Friday, January 10, 2014

The Family Guy: "Liar, liar toaster's on fire and pants and cojones too!"

Good Day Readers:

Ever notice how Stephen Harper has a real penchant for picking losers? His previous Parliamentary Secretary Dean De Mastro is now up on four counts of misrepresenting his 2011 campaign expenses to Elections Canada. The trial is scheduled for later this year.

What about the Senate expense scandal swirling around at least three Senators he appointed, his former Chief of Staff Nigel Wright and possibly others meaning taxpayers will have to await the Auditor General of Canada's detailed investigation going back at least two years (and possibly longer depending upon what he finds) of all remaining Senators. It's hard to believe everyone will come out squeaky clean as pure as the freshly driven snow. His final report naming names is due in December.

Alas, there is Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, his trusty dog Yukon King and horse Rex formerly of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police who've since morphed into Corporal Greg Horton of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Sensitive and International Investigations Division. His detailed court filings would seem to suggest significant senatorial skulduggery - breach of public trust and taxpayer fraud for starters?
Corporal Greg Horton

Lest you never forget the modern day Sergeant Preston has backup so like Texas is not to be messed with as evidenced by:
"Hey, Kemosahbee, something's very wrong here. Oh for sure I know Tonto and Sergeant Preston so let's keep digging. Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!"

But the creme de la creme that takes the cake? Stephen Harper no less appointed "Toaster Man" to the House of Commons Ethics Committee!
Ever get the impression the senate scandal is starting to rival the juicy, salacious, taxpayer financed, Canadian Judicial Council driven Douglas Inquiry I which everyone is awaiting with bated breath for the second season of Douglas Inquiry II to begin? Boring Canadian politics and its judiciary have never been more interesting.

As his piece de resistance in assessing character, Stephen Harper should appoint Toronto's goofy Ford Brothers (easily confused with the original Doug and Bob McKenzie of Second City Television fame) to the Senate to replace those who've already "fled" with their taxpayer largess in place for life ..... gilt-edged pensions, medical, dental, health insurance, etc., etc., etc.
"Hey, Toronto hosers how's it going eh? Coo Loo coo coo coo coo coo coo ....."
Finally, while still on the subject of the Harper government's excellence in decision making we have the case of his recent Supreme Court of Canada appointment Justice Mark "Smiley" Nadon shown here during his "confirmation hearing" in October of last year.
Problem is, Toronto constitutional legal expert Rocco "The Attitude" Galati and others are leading a charge to challenge the appointment which is unprecedented in the annals of Canadian jurisprudence. The case will be heard next Wednesday at the SCC in Ottawa. Should the forces opposing the nomination succeed it could and likely will have far reaching ramifications on the way the country's top benchers are chosen - "Go Rocco et. al. Go!"
Unlike the American confirmation process which is a real barbecue/grilling here it's a tea party. The bi-partisan parliamentary committee gets two days notice to prepare for the hearing hardly enough time. Perhaps that explains why most of the questions put to a potential nominee are trite - in fact, they're more like a one-on-one feel good interview with CBC creamy voiced anchorman Peter Mansbridge. Where are the tough questions on a nominee's record regarding leading edge issues such as senate reform, stem cell research, gay rights, abortion which never seem to want to go away, etcetera?

Canadians are tired of hearing how a nominee immigrated to Canada when they were young when all their parents had was that proverbial chicken in a brown paper bag and ten dollars in their pocket. Touchy, fuzzy, feel good stories but voters/taxpayers/legal system users deserve much, much better.

The aforementioned must also be quite the embarrassment for former National Defence Minister and now federal Justice Minister The Honourable Peter "Helicopter Pete" MacKay.
A confident Marc Nadon and Peter MacKay strolling into the "confirmation hearing" thinking it would be a slam dunk. Little did the lads know they'd get whacked!
Former National Defence Minister Peter MacKay indulging in his penchant for Canadian Forces helicopters.

Clare L. Pieuk
Paul Calandra court documents point to a family dispute over money, assets

Glen McGregor
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Paul Calandra stands during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Friday, May 3, 2013. (Photograph: Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

OTTAWA — Before he was elected in 2008, the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary, Paul Calandra, was embroiled in an ugly family dispute in which he was accused of taking money from his dying mother and suggesting he should kill his sister.

Calandra, the government’s point man on the Senate expense scandal, has become notorious for responding to opposition questions in the House of Commons with heartwarming stories about his parents and children, but the acrimonious 2005 legal dispute suggests a far less convivial family dynamic.

The case was eventually settled in 2008, shortly before Calandra was first elected as MP for the Toronto-area riding of Oak Ridges–Markham. The allegations made against him in the lawsuit launched by sisters Concetta Calandra and Milva Gehring were never proven in court.

Asked for comment, Calandra emailed a statement he attributed to himself, his brother and Concetta, saying the dispute was “many years ago” and that the family had resolved their differences.

“We love and support each other and have no further comment on this very personal family matter.”

In an affidavit filed in October 2005, Concetta Calandra described how her mother Franca allegedly confronted Paul about approximately $8,000 that had been charged to Franca’s Visa card and her TD bank account.

“Paul went ballistic,” Concetta claimed in the affidavit.

“He was completely out of control. He started calling me names, suggested that he should kill me and punched the pantry door.”

“He said, ‘mom didn’t need to know about it,’ and that when the money ran out, that he would use the money in her mutual funds,” the affidavit says of the January 2005 conversation.

“My mom looked scared. She was shaking, yelling at him to calm down. I was terrified. Then, Paul started talking nonsense. He said he didn’t want any part of the family; he said he didn’t want to see anybody again; he said they were coming to repossess his car in the morning.”

Concetta said she had become concerned about her mother’s finances in 2004, when she found a TD Visa statement with a charge for Internet services, even though her mother had never used a computer.

She also found bank charges for Home Depot, A&P groceries and Sunoco at a time when her mother was in Scarborough General Hospital, Concetta said in her affidavit.

Concetta said she called her brother to demand he reimburse the costs. “I told him he was committing fraud and could be charged,” she said in the affidavit.

In his statement of defence, Calandra said his mother authorized him to incur the changes as “compensation for the sacrifice the defendant was making by foregoing employment to care for his sick mother.”

Calandra claimed that he had stayed at home full-time as a caregiver for Franca between October 2003 — the month the Ontario PC Party was voted out of office — and January 2005.

After the confrontation, Franca rescinded Calandra’s power of attorney and gave it to Concetta instead.
But Calandra claimed in his defence that when Franca switched the power of attorney and updated her will, she didn’t have the requisite mental capacity because of pain management narcotics she was taking for her cancer.

Concetta said she found that her mother’s widow’s benefit had been garnisheed to pay down more than $10,000 in unpaid taxes. She said she was shocked because she believed $25,000 taken from her mother’s account had been used to pay the Canada Revenue Agency. In fact, she alleged in court documents, Calandra wrote the cheque to himself.

Calandra said in his statement of defence that he never claimed the $25,000 was intended to pay taxes.

Rather, he said, “The money was given to the defendant by his mother freely, without pretext and on her own volition.”

Central to the legal dispute was Calandra’s listing as co-resident with his mother on a farm property in Stouffville.

Franca Calandra died in August 2005, three months after the property was transferred to list both her and Paul as joint tenants.

The sisters alleged that Calandra wrongly caused the property to be transferred, then mortgaged the property for $240,000, even though he no longer had power of attorney. When Franca died, the sisters claimed, Calandra was able to claim ownership of the farm property.

In response, Calandra claimed that the bank required his name on the title for the mortgage, which was used to pay off a mortgage on her previous home. His mother, he claimed, knew about the transaction and approved of it.

A document filed on Sept. 8, 2008 — the first full day of the federal election campaign — said the parties had settled the case.

This past summer, Calandra, 43, was appointed parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, replacing embattled MP Dean Del Mastro, who later left the Conservative caucus after he was charged with four counts of Elections Act offences.

Calandra was also named to the House of Commons Ethics Committee.

In the House, Calandra has raised the ire of opposition MPs by answering questions about the Senate expense scandal with stories about his immigrant parents and how hard they worked running a pizza shop.
Although there is no reference to the pizza business in court documents, according to an affidavit filed by Calandra’s brother, his parents appear to have done very well in Toronto real estate. When his father died in 1983, the family owned or co-owned six properties in the area as well as land in Florida.

Before running for office, Calandra had worked as an aide to former Progressive Conservative MPP Steven Gilchrist and as an insurance broker. He also ran for the Canadian Alliance in Scarborough East in the 2000 election, losing to Liberal John McKay.

Calandra sought the Conservative nomination in Oak Ridges–Markham in 2004 but lost out to a local businessman. A news report on the nomination described him as “a commercial and industrial real estate landlord.”

A few weeks into the 2008 federal election, Calandra sold the farm property for $950,000 to a local landscape contractor.

Calandra lists no assets in the conflict-of-interest disclosure he filed with the federal ethics commissioner and only one liability — a mortgage he guaranteed for his wife, on their matrimonial home.

Milva Gehring declined to comment on the case.


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