Title: Holy Witch Hunt, Batman!
Description: Commentary on the appointment by the Harper Government of the Independent Advisor to investigate government practices in using public opinion research from 1990 until 2003.
Tags: Harper Fortier Paillé Fraser advisor election Canada witch hunt sponsorship scandal
Lloyd MacIlquham, B.Sc., M.Sc., J.D.
Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program ( BC PNP )|
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Family Class Sponsorships
Immigration Appeal Board
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Meanwhile back at the Bat Cave, Batman and Robin are having their morning coffee and reading the newspaper.
Batman, is it true what I’m reading, that the Harper government has just a announced that they are
commencing an investigation of government opinion polling practices.
Batman: Well yes and no, Robin.
Robin: How so, ‘yes and no’, Batman?.
Batman: yes there is an investigation into government opinion polling practices, but no, it is not current practices but those from 4 to 17 years ago and by previous governments. Michael Fortier, Minister of Public Works, announced yesterday that he is appointing Daniel Paillé as an Independent Advisor to investigate
government practices in using public opinion research from 1990 until 2003. The report should be presented after 6 months and he may recommend a judicial inquiry similar to the Gomery Commission. Robin: Holy public expenditures Batman, why in the world would they decide to initiate such an action, aren’t there more important matters to look into.
Yes Robin, you would think so, but then it depends on what you mean by important and to whom.
Another Riddle Batman?
Batman: Yes Robin. Lets look at what we have. Fortier says the reason they are commencing this action is found in the Auditor General’s Report of Feb.’04.
He is quoted as saying at the press conference of 11 April, “Questions have been raised about how the previous government used this research tool”. So, he has initiated this action to ensure “that public opinion research practices are open, transparent, and fair, as well as provide value for Canadian taxpayers”.
Robin: But Batman, how can investigating activities that occurred so long ago and under a different governments ensure open, transparent and fair practices ‘are’, as in now, being employed, under their own government rule. Don’t they simply have to ask themselves what they, themselves, are doing.
Batman: Yes Robin. It would appear that if you take the Harper government’s statements at their face value they do not seem to add up. Further, Robin, to add to this puzzle the person they appointed as the “independent adviser” was a former Minister in the PQ cabinet during the 1995 Quebec referendum, which is right in the middle of the time period covered by the investigation.
Holy conflict of interest, Batman. Why would Harper choose someone with such a background.
Isn’t there anyone else in Canada qualified to do the job.
Batman: This great nation of ours has many good and fair people qualified to conduct such an investigation.
This includes the Auditor-General, Shiela Fraser, herself, who actually did conduct an investigation and concluded in her Feb.’04 Report that “Based on our review of a sample of transactions and management practices, we found that the government managed its public opinion research activities adequately."
Of course, Robin, it is not a question that Daniel Paillé is biased.
It is a question of his being perceived Biased, especially when he, himself, refuses to state whether he still supports Quebec separation.
Robin: But Batman, how is this action by the Harper government transparent? And, how can the Canadian people consider it fair?
Batman: I don’t know Robin, I just know it gets even worse. The Minister under whose portfolio this investigation is being conducted, Michael Fortier, is not even elected but was appointed to the Senate by Harper. What’s more he does not seem to have any ambition to try to get himself elected.
Robin: Holy lack of Accountability, Batman. So, Harper, under the pretext of ensuring accountability in the government now, has initiated this action to investigate activities from 4 to 14 years ago, by the previous Liberal government, by hiring a minister in the former PQ cabinet that conducted the ’95 referendum
for which the same Liberal government was instrumental in
defeating to present a report in 6 months with the possibility of a judicial review to follow.
Batman: Yes Robin, you seem to have a clear grasp of the situation.
But why Batman, what possible good could it achieve.
Batman: political advantage for Harper and the Conservative Party. It seems, Robin, that much of the political gains in the last election by the Conservative Party in Quebec was due to the Sponsorship Scandal
and now even every time it makes headlines Liberal support in Quebec decreases and Conservative support increases. Harper may very well be planning to call the next election to coincide with the report or possibly once a judicial inquiry has had time to make headlines.
If on the other hand nothing comes out of it, he simply lets is slide and searches for the next possibility.
Robin: Holy Witch Hunt, Batman. So, if he doesn’t dig up any dirt here he will hunt for something else It appears Harper is converting the executive branch of the government towards his own political dirty work.
What can we do, Batman?
Batman: I don’t know Robin. What I do know is that we’ve got to get our Canada back, Robin, before its too late.