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Friday, April 20, 2012

Don't Forget: the Liberals can still waste your money

Although Canada's Official Opposition is the NDP - a party bent on raising taxes and imposing billions of dollars in job-killing tax hikes on every sector imaginable - we must not forget about the Liberal Party of Canada, who, even after their worst showing in history in last May's election, still hold seats in the House of Commons.

Because of this, they're still more than able to waste thousands of dollars of Canadians' money - your money as well as mine - on ridiculous filibustering and gamesmanship for the purpose of freely promoting their own party.

Just like we saw yesterday at the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PACP).

Parliamentarians are on a two-week break from sitting at the House of Commons.  They weren't scheduled to return until Monday, April 23.

But that didn't stop Liberal MP Gerry Byrne from recalling the entire committee - 11 members, the chair, two committee researchers, and the comittee clerk - for what he and the Liberal Party insisted was an urgent debate to discuss the Auditor General's report on the F35.

So there sat 15 people who would have not been there had it not been for Mr. Byrne.  Surely Mr. Byrne had urgent business to propose to the committee, right?

Er, well, er, yeah, they, uh... it seemed not even Byrne knew why he was there.

For two hours he fumbled through paperwork, attempting filibuster after filibuster to no avail.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury Board Andrew Saxton proposed the committee hold a planning session on April 24 to determine who would testify on the F35 portfolio.

Byrne responded with "well here's my party-approved list of witnesses right here! Use them!"

The committee rejected his list - all members determine the list of witnesses, not just Mr. Byrne.

Then Byrne suggested "well, we're here!  Let's hold the planning session right now!"

The committee rejected his suggestion - everyone was prepared to discuss witnesses on April 24, not immediately.  And Mr. Byrne could hardly expect the committee to instantaneously know every single person they wish to call forward.

Finally Byrne suggested "well, at least don't hold the meetings in camera."

The committee rejected his suggestion, noting a future session would determine who, if anyone, would appear in camera.

This carried on for two hours.  Two hours.  Only to have the committee return to Mr. Saxton's original motion: big surprise, they're still meeting on April 24!

How much money did Mr. Byrne waste with his political games?  How much money did Canadians - you and I - pay to fly 12 MP's back early to hold a special meeting?  How much money was the clerk and researchers paid for their special appearance at this snap meeting?  What did it cost to book the room for the Byrne's special meeting?  Who else incurred costs that would have not otherwise been incurred due to Byrne's games (news crews?  House technical staff)?  Were any special allowances given to anyone appearing because of this snap meeting?

The Liberal Party of Canada: even though they're not the Official Opposition, they can still waste your money.