Friday, November 02, 2007

Liberals Striking Out on Corruption Allegations

Liberal desperation at bat starting to show

If one were to ask the Liberal party, they would certainly be assured that Canada's governing Conservative party is secretive, corrupt and untrustworthy.

Most Canadians would probably be forgiven if they thought that sounded more like the Liberal party, but I digress.

First off, the Liberals insisted that the Conservative party failed to report more than a million dollars in donations related to the party's 2005 convention. While it turns out that there were indeed undisclosed donations, they turned out to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, as opposed to millions. The scandal subsequently failed to gain any traction with the Canadian public.

Foul ball. Strike one.

Then, the Liberals insisted that the Conservatives had broken election law with their so-called "in and out" scandal, despite the fact that the expenditures themselves were well within the letter of the law.

Strike two.

Now, the Liberal party is seizing upon allegations that Brian Mulroney took several years to pay tax on $300,000 he recieved from Karlheinz Schreiber shortly after he left public office.

Of course, it has been said that a bad penny always turns up again. But for the Liberal party, this is more like 30,000,000 bad pennies turning up, and all on their own accord.

See, the Liberal party has already had a bad experience with Brian Mulroney and this allegedly-scandalous payment. In fact, when Liberal leader Stephane Dion was in Jean Chretien's cabinet, the federal government was ordered to fork $2.1 million over to Brian Mulroney as a result of an RCMP letter written to the government of Switzerland that falsely accused Mulroney of a crime.

Now, one might expect that this latest allegation would represent a pitch that Dion simply may not want to swing at.

Guess again.

In fact, when Dion rose during yesterday's Question Period, he swung for the fences. "Will the prime minister take every step necessary regarding this disturbing information about Brian Mulroney to get to the bottom of this matter?" Dion asked. "The current prime minister owes the institution he represents a duty to shed full light on this issue. Will he do that? Will he set up a commission of public inquiry?"

When government house leader Peter Van Loan rose to answer, the sound of the ball hitting the catcher's mitt was clearly audible.

"That Liberal leader was part of a cabinet that had to pay 2 million dollars of taxpayers' money for falsely pursued allegations in exactly this case," Van Loan pointed out.

Kitchener Center Liberal MP and party whip Karen Redman would later try to step in as a pinch-hitter. "Taxpayers' dollars are lining the pockets of Brian Mulroney. Canadians deserve answers. Will this Conservative government launch an inquiry?" she asked.

And she's right. Taxpayers' dollars are lining the pockets of Brian Mulroney. This happened because the RCMP, under the Liberals' watch, not only falsely accused Mulroney of a crime, but actually made those false accusations to the government of another country.

Strike three.

Perhaps it's ironic that the Liberals would like Canadians to now think of them as dedicated corruption-fighters while in opposition. Ironic because they had plenty of chances to do so while they were in government, and failed utterly to do so.

Shawinigate. Strike one.

Jane Stewart's HRDC billion-dollar boondoggle. Strike two.

The Sponsorship Scandal. Strike three.

The Liberals, in terms of battling corruption, have now struck out not only in government, but in opposition as well.

The Liberal party would certainly be well-advised to play to its strengths. Although insipid, the party is more likely to score some runs with their "mean Stephen Harper" invective.

As far as corruption goes, however, the party will likely continue to find that it's likely to continue striking out, particularly when they failed to swing at those pitches when it would have mattered most.

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