My Conservative Party of Canada outrage-o-meter has just gone nuclear. I have checked the calendar and can confirm that today is not April the First.
What has me smoking hot? This post from progressive blogger Blogging A Dead Horse. Read and weep for our country.
Three days ago, Dick Harris, the Conservative MP for Cariboo-Prince George announced that the Conservatives have named their local candidate Sharon Smith the “Skeena-Bulkley Valley liason to the federal government.”
That’s right, seems that after only 20 months of trying it, the Conservatives have decided that listening to MPs – particularly those from other parties – is way too onerous and distracting. The solution is obvious really: replace them with compliant and agreeable people who look like MPs, pretend to be MPs, but have absolutely no legitimacy.
Problem is, Skeena-Bulkley already has a 'liason to the federal government', their democratically elected MP, Nathan Cullen.
As if enticing elected Liberal MP David Emerson (Vancouver-Kingsway) to cross the floor with a Cabinet position wasn't enough of a diregard and show of contempt for the electorate, the Conservative Party has now decided to bypass the democratic choice of the voters of Skeena-Bulkley Valley by appointing a non-elected, non-accountable, illegimate individual as the only person who can represent the people of that riding.
It's true. Oh, yes. It's true, folks. Only members of the Conservative Party can repesent you. No one else. Elect whoever you wish (please note this voters in the upcoming bye-elections), but if you elect someone other than a Conservative candidate there is a good chance that the CPC will 'appoint' one of their own to be your 'official liason to the federal government'.
The democratic and electoral process no longer matters.
Terrace DailyOnline has published Mr. Dick Harris' media release:
Dick Harris MP for Cariboo-Prince George has named Houston Mayor and Conservative candidate Sharon Smith as the person that residents of Skeena-Bulkley Valley can contact when they have concerns or issues with the federal government.
Harris said, “As Chairman of the BC Caucus of Conservative MPs, I am pleased that Sharon has accepted this role, and I know the constituents of Skeena-Bulkley Valley will derive a huge benefit from having direct contact with government, something that they have not had since 2004.
I and other BC Conservative MPs will work closely with Sharon Smith as she represents constituents of her riding to the government members. It will be a bonus for people of Skeena-Bulkley Valley to have direct representation to the government on so many issues,” continued Harris
Harris concluded, “Having an MP from the fourth party in the House just doesn’t cut it when it comes to actually getting things done for the folks in Skeena-Bulkley Valley . Sharon Smith with her direct government contact will ensure that things DO get done. The Terrace water infrastructure, Smithers Airport expansion, and Houston event center’s new “green” system are just a few examples of what can be accomplished when you have a direct link to government.
Prior to issuing this official media release it appears there was a quiet 'stealth announcement' of this undemocratic appointment in late July, as this August 1st LTE from a voter in Smithers, BC, posted on Mr. Cullen's site indicates.
It was with great interest that I read the content devoted to the announced funding for the extension of the Smithers airport runway.
The relief of the announcement was overshadowed by the window dressing made possible by our Conservative government, along with our “liason to the federal government,” candidate Sharon Smith, and the slanted viewpoint of this newspaper and its editor.
First, it was announced that candidate Smith had been appointed “Skeena- Bulkley Valley liaison to the federal government.”
That appointment quoted in the editorial bugs me for two reasons the most important being the fact that I thought that our sitting MP Nathan Cullen was our liaison to the federal government.
Second, if the editorial is true and this title bestowed upon candidate Smith is legit, then does this mean the taxpayers of this country are paying her a salary, honourarium or a budget for a office that would be similar to our sitting MP Cullen?
If so, I would consider this a unconservative waste of taxpayers dollars.
No kidding! Will Ms. Smith receive a salary, an office budget etc.. paid for out of our taxes?
This is beyond arrogance and contempt. This is a declaration of war on the populace.
We. Don't. Matter.
You only count if you are a Conservative. We will not listen if you vote a different party. We will appoint our own pro-consuls.
There is no response on Mr. Cullen's website. It is quite possible that he is currently on vacation and has been blindsided. I see no mention as yet on the NDP web site. They need to make a statement, quick. Somebody needs to respond.
I'm waiting for the MSM to pick up on this. I only hear crickets chirping for now. But I am sure there is more to come.
We are getting close to 'torches and picthforks' time if this CRAP doesn't hit the fan soon.
UPDATE: Not only do we have a Mayor of Houston, BC appointed as the “Skeena- Bulkley Valley liaison to the federal government" whatever that is, we have a Mayor of Houston, BC with a little ole skeleton in her closet.
UPDATE 2 [08/26/07 - 1:25pm PT] h/t to Jason, commenting at Garth Turner's weblog. Daybreak North, which is CBC Radio 1's Northern BC morning broadcast from Prince George, interviewed both Dick Harris and Nathan Cullen on August 22nd. Audio clips posted on Daybreak North's CBC page. Scroll down that page to August, 22, 2007 for the clips. Also listen to the clip with an interview with Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch on August 23rd. Real Player required.
UPDATE #3 [08/27/07 - 4:30pm PT] There 'may' be another 'direct liason' appointee, this time in Arctic West currently held by Dennis Bevington of the NDP. POGGE has details posted here, albeit without a corroborating media release or report. But I don't doubt it. Hmmm... so far targeting sitting NDP members only in realtively remote, obscure ridings. They don't dare try in oh, say Burnaby-New Westminster (Peter Julian) or Vancouver-East (Libby Davies). Watch for more developments.
Folks, we don't have official word on Brendan Bell, so take that info at present FWIW. Tim at POGGE explains himself in the comments.
I don't have a link to this information because I found out about it at a meeting in Yellowknife this week, where it has recently become an open secret. Sorry gang, I should have sourced that properly in the absence of a link.
It hasn't yet been reported in the media as Bell wants to wait until after the writ for the territorial election is dropped in early September before making an announcement. When it is announced, I'll post it.
In the meantime visit Dr. Dawg who is recording and archiving the growing blogswarm.
UPDATE #4 [08/28/07 - 5:10pm PT]
Finally have some confirmation that the 'go to' liaison thing in S-BV is not an accident nor is it a one-off. Looks to be part of a plan of some sort (h/t to kp at A Town Called Podunk)
Vancouver Island North MP Catherine Bell has already had a similar situation happen to her in her riding. Several months ago, the Tories named a candidate as the “go-to person” for the Conservative party, in what Cullen feels is an effort to undermine her and give the perception that she is not doing her job.
However, he (Cullen - my addition/ff) is not sure yet if this practice is something the government has been doing across the whole country or not.
“I’m on my way right now to Montreal, where by coincidence, we’re having a caucus meeting to find out if this is happening across the board, but I don’t know,” said Cullen on Saturday afternoon.
“But according to what Dick Harris had to say, this is an accepted policy, and that they’re going to do this in ridings where they want to do it. We’ll be taking this to the next level obviously, the prime minister and the Ethics Commission, because this is unethical and likely illegal.”
So, there you have it kiddies. Cullen has responded, the NDP caucus is meeting this week discussing this very topic and has plans to to raise it before the Ethics Commission.
Now, did a search on the Prince Rupert Daily News and found this - too bad it's cut-off after the 3rd paragraph. Now you know why we can't find any info via news searches.
UPDATE #5 [08/29/07 - 7:10am PT] First mainstream media coverage. Barbara Yaffe in the Vancouver Sun. Nothing in it we don't already know but lots the rest of the public has not heard yet. Also, angry editorial in the Northern View, serving Prince Rupert and the Queen Charlotte Islands. Now, to find out if Yaffe knows about Van. Island North and Western Arctic.