The Ottawa Citizen has a morning smile today far better than anything those latte-sipping yuppies at the Globe could ever offer up: Conservative MPs are attending Ottawa Senators playoff games in corporate luxury suites as the guests of corporate lobbyists.
But wait you say, didn't the Cons lambaste Liberals for doing the very same thing when they were in government? Didn't Conservative MP John Williams say it should be outlawed, and call it "influence peddling at its most obvious"?
Harsh words indeed. But hey, the Liberals did it; campaigns are campaigns, it's not (yet) against the law, pragmatism, yada yada.
But here's my absolutely, positively favourite justification for this obvious flip-floppery. It comes from a Conservative communications thingy, responding to questions about government whip Jay Hill attending a game as a guest of Bell Canada:
Charmaine Crockett, a spokeswoman in Hill's office, confirmed the whip had attended the game as a guest of Bell Canada, but said Hill received approval from ethics commissioner Bernard Shapiro to attend the game. (Emphasis mine.)
Well, if Bernie said it was alright then go to town guys, because we all know how much the Conservatives respect the opinion of our esteemed Ethics Commissioner, and hold him in such high esteem, now don't we?...
Despite Harper's former criticisms
Jack Aubry, CanWest News Service; Ottawa Citizen
Published: Tuesday, May 09, 2006
OTTAWA -- Accepting gifts, including free Ottawa Senators playoff tickets in luxury corporate boxes, continue to be acceptable for Conservative MPs in Stephen Harper's government, despite criticism of the practice when the Tories were in opposition.