2013 12 28
Lowlight #4: Conservative lies, evasions and smears
COUNTDOWN OF CONSERVATIVE FAILURES FOR 2013

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives had a very bad year. Plagued by an expense scandal and cover-up reaching right to the top of the prime minister’s office, Conservatives have shown they are a tired and out-of-gas government.

We are condensing a year’s worth of lowlights into a countdown of the top 15 examples of Conservative blunders, scandals and ineptitude.

LOWLIGHT #4
THE CALANDRA CONDITION 
CONSERVATIVE LIES, EVASIONS AND SMEARS

Conservatives spent much 2013 doing what they know best – fabricating stories, twisting facts and smearing their opponents.

Here’s a brief overview of the Conservatives’ greatest hits, lowest blows and Pinocchio-style proboscis moments from the past year.

THE CONSERVATIVE LIE
“As these documents completely show, it is about Nigel Wright and Senator Duffy. The Prime Minister did not know about this.”
– Paul Calandra, Hansard, 21/11/2013

THE TRUTH
What RCMP documents actually stated, quite clearly, was that Nigel Wright sought approval from the Prime Minister for his plan to ask the Conservative Party fund to repay Mike Duffy’s expenses.

And the Prime Minister’s clear answer was: “Good to go”

THE CONSERVATIVE LIE
“People cannot come into this country to work on work permits unless they are paid at the prevailing regional wage rate.”
– Jason Kenney, Hansard, April 29, 2013

THE TRUTH
Jason Kenny was not only making up facts, he was even contradicting a press release from his own office 4 days prior saying: “Wages that are up to 15% below the average wage for an occupation in a specific region will be accepted.”

THE CONSERVATIVE LIE
“Our government has not cut any [rail safety] inspectors”
– Denis Lebel, July 8, 2013

THE TRUTH
Transport Canada’s Report on Plans and priorities shows that (FTE) rail safety staff was being cut, from 215 in 2010-2011 to 204. Even for Conservatives, a 5% reduction in staff is in fact a cut.

THE CONSERVATIVE LIE
“Service Canada has been clear that it does not have quotas, as there are no consequences for not meeting service delivery targets.”
– Kelly Leitch, June 3, 2013

THE TRUTH
Documents released by whistleblower Sylvie Therrien, before she was targeted and fired by the Conservatives, proved there were quotas and inspectors were penalised if they didn‘t meet them.

THE CONSERVATIVE LIE
“All senators conform to the residency requirements.”
– Stephen Harper, Hansard, February 27, 2013

THE TRUTH
An audit concluded that neither Mike Duffy nor Pamela Wallin met these requirements, neither living primarily in the province they were supposedly represented.

And doubts have been raised about a number of other sitting Senators – including Senator Patterson, who represents Nunavut but lives, owns land and is even registered to vote in the Vancouver area. Even the PM’s own chief of staff called Patterson the Senator from BC.

THE CONSERVATIVE LIE
“[The NDP] is opposed to free trade with Europe…”
– Stephen Harper, Hansard, 21/10/2013

THE TRUTH
In reality, the NDP has long advocated for increased trade with Europe and even sent out a release welcoming progress towards a final deal. While the prime minister was lying in the House of Commons about the NDP’s position, Conservative minister Jason Kenney was actually tweeting out his praise for the NDP’s “balance”!

THE CONSERVATIVE LIE
In response to questions about RCMP allegations against Conservatives close to the prime minister, Paul Calandra responded (all quotes from Hansard):

“My father owned a pizza store. He worked 16 to 18 hours a day. I can tell the House what my father would not have done if he saw somebody stealing from his cash register. He would not have said “You are suspended, but make sure you come back every two weeks and collect a paycheque.” (October 29th, 2013)

“We also had a driver, Eugene. He was a Philippine immigrant and he used to deliver pizzas. Part of the agreement was that he would provide receipts for gas. Could Eugene have provided extra receipts? He could have, but he did not. He was honourable.” (October 29th, 2013)

“I do like flowers and, of course, with lemons I like to make lemonade. My two daughters, this summer, actually had a lemonade stand where they sold lemonade for 5¢ on the street. They did very well. I am very proud of them” (November 26th, 2013)

THE TRUTH
We give up.

When Conservative lies, evasions and smears are raised to this level surreal farce, what can we say, except:

Canadians deserve better.

While other leaders have been missing in action, Tom Mulcair has been showing up to work on behalf of Canadians – holding Stephen Harper accountable and putting forward practical solutions to help families make ends meet.

Together we've shown just how much New Democrats can accomplish.

Be a part of it - become a member today.