Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Election Day 1 – Conservative Accountability Act

The federal election is now under way. Finally Canadians have a chance to judge the liberal party on 12 years of government scandals.

Canadians can remember many of the liberal scandals including the $85 million gun registry, which turned into the $2 billion gun registry. The HRDC boondoggle that cost Canadians another $1 billion, and of course, the $355 million sponsorship scandal.

Unfortunately, many Canadians are already starting to forget past liberal scandals like the canceling of the military replacement to the Sea King helicopters, which still cost Canadians $500 million. Then there was the Shawinigan scandal. There was also the scandal of Paul Martin traveling around on private corporate jets back when he was the Finance Minister in charge of the taxpayer’s money.

For Canadians who believe strongly in democracy, the biggest scandal of all is still the sponsorship scandal. This scandal dwarfs all other scandals, because the sponsorship scandal is not simply about wasting taxpayer money. The liberals have been wasting our money since 1993, but this scandal is about more than that.

Many of us have a parent or grandparent who fought and died for the freedom we have today in the two World Wars, Korea and many other conflicts. Canadians are still fighting and dying in wars today, including the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan. Canadians past and present have put their lives on the line so that we could enjoy the freedom to elect a government of our choosing, through FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS! They also fought to give us the freedom to vote out governments that engage in scandal and corruption.

Never in the history of Canada have we had a federal government so mired in scandal and corruption as the current liberal government.

Back in the 1990s the people of Manitoba will remember a scandal that involved one of the most successful provincial governments in Canada under the leadership of then Premier Gary Filmon. Under that government the books were balanced and Manitoba was one of the few have provinces in the country. Unfortunately for Gary Filmon, one of his supporters was a little too eager to win an election and he gave a few thousand dollars of his own money to help a candidate in northern riding to try and split the vote of an opponent.

This was not tax payer money, this was his money. This was not $355 million; this was a few thousand. But, the amount of money that was involved or where it came from is not important. What was important is that someone tried to cheat to win an election. He was caught, and the voters of Manitoba had their say and punished the government he was trying to help.

The finding of fact from Justice Gomery’s inquiry found that the sponsorship scandal is millions of times bigger than the Filmon scandal in every way. What the liberals had set-up can only be described as an organized crime. Government officials were awarding government contracts right out of the Prime Minister’s office to friends in the liberal advertising business. Advertising executives were then giving kickbacks directly to the liberal party so that the liberals could use the money for advertising and other expenses related to election campaigns. The liberals did this after passing campaign finance reform which tied the hands of the other parties who actually obey the election laws.

Political parties that obey the election laws include the Conservative party, the socialist NDP and yes, even the separatists play by the rules!

Only the liberals have been outright cheating in elections and campaigning with laundered money for the last three elections. This scandal is not just about the money. If this scandal happened in the Ukraine the entire country would have ground to a halt and every person would be sleeping in the streets dressed in orange, until their voices were heard in a free and fair election. If this was to happen in Afghanistan or Iraq, people would be risking suicide bombers and terrorist to dip their fingers in blue ink for a chance to vote in a free and fair election.

Yet, here we are in Canada. We have known only freedom since birth. It is a gift to us from those Canadians who came before us. We do not need to sleep in the streets dressed in Orange (thank God since we are in Winnipeg). We do not need to get our fingers dirty, dipping them in blue ink. All we have to do is brave the lawn signs on the way to the mall for Christmas shopping and mark an X three full weeks after the holidays are over.

The liberals want to make this election about punishing Stephen Harper for making you look at lawn signs during the holidays, well that is fine. Conservatives want this election to be about restoring accountability in government, lowering taxes and providing Canadians with a clear plan for the future.

If elected, a Conservative government will pass the Federal Accountability Act and ensure that government scandals become a thing of the past. The Act will reduce the influence of big money in government by banning political contributions from unions and businesses. As well, individual contributions to political parties from Canadians will be limited to $1,000.

The Act also includes tough new lobbying rules and an end to the revolving door that allows former ministers, political aides, and top bureaucrats to turn around and lobby the government. Finally, the Act gives more power to independent watchdogs like the Auditor General and Ethics Commissioner, protecting whistleblowers from reprisal, and strengthening access to information laws to give citizens the right to know.

Change is possible Canada, but only if you cast your vote.