Cry 'Scandal', Part 2
When local a local conservative commentator from the local conservative fishwrap agrees with a Dipper, you know something is up.
Via a friend, here is Randall Denley's column from this past Saturday's Ottawa Citizen (October 29, 2005), and what he had to say about Nepean-Carleton CPC MP Pierre Poilievre and MPP John Baird's scandal mongering over the Queensway Carleton Hospital 'issue' (reprinted in it's entirety, since it cannot be linked to) :
"Omnipresent MP Pierre Poilievre is certainly a contrast to most local members, who typically vanish into obscurity 15 minutes after they are elected.I usually find Denley no more than an angry conservative, who reacts for the sake of reacting. So I have to ask, if even the natural allies of the CPC are tired of this kind of low-brow politics, what will the electorate think? Perhaps its time for a new MP in Nepean-Carleton, on that will work for the people, instead of always picking 'fights'....
It seems one can't turn around without seeing or hearing the MP from Nepean-Carleton, especially if one happens to live in his riding.
Poilievre deserves an A for activity, but his big crusade to save the Queensway-Carleton Hospital looks too much like a cheesy stunt.
Poilievre would have us believe that health care at the hospital is threatened because it will have to pay more for its National Capital Commission-owned land when its lease runs out. But that won't happen until 2013. Until then, the hospital gets the land for peanuts. It's paying only $23,000 a year, the same price it has had since 1973.
The NCC thinks the new lease will boost the cost to about $350,000 a year for five years, then move to an unspecified market value. All of that's a little south of the several million dollars Poilievre likes to talk about. It's also an issue that's so far off in the future, in political terms, that it's difficult to believe that it's worth upsetting people about today.
Despite all of that, Poilievre was still able to get the House of Commons to waste a bit of time defeating his private member's bill calling for a $1 a year lease. The problem with his plan is that a special deal for our hospital would be quickly sought by every other group leasing federal property. It's a situation that calls for a policy solution.
Poilievre's campaign didn't get a rent deal for the hospital, and there was no hope that it would. What it did do is give Poilievre and fellow Tory John Baird a dandy, if bogus, election issue. What a happy side effect.
MPP Baird is seeking a federal seat in Ottawa West-Nepean, where MP Marlene Catterall voted against the $1 deal. You can bet that Baird and Poilievre will furiously denounce the federal Liberals for taking money out of the hospital's pocket, reducing health care and any other scary thing they can think of. Poilievre has already suggested the lease problem will affect cancer care. The fact that it isn't really
true won't slow them down a bit.
This is a very old-fashioned type of politics, in which the politician manufactures an issue so he can rage about the horrible misdeeds of those in the other party. It doesn't really accomplish anything and it's mostly for show, kind of like fighting in hockey.
Poilievre has already figured out that Nepean-Carleton voters like a politician who's a scrapper. It's no accident that he has named his web site www.fightingforyou.ca. Political pugilism has certainly worked well for other politicians in Nepean-Carleton, especially Baird and city councillor Jan Harder.
But surely being a good MP requires more than just fighting. It matters that the fight is real, is about something important, and actually accomplishes something. Poilievre's predecessor, David Pratt, was pretty much the opposite type of MP. A quiet, hard worker, Pratt proved his substance by devoting a lot of time to African aid. It wasn't something designed to score political points.
Poilievre, on the other hand, wants us to be aware of his every move. Actually using the words "you can't understand someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes," Poilievre has been informing the media of his days spent tagging along with ordinary folks as they go about their business. So far, he's been out with a police officer, a farmer and a nurse. The time and place of the event is always announced, in
case we'd like to come and take his picture.
Poilievre also papers his constituents with flyers. He has sent out 19 of them in just over a year, plus four householders.
Some of it is sophomoric stuff of the sort you'd expect from someone running for head of a campus chapter of the party youth wing. One of Poilievre's recent flyers features Prime Minister Paul Martin on a three-dollar bill. As you might imagine, it says "phoney as a three dollar bill."
The same flyer asks these piercing questions. Do you agree that Paul Martin should stop making phoney promises? Tick yes or no. If I think Martin is beating his wife, can I write that in? Poilievre reminds constituents that they can return this scientific survey to him without postage, free mail being an MP's privilege. What a wise use of taxpayers' dollars.
He also asks "Is Pierre Poilievre MP on the right track in general?"
In a word, no. See above.
Poilievre is only 26, and a rookie MP. Maybe he will having a learning curve, but he needs to think about what he's doing before he ends up as nothing more than a young political hack. Based on what we've seen so far, he looks as phoney as a three dollar bill."
By Randall Denley of the Ottawa Citizen.