Friday, 31 May 2013

Grilling a squirmin' PM

It's been argued here that, in spite of all of Federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair's virtues as a parliamentary debater and interrogator during Question Period, he really has a bland public image. His leader defining ads have been short, generic, and boring while his public appearances have been concentrated at elite political institutions, where the Very Serious People congregate.

His exposure and image in the minds of the vast majority of Canadians is very weak and shallow. He's not well-defined compared to charismatic figures like Jack Layton or Justin Trudeau or polarizing figures like Stephen Harper.

But the recent Senate expense scandals serves to highlight his strengths. The Federal Dippers would be wise to showcase these strengths in youtube montages and perhaps the odd "fighting for you" TV ad.

The Senate expense scandal, to recap, involves many Senators - including CON Senators appointed by Harper to clean up the joint - claiming ridiculous expenses. One such Senator was Mike Duffy.

Duffy claimed housing expenses for a PEI cottage he doesn't live in, has had trouble obtaining a PEI health card (which is, sorta a problem since Senators have live in the provinces they represent and real residents of PEI are able to get health cards), and declared travel expenses for Conservative-partisan fundraisers.

Seeing as to how this was a major problem and was leading to a Senate internal investigation - however weak and flawed - the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright, sought to fix things.

Wright did so by writing Duffy a $90,000 cheque to pay off the Senator's egregious expense claims.

The QP excerpts below showcase Mulcair probing the PM for more details. Where are the cheque copies? What did the PM know? Did the PM discuss matters with his Chief of Staff? And so on.

Stephen Harper does his best to evade and squirm.

But, one has to question, if Stephen Harper can't control (and doesn't even know) what his own senators are doing, is he a leader?

Probably time to polish up this amateur clip (& get a better sound track).

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