The Civitas is the policy arm of the Harper government and many members move back and forth. Ian Brodie, a director at Civitas, was formerly Harper's chief of staff, and many others, founding members of the Reform Party.
But Guy Giorno is a stickler for details, so when he spoke of "transplanting" the success of Ontario's Mike Harris, he meant transplanting every single thing.
So you might call it a "remake", where a script written in 1995, would be followed line by line. Only a few of the actors would be replaced.
If you google 'Guy Giorno and Ontario Legislature', you'll find that many of the complaints raised by the opposition then, are eerily similar to those being raised in federal Parliament today.
ORAL QUESTIONS: GOVERNMENT ADVERTISING, Ontario Hansard - October 28, 1998
Question: What you are doing is unprecedented. Your current $4-million spending spree is just the latest. It comes on top of millions spent on education propaganda. It comes on top of millions spent on wasted welfare propaganda. It comes on top of millions wasted on business propaganda. In total so far, and it's early going yet, early days yet, you have wasted over $42 million worth of taxpayers' money in a desperate attempt to save your own skins.Feds spent $42M promoting stimulus spending, documents show, By Glen McGregor, Ottawa Citizen: April 27, 2010
Minister, why should taxpayers be involved in this plot to fund your re-election campaign? Minister, you're wasting $42 million of taxpayer dollars on PC Party propaganda. It doesn't matter how you slice it and how you dice it, that's what it's all about. Let's understand what this would have meant in terms of health care dollars for patients: $42 million would have allowed you to hire almost 1,000 new nurses; $42 million would have allowed you to wipe out the entire deficit of the Ottawa Hospital, which right now stands at $41 million; $42 million would have allowed you to pay for your share of 40 MRIs desperately needed by communities right across this province; $42 million would have allowed you to pay for your full-year funding commitment to attract doctors to under serviced areas in communities right across the province. How can you justify wasting taxpayer dollars that ought to be devoted to health care and putting them into your campaign to re-elect Mike Harris?
Answer: There's nothing that I think is more important than communicating to the public about major changes that are taking place.
Federal departments have spent nearly $42 million promoting the Harper government's economic stimulus programs. Documents introduced in ParliamentSee. They are following a script, and a plot line. It now just involves a lot more money, with the Harper government spending 45 million on signs and over 100 million on self promotion ads. And it's not about to end anytime soon.
detail the massive wave of print, radio, TV and online advertising intended to highlight the Economic Action Plan launched in January 2009.The advertising blitz includes everything from $110,000 in newspaper ads for the Agriculture Department's slaughterhouse improvement program to the $44,000 spent to wrap two Go Transit commuter trains in the Toronto area with the distinctive green and blue EAP logo.
Critics charge that the promotion of the unprecedented government spending is a form of political advertising but the government defends the ads as critical to communicating with Canadians as the country navigates its way out of the economic downturn.
The Liberals have made a weekly event out of highlighting what they perceive to be wasteful spending measures on the part of the Conservative government. On Friday, the target of their ire was the half-million dollars the government spent on “partisan-style” backdrops from press conferences and meetings and $6.5-million promoting tax measures that were introduced in 2006.In the private sector these actions would be called embezzlement. But in the neocon world it's business as usual.
“Following Haiti’s earthquake last year, rather than delivering aid as quickly as possible, the Conservative government wasted $27,000 on single-use backdrops, conveniently coloured Tory blue, when they were coordinating a response to the earthquake,” Liberal MP John McCallum told a news conference. “To put that in context, it’s about 55 times the income of the average Haitian.” Mr. McCallum also said the government spent $10,000 on backdrops to unveil the G8 logo. In total, he said, in just over a year, the government has spent more than $500,000 on backdrops alone. Documents explaining how he reached those figures are available here. And he pointed to a Globe and Mail Story published Thursday that said the government is spending $6.5-million of public funds to promote its tax-cutting record in an advertising campaign centred on what is shaping up as a key election issue.
One Actor Eliminated
The only thing different between the original movie How Guy Giorno Stole Millions From Taxpayers for Mike Harris and the remake How Guy Giorno Stole Millions From Taxpayers for Stephen Harper, is that they have eliminated one character. Deb Hutton and Leslie Noble from the original, are now embodied in the character of Jenni Byrne.
Like Guy Giorno, Leslie Noble was a top lobbyist who had her own gold plated cheque book. But she used to berate, ridicule and taunt elected MPPs, because she knew that she had more power than them. And she also kept them all election ready.
Noble has no official job with government but regularly briefs Harris, his cabinet ministers and Tory MPPs on what needs to be done politically to stay in power ... One pipeline [Leslie] Noble has to influence government decision-makers is the unelected cadre of political aides in the offices of the Premier and his top ministers. These aides, many of whom report to Noble during the election campaign, wield tremendous power in government, a reality acknowledged by some Tory MPPs. Tory backbencher Bill Murdoch says they openly flaunt their power. ``They say, `Hey Murdoch, we didn't even have to go through an election and we're running the place.' '' Queen's Park Speaker Chris Stockwell, a Tory MPP, calls them a "cabal'' and says they make decisions without input from elected politicians.Jenni Byrne:
It has not gone unnoticed by some staffers that a hakapik, the weapon used to club to death baby seals, sits on her desk. “She has cultivated a reputation where most people are terrified of being on the wrong side of her,” says a senior Conservative official who knows her well. No wonder then that many of her colleagues who were interviewed for this article asked not to be identified. Ms. Byrne refused to be interviewed.The other female character that has been absorbed by Byrne is Deb Hutton, now married to Tim Hudak, the man we have to make sure doesn't become our next premier in Ontario. Hutton was called Jabba the Hutt, because if you wanted to talk to Mike Harris you had to go through her, and few got through.
Meanwhile, Deborah Hutton, who remained as the premier's legislative assistant, was given the nickname "Jabba the Hutt" by ministerial aides terrified of her legendary tantrums. One of these aides, like those working for the Conservatives, was willing to be more specific, only on the condition of anonymity. According to the disgruntled staffer, Hutton was and remains "a one-person Blitzkrieg against party morale. (Hard Right Turn: The New Face of Neo-Conservatism in Canada, Brooke Jeffrey, Harper-Collins, 1999, ISBN: 0-00 255762-2, Pg. 170)Jenni Byrne
Described by colleagues as possessing a volcanic temper with a penchant for yelling at cabinet ministers, staffers and senior bureaucrats alike, Ms. Byrne is fiercely loyal to the Prime Minister...So to Gloria Galloway, do your homework. If you think Jenni Byrne is a ground breaker ... or glass breaker ... she's about 15 years too late. I've seen this movie before and I know how it ends. The leader resigns because of corruption, and when they are voted out of office, they leave not only a bare cupboard, but a province (and now a nation), with a record deficit and swimming in debt.
The Defrauding of Taxpayers II.