Tony Clement should be held accountable for pork barrelling!

As a Conservative Government supporter, I am very disappointed that PM Stephen Harper is seemingly doing nothing about Minister Tony Clement’s Muskoka pork barrelling.

Yes, I know all the improvements were for the G8, that the money was allegedly for “infrastructure” and that the Conservative government claims it will do a better job next time of providing a paper trail. Well, that is not good enough! No governing political party should be able to just shrug things off as their “right” and be able to spend public money like there is no tomorrow and without consequence.

Frankly, the whole matter smells to high heaven. No, it is not like the Sponsorship Scandal. No money was spent on bogus projects or passed on to the Conservative Party. And, yes, it was apparently part of the stimulus package. But, frankly, it is similar to when former PM Jean Chretien flooded his own riding with taxpayer largesse.  

The problem is that Conservatives didn’t like it when the federal Liberals did it and we don’t like it now. As many regular readers know, I worked for an Ontario PC MPP during the first Mike Harris mandate and I know what should go on in a Constituency Office, whether it is federal or provincial. The member does NOT normally, for example, have direct access to spending millions and millions of dollars of taxpayers money beyond his own MP budget! (H/T National Newswatch.)

Remember also, prior to and during the 2004 and 2006 election campaigns, Mr. Harper said they were going to do things differently!! Well, just shrugging things off and saying they will manage the “process” better “next time” is not good enough.

Remember, the Conservatives now have a majority government. So, more than ever they must be seen to do things differently. And, one way to do that is to hold Ministers accountable. As such, Minister Clement should be immediately removed as the head of the Treasury Board to spend some time on the backbenches.

I was telephoned this week and asked to donate to the CPC. I said no and this is why. And, I’ll bet you can multiple my reaction by the thousands. As I have written before, the Liberal Party of Canada has not yet really accepted why they are no longer the natural governing party, nor why they fell so fast and so far. I would hope the Conservative Party of Canada learned a lesson from that.

H/T Jack’s Newswatch “Daddy Warbucks!”

10 thoughts on “Tony Clement should be held accountable for pork barrelling!

  1. I agree, it’s gone from a smell to a stench in that it’s not going away and it’s not sitting well with many of us who support the CPC. It’s indefensible against our critics.

    What can we do? Well just what you did Sandy, withhold donations and tell them why until they address it.

    What can the PM do about what’s already been done, the money has already been spent?

    As I see it a demotion for Clement would send the right message but to ignore the matter hoping it will go away as la Liberal modus operandi, is a cop out. Not what we expect from Stephen Harper, Conservative.


  2. Unlike Fox News, Sandy is “fair and balanced!” Bloggers on the right and left should hold their elected members accountable when something doesn’t pass the ‘smell test’


  3. When something isn’t above board, can’t pass the smell test as we say, you lose credibility when you attempt to defend it. To ignore it is the same thing as accepting it which the PM appears to be doing.

    I cannot understand why this thread hasn’t gotten more response since most of us are not happy with this sort of Liberal-like pork barreling.


  4. Liz J — I am no longer on the BT aggregator so don’t get as many visitors as I used to but I just checked my site statistics for this thread and there have been a few hundred readers. So, either that means they agree with the post and have nothing more to add or they don’t see it as a big deal.

    Of course, some money needed to be spent to prepare Huntsville but not all the other pork that went to surrounding municipalities that had nothing to do with the G8. Plus, one MP, especially an MP who was in the Cabinet should not have been making decisions the way Clement obviously was.

    I like Clement. I met him and his senior staff a few times when I was working for the Harris era MPP. I think in a case like this he should simply resign from Cabinet if the PM won’t demote him. The fact that he hasn’t shows that it is still politics as usual and that nothing is going to change. Clement’s constituents are of course happy, which means he will get re-elected.

    So, maybe underneath it all, it is us, the voters, who are to blame, because we continue to reward local pork. I should know. I live in Rob NIcholson’s riding. All I had to do a year ago was drive around Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls and the infrastructure signs were everywhere — “Canada’s Action Plan.”

    And, of course, we are all happy with our new community centre. The difference however, is that more than 50% of the money to build it came from local donations. Even so, I didn’t hear anyone say “no, don’t give us that money.”

    Just a thought. So, Chris and Liz, can you identify where infrastructure money went in your ridings?

    In other words, could the notion of pork be relative? In the eye of the beholder as it was. If I have it, it was needed. If you have it, it was pork. So, for the good folks of Muskoka, everything that was done were projects that needed doing for the good of the community long after the G8 was gone. Did those projects create local jobs? If they did, I suppose it was simply an aspect of the Action Plan?

    Don’t know. Just asking questions.


  5. I have no quarrel with Tony Clement as a person, he may well have been doing for his riding what all politicians do but at a time when eyes were on everything that went on in preparation for the G8, with a few more frills because of it, timing is everything I guess. Just ask Chretien,he built a fountain in his hometown, hardly a necessity but pleasing to eye no doubt and he said he was doing what all MP’s do for their ridings. Chretien also had a road paved to his summer residence did he not? Have no recall whether we ever heard the true cost of either project.

    Infrastructure money in my riding could only be called maintenance like road paving, nothing over the top at all, nothing anyone would single out as exorbitant or unnecessary and this is a Conservative riding as well.

    The Liberals, Dippers and media never get tired of carping on the cost of the G8 and they’ll use it whenever their cupboard is bare of criticisms because PM Harper is doing a stellar job managing the affairs of this country from Defence to the Economy. That may be the reason we’re more upset, the media and opposition are getting to us as well, which is what they want. They’d like nothing better than to have Tony Clement demoted, it would be an admission of wrong so they could gloat.


  6. Liz — Well said. I agree completely about the media and opposition trying to find things to gloat about. Well, hopefully the Conservatives will make sure there is as little of that as possible.


  7. But Chris brought up a good point. The liberal media (in the US for example) fawns over Obama while Fox News did it for Bush. Predictable I guess.


  8. Sandy, this is a great post! Makes me feel a bit better knowing that some conservatives don’t accept this kind of crap. This is the thin edge of the wedge that eventually leads to our own sponsorship scandal, the idea that our party is so important to the country that bending the rules is OK.

    I’m sure that many Libs regret what happened to them. Once the governing party believes it is beyond the rules, for the greater good, then anything is possible. If the grass-roots doesn’t complain, then it just gets worse.

    It’s your money, and mine, not a re-election fund for the CPC.


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