By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 0 Comments
It’s very true that oil companies are not charitable organizations–which is why it’s not a good idea to make policy based on the assumption that they will passively absorb the costs of new regulations. It’s not at all obvious why firms would pass along the costs of a carbon price but not the (larger) costs of regulation.
Meanwhile, Ryan Leef is being criticized for the information he has distributed on the polar bear population. And Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver received a rebuke from the scientist—now a Green candidate in British Columbia—he had previously cited. (Andrew Weaver is also a fan of taxing carbon.)
In other news, the NDP motion that initiated last Thursday’s debate was defeated last night and various New Democrats took to Twitter to criticize Elizabeth May for voting against. Ms. May responded with a lengthy explanation of her problems with the motion.
I would have loved to have seen a unified group of MPs from all the Opposition Parties rise on principle and (hoping against hope) some of the Conservatives who understand the need for climate action might have voted with us to give the Parliamentary call for reductions in GHG a chance of passing. But since tonight’s motion forgot to call for climate action, maybe we could take a run at a properly worded motion another day.
There does exist, it should be noted, a multi-partisan climate change caucus. And Mr. Leef is one Conservative who attended its most recent meeting.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 1, 2013 at 5:40 PM - 0 Comments
Thomas Mulcair’s principal secretary sends his regards to Claude Patry. The Star’s editorial board likewise suggests Mr. Patry should resign and face a by-election. Chantal Hebert offers some background on the backbencher and some consideration of the future. And Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro offers his analysis.
News that another NDP MP has abandonned them, this time to go to the BLOC demonstrates how undemocratic the NDP really is. Because their members are always foced to follow the party line when voting in parliament the only choice that members have when they disagree is to leave.
It is true that New Democrats have tended to vote alike in this current Parliament, while several Conservatives have voted the party line a mere 98% or 99% of the time, but it’s not clear that Mr. Patry’s situation was a matter of party discipline run amok. He seems to have had a fairly fundamental difference of opinion over fundamental party policy—in this case sovereignty for Quebec and how that might be achieved. Maybe he could have remained both a resolute sovereigntist and a member of the NDP, presuming that the party hadn’t tabled its Unity Bill or taken the position on Churchill Falls that it did, but Mr. Del Mastro probably wouldn’t have approved of that either.
Usually three instances of something is sufficient grounds to declare a trend, but it’s not clear to me that there is a common denominator between Lise St. Denis, Bruce Hyer and Mr. Patry. Ms. St. Denis got to Ottawa and decided she wanted to be a Liberal. Mr. Hyer decided to become an independent because he didn’t like Mr. Mulcair’s style of leadership and position on the long-gun registry. (Conversely, John Rafferty, the other long-gun registry dissident in the NDP, opted to stay with the New Democrats.) Mr. Patry decided that the NDP’s views on Quebec didn’t match his own.
If two more Quebec New Democrats bolt for the Bloc, there will be an obvious and particular trend. But for now we have three MPs of varying backgrounds who’ve gone in three different directions (even if they all were running away from the same place). If we’re searching for a narrative here, I’ll submit this: after a dramatic and unexpected increase in the size of their caucus and a sudden change in leadership, there was bound to be some shaking out within the NDP. In the process of everyone figuring out where they fit and who does what, a few have apparently decided they would be better off elsewhere. If they remain a few, there’s maybe not much of a problem. If this keeps happening and the sample of three turns into a sample of four or five or more, it will become easier to identify a more obviously negative trend.
As for whether Mr. Patry should step down and face a by-election, his vote a year ago in this regard should make it difficult for him to argue otherwise. There are a lot of questions to be asked about this idea, but as a general principle it has some merit.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 7:42 PM - 0 Comments
In response to the latest report about investigations into his campaign, Dean Del Mastro declines to comment, except to say that the comments distributed by his office were actually the comments of the Prime Minister’s Office, but also that they are his comments.
Del Mastro later admitted the release from his office was based on talking points put together by the PMO. “They’re my statements,” Del Mastro later said. “I did not write them. I agree with them.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 10, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Dean Del Mastro attempts to put the F-35 in perspective.
If we were to assume that health care costs were contained to a 3% annual increase for the next 42 years, Canadians will spend roughly 10.88 trillion to provide care over that period of time. If we assume that John Ivison from the National Post is correct on his costing estimate on the F35 then the cost over the same time period would be .o46 trillion. That means that for every dollar spent on aerial defence and security that Canadians will spend $237 on health care, which demonstrates how perspective on these things matter.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM - 0 Comments
I am not a big fan of Justin Bieber`s music but as a Canadian I am extremely proud of his global success. At last nights Grey Cup he gave a great performance that no doubt encouraged hundreds of thousands of more Canadians to tune in to what was a tremendous celebration of a Canadian tradition. I wish him all the success in the world; who knows maybe someday he can buy the Maple Leafs, who we both cheer for, and make them a winner too.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, October 26, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
The Conservative MP suggests Parliament should think about dealing with anonymous Internet commenters.
One of the best ways to end on-line and electronic bullying, libel and slander would be to force people posting hurtful comments to properly identify themselves. This morning I read comments on a news story posted on an electronic news publication, many of them could only be described as hateful rants. The common denominator is that none of them identified the person that wrote them; this strikes me as something that parliament should address.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 4:57 PM - 0 Comments
With the release of the Broadbent institute’s first report it seems an appropriate time to repeat a time tested truth perfectly articulated by Sir Winston Churchill. “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 4:00 PM - 0 Comments
Liberal MP Sean Casey says he’ll be voting no on Motion 312.
As a public figure, I naturally struggle when divisive issues are placed before Parliament. In this case, it is an issue that is deeply personal on both sides.
I am pro-life.
However, I have decided that my personal views will not come first. I listened to my constituents and will oppose Motion 312. This has not been an easy decision.
Since this motion was presented, several months ago, I have had countless discussions and correspondence with constituents. It is clear that the majority of residents in Charlottetown are opposed to this Motion and against reopening the debate on abortion.
I want to thank those who contacted me on both sides of the debate. I value debate in Canada and am grateful that the people of Charlottetown are engaged in public policy and political life.
I will vote against knowing some might view this as a compromise of my personal beliefs, but any judgements in that regard will be between me and my faith.
The CBC counts Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro, Leon Benoit and Maurice Vellacott as supporting the motion.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, July 7, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Two days after Dean Del Mastro told the Peterborough Examiner that he would not meet with Elections Canada to provide a cautioned statement, Dean Del Mastro’s lawyer tells the Globe and Mail that Mr. Del Mastro is willing to provide Elections Canada with a cautioned statement.
Mr. Del Mastro has been trying to arrange a meeting with Elections Canada since mid-June, his lawyer said. He’ll be giving what’s called a “cautioned statement” to the watchdog – one where anything the subject says can be used as evidence in an investigation.
His lawyer told The Globe and Mail it was only Thursday that Elections Canada finally called and said it wants to speak to Mr. Del Mastro. “I received a telephone call [Thursday] from Elections Canada investigator Thomas Ritchie indicating that he is now prepared to meet with Mr. Del Mastro for the purpose of taking a cautioned audio recorded statement,” Mr. Ayotte said. “Mr. Del Mastro has accepted the invitation … and we are in the process of scheduling a date and time for this meeting,” he said.
According to the Citizen, Mr. Del Mastro “rejected an invitation to respond to overspending allegations on a ‘cautioned’ basis.”
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, July 6, 2012 at 2:00 PM - 0 Comments
Liberal MP Scott Andrews has formally requested that the ethics committee be recalled to hear from Dean Del Mastro.
“Mr. Del Mastro says he wants a process put in place by which he can clear his name,” said Mr. Andrews. “By proposing this meeting, the Liberal Party is providing Mr. Del Mastro the opportunity, with full Parliamentary immunity, to respond to these very serious allegations. This is a process that he has been asking for and we hope that he will put his money where his mouth is, agree to appear and provide the documents that he claims will exonerate him.”
As Kady O’Malley notes, Mr. Andrews needs three more members of the committee to second his request before the committee can be recalled, but it appears unlikely that the NDP will support Mr. Andrews. Charle Angus tells me he is happy to talk with Mr. Andrews about this proposal, but he is not sure how effective and appropriate a committee hearing would be—would it, for instance, draw enough witnesses to explore the charges involved?—and he is concerned about providing Mr. Del Mastro with a platform to speak with immunity.
If this is about a gong show then count me out. I want to know that we’re getting a serious investigation of what happened there and it’s done fairly. And I also don’t see the point of giving a forum to allow someone who is under investigation by Elections Canada, or potentially by the Director of Public Prosecutions, to walk in, say what they want to say in a majority-controlled Conservative committee and then walk out with immunity.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, July 5, 2012 at 9:46 AM - 0 Comments
In the process of making an unrelated announcement yesterday, Dean Del Mastro emerged to plead innocence and lament for the questions being raised about his campaign. And also to proclaim the Prime Minister’s greatness.
He spoke about the effect of the allegations on the Del Mastro name, that of his late father, which appears on the sign above his family`s car dealership. “This does bother me. I grew up a poor farm kid,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot growing up. My two heroes in my life were my mother and father.”
But he said he was bolstered by the prime minister`s ongoing support. “I think Prime Minister Harper is the greatest leader in the industrialized world,” he said. “I`ve always appreciated the trust he placed in me.”
As to matter of the cheques to employees of his cousin’s company, Mr. Del Mastro apparently deferred questions to his cousin (said cousin subsequently declined to speak with the Citizen). As to the question of whether Mr. Del Mastro has been contacted by Elections Canada, the Citizen reports that the agency offered to take a “cautioned statement” that could be used against him in court, but Mr. Del Mastro declined. He apparently called the Peterborough Examiner to explain.
After an early version of this story appeared at www.peterboroughexaminer.com, Del Mastro called The Examiner, repeating that he would not agree to meet with Elections Canada if a cautioned statement is a requirement. “It’s not a dialogue,” he said. “It’s questions without a back-and-forth dialogue. I have to have a process.”
Del Mastro said repeatedly he wants “a process” for dealing with the allegations, and that hasn’t come yet. “If (Elections Canada) wants to come to Peterborough to interview me, I’d be happy to do so,” he said. “I can’t clear my name through a cautioned statement.”
While Del Mastro told The Examiner weeks ago that he would release documents proving his innocence, he has not done so, and said again Wednesday that he wouldn’t. “I’m not going to prove it to the media, and I don’t think I should have to,” he said. “If I thought The Peterborough Examiner could defend me, clear me of this, I would do it,” he said.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 5:04 PM - 0 Comments
Two weeks ago, Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher reported that three donors to Dean Del Mastro’s 2008 campaign had been reimbursed for their donations by a company owned by Mr. Del Mastro’s cousin. Today, McGregor and Maher report that two donors have produced cheques from Deltro Electric Ltd. of Mississauga, Ont in the amount of $1,050.
One of the cheques obtained by the Citizen is payable to a former Deltro employee who, earlier this month, signed a statutory declaration describing how Deltro staff were asked to enlist family and friends in the alleged reimbursement scheme. David Del Mastro “advised me at that time that he wanted to make a large monetary donation to the re-election campaign of his cousin, Dean Del Mastro Member of Parliament,” the statement said. “My employer assured me that if I would do so, my employer would cause his company, Deltro Electric Ltd. to reimburse me for the full sum of $1,000, plus a further bonus of $50, and that I would receive an income tax receipt for the donation.”
The alleged scheme was intended to circumvent the limit on political donations, the former employee said.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 5:44 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. “Mr. Speaker,” Liberal MP Scott Andrews declared, “there is no more denying the facts.”
Apparently fun time was over. Our reckoning, or at least someone’s reckoning, was at hand.
“The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is under active and serious investigations by Elections Canada for election fraud,” Mr. Andrews reported. “How can the Conservative member for Peterborough conduct himself as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and hold his position on the ethics committee while he is being investigated for breaking the rules at Elections Canada?”
This was not quite Mr. Andrews’ question.
“My question is to the member for Peterborough,” he continued, seeming concerned that the member for Peterborough be the one to respond. “Why does he not do the honourable thing, step aside as the Prime Minister’s private parliamentary secretary and step aside from the ethics committee while he is under active investigation?”
Duly, Dean Del Mastro did stand to speak both for himself and of himself. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
In response to the Heritage Minister’s criticism of the Canadian Science and Technology Museum, Senator Nancy Ruth questions James Moore’s judgment. Peter Julian mocks. Ottawa Citizen columnist Peter Simpson considers.
In a CBC panel, Dean Del Mastro, the Prime Minister’s parliamentary secretary, questioned the parameters of science and compared the exhibit to what might be found in an adult video store.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 9, 2012 at 4:51 PM - 0 Comments
During a panel discussion on the CBC yesterday, Dean Del Mastro was asked to clarify which documents the Conservative party had turned over. He indicated that the party has provided Elections Canada with those documents that Elections Canada has requested.
Rosemary Barton. Dean Del Mastro, I just wanted to ask you about a speech that you gave inside the House earlier today. You said that the opposition parties should turn over their phone records to Elections Canada and then you said that the Conservative party already has. So I just want to be clear, what documents you have turned over.
Mr. Del Mastro. Well, we’ve made it clear that we’re fully assisting Elections Canada in the investigation they’ve undertaken in Guelph. So we’ve provided them any information they’ve requested in that regard, but the opposition parties have not, Rosie. In this case, we believe that they should.
Rosemary Barton. So you’ve just turned over documents in relation to Guelph, nothing else?
Mr. Del Mastro. Well, that’s what’s been requested, so, you know, we’re fully transparent…
Rosemary Barton. … So you would not proactively disclose all documents to Elections Canada. Anything to do with automated or live calls, to say you want to be transparent, here you go. You’re not going to do that?
Mr. Del Mastro. Well, in fact, we’ve provided transparency that the other parties have not…
According to a spokeswoman for the NDP, Elections Canada has not requested any documents from the NDP. Similarly, a spokeswoman for the Liberals says Elections Canada has made no such request of the Liberals.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 6:31 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Asking about a new report of political belligerence, Nycole Turmel eventually rounded on the Prime Minister.
“Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister must take responsibility,” she ventured. “He created a culture in his party: victory at any cost is what matters.”
Mr. Harper was unmoved. Or at least undaunted. ”What I would say is this,” he said. “The Conservative party always accepts the verdict of the voters. We have accepted the verdict of the voters when we have won and also when we have lost. I would encourage the other parties to accept the verdict of voters as well.”
So there. As one of the Prime Minister’s backbenchers put it recently, this is all about “sore losers.” The public has passed its verdict. And the Conservatives have won a sufficient number of seats in this place to form a government. And that means, should they so choose, they can sit here for another three-and-a-half years. And there’s not much anyone can say to change that.
Of course, that also means—at least until they find a way to avoid this place entirely—that they must sit here most afternoons and listen to these inquiries and provocations. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 4:30 PM - 0 Comments
Momentarily setting aside questions about what amount of investigation was conducted by Dean Del Mastro or the Conservative party to arrive at this finding, it is worth noting that Mr. Del Mastro did deviate from his prepared text this afternoon to offer the following.
Joyce Murray. Mr. Speaker, Eduardo Harari lives in the riding of York Centre. Last election he got a phone call asking if he would be voting Conservative. He said no. Later he got a call, claiming to be from Elections Canada, saying his voting station had been moved to a location on Wilson Avenue, which turned out to be a vacant lot. Can the government categorically deny that anyone associated with the Conservative campaign had any role in fraudulently misdirecting Mr. Harari?
Dean Del Mastro. Once again, Mr. Speaker, I can categorically deny that.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 12:10 PM - 0 Comments
This morning, the Prime Minister’s press secretary tweeted a response.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 6:05 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Immediately after Question Period, Dean Del Mastro stood to complain that the phrase “exaggerated prevarications,” which had been directed at him by the NDP’s Charlie Angus, was unparliamentary.
Regardless of whether this was inbounds—Mr. Angus argued it was and offered to produce a dictionary definition to prove it—it was most certainly an attack, though perhaps not one that Mr. Del Mastro can claim to take personally. At least so long as he seems to be merely the conduit for what is written on a yellow piece of paper.
On the yellow piece of paper that sat atop Mr. Del Mastro’s desk this day seemed to be written something like the following.
“These outrageous and exaggerated allegations made by the member opposite demean millions of voters who cast legitimate votes in the last election. The opposition paid millions of dollars to make hundreds of thousands of phone calls … Before continuing these baseless smears, they should prove their own callers are not behind these reports.”
Lacking an elevator in which to escape to, the parliamentary secretary to the prime minister committed eight versions of this—an ad-libbed sentence here, a different adjective there—to the official record this afternoon. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 5:56 PM - 0 Comments
Last week, she recounted, Mr. Harper had said that only the Liberal party had been involved with American firms to facilitate its telephone campaigning. Alas, she explained, it turned out the Conservative party—or at least some of its candidates—had done likewise. Would the Prime Minister admit that he was wrong? she wondered. And, furthermore, would he admit that the Conservative party had made fraudulent calls?
The Prime Minister was unmoved. “Mr. Speaker, I gave clear answers regarding the activities of the Conservative party of Canada,” he professed. “All this information has been available to Elections Canada since the beginning. Now is the time for the opposition, which has spent millions of dollars to make hundreds of thousands of phone calls, to give all its information to Elections Canada.”
Ms. Turmel tried again. Mr. Harper, switching to English, repeated himself.
“Of course,” he assured, “I answered questions very clearly about the activities of the Conservative party of Canada. Those calls are all very well documented. All that documentation is available to Elections Canada, and has been available since the beginning. What is not available is all of the information that is coming from the opposition, the NDP in particular. There is a complete lack of transparency on the hundreds of thousands of calls that they made. They should give that information to Elections Canada.”
If the government’s implication was not obvious as yet, the Prime Minister’s dutiful parliamentary secretary made matters clear a moment later. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 5, 2012 at 4:35 PM - 0 Comments
From QP this afternoon, a classic of the genre
Bob Rae. Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives cannot even answer an interesting, clear, factual question. A poll was commissioned by the Conservative Party. The Conservative candidate said, “It was not me; it was the party”. The government House leader said, “It is okay, it is just free speech”, and the Speaker of this House said, “It is reprehensible”. I am asking a very simple, direct question to the Government of Canada. Does it agree with the Speaker of this House that such a tactic, spreading false information, carrying out a poll based on a false assumption, is reprehensible? Does the government agree with that, yes or no?
Dean Del Mastro. Mr. Speaker, it is reprehensible to make baseless, unsubstantiated smears in this House. That is what the leader of the Liberal Party has undertaken for more than the past week. The leader of the Liberal Party knows full well, every household that they called, every originating phone number they called them from, and in fact when those calls were made. When will he make those phone records public, because I believe when those phone records are made public, the Liberal Party will have fingered itself for each and every one of these calls that they allege had taken place.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 5, 2012 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
Del Mastro again denied accusations from opposition parties that his party engaged in a voter suppression campaign, but told host Evan Solomon it appears that “what went wrong in Guelph was in fact untoward, it was intentional.”
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 3, 2012 at 10:16 AM - 0 Comments
The government’s rhetorically problematic week comes to an unfortunate end.
The prime minister and his parliamentary secretary, Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro, claimed in the Commons that the Liberals were the only party that used American calling firms. “We’ve done some checking,” the PM said, and “we’ve only found that it was the Liberal Party that did source its phone calls from the United States.”
But documents show 14 Conservative campaigns enlisted the telephone services of an Ohio company called Front Porch Strategies. During the election, the company made thousands of calls into each of those Canadian ridings from its headquarters in Columbus. In fact, Del Mastro’s own campaign used the American firm twice during his successful bid for re-election last year.