Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Harper pitching his MPs overboard on the big cheque fiasco

Update (7:30 p.m.) below.

As if anything happens in this government that is not without approval of you know who. When the ship is sinking, you don't want to be on board with these guys. This is chutzpah:
The Prime Minister's Office is warning Tory MPs to behave, after one their ranks swapped the Government of Canada logo with the Conservative Party logo while presenting a ceremonial cheque.

Gerald Keddy, the MP for South Shore-St. Margaret's, recently delivered one of those oversized cheques that politicians love to be photographed handing over to grateful constituents. In this case it was for $300,000, from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, for an upgrade to a rink in Chester, a community in Mr. Keddy's Nova Scotia riding.

But his own signature, rather than the relevant minister's, was on the cheque, and the Conservative Party logo was prominently displayed where the Government of Canada logo should have been.
The PMO sent a letter to all Conservative MPs Wednesday reminding them that. “tax-funded projects and grants MUST be announced as Government initiatives, not Conservative Party initiatives.

“Among other things, this means that the Conservative Party logo and wordmark are not to be incorporated into Government announcements."
Trying to localize and minimize the scandal, predictable. But to hear such piety from head office, that's the essence of hypocrisy given the present context.

We know that the partisan push in seeking Conservative electoral advantage on the infrastructure programme is a national enterprise, it all emanates from the politicization of the action plan funding. That's been well established by recent research on the disproportionate spending of infrastructure stimulus in Conservative ridings. Recent reporting is confirming such information too. Factor in as well the incredible partisan advertising extravaganza that has Privy Council Office public servants blowing the whistle on the unprecedented partisan exploitation of government resources that they're seeing.

No, these local MPs are just following the tone at the top that is blurring the ethical lines. There's been a green light on partisan manipulation of the action plan. What other message are they supposed to get?

Update (7:30 p.m.): Can the PM pitch himself overboard while he's at it?

(h/t) That's a certain someone's signature right up there...

Pictures like these must be why Soudas is now saying that personal signatures are ok. Uh, no, the government communications policy says inconvenient things like this on the principles these people are supposed to be following:
Informing the public about policies, programs, services and initiatives in a non-partisan fashion consistent with the principles of Canadian parliamentary democracy and ministerial responsibility. Upholding public service values of accountability, integrity and impartiality.