Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Governing ugly

Updated (11:15 p.m.): below.

"Pride parade cash got file pulled from Ablonczy: Tory MP." Another head shaking day. Yesterday - and everyday - we see the record financial incompetence on full display from the Harper government. We also saw an instance of pure Conservative propaganda caught out. Today, their social conservative roots are showing, in a very ugly way with the news that Minister Ablonczy is losing a core aspect of her ministry to Tony Clement in apparent punishment for her ministry's $400,000 funding grant to Toronto's recent pride parade. Lots of blogging on this already and kudos to Big City Lib for exposing Conservative MP Brad Trost's message of same to LifeSite news.

This is a very saddening yet maddening development. Don't know how else to put it, it's disappointing and outrageous all mixed into this deceptively administrative shift of a portfolio from Minister Ablonczy, Minister of State for Tourism to Industry Minister Clement. An incredible rationale is offered, apparently Industry Minister Tony Clement has got time to be handing out cash for tourism events (from CBC link above):

In an email, Rob Taylor, Ablonczy's chief of staff, said that budget was returned to Industry Canada so that the MP from Calgary-Nose Hill and her staff could concentrate on the federal tourism strategy.

He added that the minister handling Industry Canada is also freer to handle the file now.

"The MTEP program is back with Minister Clement now that the auto file and many of the other economic stimulus programs have calmed down. He is the responsible minister and is reviewing all economic-stimulus spending."

Uh, did Tony read the PBO report yesterday with its prediction of massive job losses over the next few years?
Canada could shed a total of 1.2 million jobs this year and next, the parliamentary budget watchdog predicts.
How on earth would they think this little bit of spin would be in any way credible. The Industry Minister should be moving heaven and earth on the industry file. He should have no time to be dabbling in tourism funding.

How'd you like to be Diane Ablonczy today? Imagine a colleague blindsiding you publicly as Trost has done. What a respectful, collegial bunch these Conservatives are. How they treat each other is symptomatic of what they're dishing out today.

Out from under their rocks, maybe it's best that they are, all the better to show Canada what kind of petty, mean-spirited, anti-equality government we've got on our hands.

David Akin's update has a sampling of Conservative reaction, they're in a bit of a well-deserved mess.

Update (11:15 p.m.): Should have highlighted this aspect in the earlier report:
Two MPs, who requested anonymity for fear of being disciplined by the PMO, said the issue was discussed at a closed-door caucus meeting in June and that Ms. Ablonczy was criticized by several MPs about the grant.