rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Former PMO staffer Bruce Carson charged with influence peddling

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

The federal Conservatives responded to the influence-peddling charges that former Prime Minister Harper adviser Bruce Carson is facing by issuing a statement saying "any individual who doesn't respect our laws must face their full force, as well as the consequences that come with them."

This is a deeply hypocritical statement from the Conservatives whose leader, Prime Minister Harper, has done nothing to penalize dozens of Conservative cabinet ministers and MPs who violated federal good government rules by handing out government cheques labelled with the Conservative Party logo, and has done nothing to penalize cabinet ministers Christian Paradis (who violated the federal ethics law), Tony Clement (who violated federal spending rules in the G8-G20 fiasco), Jim Flaherty and Peter MacKay (who violated federal budget rules by hiding the actual cost of the fighter jets), Peter MacKay again (who violated rules by using a military helicopter for a personal purpose), and Bev Oda (who violated rules governing expenses, and also misled Parliament).

In some cases, these ministers and others have faced no consequences for violating key rules also because a watchdog agency like the Auditor General or Ethics Commissioner has no power to penalize them, or has failed to enforce the law effectively and properly and no one is allowed to challenge their improper enforcement in court.

Because nothing can be done to force a prime minister to penalize cabinet ministers and politicians who violate rules, the watchdog agencies must be required to conduct random audits and to investigate all complaints and situations in which there is evidence of a violation, and must be given the power to, and required to, penalize violators, and everyone must be allowed to challenge any watchdog in court who fails to enforce rules properly.

As well, the huge loopholes must be closed in key good government laws because these loopholes currently make it legal in many cases for people involved in politics to be dishonest, unethical, secretive and wasteful.

For example, loopholes in the federal lobbying law, and weak enforcement, have meant that no one has been prosecuted for failing to register as a lobbyist since the law was enacted in 1988, and dozens of lobbyists have been let off the hook. Recently, a House of Commons Committee has recommended some changes to close some of the loopholes in that law, and to strengthen enforcement, but not enough changes to stop secret, unethical lobbying of the federal government.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.