Conservatives worry "Liberal attacks and the media" will derail fundraising drive

Senator Marjory LeBreton
Senator Marjory LeBreton is pressed by reporters last spring for answers about the Senate scandal, a scandal which had a lot of grassroots Conservatives stop donating to the party. Now, party president John Walsh is encouraging those donors to get back in the game and blaming the “media” for getting in the way of things. (DAVID AKIN/QMI Agency)

The latest missive from John Walsh, the president of the Conservative Party of Canada, to the party’s membership (delivered to my source for this at just after 6 pm ET on Friday night) I have emphasized one line: Continue reading Conservatives worry "Liberal attacks and the media" will derail fundraising drive

The new "hot button" issue for Conservative fund-raising: Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau
VANCOUVER – Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau talks to media after handing out food with Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen on December 18, 2013. (Carmine Marinelli/Vancouver 24hours/QMI Agency

The federal Conservatives raised millions of dollars from their supporters over the years by finding and pressing key “hot button” issues like the gun registry. A good “hot button” issue gets a donor riled up and ready to write a cheque so his or her side will deal with that that “hot button” issue.

Well, with the gun registry retired, the Conservatives have settled on a new hot button issue — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. Trudeau is the key “issue” in a series of fundraising e-mails flying out of Conservative Party HQ in the last couple of weeks during the party’s “Seize the Moment” fundraising campaign. Consider this latest one that comes from Heritage Minister Shelly Glover: Continue reading The new "hot button" issue for Conservative fund-raising: Justin Trudeau

A polarizing politician, Vic Toews leaves public life

Vic Toews
Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety speaks to the media at Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 8, 2013. Toews announced his retirement from politics on Monday, July 8, 2013. ( Andre Forget/QMI Agency)

To those looking for reasons to dislike Stephen Harper and his Conservative government, Vic Toews was the likely poster boy. As Minister of Justice and as Minister of Public Safety, Toews was on the front lines of the Harper government’s mission to “get tough on crime” and to demonize political opponents who refused to get behind the Conservative agenda. He was the sharp end of the Conservative spear. Conservatives generally enjoyed his “take no prisoners” approach to both politics and, er, prisoners. Sometimes he went to far.   Still, within the party, partisans looked past any excess and it was quite clear that Toews was a popular figure. Continue reading A polarizing politician, Vic Toews leaves public life

The stink from the Duffy-Wright scandal: Readers write

Senator Mike Duffy
Senator Mike Duffy on Parliament Hill in May. (Andre Forget/QMI Agency)

Across our newspaper chain today, I opine:

The Duffy scandal is the stench that just keeps getting worse for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government.
Newly released court documents filed as part of an RCMP request to get more evidence into potential fraud by three sitting senators – Duffy, Patrick Brazeau, and Mac Harb – contain explosive new information about the deal that brought down Harper’s top aide and shook the government to the core. Continue reading The stink from the Duffy-Wright scandal: Readers write

A Conservative MP quits the Conservative caucus

Last night, after watching his private members bill get gutted by his own caucus colleagues, Edmonton MP Brent Rathgeber quit the Conservative caucus and announced he will sit as an independent MP. This morning, on his blog, he indicted his former colleagues…

Clearly, the Government’s decision not to support my Private Member’s Bill on CBC and Public Sector disclosure and transparency in Committee was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back; however, this decision and my comfort level in caucus has been evolving for at least a year when I first spoke out against Ministerial opulence in a blog entitled “Of Orange Juice and Limos.”

Recent allegations concerning expense scandals and the Government’s response has been extremely troubling. I joined the Reform/conservative movements because I thought we were somehow different, a band of Ottawa outsiders riding into town to clean the place up, promoting open government and accountability.  I barely recognize ourselves, and worse I fear that we have morphed into what we once mocked.

My constituents demand better.

My constituents simply do not care what somebody, who they hope will never become Prime Minister, did or didn’t do seventeen years ago. They do care, however, about the relations between a sitting Senator and Langevin Block PMO.  For a government that was elected on a platform of accountability, my constituents are gravely disappointed.  They appreciate human frailty but when a group misses its self-proclaimed standards, a little contrition and humility not blust and blunder, is the expectation.To say that we are somehow better than the other guys is similarly woefully inadequate.  If we are measuring our ethical performance against the Sponsorship Scandalized Liberals, perhaps we need to set our ethical bar a little higher.I have reluctantly come to the inescapable conclusion that the Government’s lack of support for my transparency bill is tantamount to a lack of support for transparency and open government generally.

Read the rest: Brent’s Blog | Brent Rathgeber | Member of Parliament for Edmonton -St. Albert.

Those Liberal elites and their media lickspittles!

london 008
I snapped this pic of Senator Marjory LeBreton during the 2006 general election. Senator LeBreton’s task was to ride on the media bus – a task she has had in subsequent elections — where she has never been shy to let reporters know her opinions about coverage of her party and her leader.

Conservative partisans are angry about this Senate expense scandal. They are angry at Senators Duffy and Wallin for getting them in this mess and they are angry at many others — mostly in the media — who aren’t giving them the benefit of the doubt on all this stuff. On Parliament Hill, that sentiment is largely voiced by Conservative MPs and senators who wish to remain anonymous. But on Wednesday in the Senate, Senator Marjory LeBreton, the leader of the government in the Senate, gave a remarkable speech which, though I thought many parts of it wrong-headed, seems to capture the mood among many Conservative partisans. Continue reading Those Liberal elites and their media lickspittles!

The Conservative patronage trough

So this is great — if it all turns out to be true. Blogger The Sixth Estate has the name, rank and serial number for the 1,135 Conservative donors and sympathizers who have received patronage appointments since 2006. (Versus the 78 Liberals, 4 New Democrats, 1 Bloc Quebecois and 1 Green Party member who have received a federal government appointment since then).

“Stephen Harper once denounced this system as the Prime Minister rewarding his “buddies,” but while in office has been uninterested in changing the system. Instead he has continued to appoint party insiders and supporters at a frenzied pace, even to the Senate, which he once demanded be fully democratized through elected Senators with term limits. Since the May 2011 general election, he has even appointed several losing candidates to the Senate, so that they could have a seat in Parliament anyways after being denied one by the public.” Sixth Estate writes.

Continue reading The Conservative patronage trough

Harper: Expect major cabinet shuffle, agenda change in "mid-term"

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the tiniest of tweaks to his cabinet yesterday, moving Julian Fantino from his job as Associate Minister of Defence (procurement) to Minister of International Co-Operation, a job that came open with Bev Oda quit. Bernard Valcourt will move into Fantino’s old defence spot while holding on to his previous duties as minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

Plenty of us here in the Ottawa press gallery thought Harper would do something much more radical to his cabinet. Today, in Calgary, Harper spoke to talk radio host Dave Rutherford about his cabinet shuffle and prorogation plans. (Transcript courtesy of the PMO) Continue reading Harper: Expect major cabinet shuffle, agenda change in "mid-term"

Goodbye from Lee Richardson

Lee Richardson, the MP for Calgary-Centre announced in the House of Commons this afternoon that he is resigning his seat in order to become Principal Secretary to Alberta Premier Alison Redford. Richardson is a popular MP, well-liked by those on all sides of the House and has always been cordial and helpful with reporters. He’s one of the good guys. Here’s his final speech in the House: Continue reading Goodbye from Lee Richardson