3 min

Hands still in the cookie jar

It seems that the Conservatives’ use of giant novelty cheques to announce stimulus finds is getting them in a bit of trouble. Why is that? Well, they’ve been doing some very naughty things – like putting the Conservative logo on them. Or partisan phrases like “Economic Action Plan™.” Or even identifying the individual MP on the cheque, as though he were the sole benefactor of the funds, and not, oh, the taxpayers of Canada. So really, not a very good thing.

Harper, for his part, said the MPs are in their rights to take credit, but not the logo. That was a “mistake.” Uh huh. Never mind that MPs putting their names on it is against Treasury Board rules – or that the ethics commissioner is going to look into this for wrongdoing. And never mind the fact that these stimulus finds are really, really disproportionately making their way to Conservative ridings. One has to wonder just how it is that people aren’t catching and saying anything. It’s not like it isn’t being reported that the Conservatives are being caught breaking the rules yet again – even though they came into government on a wave of “transparency” and “accountability” when they have demonstrated neither. Why aren’t people paying attention?

And on the subject of another great intellectual dishonesty that Harper is foisting upon the people of Canada, he was in Alberta today to announce a major carbon sequestration at a coal-fired power plant. Or re-announce funds, as is likely the case. Never mind that the province should be weaning itself off of coal-fired electricity. And never mind that carbon sequestration has not been proven to work on an industrial scale, or that that it’s hideously expensive for the minimal effect it’s going to have on total emissions reductions – which are unlikely to be of any real use given that we have no guarantees this carbon will stay sequestered underground. No, it has to be about looking like they’re doing something about the environment, even though they’re not really (and could probably just burn the money for all the good it would do).

The environment minister has decided to engage in a bit of revisionist history about the climate change conference this past weekend. Only five or six countries walked out on our speech – not seventy like the envoy who was actually there said! Really! Also, did you hear – the chocolate ration increased from four grammes to two this week. Doubleplusgood!

That report that the government totally isn’t muzzling on allegations of torture faced by Afghan detainees surfaced in the media. But the government isn’t trying to muzzle it at all. Really! (And did you hear about the chocolate ration?)

Michael Ignatieff has set at date for his “big thinkers” conference. You know – the one that was supposed to take place within his first hundred days of being named leader. Err, no – after he was confirmed as being the leader by the convention? Anyway, it’s been scheduled for January, so that hopefully the party can gain some direction. Of course, one shouldn’t put it past Harper not to engineer his own defeat before then, just to keep the Liberals off-balance (and while his own poll numbers are high).

Her Excellency is heading off on state visits to the Republic of Slovenia, the Republic of Croatia, and the Hellenic Republic (also known as Greece), at the Prime Minister’s behest. She’ll be gone from the 21st to the 31st, so perhaps we can mark our calendars that Harper will be planning some kind of Parliamentary shenanigans during that period (like he did while she was on a European state visit last year, when the Madness happened…)

And finally, the NDP’s Bill Siksay met with the Secretary General of the United Nations in his capacity as the Chair of the Canadian section of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND). He cites Obama having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as proof that there is movement on their goal of non-proliferation.
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