Ever since Erin O'Toole was elected Con leader, the shabby media in this country have been giving him a political honeymoon, which can only be compared to a full body massage.
They claim he's a really nice guy, slurp slurp. They claim he's a political moderate, and not at all like the nasty Andrew Scheer, slurp, slurp.
When in fact the truth couldn't be uglier.
For O'Toole is definitely not what he appears to be.
He is the leader of a Bigot Party that is more American than Canadian. He's a two-face Trump supporter who panders to right-wing extremists, and religious fanatics.
And as Dale Smith points out, when it comes to his bad parliamentary behaviour, he's getting away with murder.
The shenanigans of the past week have shown that O’Toole is little changed from Scheer in substantive ways – that he feels the need to continually lie in Parliament, and that the Order Paper is a game to score points with by a cadre of shitposters in his office.
The whole notion of an “anti-corruption committee” is a prime example of this kind of game-playing. The decision to label it an “anti-corruption” committee was the first clue that this was solely about scoring points on social media, and when the Liberals made it clear that this was a complete non-starter, O’Toole graciously offered to change the title to the “special committee on allegations of misuse of public funds by the government during the COVID-19 pandemic,” whose first four words would abbreviate to SCAM when it appears on the committee webpage. Nothing about this was serious or about actual accountability.
If any of the credulous journalists who described the motion as “pedestrian” had actually read it, they would have seen that its terms of reference would have given this committee priority over parliamentary resources, and forced the production of documents and witness testimony from ministers including the prime minister, so that the committee would be forcing witnesses and civil servants to drop everything and produce materials or appear at whim. It proposed a structure that was unbalanced in favour of the opposition by as many as three additional MPs, meaning the government would be unable to offer any kind of legitimate procedural pushback, and this would have led to an unending series of fishing expeditions and wild goose chases that were given super-priority while the government is trying to deal with a global pandemic when they are already at reduced capacity.
And as if that attempt to paralyze parliament wasn't bad enough, now O'Toole and his grubby Cons have come up with another even more damaging motion.
The motion is so broad and the demand for documents so massive the Liberals are expected to argue its passage would paralyze the government — the same argument used to declare an earlier Conservative motion on the WE Charity affair a confidence matter.
Among other things, the motion would direct the health committee to scrutinize the government's slow progress in approving rapid COVID-19 testing, the impact of the government's reliance on World Health Organization recommendations that delayed travel restrictions and wearing of face masks, the Public Health Agency of Canada's communications strategy, the partial shutdown of the Global Public Health Intelligence Network early warning system and the adequacy of federal health transfer payments to the provinces.
And it would order the government to turn over a raft of documents from the Prime Minister's Office, the Privy Council Office, various ministers' offices and departments, and the Public Health Agency of Canada related to the government's preparation for the pandemic, the purchase of personal protective equipment and testing products.
The motion is being promoted by the Con's ghastly health critic Michelle Rempel...
A Con fanatic who hates Justin Trudeau so much, she's clearly more interested in flattening his government than flattening the curve, even as Covid kills more and more Canadians.
For her demands that the government provide the committee with a mountain of useless information treats the government like criminals
(x) an order of the House do issue for all memoranda, emails, documents, notes and other records from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, the office of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the office of the Minister of Health, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada concerning plans, preparations and purchasing of PPE, including gowns, gloves, masks, respirators, ventilators, visors and face shields, since March 19, 2020;
(aa) all documents issued pursuant to this order (i) be organized by department and be provided to the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel within 15 days of the adoption of this order
(bb) within seven days after all documents have been tabled pursuant to paragraph (aa), the Minister of Health, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry be ordered to appear separately as witnesses before the Standing Committee on Health, for at least three hours each.
So it reeks of McCarthyism, or the fascist show trials Pierre Poilievre likes so much...
And most critically, it could deprive us of the supplies we need to fight the pandemic.
The demand for documents concerning the purchase of personal protective equipment could be particularly sensitive for the government. It has used a national security exemption to keep some procurement contracts secret, arguing that the intense global competition for PPE makes it prudent to protect the names of suppliers of items that are particularly hard to come by, such as N95 respirators, gloves and swabs.
Some doctors and scientists are making their objections public, like this epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, who calls it an "audit from hell."
This is amazing. We're headed into the second wave of a once in a century pandemic. Ont and Qc have been backstopped by the feds. Now here come the Cons with a motion to initiate a massive AUDIT of the public health response? Now? October 2020?https://t.co/zzJmD7Xcqf— David Fisman (@DFisman) October 24, 2020
And this well known TV doctor who said it made no sense...
This doesn't make sense- there is plenty of time to audit & hold officials accountable later.— Isaac Bogoch (@BogochIsaac) October 24, 2020
Doing this right now as we enter the second wave of a once-in-a-century pandemic is bad timing & risks access to essential PPE & equipment when we need it most.https://t.co/qJTWka89pf
Only to have the old Con hoofer David Akin lecture him like a child...
Can you believe that? I can't.