Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mulroney-Schreiber Affair: No Leadership

In the eyes of a substantial block of voters, there is only one type of Conservative. There is no difference between Mulroney Conservatives and Harper Conservatives. There is one Conservative party --and until recently Stephen Harper was happy with the association. The Mulroney-Schreiber affair when explored will damage the Conservative brand one way or another. It is surprising then that the Conservatives are offering no leadership on the issue.

Admittedly, the Conservative scandal is a bit of a lose-lose situation, having the public associate the Conservative party with secret hotel meetings where ambiguous amounts of untraceable cash traded hands cannot help but sound bad while on the other hand denying the association of Brian Mulroney with the Conservative party is somewhat preposterous. But Stephen Harper is falling out of the tree and he seems determined to hit every branch on the way.

At first, Harper said there was no need for a public inquiry. Then Mulroney said he wanted a public inquiry, then possibly as a consequence Stephen Harper said he also wanted an inquiry. Mulroney later changed his mind and said he did not want an inquiry. Harper also seemed to change his mind and suggested he longer thought an inquiry was necessary. The recommendations offered by the independent advisor, David Johnston, do not provide more clarity because they are not legally binding and do not settle the issue of whether or not there will be a public inquiry. Harper can ignore the suggestions. He could set in motion a full inquiry with a broad scope as of tomorrow or, as is more likely, he will keep stalling. Meanwhile, those in the public and especially those in the media who would gladly defend Harper’s stance --were he to take one-- are left twisting in the wind. Is Mulroney really one of us, a Conservative? Do we need an inquiry in any form? How does this relate to the Conservative party’s position on Accountability? By not deciding, Harper is ultimately jerking around his own supporters and you can only do that for so long.

By offering no leadership, the Conservatives are also green lighting the House of Commons Ethics committee to do anything they want with the issue which, in my opinion, is the bigger side of the lose-lose equation.

The Conservatives have shown no leadership on this ethical issue. But wishful thinking aside, the Mulroney scandal is not going to go away on its own.

2 comments:

Ron said...

It is truly unfortunate that the Liberals and NDP continue to lie about this affair. The RCMP have acknowledged there was no illegal activity involved. An independant adviser stated that the only thing of public interest was if the payment made to Mulroney during his term as an MP was in conflict with guidelines in place at the time. To answer this, he recommended an inquiry limited to to answering this question. It was this independant adviser that advised the inquiry be postponed until AFTER the Ethics Committee completes its investigation so as to ensure the terms of reference are in accordance with whatever comes up in that. This isn't good enough for you and your supporters because the truth is not an outcome you care about at all. It is pure political gamesmanship and you are willing to add tens of millions of taxpayers dollars on top of the wasted money for the Ethics Committee hearings in order to advance you political poll results. This is why Liberals are unfit to govern. It is not your money so please stop using it for your campaign. That is what got you into trouble last time and cost taxpayers tens of millions to sort out. Thank you and happy New Year.

Aaron said...

Ron,

Happy new year to you as well.

I am not sure what lies the Liberals are telling about the Mulroney-Schreiber affair. Perhaps you could inform me. And as you know, I don't believe the Conservative spin that the only people asking questions are partisan. Go check out Andrew Coyne or todays La Presse. Since when is the principle of honest government exclusively the domain of the Liberals?

If the Conservatives want this issue dealt with properly, they should show some Leadership. We still do not know for certain what Harper will do. Do you know for certain what the terms of the inquiry will be or even that there will be one? All I am hearing is bafflegab.