Another Day, Another Conservative Scandal

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jerrym
Another Day, Another Conservative Scandal

SNC-Lavalin made $15,000 in political donations to Conservative candidate Michel-Eric Castonguay in the Montmorency-Charlevoix-Haute-Cote-Nord riding despite the fact that the Canada Elections Act prohibits corporate donations. The donations were given by 14 executives or their relatives on April 30, 2011 just before the national election on May 2nd. These donations amounted to 2/3 of the candidates campaign finances. Despite this money, the Con candidtate lost to NDPer Jonathan Tremblay. 

SNC claims these donations were made by personal choice of their executives coincidentally on the same day two days before the election.

"However, CBC News began investigating federal contributions after revelations last week by an SNC executive at the Charbonneau Commission in Montreal. Yves Cadotte explained to the inquiry on corruption how SNC-Lavalin had its executives make political contributions municipally and provincially and then compensated them through their bonuses.

Furthermore, now-retired SNC-Lavalin executive Georges Boutary, who is listed as making a $1,100 donation to Castonguay, told CBC News he had never heard of Castonguay nor did he remember donating to his campaign. ...

NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice told the CBC the donations could indicate a broader scope of corruption: “What we are learning in Quebec right now is really amazing and maybe, maybe we have that same pattern at the federal level.” Boulerice says it seems like more than a mere coincidence. “It's really strange that all those employees of SNC-Lavalin are giving almost the same amount of money to the same local association on the same day. "It looks like an organized action from a company to give money to a political party."

During Tuesday’s Question Period, Boulerice asked the Tories about a similar donation cluster from 2009, where 13 SNC-Lavalin executives and their family members donated $14,300 to the Conservative’s Portneuf-Jacques Cartier riding association. Pierre Poilièvre replied that the contributions had "nothing to do with this party or this government."

Conrad Winn, a political science professor at Carleton University and president of Compas Research, says it’s not about the $15,000, and it smacks of "attempted corporate corruption. Governments make contract purchases in the hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Winn, "and choosing a company because they happen to have favoured a politician"

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/03/20/snc-lavalin-donations-c...

 

Sean in Ottawa

I wonder how organized and widespread the tactic of giving money to others who can make legal donations from those who cannot. This is the big loophole in electoral financing. It is essential that this be investigated. There must be ways to prevent this.

Brachina

I always figured that the Tories were up to something like this. No wonder the Tories always have insane amounts of money. Cut off the oppentants sources of income, then get yours via the back door.

Justin Trudeau probably wondering why he didn't think of it first.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Someone brought this to my attention on facebook, but if Thomas Mulcair was supposed to be the NDP leadership candidate who can "win" (sic), why is it that the NDP has been virtually silent on this rash of scandals that has hit the Conservative Party? Where are the attack ads, the awareness campaigns, the constant visibility of this epidemic of incompetence, corruption and authoritarianism in the CPC? What has Mulcair done to prove his "winning" (sic) credentials that got him the leadership from the NDPers who were sick of being ethical also-rans?

KenS

There is a simple answer. But forewarned: the 'proof' of it isnt.

It sounds so obvious. But those kind of attack ADS would fall flat. You can raise it in Question Period, and they do. And the accumulation of this stuff may well stick. But the details involve what to most people are arcane process stuff.

If there aren't brown envelopes of cash- like the Liberal Adscam in Quebec- then it isnt the stuff of attack ads. You can do attack ads on 'ethical lapses' after the wound is already bleeding- you can't use attack ads to open the wound.

Hopefully, the accumulation of this stuff is about to open a wound.

Sean in Ottawa

I doubt the NDP wants to spend limited resources on a campaign now especially as it would make it old news in two years.

Resources are limited compared to the Cons and must be spent effectively. Yes, he is doing things but unless you pay for it the people won't see it. I certainly hope the NDP will come out stronger as we get closer to the election.

I would have preferred the NDP do much more extensive townhall meetings on specific policies of public interest. Without laying out policies now it is a way of testing ideas and engaging in a movement. Right now this is the priority not gutter crap two years ahead of an election -- in my view.

NorthReport

Well said Sean.

Sean in Ottawa

Another point. Mulcair has a communications objective and that is to convince people he would make a good PM. It is not to prove he can fight as people know that already. If he were seen to be weak there could be a reason to rattle sabres but he is considered well capable of an offensive and has no need to prove it. He will show what he needs to at election time but he does not have the pressure Dion, for example, had. In fact quietness on the attack is serving him well as people gradually get used to him. When he introduces himself it can't be the Mr. Angry persona the Cons are trying to construct for him but the caring and competent leader he wants to project. This is why copying other's tactics doesn't work. What works for one person can be a disaster for another. If the NDP leader were going for the jugular at every opportunity I have no doubt the party would have fallen to third place by now. He will need to attack so he has to consider that he has only so many attack points before people will say he is just a nasty person. He is spending them wisely as he must. Actually I think he is doing a good job on that.

My preference as I say would be for the party to delegate some MPs to lead policy discussions in public. This is a way of promoting a future NDP cabinet and that is the priority right now. The attack days are not now. These are credibility earning days and should not be squandered.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Well Harper didn't waste any time working on Mulcair -- he doesn't seem so concerned that the election is three years away -- and you can't change a public's mind in six weeks of campaining. You have to start now and the time has never been riper. This is a stale government on corrupt principles and the NDP is twiddling their thumbs. I mean, most people know what I think of Mulcair, and I agree with Sean that I would like to see some actual alternative policy proposed by the NDP rather than partisan bickering, but there has never been more space for NDP policies than there are now precisely because  of these scandals.

And when I say "attack ads" I am not saying angry-American-style-menacing-voice-over ads. I am talking about ads which simply say "you think Stephen Harper is good on the economy and accountability. Here's why it's the opposite." You think you'll still have this bucket of free ammunition in 2015/6?

Debater

Elections Canada to recruit up to six new investigators for violations probes

MARCH 22, 2013 1:20 PM

http://www.canada.com/news/Elections+Canada+recruit+investigators+violat...

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Can they stand against Harper Canada? Money mouth

jerrym

Debater wrote:

Elections Canada to recruit up to six new investigators for violations probes

MARCH 22, 2013 1:20 PM

http://www.canada.com/news/Elections+Canada+recruit+investigators+violat...

If Elections Canada does cite more of the reported incidents as official violations, the pattern of Con criminality will be driven home and the closer to the 2015 election date this happens, the less time the Cons and their corporate donations have to recover. The exception to this is, of course, the Labrador by-election, where an early final report on the 2011 Conservative irregularities would be the final nail in Peter Penashue's electoral coffin. 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Boom Boom wrote:

Can they stand against Harper Canada? Money mouth

I just read about this Freudian slip.

Apparently,it was supposed to say 'Harper government',which is just as bad. 

Debater

I hope the Opposition parties get copies of these screen captures out to the Canadian public and show people what King Harper has been up to.

Debater

Oops: Government agency rebrands country ‘Harper Canada’

http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/03/22/oops-government-agency-rebrands-...

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

The man is a little dictator.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Excellent idea, jerrym.

jerrym

Debater wrote:

I hope the Opposition parties get copies of these screen captures out to the Canadian public and show people what King Harper has been up to.

 

The Opposition needs to air ads during the next election showing Harper and his lieutenants proclaiming Penashue as the greatest Labrador MP ever, and attacking people whose criticism has been shown to be correct on the Afghan War, the safety of our nuclear safety system, the cost of F35s and a host of other issues too numerous to mention. There should be no voice-over, just Con quotes followed by proof of the opposite to their statements. At the end, a single written question: "Would you trust anything these people say?"

Jacob Two-Two

My friend works in the Federal Government. She says that "Government of Canada" has always been their brand, their go-to phrase. Now if someone writes that in a document, it will be quickly edited to "Harper Government", no matter how insignificant. They changed the colours on their websites too, to be Conservative Blue, and not the white and red of the flag.

socialdemocrati...

As offensive as this is, you can't build a political insurrection based around naming things. Slashing the social safety net by another name is still slashing the social safety net.

NorthReport

Agreed.

janfromthebruce

Another thing about attack ads, is that it became boring when constantly done by the Liberals. I prefer Mulcair attackings policies, positions rather than "people". This way, he is putting out NDP positions.

Eventually, the Liberals just sounded whiny.

Debater

Canadian voters may be experiencing seven-year itch with Tories: Hébert

 

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/03/22/canadian_voters_may_be_exp...

Debater

Conservative Minister Keith Ashfield makes sexist remark to a woman:  "You're going to make a wonderful wife for somebody".

http://lisakirbie.com/2013/03/24/tory-minister-makes-sexist-remark-to-yo...

mark_alfred

Kevin Page suspects the Tories are going to wind down the Parliamentary Budget Office.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/03/23/pol-the-house-kevin-pag...

Debater

No apology from Tory cabinet minister for telling high school student leader she’ll ‘make a wonderful wife’ someday

http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/03/25/no-apology-from-tory-cabinet-min...

sherpa-finn

Does the PM choosing to leave town to welcome pandas to Canada instead of staying to welcome aboriginal youth completing the 1600 km Journey of Nishiyuuto count as a scandal?

Just wondering....

Debater

Yes.

And I'm assuming the Opposition parties will grill Harper on it further as the week goes on.  NDP MP Nikki Ashton raised a question about it in the House today.  There was no need for the Prime Minister of Canada to personally welcome a couple of pandas to Canada when he should have been meeting with Aboriginal youth who had walked hundreds and hundreds of miles to Parliament Hill.

Debater

Former Conservative MP Jay Hill broke conflict-of-interest rules: ethics watchdog

 

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/former-conservative-mp-jay-hill-broke-confl...

jerrym

Debater wrote:

Former Conservative MP Jay Hill broke conflict-of-interest rules: ethics watchdog

 

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/former-conservative-mp-jay-hill-broke-confl...

Is there any information on who the ministers that were contacted are and whether they acted improperly in dealing with Hill?

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Not sure if this qualifies as a scandal....I guess it depends on your point of view.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/harper-government-quietly-leaving-un-drou...

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

This was run by CIDA. The funds will be redirected to Canadian mining companies in Mali and other places to help the "local" economy. 

This is definitely scandalous.

jerrym

alan smithee wrote:

Not sure if this qualifies as a scandal....I guess it depends on your point of view.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/harper-government-quietly-leaving-un-drou...

 

It is a scandal in the sense that other nations notice and comment on the fact that wealthy Canada once again has shown that it has no sense of international responsibility unless Harper and his Con acolytes see a monetary benefit for Canada or themselves or their corporate masters. Canada's global reputation in terms of climate change, weapon sales, aid, and response to disasters has been destroyed.

sherpa-finn

jerrym asked: Is there any information on who the ministers that were contacted are and whether they acted improperly in dealing with Hill?

The report I saw said that Hill had contacted three members of cabinet trying to set up meetings for his wife who was working on the PR related to a big oil / gas deal, and her employers / clients.

Two of those Ministers were named: International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Industry Minister Christian Paradis. The fact that Fast apparently reported Hill's intervention to the Ethics Commissioner is the line the Gov't is using to say "See! Nothing happened, - the ethics machinery worked!" 

sherpa-finn

Funny thing, yesterday, the UN drought issue did not seem to have much in the way of political legs as a scandal / story.

But then some of the critics started to re-frame their criticism not in terms of the risks of drought to poor people in Africa, - but in terms of the bad press Canada was getting as an environmental laggard and how that would give Canada a black eye in the US and put the Keystone pipeline further at risk.

Well hot diggity-dog, wasn't that the PM himself all of a sudden up in the House today answering questions on this issue and badmouthing "UN talkfests".

The cynicism.... just mind-blowing.