Monday, April 20, 2009

Old habits dying hard for Conservative minister Blackburn

Conservative cabinet minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn, still doing his part to help out with those Conservative poll numbers in Quebec.

Recall the reporting from 2007 on Blackburn: "Tory minister racks up $149,389 in plane rentals, declares zero air fare." The hiding of expenses was seen then as a breach of Conservative promises on accountability.

Blackburn, it appears, has not learned from the 2007 exposure and continues with the same practices, still leasing chartered flights back to Quebec, within Quebec and still failing to disclose the travel costs of doing so. CP has uncovered the latest costs, however, by tracking contract spending in Blackburn's ministry. Over the six months March to September 2008, Blackburn chartered 11 flights at a cost of $73,000+. The minister should properly be reporting this in standard ministerial proactive disclosure on the web. And thinking about flying commercial on the odd occasion when he can back to Quebec in order to save taxpayers some scratch.

Now that is chutzpah for you...

Update: It's far from Blackburn's fault that the numbers are what they are in Quebec, but the above reporting certainly doesn't help. Read L. Ian MacDonald's latest column from yesterday, it says it all about how the Conservatives have landed where they are in Quebec. And the tone speaks to the obvious disdain Mulroney supporters have for the Harper government.