Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Taxpayers Are Funding Harper's Smear Campaign

The steaming turd has been found ... and it is in the Harper PMO:

On Monday, PMO communications officer Erica Meekes sent The Advance details of an engagement that netted Trudeau a $10,000 fee, but left Georgian College with a $4,118 shortfall. The information was sent via email with the caveat it be referred to as coming from a “source,” not the PMO, when used.
“As a follow-up to the growing controversy over the weekend on Justin Trudeau charging charities for his speaking services, I have enclosed further materials that demonstrate the scope of this practice, cost on the organizations, and in many cases, poor outcomes and large deficits as a result of his speaking tour,” the email stated. “As discussed, these materials are provided to you on background, and should be attributed to a ‘source.’”
The material included invoices, a promotional poster and an accommodation receipt for the Toronto Four Seasons. Meekes wrote, “To be fair, there is an in-house yoga studio at the Four Seasons!”
When asked in a telephone interview why Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office was sending out unsolicited documentation, Meekes said the PMO routinely reaches out to the media.
This is the first time, however, such financial information was released to The Advance from the PMO.
Normally, such work is the purview of partisan researchers.
Meekes’ email said to contact Patrick Brown, “the local MP for Georgian College,” for comment.
In an email from Ottawa, Brown said Trudeau shouldn’t be let off the hook for the Georgian loss, even if it occurred before he entered politics.
The outrage here is not that Harper is trying to smear Trudeau.  You would have to be the village idiot not to expect that.

The outrage should be that Harper is using public money in the form of PMO resources to carry out partisan attacks.  As taxpayers, we fund The Privy Council to assist the Prime Minister in managing the levers of government effectively.  We DO NOT provide those funds for the Prime Minister to use them for their puerile, juvenile desire to wipe out anyone who resembles a threat to their status as "dear leader".

It is time to take the trash out at 24 Sussex.

[Update 19/6/13 7:30 AM]

A few interesting tidbits from the Calgary Herald this morning:

NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus chided Harper for allowing controversy over Trudeau's "ethical misjudgment" to be turned into an issue about his own judgment.
"The issue I think that Canadians have to ask themselves (is): Doesn't the prime minister have more important things to do in terms of serving our country than running a black ops operation against the Liberal leader?" Angus said.
"It's not becoming of the prime minister."
Angus said the Tories are blowing the political gift Trudeau handed his rivals when he chose to voluntarily disclose that he's earned $277,000 making speeches to 17 different groups since becoming an MP in 2008.
"It was gift-wrapped for you ... and just out of sheer stupidity, block-headedness and spite, you're blowing it," he said.
This is typical of the NDP the last little while.  It seems that they can't focus on the real issues at hand without looking to see if there's an adequate attack on the Liberals.  Angus is correctly criticizing Harper for his abuse of the PMO function, but he then turns around and basically says that he's really criticizing Harper because his team has done such a sloppy job of attacking Trudeau.

Note to the NDP:  I realize you feel this overpowering need to attack the Liberals.  But frankly, that shouldn't be where your focus is.  You are titled "Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition" for a reason - start paying attention to the finagling across the aisle, and spend less of your time futzing about and trying to make everything a "two pronged attack".  It isn't effective, and it plays to Harper's tune.

However, Harper's office made no apologies for its role in fanning the flames of the controversy.
"News flash: the office of the leader of the Opposition, the Liberal leader's office and the Prime Minister's Office all engage in political communications," said PMO spokesperson Julie Vaux in an email.
"Trudeau's taxpayer-paid staff are currently calling all the charities (about returning the speaking fees) and that's supposed to be his personal business."
Vaux said Trudeau only agreed to reimburse the Grace Foundation after the media pounced on the story and "our caucus shamed him into doing so."
News flash for Ms. Vaux:  Canadians expect you to do your job - namely assist the Prime Minister in running the country.  You are not doing this.  You are engaging in partisan mud-slinging on taxpayer dollars.  This is not acceptable.

Conservative MP Ben Lobb, meanwhile, told the House of Commons he intends to ask federal ethics watchdog Mary Dawson to investigate whether Trudeau broke conflict of interest rules by voting on a bill involving the rights of labour unions when he's accepted "over $100,000 in personal payments from unions."
Really?  Talk about scraping the barrel looking for scandal.  The Conservatives have clearly lost sight of what governing means.

The Conservatives maintain it was unethical of Trudeau to ever accept a fee for speaking to charitable organizations, either before or after becoming an MP. And they include municipalities, educational institutions, school boards and other non-profit entities in their definition of charity.
However, one of their own — former NHL coach Jacques Demers, whom Harper appointed to the Senate — admitted Tuesday that he too has accepted payment for speeches to literacy groups and others the Conservatives describe as charities.
"I've taken and I've given a lot," Demers said.
The complaints the Harperites are throwing about only have meaning when they are lily-white.  They aren't.  We know they aren't.  


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