Thursday, October 10, 2013

More On Duffy and Conservative Corruption

I must admit that while I really don't much like Mike Duffy and the seemingly endless stream of evidence of corruption with him at the root of it is fatiguing to read about all the time, it is still an important issue.

I am not going to argue about Senate Reform in this post - I remain unconvinced that the Duffy/Wallin/etc expenses scandal really points to an urgent need to overhaul the Senate - in fact, I am much more of the opinion that framing the expenses scandal in those terms is a red herring intended to distract the public from the real problems.

So, what are the issues then?  Corruption.  Starting with a Prime Minister who has created an environment in his party that encourages cheating, disrespects the structure and processes of parliament and by definition encourages abuse of the public trust.

Let's take a step back in time, shall we?  Remember 2006, when Paul Martin's minority government fell and an election sent the keys to 24 Sussex to Stephen Harper and his Conservatives?  I thought you might.

In 2006, we got the first overt clues as to Harper's agenda and what he has fostered in the CPC since becoming the party leader.  

The first clue was the "In-and-Out Scam", a thinly disguised money laundering scheme that Harper's campaign people dreamed up to sidestep campaign spending limits.

Then, we learned that the CPC had written and distributed a manual for their MPs to disrupt the business of parliament.  This is particularly concerning when you realize that this manual was part of the operating procedures for a party that was now in power.

Fast forward to 2008, and we have Prime Minister Harper calling a snap election - a snap election which flies in the face of his vaunted "fixed elections dates" law.  Now, per se, Harper didn't entirely break his fixed election dates law, because it did not place any limits on the Prime Minister's ability to approach the Governor General to dissolve parliament.  However, he did violate the spirit of his own law, which was the result of long standing complaints by the Conservatives (and the forerunner Reform party) about the "political game playing" around election calls.

Then, in 2011, we see the worst possible forms of electoral fraud taking place - voter suppression tactics.  On top of that, Harper has seen several of his MPs pay the price for breaking campaign finance rules - most notably Peter Penashue, but several others as well.

So, when you find yourself looking at Harper's ill-behaved Senate appointees and wondering what's going on, I think you need to look back at Harper.

I have no problem with a discussion around Senate reform, but let's make it a constructive discussion that isn't coloured by a knee-jerk reaction to corruption instigated by a Prime Minister whose acts have created an environment where corruption, undermining and fraud are the rule.

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