A pretty girl is like a melody .. has Canadian election of 2011 finally arrived on back of first ever contempt of Parliament censure?

Mar 18th, 2011 | By | Category: In Brief

Ottawa escort known as Leanna, who apparently has the same phone number as the Michele McPherson, 22, who appears on a secret contract witnessed by the man once known as Stephen Harper's Mr. Fix-It, that guaranteed her 20 per cent of all gross revenues from sales related to water contracts on First Nations reserves.

[UPDATED MARCH 21, 1 PM ET, MARCH 22, 9 AM ET, MARCH 23, 25, 30]. Well, well, well  … it now seems all but official. According to CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife : “We’re into an election period without a doubt and it’ll probably be for May 2nd.”

According to another source (Maclean’s, copying the Globe and Mail): “The Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois” have now “confirmed they will work via a committee they control to produce a report for the Commons regarding the government’s failure to divulge cost details about its tough-on-crime agenda, corporate tax cuts and plans to purchase stealth fighter jets … They say this ‘constitutes a contempt of Parliament.’ The minority Conservatives are attempting to slow the effort, and it’s not clear when the opposition will deliver the report to Parliament. Once they do, though, it clears the path for a vote that officially censures the Harper government. If this comes to pass, it will mark the first time in Canadian history that a government’s been found in contempt of Parliament.”

There is still a federal budget this coming Tuesday, March 22. And, (back to CTV’s latest report), the opposition majority’s “first, best opportunity to topple the government will likely come next Friday, March 25, when they will have the chance to set the agenda during a so-called opposition day in the House. It’s expected they will grab the opportunity to present the House with a vote of non-confidence in the Government, based on a shopping list of its perceived failings.” So, whatever else, certain details about the exact route to the Canadian federal election of 2011 remain unclear.

At the same time, a few further straws in the wind can already be seen. The first source here is a Hill Times report, republished on a site called The First Perspective: News of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada: Again, “Liberal, NDP and Bloc Québécois MPs intend to approve a report finding the government” in “contempt of Parliament.” Meanwhile: “The minority of Conservative MPs angrily called the manoeuvre in the Procedure and House Affairs Committee ‘tyranny of the majority,’ but the opposition said its position was justified after testimony from …  Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page and constitutional expert Ned Franks.” [For UPDATE click on “Read the rest of this page” and/or scroll to end of this page.]


How will “abuse of democracy” theme play in Peoria (er, make that Russell, Manitoba)?

A second wrinkle (or elaboration perhaps) comes from a parallel report in the Toronto Star: “Opposition MPs on a Commons committee are poised to recommend that the Harper government be found in contempt of Parliament … Should the recommendation be accepted by the opposition-dominated House of Commons, it would mark the first time a government in Canada or any other Commonwealth country was cited for contempt” (italics added).

Just how all this will play in the ensuing election that does now seem all but inevitable also remains a great unknown. As noted on this site several times, the Harper Conservatives have had a significant lead over any other single party in virtually all opinion polls of the recent past. And pollster Nik Nanos may well be right when he “doubts breaches of parliamentary procedure or electioneering rules will really get voters fired up.”

Yet in principle at least, being found in contempt of Parliament for the first time in the history of Canada or any other Commonwealth country is a little different from a mere breach of parliamentary procedure.

Barbara Yaffe in Wednesday’s Vancouver Sun may prove somewhat closer to the mark: “The ‘abuse of democracy’ theme will play out against one the Conservatives plan to highlight: job creation and the economy … The Harper team believes voters will embrace the party that’s working to keep them employed … But there’s no doubt the party is vexed by the emerging narrative that puts it in parliamentary contempt … While it has long been recognized that the current prime minister has a partisan mean streak, a long-standing Conservative strategy has portrayed Harper as an ordinary middle-class Canadian who plays by the rules, a hockey- loving dad who helps his wife rescue kittens … The recasting of him as an arrogant demagogue, disrespectful of Canada’s democratic traditions, could hurt party fortunes.”

“A pretty girl is like a melody that haunts you night and day”?

Bruce Carson and Michele McPherson share a $400,000 house with an in-ground pool that sits on a 2-acre lot near Winchester about 60 km from Ottawa. The home was apparently bought this past December.

The “abuse of democracy” (or just abuse of power) theme has lately acquired dimensions beyond the current contempt of Parliament machinations in the Procedure and House Affairs Committee. As CTV’s latest report notes as well: “Four Conservative party officials, including two Senators, have been charged with breaking election spending laws. And it was revealed Thursday the man once known as Harper’s Mr. Fix-It, Bruce Carson, is under RCMP investigation on allegations of influence peddling since he left the Prime Minister’s Office last year.”

On a note that just might attract some additional public interest (it certainly attracts ours), the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) has reported some intriguing further information about Mr. Carson’s case: “The name of Michele McPherson, 22, appears on a secret contract witnessed by Bruce Carson that guaranteed her 20 per cent of all gross revenues from sales related to water contracts on First Nations reserves, according to a copy of the contract obtained by an APTN investigative team … APTN unearthed the contract as part of its investigation into Carson’s involvement with H2O Pros and its attempts to sell water filtration systems to First Nations with the poorest water quality.”

Moreover: “Carson says …  he witnessed the contract’s signing between H2O Pro and Michelle McPherson, who also goes by the escort name Leanna VIP … According to records, Carson and McPherson share a $400,000 house with an in-ground pool that sits on a 2-acre lot near Winchester about 60 km from Ottawa … The home was bought in December. Carson rarely stays there. He works out of Calgary and when he does come to Ottawa he also books a room at the Chateau Laurier next to Parliament Hill … McPherson also drives a black Mercedes SUV that Carson purchased.”

In another report on this subject, the Toronto Star has stressed that “officials maintain” Prime Minister Harper himself “has never met or communicated with Carson on behalf of H2O Global Group. The PMO has also cut off Carson from any future dealings.” At the same time again, “a pretty girl,” as Irving Berlin’s old song has it, “is like a melody that haunts you night and day.” And, the Toronto Star has noted as well: “The phone number for Michele McPherson is the same as the one on an escort website for a woman who identifies herself as Leanna.”

Whose tyranny of what majority?

A final quick thought here, for the time being, turns around the “minority of Conservative MPs” who “angrily called the manoeuvre in the Procedure and House Affairs Committee ‘tyranny of the majority.’”

We are almost certainly going to have yet another Canadian federal election in the very near future, it is reasonable enough to argue, because Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have once again proved that they are finally unable to get along with the other three parties in the Canadian House of Commons, who together do at the moment hold a majority of seats in the democratically elected branch of the Parliament of Canada. The “Harper Government” is even proud that it has run two successive minority governments as if it did have a majority of seats in Parliament, when it didn’t (or still doesn’t at this moment, if you insist). In the process it has finally seminally outraged the parliamentary majority, to the point where it is about to receive the first citation for contempt of Parliament in the history of “Canada or any other Commonwealth country.”

Mr. Harper’s answer to any Canadian people who may object to all this is, if you want a stable government that doesn’t keep on precipitating fresh elections every two years or so, give MY PARTY a majority of seats in Parliament at last. And there is polling evidence at the moment to suggest that, thanks to the arithmetical anomalies of our present multi-party, first-past-the-post electoral system in Canada, the “Harper Government” just may get this kind of majority at some point early on this May 2011. But if it does it will not be (unlike the present combined opposition majority in the 40th Parliament), based on anything like the support of a majority of the diverse Canadian people, from coast to coast to coast.

There is something very undemocratic about this state of affairs. And it may be that Stephen Harper’s most enduring legacy to the Canadian confederation — and the modern diverse Canadian people to whom this confederation is nowadays ultimately accountable — will be to bring our federal politics into such a state of dysfunction that the need for serious democratic political reform at last will become obvious to almost everyone. Meanwhile, our wish for we the Canadian people right now is that we will start thinking harder about just what it means when Conservative MPs complain about the “tyranny of the majority.”

UPDATE MARCH 30: So CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife was right on the money way back on Friday, March 18. The way things look right now, one big question about the Canadian federal election on May 2, 2011 is will the Harper Conservatives win a majority of seats in the elected branch of Parliament at last? And what would happen if they did? See, eg: Citizen X on “Would Harper majority government in Canada be like Cameron-Clegg coalition government in UK?” ; and all we counterweights editors on “There is an alternative to a Harper majority and it isn’t a ‘coalition’ (or yet another Harper minority).”  And congratulations to Robert Fife — who is either very smart or very well connected, and probably both!

Meanwhile, it seems that  Bruce Carson and Ms. McPherson have all but vanished from the campaign radar screen. Some might say this is because neither of them have done anything that would finally land them in jail. But still, what does their May-September affair — and its involvement with H2O Pro — say about the real nature of the allegedly pristine Harper Government? Isn’t this just the same old insider sleaze that the Harper Conservatives so often complained so self-righteously about before 2006? And if they aren’t really offering something that’s different in this respect, what are they offering — that most Canadians really care about?

UPDATE MARCH 25, 12:30 PM ET: Assuming all goes according to schedule in the Canadian House of Commons, the Harper Government will fall one hour from now, and we will be on our way to a spring election at last. Randall Palmer at Reuters has an interesting article on the broader picture: “Harper to push for elusive majority.” Our own resident Ontario historian Randall White believes that, whatever else, the coming election will have some practical benefits for the country. See his “Canadian federal election 2011 is its own economic action plan!

2:22 PM ET: Just under an hour later than indicated above, the Harper Government has been defeated, 156–145,  on a “Contempt of Parliament” motion of non-confidence, for the first time in Canadian history (and perhaps even in some wider history of parliamentary democracy?).  Now  “PM to visit Governor-General Saturday morning” (ie tomorrow) — after which the exact date of the election (probably May 2, 2011?) will be announced.

UPDATE MARCH 23: The plot has thickened definitively at last. See our “Is there any hope for a PM Ignatieff “supported either formally or informally by the NDP”?

UPDATE MARCH 22, 9 AM ET: Some prospects of serious last-minute hi-jinks have now been raised. See our Citizen X on “Will Jack Layton’s New Democrats really back Harper Government budget and stop spring election?

UPDATE MARCH 21, 1 PM ET: The Canadian Press has reported: “A Commons committee has passed a report recommending the Harper government be found in contempt of Parliament … The move could trigger a non-confidence motion and a spring election … The document is to be tabled in the House of Commons today and a formal vote is likely Thursday — although the government could try to delay it … The 12-page report concludes the government is in contempt over its refusal to fully disclose the cost of its tough-on-crime agenda, corporate tax cuts and plans to purchase stealth fighter jets … No government has ever been cited for contempt before … The committee is separately considering a possible contempt citation against International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda for misleading Parliament.”

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  1. […] Carson era fidanzato col la bellissima e  formosa Michele McPherson ,una ex escort […]

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