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.
The motion is not that big of a deal. Everything in it could have been proposed, in whole or in part, at the Health Committee itself. The fact the Conservatives decided to present it as a House motion is them grandstanding.
It is not a confidence motion and it never was. The media suggesting otherwise was an effort to generate clicks.
Once the motion is passed the Liberals will have plenty of opportunities to push back at the Committee itself. As well, we are already seeing pushback from the companies that were contracted to produce PPE in Canada.
I know the Conservatives are hoping to use the Health Committee to discover a new "scandal" but they are also taking the risk of allowing the government to highlight how successful they have been in addressing the health issues around the pandemic. Remember, Canadians have been very happy with the government's response so allowing the government to reinforce that impression carries a huge risk for all of the Opposition parties.
Really, if it came down to a confrontation between Dr. Tam and Michelle Rempel Garner, during a Committee hearing, who do you think Canadians would trust more?
This grand standing by the cons is absolutely disgusting. I don't think they know enough about government to understand what they are actually asking for. It would paralyze the government.
Years ago I was involved in an ATIP request as a junior funky. It was a very tiny thing but it tied me up for a one and a half to two days and I ended up writing "two" paragraphs. Requesting the type of thing that these idiots want would generate huge piles of paperwork that their committee probably could not analyze anyway. We are probably talking hundreds of thousands or maybe millions of pieces of information. One would need huge secretariat to deal with something like that. And we probably talking years to do it.
An inquiry into expenditures and the general approach taken by the government to deal with the pandemic makes a good deal of sense. But not in the middle of a bloody pandemic.
We might wanted even to have a Royal Commission into how we should respond to emergencies like this. The thing is,you do not paralyzed the government while it is in the middle of a battle. Come to think of it this is a little like a commission on how we ran World War II being convened in 1943.
Chantal Hebert writes this weekend that with the Cons and Bloc now bosom buddies, Trudeau and the Liberals have been pushing to piss off the NDP just enough that they'll have no choice but to bring down the government if they're not getting anything from it anymore. Otherwise they just look like chickenshits wanting to stay in office in spite of diminishing returns. Which, of course, they are.
That "next time" opportunity is probably going to be the "fiscal update" coming next month. Assuming no curveballs like the still-extant possibility of broken-record Charlie getting frustrated enough that he takes his asinine "COVID accountability" SCAM motion into the HoC and triggers a repeat of what just happened. Hopefully that sideshow continues to be stonewalled, though.
The WE-Ghazi thing was stupid and bizarre but this is dangerous. For the NDP to latch onto this idiotic conspiracy theory from Rempelthinskin and the Tool is abhorrent and really shows what kind of rot has sunk into the so-called "conscience of parliament." No longer content to harass Margaret Trudeau and destroy the Canadian nonprofit sector, they've decided to throw in their lot with the Q-Cons and harass doctors and industry leaders instead.
The Toolcons and their fascist-enabling orange caucus deserve a complete and total obliteration at the polls sooner rather than later. Congratulations Jagmeet, you, Chuckles the clown, and Don Trump Davies have blood and economic chaos on your hands. All worth it to own the Libs, eh? Jerks.
Lenord Cohn worried or stateted the poor buy telivisons to be programmed. Things have gotton much worse. Oh th eh humanity.
Hi Ottlib....The Health Committee might have a role to play at this stage of the pandemic, but the Con demands are exaggerated and intended only to disrupt and damage the battle against Covid 19. The doctors are right, the Cons could have waited a few months, instead of disrupting that battle even as we approach what could be the most deadly part of the pandemic. Instead the Cons will parade ministers and civil servants through the committee for pure partisan purposes, and divide Canadians rather than helping to unite them. And if we lose access to drugs, vaccines, and PPE equipment we will find ourselves in a very bad place...
Hi jrkrideau...I completely agree with you. The whole idea of holding some kind of McCarthyist hearing in the middle of a pandemic is absolutely insane. Like our front line medical workers many of our civil servants are exhausted by the extraordinary job they have been doing for the Canadian people, and the very idea that they could be treated like criminals by Rempel and her foul brood, makes me sick to my stomach. But then all the Cons ever want to do is play cheap politics no matter who they hurt, and how much damage they do. And hopefully that will be used against them in the next election....
Hi Jackie....I hope the NDP is smart and still decent enough to vote against the scope of this McCarthyist inquiry, but I'm not very optimistic Jagmeet Singh has shown himself to be a very weak leader, and after not going along with that first motion is probably under a lot of pressure from some of his own supporters to support the Rempel one. I hope the Liberals can eventually show Canadians that this should also be a confidence motion, for anything that disrupts our pandemic response at this time could be absolutely catastrophic....
So Simon, I happened over to Reddit for a little while, and a guy says he has heard from "NDP insiders" that Trudeau may use this motion passing as the pretext for calling an election himself within the next few weeks, or forcing one with the budget update.
He needed to demonstrate that the opposition are gumming up the works and sabotaging the pandemic response, now that he's got a more positive issue to run on as a backdrop than the "anti-corruption commission."
Fingers crossed that's what actually ends up happening here. Worth looking also at Mike Gibbs' impassioned pleas to his own party not to back the Cons. If a lot more NDP supporters feel like Mike does, Jagmeet and co may have shot themselves in the dicks.
Also, doesn't it seem possible if not likely that Rempel deliberately staged this sideshow to distract from the CPC's vote on the conversion therapy bill?
Simon...I agree that the timing of this motion is completely wrong but it does prove a few things.
a) The parties' internal data is telling them what the public polls are telling the rest of us; the Liberals would win a majority government if an election were to happen and Canadians are quite happy with how the government has handled the pandemic and its economic impacts.
b) The Opposition Parties have acknowledged that WE is a dead end for their goal of discrediting the government. They will never say that out loud but this change in direction is a good indicator of it.
c) The Opposition leaders are receiving bad advice. They are playing small politics during a global pandemic and it has not occurred to them to actually change tack and see if being more cooperative would change things. Further proof that successfully starting up an alt-right "news" organization does not make you a talented political operative.
This motion instructs the Health Committee to proceed with the provisions of the motion. But the Health Committee is a standing committee of the House of Commons, so the rules on how the motion will be implemented are well established. The Liberals will have plenty of procedural tools to fight back in committee against the demands in the motion. The committee will not automatically adopt each demand. It will be up to the committee to address each one and vote on them again and it has been demonstrated many times that the solidarity of the Opposition in the House of Commons chamber often breaks down in the committee room.
The sheer size of the motion and the number of its provisions will keep the Health Committee tied up in procedural wrangling for weeks and even when that ends it will take further weeks to complete the work outlined in it.
Cheater Cons, if a little chaotic destruction of the We charity was good then destruction of the Covid supply chain will be amazing. Pfizer a major pharmaceutical supplier has warned that attempts to politicize their vaccine supply contract will render it void so they will attack peripheral suppliers to build the impression of wanton Liberal spending but the result will be the same... major suppliers will avoid getting caught up in a political mess. The liberals have no choice but to call an election. If they win supplier confidence is restored, if they loose the people will have made the choice to move on to more deadly chaotic times. The stuff all illiberal authoritarian democracies are made of!!
What do you make of the by-elections though? If I were to advise the liberals, I wouldn't be so sure about going for an election right now... after all the cons almost won on York centre...?🤔🤪
RT and others, do you think Trudeau actually will call an election? I don't trust the tired old Con, John Ivison one bit, but I'm starting to wonder what Trudeau's game plan is, and getting a little worried that he's missing his big chance. Paul Wells and Chantal Hebert say that this government's days are numbered, those anonymous "NDP insiders" say the same, but all we seem to be getting are mixed messages and static from LPC HQ. Does he get it that the NDP aren't going to bite, and that his only recourse for the good of the country is to make a visit to Payette himself???
Polls and pundits are saying Canadians do not want an election so one is unlikely as long as the Cons are content to slowly drip out minor instances of perceived supply chain corruption. A fine balance between just enough to keep the Tools motley crew dreaming of winning but not enough to force the Liberals into an election. On the other hand this involves discipline the Cons do not have as their strategy is one of chaos and quiet kills them. Perhaps somehow the Liberals will find a way to get back to the mundane job of passing legislation and running a country while letting chaos in the US occupy peoples minds. Time will tell but the path is to somehow tamp down the sensationalism while doing and messaging support for Canadians during these difficult times.
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