Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Abbotsford News week of Jan. 16, 2006)

Cleaning House in Ottawa

John Pifer

Tuesday, January 23, 2006, has all the earmarks of being an exceptional day in the history of Canada.

For that federal election day, unlike any of recent decades, may actually result in a government that will keep a promise to clean up the corruption, double-dealing and duplicitous lies of political parties and administrations dating back through Paul Martin, Jean Chrétien, Brian Mulroney and even Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

If all goes according to what is now apparent in taking the pulse of the electorate on the eve of the vote, the Conservative Party will form government – probably as a strong minority in power, possibly even as a majority through a nationwide landslide.

And if there is one thing that a Stephen Harper government will be held to account over, it will be the promise to clear out the decades of corruption, old-boys’ network and favoritism for friends and insiders.

What’s that you say – believe a promise from a political party?! Yeah, right! Well, it could actually manifest, Mr. Harper carries little baggage and owes few inside players anything, unlike Mssrs. Chrétien and Martin, whose Liberal rule over the past 12½ years has been based on payoffs, kickbacks, sweet deals and nudge, nudge, wink, wink “arrangements” for their chief financiers and supporters.

The result is a Liberal-stacked Senate, a Liberal-stacked Supreme Court and a Liberal-stacked bureaucracy – all of who will serve to ensure that the Tories do nothing bold, unusual or unwelcome … which is not necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately, with the deck stacked against them in this manner, the Conservatives may also be stymied in bringing in long overdue reform to how we are governed.

It is to be hoped that the Liberals, on the ropes through most of this election campaign, will be reeling on Monday night as the size of their collapse is revealed; and that they will have little choice but to acknowledge that a clean-up is essential for the future of our country.

In the final days of campaigning, the Liberals are using every scare and smear tactic against bogeyman Harper that they can invent, knowing they have served them well in the past. But much of the mud and manure being flung into the fan has been flying back into the face of Mr. Martin and his cronies, damaging their cause far more than it is to Mr. Harper.

The eastern media appears finally to have awakened to the realization that for years they have been lazy, complacent and complicit in helping to spread the Liberal manure, especially against Reform, the Alliance and the new Conservatives, none of which fit the mold of Ottawa-Toronto-Montreal power trippers. And even those Liberal-leaning Toronto-centric media members are covering the Conservatives’ commonsense platform and the Liberals’ self-destruction generally fairly.

The momentum throughout this campaign has steadily built for the Tories, while Mr. Martin, aka Mr. Dithers, and his Liberals appear to be confused, bewildered and guilty. Their American-style, hypocritical attack ads, made up of innuendo, insults and untruths, have backfired on them, and justifiably so.

Quite frankly, it couldn’t happen to a better group of mean-spirited, arrogant and holier-than-thou people – from the front-line politicians to the obsequious backbenchers, to the manipulative and powerful bureaucrats who need to be sent packing.

If the Conservatives in power achieve nothing else than that wholesale clear-out and cleanup, it will be more than enough.

Veteran B.C. journalist/broadcaster John Pifer may be reached at


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