More details on David Dingwall

Former Liberal cabinet minister David Dingwall resigned today as the president of the Royal Canadian Mint because he said that under the current cloud of accusations, he doesn’t want to detract from the important work of the Mint.

The accusations stem around Dingwall’s inappropriate expenses while a president of the Mint which included:

  • $92,682 for foreign travel including a one-day bill for over $13,000
  • $40,355 for domestic travel
  • $3,314 for foreign dining
  • $11,173 for domestic dining, including $5,953 for a single meal at a posh Ottawa restaurant
  • $5,297 for golf membership fees
  • $2,500 for domestic limousine service (despite having a government car at his disposal)

In fact Dingwall’s 2004 expenses totalled $846,464 which is above and beyond his annual salary of $241,000.

But that’s not all! David Dingwall granted himself a licence to print his own money as he not only lobbied for biotech company Bioniche, but also for a Cape Breton Business development group, and Via Rail. Dingwall however failed to register as a lobbyist (for obvious reasons which shall become apparent).

Dingwall lobbied Industry Canada successfully on behalf of Bioniche for about $15 million under the department’s Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) grants. Dingwall was promised a “success fee” of $350,000 for his work.

While serving in former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s cabinet, David Dingwall held the ACOA portfolio. After Dingwall left the cabinet (and government) in 1997, he was paid $20,000 in ACOA money as he successfully lobbied for a Cape Breton business development group in 2000 (Chronicle Herald, July 27). As he is the former ACOA minister this seems inappropriate. Indeed, the inclusion of lobbyist fees within ACOA grants is a violation of the agency’s rules. Since ACOA later found out that lobbyist fees were included within the application, it simply wrote off the money that it had given the business development group.

Remember the Gomery inquiry? It was uncovered at the inquiry into inappropriate sponsorships that David Dingwall was hired by Via Rail, shortly after he left government, to lobby cabinet for more cash for the Crown corporation. In a move to reduce appearances of inappropriate behaviour, Dingwall was put on the payroll instead of registering as a lobbyist. Dingwall denies that he was lobbying for Via. All Crown corporations are forbidden from hiring lobbyists (for what might seem like obvious reasons to most of us).

In fact, the Clerk of the Privy Council made this clear in a letter he sent to Crown Corporations regarding lobbyists in 1985:

I have also been asked to convey to you the Government’s desire to ensure that its relationship with Crown corporations henceforth be conducted without benefit of paid intermediaries under contract with Crown corporations. Even though, as you know, there have been only isolated instances of such practices, you should be advised that it is considered inappropriate for legal firms and other consultants to be engaged for the purpose of acting on behalf of a Crown corporation in its dealings with the Government. The same is true of consultants being retained to advise a Crown corporation on methods of gaining access to the Government or in accomplishing its objectives in respect of the Government.

My thoughts on Queen’s Homecoming

Queen’s University had its annual Homecoming this past weekend and of course bad press, broken bottles and a city calling for sanity were to be expected.

Every year, the fixed residents of the city take Queen’s to task for noise violations, littered streets and the annual madness that is Homecoming Saturday night on Aberdeen Street.

I’m still a student at this school. I’m currently a graduate student and this comes after my undergraduate degree at Queen’s. This means that I’ve now attended the Homecoming festivities for the 7th year in a row. Back in my first year, the Aberdeen street party was relatively tame. Thousands of students and alumni flooded the streets then as did this past Saturday, yet there was a certain threshold that didn’t extend much past the casual breaking of beer bottles on the street and perhaps a couple of arrests. One knows to wear thick soles when going to Aberdeen on this weekend in late September.

However, this year, something just didn’t seem to be right. The local media and local residents had been particularly vocal and militant against the annual street party and city council had installed a de facto Aberdeen task force which was founded shortly after last year’s party had ended. Townhalls were arranged between the Queen’s administration and the city of Kingston in order to show that Queen’s was sincerely listening to the concerns of the city residents. In my opinion, Queen’s University did its best to contribute to the management of an issue which was frankly within the city’s jurisdiction and realm of responsibility. I remember that the week after last year’s local outcry against the party, there was an increased police presence around student neighbourhoods which did little to enforce law and order and merely served to assuage the political outcry against Queen’s University. This same year, Kingston police faced the disastrous PR that resulted from a study slamming the force for racial profiling. Walking through my student neighbourhood, I see police cars patrol slowly along the street and some slow down when I’m walking with my friends. While I’m not being racially profiled, I feel as though Kingston police are openly profiling students and painting us all with the same brush. This is a result of political pressure exerted by local officials and by the fixed (non-student) residents of Kingston. In a city where our university contributes significantly to the Kingston community, our students find themselves and their neighbourhoods categorized by law enforcement. On city streets where students are left to walk through unplowed snow in the winter, police cars patrol looking to ticket students for open bottles during the rest of the year. Our city councillors are largely elected without the input of the Queen’s students which inhabit their districts as we are temporary and mobile residents in Kingston. Perhaps this is why the city has treated students as a problem instead of as a resource. Yet the most serious crime committed in the Queen’s community last year was the murder of one of our own at a Kingston bar by a Toronto man with dreams of a gangsta rap career.

For as long as I’ve been here at Queen’s, I’ve always seen Homecoming as an interesting problem in management in the political, economic, and social contexts. As the annual tradition contributes a significant dollar figure to the local economy, the city would never require that Queen’s shut down Homecoming. However city council has always tried to manage it, even when it comes in the form of contrarian politics as it did this past year. I believe that these politics brewed an attitude of defiance among the troublemakers. These politics even jilted the rest of us as we saw our collective collegial reputation under weekly attack in the local media and by our elected representatives, yet somehow we hoped for some sort of order among the chaos.

This year, the University planned a free concert, which the city happily endorsed by extending the city noise ordinance from 11pm to 2am. It turned out to be a noble yet futile attempt by Queen’s to reduce the number of students and alumni headed to Aberdeen Street.

This year I arrived at the street party at around 12am to witness the events that would unfold. Broken beer bottles littered the street and police were driving unmarked white cars, trucks and vans arresting people about every two minutes. There were even a few police officers in riot gear mixing among the students on those four city blocks. More than a few people asked us for directions and one even clarified that he was lost because he was from McMaster. There were students from Carleton and McGill among the Queen’s students as well. A significant number of non-student city residents also walked amongst the crowd. As I walked up the street with a few friends we saw people, in the distance, jumping up and down on something in the distance and my heart sank. I knew immediately what these damned idiots were doing. They were jumping on a car as the fools around them sang “Ole, ole, ole”. You know the type.

We decided to take a closer look and sure enough, one could barely make out a light blue, overturned car under the feet of the idiots that ruined Homecoming for everyone. The smell of gasoline was thick in the air as one particularly stupid woman was dancing on top of the car… smoking a cigarette.

It was time to get some distance…

As we quickly made our way away from the potential disaster-in-the-making I looked back towards the overturned car and didn’t see any police present within the vicinity and it was clear that there weren’t any authorities present to stop this abhorrent destruction of private property.

Instead the police were flanking the ends of the four blocks encouraging people to leave the street and they were preventing others from entering. We walked off of the street somewhat stunned at the mob mentality that we had just witnessed. Most of the thousands that were there had the intention of enjoying the party peacefully. About twenty individuals ruined this event for everybody.

So, if I may, I have a few recommendations as a longtime student and participant in Homecoming festivities at Queen’s.

There are two options: Shut down the Aberdeen street party or allow it to continue with better management.

If the party is allowed to continue on Aberdeen (preferable option):

  • Security fences should be erected at each end of Aberdeen street (4 blocks) and on the main streets that feed it. The street should be officially closed to traffic and students should have their ID verified (both student and age of majority). Whenever the University hosts an open air concert on campus (>3000 people), an openly accessible central parking lot is effectively cordoned-off by an erected security fence. Furthermore, the city closes streets a few times each year during the summer for the Jazz and Blues festivals. Tickets are even sold for these events and those without tickets are prevented from entering the street.
  • City council should immediately abandon its contentious position. The mentality that labels Aberdeen as a “Queen’s problem” is not helpful. Rather, the Aberdeen street party is a puzzle in management. “Kingston vs. Queen’s” only encourages troublemakers and evokes sympathy and anger among other students that see the city’s position as an affront to their school’s traditions.
  • Keg parties among the Aberdeen houses should become the norm and Queen’s should set up a beer tent on the street. People should be frisked of alcohol as they enter the street from one of the gates in the fence. These measures would prevent the thousands of beer bottles smashed on the street.

If the Aberdeen party is to be shut down:

  • The city should close the street on Homecoming Saturday for the next four years. Close the ends of the street with rented security fences. Shutting down Aberdeen for four consecutive Homecomings would have the effect of dissipating the Aberdeen buzz among the students.

These two options, of course, are options of appeasement. If Queen’s wanted, the school could instead ignore the city’s complaining and carry on as usual (perhaps with the request that the city try its best not to paradoxically encourage the students).

Fault and Consequences:

  • Students arrested for the general destruction of private property should be suspended while students that participated in the destruction of that car should be expelled. Of course, primary fault lies with these individuals that ruined this year’s Homecoming.
  • Instead of acknowledging and legitimizing the Aberdeen street party, the city chose to treat the street party as some sort of spontaneous yet expected riot. The police had planned for this confrontation for almost a year. This party happens every year; it is not unexpected. Therefore, measures to legitimize and thus control the party as a public and closed event should have been enacted (with a security fence perimeter). Instead of preparing to manage for a large public gathering, the police prepared for a riot. The city’s lack of planning on the former helped precipitate the latter. The city deserves blame for this.
  • Queen’s tried desperately to manage this situation from their end from organizing townhalls to footing the bill for a three-act concert that was attended by thousands. The administration seems to have gone beyond expectations in trying to manage a situation that quite frankly fell within the jurisdiction and realm of responsibility of the city of Kingston.

My little blog is a Conservative Party plot to “jam” CPAC phone lines…

… at least according to Carol Jamieson. No Carol, I’m just a regular member with my own blog. However, I’m working to help the party get elected, while you’re working against it.

I called in, but was put on hold through a significant portion of the show. “We have too many callers from Ontario.”

Oh well. Maybe I should have followed my own advice to call before the show. Or maybe I should have told them I was calling from Nunavut.

There were some familiar callers that made it through and Powers, Kenney and Ivison had their turns turning down Carol Jamieson’s delusions. I think that the main point was vocalized was that Stephen Harper was elected democratically and that Jamieson is following her own undemocratic agenda.

I would have liked to see more questions about Paul Martin’s leadership and the lack of attention focused on the Prime Minister (he does deserve the scrutiny, doesn’t he?).

Stephen Harper’s leadership is being questioned by Jamieson and a handful of members? Didn’t The Economist question Paul Martin’s ability to lead and didn’t they name him “Mr. Dithers”?

Carol Jamieson to appear on CPAC call-in show

Carol Jamieson will be appearing on Goldhawk Live, a CPAC current affairs call-in television show to harp about Harper. The Trojan Tory will appear live at 8pm EST (5pm PST) on Sunday September 25th (this Sunday) and you can call in to express your opinions or questions by calling 1-877-296-2722.

For call-in shows, I offer the following tips:

  • Call early in the show
  • If it’s busy, redial. You will get through
  • Write out your comments before hand and practice them a few times
  • DO NOT use ad hominem (personal insults) in your argument. This only hurts your point.
  • Keep your comment/question short to 20-30 seconds (you can even stretch up to about 45-60 seconds on CPAC). Do not go over. Do not ramble. Prepare your statement (see tip above)
  • Mute your television once you are on hold. You’ll eliminate sound feedback and will be able to hear the show on the phone while you’re on hold.

Here are some talking points for supporters of Stephen Harper:

  • You’ve organized against four Conservative leaders during your history with conservative parties. Not only have you organized against Stephen Harper, but you’ve organized against Stockwell Day, John Diefenbaker and even Joe Clark. Why should anyone take any weight with your current statements? They would seem to represent your personal style more than the current person that you’re attacking.
  • It is disgraceful what was done with the Enza campaign. Enza’s former campaign manager sent a letter to conservative bloggers this past week and from the tone of his letter, he sounded like he believed that his team and Enza had a shot to make real change. However, it seems that you (Ms. Jamieson) just wanted to make an angry statement against Stockwell Day by using someone as fodder for political purposes. People with gender identity issues often do not have the easiest lives. While you used Enza as a stick to beat Day and the CA, you didn’t seem to have the intention of following through with the campaign and you only used Enza to make a point. I doubt that this paralleled Enza’s political aspirations. Could you comment on this?
  • A grassroots political party such as the Conservative Party discourages groupthink while encouraging dissenting opinions on various issues including leadership. This is an honest strength that the party has over the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc. However, do you not think that dropping a bomb in Stephen Harper’s lap only one month before a potential election call is not an exercise in strengthening of the party through the grassroots but rather an opportunistic attack driven by your own agenda?
  • This is a question for Goldhawk. Recently, Carol Jamieson seems to have gotten a lot of exposure on CTV, the Globe and Mail and now on your show. Do you think that the media should provide equal time for each and every member that supports Stephen Harper?
  • This is a question for Goldhawk. Do you believe that CTV, the Globe and Mail and your show should dedicate multiple news cycles to the dissent that exists in the Liberal party?

Here are some talking points for those that do not support Stephen Harper:

  • Hi Goldhawk, hi Carol. I’m a member/voter that supports the Liberal Party / NDP. I just wanted to say that I didn’t know who Carol Jamieson was before this week but I got to say her opinion should be taken as valid. I’m just glad that there is someone speaking out against the Conservative Party that supports my own political bias. I mean, if Stephen Harper himself came out against Stephen Harper last week, I would have even supported his opinion.
  • Carol, I’m selling memberships for the Liberal Party of Canada. Did you already buy one or do you fear that declaring your real party colours will get you less attention in the media?

Carol Jamieson aka Margaret Jamieson aka M Carol Jamieson aka Trojan Tory

UPDATE 9/22: Click here (If you haven’t already, read the original post below)

Carol Jamieson submitted what one might call a press release to Pierre Bourque’s news blog in memo format which was addressed to Conservative party members.

No surprise, this “conservative” wants Stephen Harper to resign and must want the Tories to lose the next election.

But while this woman is labelled as a “party organizer” by the Gloria Galloway of the Globe and Mail, Carol Jamieson has organized against a variety of Conservative leaders.

Let’s start with Stephen Harper:

  • Organized against him with Belinda Stronach leadership bid
  • Organized against him at Montreal policy convention in which Harper received 84% support. (She passed out buttons with the clever 1999 catchphrase “Vote Harper off the island”)
  • Organizing against him with Gloria Galloway and four inconsequential Quebeckers with just over a month before Gomery releases his “name names” report.

Now, let’s look at past leaders,
Stockwell Day:
Organized against Stockwell Day with the Enza Anderson campaign

Would you believe that she even organized against Joe Clark (whom she served in the PMO during his 9 month stint as Prime Minister)?
She sure did

A letter circulated by two dozen Progressive Conservatives urges leader Joe Clark to resign, according to a published report. The Globe and Mail said Friday the letter advises Clark to resign before next month’s performance review in order to avoid embarrassment. It goes on to acknowledge Clark’s contributions to the party during the last federal election, but says it’s time to make way for a new leader. According to the Globe, two of the Tories circulating the letter are Kevin Gallagher and Carol Jamieson. Both helped Clark with his last leadership campaign.

She even organized against John Diefenbaker:
“I’ve been in key rolls in many leadership campaigns from replacing John Diefenbaker to electing…” — Carol Jamieson (from comments on my blog)

UPDATE: National Councillor and Blogging Tory Vitor Marciano has more

… the Greater Toronto Area President’s Council is an informal organization, with no official party recognition whatsoever. To the best of my knowledge, it hasn’t met since April. That might be because

  1. regardless of its name – its leadership are not EDA Presidents and
  2. the EDA Presidents are busy doing very important things like getting ready for an election which will happen some time between now and mid April.

Being a Vice-Chair of an informal organization that doesn’t meet much, doesn’t make someone indispensible; it doesn’t give someone a mandate.

UPDATE: CPC Candidate (and former PC cabinet minister) Garth Turner also responds.

[Carol Jamieson] wants Harper to resign. If he does not, she asks, “How does that help us convince Mr. And Mrs. Average Canadian that we hear their concerns…?”

Maybe I’m too simple, but it seems to me that once you pick a leader, you support that leader. It also strikes me the leader is but one aspect of a political party and what we all should be doing within that party. The political process is a deeper and bigger than one man, regardless of what the media tells you. Leaders come and leaders go, while the people remain.

How do we convince Mr. And Mrs. Average Canadian? You talk to them, Carol.

UPDATE: Angry in the Great White North has a letter from Enza Anderson’s former campaign manager:

You may be interested to know that it was the very same Carol Jamieson who contacted the infamous Enza SUPERMODEL Anderson a few years back to offer her support, on behalf she said of Joe Clarke [sic], to assist Enza in running for the leadership of the (then) Canadian Alliance Party.

How do I know this…? – well, I was Enza’s campaign manager!

Jamieson told us that they wanted to embarrass the CA by running an unorthodox candidate such as Enza.

Carol promised she could easily deliver the $25,000 fee to enter the race, as well as the 300 or so nomination names of CA members across Canada.

We had a falling out with Carol, but well before that it was evident Carol could not deliver.

Methinks Carol is a very angry lady who likes to destroy rather than build. [emphasis added]

UPDATE: Right Ho! (everyone’s favourite anonymous MSM blogger) adds his own thoughts:

My thoughts? I’ve met Carol Jamieson on a few occasions. Nothing that she has done has surprised me, because she has always been a rabble-rouser of sorts. She’s not unique, of course, since every political party has their fair share of them. But most people in the old PC Party (before Brian Mulroney left) knew what she was all about, especially those of us who were truly on the right side of the political spectrum.

That being said, she’s really done it this time. It’s one thing to express your opinion, which conservatives fully believe in. It’s quite another thing to call for a lynch mob against a party leader. She got away with it in the past, but it’s a whole new ball game with a whole new set of rules. Loyalty to the party and the leader must be emphasized.

UPDATE: I just received a copy of letter originally from Jenni Byrne, Deputy Director of Political Operations, addressed to party staffers.

By now you’ve all seen today’s CTV Newsnet attack piece on Stephen.

The CTV Ottawa Bureau rushed to air this morning with a series of factually inaccurate stories.

– They started today by claiming an Ontario MP had called for the Leader to resign immediately.
This turned out to be Carol Jamieson, who is not an MP and has never been an MP.

– They claimed leading voices in the Party in Toronto were calling for Stephen to resign.

– They claimed the Party’s National Council was meeting this afternoon to revoke Jamieson’s
membership. This was not true.

All these stories come from the same network that rushed to report about a few layoffs in the
Leader’s Office two weeks ago, and a few days later that Lucien Bouchard had died. There’s
obviously no fact-checking process at CTV these days.

The fact is there are always dissidents in every party. Paul Martin has had his own problems
this week with internal criticisms from former candidates in Quebec (strangely, not a lead story
at CTV).

I appreciate all the candidates who called today to tell us how well they are doing at the doors,
how much money they are raising, and how much Canadians want a change of government.
Keep up the solid work.

UPDATE 9/22:Blogging Tory Adam Daifallah points me towards Joan Tintor, a former PC’er with who worked on the GTA President’s Council with Carol Jamieson:

She first offers the following context:

Note: the author is a conservative who has never belonged to the Reform party or the Canadian Alliance, and came to support merger only after the PCs were reduced to 12 seats in the 2000 election.

and here are some excerpts from her letter:

I volunteered to be the interim secretary of the GTA Presidents’ council when Brett Snider founded it last year. When I was asked — repeatedly — to stand for the position of permanent secretary, one of the reasons I declined was the involvement of Carol Jamieson, who in recent years has been slowly destroying her enviable reputation as a political organizer, replacing it with a reputation as a political wing nut. My decision was vindicated when she reportedly appeared at the party’s March policy convention, flogging buttons attacking Stephen Harper. Now she has come out publicly calling for Harper’s resignation.

Tony Clement was his usual astute self when he observed that Belinda sucks all the oxygen out of a room. Sadly, little of that oxygen seems to reach her brain stem. I suspect that the main reason Harper hired none of Belinda’s acolytes is because accommodating their pay demands would first require the firing of multitudes. (I wonder whether Carol thinks that now that Harper has fired multitudes, he should still hire Belinda’s people.)

Then Carol undercuts all she has just written, with her view that “the new Conservative Party of Canada had no chance of convincing the Canadian electorate that it was any different than the Canadian Alliance once it picked Stephen Harper as its first leader.” So Carol never supported Harper from the get-go and everything that has happened since has served to confirm that view. So where’s the news here?

I did not support Stephen Harper for leader, but I am frustrated and mystified at why so many in the media and even in our own party are so quick to conclude that he is to blame for the opportunism, venality and incompetence of others. Harper does not strike me as a man who has been plotting and scheming his entire adult life to live at 24 Sussex (unlike the current occupant), but who has reluctantly stepped forward on occasions when he looked around and saw the alternatives were no better qualified or staffed than he. I suspect that the antics of the Carol Jamiesons of the party do little to alter that view.

What is going on here? And will CTV catch onto this? What have we come to expect concerning accuracy and impartiality in the media in this country?

To me, this represents the same level of media bias that brought down Dan Rather. This is analogous in so many ways (biased news organization that depends on suspect evidence to attempt to convert the viewer to their biased view regarding the candidate running for the country’s top office).

UPDATE: Globe and Mail prints compounded hearsay:

Not only does the G&M give credit to Jamieson’s assertion that she brought Belinda Stronach into the Conservative Party,

Ms. Jamieson, who helped recruit Belinda Stronach into the party’s leadership race which Mr. Harper won

the national newspaper also prints hearsay based upon hearsay:

[Jamieson] said she’d heard that Mr. Harper ran roughshod over his MPs, telling them at a British Columbia meeting that they were not an advisory board.

First, when will the Globe and Mail, and CTV realize that Jamieson is neither a “party organizer” (see thorough debunking at the beginning of this post), nor is she “senior” in any way that would imply clout.

Second, claiming that you “heard something” and then quote it as a source is called “hearsay”. Quoting a source that “heard something” is compounded hearsay. It’s amazing what passes as journalism these days.

These aren’t even opinion pieces, they are presented as “news” in the Globe and Mail and on CTV.

Western Standard Party

While hanging out with fellow Manning conservatives this weekend, Ezra Levant told me about a little party that he was having on Sunday night for the ‘founders’ of the magazine. “Oh, and by the way” he said, “Lord Black of Crossharbour is going to be there.”

Well, no matter who you are (except perhaps Lord Black), that’s an intriguing guest list already.

As it turned out, there were a few other intriguing people at the small and intimate party (about 25 people) which was located in a suite at the Sutton Place Hotel.

I met fellow Blogging Tories Steve “you don’t look Angry” Janke and Bob Tarantino who both brought their charming better halves.

Journalists in attendance included the witty and lovely Rondi Adamson, fellow youngster Michael Taube, our over-worked host Ezra Levant and of course, National Post favourite Andrew Coyne.

Regular freedom fighter (or is that “fighter for freedom”) Gerry Nicholls also made an appearance.

Even CPC party MP Jason Kenney was in attendance. I asked Jason if he wanted to do a podcast one day. “Pot-cast?!” he asked shocked, “You want me to do pot?” Of course, I thought this was funny, so I shot back “I’m game if you are”. Hopefully Jason and I will spark up a conversation one day (to be available in downloadable syndicated MP3 format). I’ll bring the salty snacks.

Some old friends were in attendance as well including Michael Moore plaintiff Kaz Nejatian, Toronto CPC candidate Michael “pull the goalie” Mostyn, and my grade school friend Peter Kroll. My new pal Tasha Kheiriddin was also in attendance charming fellow party guests and promoting her exciting new book.

I had a chance to meet the controversial Lord Black and found him to be surprisingly talkative and I noticed that he still had his trademark streetfighter style. We chatted about the newspaper business and the evolution of the medium. I told him that I represented a group of online “citizen journalists”. He laughed and said that anything could be better than the paid ones.

Some say Lord Black is a hero of the Canadian right for how he provided a real opposition in the press to Liberal governments. However, minority shareholders of his companies have felt abused for years by his business practices. I found Lord Black to be a nice guy (from our 5 minute chat), however, I never invested in Hollinger.

Party guests drank Albertan Trad and Grasshopper, munched on veggies and dip and tried to look natural in front of Ezra’s professional photographer (expect to see us on the “Society Page” of the Western Standard next month). Ezra is one of the hardest working people in Canadian conservatism and I’m glad that he has a lot of fun doing it.

Pictures appear in the extended entry (click the “Continue Reading ‘Western Standard Party'” link below)

Continue reading Western Standard Party

Manning Centre Summary

I left Toronto today after an exciting weekend at Preston Manning’s inaugural roundtable discussion in Toronto.

For a few details, check out Tom Blackwell’s article and read Lorne Gunter’s column in the National Post today (no link available).

The weekend was full of hope for what Mr. Manning is seeking to accomplish: building the infrastructure of the right.

The weekend conference was held in the gallery of the Toronto Stock Exchange and our group of 100 conservative thinkers and builders spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday hashing out ideas and discussing the future of conservatism.

I’m glad that I got to catch up with some old friends and meet some new ones including many that I have long looked up to over the years.

Without arming any Liberals with any details I will however say that this Manning Centre effort is what conservatives have long been waiting for.

Dalton wastes your money

John Tory’s Ontario PCs filed a freedom of information request to detail expenses of a recent first ministers meeting in Niagara On the Lake.

  • $837 was spent to ship ice from Toronto to Niagara on the Lake;
  • Hotel charges for Premier Dalton McGuinty’s and a staff of 15 amounted to $16,184 or just over $1,000 bucks per person;
  • More than $6,000 was spent on rooms that went unused;
  • The province incurred a $9,000 bill to have a landscaper repair damage to the grounds of Fort George, a Parks Canada site, following an event there;
  • A whopping $56,837.56 was spent on golf shirts and other presents and promotional items.

Our tax dollars at work.