Tonight in Guergis

The ethics commissioner decides, for the second time, that she won’t investigate. An attempt by Pat Martin to change the schedule of the government operations committee so that Mr. Jaffer wouldn’t have to testify on Wednesday appears to have failed, at least for the moment, either because Mr. Martin was filibustered by Liberal committee members or because Mr. Martin’s motion violates House rules. Mr. Jaffer’s business partner says he and Mr. Jaffer want to testify, while Mr. Jaffer’s lawyer says “nothing will happen” on Wednesday and Mr. Martin pleads for decency and substance in our politics. Oh, and for the record, Ms. Guergis was not technically a cabinet minister. (Unless she was.)




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Tonight in Guergis

  1. It turns out that tabloid sensationalism, wild speculation, and flimsy hearsay aren't enough to merit an investigation by the ethics commissioner.

    Bill Clinton famously posted a big sign in his 1992 campaign headquarters that read: "It's the economy, stupid". Michael Ignatieff, inspired by this idea, recently hung a sign in the OLO: "It's Guergis, stupid."

    • It turns out that tabloid sensationalism, wild speculation, and flimsy hearsay aren't enough to merit an investigation by the ethics commissioner.

      If that's the case, then the RCMP should give it a pass too and would suggest that Harper referred to the allegations as serious, credible and believable, for political reasons and not because he was giving an honest opinion. Certainly possible.

    • After some interviews, do you still believe "The PI will probably turn out to be as crooked as a dog's hind leg" ?

    • "It turns out that tabloid sensationalism, wild speculation, and flimsy hearsay aren't enough to merit an investigation by the ethics commissioner."

      But it was the PM himself who sent this matter to the commissioner, not to mention the RCMP. Mind you, I'm just as sick and tired about this nonsense as the next one but how can you expect the OLO to sidestep a matter that the Prime Minister of Canada sent to the RCMP and then chose to clam up about the reasons?

      Any self-respecting opposition would do the same in these circumstances and continue to hammer at the government's credibility, especially a govt that got elected on a platform of transparency and integrity.

      Harper has handed them this one on a silver platter.

    • "It turns out that tabloid sensationalism, wild speculation, and flimsy hearsay aren't enough to merit an investigation by the ethics commissioner."

      And apparently the PM throwing a cabinet minister out of the caucus is no cause for concern or a reason for the ethics commissioner to "self-initiate" an investigation of any possible organized crime connections to Ms. Guergis. The ethics commissioner should "self-initiate" her own resignation because she is obviously blatantly partisan and thus useless as an objective investigator.

  2. Don't think he's right on the last point. Ministers of State are considered full members of Cabinet in Canada. (Secretaries of State, however, are not.) Check the Parliament of Canada website: although "cabinet" and "ministry" can diverge in size, as they did in Harper's first two years, they do not at present: there are 37 in each.

  3. What disturbs me most about this whole affair is that for the last week the opposition has been asking what the allegations are and the stock answer from John Baird et. al.is that the PM has "done the right thing" and followed "the highest ethical standard" by referring the matter to the RCMP and to the Ethics commissioner.

    It has become clear now that the Ethics commissioner was NOT informed of the matter and Jaffer and Geurgis have been left to twist in the winds of wild and rampant speculation. Honesty and ethics have nothing to do with the actions (or lack thereof) of the Harper government on this point. It's a diversion, plain and simple, from other more embarassing matters.

  4. This whole thing is a gong show.

  5. Was Helena thrown under the bus to divert attention from the Afghan detainee issue or some other issue we don't know about yet? She is guilty of questionable judgement but, then again, how many people should have reconsidered their choice of life partner?

    Why, on Sunday's CTV Question Period was Pat Martin so pleased to have Mr. Jaffer appear and on Monday he did a complete reversal?

    Time to move along and let the police clean up this accident.

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

    • The flip-flop of Pat Martin is certainly odd. Who or what was it that changed his mind?

      • I'm also wondering if he's flying solo on that one or if the party is behind this one. Why the change in tactic?

      • An EKOS poll.

        • The one that shows the CPC losing steam because of this affair? Not likely.

      • A horse's head in his bed.

        • "Just When I Think I'm Out, They Pull Me Back In!"

  6. As tired as I am of the land of Guergis, it would be helpful if Ms. Dawson would do her job. It appears that the PMO never made a formal request to her, but did give her a nudge. She chose to sit. Now the formal request from the NDP was not quite right so she chooses to sit.

    For those who don't like the tabloid sensationalism, wild speculation, and flimsy hearsay side of this… apparently from Ms. Dawson (CBC radio interview) this is her approach to investigation i.e. she listens to news reports, and reads gossip columns. (I guess the subsidies to Canadian media make sense now that I know they actually have a formal function in government.)

    There is a clear issue that Dawson should explore. Guergis's statement that her husband “had absolutely no business links or financial interest” in the company is likely absolutely and technically correct if I understand statements by Mr. Wright. However, it is also absolutely clear that her husband was absolutely interested in acquiring a business link and a financial interest at precisely the time Guergis got herself involved. So the question is: is it ethical for an MP to engage in a situation where there is an expectation of a financial benefit, although no legally binding agreement guaranteeing a benefit? While I don't particularly care about Guergis, it is an important question and our liberal hack of an ethics commissioner should get off her butt and get to work.

    • While I don't particularly care about Guergis, it is an important question and our liberal hack of an ethics commissioner should get off her butt and get to work.

      For the most part I agree. Dawson seems to be finding any excuse NOT to do anything on this… if she put as much effort into investigating as she seems to be doing in avoiding, the whole thing could be over by now.

      But I think it's a bit much to call her a "liberal hack," given she was appointed by Harper, as a result of HIS grand and masterful law, and seems to be avoiding the investigation of a (now former) Conservative. Unless you really meant "conservative hack" but are more used to typing "liberal hack," in which case never mind.

      • Thanks for clearing up the hack issue Al… any idea why she hates the troops?

    • Ms Dawson is following the rules. The Dipper allegations were sent to her, and Helena has 30 days to reply.
      Helena, just like every Liberal MP that has been accused of conflicts, has been given a chance to defend herself.

      The 'proof' Libby Davis submitted was a copy of the Star article about busty women……seriously

  7. I happened to watch a documentary on TVO the other day, Water On The Table. It follows Maude Barlow in her efforts for the UN in making water a human right.

    Part of the story surrounds her appearance in opposition to site 41, a proposed garbage dump in Simcoe County that was to be built over an aquifer that was found to have the best water quality in the world. The high point was when Simcoe Council (chaired by cousin Tony Guergis) placed a moratorium on its further development (later cancelled). MPP Garfield Dunlop (recently appearing on The House as a friend of the Guergis family) has submitted a private member's bill in the Ontario legislature to permanently revoke the site's approval (so private interests can't reactivate the project).

    This site controversy had gained lots of media coverage, including local appearances by Ralph Nader etc. While I found it a bit odd that the local MP was not present at any rallies, I didn't think much of it at the time. Site 41 activists claim there's a reason (a link I saw on a Susan Delacourt twit)

    Site 41 opposition group says 'Guergis never responded' to them

    "The Toronto Star asked Helena's cousin Tony Guergis about the energy-from-waste letter Helena had sent him and Simcoe County Council. According to The Star, Tony's recollection of the missive was imperfect but after checking with staff, he determined that the letter had been received 'for information' and 'no action' was taken. Any inference that Tony Guergis was unaware of this letter is ridiculous: it went to October 14, 2009 corporate services committee (he was a member and present), and the October 27 county council meeting, which he chaired, and was publicly listed on both agendas. It dealt with waste, the top political issue in the county at the moment, it was from a member of cabinet, and it was from his cousin."

  8. Without some pictures or video, this story is going nowhere. Unless, of course, we find out that other cabinet ministers have partied with Gillani.

  9. The spouse of a Minister of the Crown was in possession of an illegal substance that is only available from criminals when he was arrested for a traffic violation. Surely that alone demands an investigation by the Ethics Commissioner.

    • ''The spouse''
      are you saying that a women is not a person, but an extension of her husband?
      Are you saying if He did it , then she did it too?

      It has been many years since it was established, in Canada, women are persons and not property,
      Iffy is just learning that lesson.

      • Lame strawman argument aside, the Ethics Commissioner should have a duty to the general public to establish whether or not the Minister was involved in her spouse's illegal substance activity.

  10. I don't get the Pat Martin/NDP maneuvre. What am I missing?

    • Prefrontal cortex?

  11. Jane Taber mentioned something about this in her blog:

    Indeed, there is also the potential of the committee turning into what Mr. Martin described as a “circus” – something that won't play well in the court of public opinion. And speaking of that, EKOS pollster Frank Graves is in the midst of testing the Guergis affair.

    “I am seeing some very surprising results,” he said. Although, he cannot yet disclose what he is picking up, he said that he can “understand why opposition might want to drop it like a hot potato.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/otta

    • Well that would certainly explain it. That being said, I don't think that the opposition has been nearly as offensive as the MSM. Nevermind the predictably disgusting TSun, some members of the press gallery and the TStar have shown a little too much glee in their coverage.

      • Which in turn has contributed towards making Guergis sympathetic.

        • Yeah but is it enough to allow her to rehabilitate?

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