Credibility an issue in byelection

By: By Wheel Staff

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 01:48 pm

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Agriculture, jobs and the local economy are most likely top of mind for voters in the Macleod by-election campaign, but questions around the credibility of Prime Minster Stephen Harper and his government are serious and canít be ignored by voters and candidates alike.

The Conservative Party came to office in the wake of the Sponsorship Scandal with a promise to be more accountable.

There hasnít been anything at the same level of the Sponsorship scandal, which saw the misuse and misdirection of public funds intended for government advertising in Quebec and resulted in the defeat of the party and then prime minister Paul Martin in 2006.

In some cases involved advertising companies paid for little or no work, with some of the money going back to the governing Liberal Party.

The Conservative Partyís tenure in office hasnít been without scandal.

The senate scandal, and the case of the Prime Ministerís former chief of staff Nigel Wright paying $90,000 to cover Sen. Mike Duffyís expenses, is one of the biggest and most recent, but itís not the only one.

The Conservative Party was in a long-running fight with Elections Canada over the so-called ĎIn-and-outí affair involving allegations of improper election spending.

The Party was also at the centre of and so-called robocalls scandal, where misleading automated calls were placed directing voters to the wrong polling station.

A former Conservative campaign worker is on trial this week for his alleged involvement in the scheme, but Elections Canada has deemed there isnít enough evidence to show a co-ordinated campaign to mislead voters.

The longer a government remains in power, the more it and the governing party itself needs to be wary against developing the sense of entitlement that can come with power.

Albertaís Progressive Conservative Party is holding on for its political life over suggestions of entitlement after more than 40 years in office.

The Prime Minister and his government has done a good job in a number of areas, like getting Canada through the recession years and opening more international markets for trade.

However, the Conservative government has lost its way on issues of accountability and needs to get back on track.


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