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Tories, tax dollars and the shadow MP


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How the hell is this acceptable to anyone? The man lost! And this Saulie Zajdel person is being paid by the government doing MP duties...probably to get enough influence to win the next election..6 months into his majority and his party is doing this..wow, just wow

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tories-using-taxpayer-dollars-to-pay-for-shadow-mp-cotler-charges/article2262081/

The Conservative government is using public money to pay a “shadow MP” in a partisan campaign targeting the coveted Montreal riding of Irwin Cotler, the veteran Liberal MP fears.

For weeks, Mr. Cotler has been decrying a phone-call blitz organized by Conservatives, during which constituents of his Montreal riding were told he was about to resign.

Now he's denouncing the Tories' hiring – as an employee of the Government of Canada – the man he defeated as a candidate in the last election.

The governing party, which campaigned on a promise to tighten federal spending and balance the budget, is accused of employing a similar tactic in other parts of the country.

Mr. Cotler said the Tory candidate, now employed in the office of Heritage Minister James Moore, is performing the duties of a member of Parliament.

He said ex-opponent Saulie Zajdel is now offering to help municipal politicians in his Montreal riding secure federal grants and services.

“We have had information conveyed to us that, in fact, he has had meetings with mayors and councillors in this riding, in which he has held out to them that he, in the course of his work, can confer a benefit upon them,” Mr. Cotler said in his office Tuesday.

“What has he been hired to do and what is he, in fact, doing? ... The question is whether a defeated candidate seeks to perform the duties of an MP, as a kind of shadow MP on the public purse.”

Mr. Zajdel, a former Montreal city councillor, lost to Mr. Cotler in the last election by fewer than 2,500 votes and is expected to take another run for the riding.

The federal government wouldn't comment when asked about Mr. Zajdel, including what his job is and what he's paid. A spokesman for Mr. Moore said the department does not comment on internal staffing issues.

Mr. Zajdel would not return messages left at his office by The Canadian Press.

The Tories have high hopes of eventually winning the Mount Royal seat, which was once part of Pierre Trudeau's riding. A victory there would give the party their first Montreal seat in a quarter-century.

The Conservatives admitted last week to ordering numerous phone calls to homes in the riding, telling constituents – falsley – their long-time MP was about to resign and a new one would be needed soon.

The party defended the phone calls, arguing the callers had every right to comment or speculate on decade-old rumours that the 71-year-old Liberal would soon resign.

But Mr. Cotler, a former justice minister, maintains he's not going anywhere and fully intends to finish his term.

Last month, Mr. Zajdel gave a 15-minute presentation to about a dozen mayors and councillors at a gathering of a Montreal-area association of suburban municipalities. The meeting was held in the Town of Mount Royal, in Mr. Cotler's riding.

The president of the mayors' group, the Association of Suburban Municipalities, said it was Mr. Zajdel who asked to meet with them.

Westmount Mayor Peter Trent, whose city sits just outside the Mount Royal riding, said Mr. Zajdel left behind brochures about the different programs available.

Mr. Trent, who has served for 12 years as mayor and another six years on council, couldn't recall such a presentation by a federal civil servant.

He said he found Mr. Zajdel's request to meet the mayors “strange.”

“It's not every day that you have somebody from the government coming and saying, ‘Here, you want money?’” Mr. Trent said, adding that Zajdel also requested a meeting with the cities' directors-general. “I must admit, as president, that I was a little confused as to what his role was.”

The Westmount Mayor added that he was happy to learn about some of the programs, which include funds for arts, cultural spaces and museums.

He didn't think Mr. Zajdel acted inappropriately and said the government staffer did not raise partisan politics.

“To call that campaigning, that's a real stretch, again it's not for me to run to the aid of Saulie Zajdel,” Mr. Trent said. “I think it's a bit, really, [of] a tempest in a teapot.”

Town of Mount Royal Mayor Philippe Roy, who also met with Mr. Zajdel privately, said the recently hired government staffer discussed Heritage Canada programs available for municipalities.

“It's certainly odd when a civil servant goes to meet elected officials in a context like this, but he only came to present the different Heritage Canada programs to us,” said Mr. Roy, who was the only mayor present at the meeting from Mr. Cotler's riding.

“It was limited to [the programs] –he didn't go further than that in playing the role of an MP.”

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How the hell is this acceptable to anyone? The man lost! And this Saulie Zajdel person is being paid by the government doing MP duties...probably to get enough influence to win the next election..6 months into his majority and his party is doing this..wow, just wow

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tories-using-taxpayer-dollars-to-pay-for-shadow-mp-cotler-charges/article2262081/

The Conservative government is using public money to pay a “shadow MP” in a partisan campaign targeting the coveted Montreal riding of Irwin Cotler, the veteran Liberal MP fears.

For weeks, Mr. Cotler has been decrying a phone-call blitz organized by Conservatives, during which constituents of his Montreal riding were told he was about to resign.

Now he's denouncing the Tories' hiring – as an employee of the Government of Canada – the man he defeated as a candidate in the last election.

The governing party, which campaigned on a promise to tighten federal spending and balance the budget, is accused of employing a similar tactic in other parts of the country.

Mr. Cotler said the Tory candidate, now employed in the office of Heritage Minister James Moore, is performing the duties of a member of Parliament.

He said ex-opponent Saulie Zajdel is now offering to help municipal politicians in his Montreal riding secure federal grants and services.

“We have had information conveyed to us that, in fact, he has had meetings with mayors and councillors in this riding, in which he has held out to them that he, in the course of his work, can confer a benefit upon them,” Mr. Cotler said in his office Tuesday.

“What has he been hired to do and what is he, in fact, doing? ... The question is whether a defeated candidate seeks to perform the duties of an MP, as a kind of shadow MP on the public purse.”

Mr. Zajdel, a former Montreal city councillor, lost to Mr. Cotler in the last election by fewer than 2,500 votes and is expected to take another run for the riding.

The federal government wouldn't comment when asked about Mr. Zajdel, including what his job is and what he's paid. A spokesman for Mr. Moore said the department does not comment on internal staffing issues.

Mr. Zajdel would not return messages left at his office by The Canadian Press.

The Tories have high hopes of eventually winning the Mount Royal seat, which was once part of Pierre Trudeau's riding. A victory there would give the party their first Montreal seat in a quarter-century.

The Conservatives admitted last week to ordering numerous phone calls to homes in the riding, telling constituents – falsley – their long-time MP was about to resign and a new one would be needed soon.

The party defended the phone calls, arguing the callers had every right to comment or speculate on decade-old rumours that the 71-year-old Liberal would soon resign.

But Mr. Cotler, a former justice minister, maintains he's not going anywhere and fully intends to finish his term.

Last month, Mr. Zajdel gave a 15-minute presentation to about a dozen mayors and councillors at a gathering of a Montreal-area association of suburban municipalities. The meeting was held in the Town of Mount Royal, in Mr. Cotler's riding.

The president of the mayors' group, the Association of Suburban Municipalities, said it was Mr. Zajdel who asked to meet with them.

Westmount Mayor Peter Trent, whose city sits just outside the Mount Royal riding, said Mr. Zajdel left behind brochures about the different programs available.

Mr. Trent, who has served for 12 years as mayor and another six years on council, couldn't recall such a presentation by a federal civil servant.

He said he found Mr. Zajdel's request to meet the mayors “strange.”

“It's not every day that you have somebody from the government coming and saying, ‘Here, you want money?’” Mr. Trent said, adding that Zajdel also requested a meeting with the cities' directors-general. “I must admit, as president, that I was a little confused as to what his role was.”

The Westmount Mayor added that he was happy to learn about some of the programs, which include funds for arts, cultural spaces and museums.

He didn't think Mr. Zajdel acted inappropriately and said the government staffer did not raise partisan politics.

“To call that campaigning, that's a real stretch, again it's not for me to run to the aid of Saulie Zajdel,” Mr. Trent said. “I think it's a bit, really, [of] a tempest in a teapot.”

Town of Mount Royal Mayor Philippe Roy, who also met with Mr. Zajdel privately, said the recently hired government staffer discussed Heritage Canada programs available for municipalities.

“It's certainly odd when a civil servant goes to meet elected officials in a context like this, but he only came to present the different Heritage Canada programs to us,” said Mr. Roy, who was the only mayor present at the meeting from Mr. Cotler's riding.

“It was limited to [the programs] –he didn't go further than that in playing the role of an MP.”

Holy crap. This will be interesting ......

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Tories do the same thing on Ruby Dalla? I think she accused the Tory Pharma Gill who won the riding from her that he was before the election helping newly Canadians get help from Kenney and taking the role of an MP usually does.Now, since he won, those people who he helped to Kenny`s office voted for him.

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...and it goes to show again what a terrible governing party this iteration of the Tories is. They are so against co-operation, consultation, and compromise that they would put a shadow MP in a riding they lost and deal with him instead of the actual MP that's there. This is a serious problem. It completely undermines the MP that's there and inhibits him, if not completely prevents him from doing his job. There has to be something in Parliamentary Procedure that this breaks.

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I've seen first hand how useless some politicians can be, especially in opposition. To get anything done, the constituents often need to find another elected official in the area. That's what happened here with Anita Neville. People used to go on and on about how well loved she was, but they neglected to mention how many of her constituents had to go to Shelly Glover if they wanted to get help with anything. Shelly was over worked because she essentially had to take care of two ridings, one of which was supposed to be served by a different party. The constituents in the riding eventually got tired of it and elected Joyce Bateman.

I've also seen it for years with City Council here too. Our councillor is just not helpful. He just doesn't return calls, ever. People who need any help with anything, including community leaders, often have to go to councillors in the next ward over if they want a response, let alone action.

Having a "shadow MP" is a way to help other MPs from getting overworked from dealing with other MP's constituents. If the MP is doing their job, there is no job for the shadow MP to do, but if they are not, those constituents can go to the shadow MP instead of burdening another already hard working MP. It also helps show those constituents that this party will help when that party will not, so they don't eventually turf the useless one, they do it at the firsr opportunity.

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This post needs to be copied over here for posterity:

The link Topaz posted has the transcript of Cotler calling for a Breach of Privilege in the matter of the phone calls alone. He does mention there that meetings were set up from the phonecalls and in a sense already alludes to a Shadow MP operating in his riding.

eyond the phone calls, emails and requests for meetings as a result of these calls, which themselves are an encumbrance, it causes confusion among the electorate. It impedes me in the discharge of my functions, which as O'Brien and Bosc quoted earlier states, constitutes a breach of privilege.

From the Parliament of Canada's website:

The privileges enjoyed by the House and its Members continue to be vital to the proper functioning of Parliament. [emphasis mine]

see: http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/House/compendium/web-content/c_g_parliamentaryprivilege-e.htm

The problem in this case is that the Conservatives cannot be punished since the procedure in handling breach of privilege favours them:

If the Speaker finds there is a prima facie breach of privilege, the Member raising the question of privilege is asked to move a motion, usually requesting that the matter be examined by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. If there is a favourable vote in the House on the motion (which can be debated), the matter is examined by the Standing Committee, which may choose to call expert witnesses. The Committee's report of findings and recommendations is presented to the House, and a motion to concur in, or agree to the report, may then be moved. [emphasis mine]

see: http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/House/compendium/web-content/c_g_parliamentaryprivilege-e.htm

Since the issue pertains to the party that holds the majority of the seats in the House, it will never be examined propery because they can just whip the vote and shut it down.

This is a very serious issue that cannot be addressed properly by Parliament. The only way this can be handled is by the electorate come the next election. However, we've already seen that the electorate will reward a party that is found in full out contempt of Parliament.

Democracy is not broken in Canada though.

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Why aren't Canadians paying attention.

The Conservatives are a group of wannabe despots manipulating democracy to ensure the keep winning.

Of course they are! They're politicians, if you hadn't noticed!

The only difference is, the OTHER GUYS are worse!

That's what it means to be Canadian. We get to choose who smells the least, not who we actually approve!

If you think the "other guys" are saints then I have some swampland in Florida you may be interested in buying...

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Of course they are! They're politicians, if you hadn't noticed!

The only difference is, the OTHER GUYS are worse!

That's what it means to be Canadian. We get to choose who smells the least, not who we actually approve!

If you think the "other guys" are saints then I have some swampland in Florida you may be interested in buying...

The things the cons have been doing are not the things the liberals were doing so not sure how they are worse

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Of course they are! They're politicians, if you hadn't noticed!

The only difference is, the OTHER GUYS are worse!

That's what it means to be Canadian. We get to choose who smells the least, not who we actually approve!

If you think the "other guys" are saints then I have some swampland in Florida you may be interested in buying...

Let's not lose our focus here. This particular issue is a serious one and if nothing is done about it, we're setting a dangerous precedent. Just look at what happens in other countries when "Shadow Governments" pop up, challenging the authority of the true government. In this case, we have a Shadow MP challenging the authority and privilege of the true representative for that riding. I can't stress enough how dangerous of a precedent this (the federal government dealing with their own unelected representatives in ridings, instead of the duly elected ones) sets.

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The Tories have high hopes of eventually winning the Mount Royal seat, which was once part of Pierre Trudeau's riding. A victory there would give the party their first Montreal seat in a quarter-century.

I've seen this repeated in the media a few times. Without this angle, there isn't much of a story. The angle might be believable if one more seat actually had meaning, but with the Tories already having a majority, the only reasons to believe offered by the columnist are that it was Trudeau's riding and it's a seat they haven't held for 25 years. That's not really convincing.

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I've seen this repeated in the media a few times. Without this angle, there isn't much of a story. The angle might be believable if one more seat actually had meaning, but with the Tories already having a majority, the only reasons to believe offered by the columnist are that it was Trudeau's riding and it's a seat they haven't held for 25 years. That's not really convincing.

The Tories are circumventing the elected MP in a riding and operating through an unelected Tory that lost and that's not a story?

I'm sorry, but this is a serious threat to democracy. Imagine if the Other Guys were doing this in your riding while they formed government. I can't stress enough that this absolutely cannot be allowed to happen with impunity and it doesn't matter who was doing it.

Edited by cybercoma
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Actually if this is true and an unelected official is acting on behalf of a region then this would be treason.

No person or body can circumvent an elected official in Canada.

WWWTT

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Actually if this is true and an unelected official is acting on behalf of a region then this would be treason.

No person or body can circumvent an elected official in Canada.

WWWTT

I don't think it's specifically treason. You should check the actual definition of treason in the Criminal Code. I could be wrong.

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I'd be surprised if this were the case with Cotler.

And it doesn't matter at all in the least. The government is obligated to work with the MP, not setup their own party hacks in a constituency and work through them. If it's not a law now, it should be.

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