If only that were true.
In December of 2010, a staffer in Kelly Block's office, leaked details of a confidential pre-budget House Finance Committee report, to several key lobbyists. When caught, the Conservatives claimed that he was a "rogue" staffer and would be dealt with.
Their modus operandi when caught red handed. Blame it on the help.
Block's aide, Russell Ullyatt, was not new to controversy. He was named in the case of Conservative MP Rob Clarke, a former RCMP officer, who during his 2008 campaign, was allowing uniformed officers to deliver his lawn signs. The image was both unprofessional and frightening, though not the first time that the RCMP interfered in elections on behalf of the Harperites.
In fact, they are still doing it.
The government was able to cleverly control the message of Ullyatt's motor mouth, by suggesting that they were looking at ways to make sure that it wouldn't happen again, and of course Block gave him the sack.
However, what they refused to address was something far more serious. Apparently Ullyat was running a very lucrative business from INSIDE Block's office, using taxpayer money to print and distribute, according to his own website, more than 5 million direct mail fundraising letters on behalf of Conservative clients.
Throughout both House Affairs Committee meetings last week, opposition MPs honed in on Mr. Ullyatt's credibility and especially his ownership of a political mailing company BestMail.ca. Mr. Mulcair, who also has an office on the sixth floor of the Confederation Building near Ms. Block's office, said he had seen "skids with boxes piled high and a very elaborate printing machine" in the hallway outside Ms. Block's office.If you look at the bestmail.ca website, it's pretty chintzy, with a Conservative blue banner and little else. Apparently he has no staff, according to the company profile, but then why would he need his own staff, when he could simply use Kelly's, which is paid for by us.
The other strange thing about his website is that under contact info it simply leads you back to bestmail.ca Obviously his clients knew where he could be reached.
As usual, the Harperites circled the wagons, protecting Block, and Block herself, refused to be accountable, feigning ignorance, which in a Member of Parliament may be worse than deceit. How can we trust her to make decisions when she can't, or won't, explain over 5,000,000 mail outs, allegedly produced and distributed by her own staff? Surely she doesn't believe that she has 5,000,000 constituents?
Liberal MP Yasmin Ratansi (Don Valley East, Ont.) asked in Question Period on Dec. 16 whether the government would call in the RCMP to investigate what she called "a serious allegation of potential fraud being conducted out of [Ms. Block's] office." Government House Leader John Baird (Ottawa West-Nepean, Ont.), who had accompanied Ms. Block to her witness chair before the House Affairs Committee earlier that day, responded that the government would always be prepared to look at that.They never did.
The opposition also revealed that her office had exorbitantly high printing expenses, which she signed off on. They scripted her responses to committee and limited her time for questioning.
I bring this up now, because hypocritically, Block has now been charged with presenting a private member's bill to hold First Nation communities to account, by revealing the salaries of their leaders. The implication of course is that they are perhaps corrupt, and even if this proves not to be so, the damage will be done.
The Reformers claim that Band members deserve "the same provisions as other Canadians in terms of transparency and accountability."
"Other Canadians" meaning anyone other than a member of their own government. I don't know how Block will be able to discuss any of this with a straight face. I mean, seriously. She's being called a "rising star", but only because she clearly knows how the game is played.
You do as you're told and you'll be just fine.
This is clearly a witch hunt, but maybe the First Nation communities should announce that they are in the process of investigating Kelly Block and her connections to Russell Ullyatt and bestmail.ca
Somebody's got to do it.