Some background on the cheques. A Conservative MP writes, and the political impact is measured.

Received in my inbox this afternoon from a Conservative Member of Parliament (published with permission):

Thanks for the email, [name withheld]! MPs and anyone else are always welcome to send tips.

This issue is a bit of a tricky one when measuring political impact. Yes, Stephen Harper ran on accountability with respect to public money going to public interests. And while he hasn’t allowed public money to be funneled into the pockets of his friends — unlike the Liberals — the Grits are crying foul that partisanship is too closely linked with government.

And yes, they do have a point. On one cheque. Yes, that cheque; the one handed out by Gerald Keddy.

However, I think the Liberals have overplayed their hand. Having made a small crack with Keddy, they’re trying to ram through 181 other “examples” of cheques which actually pass the sniff test.

Stephen Harper or MPs may have signed the cheques, but they have done so in their respective roles as the Prime Minister and as MPs — not as Conservative candidates.

And therein lies perhaps my biggest disagreement with wire reporter turned opinion maker Bruce Cheadle. The CP reporter argues that the Prime Minister is a partisan entity. In his story about the Economic Action Plan website, Cheadle argued that Harper’s mere image connotes “Conservative Party of Canada”. I would suggest that the office of the Prime Minister (and its occupant) supersede partisanship and he his first and foremost the Prime Minister of Canada (and therefore an agent of the government). Likewise, Members of Parliament act in the same capacity: as government representatives.

Again, the only lapse was the logo on that one cheque.

If we are to take Cheadle’s argument further, the Prime Minister’s presence at international gatherings such as the G20 and the G8 are merely expensive Conservative Party photo ops. Further we’d presume from Mr. Cheadle that Members of Parliament have no official role at all, they are merely hucksters for their own party brand. While this may be the opinion of some, it is not the constitutionally-outlined fact.

The Liberals did score a bit of a coup last night when they were able to wedge that one cheque to make an argument for their 181 cheque slideshow on the CBC’s National. Yet, some reporters are taking note. This cheque affair reeks of opportunism; Keddy’s of course, but also by the Liberals who not only mastered the process of taxpayer-backed partisanship, but now also make a 181 photo mountain out of a 1 photo molehill.

As we all throw mud at each other in our Ottawa sandbox we occasionally look up to see how we’ve done in the eyes of Canadians. So, how does this show play out on Main Street? Canadians will be disappointed in Keddy’s lapse to be sure. The Liberal partisans may become a bit more partisan. And the conservative ideologues never loved fiscal stimulus anyway. But Liberal partisans and conservative ideologues represent a minority of Canadians. As for the 99.99% of Canadians that don’t think of politics more than 7 seconds a week, how do they feel about the issue?

Their perceptions of Stephen Harper and of Michael Ignatieff matter most. Let’s take Ignatieff out of the equation because he’s removed himself from jockeying on this issue. For Stephen Harper, this incident takes a bit of the shine off of the “accountability” image he won upon in 2006. However, for those that listen to the Liberal complaint that the Conservatives aren’t doing enough to stimulate the economy — that the money isn’t getting out of the door fast enough — the Liberals are banking on the sustained outrage of Canadians over one bad cheque, while hoping that Canadians ignore that Conservatives are satisfying any complaint of sluggish stimuli demonstrated by those other 181 cheques.

This is will be difficult as the Liberals have created a slideshow. After all, wouldn’t it be terrible for Conservative electoral chances if every local paper printed up their local MP’s photo with a big cheque with a headline that read: “SCANDAL: local MP spends your money on you in your community”?

  • terry1

    These are actual headlines taken from news stories. Not editorials or commentary pieces – news stories. These headlines reflect what has been written about the Reform-Conservative “government” in recent days.

    Do they have an ethics problem? Absolutely. Are they corrupt?

    More and more – and just based on the news – it sure looks that way.

    • Tory Senator on payroll of company that won infrastructure contract
    • Tories spent $108,000 on one-hour event
    • Tory cheque scandal not quieting down
    • Two probes to focus on Raitt
    • Design of novelty cheques left Tory MP feeling 'queasy'
    • Government website links to Harper piano video
    • 200 photos add fuel to Tory 'cheque' scandal

  • terry1

    HAVE THE HARPER REFORMERS NOW BECOME WHAT THEY PROMISED TO DESTROY?

    These are actual headlines taken from news stories. Not editorials or commentary pieces – news stories. These headlines reflect what has been written about the Reform-Conservative “government” in recent days.

    Do they have an ethics problem? Absolutely. Are they corrupt?

    More and more – and just based on the news – it sure looks that way.

    • Tory Senator on payroll of company that won infrastructure contract
    • Tories spent $108,000 on one-hour event
    • Tory cheque scandal not quieting down
    • Two probes to focus on Raitt
    • Design of novelty cheques left Tory MP feeling 'queasy'
    • Government website links to Harper piano video
    • 200 photos add fuel to Tory 'cheque' scandal
    HAVE THE HARPER REFORMERS NOW BECOME WHAT THEY PROMISED TO DESTROY?

    These are actual headlines taken from news stories. Not editorials or commentary pieces – news stories. These headlines reflect what has been written about the Reform-Conservative “government” in recent days.

    Do they have an ethics problem? Absolutely. Are they corrupt?

    More and more – and just based on the news – it sure looks that way.

    • Tory Senator on payroll of company that won infrastructure contract
    • Tories spent $108,000 on one-hour event
    • Tory cheque scandal not quieting down
    • Two probes to focus on Raitt
    • Design of novelty cheques left Tory MP feeling 'queasy'
    • Government website links to Harper piano video
    • 200 photos add fuel to Tory 'cheque' scandal

  • Jen

    Hollinm, in yesterday edmonton sun in the sports section showed a photo of the prime minister looking at the canadiens jacket jersy etc. logo; apparently the Habs were celebrating years in the business I guess, since I can't remember the whole story.
    Anyway, the prime minister was invited; any since the word “logo” in still on the liberals mind as well as their media, doesn't the MONTREAL CANADIENS logo represents CONSERVATIVE and the H represents HARPER= MONTREAL CONSERVATIVE HARPER HOCKEY TEAM.
    WoW! how can this be- I guess the Montreal logo has got to change or else they are partisan very partisan. This is headline news.

  • hollinm

    Funny!!!!!!!!!!!! The Libs and their supporters in the media will be looking for anything that looks like partisan advantage. Good thing Canadians could care less about this kind of stuff. They are busy trying to survive.

  • hollinm

    Parnel…why are you bitching? You got what you wanted. What will you complain about next?

    People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. You guys wanted stimulus. Now that you got it you want more. Then you argue the deficit is too high. You wanted to allow virtually everybody to collect EI which would have cost billions. Canadians rejected it.

    As Harper says you guys are flailing away trying to find something to grab onto and nothing is working.

    Once again I repeat. Canadians have one fixation and that is the economy. Harper outpolls Iffy in every respect when it comes to this subject. Even in our worse times last winter he still outpolled your guy as who do Canadians trust to manage the economy.

  • terry1

    Mervin, keep on dreaming. People paid attention when Harpo played the piano and they are surely paying attention now because the underlying issue of trust and honesty has never left.

  • terry1

    Jen, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA
    My morning joke…….thanks.

  • terry1

    Every PM in history who has control of the check book rates higher than the opposition leader in a recession. The fact that his spending is not getting to everyone who needs it is the real issue and that's where Harpo is being embarrassed.

    We wanted organized stimulus not mafia style stuff. The opposition mostly voted for that stimulus and they together represent ALL Canadians not just the favorite few. We also only voted to approve a deficit of $32BB that is now at $60BB and growing fast.

    Keep dreaming but your nightmare will follow…….where there's smoke there is usually a fire!!!!

  • Jen

    NDP at the last vote said that they have no confidence in the government yet they have confidence in the government to pass a bill so that the government they say they have no confidence in doing the people job, do have confidence in government to deliver.

    Sounds like Ignatieff to me 'we have no confidence in government yet we have confidence.

    I have no confidence what so ever in Ignatieff when he said to all canadians “I have no intentions of wearing the recession on my shoulders”
    Imagine that!! Yet he gives orders, insults the government for doing their job(that's corret 'doing' their job) while he Ignatieff disappeared with his media in tow.

  • hollinm

    Usually the talking point is that the recession will defeat the government. However, you can't say that this time because Canadians know it is a world wide recession and they wanted the government to stimulate the economy. So move on to the next talking point.

    Prove that the stimulus is not getting to those that really need it. Oh, I know you mean it isn't getting into liberal ridings. Tough. You guys have had 50 years at delivering the bacon and now its payback time.

    Ok so you only agreed to the $32 billion deficit. Would you not support the auto industry or perhaps all those people needing EI benefits because the economy was getting worse? It doesn't make sense. Tell me what stimulus spending you wouldn't do. Then we can talk. Otherwise it is pure partisan bu..sh.t which you are great at spewing out ad nauseum.

  • hollinm

    Of course they paid attention because the media and people like you said he was the devil incarnate. So the media who loves anything fluffy played it to the hilt.

    I could just have seen Iffy and his Rosedale gang hanging their heads in disbelief as the video played over and over again and the news cycle covered it ad nauseum. Thanks for all the free publicity.

    Then your guy shows his true self and trys to sing in a press conference. Talk about no class. Even Layton had the sense to congratulate the PM but not little Iffy.

    No parnel the issue is the economy and I will take the opportunity to remind you that Harper beats Iffy hands down 10/10 times in all the polls.

    You know many of your comments were the same ones made to me when Dion was the leader. It is getting pretty tiresome. So I am done. Have a nice day.

  • terry1

    Jen, and I have no confidence in the reformatories who will make us pay for their prolific waste over the next generation or two. These guys are crooks.

  • terry1

    Mervin, when the unemployment rate reaches over 10% by next spring you then can tell me the stimulus was rolled out in an efficient and timely manner. These idiots you love are doling out money in such small parcels and towards projects where the local government has to raise their end of the money which in most cases they have not done.

    Don't make excuses for the larger deficit. These guys are the government and were aware of all the needs in the auto industry and EI. They are guilty of poor government. Plain and simple.

    Wake up, your nightmare is coming.

  • terry1

    Mervin,
    Harpo only beats Iggy because he has control of the check book. You seem to be in denial of that fact and the normalcy of those polls in this situation.

    Iggy did congratulate him on his performance…you must have missed it because you were at the Tory altar sucking up all the garbage you seem to get from them. Its apparent you don't even have a mind of your own. They tell you Iggy is bad and that becomes your rant. Sad.

  • hollinm

    Show me parnel. Give me the link. The one spot I saw had him trying to sing after a press conference.

    Read this and weep!

    http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/RSSFeeds/news/News_

    Oh I can see the pompous one for myself. I don't need to have anybody tell me how to think. Just look at him parnel. The half closed eyes, the slow motion walk, the lizard like tongue licking his lips and the slow delivery of his speeches makes you want to throw up.

    He is so full of bromides he can't see straight. How will you cover the deficit Mr. Ignatieff? Watch and see. That sure is an intelligent answer.

    Your guy is so full of gaffes Harper will make him look like the amateur he is in the next election. However, I know you need something to clutch to so feel free.

  • terry1

    Do your own research; I'm not your bum boy.

  • hollinm

    parnel….so angry. Why so? Baird took a strip off your angry guys in the House today. Typical Liberal who makes all kinds of accusations but cannot produce the evidence. Just smears and innuendo.

  • Bruce

    Why didn't you provide a link and the, “so called”, writers name with each headline?

    Could it be that they're the same old Liberal cheerleaders from the same old MSM sources?

    The LPC is falling down, falling down, falling down………………………………

  • terry1

    Now I know why you write on every blog and letter to the editor……you want them in your fantasy!!!!

  • hollinm

    Parnel…I am trying to keep up to you. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

    By the way my fantasy is your nightmare.

  • katcrowden

    Just because the the CPC created a wordmark for the GoC instead of the CPC, doesn't make it innocuously nonpartisan.

  • katcrowden

    I have to agree with CanadianSense. The Liberals are choosing to focus on issues like it's a pitch for a new reality TV pilot. All optics, no substance. There is no shortage of truly alarming things to criticize the Conservatives on… they just need to learn how to engage Canadians in an adult conversation (ample evidence on this site's comments to the contrary, I *think* we're still capable of having one.)

  • terry1

    As the opposition their options are somewhat limited. They know harpo will steal almost any idea they put out there so they are better off to hold their fire. Iggy has sent out some policy messages like a rapid train system from QC to Windsor which are true infrastructure projects that will last for generations. Harpo cannot steal that one because he has blown the whole deal on his check scheme of small projects and lots of cardboard.

    If you listen to Canadian nonsense you will become crazy. He has, should I say it nicely, a certain flamboyant reputation for things that are off the wall.

  • katcrowden

    Just because the the CPC created a wordmark for the GoC instead of the CPC, doesn't make it innocuously nonpartisan.

  • katcrowden

    I have to agree with CanadianSense. The Liberals are choosing to focus on issues like it's a pitch for a new reality TV pilot. All optics, no substance. There is no shortage of truly alarming things to criticize the Conservatives on… they just need to learn how to engage Canadians in an adult conversation (ample evidence on this site's comments to the contrary, I *think* we're still capable of having one.)

  • terry1

    As the opposition their options are somewhat limited. They know harpo will steal almost any idea they put out there so they are better off to hold their fire. Iggy has sent out some policy messages like a rapid train system from QC to Windsor which are true infrastructure projects that will last for generations. Harpo cannot steal that one because he has blown the whole deal on his check scheme of small projects and lots of cardboard.

    If you listen to Canadian nonsense you will become crazy. He has, should I say it nicely, a certain flamboyant reputation for things that are off the wall.