Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tories Behaving Badly - Again

- Will the real Rahim Jaffer please stand up? - redux:

Ottawa — A red-faced Tory MP is apologizing after his assistant impersonated him — and provided false information — in an e-mail exchange with a constituent over the hot-button issue of Afghan detainees.

An e-mail from Gord Brown's parliamentary office, dated May 2, claimed that every alleged case of abuse involving Afghan detainees had been investigated and proven to be unfounded. That despite the fact the Afghan government has yet to finish an investigation into the torture claims.

The e-mail to Randi Davidson, obtained by The Canadian Press, was signed by Mr. Brown, the member for Leeds-Grenville. But Mr. Brown says the note was written by his assistant, Mark King, without his knowledge.

“Those are not my views. They don't reflect my view. That staff member has been reprimanded for sending that out,” Brown said in an interview.

“He shouldn't have sent it out to begin with and he shouldn't have sent it out with my name it on. I'm not very happy about it.”

- Oh, they pretend to be "tightening the screws" on political loans but:

The bill seems equally aimed at embarrassing the Liberals, with Mr. Van Loan and Ottawa Tory MP Pierre Poilievre repeatedly taking shots at last year's Grit leadership race in which contestants relied heavily on loans to pay for their campaigns.

Mr. Poilievre noted that the winner, Stéphane Dion, received loans from wealthy supporters amounting to almost $500,000, as did runner-up Michael Ignatieff.

“Who owns the Liberal party?” he asked.

But the Tories were not inclined to discuss who “owns” Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has never fully disclosed the donors to his 2002 campaign for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance, predecessor to the Conservative party.

Mr. Harper disclosed only 54 donors who'd contributed more than $1,075 each to his campaign. He never revealed the names of 10 large donors who wanted to remain anonymous or the more than 9,000 donors who gave less than $1,000.
The law did not require full disclosure in 2002. Mr. Van Loan dismissed suggestions that Mr. Harper, in keeping with the new spirit of transparency and openness, should belatedly open his campaign books.

- I wonder how many of those anonymous donors were active in Alberta's oil sands sector, which has just been exempted from the Tories' so-called "clean air" plan. Meanwhile, Alberta conservatives are pushing for a $6.2 billion nuclear reactor for the province.

However, the Alberta Liberals said they're skeptical about nuclear power in Alberta, while environmental groups are fiercely opposed to it, suggesting it's downright radioactive.

"It looks more and more like the Tory government has let the nuclear genie out of the bottle without ever consulting with Albertans," said Liberal Leader Kevin Taft.

Officials with the Pembina Institute, an environmental think-tank, argue concerns about how to dispose of nuclear waste outweigh the potential benefits of a reactor, such as an increased electricity supply and a reduction in greenhouse gases emitted, compared to coal-fired plants.

- Pollution, nuclear waste, why not add increased levels of pesticide to our food too?

Better break out the veggie-scrubbers: Canada is set to raise its limits on pesticide residues on fruit and vegetables for hundreds of products.

The move is part of an effort to harmonize Canadian pesticide rules with those of the United States, which allows higher residue levels for 40 per cent of the pesticides it regulates.

"Harmonize", my ass. It's called "pandering".

- James Travers has some advice for the "new" government: It is not in our interest to allow the military to become synonymous with Canada. The problem with that is the fact that conservatives actually measure Canada's standing in the world by its military involvement and the praise received from other conservative governments and right-wing organizations according to our participation in military pursuits. Good advice Travers, but don't expect Steve et al to listen.

- Tories cut peacekeeping centre funding:

OTTAWA — The Tory government will no longer pay for soldiers from around the world to train in peacekeeping at the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre in the Annapolis Valley.

Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor’s office did not return calls Monday afternoon to explain why it is cutting the program.

For the past two years, the Defence Department has paid for groups of 30 soldiers to train in peacekeeping in the United Nations Integrated Missions Staff Officers Course at the Cornwallis centre.

Dirty pool?

Defence’s decision comes five months after what appeared to have been a series of department leaks to the Ottawa Citizen trying to discredit the Cornwallis centre. At the time, West Nova Liberal MP Robert Thibault predicted trouble.

"I’m fearful that there might be some ploy within the Department of Defence to leak stuff like that and then to refuse their funding," he said. "The reports I get when I talk to people around Ottawa is that the other departments are ready to fund it . . . but that (Defence) has been balking."

- Conrad Black behaving badly. Ongoing.

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