Monday, August 11, 2008

Blunder

Since we constantly hear chess analogies, in reference to the Conservatives strategic prowess, today's orchestrated attempt to derail the "in and out" hearings could best be characterized as a BLUNDER. In a move that reeks of arrogance, not to mention a political tin ear, it's hard to see the upside in having Doug Finley make a surprise appearance. Are the Conservatives trying to draw more attention to a forum, that for them, is best left to an incestous discussion amongst the political class? What were you thinking?:
Parliamentary hearings into the Conservative in-and-out campaign financing scheme got off to a raucous start Monday, with the Tories' campaign manager being ejected after refusing to leave voluntarily.

Doug Finley was escorted from the Commons ethics committee room by security guards after 20 minutes of wrangling between Tory MPs and Liberal committee chairman Paul Szabo.

Mr. Finley surprised committee members by showing up three days before he was scheduled to appear – in what seemed to be an orchestrated attempt to create a stir.

I fail to see the wisdom in creating a "stir" from the Conservatives perspective. All Findlay achieved was to put more focus on the proceedings, ensure the committee was frontpage news in every publication. Trying to disrupt speaks to a sense of guilt, because if, as the Conservatives argue, "everybody does it", nothing illegal, you aren't reduced to pulling pranks to draw attention from the substance. There's nothing to see, so why create a spectacle?

Speaking of substance:
In a hearing about Conservative election spending, an unsuccessful candidate testified Monday that he agreed in advance not to spend $37,000 the party sent to his campaign in 2006 and quickly took back.

Gary Caldwell, who ran for the Tories in the Quebec riding of Compton-Stanstead, said he later redrafted his election spending report to withdraw a claim for a 60 per cent federal rebate on that amount.

"I realize that the central party, any party, can give money to the local riding association, but when we examined this further I became convinced that it was only a legitimate local expense if we in fact spent it," he told the Commons ethics committee. " In fact, that was not the case."

Caldwell said he left the Tories "after what happened and my concern that the Conservative Party was no longer interested in rehabilitating parliamentary institutions." He plans to run next as a Green Party candidate.

10 comments:

knb said...

Oh I think it was a big mistake.

I presume he was there to intimidate, speak first, and say something that would suggest all further testimony to come was going to be useless.

What's really bizarre is that he would have had the chance to speak if the Con's hadn't acted up.

Steve V said...

Between that mistake and the Martelli testimony, it was a horrible day for the Conservatives. Martelli should make news in Quebec, and his scathing comments about the party were interesting to say the least.

knb said...

Yep! And tmfubncphere is one more of those on the list yet to come.

an insider said...

It was calculated in order to set the stage for the "parliament isn't working" tack in bringing about an election.

I suspect Dion will be regretting his recent bluster of bringing down the government. Harper's going to do it for him and Dion can't complain when he does.

The reason:

internals have the cons well ahead, and, more importantly, taking many of the close ridings, and some of the not-so-close ridings. In short, the numbers show a likely majority.

Steve V said...

"internals have the cons well ahead"

Please. I love that one.

an insider said...

The cons are looking to pick up a dozen seats in Ontario,

8-10 in Que.

three in Atlantic Canada,

one- two in Mb,

and three in BC.

The principle reason is concern over the economy coupled with a real fear in the carbon tax, though "leadership" is also a big one.

Laugh all you want, but at a minimum the cons will pick up a very strong minority, but the numbers are now indisputable that a majority has now gone from "possible" to "probable".

an insider said...

when we factor in ability to finance a campaign (which can account for up to a three point margin given the right disparity) a modest .8% margin - the minimum one can expect given the funding disparity - and the "probability" of a majority goes to a "significant probability/strong likelihood"

Steve V said...

"Laugh all you want"

Okay.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I just finished watching the gruelling CPAC coverage.

It was a disaster for Canadian democracy. Yes the Conservative members looked pathetic, but much of that was caused by Szabo.

This is not a committee trying to get at truth, only a platform for anti-CPC biases to be expressed, pustules to be popped, and Conservatives to be skewered.

This debacle lessens Canadian's trust in our House of Commons. It also highlights why other committee's with CPC Chairs have quit sitting and why we should elect a CPC majority government.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

The previous comment was mine.

Tomm