Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why CyberSmokeBlog does not endorse Shelly Glover

Good Day Readers:

CSB is able to offer at least 5 reasons but what other shenanigans has she been able to hid from her Saint Boniface, Manitoba constituents?

1. The 2011 election campaign spending dibacle

Recall she was about $2,200 over limit. When caught by Elections Manitoba she vowed to fight it even going as far as to hire a Winnipeg BigLaw lawyer to represent her in Court of Queen's Bench. Suddenly she withdrew the challenge offering her constituents no explanation.

2. The "Tupperware Fundraiser Party"

In February of 2013 she again got caught with her pantyhose around her ankles when a CTV reporter appeared on the steps of a private residence where a gathering of select individuals from Winnipeg's cultural and heritage community were munching on canapes and hors d'oeuvres. The home belonged to a member of her riding association. Problem was they were accepting donations.

Her explanation. She had no idea this event had been planned, found out at the last moment and had just happened to drop by. She was caught on camera heard saying (of the reporter) "how did he find out about this?' Once caught she apologized all over herself and returned the donations. Federal Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson (a paper toothless tiger organization) ruled she'd done nothing wrong but admitted the rules by which they operate are lacking.

3. Wikipediagate

Once again she (or one of her staff) got caught trying to re-shape her online bio by eliminating any reference to her election overspending.[(1) above].

4. The firing of the Canadian Human Rights Museum CEO Stuart Murray shortly after it opened 

When asked why his contract was abruptly terminated even though the Board of Directors had already approved its contention, all she could reply was an individual with a new skills set was needed. When asked what that new skills stet was she didn't have an answer.

5. Unbeknownst to taxpayers they've been paying for her Ministerial Regional Office

6. God knows what else she's been able to hid from her tax paying constituents - the count continues

Do you really think her next silly,Pablum laced political mail out will explain item 5 above? Constituents should be allowed to drop her flyers into the nearest mail box and send them back to her at no cost. The should not be forced to return them to her constituency office by hand.

For the aforementioned reasons CyberSmokeBlog has lost all confidence and trust in its Member of Parliament and cannot endorse her should she choose, and hopefully she won't, to run in the 2015 election.

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk

Taxpayers pay for 3 political staffers in Heritage Department Winnipeg, 'satellite' office

By Glen McGregor
Friday, December 12, 2014

Heritage Minister Shelly Glover responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Wednesday, December 3, 2014. (Photography by Adrian Wyld/Ottawa Citizen)

The NDP wants more scrutiny over cabinet ministers’ offices outside of Ottawa to determine whether they’re doing political work on the taxpayers’ tab.

NDP MP Charlie Angus says there are “way too many political players on the ice being paid for by taxpayers.” He wants greater oversight on the kind of work done in so-called ministers’ regional offices, or MROs.

Figures tabled in Parliament by Treasury Board Secretariat this week showed 39 ministerial staff were working outside of the National Capital Region in the 2013-14 fiscal year.

“There seems to be a pattern that ministers have this budget to be able to move staff into regions that are close to home or politically sensitive to the Conservative Party,” Angus said.

“They’re cutting front-line staff, they’re cutting services all over, and we wondered if they’re boosting money into these shadowy offices and, sure enough, they are. Where is the accountability?”
The Treasury Board data show that ministerial staff in certain regions have been shuffled from one department to another, ensuring they were assigned to the senior political minister in the area.

For example, when Manitoba Conservative MP Shelly Glover became minister of Canadian Heritage in 2013, taking over from B.C.’s James Moore, the Department of Canadian Heritage began paying for three ministerial staffers working out of a regional office in Winnipeg.

One of them had previously worked as Glover’s constituency assistant and had also worked on her 2011 election campaign. Another of the newly hired staff in the Winnipeg office had previously worked for Public Safety Canada when its minister, Vic Toews, was the Conservatives’ political lieutenant for Manitoba.

“It boggles the mind that they have a minister of heritage from Manitoba and suddenly they’re shifting staff to Manitoba in the run-up to an election,” Angus said.

Similarly, ministerial staff in Vancouver who worked for Canadian Heritage when Moore was minister of the department now draw their salaries from Industry Canada.

Treasury Board rules allow for ministers’ regional offices, though they are not supposed to replicate the work of MPs’ constituency offices or do strictly political work. The governments pays for the office space, salaries and expenses.

The ministerial employees are called “exempt staff” because they can be appointed to the jobs without going through the public service hiring process and are typically drawn from political supporters.

The NDP is facing allegations it misused parliamentary resources by stationing staff paid for by the House of Commons in Quebec “satellite offices” of leader Thomas Mulcair. The party has suggested in its defence that the government also puts taxpayer-funded staff in the regional offices to assist its MPs.

Angus said he became curious about ministerial offices when he learned that Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, who represents the riding of Nunavut, had ministerial staff, paid for by her department, stationed in the northern communities of Iqaluit, Whitehorse and Yellowknife.

Previously, the offices had been affiliated with Health Canada, under Aglukkaq’s previous portfolio, he said.

“I thought we needed Health people up there and suddenly they’re working for Environment,” Angus said. “If the ministry of Health was up there because they were needed to do special parliamentary work, you’d think they’ll still be there.”

The overall number of exempt staff, of whom most work in Ottawa, has risen sharply under the Conservative government. In 2014 there were 21 per cent more political staff hired compared to 2005, the last full year of Liberal government.

The government telephone directory lists Glover’s Winnipeg-based staff as regional director Olivia Baldwin Valainis, special assistant Jeremy Davis and special assistant Patricia Rondeau, whose voice mail says she is responsible for “caucus relations.” Until 2012, Baldwin Valainis had worked from Winnipeg as an aide to Toews.

Travel records show that Canadian Heritage has paid $2,894 to twice fly Baldwin Valainis to Ottawa for meetings, and $2,450 to send her to New York City in May, to accompany the minister on a trip to Carnegie Hall for a performance by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Rondeau, who left the ministerial office recently, was in the news last year in relation to a dispute with Elections Canada over Glover’s campaign spending in the 2011 election. She later worked as Glover’s constituency assistant.

In an email, Glover’s press secretary, Marisa Monnin, said spending by Glover’s office has been falling, down $2.5 million in 2013-14 compared to the previous year, and down $4.5 million since 2008-09.

“‎That’s getting results for the taxpayer,” Monnin wrote.

gmcgregor@ottawacitizen.com
Twitter.com/glen_mcgregor

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