Monday, April 14, 2008

Canada’s Who’s on first Government?

Bernier: “Time for Karzai to replace Kandahar Governor”

Bernier, who’s on first: “Bernier backs off Kandahar comments”

Prentice: “Changing the rules in the middle of the game is not how this country does business. ...”

Prentice, who’s on first:"This [MDA] decision ... reflects pretty unique circumstances."

“The Conservative government is promising Quebec it is willing to reopen the Constitution to allow the province’s recognition as a nation within Canada if they win a majority in the next election.

Blackburn, who’s on first: “Mr. Cannon said Mr. Blackburn's comments were his personal views, suggesting they were not those of the government.”

“The As are guys like me. The Bs are homosexual faggots with dirt on their fingernails that transmit diseases."

Lukiwski, who’s on first: "I was stupid, thoughtless and insensitive,"

Harper: "When Ralph Goodale tried to tax Income Trusts ... don't forget, don't forget this ...they showed us where they stood. They showed us about their attitudes towards raiding seniors hard earned assets and a Conservative government will never allow either of these parties to get away with that"

Harper, who’s on first:“We were going to see the two largest telecommunications companies in the country not pay corporate taxes. That's a clear and present danger to fairness in the Canadian tax system. I thought we had to act.”

Actual Outcome: “It is estimated Ottawa stands to lose over $1-billion in annual tax revenue should Bell Canada be privatized.” Financial Post

Flaherty, who's on first: "It's not my fault", even though, like Lukiwski, he was "stupid, thoughtless and insensitive,"


Dr Mike said...

I liked Abbott & Costello--they were classics. You knew what they were doing was just clowning around to give us a laugh or two.

With Mr Harper & Mr Flaherty , it is no laughing matter --they are not funny in the least.

I think they are playing to the wrong crowd or something , because I just don`t get it.

First they say they will not tax trusts & then they said they had to---maybe , My sense of humor is out of wack , but I didn`t find that the least bit funny--it`s odd because Jimmy & Steve seem to have gotten quite a laugh out of this at out expense.

Remind me not to buy tickets to that show ever again.

Dr Mike.

Robert Gibbs said...

RCMP Raid Conservative Party Headquarters Over Election Matter

The Canadian Press
April 15, 2008

OTTAWA — The RCMP raided Conservative party headquarters in Ottawa on Tuesday at the request of Elections Canada.

A spokesman said elections commissioner William Corbett requested the assistance of the Mounties to execute a search warrant, but he wouldn't say why. "The commissioner has no further comment," John Enright said.

Elections Canada and the Conservative party have been engaged in a protracted legal battle over alleged campaign spending irregularities from the 2006 election.

At least two Mounties entered the party offices on the 12th floor of a downtown building as camera crews filmed. A short time later, two officers rolled a cart full of boxes and bags into a 17th-floor mailroom.

Corbett launched an investigation in April 2007 into $1.2-million worth of Conservative election television and radio advertising that was challenged by Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand.

Mayrand refused to reimburse Conservative candidates for part of the advertising money when they claimed it as local expenses. The ads were produced for the party's national campaign, which has a separate limit for election spending.

The Conservatives insist the transactions were legal but Elections Canada disagrees and opposition parties have labelled the scheme outright fraud.

No one from the party was immediately available for comment and phone calls to the headquarters went unanswered.

An aide to the party's lawyer, Paul Lepsoe, said he was in a meeting and unable to return calls.

Election Canada's lawyer, Barbara McIssac, was also unavailable.

The Prime Minister's Office referred questions to the party.

Soon after Corbett launched his investigation, the Conservatives went to Federal Court in an attempt to force Mayrand to reimburse the expenses to 67 Conservative candidates.

That case has not yet reached a hearing stage, with the party and Elections Canada still filing evidentiary briefs.

The party orchestrated the transfers primarily in the final stages of the campaign for the 2006 election, transferring large amounts of cash - routinely up to $30,000 - to the candidates for advertising expenses.

Robert Gibbs said...

RCMP Search Of Tory HQ Could Help Liberals

David Akin , Canwest News Service
Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2008

OTTAWA - RCMP officers executed a search warrant early Tuesday morning at the national headquarters of the Conservative Party of Canada, an unprecedented development which energized the opposition parties and improved the odds that they will unite to vote down the government this spring and force a general election.

It is believed to be the first time in modern Canadian history that police officers have executed a search warrant at the national headquarters of any political party.

"I could hardly believe it. I can't recall anything like this," said Liberal Senator David Smith, who played key roles running the national campaigns for Jean Chretien's majority governments. "This can be defining. This is branding."

Though Liberal Leader Stephane Dion turned aside election speculation, several Liberal MPs said the RCMP raid might be enough to push Dion and the party leadership towards a June election.

Liberal political operatives with video cameras filmed the RCMP officers at Conservative headquarters and plan to use the footage in their campaign advertising.

The Mounties were acting on behalf of Canada's non-partisan Commissioner of Elections. William Corbett, a former Ontario Crown prosecutor with a no-nonsense reputation, is investigating allegations that the Conservatives violated federal laws by exceeding their national advertising spending limit in the 2006 general election.

"The prime minister claimed he was going to bring in clean and open government," said NDP_Leader Jack Layton. "He was going to clean up the controversies of the past, the sponsorship scandal. It was a core issue in the election. But now what we see is that he's into full coverup mode and trying to blame everybody else and we've had to send in the police to find out the truth. That should deeply disturb all Canadians."

The elections commissioner, an independent officer, would not say why the warrant was issued but Prime Minister Stephen Harper conceded in the House of Commons it related to a dispute over the 2006 spending limits.

"We remain extremely confident in our legal position," Harper said.

Conservatives mentioned several times Tuesday that they were so confident that their party actually took Elections Canada to court last year to resolve the dispute over election advertising expenses.

That lawsuit continues to wind its way through the Federal Court of Canada and, as Harper told the House Tuesday, lawyers for his party were scheduled to depose Elections Canada officials today.

But almost at the same time that Elections Canada and the Conservatives locked horns in court, Corbett began his own separate investigation. The warrants executed Tuesday were related to Corbett's investigation and were not part of the dispute between Elections Canada and the Conservative party.

"This is what we get when we play fast and loose with election law," Liberal deputy leader Michael Ignatieff said, pointing at the Conservative benches in the House of Commons. "This is what we get when we stonewall Elections Canada. This is what we get when we cheat and we get caught."

On Parliament Hill, the issue is known as the In-and-Out Scheme because of the way funds for advertising flowed between the national campaign and the local campaigns.

But the legal issue at hand has less to do with how the funds flowed and more to do with the legal definition of a local ad versus a national ad.

Federal taxpayers pick up part of the tab for spending by local candidates on ads that support a local campaign. But last year, Elections Canada ruled that more than $1 million worth of advertising purchased by 67 local Conservative candidates across the country was not in support of their local campaigns and was, in fact, in support of the national campaign. For example, the local campaign to elect Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon in his Ottawa-area riding of Pontiac appeared to underwrite television ads that ran in his name in the Quebec City market, nearly 500 kilometres away.

As a result of the Elections Canada ruling, local candidates were not eligible for federal rebates. But more importantly, the Elections Canada ruling essentially put the Conservative national campaign over the national advertising spending limit by more than a million dollars, a potentially serious breach of Canadian election finance laws.

Both the Conservatives and the Liberals had a national advertising spending limit of $18.3 million.

Liberals say that, in a campaign as close as the 2006 one was, an extra million dollars worth of radio and TV ads not only influenced the outcome of races in individual ridings, it may, in fact, have changed the outcome of the general election.

When Corbett finishes his investigation, he may conclude there are no further grounds to proceed - which would be a major victory the Conservatives would use in their lawsuit - or he may conclude there is enough evidence to warrant criminal prosecution.

The sanctions for the kinds of violations of election laws that Corbett is investigating include jail time or a fine.

Peter Van Loan, the Conservative Government House Leader, could not explain to MPs why Corbett was compelled to get a search warrant.

"We have provided every document that has been requested by Elections Canada as a consequence of the lawsuit which we initiated with them over an interpretation of the law," said Van Loan. "We do not understand why this was necessary."

Van Loan later described Corbett's use of the RCMP as "an imaginary scandal."

Neither Van Loan nor any other party official would answer reporters questions about the warrants.

A copy of the search warrant was not immediately available. It was not clear if there was a court order to seal the warrant or if its return to an Ottawa court was delayed for administrative reasons.

Robert Gibbs said...

RCMP Raids Tory Office For Election File

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

April 15, 2008 at 9:45 PM EDT

OTTAWA — RCMP officers raided Conservative Party headquarters in downtown Ottawa yesterday to execute a search warrant requested by Election Commissioner William Corbett.

The police worked behind closed doors of the 12th-floor suite and at a mailroom on another floor. They were searching for information related to Mr. Corbett's investigation into whether dozens of Tory candidates improperly claimed advertising expenses that should have been declared by the national party.

At one point, an Elections Canada inspector emerged with a large portfolio of what he would describe only as “various documents” before escaping to an elevator.


In what has become known as the “in and out” scheme, the Conservative Party transferred up to $50,000 to individual candidates who, in turn, gave the money back to the party for ads created at the national campaign headquarters.

With the TV and radio ads national in nature, the Conservatives surpassed the legal election-spending limit by more $1.2-million.

“I'm not surprised at all,” said Jean Landry, the Conservative Party candidate in the Quebec riding of Richmond-Arthabaska in the last election, whose campaign was audited by Elections Canada. “The truth will come out one day, and justice will follow its course.

“I swear on the Bible that I never received that money for local expenses. It was for the national [campaign], not for me. The money returned automatically into the Conservative Party account.”

The issue was first brought to public attention last August and the opposition has asked that the alleged scheme be investigated by the Commons Procedures and House Affairs Committee. The Conservative members of that committee responded with a filibuster that has gone on since early last fall.

The opposition members eventually replaced Gary Goodyear, the Conservative chairman, with Joe Preston, another Conservative MP. But Mr. Preston resigned from that job last week.

With a report from Omar El Akkad in Ottawa

Robert Gibbs said...

Quebec's Health Specialists Say Conservative Bill Could Lead To Abortion Ban

The Canadian Press
April 15, 2008

MONTREAL — Quebec's medical specialists say a private member's bill that would make harming a fetus a crime is likely to outlaw abortions.

Gaetan Barrette, who heads the province's association of specialist doctors, criticized Bill C-484 for opening the door to recognizing the rights of a fetus.

The bill, tabled by Conservative MP Ken Epp, would amend the Criminal Code to allow separate charges to be laid in the death or injury of an unborn child when a pregnant woman is attacked.

It passed first reading last month with support from both Conservative and Liberal MPs.

Barrette, whose association rarely weighs in on policy debates, pointed out that the bill's supporters are already eyeing a court challenge to Canada's abortion laws.

He says the association wants to protect abortion doctors from possible lawsuits and avoid a return to back-alley abortions.

"It would be political insanity to go back to those conditions," Barrette said Tuesday. "If a politician can't see that, what point is there being a politician."