About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Today. (Changes, Opinions & Stuff)

It's been a busy day for me. I interviewed Tom King at his home today for my Echo column next week. Since I'm on deadline, I'll round up some of the by-election headlines I scoped out today:

1) Sometimes a by-election can be so darn inconvenient. Elizabeth May announced today that the Green Party has had to shift the date of their national policy convention because they don't want candidates running in by-elections to have to choose between coming to the convention and campaigning the last weekend before voters go the polls. This must be especially good news for Mike Nagy, who's the Greens' Environment critic in their shadow cabinet.

2) The Guelph Mercury printed an article yesterday detailing the candidates opinions on compensation to Steven Truscott. It was announced that Truscott would be compensated with $6.5 million stemming from being wrongful convicted and sentenced to death in the 1959 murder of Lynne Harper. When Truscott was paroled, he moved to Guelph with his family and has spent the last several years fighting for his innocence.

Now the question was: should the Feds split the cost of compensation for Truscott. Here's how their answers broke down:

Mike Nagy -"The most important thing is that Mr. Truscott gets justice. There was a miscarriage of justice and he suffered long enough. So compensation is important. I would say that will be up to the federal agency to discuss between the provincial agencies whether they share or not." [...] "My primary concern isn't really who pays the bill. It's that Mr. Truscott is compensated more than fairly for his suffering . . . because it's clear it's been a miscarriage of justice."

Tom King -"I think there should be some compensation. I mean, the man was accused, wrongly convicted and incarcerated for a fair amount of time. I think those kinds of mistakes - I mean we try not to make them -- but I think that if we do make them . . . then certainly we have an obligation to try to do the right thing. In this case I think that compensation is about the only right thing we can do." [...] "I think the two levels of government can figure that out on their own. It doesn't strike me as a hard question to answer particularly."

Frank Valeriote (who's a lawyer, by the way) - "If you've investigated this, you'll know that the Criminal Code under which he was convicted is federal law. The rules of evidence that would have been applied, there's actually rules of evidence provincially and there's rules of evidence federally. The application of the law and enforcement of the law is a provincial jurisdiction. So both the federal government and its laws and the provincial government and its application of the laws contributed to the failure of the system of justice. So it makes sense to me to conclude that since the whole national system of justice failed Mr. Truscott, the entire national system -- provincial and federal -- should contribute to [compensation]. Personally, I support that decision that it be born 50-50," he said. "Neither was more at fault than the other. That's clear."

Gloria Kovach - "I am pleased with the Truscott decision." [...] "The issue of funding is not a local issue and those questions are best directed to the PMO press office."

So quick note: if people are accusing Conservative members of taking their orders directly from the Prime Minister's Office, without regard for their own opinion, especially on matters of one of their (eventual) constituents, then it might be best not to put that in writing.

3) Speaking of Gloria Kovach, the cavalcade of high profile political guests continues to roll as Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz will be in town this Saturday at the Farmers' Market for the World's Longest Barbecue.

4) So now that I've done the plug, let's play the "Dot. Dot. Dot." game. Today I found a press release on Gloria Kovach's website that begins:

"Earlier this week Stephane Dion’s Liberal candidate in Guelph, Frank Valeriote attacked the Conservative government’s cut of the GST from 7% to 5%. Rather, Valeriote argues that instead of having tax cuts for Guelph families the GST savings should instead be passed on to more politicians, “what (the government) should be doing…is better applying that tax to what you and I both know to be very much needed infrastructure money by municipalities” (Guelph Mercury, July 23, 2008)."

Which begs the question: what's in the "Dot. Dot. Dot." Here's how the quote originally appeared in the Merc:

“'What (the government) should be doing, notwithstanding that their hands are now tied, is better applying that tax to what you and I both know to be very much needed infrastructure money by municipalities,' he said."

And there were five paragraphs before that, which included other key quotations, like, "'The Conservatives, against the advice of every economist, gave a two per cent cut of the GST, which amounts to $12 billion a year,' Valeriote said."

You can find a .pdf of the page in question here. When you read it you will note that what Valeriote was saying is that he wouldn't recommend a GAS tax cut because of the Conservative's ill-advised cuts to the GST. And more to the point, the money cut from the GST could have helped with the nationwide infrastructure deficit. Not that he doesn't want to help Guelph families, not that he wants the money to "be passed on to more politicians" and not that he wants to raise the GST again.

5) For those of us who may be assigning a lot heavy meaning to not just Guelph's by-election, but the one's in Quebec as well, the Globe and Mail offers a bit of cold water.

6) Oh and for some hilarious vitriolic right/left sniping, I highly recommend this thread from the Mercury's Guelph Votes blog.

That's all for now. My interview with Frank Valeriote is in tomorrow's Echo and I'll post it here too, but with director's commentary. Also, I'll be returning to CFRU on Friday for some colour (and hopefully colourful) commentary on the by-election for "The Press Conference" at 1 pm, 93.3 on your FM dial.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


good word

Mike Wisniewski