective.

            Like I said, if our government were one, i’d bare arms in revolution. No drama, just reality. The only thing I can think of that would be worse is a dictatorship and even that would only be marginally worse.

          • See, our education system sucks, didn’t even teach you reading comprehension, its ok. Don’t sweat it, il try to break it down for ya, to quote your passive agressive link to wikipedia:

            “The concept of a Technocracy remains mostly hypothetical, though some nations have been considered as such in the sense of being governed primarily by technical experts in various fields of governmental decision making. A technocrat has come to mean either ‘a member of a powerful technical elite’, or ‘someone who advocates the supremacy of technical experts’.[1][2][3] Scientists, engineers, and technologists who have knowledge, expertise, or skills, would compose the governing body, instead of politicians, Businesspeople, and economists.[4] In a technocracy, decision makers would be selected based upon how knowledgeable and skillful they are in their field.”

            -> This supports exactly what I am pointing out that the technocracy would place the rule of the country completely in the hand of technical decision. We would become slave to the rule of science. Or more accurately we would become slave to the RELIGION of science.

            -> And in regards to our education system being a technocracy kinda hard to argue against that. The school boards that determine our curriculums are made of exactly that. Experts from various technical fields.

            Another quote from that wiki article that is critical to the weakness of a technocracy:

            “The term technocracy was originally used to designate the application of the scientific method to solving social problems, in counter distinction to the traditionaleconomic, political, or philosophic approaches. According to the proponents of this concept, the role of money and economic values, political opinions, and moralistic control mechanisms would be eliminated altogether…”

            -> Simply put that paragraph basically states that decisions would be made solely on a technical level with the removal of moral and social implications. This is a terrible system when a moral crisis presents itself. If the US had been under the rule of a Technocracy during the cold war it probably would not have remained a cold war. Statistically the best course of action would have been to launch a pre-emtive strike. That same logic applies today with Korea threatening Nuclear war.

            I’m sure you have seen the Matrix trilogy, The AI machines that control the matrix are the most sincere form of a technocracy that could be conceived and while the film is very much fictional and sensationalized the logic of the machines throughout the film is very consistent of what you could expect from a truly technocratic government.

          • Yup, yer an uneducated Tea Partier alright.

            Science….not your pickle-brained ideology would run the country.

            School boards are elected, and are ordinary people not technocrats.

            Yes, remove your ‘morality’…..because nothing in govt requires your beliefs on abortion, gays and so on

            Science tells us war is a bad choice no matter what. It’s why we have the philosophy of MAD

            Now kindly stop confusing AIs and people.

          • Hey, instead of contributing to a discussion lets stamp our feet like a 6 year old and throw insults! That sounds like fun. ;)

            I think you need to learn what a “Tea Partier” is before you throw it around like an insult. The tea party movement is an american political movement that advocates strict adherence to the constitution. Tea Partyers are generally considered radical right wing advocates that heavily support a free market based society. The name came from the infamous Boston Tea party where in an act of civil disobedience the the Sons of Liberty dumped several ship loads of tea into the ocean protesting the left wing tax policy of the British government.

            The basis of my argument has nothing to do with maintaining the current form of government to push a right wing, capitalist agenda. My stance is that morality is an absolutely critical aspect of governance and that social awareness is absolutely necessary. Science would disregard both in favour of statistical and technological decision making.

            I fear science running the country. Science is obtuse and resistant to change. It also is very cold and calculated. It is effectively speaking a religion. In essence it would be a form of theocracy where in the place of a higher being you would have a blind obedience to scientific fact. (Which if history has taught us anything is that scientific fact is never truly “fact” other than in the delusions of the scientists)

            Everything in government is based on moral decision making. You may not agree with those moral decisions made by those in power but ultimately our leaders are governing based on their moral beliefs. The problem is that our electoral process attracts the selfish. The concept of a technocracy removes the aspect of human “choice” from governance and instead replaces it with computer like logic. When examined from that perspective the removal of freedom within a society is an obvious outcome.

            Take this political issue for example:

            Government is faced with the problem of exploding obesity. Which is causing exploding medical costs and premature deaths.

            The logical response to this would be to simply remove the population’s access to unhealthy food. Problem solved. Freedoms stolen.

            In a Technocracy the most logical form of governance is through indoctrination and the obliteration of individuality in the favour of blind obedience. Ultimately a technocracy leads to tyranny of the technical ruling elite who rob the population of choice in the mistaken belief that their self attributed “expertise” ensures that only they are qualified to make decisions.

            So, please, before you go about insulting people and spouting your surface level understanding of a concept that you clearly have not taken any time to understand try to remember that not everyone will share your opinion and the response should be to further evaluate your position rather than linking to an article that you, yourself, don’t even understand.

            And for the record, while often Technocracy is often characterized as selecting leaders based on level of expertise it also can exist in the form of an “industrial democracy” in which technocrats are elected democratically where voters are urged to vote based on the technical experience of the candidate rather than a platform of beliefs/goals.

            And while science generally believes that war is a bad thing, when faced with the almost certainty of war from an agressive enemy the best technical decision is to act in a way that is most likely to ensure the continued survival of the technocracy and it’s people. From a purely technical point of view sacrificing few to save many is not only an acceptable choice but also the logical one.

          • I have no intention of discussing this with you at all. You toss words around without knowing their meaning, and you have confused real life with movies, and therefore confused people with AIs

            Have you ever confused your doctor with a robot? How about the project engineer in your neck of the woods? Dentist? Pharmacist? Architect? You know….experts in their field?

            Becoming an expert in your field does not mean you turn into an android. Don’t be daft.

            Obtuse, resistant to change? Indoctrination, blind obedience? That’s religion, not science. The whole point of science is questioning, testing and change.

            So kindly have this ‘discussion’ with someone else….maybe the guy on the bar stool next to you. If he doesn’t speak English either, you’re in luck.

          • Yet, she continues to argue with insults, it is entertaining actually. I only used a film of an example of a technocracy because there are no true real world examples of it actually in practice at a ruling level which in itself reveals that it isn’t a good system.

            I never said the experts would become robots, I said that a technocracy promoted robotic decision making. I will requote that wiki article of yours since you obviously didn’t read it last time:

            “”The term technocracy was originally used to designate the application of the scientific method to solving social problems, in counter distinction to the traditionaleconomic, political, or philosophic approaches. According to the proponents of this concept, the role of money and economic values, political opinions, and moralistic control mechanisms would be eliminated altogether…”

            The core of a Technocracy isn’t that the ruling elite is made up of experts. It is that society’s decision making should be based on the scientific method rather than moral, social, and philosophical beliefs. The system merely calls for experts as leaders because they are the most well equipped to make decisions in this way.

            Religion and Science have many parallels They both set out explain our existence and experience. They both demand blind obedience to a fundamental ideal. And they both are very resistant to fundamental changes in their own ideologies. Science is a religion. Just in the place of a god or higher being science places its trust in the human senses that it uses to both measure and observe.

          • I said Ciao, Ryan. (look it up)

          • Ryan Have a glance at a book called Walden 2. An evidenced based governance system as opposed to the superstition and religious dogma based system that we have in Ottawa now. You seem to be willing to support them by force of arms. Really? Do you even own a firearm? If so why? I would be delighted as a scientist to engage you further in debate but my concern is I would feel like I was shooting an unarmed man.

      • I have come
        to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the
        politicians. ~Charles de Gaulle

        • Science has changed global governance and can be neither conquered nor defended by armies, Israeli President Shimon Peres said today.

          The Israeli President said science cannot be controlled or arrested and it doesn’t respect borders or laws.

          “The major thing is the world is becoming ungovernable,” he said. “The real force in our time is no longer politics, but science.

          “And science took away the strengths of politics.”

          Mr. Peres said citizens now must be persuaded rather than ordered.

          “We shall have to act by consensus, by agreements; spend much more time to reach an agreement.”

          http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/science-trumps-politics-as-real-force-in-our-time-israeli-president/article2426448/

    • You do realize that most of the problems discussed in the article, and probably most of the ones you’re thinking about, derive pretty much directly from efforts to impose a technocracy?

      • Our govt is composed of farmers, lawyers, businessmen etc as it has been since 1867.

        There is no technocracy in Canada….and nobody has even remotely thought about installing one. In fact, most people are unfamiliar with either the word or the model.

        • Actually the majority of MP’s have historically been lawyers. There’s a brilliant proposal, written many years ago, called “Rules to Throw the Rascals Out”, which I recall proposes a parliament made up of citizens chosen by random lottery of social insurance numbers, with each to serve only one six-year term, and protection of their previous employment when the term ends. One-third of parliament would turn over each two years. Programs recommended from the various regions and territories would be vetted by the civil service and sent to parliament for acceptance or rejection. NO political parties, NO campaigns or elections.

          BRING IT ON, say I.

          • Why on earth would you want unqualified, uneducated, unwilling, uninterested people to serve?

          • Why on earth would you want selfish, power hungry, greedy people holding a position of power?

          • Unlike now, you mean??

          • Exactly, our system is broken because of the underlying fault that draws those with a desire for power to that position. A technocracy would be no different. The only difference would be that instead of having a corrupt lawyer or politician calling the shots you would have a corrupt doctor or engineer.

          • Like it

          • Bell curves on population demographics suggest this is a *bad* idea, because sooner or later, random chance will give you a majority psychotic government.

            And that’s if you ignore the problem of “who decides who’s in the civil service deciding which programs this parliament sees?”

          • “because sooner or later, random chance will give you a majority psychotic government.”

            Whereas elections give us those at a better than random chance.

          • Well, i’d say elections guarantee a selfish government, not a psychotic one. I think what Thwim was getting at is that eventually through random chance you want have a parliament eager to start a world war or commit genocide. Or that simply wants to destroy the lives of the country’s citizens.

          • Thwim commonly articulates my thoughts and ideas with a remarkable precision.

            The percentage of sociopaths in business, and I would say also government, is uncommonly high. It is a path they can chose to power. They have the uncommon skills to project what the victim needs, to tell the victim what they want to hear, and manipulate the means to the end, quite like a 4th dimensional chess player.

            This is how they get what they want.

            Elections are a means whereby such persons can also seek and gain power. The persons who don’t want power are the ones who should be running things. Random lotteries would more likely choose these people, than a self-selecting system built on choosing people who want to tell you what to do.

            So yes, in a sense, elections ensure a selfish government. The process chooses those who would exercise it.

          • Of course, and I agree that those who do not “want” to lead often are best suited to lead but complete random variation ensures that eventually you will have a leadership comprised of psychopathic monsters that don’t have any interest in doing what is right. Instead they simply want to cause mayhem and chaos.

          • Jack Vance died recently. I am reminded of a short story of his wherein people are chosen randomly, out of equality, to do the various jobs society needs done. Of course chaos is the result. Those who don’t want to do plumbing are obliged to do it, and do a miserable job.

            You and I also seem to have differing views on what ‘randomness’ and ‘chance’ means.

          • Having dealt with a couple of actual psychotics.. not by a long shot.

          • A form of proportional representation is the best balance, I should think.

      • Sidelining science, gagging scientists, destroying the collection of data and ruling using a preconceived economic worldview like capitalism is more of an econocracy. Here we have econocrats supported by bureaucrats who dismiss any expertise if it counters their opinions.

        China is probably the closest existing government to operate on a semi-technocratic basis and while Harper might be selling us to them at basement prices one bit at a time he is not them. “Rise of the Red Engineers” is a nice primer on the topic.

        • ……..and having Justin do some double dipping for 3,5 years while he was on paid salary as an MP………………………..and the media not covering those facts now……………………………and so forth.

          • Quoi?
            Are you high?

          • http://www.bloggingtories.ca/f

            “On April 20, 2012, for example, Trudeau earned
            $20,000 for a speech he gave to Literacy for Life in Saskatoon. In the House of Commons, other MPs were debating and voting on a pension reform initiative.”

            “On Jan. 31, 2009, MPs debated and voted on changes to employment insurance benefits. There is no record Trudeau voted on that initiative or participated in the day’s proceedings. But he did give a speech that day to the Toronto-based group, The Learning Partnership, for which he was paid $10,000”

            What was Justin thinking when he’s sober, presumably!

          • What has that to do with the topic of this thread? Technocracy?

          • So being an MP is his second job. And he wants to be PM. The guy is an airhead. Why they would pass up someone like Marc Garneau for Justin, oh wait, the party is desperate for fundraising. I’m so sick of this Quebec centered party. I am by no means right-wing but I think for the first time in my life I am going to have to vote for the Conservatives. At least they remember that their is an Atlantic Canada and a Western Canada. I will not vote for anyone who continues to give into Quebec’s blackmail.

  3. “The worst month in the history of Canadian politics”

    To a shrieking, hysterical, unbalanced twelve year old, maybe, but not to any stable, mature, well-read grownup who has read and lived Canadian history and has one clue to rub up against the next.

    The gentleman doth shriek too much. I hope you get the help that you clearly need Aaron.

    • So the water carriers have now realised the ship is listing and have converted to water bailing instead.
      Your wise old man act might carry some weight if you and your equally as wise fellow travelers hadn’t inflicted this coterie of corrupt criminals on the nation. Watch now as all the loud mouths either self immolate in an orgy of misplaced loyalty or shrink back into the woodwork hoping nobody noticed like the the worms they are.

    • Can you cite some examples of times that were markedly worse?

      • Coalition crisis
        Adscam
        Martin ignoring confidence votes to bribe Belinda Stronach

        You have a short memory.

        • In what year did those events take place?

        • Coalition crisis – you mean when Stevie tried to show he had some balls and had to run away to beg the GG to help him out while lying about the nature of a parliamentary democracy and how it works?

          Adscam – you mean when Paul Martin actually opened an inquiry into the the millions that were used improperly by his own party, knowing full well that he would be no longer in office. And when this PM lost $3.1B … crickets; when this government took border security money for gazebos … crickets, when asked for costings of the F35, details of the tendering process and lying to parliament .. crickets etc.

          Confidence vote avoidance – prorogue much?

          Oh yes much worse times.
          How do you dress yourself in the morning?

          • To have an adult conversation it needs to be stressed exactly how much Martin in NO WAY ignored a confidence vote. some people tried to rewrite a report to turn it into a non-confidence vote, the speaker quite reasonably ruled it was not so and martin was in no way obligated to indulge his opponents. In fact, in hindsight we’re probably better off that parties can’t do that. Martin then rescheduled an opposition day which happened some days later.

            Seriously, everyone, no matter what political stripe you are. if we start lying to each other about how our country works, we’re going to start going down a really dark path. For the sake of the country we all profess to love, let’s not do this. ever.

          • I agree with your sentiment, but I think we are already far, far down that dark path.

        • that was a very, very long month

          • Yes, a very long month in which most members of the media have solidly proven that objective reporting isn’t being done much!

            Touch months to come for the members of the media!

        • Coalition crisis? Seriously?

    • Did you actually read the article? You missed the point so thoroughly that I think you didn’t.

      • I didn’t read it, I just made some popcorn and started reading the argu…er… comments.

  4. Moore’s attack on Benskin was not even based on truth – I know, what else is new? Benskin owes money to the Quebec government. Quebec is the only province which doesn’t use the CRA to collect it’s taxes. The bill Benskin introduced would do nothing to alleviate his current situation – it would apply to Federal taxes. Moore’s real attitude toward the arts was exposed yesterday. What a rube he is.

    • And then he goes on CTV the next day, repeats this crap and refuses to apologize to the artists who were there to be honoured. According to him, everybody knows it’s just Question Period so it doesn’t count.

    • Moore is an idiot. He thinks he has a hot as leader? I’d rather have Nigel Wright, lol

  5. I think Aaron needs to read the first paragraph of “A Tale of Two Cities”. He is getting a little superlative heavy.

    Hey Aaron. Have you forgotten Quebec Referendum night in the nineties? Have you forgotten the kidnapping of James Cross and the murder of Pierre Laporte? Have you forgotten Dieppe? Have you forgotten The Great Depression? etc. etc. etc.

    Some perspective is also needed. Obama drops drone missiles on anything that moves, and reads the e-mails of journalists, and threatens investigative journalists with prosecution for doing their job.

    Harper’s mistake was letting an Ottawa mainstream media insider (Mike Duffy) and a Toronto mainstream media insider (Wallin) into his club.

    • Ah yes, the obligatory Obama dig. What a handy default defense he is.

      • You forgot the mention of the entire evil eastern media, and John on here dragged in the Ont gas plant!

        • Because everything that is happening in Ontario is critical to the rest of the country.

          • LOL apparently! I hadn’t paid attention to it myself! The country is full of white elephants.

          • I’ve dropped everything for the rest of the day because of this Manitoba 1% PST scandal…

          • I’m glad to know that you don’t find it offensive when politicians blatantly lie, or in Ontario, steal, simply to get re-elected. Now I’m remembering why everybody in this country has tossed amoral Liberals like yourself out of office whenever they get the chance.

          • HARPER blatantly lies! AND steals to get elected!

            Remember that when he and you get tossed.

          • And the more you falsely accuse the current government , the better they will be rewarded come 2015.

            You don’t get that, but many Canadians do!

          • Irony is alive and well.

          • But you’ve carried water for a guy who did all those things.. so you clearly don’t find it offensive either.

          • Glass houses and stones, Rick…

          • LOL another thing I wasn’t paying attention to.

    • Yeah ! When’s that Harper guy gonna run against that
      Obama guy, anyway … can’t wait.

      • New strategy for pipeline approval?

    • Would you like a little primer on the distinction between domestic and foreign affairs?

  6. All of that, and you (predictably) didn’t even mention the gas plant scandal, which is probably the worst of them all.

    Deleted emails are news when deleted by the (conservative) mayor of Toronto and his staff…but not when done so by (liberal) Kathleen Wynne’s party?

    Oh yeah…it’s going to be a treat to get a liberal government back in power. All those scandals will just magically disappear, won’t they?

    • Exactly. All of this faux outrage by the media seems to be cooked up to protect the Ontario Liberals. Meanwhile the Manitoba NDP raised the PST by 1% less than a year after explicitly promising not to in an election campaign…. complete media silence.

      These “scandals” will blow over because they’re not real scandals, they’re made up to protect those governments that the media loves most.

      • Complete? Really? So where’d you hear about it?

          • You seem to be talking to a lot of people’s moms lately. Organizing a tyke soccer league, are we? If so, you’ve found a challenge that nicely matches your skill set.

          • Pfeh. That’s not even a good lie, my mom follows politics like Duffy follows Weight Watchers.

      • Thanks Rick, I feel better about everything now.

        • Try to convince the average Torontonian taxpayer that a rumor about a Rob Ford video is more scandalous than a half a billion dollars down the toilet. Or convince the average Manitoban that’s seeing their tax bill go up by over $1000 a year, that Duffy receiving $90k from a friend is more important.

          It really does exemplify how brain dead stupid the media in this country has become. I mean $500M vs $90K. We’re talking about a scandal that is literally more than 5000 times worse, but the wrong one gets 5000 times the coverage.

          And you’ll all be shocked when the Conservative’s win re-election, because you’re all so tuned out of reality that you have no idea what goes through the average persons mind.

          • Well if their minds are like yours…..not much.

          • The CPC wins bigger the more non sense you spout!

            Spout all the non sense you want, EmilyOne. I love it!

          • The average Manitoban’s tax bill will go up $1000 from a 1% increase in sales tax?

            I suppose that adds up if the average Manitoban takes home $100,000 after income tax and deductions and spends every cent of it on goods. But then that would leave them with zero left for rent/mortgage payments and groceries.

          • I love how you express your spun hopes as fact.

          • Try talking to an average Conservative supporter who is sickened by graft no matter who does it and would likely throw up in his mouth reading your pathetic defence.

          • The money down the toilet is pretty much every party’s fault – nobody opposed the gas plants when they thought they might win those ridings.

            The issue is whether and which Liberals knew the estimates were wrong. Again, recall – original bill $230 million which Hudak Horwath and McGuinty were just thrilled to see go out the door, but the total bill turned out to be something like $580 (some of which was, as I understand, incurred after the closure and couldn’t be predicted beforehand).

            So absolutely, if the Liberals hid documents about it that is a big deal. But if you’re trying to say it was ALL wasted, then EVERY party is on the hook.

            learn this by heart, because knowledge is useful and lying is bad.

          • Yeah; maybe my memory is faulty on this, but didn’t Hudak first promise to cancel the plants if elected – and then McGuinty did the same when he saw voters swinging to the Conservatives after Hudak’s promise? I’m pretty sure that’s what happened (I’m sure if I’m wrong someone here will correct me) – so why is no one now calling Hudak – outraged defender of the public purse – on his hypocrisy?

          • I live in one of the affected ridings. During the campaign I was getting regular robo-calls from both Liberal & PC candidates promising to stop the plant. Initial calls from my MPP talked about his opposition to the Mississauga plant from the beginning. Calls from the PC camp made reference to a PC(?)/Hudak(?) gov’t stopping the plant, so my recollection is the same as yours. I want to throw something everytime I hear/read Hudak’s hypocritical BS on this issue.

          • i guess that just goes to show the power of repeating a lie – my impression was that it was a McGuinty initiative that hudak adopted, not vice versa. Thank you for the clarification.

          • The Feds find that $3.1 billion yet?

            Political ineptitude/malfeasance knows no party boundary – blue/red/orange….. they all screw the pooch.

            I used to eat the shit sandwich at the “Red Fed” deli, then I changed over to the shit sandwich at the “Blue Fed” deli. Now I’m looking for a new deli, and I’m sure they’ll all be claiming under new ownership with a new and improved menu. But I bet the lunch special will remain the same: a sandwich served up on a shiny dinner plate, a toothpick Canadian flag speared patriotically into the top slice of bread, a side order of something that looks tasty, and the same old layer of shit in the middle.

      • Don’t try to tell me the Conservatives have clean hands here. They don’t. The PMO’s handling of Duffy was atrocious, and that absolutely has to land at Harper’s door. Rob Ford’s performance in managing his own scandal has been equally horrid.

        But that doesn’t mean Wynne and Trudeau should get the free rides they are getting either. At this point, I doubt there is much Kathleen Wynne is afraid to do.

        • The worst example is the incessant shrieking Harper received for proroguing, the incessant shrieking about the stupid robocalls.

          Meanwhile, Mcguinty prorogues the Ontario government so he doesn’t have to answer to the fact he wasted 600 million in gas plant money to win the election, and to this day, not a peep from anybody but Sun News and the National Post.

          90K of personal money from a government employee to a Senator, a big problem. 600,000k wasted to buy an election, not a problem.

          • it’s lessened a lot by the fact mcgunity stepped down. If harper wants to unfairly pro-rogue once again but steps down i will forgive him.

          • No. It’s not lessened by that fact at all.

      • You do realise Canada isn’t Ontario and the rest of us don’t really care what you get up to in ONT, except it makes for great TV.
        Also I don’t remember you harping on about broken promises on the likes of income trusts, deficits. transparency etc. But I guess it’s ok if a Con does it.

      • Poor Cons…managed to win a majority government but, in their own febrile imaginations, always victims of an evil leftist media conspiracy.

        The kind of facile, unsubstantiated thinking that is symptomatic of hopeless immaturity.

        • Hardly evil, the primarily left-symp media, but it is a factor Harper and his advisors must take into account. And if you really think it’s facile, unsubstantiated and immature thinking on their part, you must be licking your chops thinking of 2015. Your team is certain of victory.

      • They should have buried the PST increase in the back pages of an omnibus bill.

        • And then denied it, a la the I Pod tariff/tax. Obviously the NDP are amateurs at this.

      • Business as usual for Macleans!

    • No, they’ll inevitably be replaced by a new set of scandals from a new government.
      But tell me, john g, what the hell are we supposed to do? Reward the Conservatives with another majority?
      The Liberals under Chretien (Martin) deserved to be punted out of office; the rot had set in. And guess what? The rot has set in with this government too.

      It’s a cycle that started before I was born and will continue long after I die.

      • I’ve asked myself the same thing. It was for this reason I had hoped the Liberals would return to sanity, start drifting back to the center, and choose a serious leader rather than Trudeau, who is hopeless. I’m seriously considering staying home next election. There are zero palatable choices.

        But with the Conservatives in power, I’m confident that if they f*ck up even in the slightest, we’ll hear about it. I have no such confidence when the liberals return.

        • If the media gave the Liberals such a free ride how is it that we knew about the multitude of scandals they had, to the point they were turfed out and reduced to third party status?

          • Honestly, I believe the last few years, culminating in the US election, and the media’s complicity in covering up Benghazi, has fundamentally changed journalism forever. There is no going back. And I’m quite sure that the Canadian media knows full well what is going on down south with the US’s descent into tyranny, as they continue to pretend it doesn’t exist.

            Trudeau is beginning to get the same kind of benefit from a media desperate to see Harper turfed, no matter who replaces him. And again, how Wherry can write this article bemoaning the state of politics and ignore the gas plant scandal on the day we learn the Liberals deleted their own email accounts and used gmail backups to discuss the gas plant stuff? Sorry. That just tells me that Wherry is looking forward to a nice long vacation once the Conservatives are gone.

            Honestly, the prospect terrifies me. Even more so if Sun News goes under. Yes, it’s a crappy, poorly-produced hack fest, but it’s shocking how many times they get to claim “exclusive” when the topic is a Liberal.

          • Ah the blame the media trope, another hoary old chestnut that a beleaguered rightist can always rely on to excuse the fact that people don’t agree with them.
            You offer examples without a shed of evidence – cover up of Benghazi? Seriously?
            As for your whining about the so called free-market proponents at Sun News not getting their guaranteed welfare payments, that speaks volumes to your even handedness and integrity as does your propensity to use terms like terrify and tyranny so lightly.

        • It doesn’t enter your mind that the Liberals are the centre, the NDP has drifted towards the centre and the Harper Party has drifted way right does it.

          Not everyone to your left is left wing, especially if you are to the right of Atilla the Hun.

      • No, the rot has not set in. I’m sorry, but all this hubbabaloo about a personal cheque is not about “rot”. There’s a difference between adscam, the war measures act, and other REAL scandals, and the sad excuses for scandals peddled today.
        There’s a difference between the silly garbage passed for scandals today in Canada and what is happening in the US.
        Yes, rot will eventually set in, but we are a long way from that. You want to see real rot? Look at Montreal city council.

        • The list of the things the CPC has done is far too long to list here. No, no one of them is as big as Adscam. But (and I acknowledge that the recency effect may be at play here) I cannot remember any other government with anywhere near as many little scandals and incidents as this one.

          • All those little scandals were not scandals, they were supporters of the opposition attacking the government and calling such attacks “scandals”, whether there was any basis to the attacks or not.
            The most ridiculous one that comes to mind is the mindless chidish, puerile and ridiculous wafergate scandal. Looking back, it’s hard to believe. The so-called “scandals” of immigration were also absurd, with that woman they found in Kenya and one or two others.
            The one common thread about all those “little”scandals is that they were not scandals at all. The fact, is the list can be long because a lot of creative people can invent a new one every week, and they do.

          • Oh, so being convicted for in-and-out; multiple PMO and CPC members convicted or under active investigation for various crimes; Penashue having to resign for electoral shenanigans; Pierre Poutine; Gazebogate; etc etc – none of these have any basis in fact? What friggin’ planet do you live on?

        • War measures act? huh? that was an awful event in Canadian history, but it wasn’t a scandal.

          I am beginning to see why you cannot tell the difference between a pro-rogue where a guy quits and a pro-rogue where a guy desperately clings to power. You can’t accurately tell the difference between ANYTHING.

        • Speaking of Montreal – how on earth did Harper allow Porter anywhere near him? He’s got a well known dodgey record in the U.S. Between him and Carson, is there any vetting going on or what?

          +

    • That’s odd – you’ve neglected to mention the judge’s finding that there was clear evidence of voter fraud in 240 ridings in 2011. And that it was clearly linked to the use of the Conservatives Party’s database.

      These other scandals are just money. This one is an attack on our democracy by the Conservative Party.

      • You do realize that the whole reason for the Liberals spending $900M to cancel the gas plants was to buy an election right?

        • You mean the same $900M that Tim Hudak and Andrea Horvath promised to spend during the same election?

          But yes, I recognize that. The difference, of course, is that politicians have been trying to buy us with our own money forever. It’s a voter’s duty to see past such things.

          But actual, outright fraud? As in “I tried to vote but the Conservative Party tricked me and I missed my opportunity.” That, especially on that scale, is new in Canada and a world apart from the usual tawdry partisan spending by a government.

          • I keep hearing $585 million as the total – $230 million being the amount that ALL parties were willing to spend at the outset.

            So as I understand it, for the money at issue to be McGuinty alone’s fault, then wasting $230 million is OK but add ANOTHER $350 million to that and it becomes an outrage. Definitely an increase, to be sure, but the opposition sure doesn’t want it said that way.

            Are there credible figures putting it at $900M now?

            Now if someone is mad that the costs that came to light later were known to some or all Liberals and they did not make it known, if true then THAT is a Liberal problem.

          • ok wait holy crap the $900M is apparently the number the opposition claims was removed from a document as a disaster scenario for the most that could possibly be spent in unimaginable circumstances. It has NO RELATION to increased costs actually incurred. NONE. AT. ALL.

            I hope anyone trying to present this as a $900M boondoogle while claiming the media is evil and deceiving us so we support certain parties realizes how absurd they look. Unless the quick checks I did are way off, either it’s a ‘they hid information scandal” or an “additional $350M scandal when $250M bill was perfectly OK” scandal.

        • Where did you get THAT number? Wildly exaggerating the total does little for your credibility.

  7. To all those that are saying that Mr. Wherry is being hyperbolic with his gloom, I’d ask that you read the title of his article again and understand that the article, much like his blog, discusses Canadian politics.

    He is not arguing that life in Canada has never been worst.

    I recommend you re-read his article carefully and if you put as much effort in your comment as he’s put into his blog post, I’ll look forward to the discourse.

    • Anyone with a little perspective on Canadian politics knows for certain that “Mr. Wherry is being hyperbolic with his gloom”.

      This is a country that had Adscam, the FLQ and the war measures act, two referendums for separation to split the country in two, the King/Byng affair, a debt crisis spawning a credit rating downgrade, and two world wars, just to name a few. Other OECD countries are currently experiencing, at this very moment and for the last 5 years, 50% youth unemployment, riots and social unrest, economic depression and potential bankruptcy.
      But we’re supposed to believe a 90k personal cheque is the end of the world.

      Recently the government of Montreal has been infilrated by a corruption ring associated with the mafia in which public money was funneled to insiders, and we’re supposed to be worrying about Ford with a crack pipe and Ford’s charitable solicitations.

      My God, grow a little perspective, please.

      It’s people like you and Wherry who make me worry about the future of the country.

  8. This was the worst month in Canadian politics because it was the most BORING month in Canadian politics, because the so-called “journalists” in this country have been missing every one of the big stories.

    $500M wasted in Ontario on yet another in a series of spending scandals, but it takes a back seat to a rumor posted on a fucking gossip blog.

    Manitoba NDP break an election promise by raising the PST 1%, and the media would rather talk about Duffy receiving $90,000 from a private individual.

    Media companies can’t figure out why they’re all going bankrupt, but it’s pretty clear it’s because they’re incapable of doing what their supposed to do, which is report the news. Instead we have a media that reports gossip, opinion, and just plain bullshit.

    It’s clear that the media’s only target market left is the civil service losers who spend their days commenting on blogs and expressing faux outrage. They’re the only people stupid enough to still consider this garbage relevant.

    • THOSE are your ideas of ‘big stories?’

      Not the economy?

      Not the EU trade deal?

      Not the protests of scientists?

      Just partisan stuff to do with Libs and Dips?

      Ahhh Ricky the Troll on a Fri aft.

      Go have a beer. LOL

      • Don’t ask hm to think for himself, he’s repeating what they told him to say and as it’s Friday is awaiting his new talking points for the weekend. I wonder what debacle Stevie and the Hosers will slip out quietly tonight hoping no-one notices?

        • Ah gawd, I hate to think. Friday news dumps are such fun.

    • It’s really getting to you I see.

  9. Aaron Wherry is one big liberal sucky baby.

    Sorry, that`s all the comment this WherryWhine deserves.

    • Wherry is not your problem and you know that. Darrel Bricker’s numbers must be scaring the hell out of you.

  10. I felt the same way about the events of the last month. I kept thinking “What happened to my country?” This morning I attended a breakfast meeting organized by our local MP. Stephan Dion spoke. Remember him, the much maligned and mocked former Liberal leader, who was knifed in the back by none other than Mike Duffy? The topic of his speech was electoral reform. A dull topic but it was well attended, especially by a lot of younger voters.

    You might think Mr. Dion would be vitriolic or gloating over the downfall of someone like Mike Duffy, but he wasn’t. Instead he spoke very positively about ways to improve our federal government, to encourage parties to represent all areas of the country instead of various regional voting blocks. I was reminded that there are some wonderful people serving us in government: caring, intelligent, honest. They populate both parties, as well as the civil service. When this current storm settles and the chaff has blown away, they’ll still be standing for us. We are a great country because we are populated with generous, kind, and intelligent people. Let’s never forget that, and never forget who we are.

    • Mr Dion is a class act: brilliant, gracious and he genuninely cares for Canada. I have huge respect for Stephane Dion. We should listen to him more often.

    • Wow! Obsessive left-wing partisan hack warns us of impending menace of corporatism! Film at 11!

      • ad hominem and no real substance… typical from you

        • This comment was deleted.

          • And if she is so what?

            You’re an obsessive right wing hack even though you will deny it and I say, so what to that too. She points out his evils and you criticise her for it, at least she offers some evidence where as you just carp on and expect to be taken as an authority.

            When some one like you talks about the truth then indeed Res ipsa loquitur.

          • You know what, I totally apologize for that last post of mine. I really mean that. I got way too carried away, and I shouldn’t have made that post. I’d prefer if the admins deleted it. This will be my last post. Once again, my apologies to everyone.

          • I thought it was odd given how we’ve interacted in the past.
            In the same spirit, I withdraw my comment and apologise for not taking history into account. Should have known better.

          • Sorry to hear this.
            Just another indication that this humourless site should be left to the sorry bunch of naive inhabitants that believe that Eric Petersen`s hurt feelings are worthy of mentioning in a post about the worst month in Canadian politics.
            C`mon guys—-this chicken little approach hasn`t worked in the past 3 elections and Harper is well aware they won`t work in 2015.

          • The post seemed ok to me. People who peddle conspiracy theories should be called out. People who link to other people spouting conspiracy theories, calling it evidence, should be called out.

    • Get some professional help.

  11. The Bay Street “Wonder Boy” Nigel Wright DOES NOT
    GIVE AWAY HIS OWN MONEY! Not a single
    dime came out of Wright’s pocket!

    It would be a simple matter of Nigel INVOICING the Conservative
    fundraising account (the money raising arm of The Conservative Party) multiple
    times for some type of phony “Financial Consultant Fees” to accrue back
    the $90K. CPC treates that Fund’s coffer
    as their private “Honey Pot.”

    Are there any conversations between Conservative Senator
    Irving Gerstein (Harper’s bagman) about Nigel getting paid back from the
    Conservative Fund of Canada — the federal party’s war chest Gerstein once
    chaired.

    Or, the money came out of Alberta, where there is no
    shortage of it.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/social/MyTake/mike-duffy-nigel-wright-unanswered-questions_n_3314315_254934263.html

    • Well, if some anonymous fevered, partisan douchebag posted that on the huffpo comments page, that’s incontrovertible proof of your theory. I mean, Sherlock Holmes couldn’t do better than that.

    • You have now posted this several times on different threads. An interesting theory but some proof would be nice…

  12. “Mr. Harper was correct. What we need is forthrightness. Perhaps even in the hope that a general expectation of forthrightness might prevent future calamities from occurring.”

    Hate to break it to you Aaron. But I think even back then Harper was being selective as to whom all this forthrightness should apply. It probably never occurred to him that a little humility might go a long way; something he might have need of himself one fine day. Now that he needs the public to trust him, no one but the most loyal or the most partisan does.
    If Harper had been a student of history, or even of Shakespeare he might have avoided some of this. As it is there’s something almost fitting and oddly appropriate about his tribulations coming at the same time that Ford is making such an ass and a spectacle of himself and his city. Harper ought to look good by comparison or in contrast, strangely he looks quite complimentary; not out of place at all really when you come to think about it.

  13. “The worst month in the history of Canadian politics”

    I’d stretch that out to 7 years myself. It isn’t of course that the CPC hasn’t succeeded in raising the bar on financial corruption compared to some of the Chretien/Martin/Mulroney years in particular – they have to be fair. At least they haven’t been caught in overt acts of traditional theft in the classical liberal pork barreling or self agrandizing sense…until recently. They stayed away from the worst of that in the main.[ if not then they have done a much better job of hiding it, or denying it] But what they have done in the crusade to be righteous[ or at least more righteous than liberals] while in fact governing largely like liberals, sans style. What they have done is double down on politically motivated partisan corruption, corruption of the body politic, of our institutions and conventions. They have been openly contemptuous of these in ways not even that wily old devil Chretien dreamed of acting on… Even he had a sense of shame on that score. Probably because somewhere in his cynical old heart he still believed in the concept of this country and the mythology that had helped hold it together. since the sixties. For the life of me i can’t think of one thing the Harper govt believes in in terms of this country as a whole – other than no one should expect any other part to make any sacrifice for the whole.A national vision is a dangerous and unaffordable vision…better play safe and aim for smaller govt instead. But even that has to kept top secret as far as the electorate is concerned.
    I can’t honestly ever remember ever encountering a national govt with so little belief in itself or us. They are the very definition of cynicism. It isn’t that difficult to figure out really; this particular crowd simply doesn’t believe in this country…it’s always been that simple.

  14. It’s only the worst month in politics in Canadian politics if you’re a Conservative. There are plenty of us pleased that the seedy behaviour of this government is finally reaching people. Frankly, the warning signs of ethical rot were there long before Stephen Harper named Conservative campaign leaders Irving Gerstein and Doug Finley, who both pled guilty to election fraud, to the Senate. But the rot was crystal clear then.

    When Stephen Harper says he knew nothing of the $90,000 payment, he has all the credibility of a Prime Minister who just recently endorsed Peter Penashue, who committed election fraud and overspent to the tune of $48,000, as the best MP Labrador has ever had.

  15. What a great article by Aaron. I guess I seem to forget that although I am interested in articles like this, I am in the minority. This is my world but not that of most Canadians. I think governments basically “deal with”, or handle the media and the opposition in the comfort that election time is all that matters. The BC Liberals got rewarded for their ways, the CPC for its’ ways in 2011. That is what resonates. Everything else is weather the storm and fix it come election time with a good solid campaign.

  16. Israel and God will stand by Stephen Harper. The anti-Semites and Muslims will not deny Israel’s right to a soverign Jewish state. The land of Israel belongs to the Jews. God gave our ancestors this land the Palestinians are not welcome and they should move out of God’s land.

  17. The WORST month? I’ve enjoyed watching the choices of conservative voters biting them in the ass. During the elections that gave us these clowns: WE TOLD YOU SO!

  18. Perspective: this is a crisis about $90,000 (maybe more once Wallin gets thrown into the mix, plus some coverup sketchiness). Adscam was about tens of millions of dollars. Ditto the Pacific Rail scandal. Ditto King’s customs scandal (with inflation). The IRS scandal south of the border likely had an impact on even more than that (ditto the billion dollar boondoggle and the mismanagement of the gun registry). Moreover, the arrogance of Duffy and Wallin speak to the need for senate reform, something Harper has long pushed for.

    This isn’t even the worst Harper scandal. If the initial claims about the Robocall incident were true, that would have represented a serious breach of the electoral process (in fact, the subsequent investigation vindicated the Tories, outside of Guelph, which they lost anyway). If the claims about improper allocation of stimulus money were true, that would have represented theft on the order of hundreds of millions. The implications of the coalition crisis, likewise, were constitutional.

    The Rob Ford crack scandal, while licentious, is about whether Rob Ford smoked crack once (I think he has a drinking problem, but I’m doubtful he smokes crack regularly). How many politicians have done cocaine regularly (by admission: Obama, Smitherman, Boisclair)? How many were alcoholics (John A Macdonald no doubt)? Moreover, unlike Rob Ford’s conflict of interest scandal, his crack use does not threaten to oust him imminently.

    • you are on a fool’s mission here (like most conservatives) — Harper’s scandals already add up into the billions; Adscam was peanuts perpetrated by a few corrupt Quebeckers (big surprise there) with no knowledge in the PMO, as proven by the Gomery inquiry. And no, the Tories were not vindicated at all by Elections Canada. etc. etc.

  19. Still nothing at Macleans about Christy Clark rejecting the current Gateway proposal, saying “We don’t need Alberta” and ‘our priority is Nat. Gas pipelines’? Am I missing it?

  20. Not only do we not know what the politicians are up to, we’re not sure the media is any better. If the media spotlight was focused on the behaviour of the media, would we ever check the news again?

    Of course there’s terrible stuff going on, but what are the odds that someone will give us decent analysis on this in a year or that anyone will care?

    Politicians will tell the truth when voters reward them for doing so. We don’t pay attention to the media unless they can show us a scandal. Shame on our leaders, and our journalists. Shame on us.

  21. The worst month in the history of Canadian politics?

    Hardly Mr. Wherry……think back a decade or two

  22. I’m waiting for this old way of doing things to die. I’ve had it with politicians just trying to look good on television. Hypocrisy is a part of being human, but this much of it, in places of such power, is disturbing.

  23. The source of the problem is us — Aaron’s right — for the post part we don’t pay attention and the politicians know it. The only ones who do pay attention are shaping the national conversation — (clue — they don’t include the poor, or those much mentioned “working families”).

    All indications are that this will continue so that the only thing (our government) with any hope of leveling the playing field for those same “working families” vs those who would exploit them will be diminished to the point where (to quote Mr. Norquist) it could be drowned in a bathtub.

  24. Rather bleak to learn that a pretty traditional, middle of the road, if not conservative, much respected journalist like Don Martin is censored.

    • By his own network, yet! If you and I are disappointed, just think how Don Martin feels — and he’s been on an angry role the past couple of weeks.

  25. I think technocracy is a great idea but the people should have a say by some kind of voting system over the web, so that the leaders can see first hand what the Canadian people want.

  26. Hardly the worst month. Really.

  27. When a country has an ethical dwarf as its prime minister, it can only expect sleazy behaviour.

  28. I like how none of the Conservative commenters actually read the article, just the title.

  29. #Question Period has been horrific, the government a pack of immature and ghoulish clapping seals trying to deflect and attack and its failing miserably.

    Spinning ancient tales in the wake of historic incompetence and fraud.
    The last desperate attempts at distraction by a PMO and Cabinet that have “Jumped The Shark. Icing on the cake Harpers handpicked appointees like Brazeau, Wallin, Porter,Wright, Duffy etc…. Horribly judgement of character and just lost 3.1 billion.
    Harper is in way over his head.

    The Voter Suppression alone should have ended this clownshow , Election fraud, embezzling, lying, what a joke Harper has turned into.

    Opposition Leader Stephen Harper Comments on PM Stephen Harper
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COwvznzJkV8

    The Harper Government : The Greatest Hits Catalogue : A Shocking Track Recordhttp://tmblr.co/ZITI6slTwIek

    Rob Ford and Stephen Harper
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGdGQzGoKJc

  30. I’m afraid this is just the beginning of what will happen in Canada if we get in bed with Koch-funded industries (Keystone XL) and allow these ideas to influence our politics.

    As suggested in a NYT article “Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, “The Kochs are on a whole different
    level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer
    dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of
    lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in
    Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They
    are the Standard Oil of our times.” (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer).

    Let’s take a good look at the US Congress and Tea Party and other the Koch-funded initiatives and consider whether we want our politics to be anything like that: because that is exactly what will happen to our politics. Maybe we’re just getting lucky and getting an early glimpse.

    See also – http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/14/funding-climate-change-denial-thinktanks-network // http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brendan-demelle/study-confirms-tea-party-_b_2663125.html etc

  31. We need Eco and Eso (C. G. Jung and Rudolf Steiner). Multikulti must be stopped. Quebec and Texas must be independent. Read more
    http://www.esopolice.wordpress.com

  32. What about the robocalls?

  33. Conservatives aka corporations have no business in government. Throw them in prison and lose the key, quick.

Sign in to comment.