Monday, October 30, 2006

But but but...Liberals bad!

This morning I blogged about Stephen Harper’s use of government Challenger jets to attend hockey games and party fundraisers, and his muzzling of the Defence Department from revealing the true costs of these joyrides, in my question of the day. Here’s an exchange on the topic that took place in this afternoon’s question period:

Navdeep Bains (Lib-Mississauga-Brampton South, ON)
: Mr. Speaker, this minority government’s obsession with secrecy and silencing public servants has spread to National Defence. When asked by journalists to provide information on the Prime Minister’s partisan political use of Canadian government jets, Defence Department officials were ordered by the “powers to be” to hide the true costs of the trip.

Why is this government muzzling Defence Department officials? Was the minister ordered by the PMO to participate in this Challenger coverup?

Hon. Gordon O’Connor (Minister of National Defence)
: Mr. Speaker, there has been no political interference at all within the practices of DND, which were originally set by the Liberal Party. We are following precisely the rules set by the previous administration.

Navdeep Bains (Lib-Mississauga-Brampton South, ON)
: Mr. Speaker, information previously available thru Access to Information is now regularly blacked-out, just like the names on these flights. Derek Burney’s name? Scratched-out from an (unintelligible) flight to Washington. The names of the Conservatives who took joyrides to Halifax and went to hockey games with the Prime Minister? Gone. Last year, the Conservatives said it cost $11,000 per hour to operate these flying limousines. Now they only claim 10 per cent.

Why won’t the government release the passenger lists, and will the Conservative Party settle its outstanding bills?

Hon. Gordon O’Connor (Minister of National Defence)
: Mr. Speaker, as I said we’re following the practices of the previous government. We have paid for any flights that were not on official government business. And I want to point out that the previous government was using Challenger jets at twice the rate this government is.

I’ve got to say that’s a pretty weak performance by our defence industry lobbyist turned defence minister. Last year, when in opposition, these same policies O’Connor now trumpets were assailed and attacked as cover-ups by his own caucus members. You Conservative voters that were voting for change? Yeah, sorry, not so much. I ask, if these policies are fine now, why did the CPC attack them before? Were they lying then, or are they lying now?
And why are they muzzling DND officials? Accountability indeed.

On his assertion Cons are using Challengers half as much as the Libs, it’s a case of lies, dammed lies and statistics. Frankly, I’m surprised Gordo would even go there. As we have already learned, Challenger use is down because Conservative ministers are breaking the bank chartering private jets to traverse the country instead.
In July I blogged about one such fellow, Veteran Affairs Minister Greg Thompson, who spent $18,000 on five charters to his New Brunswick riding rather than fly Air Canada. Doesn’t WestJet fly there now too? They’ve got live in-seat TV Greg, check it out. It’s sweet.

Lastly, as I blogged this morning, there’s still the matter of the minimum $3774 the Conservative Party owes the people of Canada for the Prime Minister’s joyrides. Is the cheque in the mail Gordon?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For the life of me, I can't understand why the Conservatives are in such a hurry to pass the Accountability Act - the longer it takes the more time they have to break rules - which they've been doing since they took over.

I hope the Senate takes their sweet time about the Act. I've watched some of the proceedings and boy do they have some interesting concerns and had witnesses that the neo-cons wouldn't allow.

This Act is very, very questionable when it comes to access to info. It protects the Conservatives - why would the stupid NDP fall for this.