The Infamous Grewal Tapes

According to the National Post and everyone else, the infamous Grewal tapes and transcripts show that Martin knew exactly what was going on, despite his earlier (not to mention rather vehement) protestations to the contrary. Apparently,
the transcripts show the Liberals made it clear to Grewal that he would be rewarded. Dosanjh and Murphy both tell Grewal he needs to trust them and negotiate a reward later... "Nobody will make you totally blunt promises right away, because that is not done in politics usually," Dosanjh told Grewal.
Define "usually" for us, guys.
It seems as though there has been a lot of this going around lately.
"Cabinet right away may be possible."
As Stronach proved.
Murphy says a B.C. senate seat is difficult to procure because the existing vacancy has already been promised to someone. "That is not to say other options are not available," said Murphy.
The partial conversation posted at the CBC read as follows:
Dosanjh: I talked to Tim [Murphy], I met him after lunch in his office. It can be OK but with some gap of time. Like [Liberal MP] Scott Brison, Scott Brison was made Parliamentary Secretary, that thing can not be ruled out. That, prime minister can say to you or not. If that can not happen right now, that will be done in 2 or 4 weeks.
Grewal: So, what do you suggest now?
Dosanjh: I suggest that you meet with the prime minister this evening. Shake hand with him and talk to him.
Grewal: When will he be returning?
Dosanjh: I can find out. So you can announce in the morning or tonight. Or announce in the morning.

So, in other words cross now, reward later.
Dosanjh: Yes, it sounds right to me and then at the end, if both of them felt...they want to come and join, it will be more credible at that point for you.
Murphy: Absolutely, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to preclude that if obviously you have to feel where you are comfortable doing and where your personal stake is and what holds you and your wife, let me make it absolutely clear that we are a welcoming party we will do everything we can, obviously for us continuing to expend our base in B.C. and in prominent communities in this country is a political priority for us. It is a welcoming mat that has a lot of nice comfy fur on it.

Nice comfy fur?
Are they joking?
That nice comfy fur is my taxes, you nobs!!
The complete transcripts and copies of the tapes can be found at Grewal's website. The RCMP now have the tapes.

And by the way, if you check the Question Period clips posted on the CTV website, you'll hear Harper ask Martin why the representative (I assume he means Murphy) called Grewal 23 times in the 3 days leading up to the vote.
23 times!

What the Law says

You're killing me Brison!
Absolutely killing me!!
CTV had this story on the Liberal move to block the Conservative motion to extend Gomery's power. It's no real surprise that the Liberals will be having none of that.
What I can't get over is their arguments.
However, Public Works Minister Scott Brison says Justice Gomery can "already name names and can assign responsibility." He says the Liberals plan to introduce a motion of their own today "to show our confidence in the Gomery commission." It will read as follows:
"The House confirms that with reference to the Gomery inquiry, the commissioner has the authority under the inquiries' act, rulings of the Supreme Court of Canada and his existing terms of reference to name names and assign responsibility."

Here is the Inquiries Act.
Here are Gomery's existing Terms of Reference.
Here are the rules for the Supreme Court of Canada. No, I did not read them all.
A few things that simply must be noted:
Gomery is not functioning as a Supreme Court Judge. He is functioning as a Commissioner of an Inquiry. Do a search through the rulings for commissioner. You will notice that Commissioners are not given the power to pronounce guilt or innocence. That's not their job. Their job is to administer oaths.
So there is no point in MP Brison bringing up the Supreme Court Rulings. They can barely be said to apply in this case. As Cotler points out in the article, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that a commission of inquiry is not a court or a tribunal, and that it's not meant to find criminal or civil liability.
I have already pointed out the fact that the Inquiries Act makes no comment on the ability of a judge or commissioner to pronounce guilt or innocence. As we all know already, the Terms of Reference of the Gomery Inquiry expressly forbid him from doing so.
Meanwhile, we have these guys...
Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, at the news conference with Brison, called the Conservative motion "inappropriate, unfounded, redundant, and prejudicial." He said it threatens to derail the Gomery inquiry and potentially delay the release of the final report.
Derail the report?
Because you'll have to waste my money and everyone's time by scrubbing the report before you release it to the public?

But don't any of you guys remember what your fearless leader said to the public when he got on national television and begged for his job? His whole thing was "wait for the report, wait to see what Gomery says, he will tell us who is guilty," and so on.

Guilty until Proven Innocent

"Until all donations are required to be disclosed and donations are limited to a more democratic level, Canadians should assume that the federal parties and their candidates are receiving secret donations, or hiding the identities of donors who are tied to corporate and special interest lobby groups or wealthy individuals," said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch and Chair of the nation-wide Money in Politics Coalition...
All the federal parties have responded to the Gomery inquiry by claiming they are concerned by the evidence of scandalous donation activities, yet none have taken steps to close the donation loopholes that currently make it legal to corrupt federal politicians with secret donations," said Conacher. "If the parties do not close these loopholes before the next election, all Canadians should assume that they are voting for politicians who lack integrity and have no problem with being corrupted by secret donations."

In other words, they're all bad!!
At least, this sayeth Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch, who published a media release yesterday on First Quarterly Disclosure Of Federal Political Party Donations.
Mr. Conacher, you're not helping things. Canadians are already view their politicians with more than a little cynicism. Statements like "They're all evil and no one can be trusted!!" are a little over-dramatic, don't you think?
Credit where it's due though, yesterday's report has some interesting tidbits in it. For example:
secret, unlimited donations to nomination race and election candidates are still legal as long as the candidates do not use the money for their campaign;
So what would they use the money for, I wonder? Salaries I guess. Maybe a party or two.
the individual donation limit of $5,000 facilitates funnelling of donations by corporations, unions and other organizations through executives and employees
The report then suggests that the amount be lowered to $1,000. To be frank, I don't think that lowering the donation amount would correct this loophole.
a donor’s employer and major affiliations are not required to be disclosed, nor are the identities of donors who donate less than $200, making it too easy to hide funnelling of donations by corporations and other organizations
See what I mean?
What you'd have to do instead is insist that all donor information is disclosed regardless of donation size. The NDP and the Conservatives both keep lists of their donors. The other parties should do the same and then all parties should publish their lists.
donations received during a year in which an election is held do not have to be disclosed before election day, and as a result voters have to cast their ballot without knowing who has bankrolled each party and candidate
That should definitely change. We should know who funds who and in what amount. Now, in all truth, most Canadians wouldn't read any such report were it to be provided the day before election. Still, ths doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. At least the information would be out in full view of the public, regardless of whether or not they are looking.

Some interesting stats in the report:
the Liberal Party receives four times more money from riding associations and candidates than all the other parties combined
NDP - $0 from ridings and candidates
Greens - $0 from ridings, $172.97 from candidates;
Bloc - $2,040 received from ridings, $0 from candidates;
Conservatives - $64,986.36 from ridings, $0 from candidates;
Liberals - $260,685.47 from ridings, $282,082.87 from candidates;

The report then says that because riding associations and candidates only disclose their donors once per year the Liberals are hiding the identities of donors that donated 20% of their total donations until the middle of next year.
the Liberals have many more donors donating more than $1,000 than all the other parties combined
Bloc - 1;
Greens - 3;
NDP - 5 (plus 3 groups of donors with the same family name who donated a combined total of more than $1,000)
Conservatives - 36 (plus 7 groups of donors with the same family name who donated a combined total of more than $1,000);
Liberals - 141 (plus 39 groups of donors with the same family name who donated a combined total of more than $1,000;

Again, wow.
A few combined stats:
Conservatives - raised the most money $2,647,633.36, have the most donors 28,624 donors but 95.8% donated a total of $2,011,099 (77.9% of total donated) in amounts of $200 or less;
Liberals - raised the next greatest amount of money $2,245,743.17, have less than 1/4 of the Coservative donors at 5,409 and only 61% donated a total of $190,691.91 (11.2% of total donated) in amounts of $200 or less
NDP - raised $559,352.48 with the second highest number of donors at 8,663. 96.1% donated a total of $426,393.90 (76.2% of total donated) in amounts of $200 or less;
Bloc - raised $126,577.73 with a total of 1,884 donors. 97% of donors donated a total of $21,220 (17% of total donated) in amounts of $200 or less;
Greens - raised $44,691.37 with donors totalling only 715. 95.5% donated a total of $16,284.90 (36.6% of total donated) in amounts of $200 or less.

Good Move or Bad?

There has been a lot of talk over the past week regarding the conversation Conservative MP Grewal taped between himself and Liberal MP Murphy. Apparently, 4 or 5 minutes of tape have been released, but they show nothing conclusive. The remaining 4 hours or so require translation. After that, they will be handed over to the RCMP.
According to CTV, the tapes show that Prime Minister Paul Martin knew about negotiations with Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal ahead of a crucial budget vote. Volpe is claiming that he knew about the conversation, but wanted nothing to do with it. The NDP and the Bloc are calling for and RCMP investigation. The Ethics Commissioner may decide today whether he will conduct an investigation or not.
I'm not holding my breath.

I find it unlikely that Grewal would have approached the Liberals, only to tape his conversation (which, regardless of what else may be said, must have contained some type of unethical content). If he had genuinely been interested in a position within the Liberal party (or in any other position), the chances of him taping the conversation are minimal at best. No one but a moron deliberately tries to get themselves caught.
So it seems likely that he either laid a trap for the Liberals, or was approached by them and made the most of it.
If he was approached by the Liberals, this could not have been his first conversation with them. He must have already been spoken to by someone at some previous occasion. How else would he have known to be ready to tape the conversation?
If Grewal laid a trap for the Liberals, then I cannot help but feel this was a poor move on his part. It's crossing over into a moral grey area that I think he should have avoided altogether. It's easy to see why he would have fallen into this temptation: there were allegations of Liberal vote-buying all over the place, and then there was Stronach. Still, no one actually had any concrete proof. Grewal may have thought he had a way to get some.

Tapes and transcriptions could be released today. I will reserve any judgments I may have until I hear or see them.



Macleans has some news as to the reason for Chretien's decision.
Lawyers for the former prime minister issued a release Monday calling the court action "premature." They also acknowledge that "it is too late to replace the commissioner," the statement said.
That actually doesn't sound like a reason to me, more like an excuse.
One comment, however, concerns me.
"Arrangements have been made with the government by which Mr. Chretien will suspend the proceeding which he has launched, with the agreement of the government that he will be free to re-apply for judicial review on the same grounds, as well as any additional grounds, at a future date."
Will suspend, or can suspend?

Mini briefs. How I hate them!

So, nearly every online media outlet is running the same story: Chretien has dropped his move to have Gomery ousted from the Inquiry.
Not one online paper says why.
I would really like to know

And the story changes yet again

It would seem that the good Mr. Corriveau has magically regained his memory and wants to revise his testimony.
What a surprise.
According to the National Post and others, Corriveau has changed his testimony since April. He did, in fact, know Mr. Morselli quite well... which means of course that he perjured himself during his last testimony. He also kept on staff a few Liberal party members. Apparently, he took on the Liberal workers in 1998, before he realized sponsorship subcontracts would earn him millions.
I literally laughed out loud when I read that.
These, however, don't count as kickbacks to the Liberal party.
So, what are they then, Mr. Corriveau? Would you mind enlightening me?
The sad part is, despite the fact this is illegal activity, it is extremely unlikely that Corriveau will be punished. The sadder part is that this lack of punishment is only marginally due to the fact he is a great friend to the Liberal party. Even if he weren't a Liberal ally, he would still get off with very little more than a slap on the wrist.
"What?" say you. "How can that be?"
Well, as Hugh Winsor points out here, there are in fact few (if any) punishments laid out in the Financial Administration Act. It's not like regular fraud or other criminal activity where one might face a specific amount of time in jail.

This bring up a rather obvious question, then:
How many of the laws that are supposed to watch over how our government behaves have any significance to them? Is this "normal" for us?

What next?

According to this news brief, this is the last week of testimony before Judge Gomery.
What happens after that?
Does this whole messy business vanish into oblivion? Are we ever going to hear of it again? If there is no mandate to make the report available to the public, how are we going to know what happens and to who?
Something needs to be done, and quickly. I just wish I knew what.


Gomery's Mandate

The National Post posted this article yesterday.
I have to hand it to the Conservatives. Anything that makes the Liberals cry "unfair" is probably a good move.
The Conservatives have set the stage for a potentially acrimonious return to Parliament on Monday by blindsiding the government with three motions -- including one calling for indictments in the sponsorship inquiry...
The article doesn't give a list of all three motions. In fact, this article at the CTV website only mentions two motions:
They have two motions that they could choose from, including one sponsored by backbencher Gary Lunn that would demand a wider mandate for the Gomery inquiry into the federal sponsorship scandal... The other alternative is a motion quietly placed on the Commons order paper by Conservative Leader Stephen Harper in mid-May, asking the House to declare that it has lost confidence in the government.
I doubt that such a motion would pass.
However, the one concerning the Gomery Inquiry is a stroke of genius, in my opinion. I cannot see how any party (excepting the Liberals of course), could fail to support this motion. It's not a confidence motion and won't bring down the government, so there is no reason for the NDP not to support it. Extending Gomery's authority over the Inquiry could only be a good thing.
The first Conservative motion listed on the order paper calls on the government to amend the terms of reference for Justice John Gomery's inquiry into the sponsorship scandal "to allow the commissioner to name names and assign responsibility."
The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry can be found here
I had no idea that Judge Gomery could not assign criminal culpability as a result of this Inquiry. I can certainly understand the point about not interfering in other criminal investigations. However, this statement:
the Commissioner be directed to perform his duties without expressing any conclusion or recommendation regarding the civil or criminal liability of any person or organization
makes no sense to me.
Gomery cannot make any recommendation regarding civil or criminal liability.
So why are we waiting for the report at the end of the year?
Recommendations, a little laying of some blame, is exactly what Joe-Average-Canadian thinks he's waiting for. I cannot count the number of comments I have seen or heard that supports this notion.
"Oh, wait for the Judge to tell us who's guilty."
"Don't jump the gun. Wait until we know."
"Wait for the report. That way we'll have something to base our decisions on."
But the report is never going to say who's guilty. Gomery has been expressly forbidden from doing so.
A spokeswoman for Public Works Minister Scott Brison said the Tory move is unnecessary and an attempt to discredit the Gomery inquiry. Press secretary Renee David said the Inquiries Act already gives Judge Gomery the mandate to assign blame once the inquiry is complete. "It's a blatant attempt to discredit an independent judicial inquiry and the work of Justice Gomery," Ms. David said.
That's garbage.
The Inquiries Act can be found here. A few things you should notice in the Act. Part 1.4 states
4. The commissioners have the power of summoning before them any witnesses, and of requiring them to
(a) give evidence, orally or in writing, and on oath or, if they are persons entitled to affirm in civil matters on solemn affirmation; and
(b) produce such documents and things as the commissioners deem requisite to the full investigation of the matters into which they are appointed to examine.

The Terms of Reference given to Gomery already limit this. He does not have access to information that he "deems requisite." He only has access to whatever documentation falls within the Terms of Reference. Should he feel outside information is relevant, well, that's just too bad. There is a similar power granted under Section 2 of the Act.
And by the way, if you look through the Inquiry transcripts, you will see a number of incidents where Gomery terminates a certain line of questioning because it doesn't fall within his mandate. You'll also see that, although the Inquiries Act theoretically gives the Commissioner power to compel evidence from witnesses, there have been numerous cases of "amnesia."

And now for the kicker:
If you actually read the Inquiries Act, from start to finish, you will not see a single thing on the Commissioner's ability to assign blame or not. It's not even mentioned!
That means, if things were to remain as the status quo, we could wait indefinitely to hear that yes, the Liberal government and any other parties involved are criminally liable.

This is my favorite, however:
Furthermore, since the Conservatives gave the required 48-hour notice on three motions rather than one for the opposition House day scheduled for Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Liberal House leader Tony Valeri said the manoeuvre does not allow the Liberals a fair opportunity to prepare for the debate. Under Commons rules, the government might not find out until Tuesday morning which of the three motions will be moved. A vote will be held following the debate on Tuesday or the next day.
So, in other words, the Conservatives did not (at in fact will not) show their hand until the very last minute. This leaves the Liberals little, if any, time to prepare.
Their reaction?
"Oh boo hoo! Not fair!"
Better learn to think on your feet guys.


Read closely

Read this article from the Globe and Mail. It's a completely normal article, except for one paragraph right in the center that I almost missed. I'll deal with that last.
The Conservatives say they will attempt to block the government's two budget bills from being passed before the House of Commons summer recess to protest against what they say is excessive and unaccountable spending.
This does not surprise me at all. Recall that I mentioned that the Bloc and the Conservatives hold a majority on the Finance Committee.
Tory House Leader Jay Hill said Liberal pledges to pass the budget before the June 23 summer recess amount to a "dream in Technicolor." He said his party wants to take its time studying the bills in committee, where the Tories and Bloc Quebecois have a majority. "These bills amount to spending billions and billions of taxpayers' money and I don't think that there should be any undue pressure on us to give this government a blank cheque," he said.
This year's operating budget is actually somewhere around $188billion. To be honest, I have no idea as to how that compares to previous years, but it sounds like quite a lot. Given the fact that Martin doled out cash left and right in order to secure his government until the summer break, I'd be willing to be that number is a lot higher than it should be... and by more than the $4.6 billion handed to the NDP.
Government House Leader Tony Valeri said he is well aware that his party and the New Democrats are outnumbered in committee, but the Tories should consider the public demand for the budget measures.
"I find it quite strange for them to be attacking . . . these initiatives because I don't think they would find support for that from the public," he said.

How would you know, Valeri, what the public wants? Your party is totally out of touch with the average Canadian and stole millions of dollars from us.
Time to jump a few paragraphs.
NDP Leader Jack Layton has threatened to withdraw his party's support if the budget is not passed soon and has called for the Commons to sit into the summer if needed.
From the Liberals?
Oh yeah, that will motivate the Conservatives to get the budget passed.
Mr. Hill scoffed at the idea. "We might be sitting a long time if that was the case because we don't feel in any hurry to get this passed," he said. He argued that the second budget bill, C-48, implementing the $4.6-billion deal with the NDP, is only a page and a half long, and therefore lacks the detail needed to ensure the money will not be wasted like sponsorship funds.
A page and a half long?
That's it??
I had heard it was short and vague, but a page and a half long?
Man! What were they thinking?
Mr. Hill said the Tories could let C-43 pass before summer but not C-48. Such a scenario would end the NDP's support of the government, Ms. Wasylycia-Leis said.
If their portion of the bill doesn't pass, the NDP are not going to support the Liberals.
This sounds like a set up to me.
While the political parties battle it out in the Commons finance committee, Mr. Hill suggested yesterday that his party will likely use its opposition day on Tuesday to put forward a motion calling for extra powers for the Gomery inquiry rather than putting forward a confidence motion.
Now there's a good idea.
Give Gomery the power to broaden his inquiry. There have been several references during testimony that indicate some of the matters that are "outside the scope of the inquiry," are in fact very relevant. If Gomery is given more power, I have no doubt there would be more damning testimony. I also see this as a motion that both the Bloc and the NDP would be inclined to support.
The Liberals will face votes on several matters of confidence in the final weeks of the session, including the budget and routine government spending. Mr. Valeri contradicted Chief Government Whip Karen Redman's earlier comments this week that the Liberals might not call an election if they lost one of those votes. "We're not going to declare something confidence and then not respect that outcome," Mr. Valeri said.
Actually, I don't believe this guy at all, but at least he's trying hard not to look like the star member of a dictatorial regime... unlike Redman.

And now for those comments I noticed:
The battle over the two budget bills, which will take place at the Commons finance committee starting Tuesday, will likely be the focus of attention on Parliament Hill as MPs return to Ottawa for what is scheduled to be the final four weeks of the spring session.
And then they break.
Till when? Fall?
Remember what I said yesterday on my post on the Religious Right? According to this the Committee has not yet come back with its report on Bill C-38. Then the bill has to go through its third reading. It's not law until it does. If, and that's a big if, the only thing that takes up Parliament's time from now till the break is the budget, then the bill will not be passed.
I can't help but wonder if this fact was part of the motivation for this:
Mr. Harper, who was touring a Toronto housing and recreational complex, would not answer questions about a separate issue relating to concerns that Christian activists are organizing to nominate Conservative candidates who will fight against same-sex marriage.
Why anyone would ask such a question is beyond me. I mean, it's not like they would have asked "So, what are you going to do about all the Muslims joining your party? We hear they don'approve of same sex marriage" or "What are you going to do about all those Sikhs joining your party?" Of course, this line of questioning is related to the article printed in the Globe and Mail yesterday. I wonder though, if it hasn't occurred to whoever asked that question that there remains a possibility, albeit a slim one, that the bill might not make it into law.


My reaction was...

...Somewhere between "Yikes!" and "Booooiiinnng!!!"
I don't know how I managed to miss this article in the Globe and Mail on Wednesday. Get a load of the first paragraph:
The federal Liberals would consider ignoring a House of Commons defeat should they lose any of the several coming votes that are matters of confidence between now and the end of the spring session, Chief Government Whip Karen Redman says.
You can't just ignore it! Loss of a confidence matter is loss of a confidence matter! You have to, at a minimum, immediately put forward a second motion asking to see if the house still has confidence in you or not. If you lose that, then as Prime Minister you have to dissolve Parliament and go straight to the Governor General, who would have to call an election. You cannot just continue with business as usual, for the main reason that it's NOT business as usual!
It makes me seriously wonder what would actually have happened if the Liberals had lost the budget vote.
We have a serious problem on our hands if the governing party is simply going to ignore the law and Parliamentary traditions in order to maintain its grip on power. For an MP to even mention this as a possibility shows how bad things are in our government.
We really need an election badly.
These guys must be removed as quickly as possible from power.
If they aren't, then the disrespect for our political system is only going to continue. The gap between the governed and the governing will only continue to grow and our civil institutions will be damaged beyond repair.

Growth of the Religious Right in Canada

Although you can't tell by looking at the story itself, this story was the headline in today's Globe and Mail. I realized this when I was looking at this opinion article. To the right, you will see a picture of what today's front page looks like.

It's hard to tell what the author of the first article's opinion actually is on the subject. One thing is clear: gay marriage seems to be the biggest issue that is driving Christians into politics.
I, for one, am not disappointed. I would like to see the so-called religious right grow and take on a more active role in the Canadian political sphere. I would like to see more Christians involved without this insane fear that someone might be offended by our beliefs.
After all, it is our democratic right.
No one is out to make the Bible law or force everyone to go to church. Those people who argue that the religious right are out to take your civil rights away are doing the lot of us a dis-service. We have just as much right to be a part of the political process as the next guy and have had to sit by for far too long. Separation of Church and State works both ways, and it is just as wrong of the state-driven media to exclude or vilify those of religious persuasion as it would be for us to force our beliefs on to others by law.
Simpson's opinion, on the other hand, seems clear. Harper needs to "worry" about this new influx of Christian candidates, especially those who are against gay marriage.
They are furiously opposed to same-sex marriage on moral, religious and family grounds. Ultimately, they will discover that the only legal way to reverse gay marriage is using the notwithstanding clause in the Constitution. Mr. Harper must know this perfectly well, but he won't risk saying so.
I hate to remind you of this Simpson, but gay marriage has not yet been legalized. The bill still has to go through its final reading. If it doesn't make it before the summer break, it may not make it at all.

A new poll

One has to wonder why this poll isn't getting much coverage. It looks like a poll the Globe and Mail did themselves. You'd think they'd publicize it a little more.
The question was asked:
Were you pleased that the Liberal minority government survived?
The vote results?
Yes: 22286 votes (41 %)
No: 31685 votes (59 %)
Total Votes: 53971
Just look at that sample size! More than 50,000 respondents. Usually, a poll will have a sample size of about 1,000.

Opinion Articles

I love a good opinion article.
Sometimes I think I should write one and send it in to a bunch of newspapers, just to see if it would be published.
Today we have:
An article from the Star about Stronach making the political process hip... in a very soap opera-ish sort of way that is.
This article, also from the Star, about the depths to which politics has sunk. There is a look at now vs. the beginning of Confederation and the scandal MacDonald got himself into. The reaction then was a far cry from what it is now.
Too bad.
Here we have a look at how the Liberals somehow managed to save themselves. It's not so much of an opinion article, as it is a summary of all that has happened in the past week or two.
This article is not so well written, actually. I totally disagree with this comment:
In my opinion, the Conservatives need a new leader, and maybe Ms. Stronach's atom bomb will shake the party up.
A new leader would be just about the worst thing for the party right now. They've been through quite a few, and just picking a new guy when things go wrong has already been shown NOT to work. Why do it yet again? What the Conservatives need now is a little intestinal fortitude, the ability to show that they can tough it out for the long haul.
This article in Macleans, entitled "Winners and Losers," is probably the best of the lot. Gotta love this quote:
Could there, after a brief pause as everyone licks their wounds, be more of the same? Yes, but if times could change so quickly in the past few weeks, just imagine what might happen in the next few months. Actually, I want to stop imagining for a while. I mean, how could it be any wilder than what we've just witnessed?
Don't ask, Mansbridge. Do not ask.
The answer you could get might be worse than you expect.

By the way, I was watching Michael Coren last night. It was about politics, of course. My ears perked up when one of the guests, former Liberal MP John Nunziata, asked the same question I did the other day.
Why haven't there been any protests?
Why hasn't anyone tried to swarm Parliament Hill and demand change?
He also said he thought Canadians were getting the government we deserved, due to our lack of involvement in the political process.
I wonder what it would take to organize a rally? I was at a Defend Marriage Rally over the long weekend at Queen's Park, and the turnout was moderate (perhaps 3-4,000 people). In order to really be effective, any sort of rally in Ottawa would have to involve a lot more people, 10-20,000 at least.


Some days, you just shake your head

Yesterday, testimony by a member of the current PMO (Prime Minister's Office) was brought before the Gomery Inquiry. Manganiello was paid by Pluri Design when the Liberal party said they could no longer afford his salary.
The inquiry produced Manganiello's tax records that confirm the transaction.
Two other workers, Phillippe Zrihen and Jean Brisebois, were also paid by Pluri Design.

Specifics on the story can be found here and here. There is also an opinion article on it here.
The National Post also has this to say about the Kroll testimony.
It's the specific breakdown of expenses buried within the report, however, that might be the most disturbing. Take, for instance, the summary of a group of selected advertising contracts reviewed by Kroll. Of $46.32-million in total expenditures, 1% went toward sponsorship payments, and 18% was "invoiced for work done by agencies and related parties." Meanwhile, the majority -- 56.1% -- was "subcontracted to unrelated or unknown parties." And an astonishing 24.9% falls into "unspent amounts or invoices not located."
Now, before I unload my opinion on you, read this latest news on the possibility of the NDP lending support to the Liberal government. There are lots of other articles on the subject, but as they all say essentially the same thing, I won't bother linking to them all.

The first thing to notice is in the first story. Martin has been merrily going along all this time claiming that the corruption was only a part of the Chretien Liberal government. However, it was confirmed yesterday (with tax record no less) that not only a member of his own party, but a member of his own office, received illicit payments.
Instead of firing the guy, Martin praised his integrity. Manganiello will be keeping his job.
Does it really seem likely that Martin could possibly not have known that Manganiello was being paid improperly? What of our PM's so-called commitment to integrity and that apology from last month?
Now consider the National Post's summary of the numbers presented in Kroll's testimony. They are not exaggerating; as I said yesterday, I've read the transcript from that particular testimony.
Next consider everything we have learned about the involvement of the Liberal party in Adscam. There has been a lot, and all of it is bad. In fact, I don't think I have seen a single good thing come out about the Liberal party to date. They are up to their eyeballs in corruption!

So it begs the question: what in heaven's name would prompt the NDP to prop up this government?
To do what?
To get what they want?
Like what?
Why do they even think the Liberals need their support? The confidence motions passed, and none others are scheduled. The budget has to be reviewed by the Finance Committee. It must be passed by them, and this is very unlikely due to the fact that the NDP and Liberals are outnumbered by the Tories and Bloc and neither the Bloc nor the Conservatives feel any great need to acquiesce to Liberal/NDP budgetary demands.
I haven't been able to find a list of the concessions the NDP are going to try to get from the Liberals. If I do, rest assured I will post them.


I have a question...

Why haven't there been any protests?
In all that I have read, I have not seen even one report indicating that anyone has tried to swarm Parliament in sheer outrage at the disgraceful behaviour of the governing Liberal Party. There have been a ton of opinion articles written, new allegations come to light almost every day, and the Gomery Inquiry has been the subject of many a news report on TV.
Then there is the bizarre fact that we, the Canadian tax payer, are footing the bill for Gagliano's lawyer fees. I should feel amazed that the Federal government, more specifically Paul Martin, is granting Gagliano access to my money... especially in light of the fact he fired the guy. It's not only Gagliano who is using tax payer money to cover his lawyers fees as a result of the Gomery Inquiry or any related court proceedings. We, the pitiful Canadian tax payer get the honour of covering the cost of five individuals involved in the inquiry - including Chretien, his ex-chief of staff Jean Pelletier and former sponsorship boss Chuck Guite.
So why hasn't anyone tried to do something?
Consider my post from yesterday call "Slow Learners." The Liberals are using our tax money to deal with "fallout" from the Inquiry. I did actually go through the transcript from yesterday's testimony by Kroll and discovered that $1.1billion tax dollars has been spent on advertising alone by our government. Meanwhile, we pay more taxes and get fewer services in proportion to what we pay.
There is a significant (though not insurmountable) portion of the population that did not want an election before or during the summer. As I discussed in my post entitled "On Voting," there seems to be no basis other than laziness for this lack of desire. Why there would be anyone who is not anxious to exercise their civic rights is beyond me.
Having said that, however, although there are a lot of people who seem to be totally oblivious to what's going on or who know and don't care, there are also a lot of people who are deeply concerned by what has happened in our government. Obviously, I am one of them, but I know that I am not alone. I know quite a number of people who are also concerned. Even if I knew no one myself, a simple glance at political discussion forums, political blogs, newspapers, radio or television reports is proof that there are others in my position. This group of others is large enough in size that were they all to act as a collective, their impact would be significant.
And yet there has been nothing.


What Kroll found

Nearly every media outlet is running the same story: The auditing firm Kroll Lindquist & Avey have testified today before the Gomery Commission. The amount of money involved in Adscam has jumped from $250million to more than $355million.
The National Post
About $400k is untraceable.
While about $770k appears to be legitimate, if Brault's claims are correct regarding secret donations, the firm says that the Liberal Party of Canada would have received over $2.5million.
And what do the Liberals have to say about it?
Kroll’s report reveals no apparent connection...
That's not what they said guys. They said "if" it's true, "then" you received $2.5million.
I mean, what a spin they are trying to put on this. If you ask me, they should be a little more worried about that "if" case.

I may actually read the transcript of this particular account, when it's posted at the Gomery Commission website. No doubt it will be dry, but this is one I have to see for myself.

Is it possible?

The CBC published yet another non-lefty opinion piece.
It's too bad the only opinions posted in response are harshly critical without offering intelligent alternatives.
Velk has hit the nail on the head: our current system is not working and it badly needs change. I agree with his first three suggestions, but am uncertain that an elected judicial system (his fourth suggestion) is a good idea. A better idea would be to force someone (other than the PM, who currently appoints the judges) to appoint only those judges who are the most qualified and make it illegal to select a less qualified judge on the basis of previous or current party affiliation. Some sort of disciplinary action could be taken where necessary.
Velk only briefly mentions the fact that, when a Prime Minister wields a majority government, he can exercise almost complete authority over the entire country. There are virtually no checks or balances against his power. His party must tow the line or face disciplinary action.
Such power would be more than a little tempting for any politician. Velk does not provide any idea as to how we could wrest such power from our leaders without them giving it up voluntarily... a rather unlikely occurrence.

Some changes

I have added a few links to the column on the right.
Readers may also notice the addition of the Blogging Tories Blogroll. I have not read all of the blogs on the roll, so if the content should happen to be something other than what you were expecting, don't blame me. That list is automatically generated.
I've also added a stat counter, but no, I won't be displaying the number of hits I get... unless of course I should get a lot more than I think I do.


Read this article.

They've tracked down Saddam Hussein's money and were hired to clean up the Enron scandal -- now they're ready to blow the lid off Adscam.
Hopefully, the auditors at Kroll will find enough to get the Canadian public off its rear. Their representative will begin testimony today. It should take at least a few days for them to finish.

This will be interesting.

Slow Learners?

Read this article I found at the National Post.

The Liberal government has set up a war room -- at a cost of about $1-million to taxpayers -- to handle the fallout from the Gomery commission.
You mean, potentially bad press?
...the strategic office, which does everything from prepare answers for Question Period in the House of Commons to keeping the PMO abreast of testimony at the inquiry...
Yes. That's exactly what they mean.
And it gets better!
Ciuineas Boyle, the co-ordinator of PCO's Access to Information and Privacy branch, said no briefing notes to or from Ms. Menke had been located.
Ms. Gernon said Ms. Menke has been providing advice to the PMO and Mr. Himelfarb in regards to the inquiry. She said the office was involved in providing all the required documents to the inquiry and has acted as a liaison for Judge Gomery.

Actually, no, it's not.
It's totally believable, and it's sad but a part of me isn't really surprised.
With Judge Gomery expected to file his report by the end of the year, Ms. Gernon said, the office would operate until the end of the fiscal year to allow any required follow up to the inquiry.
So they can do what? Find the quickest way to dispose of all the damning evidence, or find as many possible positive spins as they can in order to work themselves out of trouble?
It is certain Judge Gomery's comments about Mr. Himelfarb's failure to brief former prime minister Jean Chretien on Ms. Fraser's report were not appreciated at PCO. Judge Gomery called the omission a "conspiracy of silence."
You bet that's what they'll do with the extra time.


Victories and Losses

To hear Paul Martin tell it, you'd think there was no problem at all.
The victory cheers during his address were nauseating. This article has a small portion of his speech last night. There's a little more here. I can't find a transcript, unfortunately. I do have these quotes, however, to give you an idea of the man's audacity.
The government has the confidence of the House...
This was not just about a budget. It was about a vision of Canada. It was about a perspective on the nation.
He should not be feeling so confident, as others say that his government dodged a bullet last night. Harper called it a Pyrrhic victory.
Here is CTV's coverage. There are a series of links to the right, but there isn't one for the Liberal address. The Conservative address is there, as is the one from the Bloc.
I am surprised that more people don't like Harper. He really is a good speaker; much better than Martin and leagues ahead of Chretien.

Here are a few links to articles that I think are worth reading.
On the vote
The outcome of Thursday night's vote will be hardest felt in Quebec, where allegations linking the Liberal party to the $250-million sponsorship scandal have crippled the party in opinion polls, Harper said. Excusing himself from his anglophone caucus _ the Tories hold no seats in Quebec _ Harper said in French he was "embarrassed" and offered his "sincerest apologies" and "profound regrets."
Moore noted that the slim margin by which the Liberals claimed victory _ they needed the Speaker of the House, Peter Milliken, to break the tie _ was hardly an hearty endorsement of the majority of parliamentarians.

Also on the vote.
Gomery under budget, despite earlier Liberal allegations of the cost of the inquiry.
Here's a big surprise: Galiagno is to help Chretien in his attempt to oust Gomery.
An opinion article on CEO's as politicians.
Yet another poll, but this one puts the Conservatives ahead after Stronach's departure. It doesn't give the number of people polled.
The opposition Conservative party holds a nine per cent in lead in Canada, according to a poll by Compas Inc. published in the Ottawa Citizen. 38 per cent of respondents would vote for the Tories in the next federal election. The governing Liberal party is second with 29 per cent, followed by the New Democratic Party (NDP) with 17 per cent, and the Bloc Québécois with 13 per cent. Three per cent of respondents would vote for other parties.

On voting

There has been so much written about last night's vote. After watching the vote itself, I watched some of the news coverage on TV. On CTV, a reporter grabbed random people off the street and asked them their opinion on the whole business. One woman had no idea what he was talking about and didn't know there was even a vote. One man said he thought the Gomery was total nonsense, a Conservative conspiracy. He said he fel the Conservatives were all about the corporation.
I'd like to show him this article, which argues that the Liberals are the party of the rich.
The Liberals, in fact, as opposed to perception, thus are essentially the party of corporate lawyers and of a few others who are hacking their way through the jungle of life with fair success.
Less than 29% of the poor population supports a Liberal government. The article doesn't say who they do support. I'd love to know.
In any case, it's no wonder that Alberta has such a low opinion of Toronto.
...Not quite everyone here is nuts. While Alberta Conservative MLA Tony Abbott apologized for suggesting Belinda was "whoring herself" to the federal Liberals, Ontario provincial Tory Bob Runciman manfully refused to withdraw his description of her as a "dipstick."
Is it fair of the author to solely blame Toronto though? There's an article in the Globe and Mail that mentions one thing I found interesting:
What would a turnout that fell from 61 per cent to 55 per cent mean to a party that formed a government with 36 to 38 per cent of the votes cast?
In order to fully understand the impact of this question, let me point out that those percentages are taken from the voters list, not the total of eligible voters. There is a discrepancy between those who can vote because they are eligible and those who can vote because they are on the voters list. For a variety of reasons, some people just don't make the list. This means, of people eligible to vote in Canada,less than 55% of the population turned up. Not having numbers in front of me, a guess of about 45-50% of the population seems about right (given that in previous votes, the difference has been about 10% or so).
This is where not having proportional representation causes problems.
Go democracy.

I cannot begin to describe how crucial I think it is for the average Canadian citizen to not only express a greater interest in politics, but to actually get involved. While it's true that our system has flaws, if people don't vote, the system can't work at all. We very quickly move from having a few kinks to having a total disaster.
Several news articles have mentioned how the current political crisis has sparked Canadian interest in politics. For example, there is this article at Canada.com. However, if interest does not translate into action, what good is it? It is a very unfortunate thing that polls are showing that Canadians don't want a summer election, and that Cadman based his decision to stand with the Liberals because that reason was expressed by his constituents.
Why don't people want an election?
Why don't you want to cast your vote and determine the future direction of your country?
"Well, we just had one."
So what? We can have another.
"Well, there's the cost."
Are you kidding me? Do you know what not having an election is going to cost us, with the promises the Liberals have doled out in their budget? If our economy has a hiccup, we are not going to be able to afford his promises. There is now no surplus at all and nothing left for debt reduction.
So, what's the real reason for not wanting an election?
Because you just don't feel like it.
Be honest.
Admit it.
There is no reason for not going to the polls when the government in power is under criminal investigation. There just isn't.


No election

For the first time in Canadian history, there was a tie over a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons. The Speaker of the House cast his vote in favour of the government, as he must, and the Liberals will survive to die another day.
Nearly every Canadian media outlet is running the story, so there's really no need for me to provide a long list of articles. They won. What else can I possibly say?

And the Most Powerful Man in Canada today is...

Chuck Cadman.
According to this article in the Globe and Mail, Kilgour, a now independent former Liberal, has decided to follow the Bloc and the Conservatives. He will approve the initial budget, but turn down the amendment that will follow thereafter.
That leaves only one vote left, and it belongs to Cadman, also an independent.
How would you like to be the guy holding the fate of a country in your hands?
It's the stuff of movies.
Boring movies, but movies none the less.

Rigged Referendum?

According to this article at CBC Montreal, the 1995 Quebec Separation Referendum was rigged.
The English rights group Alliance Quebec had long argued the results of the 1995 sovereignty referendum were wrong.
Alliance Quebec says some of the 86,000 rejected ballots should have been allowed.
Lawyers for the group have insisted that if all those spoiled ballots had been counted as "No" votes, the referendum result would have been very different: 53 per cent against and 47 per cent in favour of sovereignty.

It would be very interesting to see what was considered a spoiled ballot. This article leaves me with a lot of questions about what happened. I wish it was more complete.


Gotta love Political Satire

I don't know how my husband finds stuff like this. Maybe he's a better googler than I am. I've been googling all day, and haven't found anything half as hilarious.

Trying to pull a Fast One

Read this article.
If you're smarter than the average bear, then you are probably sitting there like me thinking "Now wait just a darn moment."
The Liberals will be announcing the creation of a $750,000 trust fund to cover any ill-gotten sponsorship money the party may have received...
So what?
The amount of money involved in AdScam has already been shown to be about $250million. What exactly is $750K supposed to cover? The coffee bill?
Robert Fife, CTV's Ottawa bureau chief, told Newsnet the money won't be disbursed until Justice John Gomery tables his report, expected some time in December.
Now, if you've been following Gomery, you'll know that the report is actually due November 1st. There was talk that it could be postponed due to the trials of two AdScam members, but nothing has been said officially.
So, is this our "officially" or a guess?
Asked how the party arrived at the figure, Fife said that might be the amount of money that made it into the Liberal Party. "I'm assuming their lawyers have gone through the receipts and records ... but it could be less," he said.
How do you figure less?
We already know the amount involved was much, much more.
I am curious about one thing, something not mentioned in this news brief. Where exactly did this $750K come from? Did the Liberals pass the hat? Did everyone offer a cut from their savings? Excuse my cynicism, but I find it far more likely that this money came from us, the taxpayers. I would definitely not put it past the Liberals to try and pay us back with our own money.

Ever notice her initials are BS?

There has been quite a bit of talk about Stronach leaving, of course. Most of the stories reiterate the same details: that's she's doing this for her so-called conscience. This opinion article asks the rather obvious question: if this is all about conscience, why didn't she just leave the party and sit as an independent? Why cross the floor? Here is a very scathing article on the whole situation.
Let’s just say that Belinda has taken advantage of an opportunity that could ultimately put her into the prime minister’s office... That may be something of an exaggeration, but it's curious; she really is a lot like Martin. I'm sure we can all remember how long Martin was gunning for Prime Ministership while Chretien was in office. The second last paragraph in this article comments on something very similar. Ultimately though, this could bite both of them in the behind.
Not everyone agrees with this view, of course. For example, in this opinion article, Stronach's lack of experience and ability are clearly pointed out. Political Diva she isn't. Relationships also do not appear to be her forte. Notice the history of her life as offered by the CBC. She dropped out of school, has been married twice, neither one lasting for more than 5 years and then replaced her husband as CEO. That had to sting! Everyone has of course heard about her relationship with MacKay, which seems to be on its last legs. And then there's this comment in there about the fact that she's friends with Bill Clinton.
I wonder how friendly?
Why on earth was this girl in the Conservative Party in the first place? She doesn't seem to have ever had what have now become Conservative values.
Anyway, in this article there is an interview with a few long-time politicians about whether or not they feel this was a smart move for her.
Another scathing article: At the risk of being deemed insensitive, I will not be lectured to by a poor little rich girl who has proved only, as someone smarter than me said yesterday, that no matter how much money you've got, you can still be bought.
Kinda like this: "She whored herself out for power," said Tony Abbott, a second-term Tory MLA for Drayton Valley-Calmar, reacting to the move by MP Belinda Stronach. Forsyth, who seems to have supported Stronach for leadership, says she feels the woman has "sold her soul."
Come now Heather.
Ms. Stronach doesn't have a soul.
As for this fabulous question, my answer is black and white, but leaving just a hint of red in.
Here's another interesting one. This comment: The four recently nominated Conservative candidates around Vancouver reflect the kind of social conservative influence she opposed. They are all well-qualified academically. They've all done various kinds of community service. They're all perfectly respectable individuals, but they're also very public and vocal social conservatives. Mr. Reid in Richmond is a past president of Focus on the Family. Ms. Silver in North Vancouver worked for five years as a legal consultant to that group and was a past executive director of the Christian Legal Fellowship. Mr. Weston in West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast formed what his website calls a "Christian law firm" that has "weekly office devotionals designed to bring us closer to God and one another." Mr. Dalton in New Westminster-Burnaby was pastor of a community church and says he is concerned about the "erosion of religious liberties in the past number of years." intrigues me.
A split along moral lines eh?
You don't say.

Die Another Day

I sighed in disappointment this morning when I heard on the radio that the Conservatives have decided not to topple the government over the budget tomorrow. I got online a few minutes ago and googled for it, and sure enough, this is what I find. This article makes a few points on why the Conservatives have made this move.This article indicates that the caucus will abstain from voting on the main budget at all. Their reasons seemed to be tied up in Newfoundland and the Atlantic Accord. Instead of trying to get the no-confidence motion on the original budget, the Conservatives have decided to use bill C-48, that is the deal with the NDP. It has also been declared a confidence motion.
No doubt this will be very interesting to watch. Both votes are tomorrow, so the government could still fall. The votes are:
The Liberals now have 132 voting MPs plus Commons Speaker Peter Milliken, who votes only to break a tie. With the declared support of the NDP's 19 MPs and the third independent MP, Mississauga's Carolyn Parrish, the anti-election side has 152 votes. The Tory caucus now has 98 members, and with the 54 Bloc Québécois MPs there are also 152 votes in favour of an election, including the two Newfoundland MPs. plus the two remaining independents who have not yet indicated how they will vote.
So, the difference between whether the government stands or falls could come down to a single vote!
What a time to be in politics. I hope no one has any kind of heart condition!
Given Stronach's defection, and the fact she took information on the Conservative party with her, I am not really surprised by the move. They just barely have the numbers right now, but this is more about timing than numbers. Seeing as the Liberals have been practically taunting them to topple them over the budget in order to name the time of their own defeat, it may be a good idea to wait for this second bill.
In reality, there isn't much difference if the government falls onthe first vote or the second.
Last night, an emergency caucus meeting was called, and they discussed Stronach's leaving. Clearly, this plan is a result of that meeting. It must have been an interesting evening. I'm sure everyone was full of anger and venom and trying to think of a new plan as quickly as possible.
I just hope it works.


Ouch! And then some...

It figures.
Belinda Stronach just crossed the floor, and joined the Liberals. Why does this not surprise me?
I foresee her demise at the next election... whenever we have one that is.
From what I have been reading, it does seem to be true that Ms. Stronach was romantically involved with the Deputy Party Leader, Peter MacKay. Apparently, they've been dating for about 6 months. In his address, Stephen Harper mentioned a few things; notably that MacKay is taking the news hard and that Harper had already made it known both privately to his wife and publicly that Stronach's leadership desires would not be realized in the Conservative party.
This is probably why she left.
One can't help but wonder (and this is mean), if she wasn't just using MacKay to try and push some of her own agenda further up the party ladder. She was only a back bencher and had no real power in the Conservative party. She hasn't bee particularly successful and does not seem to have been well liked within the party.
Well, the Liberals can take her, as far as I am concerned. Her and Martin are two peas in a pod: conniving, dishonest and desperate for power at just about any price.

Apparently, Sheila Fraser has just reported to the Gomery Commission that "From 1998 to 2003, Ottawa spent $793-million on advertising, making the federal government a major player in that sector."
That's a lot of money.
I'm curious to know if that includes the $250 million from Adscam or not.

Here is an opinion on the whole messy business.

I heard on the radio his morning that Gomery's report, due for release in November, may be delayed due to the trials of two key Adscam players. I can't say as this particularly comes as a shock. Who really expected the report to be on time and who really expects the Liberals to be found responsible?
Not I, said the fly.


Thursday's budget vote

According to what I have been reading this morning, the Conservatives have decided to respect whatever the budget vote results are on Thursday. They will not push for a no-confidence motion that might force an election in the summer.
I hope the budget fails.
Still, I suppose we can count it a good thing that they are not acting like the Liberals who willfully ignore votes taken in Parliament.
Of course, should there be yet more devastating testimony on the behaviour of the Liberal party, this could change.

Here is a rather interesting opinion article. Essentially, it claims the Liberals are a kind of fascist government. This opinion article is also good. Apparently some Conservatives are hoping the Liberals will be decimated to only a few seats. That seems rather unlikely, to be frank.


The CBC is...

Nearly always the official mouthpiece for Liberal Party propaganda.
That's why I love this article. It's such a change from the usual "Blah, blah, blah. Conservatives suck. Blah, blah, blah, Vote Liberal or NDP."
But this?
This is dark political wit and irony at its finest.
...A technical defeat or a substantive defeat. It was a defeat...from this moment on until...the lights officially go out on this Parliament, its only... function is...extinction. Gilles Duceppe, who must be looking at Gomery as a kind of daily Christmas...Gomery has been the farewell gift that keeps on giving... Chrétien's final dark salute...The great parting shot which wounded... before it even took air...Its one substantial moment will be the motion that brings it down and which party can claim the...credit.

And Parliament is out

MP's get the afternoon off.
Actually, according to this article, they've been off since just before noon. This article indicates that Harper will now be calling on the Governor General to use her position (for once) and intervene to call an election.

What's been going on

Here are some articles to read:

The British view
An opinion I disagree with.
About dirty money.
An opinion I agree with.
Martin aides were involved, big surprise.
Interference by the Liberals.
Interference by the Liberals.
Secret payouts made.

And in Ontario specifically, we have:
McGuinty demands
Buying votes? I'm shocked.

As much as I think Allan Gregg is a flaming Liberal stooge, this article hits the nail right on the head.
...Cynicism about politicians may be so high that dishonesty has increasingly become less relevant as a voting issue... "Honesty, and trustworthiness and lying really isn't much of an issue any more,"
Sad, isn't it?
We Canadians, who view ourselves as morally superior to Americans, vainly believe we live in the world's greatest country, don't value honesty or integrity in our politicians.

Also, as most people have heard by now, the Liberals lost a vote in the House of Commons the other day regarding their fitness to govern. Naturally, Martin has decided to ignore it claiming that it doesn't really count for anything.

Where I've Been

About a million things have happened with regards to Gomery, and I haven't posted anything in almost a week.
How can that be?
Well, I do have a life and that life does involve work.
I've been here the first three days of this week. It was pretty interesting.


And they just won't die...

This article discusses the Liberal's stubborn refusal to admit defeat.
Bloc House Leader Michel Gauthier condemned Valeri's opinion as "pitiful" and "shameful."
"This is a government which is crawling on its knees in the gravel," he said. "If the House of Commons tells a committee to ask the government to resign, what government would consider that to be a form of congratulation?"

At first I thought

Gee, this cartoon is pretty funny. (The article is serious though).
Then my husband sent me this.
Too bad it's not in Cassie Claire VSD format.

Guite's Testimony: Part II

Some things are so obvious, they're hardly worth saying.
Take, for example, my comment on how Guite's testimony had to be good given the fight for an extended publication ban.
I first heard it on the news this morning. Guite implicated Martin and a few others in his testimony. This article confirms what I heard on the news. So much for that pathetic apology Martin delivered a short while ago on television. I foresee flaming times ahead in Parliament.
This article is fairly long and gives quite a bit of information regarding exactly what was said by Guite, who was implicated and what went on.
It would also appear that Chretien's wife was given the privilege of purchasing some watches, the cost of which was paid for out of the sponsorship programme.
I love the fact that Gomery asked what such a purchase could have to do with national unity, the so-called impetus for the sponsorship programme.


Yet Another Act of Desperation

I just heard this on the radio, and couldn't help laughing.
In what would appear to be a desperate move to get as many Conservatives out of Commons before the impending no confidence motion, the Liberals have begun offering Senate positions. One individual was even offered an ambassadorship.
These two articles, among others, were found when I searched on Google.

Guite's testimony

All I know is that it must have been good.
According to the latest news, his lawyers are fighting to get the ban extended. It was hoped that the ban would be lifted today, but it looks like a decision will not be made until Thursday.
Too bad.
It must have been full of dirt.

Today's Inquiry news

It's a bit slow actually.
Yesterday the Tories had a meeting. Not surprisingly, early in the morning they were requested to keep silent on what they had learned from their constituents. After the meeting last night, the party announced it had reached a unanimous decision that the government should be brought down.
For more information, read this article, and this article.
Gomery is expected to decided today whether the publication ban can be lifted on Guite's testimony. I expect it will of course; it's just a matter of when and how much. I will post an update later this afternoon.
I found a couple of good articles this morning. This one is on the so-called free press. It goes very well with the article posted on April 19th about the Liberals and the media. This article dispels the notion of the immanent break up of our country. I am not surprised that people in Quebec, although they favour sovereignty, aren't willing to leave at the drop of a hat. It's a big decision and there is a lot involved. Of course they aren't panicking. Separation is not the sort of decision one makes in a panicked moment.

By the way, I am reading a book called The Friendly Dictatorship, by Jeffrey Simpson. I will post my thoughts when I've finished.

Tips for Gardeners

After discovering significant root damage on one of my bonsai trees, I realized I needed some rooting compound to stimulate some new growth.
Did you know you can make your own?
I found a recipe here and am trying it now.
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