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Accountability Week hangover for the Tories.

Blackburn gets busted:

Old expense reports torpedo Conservative claims that their Quebec regional economic minister spent less on travel and disclosed more than his Liberal predecessor.

The funny thing is that this was disclosed not by some Access to Information Act or secret paper, but by a simple web browse:

…in the case of Labour Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn, who also serves as regional economic minister, those Tory assertions are turned on their ear by an examination of past expense reports. In fact, all the government needed to do was look at its own website. Jacques Saada, the former Liberal minister for Quebec regional economic development, spent $66,000 on charter flights in 2005 and publicly posted every flight and its cost. The link to those “proactive disclosures” is found on the same government web page as Blackburn’s current expenses, which failed to disclose a penny of almost $150,000 in charter flights for 2006.

So, basically what you have now is the situation that Blackburn misled Canadians last week when he claimed everything was on the up-and-up, and you have Peter Van Loan who misled not only Canadians, but the House as well.

Accountability Week – a clever political tool the Tories thought they had by coming up with that gimmick. Instead, its been a gift that keeps on giving, even after it’s over. Sorta like Boxing Day Week, after Christmas.


5 comments to Accountability Week hangover for the Tories.

  • For me it isn’t so much the ‘corruption’ aspect of it as much as having then found put to be lying about it unequivocally.

    Simply put – they lied about it. They lied about the Afghanistan report, they lied abiout Wajid Khan.

    Let’s face it folks, they can’t seem to tell the truth to the Canadian public.

    What else will they lie about?

  • Lynne

    Is Olaf saying it’s okay for the Conservatives to be “unaccountable” because they are being attacked for partisan purposes? Besides, it’s the NDP that are attacking the CPC on this, not the Liberals.

    The NDP must spend all of their time investigating and trying to find dirt – nothing else to offer I guess.

  • Ed King


    I don’t know why you are blaming Liberals for this. The NDP brought this Blackburn story to light. Same with the clairvoyant hairdresser story. Digging through expense reports is their strong suit, especially now that the old pros, the Conservatives, are in power. If memory serves, Mr. Harper used to take charge personally of smear campaigns against the Liberals (he still does!). I don’t see Mr. Dion chasing Cons around with expense reports in hand. I hear him criticize the government’s position on important policy issues and offer his party’s views practically every time he opens his mouth. If you could find examples of Liberals spending an entire Question Period harping on something as trivial as who paid for a stick of gum, maybe you’d have a point.

    Some Liberal bloggers spend a lot of time talking about these silly stories, but most of them are not “official” agents of the Liberal Party. Some of them are probably not even party members. Who cares what they are talking about?

  • I guess I should clarify – the government misleading its citizens, or porkbarrelling, or whatever, is of course unacceptable. But by and large, it is inconsequential when compared to major policy initiatives. However, such incidents, which are often based on things that seem vaguely “shady” as opposed to something that is outright illegal. However, they are jumped on by opposing partisans as evidence of a larger party mindset, whether they were done with the consent of party leadership is irrelevant to what the indicate about the party. This is what sunk the Liberals – Adscam was seen (rightly, in my opinion) as such a fundamental misuse of power, that every consequent incident (even where said official was eventually exonerated, such as Goodale) as somehow indicative of a pathological disposition for which the whole party should be held accountable. I find it funny, as a Canadian who was upset by Adscam but not at all phased by the relatively minor transgressions that followed, that the Liberal party should wholeheartedly endorse the strategy which led to their (assumedly, from a Liberal perspective) unjustified ouster.

    Basically, the Liberal party doesn’t come off better by saying “see, they totally do it too!”. Similarly, although CPC supporters like to think that the Liberals are inherently corrupt, it makes it difficult to sustain such an opinion when
    the CPC has been accused of similar misgivings. I wish everyone could just focus on the major issues instead of trying to score cheap political points.


  • Interesting. Not to insult anyone, but does anyone get the feeling that such minor cases of supposed “corruption” are used almost exclusively for partisan purposes. Don’t get me wrong, after Adscam (which was worthy of an electoral backlash), ever single Liberal administrative misdeed (real, embellished or fabricated) was used by CPC supporters as just another example of endemic and unique Liberal corruption (a charge Liberals would surely object to). Has the charge now become “look at all these minor cases of Conservative corruption/mismanagement! Do they not indicate endemic Conservative corruption that was as bad as Liberal corruption? Vote Liberal!!!”

    As far as I’m concerned, when people (of a CPC or Liberal bent) attempt to bring attention to such minor occurrences (especially before all the facts are out_ they are doing so for purely partisan purposes – did Dingwalls chewing gum fetish really have anything to do with Adscam? Probably not, but it was uniformly framed as if it did. Likewise, many Liberals are now employing the tactics they previously decried, for the same reasons as CPC partisans did – not as substantial criticisms of government policy, but as a
    “don’t look at our respective policies or record, check out what this second rate cabinet minister did… no, wait… not the one from our party a couple years ago… yea, that’s right, that one… can you believe the audacity of this government?”

    Partisanship aside, does anyone else notice a pattern? I mean, for example, on Afghanistan, you’ll see CPC supporters more often than not, arguing for the CPC position, where as you’ll see LPC supporters arguing for the LPC position. There, in theory, a debate can take place, and on rare occasion, it does. Same with the environment, or crime, or whatever. However, when it comes to stories of petty “corruption”, there is one side reporting it, and another ignoring it. And it’s not always a function of the current government. Like when a study came out last week that revealed the propensity of Liberal PMs to appoint Liberal supporters to the courts – on not one Liberal blog did I read the story, although it appeared on countless CPC blogs.

    Anyways, this was a bit of a rant, but I’d like to hear some thoughts.


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