Thursday, October 01, 2009

Lisa Raitt steps in it again

Incredible timing on this one...chalk up another instance of a federal agency being used for Conservative political purposes. The Toronto Star uncovers another example today, the Toronto Port Authority being used as a Lisa Raitt fundraising vehicle:
A political fundraiser for Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt was coordinated out of the office of the president of the Toronto Port Authority, a federal agency Raitt once headed, the Toronto Star has learned.
Szabo said later "it was the blatant use of the resources of a federal authority."

"There is no doubt in my mind this was a targeted event that was going to utilize the database of the port authority. ... It is so improper that it is not even debatable use of information," he said, adding he's still considering having the matter referred to federal ethics commissioner Mary Dawson.
Raitt said through a spokesperson she was too busy to be interviewed.
Too busy.

It's not enough to say "it won't happen again,"as both John Baird and Raitt's office do in reacting to the public disclosure of the abuse. That's pretty much an irrelevant consideration. The actions have been taken and are in and of themselves worthy of complaint. The deed is done. What on earth is that ethics commissioner there for then? Put these Conservatives on the defensive, make a complaint.

This revelation follows the news earlier this week about Minister Gary Goodyear's political interference scandal. Goodyear's office has been caught red-handed trying to bully the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council into revoking a grant for an academic conference that happened earlier this year, applying political pressure and threatening the future budget of SSHRC if the grant wasn't revoked. Le Devoir follows up on that story today. The disclosure of the email came up earlier in the week and it's been blogged thoroughly elsewhere. Talk about a resignation worthy offence. Yet more evidence that this government politicizes everything it possibly can, little in the way of government resources is off limits to this crowd if they can use them to their political advantage. We've been watching the infrastructure revelations over the past few weeks as well, it's all part of the same story.

These Conservatives are drenched in self-interest without a whit of concern for the independence of institutions upon which they're trampling.