Motion on Adscam to be moved

I’ve learned that Peterborough Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro will move the following motion at committee on Tuesday:

November 1st 2009 represents the fourth anniversary of the first report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities, presided over by Justice Gomery. Despite the time that has passed, we are no closer to knowing which Federal Liberal riding associations benefited from the stolen taxpayer funds or where the missing $43 million dollars highlighted by Justice Gomery ultimately wound up.

The Standing committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics calls on the Auditor General of Canada to conduct a full audit of the sponsorship program to determine which federal Liberal riding associations received stolen funds and to clarify for Canadians who received the missing $43 million dollars.

History as viewed through a different sort of lens

On the so-called “Cadscam”, some reporters are re-writing history.

Consider the following from an article by Lawrence Martin, a senior reporter for the Globe and Mail in the Parliamentary Press Gallery:

Mr. Cadman, who had left the Conservatives to sit as an independent, was therefore preparing to vote with the Liberals to keep the government afloat. But Conservative Party officials, Mr. Moore said, were in discussions with Mr. Cadman, trying to work something out. [emphasis mine]

Now, here’s an excerpt from Steve Rennie’s CP story:

Harper said while he wasn’t optimistic about their chances of persuading Cadman – a former Tory MP who had left the party to sit as an Independent MP – to vote with the Conservatives to bring down Martin’s government, he urged two people “legitimately representing the party” to tread cautiously. [emphasis mine]

When Brian Mulroney was testifying before the Ethics committee, opposition MPs did their best to refer to former “Conservative” Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, rather than “former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney”. In fact, we can see it here in an excerpt from this 2008 article in the Toronto Star:

Lawyers for all three men have also argued Gomery showed signs of bias through various statements to the press — he memorably described Chrétien’s fondness for monogrammed golf balls as “small-town cheap” — and in his decision to hire Bernard Roy, the law partner and longtime friend of former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney, as the inquiry’s chief counsel.

So, what does this mean? Remember the Liberal alarms that went off post-merger that decried that the new Conservative Party was not the new version of the Progressive Conservative party? Now, we see opposition MPs try to associate Mulroney with the current Conservative party. Now, we see an entirely new invention by associating Chuck Cadman’s history with the Conservatives/Tories when he never sat as an MP for an party called Conservative! Chuck Cadman sat as a Reform MP and then as an Alliance MP. It suits Lawrence Martin’s narrative to throw around the “Conservative” label as his story discusses the dark cloud that has surrounded Conservatives lately (he even seems to extend the adjective “conservative” to the now jailed Conrad Black to imply the political noun “Conservative”). To streamline the scandal narrative, press flacks are revising history to label Cadman (and his alleged inducement back into the fold) as a Conservative-Independent-Conservative progression of events. Newspaper readers don’t need to be helped along; giving news consumers the full and truthful context is superior than bending affiliations to fit a desired storyline.

UPDATE: I was wrong. Cadman sat briefly as a Conservative MP post merger until he lost his nomination and then sat as an independent a few months later. I think that it is still more accurate to describe Cadman as an Alliance/Reform legacy MP rather than Conservative as the context of “Cadscam” relates to his independence from the new Conservative legacy. Still, I argued against what was factual. My apologies to Lawrence Martin.

NCC article

Gerry Nichols, who heads up the National Citizens Coalition invited me to write an article about freedom/liberty issues and I agreed. What else to write about than blogging and its role in spreading liberty in Canada. The article will appear in next month’s newsletter and I’ve been given the go-ahead to give my readers a sneak peak here.

Beware The Blog!

The Internet is changing the way the world communicates and that’s good news for those of us who value freedom.

On an international level this new technology is breaking down barriers of communication and linking citizens in emergent democracies to ideologies and philosophies of freedom that were otherwise denied to them by their governments.

And here in Canada, blogging, podcasting and online communities are radically changing how information is handled, reported and interpreted.

The advent of blogging, in particular, has enabled every person to easily make their opinions available to a global audience. It has also provided Canadians with an alternative to the often biased mainstream news media.

Indeed it was to counter this bias that we started BloggingTories.ca, an online community of approximately 200 conservative-minded bloggers including several Conservative party MPs and candidates, journalists and authors.

These BloggingTories interpret Canadian news and events as they unfold free from the biased filter of the media.

And BloggingTories just don’t interpret the news. They also investigate and publicize facts and information the mainstream media either ignores or fails to uncover.

For instance, Blogging Tories have uncovered a variety of government-related concerns from the limited mandate of Justice John Gomery to the preponderance of Liberal donors on the boards of Crown corporations.

In fact, print and broadcast media have actually taken to publishing and broadcasting the opinions and findings of Blogging Tories.

All this has made our group a real thorn in the side of the ruling Liberal party.

But the value of blogging and the Internet goes beyond just making life difficult for Liberal politicians.

These new technologies, I believe, will also make it possible to sidestep the Liberal governmentÂ’s notorious election gag laws.

Of course, supporters of the National Citizens Coalition know all about the gag law and how it stifles freedom of expression.

You know how it makes it a crime for citizens to freely and effectively communicate political opinions during elections and how the NCC bravely battled against them in the courts for more than 20 years.

You also know how last year the Supreme Court of Canada endorsed this horrible law as constitutional.

What you might not know, however, is that the gag law is designed to zero in on election expenditures.

Once you spend more than $500 on election advertising you must register with Elections Canada; you are not permitted to spend more than $150,000 on a national campaign; you can’t spend more than $3000 on a local campaign.

But blogging is virtually free. So the costs of getting your message out on the Internet falls far below the gag law imposed limits.

This opens the possibility of running an election ad campaign on the Internet. Why not? Certainly the value and widespread ease of dissemination of a blogger’s message can match or surpass any of the Liberal government’s paid propaganda.

My point is that citizens with a message for change are enabled by blogging; they can use it to weaken the grip of incumbents who craft anti-speech laws to protect their positions.

Of course, the government may yet move to control the Internet. The Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) is perhaps one of the most significant spoilers of free expression in this country and it likely has its eyes set on regulating cyberspace.

The CRTC may argue for instance that to be granted the right to broadcast information, one must apply for a license and must fall within the ideological mission of the government body.

At the present time however, the CRTC has not put up a significant challenge to the free expression of otherwise legal political opinion on the Internet. Time will reveal whether or not they will try.

In the meantime, the BloggingTories will continue to provide a grassroots voice for change.

And in the process these conservative-minded bloggers will reshape how we receive political news and commentary.

They are changing the concept of democracy.