Friday, June 22, 2012

Mulcair's rampant lies spell trouble for Canadian politics

This is the story of how Canadians get turned away from parliament and
how politicians get a bad reputation: Members of Parliament, including
those who are supposedly the "Prime Minister in waiting" ready to form
the "government in waiting" just flat out lie!

Yesterday, to wrap up the final Question Period before parliament stands
up for the summer, Opposition leader Thomas Mulcair posed the following
question to the Prime Minister:

"Mr. Speaker, this spring we saw the Conservatives abandon the very
principles they claim they came to Ottawa to defend: ramming through
their Trojan Horse budget bill, gutting their own Federal Accountability
Act, treating their backbench MPs like a rubber stamp, using closure a
record number of times, engaging in electoral fraud and slush funds and,
of course, having ministers travelling the world staying in luxury
hotels and taking $23,000 limo rides on the taxpayers' dime."

Pretty convincing isn't it?

Except that it's a blatant lie! Every bit of it.

"ramming through their Trojan Horse budget bill"

First of all, I'd like to point out that it seems the NDP clearly still
do not understand what the Trojan horse was or the symbol it represents.
But like the covered-ear screams blindly proclaiming Canada has "Dutch
disease," even when all evidence says you're wrong, the NDP has
obliviously continued using this false analogy. And this comes in the
same fashion as the NDP claiming the budget bill was being "concealed"
or "hidden" when in actual fact you, me, or anyone else can go online
and read it. (Really! It's right here.)


Secondly, when exactly was this "ramming through" and why did everyone
but the NDP miss it? The budget was introduced on March 29, 2012; the
House debated the budget for nine sitting days; the standing committee
on finance sat for 14 days to study and debate the budget; and finally
the House debated for another four days, including the "marathon vote"
in which the Opposition filibustered by presenting over 800 amendments!

Best of all, when the Conservatives introduced a motion to extend
parliament's debate time by 5 hours a night (to midnight as opposed to
7:00pm), the NDP opposed it!

Luckily the Speaker was able to cut the filibuster down to size, but it
still resulted in MP's voting non-stop for over 24 hours. Opposition
members were even ordered to "stand up as slow as possible" to delay the voting even longer!

The only ramming done was the NDP repeatedly kicking Canadians as a
painful reminder that delaying the budget was delaying benefits for all
Canadians.

"gutting their own Federal Accountability Act"

Another flat - out - lie! There is no bill before parliament that
amends the Federal Accountability Act, nor has there been since
parliament first met in June 2011. Not even the budget bill contains
amendments to the Act. In fact, the Treasury Board website notes the
last amendments to the Act were in regards to strengthening lobbying
rules and they were in 2008!

"treating their backbench MPs like a rubber stamp"

This accusation has me puzzled. Is Mulcair suggesting the Conservative
ministers make legislation with no input from their caucus members
(which isn't true)? Or is he suggesting MP's are just expected to leave
everything to the Prime Minister's Office (also not true)? There seems
to be some attempt to continue that "wah! The Prime Minister is
controlling everything!" fantasy, but it isn't working, not with vague
claims like this.

"using closure a record number of times"

Closure is an anti-filibuster mechanism meant to allocate a specific
amount of time for debate on a bill before it's voted on. It's been in
use since 1913 and is a standard practice in commonwealth countries
including Great Britain and Australia, both of which follow the
Wesminster style of government and thus have an Opposition with a vested
interest in delaying proceedings and making noise over nothing. And
considering that we've seen the NDP and Liberals filibuster everything
from Canada Post to tax savings for Canadians, we can't blame the
government for being weary, lest we devolve into American filibusters in
which one person has spoken for more than 24 hours.

I thought the NDP was against American-style politics?

"engaging in electoral fraud"

You mean the same blatantly false "electoral fraud" allegations that now have NDP MP Pat
Martin being sued for libel?

Canadians have been fed this load of crap for months now and, luckily,
aren't buying any of it. The simple challenge by the Prime Minister
months ago - "can you guys prove it and let Elections Canada do their
investigation?" - remains unanswered, and the media remains heavily
biased in pursuing headlines without facts. For the record, this
summary remains the baseline of real, factual information.

Seriously Tom, who's doing your research?

"having ministers travelling the world staying in luxury hotels and
taking $23,000 limo rides on the taxpayers' dime."

Let me first point out that basically every conservative out there has
noted minister Bev Oda will be demoted and/or shuffled from her current
position because of her spending controversy. Even though her spending
is within Treasury Board guidelines, Canadians are uneasy with the fact
that the minister upgraded from an on-site five-star hotel to a more
expensive off-site five-star hotel with no justification.

But this $23,000 figure? That sure seems like a lot of money for one
car ride in one city at one meeting, as was the controversy with which
Mulcair premised the earlier part of his question.

Oh, right, that's because it's a lie as well.

$21,494 is actually the over time Oda paid her driver for the entire
year for being on stand-by. You see, ministers are busy people
who work long hours (like Jason Kenney's 20-hour days which earned him
the title of hardest working MP for 2011), and
they need drivers to get across the city. Oda's driver logged just
under 600 hours of over time for 2011, which works out to just over $24
an hour at 1.5 times the driver's normal hourly rate.

I thought the NDP was in favour of high wages for the average working
class folk?

My conclusion in noting that Canada's socialist-in-chief was able to lie
six times in one sentence is pretty obvious: how can we ask Canadians to
tune into politics and follow what their government is doing when our
Prime Minister in waiting can't tell the truth?