The story I am referring to regards the Conservative Party of Canada using its Party logo on government funded cheques that have been going to communities, counties and townships to help with infrastructure, the economy, and other needs. It was not to long after this that it was noticed that this had occurred for quite some time and that, in some cases, these cheques even had the name and signature of the local M.P who was handing out this cheque.
This controversy was unleashed due to a recent picture of the Conservative Member of Parliament for the Nova Scotia riding of South-Shore-St. Margaret’s, Gerard Keddy, was printed in a local newspaper. This picture shows Mr. Keddy holding a cheque, along with a constituent, that is clearly in blue and white (Conservative party colours, with the Title “Investing in our Communities,” also a Tory slogan. Just underneath this title, on the upper left hand side, is the Conservative party Logo. In the bottom right corner, clearly shown, is Mr. Keddy’s own signature. (to see picture please click: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2009/10/14/ns-keddy-cheque.html .
When Mr. Keddy was pressed on this he replied that “he never noticed the Tory blue design ... large conservative party logo ... or his signature at the bottom.” He also stated that “[he] would absolutely do it again.” But yesterday his tune changed and stated otherwise and seemed apologetic.
Eventually another photo surfaced regarding the Member of Parliament for the British Columbia riding of Okanagan-Shuswap, Colin Mayes. This too had the party colours and logo just underneath a bolding and capitalized sentence that stated “Funding Provided By...” This led to the release of dozens more pictures of Conservative Members of Parliament handing over government funded cheques with party colours, party logos, or their own name emblazoned on them. Some of them include Minister of Public Safety and Member of Parliament for the Ontario Riding of York-Simcoe, Bev Shipley - Member for the Ontario riding of Lambton-Kent Middlesex, Shelly Glover – Member for the Manitoba riding of Saint Boniface, Patrick Brown – Member for the Ontario Riding of Barrie, and Larry Miller – Member for the Ontario riding of Bruce Grey Owen Sound. (To see more pictures of these MPs and others, including Dean Del Mastro please click: http://www.flickr.com/photos/conservativecheques/
This situation, as it continues to unfold, should be a concern to all of us. Traditionally, and when done properly. Government funded grants, loans, and funding being handed out, is done with the Federal Government logo and in a normal cheque form. It is not done in a party colour nor does it have a party logo. The MP’s signatures on the cheque is very misleading and promotes the idea that it was the specific party and the Member who donated this money.
This is a tremendous manipulation of Canadian taxpayers money and violates so many ethics and government laws. Yet I worry no one will care about this because they are disenchanted by what Canadian politics have become. I can just see the Conservative, and NDP loyalists telling myself, and other Liberals to “be quiet” and that “we have no right to talk about ethics on money expenditures” due to the whole Ad Scam Affair. And it is exactly this tune, the notion of “you did it so you have no right to say a word,” “you did it first,” etc, that have led so many Canadians to not care about their elected government. Many believe Canadian politics has become nothing but a “He said/she said, You did/they did,” whining, throwing insults at one another, charade.
This has become so common since the 2004 election, even more since 2006. It seems to be a Conservative “war call” whenever the Liberals try to do their job as opposition. Yes, it is easy to attack a political party that has governed for a majority of the years, a party, Liberals, that had governed for 13 years prior to the current government. I also understand the NDP and Liberals also do this but why do we allow this blaming game to occur?
Is it because we don’t care? Is it because we simply do not understand? Or, is it due to pure “laziness”? I have constantly heard from many people that “they don’t vote because it doesn’t matter,” “they don’t vote because no matter who wins nothing will change,” and so on. For those of you who think this I want to try and with you about why these stances are detrimental to our political system. When we take this stance and disenfranchise ourselves from our governing bodies – the political parties, politicians, and decision makers, we allow those who are destroying “good politics” to win. We allow them to mould the political system into a web of nastiness and division. We allow those politicians who are there to work for the common good of all Canadians, those politicians who became involved for the right reasons, to become voiceless and “a dying breed.” Our lack of caring allows for situations such as what the Conservatives have recently done to occur repeatedly.
We as a society also tend not to take the time to educate ourselves on the issues. I have also heard often from people that “they don’t have the time to learn about the issues,” that because they don’t have the time to understand they don’t cast a vote. Why is it difficult to go online and pull up party websites? – http://www.conservative.ca/, http://www.liberal.ca/, http://www.ndp.ca/, http://www.greenparty.ca/. We as a society seem to be good at making excuses and blaming others for our lack of ability to help fix things such as the state of our political system.
As more and more of us care less about what our politicians do/create, more degrading and corruptive situations will occur. The more apathetic we become the less chance any change will happen - whether it be from health care, to First Nations issues and Government accountability. Or as Mindy says, on the London radio station 103.1 Fresh FM during her daily rants, maybe that’s just me?