Yesterday we leaned that Harper has established a new series of medals to recognize Canadians engaged in volunteer activities and as the means to commemorate the Queen Elizabeth II's sixtieth year as Queen of England.
Today we lean that Harper used the Queen's visit to Halifax in June of 2010 for purely political gain. What are the odds that Harper will do the same with the recently announced Queen's Jubilee Medals?
Halifax royal repast was Tory affair
Meal with Queen used to reward Conservative loyalists
By STEPHEN MAHER Ottawa Bureau
Fri, February 4, 2010
OTTAWA — A lunch for the Queen Elizabeth II at CFB Halifax in June was used by the Conservative Party to reward their loyalists, according to a list of federal politicians invited to attend.
At parties in Toronto and Ottawa later in the Queen’s tour, opposition politicians were able to hobnob with Her Highness, but at the Halifax event, the only opposition politician present was Halifax NDP MP Megan Leslie, who got in only after her office called to ask for a ticket.
The list of MPs and senators invited shows that Peter MacKay, who was unable to attend, invited 11 guests, Tory MPs Gerald Keddy and Scott Armstrong each brought six guests, West Nova Tory MP Greg Kerr had five guests, and Nova Scotia Tory Senators Fred Dickson, Stephen Greene, Don Oliver and Michael MacDonald each brought two. Senator Gerald Comeau brought two guests.
No politicians from other parties were on the list.
Out-of-province Tories present included Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Gail Shea, Keith Ashfield, Rob Merrifield and Jean-Pierre Blackburn.
Leslie said it felt like a Tory event.
"It was a total Conservative Party love-in," she said. "I was sitting at the same table as a party president from a riding association up in Cape Breton. It was a thank you to the party faithful."
Leslie shouldn’t drag politics into this kind of thing, says Jay Paxton, communications director for MacKay.
"I feel sorry that Ms. Leslie has succumbed to using a visit by Canada’s head of state for partisan politics," he said. "Minister MacKay, who was not at the event because he was attending the repatriation of a fallen soldier, ensured that Canadians and Nova Scotians of all ages, from all walks of life and from all political parties were represented at this luncheon, such as Ms. Leslie."
Leslie says the reception was divided into two rooms.
"The VIP reception room was Conservative ministers and party brass and everybody else was in the other," she said.
It was nice to meet the Queen, said Leslie, but the event left a bad taste in her mouth.
"There is protocol and I think if they’re doing a list like this they should stick to protocol," she said. "And I don’t think it should be used as a Conservative Party thank-you party for the volunteers who worked those campaigns for all those years"
Paxton says Leslie is the one politicizing something that should be above politics.
"The emcee for this luncheon was non-partisan public servant Monique Collette," he said. "Her Majesty’s visit is a source of pride for all Canadians and just because Megan Leslie and the NDP want to abolish the monarchy, she shouldn’t cheapen the experience many Nova Scotians had that day."
Geoff Regan, Liberal MP for Halifax West, who wasn’t invited, said it looks like MacKay wanted to reward party loyalists.
"I think that normally you would have wide cross-section at these things and wouldn’t just invite people who vote for you or support your party," he said.
Friday, February 4, 2011
Posted by Brent Fullard at 7:42 AM