When Conservative Isn’t

Canadian flag twisting in the wind (cc by laurelrusswurm)

$90,000 “expenses”

Conservative Senator Mike Duffy’s idea of “expenses” is a little different than mine.

Meanwhile, the Senate’s internal economy committee wants to have another look at Duffy’s expense claims amid growing questions about his conduct, including new revelations that he filed claims for Senate business while campaigning for the Conservatives in the last federal election.

“Documents revealed that Duffy billed taxpayers for being on official Senate business while he was campaigning for the Conservatives during the 2011 federal election. If it is confirmed that Duffy attended eight campaign events and submitted Senate expenses, he could be in trouble for double-billing.”

Damning findings removed from Sen. Mike Duffy’s audit report: documents

Wasn’t Prime Minister Stephen Harper going to reform the Senate?

$90,000 “gift”

Nigel Wright Resigns As Stephen Harper’s Chief Of Staff (TWITTER REACTS)

One might think “Harvard-educated Bay Street lawyer and banker” Nigel Wright would know better than to write a cheque to cover Senator Mike Duffy’s exense irregularities.

“It goes without saying that a cheque for such a large amount is far from a customary standard of hospitality, nor a normal expression of courtesy,” [MP Charlie] Angus wrote in a letter.

“The NDP MP also suggested that Duffy, Wright, or both may have breached section 16 of the Parliament of Canada Act which prohibits a senator from receiving compensation for any services rendered.”

Mike Duffy Resignation: Senator Leaves Caucus, Will Sit As Independent

I’m always surprised when government tells us “throwing money at” education and health care are a bad idea. Properly funding social programs makes a lot more sense to me than covering up bad behaviour. I guess we just have different priorities.

$321,000 “expenses”

[Pamela] Wallin, a former journalist who now represents Saskatchewan in the Senate, has claimed about $321,000 in travel expenses since September 2010 that are the subject of an audit by an outside firm.

Senator Pamela Wallin leaves Conservative caucus: Wallin to sit as an Independent during audit process

Consequences?

Senators Duffy and Wallin both claim to have withdrawn from the Conservative caucus, but both plan to stay on as “independent” senators.

Uh huh… Does anyone actually believe they will suddenly stop supporting Conservative interests? Seriously?

$170,000 “expenses”

Another Conservative Government appointee, Daniel Caron, the head of Library and Archives Canada has also resigned over $170,000 of dubious expenses.

Since LAC is the official government repository of Canadian heritage,this one bothers me in particular.

Coping with a $10-million federal budget cut, Caron oversaw major staff downsizing to the department, reduced funding to scores of tiny archives across Canada, halted most acquisitions of historical artifacts, closed the National Archival Development Program, and stopped a system of inter-library loans through which Canadians could access material from its vast collections.

Library head Daniel Caron resigns as $170,000 in expenses found

When you consider that what Mr. Caron considers personal expenses would support as many as ten or fifteen families on social assistance for a year, it calls into question the word “conservative.”

Accountability

The National Post gets this one right: Andrew Coyne: Fear of audits led Conservatives to cover for Mike Duffy

Canada badly needs meaningful electoral reform. If we had a democratic system that actually represented Canadians ~ Proportional Representation ~ our government representatives and appointees could be held accountable.

What a difference that would make.

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Preserve Canada’s Past

Last weekend I attended the Tiger Boys Fly-In at the Guelph airport. Named for the famed “Tiger Moth” biplane, the Tiger Boys are a flying club;  pilots and warplane enthusiasts who maintain, repair and fly warplanes which are relics of Canadian history.  They hold an annual “Fly Day,” where ordinary people can come out and see these machines and even pay to go up for a ride in them. What an amazing way to bring our history to life.

Historical societies across Canada toil to preserve our heritage because it is important to Canadians. Yet while ordinary people like these care enough to preserve our history, I was stunned to learn that our government can’t seem to manage to spend less than ten million dollars to preserve our documentary heritage.

Ten million dollars is more than we can easily manage at the local level, so it may sound like a lot. Until you look at other budget entries. How much does the Federal government spend on, say, advertising?  Or maybe a submarine. Or a helicopters.  How much does every day our troops are at war cost us?   How much did they spend on the Toronto G20?

How much did they spend ~ of our tax money ~ to quietly bail out the banks and the bankers? Hmmm.

And when all is said and done, who will have the money to be able to afford these priceless Canadian historical artifacts. Artifacts that rightly belong to all Canadians?

Photographs and heirlooms, some bought by Canadian governments with our tax dollars, and some donated, like the world famous Yousuf Karsh photographic legacy.

This is our heritage.

This is not only incredibly short sighted, but much worse, this is a crime against our children. And our children’s children. Canada’s shared history is our national photo album.

The story of where we’ve come from, and why we are where we are.  I am really lucky that my family has some of our own heritage photographs, but not every family does.   I’ve begun creating my own little heritage project, The Russwurm Family website.

I’ve put some of my family’s priceless, irreplacable family heirlooms online at http://russwurm.org

The contents of Library and Archives Canada belong to all Canadians, past and future.

I don’t believe that any government should have the right to sell it off.   Yet this is the kind of tragedy that can happen with an antiquated electoral system like ours.   Still, there isn’t time to change that in time, this must be stopped,

Now.

Because these artifacts that our government plans to sell off to private collectors — our heritage — are unique.

These artifacts are irreplacable.

There is a petition:

Make it Better – Help save Canada’s National Archival Development Program.

Or you can write a letter on the Save Library and Archives Canada website, where you can use their system to write a letter to the man who has been entrusted with preserving Canada’s heritage, Heritage Minister James Moore.

Of course, you can write your own letter:

The Hon. James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6 James Moore:
email:  james.moore@parl.gc.ca

You can ~ and should ~ also write a letter to your own MP [Find your MP.]   Under our “winner-take-all” electoral system, our MP is supposed to represent our interests in Ottawa. Whether she/he is a back bencher or Minister. Whether or not we voted for him/her.

And of course, you can send a copy to the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper  ~ email: stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca

Watch the video appeal from the Documentary Organization of Canada.

Please share this with every Canadian you know.

And thank you for your help.
a horizontal border of red graphic maple leaves