Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Conservatives Playing Silly Buggers on Ethics Committee

Conservatives on the Ethics committee are trying to side-line important business with a pointless political witch hunt.

Conservative MP Dean del Mastro is calling Mike Duffy and other witnesses to discuss the issue of who is "feeding questions" to MPs on the committee. In December, Mike Duffy interviewed someone who claimed that a CBC reporter suggested a question to a Liberal MP on the committee. Since then it has been widely reported that journalists and other citizens regularly suggest questions to committee members and there was nothing untoward in the event; in addition, the CBC has already disciplined the employee, saying they didn't want there to be any perception of wrongdoing. Mike Duffy, who is on CTV, has nothing to do with the issue at all.

CTV journalist Graham Richardson said this on Mike Duffy Live: "This is the most trumped up, ridiculous pandering to the Conservative core who believe the CBC is part of the enemy... this is just bald politicking and unfortunately it's politicking with someone's reputation." Duffy replied, "They're trying to embarrass the Liberals and the CBC - get a twofer."

The Ethics committee has important work to do. Harper's Conservatives have made it abdundantly clear that they don't want the committee to succeed: they tried to extradite Karlheinz Schreiber before he could appear, and they have tried to pressure the committee into rushing its work. Now they are trying to subvert its important business.

If you want to try to stop this subversion of the committee process, here are the people I wrote to complain about this latest tactic:

Dean Del Mastro (C) - DelMastro.D@parl.gc.ca
Russ Hiebert (C) - Hiebert.R@parl.gc.ca
Our PM - Harper.S@parl.gc.ca
Paul Szabo (L), committee chair - Szabo.P@parl.gc.ca

Update: For more info from the Conservative side, see this.

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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

THe CBC said there were two Liberal M.P.s they fed questions to who is the other one?Szabo perhaps.Why the cover-up?

Anonymous said...

I would let the Conservatives go ahead with this strategy. Mike Duffy has a reputation as a journalist to protect and can't allow himself to look like a stooge for the Conservatives. This can only make the Conservatives look bad, and erode their support within the CTV.

Kingston said...

You might want to claifiy the following, it was not someone, it was the Former Liberal Minister of Transport.
"Mike Duffy interviewed someone who claimed that a CBC reporter suggested a question to a Liberal MP on the committee".

The CBC blog has now stated there were two Liberal MP's fed the questions by their reporter, are you not curious who the other person is. I know I am. The LPC member knocked on this door and the Chairman of the committee opened the door by allowing a question that was far outside the scope of the committees mandate. The old saying "you harvest what you plant" comes to mind here. This is no more outside the scope of the committee then the original question was from PR. I think they should call the original Lib MP and have him answer under oath if he got the question from the Reporter.

Alberta Girl said...

Gee - I think the silly buggers were actually Pablo, Szabo and their cohorts in the CBC who decided to try and connect the current government through this line of questioning.

They have made a mockery of the so called "ethics" committee.

And yet you are willing to let this slide and call out the Tories for voicing concerns over this.

No wonder Adscam was able to happen.

Yappa said...

Lots of people, including journalists, have suggested questions to committee members. I have done it on this blog. Other bloggers have done it. MSM has done it. Journalists do it regularly to all parties. There is nothing wrong with suggesting a question - in fact, it's a very good practice.

Saying that the question "was fed to" the MP is just twisting the truth: there was no "feeding". "Feeding" implies that the MP was somehow coerced or at least incented to ask the question, and there has never even been a hint of anything like that.

There is no mockery; there is no scandal; there is no impropriety. That is just plain hooey.

Duffy said yesterday that if the committee pursues this issue, it will come out that every committee member including all Conservatives have asked questions that were suggested by journalists. Yes, he got all excited about it when he first heard about it on air and reported it, but now that he has thought about it he realizes that it is a total non-issue.

Alberta Girl said...

Suggesting a question is not the problem, yappa. It is the fact that the question appears to have been used for purposes of trying to smear the present government in a parlimentary "ethics" committee. If the question had to do with Schrieber, there would not be the hew and cry you are hearing over this.

The fact is that it appears that this was an ochastrated attempt by the Liberal party to tie the present CPC to Brian Mulroney.

I remember watching and thinking how strange it was that Pablo was asking that question, wondering what it had to do with the committee's mandate and then watching Szabo not even hesitate to take a vote to allow this line of questioning.

They say that hind sight is 20/20 and in this case - once J. L. outed the CBC and Pablo it became clear.

Of course, in typical Liberal fashion - deny, deny, deny - and of course the media poo poos the whole thing as something that happens all the time.

Like I said - making suggestions is one thing - for an MP to use the questions in an attempt to smear another party is the problem.

I have belived all along that it is actually the Liberals that we should be attacking as they CHOSE to use the line of questioning.

The Liberals created this situation and now you want to try to tar the Tories with questioning the "ethics" of this.

This is all about the Liberals trying to portray the present Tory Government as corrupt as themselves. So who are the silly
buggers?

Yappa said...

To Alberta Girl -

Thanks for the comment. I agree with you that the question was not good and probably shouldn't have been asked. (I felt the same way about some of Del Mastro's questions.)

But why drag the reputation of the CBC employee (and the entire CBC) through the mud? Why not focus on the question itself and on cautioning members to stay on track and keep the partisan stuff away?

Even you are now saying that the problem is the question, not how it was inspired - and yet that's not the focus of the Dean Del Mastro sideshow: he's calling Mike Duffy to talk about the CBC employee.

One off-topic question did not derail the committee: it just took a couple of minutes and the other committee members ignored it. But derailing the committee to hammer the CBC is going to be a major distraction from the business at hand.

Kingston said...

Yappa, Then no problem, have Mr.Dion tell PR to stand up and tell the truth and at the same time take some heat off the CBC. The outrage would of been fast and fleeting if PR had said, the substance of the question was suggested to me thru a conversation with a member of the media. Problem solved, why the CPC is doing this is pretty obvious, they are going to prove that PR is a fibber,lol. Is this the place to do it, more then likely not and on that I agree but then again this committee was not the place or time to ask the question that started this sorry scene.
Also, if it turns out the the Chairman was the other person who received this question, then that is just plain wrong, and I do not care what color scarf you wear during and election campaign.
In closing, the way this looks right now, and with PR refusing to come clean, and the CBC already admitting they sent the questions, then my description of feeding stands. If I send you a blog post and you post it and your name, then guess what, I fed it to you

Whistler's mother said...

From Whistler's Mother (too lazy to register)
Some time back L. Ian McDonald in an op-ed piece critiqued Pablo's questions. They were written in lengthy lawyerese totally in English. Pablo has never used english in the House and he doesn't have command of the language. LaPresse reporters also stated this. Pablo R. still refuses to stand up like a man and let CBC's Krista off of the hook a little bit. Szabo cutting off Mulroney trying to comment on the perceived scope of the Committee and letting Pablo go into the wireless issue was very very suspect. It really did look like the Committees direction was being manipulated to try to lump the present gov't in with the scandals of the past. If there was something profound there then there may be some latitude but this was almost shameful.

Yappa said...

Thanks for all the comments.

I continue my reply here: http://yappadingding.blogspot.com/2008/01/pablo-rodriguez-question.html

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