Monday, November 26, 2007

Whose interests are actually being served? - Updated

Afternoon Update: Good grief! It just gets crazier and crazier. CTV reports that "the group Democracy Watch says Stephen Harper is in a conflict of interest over the Mulroney-Schreiber affair -- and it wants the federal ethics commissioner to investigate."

Duff Conacher apparently feels that Harper shouldn't have been the one to pick the adviser.

Doesn't that call into question the integrity of David Johnston and his ability to remain impartial? Here is a man who agrees to serve his country. It is a thankless job. And this is what he gets?

I think the U. of W. President deserves an apology.

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The opposition parties must think that a public inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair will somehow ameliorate their political capital vs. the present government. Some left-wing pundits seem to share that view. Others think it's a huge mistake.

But is it in Canada's best interest to fork over all this money and attention? Author William Kaplan, an expert on the Brian Mulroney-Karlheinz Schreiber affair, thinks not and predicts that the upcoming hearings will be a "gong show." (CTV)

Kaplan also thinks a public inquiry into a controversial $300,000 in payments to the former Progressive Conservative prime minister by the German-Canadian businessman will prove to be a bad idea.

"We don't need another inquiry. We certainly don't need the 'gong show' that's about to transpire on Parliament Hill next week before the ethics committee," the lawyer and author of two books on the controversy told CTV's Question Period on Sunday.

Kaplan's advice to David Lloyd Johnston, the legal academic whom Prime Minister Stephen appointed to advise on the terms of a public inquiry, would be that a special prosecutor be appointed to review the matter and recommend if charges should be laid.

Geoffrey Stevens
who teaches political science at WLU and U of G, thinks that this whole affair will hurt the present government because "the hearings will keep the issues of corruption, integrity and truthfulness alive in the public mind" even though he admits that "there's scant chance that the ethics committee will lay a glove on Harper or his government".

I don't quite get the logic here. Attempting to malign the present government which is a totally different party and has nothing to do with the Mulroney era other than a few tangential relationships which are also present in today's Liberal party (e.g. Garth Turner), hardly smacks of a huge risk to Harper in my mind.

However, Stevens is suggesting this will cost Harper a majority government.

An new Ipsos poll shows the gap between the CPC and the Liberals is closing, but it is unlikely that the poll results are directly related to the Mulroney-Schreiber affair. (Post)

Darrell Bricker, president of Ipsos Reid, said the poll indicates that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have so far avoided major political damage from the Mulroney-Schreiber affair.

"I don't think these specific events have had much impact. Maybe a little bit of an impact but it's not like it has crashed the numbers in the same way, for example, as the sponsorship scandal hit Paul Martin and the Liberals," Mr. Bricker said.


I personally doubt the 'Airbus Probe' will have much of an adverse impact on the Harper government.


However, I doubt any party could achieve a majority in this period of Canadian politics. Unless Harper screws up bigtime, I doubt we will see another Liberal majority for a long time.

Liberal leaders before Martin had majorities based on right-leaning opponents who were in disarray and fighting against each other. All that has changed now.

And I also doubt we will see a CPC majority anytime soon. The lines of partisanship are just too firmly entrenched. The mushy middle that changes sides is getting smaller, as I see it.

So whose interests will the inquiry serve?

I can only only think of two people - Schreiber and Mulroney.


It will be an expensive gong show.


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30 comments:

Alberta Girl said...

"An new Ipsos poll shows the gap between the CPC and the Liberals is closing, but it is unlikely that the poll results are directly related to the Mulroney-Schreiber affair"

I am appalled (I don't know why?) at the Headlines used to report this poll....The Liberals are closing the gap?????

If this were reversed, the headlines would scream out

Tories in the Tank

Liberal Majority all but Certain

Tories not able to close gap

Liberals are the Best!!!!

Liberals, Liberals, Liberals - All Liberals - All the time!!

The partisanship is becoming more and more blatant.

Also, did any of us see that poll last week at 42%?

If it had been the Liberals - it would have been in 72pt bold script!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

lol! Alberta Girl, Christian Conservative addresses that here (although your rant is much funnier!)

Paul MacPhail said...

Joanne, if Schreiber has his way I think it will vindicate Mulroney from the controversy surrounding Airbus. If there is one thing that Schreiber does want, it's to not go to jail for fraud/bribery charges surrounding the Airbus deal. Ironically, this whole ordeal may have been orchestrated, and we're the ones paying to put on the play. I think we'll be presented with the case that neither Schreiber or Mulroney were guilty of anything to do with Airbus, and that this whole deal is about Mulroney's failure to meet the pre-paid for expectations of Schreiber.
People in my little province here may use Mulroney's past dealings to explain why they're going to vote Liberal in the next federal election but the real irony in that is that a high percentage of them are drawing EI benefits while working "under the table".
And they call Mulroney a crook!!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

but the real irony in that is that a high percentage of them are drawing EI benefits while working "under the table".

Good point, Paul. Many people have no ethical problem with that at all. They simply see it as 'getting back at the government'.

Paul MacPhail said...

Something else has occured to me that I haven't seen anyone else discuss. It may be in the best interest of the Liberals if Schreiber were sent back to Germany, because it's possible that they may have evidence that Schreiber was guilty of bribing Mulroney regarding Airbus. On the other hand, he may not have been, but perhaps some Liberals were bribed and that's what they don't want to come public before a possible federal election.
Just a possibility.

Anonymous said...

I think you're on to something Paul.

I also believe that having Scheiber before the committee of the ethically challenged(ethics committee) but actually show the public just what kind of criminal we're wasting our money on. He could very quickly become the most detested guy in the country....and best friend of the NDP and Liberals who started this whole circus.

Caveat said...

I think majorities are more difficult to achieve because the Bloc, which is a provincial party, is taking up valuable real estate in the Commons.

The more parties you add to the mix, the more likely minority governments become.

jmo

Swift said...

Very interesting title, for the NDP. Whose interests are being served when they attack the Tories. It appears they have finally figured out that attacking the Tories gains the Liberals votes from the Tories and the NDP. When they attack the Liberals, the Liberals loose votes to the Tories and the NDP. Which is better for the NDP? The NDP has to worry about the possibility of the Greens electing MPs. Bashing the Tories on the environment instead of the "We didn't get it done" Liberals, helps the Greens. And a stronger Green Party is a very dangerous thing for the NDP.

In Quebec Duceppe faces an interesting choice. If he emphasizes separatism by attacking the Tories he is going to loose a lot of seats due to the decline in popularity of the separatist cause. If he tries to position the Bloc as the only viable left wing choice by attacking the Liberals and NDP he has a possibility of stopping the bleeding.

So what does this mean for the next election? If Layton and Duceppe join Dion in attacking Harper the Conservatives could win around 140 seats and form another minority government. If they attack Dion the Conservatives will win about 180+ seats and the BC results could decide who is the Official Opposition. Are Layton and Duceppe going to campaign for themselves or join Lizzie May in campaigning for the Liberals?

Anonymous said...

As soon as we're past why I should care about some guy giving Muldoon 0.3 million dollars - I want to know where the $40 million dollars the Liberals stole from Canadians has gone, I want to know which Liberals stole it, and I want to know when we can expect to get it back???

Ryan R said...

Caveat - I agree. The existence of the Bloc, an united right party in the Conservatives, and the Liberal brand name strength, makes it all but impossible to achieve a majority government in today's climate.

If the Bloc was to fold, then you could see a good struggle between the various federal parties for the Bloc voters who no longer have a Bloc to vote for. Such a group of voters could be enough to give one party or another a majority.

I think that most of Canada's provinces aren't very flexible right now when it comes to who they'll vote for, but Quebec strikes me as an exception to that.

Brian in Calgary said...

I personally doubt the 'Airbus Probe' will have much of an adverse impact on the Harper government.

The reason for this is that for years the Liberals and their soul-mates have been decrying the CPC as just the old Canadian Alliance under a new name, but now they're trying to paint the CPC as the same as the defunct PCs. I think that Canadians (at least most of them) see right through that.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

On the other hand, he may not have been, but perhaps some Liberals were bribed and that's what they don't want to come public before a possible federal election.
Just a possibility.


I think you're on to something here as well. That might account for some left-leaning media and politicians trying to discourage this whole investigation.

Gabby in QC said...

"... but the real irony in that is that a high percentage of them are drawing EI benefits while working "under the table".
And they call Mulroney a crook!!"

Thank you for that observation. I recall when the GST was first announced a liberal-leaning radio personality proudly announced that he was going to find every means possible to avoid paying it, and urged listeners to do the same.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Gabby, another Canadian hypocrisy comes to mind... Cross-border shoppers who smuggle their new purchases in to avoid the duty.

Canadians are getting a terrible reputation in Buffalo, etc. for leaving their old clothes, shoes etc. in trash bins and wearing the new purchases home.

That's all fine if the clothes can be donated to the homeless but it's a big headache for the malls and hotels.

And how many chest-thumping Green Canadians are leaving their plastic shopping bags by the wayside too?

It's not just government that needs to get cleaned up.

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to have an opinion on this, so here is mine?

Schreiber "donated" $10,000 to the Liberal party after they came into power in 1993. Its also known besides Mulroney he had some Liberals on retainer as well. My theory, and its just my opinion, is that under the Liberals Schreiber felt pretty comfortable with his chance of remaining in Canada, hence the generous donations to the Liberal party. Methinks Schreiber is using the Liberals to remain here, but may have threatened to blab like an idiot about their dealings if he in fact does get extradited.

He has already changed his sworn testimony to try and hang Mulroney, and I'm pretty sure he will have a little something for the Liberals if they don't save his ass from being shipped to Germany.

paulsstuff

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Paul, that is a fascinating theory.

OMMAG said...

Again apologies in advance if this double posts...

Democracy Watch is probably running low on cash and hopes to get some publicity.
Issuing a sensationalist statement through the willing Canadian Press just fits the bill to a "T".

I'm liking the way Paul McPhail thinks.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Again apologies in advance if this double posts...

You didn't, but no worries in any case. Some folks have triple-posted, likely due to the CM, but I just delete the duplications.

Too bad we have to go through this, but I want to keep the riffraff away.

;)

Gayle said...

"Are Layton and Duceppe going to campaign for themselves or join Lizzie May in campaigning for the Liberals?'

What an odd thing to say. What you really mean is will Layton and Duceppe help the conservatives rather than the liberals.

Perhaps they will simply run a campaign on their own platforms.

Gayle said...

Totally OT, but as I have discussed this issue before on your blog, here is a link you may find interesting:

http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/story.html?id=2da1c3c3-b76f-4e70-8514-7bfbe62c9d88&k=6159

Möbius said...

Despite my disdain for Mulroney, I think any inquiry involving Schreiber is a complete waste of time and money. Originally, I thought it was a great idea, but now I think nothing will be gained. KHS, to avoid deportation, will either: 1) not say anything, or 2) lie. Can we not just depose him, then ship him off?

At least it would be cheaper than the blackmail we're now enduring.

Kingston said...

The part that confuses me about Democracy Watch speech was this, the Min of Justice and PMSH are both in conflict of interest because PMSH knows him, and the Min of Justice works for PMSH so therefore he is beholding to the PM. Therefore is PMSH asked another Cabinet Minister to appoint the person would they not be just as beholding, who should he ask, the guy at the McDonald's drive thru, Jack Layton maybe. The guy they had on couldn't even form a logical thought, CTV took pity on him and broke away.

Möbius said...

The part that confuses me about Democracy Watch speech was this, the Min of Justice and PMSH are both in conflict of interest because PMSH knows him, and the Min of Justice works for PMSH so therefore he is beholding to the PM.

These Democracy Watch folks are dick-heads. Is he supposed to appoint someone at random? From what I've read, Harper's choice is acceptable to almost everyone, including Dion.

Did they complain about the choice of Gomery? Not until after he started finding the naughty ones.

How about the amazing disappearing Somalia inquiry?

Anonymous said...

That article Gayle linked to seems to have left out this information.

The Justice Department dismissed the recommendations and cited findings that about 25 percent of the violent-crime drop in the 1990s can be attributed to increases in imprisonment.

"The United States is experiencing a 30-year low in crime, in large part due to the tough enforcement actions we've taken in the last decade," department spokesman Peter Carr said.

Gayle said...

Got a link there anon? (to the study, or a report on the study, not to what the government SAYS about the study).

As I am sure you noticed, the article linked to not only quotes a study conducted by several noted American scholars, it also quotes a number of Canadian scholars who agree.

That said, I am not interested in sidetracking Joanne's blog - just thought I would share that information with people here because I have been asked in the past to provide links to support my contention that longer sentences does not decrease crime.

kingston - my understanding is the DW has an issue with the Min of Justice because he was also a conservative MP when Mulroney was in government, and that he has personal links to Mulroney.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Sidetrack away, Gayle. ;)

It doesn't bother me. I just can't get into it tonight. I'll check it all out tomorrow though. Thanks.

Raging Ranter said...

Funny that the opposition parties all seemed to accept the appointment, yet Democracy Watch has a problem with it? It's pretty pathetic when, in an effort to justify its continued relevance, a think tank becomes even more illogical and histrionic than the opposition.

Was Dithers' appointment of Gomery a conflict of interest as well? By that line of reasoning, since all federal judges are appointed by the PM, and any of those judges might one day be judging a case with a political angle to it, all those appointments are conflicts of interests too. The entire Supreme Court must resign at once!

Kingston said...

Gayle, I watched the press conference and read the web site, they have a problem with the Min of Justice because he is appointed by the PM, beholding, is their word not mine. You see my problem with their approach, who is supposed to appoint the person to come up with term of reference or run the inquiry if not the PM, Did they say the same thing about PMPM and Gomery, if they did I do not remember, I personally think it was just a press grab for DM to be seen to be doing something.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Gayle, thanks for that link. I'm still not convinced, but it was interesting. ;)

I'm sure we'll have another 'tough on crime' debate soon.

Gayle said...

Well Joanne - i should have realized that. If I could not convince, how could a team of international experts on the subject convince you ;).