Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Is bullshit a renewable fuel?

I think it's entirely possibly that, at this point, Conservative hypocrisy has ceased being news. It has become so common that, at this point, the very frequent examples of the wide gap between haughty Conservative principles and actual Conservative action should perhaps just be treated like a sports section box score, summarized in small font.

Nevertheless, until Stephen Harper et al decide to finally climb down off their moral high horse, it would seem to be a worthwhile exercise to continue highlighting examples of Conservative flip-foppery, if only as a public service.

In that vain, remember this much ballyhooed promise from the Conservative platform:

"Under the Liberals, lobbying government - often by friends and associates of Paul Martin and other Liberal ministers - has become a multi-million dollar industry. Senior Liberals move freely back and forth between elected and non-elected government posts and the world of lobbying."

And then there’s this Harper speech on “accountability” that’s still on the Conservative Web site:
We are determined to end the revolving door syndrome so often seen in the past involving ministers’ offices, the senior public service, and the lobbying industry.

Lofty rhetoric. Too bad the implementation has fallen laughably short, from day one. Although heck, as former Conservative campaign co-chair John Reynolds, now a lobbyist himself (oh delicious irony) infamously observed: campaigns are campaigns.

The latest development on this front though is amusing on a number of levels. You know those annoying I Love You Stephen commercials and billboards from the totally non-partisan Canadian Renewable Fuels Association? They caused some very contrived and manufactured copyright-related controversy over in Blogging Tory land, you may recall.

Well, anyway, it seems the executive director of that totally independent third-party lobby group that ran (is running) pro-Harper commercials is now going to work for (in name as well as practice) the Conservative Party:
Kory Teneycke, the former executive director of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, was hired this fall to lead the Conservative research bureau, which prepares talking points for Tory MPs and digs up dirt on the opposition.

You see, they didn’t want to stop the revolving door. They just wanted to bar Liberals form going through it. That must have been in the fine print of the Accountability Act.

Always able to be counted-on for righteous indignation, the NDP’s Pat Martin is, well, righteously indignant:
"The Federal Accountability Act set out to tie a bell around the neck of lobbyists, and virtually nothing has happened," said NDP MP Pat Martin, who considers Harper's showpiece legislation to be "stalled and dead in the water."

"It's business as usual," said Martin, "and the revolving door is still swinging freely between Conservative (political) staff and lobby houses, and then back again."

I hate to be the predictable guy that always attacks the NDP the way dippers always attack the Libs, but I find Pat’s indignation a touch amusing. After all, when the Libs were raising serious issues about the (lacking) Accountability Act, the NDP and Cons were teaming-up to block the Liberals and push the bull through committee. Pat Martin was the act’s biggest cheerleader:
PRESS RELEASE: NDP hails passing of Accountability Act
Fri 08 Dec 2006.

More ethical government for average Canadians

OTTAWA - NDP MPs Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre) and Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) are celebrating today the passage of Bill C-2, the Federal Accountability Act.

"This is an accomplishment we can be quite proud of," said Martin, NDP Ethics Critic.

Proud indeed, bravo Pat. My (metaphorical fictional) grandma always said when you lay with dogs you’re gonna get fleas. Lesson learned, I hope.

Back, however, to the Conservatives. As the Star article goes on to outline, while some Con apologists will say the Act was only intended to prevent people leaving government to lobby, not lobbyists joining government, the reality is the revolving door is swinging both ways:
The latest in a long list of examples includes a senior member of Environment Minister John Baird's staff and a member of Public Works Minister Michael Fortier's staff, who both recently left to work as lobbyists in Ottawa.

Mike Van Soelen, Baird's communications director when the former Treasury Board minister was shepherding the accountability act through Parliamen
t, quit this August to set up Playbook Communications. The Ottawa public relations company promotes itself by stating that its "government expertise can help clients achieve their objectives, from raising an organization's profile to securing specific regulatory changes."

Darcy Walsh, who served as Fortier's director of parliamentary affairs at Public Works, quit last month to join Hill and Knowlton Canada. A news release from the lobbying giant said Walsh will ``implement the marketing and sales plans for the Public Relations and Public Affairs divisions of the Ottawa office."

I will, however, give the Conservatives credit for having the balls to post this statement on their Web site today:
This is the choice that Canadians face in the next election. They can choose the strong leadership of Prime Minister Harper who backs up his principles with real accountability and real action, or they can choose the weak leadership of St├ęphane Dion and the Liberals who are prepared to sacrifice principles and accountability in the pursuit of short term political gain.

Have you no shame, sir? At long last...Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

Hmm, is bullshit a renewable fuel? If it is, then Harper really does deserve thanks, because he’s excreting it by the gallon.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


Bailey said...

Good post.

Off topic - Are you going to Kennedy's public lecture on Monday? I thought I saw your name on the facebook invite list.

900ft Jesus said...

very good post.

Pat Martin even wrote a letter to the editor - Ottawa Citizen, I think, praising that little dip-shit Poilievre as being an excellent politician.

I think Pat may actually have thought that getting the FAA through, flawed as it was, would be a good start - a tool to promote accountability. He should have known not to trust the CONs. I'm far from being a Pat Martin fan for that very reason, but when he latches onto an issue - and many of those concern accountability, he is relentless.

Mike said...

900ft jesus,

That was one of the deciding factors in my leaving the NDP - Poilievre's a jackass or the highest order and to have your own party praise the little shit. It was too much.

That also convinced me they are all the same, deep down, and pushed me to the left libertarian camp...

They are all jackasses as far as I'm concerned, but the Cons are the ones with the loudest bray.

Jeff said...

Hey Bailey, yeah, I'm going to try to make it downtown for Gerard's thing if I'm not to tired after work. Haven't seen or heard much from him in some time.

On Pat, he certainly is a pitbull, I think his motivation on the AA though was more to score points against the Libs then anything else.

prime minister said...

As a BCer, Canuck lover and federal political observer for more than 50 years I find your little dissertation just more Bovine Scat.
You certainly prove that BS is a renewable fuel