Sunday, May 3, 2009

Guy Lauzon is Quite a Piece of Work

Guy Lauzon is the Conservative MP for the Cornwall riding of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. He first ran as a Canadian Alliance (formed by uniting the extreme right-wing Reform and Alliance Parties) candidate in 2000 but did not win his seat.

When the Alliance and Progress Conservatives merged in 2003; Lauzon voted in favour of the union and the following year ran for the new Conservative Party, and was on his way to Ottawa. He won again in 2006 and 2008, and was recently named the new Chair of the Conservative Government Caucus. Who says incompatence doesn't reap it's own rewards? (OK, that was probably me)

In the tradition of both the Reform and Canadian Alliance, Mr. Lauzon runs on 'Family Values', meaning that he supports the Cons' Trifecta: anti-Choice, anti-Same Sex Marriage and anti-Gay Rights; but like most members of this new party he has one hand in the public purse while the other one bitch slaps the poor.

Meet the Real Guy Lauzon

1. Public Funds for Private Gain - This MP is well known for his passport clinics, which he holds at malls and annual picnics; 22 in all. Of course, he says 'clinic', some say 'scam', but you be the judge.

To expediate the passport process, forms are filled out, pictures taken, and all documentation is whisked to Ottawa at taxpayers expense. Well, after all, it is a public service, so I have no problem with that. However, it's his little side business it appears to have, that has earned him, by his own admission, $ 260,000.00; minus the salary of his part-time photographer and a few rolls of film.

During the last local election debates Mr. Lauzon was put on the spot about the real inspiration for providing this service to his constituents. From Citizens to Remove Guy Lauzon: "Cornwall, 01-Oct-08 Guy Lauzon confirmed today that his Passport clinics have gouged over 13,000 people by charging at least $5.00 more per photo than Walmart and over $10 more than some area suppliers of passport photos." Perhaps the wording was a little strong, but that was the first time he spoke about the fees. In the past he always dodged the question.

CRGL did their homework, however, and found quite a difference between the cost of photos at his 'clinics' and those found elsewhere: Astral Photos - $ 8.99, CAA - $ 8.99, Walmart - $ 13.75, Costco - $ 5.57 and Loblaws - $ 6.99. We have to remember that those companies need to make a profit, but why does an elected official who should be promoting local stores and not honing in on their business. And does he declare this income or write it off as 'not for profit'? Interesting.

2. Charity Work or a Piece of Work? Reading a list of Mr. Lauzon's accomplishments, he seems to be a pretty decent guy....charitable work for organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the MS Society; and while no doubt motivated in part for good photo-ops, all help is appreciated; at least for the MS Society. HFH may be a different story.

There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the Lauzon family and their connection to the charity which is supposed to provide affordable houses to those who would not be able to afford to buy a house otherwise.

Their chapter is called the Habitat for Humanity Seaway Valley, and though now headed, at least on paper, by longtime friend, Dick Aubry, Lauzon's wife, Frances; remains on the board. A conflict of interest since Lauzon not only sold HFHSV the building for their offices but his family holds the mortgage. If you look on their website they are still actively raising funds but never hold meetings or elections and have not built a house in seven years!

And what does Mr. Aubry get for allowing his name to appear on the letterhead of a charity branch that raises funds but does not use them for their intended purpose? A cushy government job. On August 1, 2008; he was appointed to the National Capital Commission "The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced the appointment of Mr. Richard Aubry to the board of directors of the National Capital Commission (NCC) for a term of four years."

An interesting footnote to the article is "He recently retired as publisher of Seaway News, a weekly community newspaper in Cornwall, Ontario." Not that his paper would sing the praises of the Conservatives above all others, to manipulate an election, right? Lauzon is a regular contributor, though he just has to know how to 'cut and paste', because all articles I read in the on-line paper can be found on his official website.

3. Taking Credit where Credit's Due and Even When it Isn't - From both the Seaway News and Mr. Lauzon's website: "Locally, there are many accomplishments I’m proud of. One of my top priorities in Ottawa has been to secure well-paying jobs for the riding...." City of Cornwall site: "From 1996 to 1998, Cornwall' s total employment grew 25 per cent, with most of the gains occurring last year. That's more than five times the pace of job growth in the country as a whole and more than four times the Ontario rate."

Same site after Lauzon: "The manufacturing sector in areas of rural Eastern Ontario has experienced significant lay-offs since 2005. For example, the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry region suffered the loss of more than 3000 manufacturing jobs. Domtar, the largest and highest-paid employer in Cornwall, closed its pulp and paper mill on March 31, 2006. A series of lay-offs at this facility has resulted in a total loss of 1128 jobs." Read more about Cornwall's current job market.

And further comment by Lauzon: "...I’m glad to say there have been many successes in this regard. These include an employment insurance (EI) centre of specialization, 41 jobs; a $15-million RCMP facility..." What he doesn't tell the good people of Cornwall is that the Liberals were actually responsible for the new RCMP facility. He finally admitted this during the last debate.

And: "a Service Canada centre that will soon open in the riding, 177 jobs generating $12 million to $15 million a year in salaries to bolster the local economy". Hmm...even at his lowball figure 12 million dollars, it would mean the average salary would have to be 67,000.00, and if 15 million; $ 85,000.00. Sounds a little high for call centre workers. Besides the centre won't open until 2010, which won't help those trying to put food on the table now.

4. Incompatence and Obstruction- In the spring of 2007, Guy Lauzon was ousted from his position as the Official Languages Committee chair in a non-confidence vote. After cancelling several meetings to examine the cancellation of the Court Challenges Program, though he was only following the Conservative's “obstruction manual". Naturally Harper then decided not to nominate a new chair, shutting down all the committee’s work.

5. The Shane Doan Affair - Guy Lauson has been criticised for his handling of the Shane Doan affair, which began when the Phoenix Coyote called a linesman a "F-----g Frenchman" after a penalty call in a game against the Montreal Canadiens. He then told teammate Curtis Joseph: "Four French referees in Montreal, Cuje, figure it out." Doan received a 10 minute misconduct penalty for the incident, but it didn't really make news until he was selected as Captain for Team Canada. Since taxpayers give the team 3 million dollars of their operating budget, some MP's, especially from the Bloc were outraged.

Initially Lauzon as committee chair, supported a Bloc motion to summon Hockey Canada officials for a hearing, until it triggered a flood of angry reaction from NHLers, sports commentators and callers to radio shows; then he did a 180 and stated that it was just "an example of the Bloc Quebecois stirring up tension in their mission to break up Canada." Huh?

Part of me thinks the incident was blown out of proportion, but a racial slur is a racial slur, and should not be condoned. Former NHL goalie John Vanbiesbrouck was forced to resign as the coach and director of the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 2003 after calling team captain Trevor Daley a "n-----".

In 1997, the Washington Capitals' Chris Simon was suspended for three games for calling the Edmonton Oilers' Mike Grier a "n-----." Simon's teammate Craig Berube was suspended for one game after he called the Florida Panthers' Peter Worrell a "monkey" a few weeks later. The Ottawa Senators' Vaclav Prospal was forced to attend a diversity training session after calling the Montreal Canadiens' Patrice Brisebois a "f---ing frog" during a game in 1999.

6. Pulp Fiction - In one of Lauzon's editorials, he states that "I’ve also received huge amounts of feedback from the mail-outs I regularly send out." Regularly send out indeed. According to one Cornwall resident, almost 20 so far at a cost of roughly $ 6,000.00 a pop, or $120,000.00 to date. "Lauzon’s request for “feedback” from the riding is absolute hypocrisy and his tenure has been nothing more than a continuous election campaign, filled with endless amounts of self-promotion at the expense of the taxpayer." He further notes: "And when he dares to use the phrase 'in all modesty...', why for heaven's sake, this shameless waster of our money is so self-centred, that he would go to the opening of a can of dog food if he thought his picture would make the "Seaway News". (Remember the paper owned by his buddy Richard Aubry in 2 above?)

7. Odds and Ends - From a recent posting: "Have you ever been tailgated by an erratically and dangerously driving MP, (in a grey Crown Victoria) while talking away on his Cell phone and not paying attention to the road? Well my wife and I have, and it was very frightening, frightening enough for us to dial 911, and report the plate number to the city police. We only realized who it was after he passed us and we saw his name in the car window. Talk about "leading by example!" I hope he doesn’t show our teens this trick." Since a 911 call was made which has to be followed up, I wonder if he was ever charged? Not likely.

Back to - The Guy Lauzon Story: I'll Sit This One Out

1 comment:

  1. He is a real piece of work. I worked for him and no from experience. In 1994, he ousted one of his top insurance people who worked for him at HRDC. The reason for this ousting was to drop the number increase the wait time of the people in the riding which was Ottawa Centre. It was at the time held by the NDP and by doing this stunt made the NDP rep in the area look bad. Also ask him about how many of his female employees he asked out on dates. As I said piece of work