The Ottawa Sun headline reads: “Tory transparency fails?” The subtitle reads CPC “In and Out” scandal smacks of the Liberal Sponsorship Scandal? How? Because it involves the purchasing of advertising! Pardon me? At the time of the “In and Out” there was a Liberal government in power!
So, I have no idea what David Akin can be thinking (or his headline writer), first by trying to compare and link the current Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) to the Sponsorship matter, and second that it reflects a lack of transparency in the Harper government — which promised to do better than the Liberals.
Well, apart from purchasing advertising during the 2005/2006 federal election campaign, when the CPC was still the official opposition, there is nothing to compare. It is apples versus bicycles. For example:
- The “In and Out” is about the Conservative Party during the 2005/2006 election campaign. It has nothing to do with the transparency of government. Neither the Conservative party nor Prime Minister Stephen Harper had won an election yet. That would happen after that election campaign, not during the campaign.
- It is my understanding that the funds used by the CPC during the 2005/2006 election campaign was NOT taxpayers money. It was private donations by conservatives — a big difference to that of the Sponsorship Scandal.
- Given the information in Akin’s column today, some of the money that was spent in the “In and Out” matter was spent on actual advertising, not for work of little or no value. Again, the opposite of what was recorded as happening in the Sponsorship Scandal.
- All political parties in Canada have used the “In and Out” approach in the past. So, why is Elections Canada and Akin only going after the CPC — when all the parties have changed their practices as a result of this case?
Was the “In and Out” practice tacky? Perhaps. But ultimately it was money that was donated by Conservative Party of Canada supporters. For instance, as a donor in the 2005/2006 election, do I care if my $100.00 or $200.00 went to the national campaign or my local campaign? No, I don’t.
So, it sure is stretching Akin’s credibility as a professional journalist to compare the “In and Out” matter with the Sponsorship Scandal. For those who don’t remember what the Sponsorship Scandal was about, also referred to as Adscam, here is a Google page with 125,000 entries, including some to the conclusions of the Gomery Inquiry.
The crux of the matter, however, is that no matter what the media or the current Liberal party says or writes, the more they try to compare the Sponsorship Scandal to something the current federal Conservative Party or the current Conservative Minority Government (which are quite different and Akin should know that) have done, the more it keeps it uppermost in the minds of Canadians.
And, lets face it, the polls are showing that Canadians are tuning out all these faux scandals because, frankly, we are sick and tired of them, particularly given the more important and urgent issues facing us in Canada and world today.
Endnote: I have noticed that both CTV and Global are presenting news and opinion much more balanced of late. Particular kudos to Don Martin at CTV and Dawna Friesen at Global National. Their professionalism and fairness is appreciated — in contrast to what I have written on this topic before.