Harper’s front bench feeling heat in Question Period

Parliament is truly back in action now that the autumn session has settled in.  Committees have begun sitting, the order paper is filling up with bills and there is scandal in the air.  In fact, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are teetering on the edge of becoming what they swore they never would, an entitled group of politicians who use public funds for their own gain and spread influence among their friends.

Witness Defence Minister, Peter McKay, who has been the target of repeated leaks claiming the Minister has misappropriated Challenger jets and Search and Rescue helicopters for his own personal use.  The way these leaks have come out - one worse than the next - makes it seem the Minister is not only facing criticism from the opposition in the House of Commons, but is being fired upon from inside his own ministry as well.  The damage is mounting and the Minister is certainly tarnished, even if he is exonerated in the end, the sting of scandal will taint him going forward. 

Which bring us to Tony Clement, the former Industry Minister is under fire for influence peddling and inappropriate spending from G-8 Funds.  Most will remember the infamous fake lake and exorbitant price tag of the dual G-8/G-20 summits as the source of constant headache for Clement and Stephen Harper.  Revelations about the twin summits are still coming out.  Transcripts of phone calls between Clement and the Mayor of Huntsville show that the Minister used his influence to speed up funding applications.  Another revelation is the fact that a so-called media centre that was built in the Ministers’ riding is, in fact, a sports complex with an Olympic sized ice surface and pool.  I don’t have to use all the powers of creative thought to imagine the reaction to this in Hornepayne.  To make matters worse, the Minister has been avoiding all opposition questions.

Canadians deserve better.  We are charting uncertain economic territory and it is clear the government will be forcing Canadians to tighten their belts.  This cannot be done in a partisan way and it is imperative that the government provide leadership by ending the frivolous personal use of public resources, influence pedaling and pork-barrel politics.