Thursday, March 23, 2006

Trevor Carolan: North Shore News Columnist and Conservative Toadie

Conservative MPs and ideologues alike have adopted 2006 Conservative candidate’s Rondo Thomas’s most famous utterance as their mantra: “the facts don’t matter.” North Shore News columnist Trevor Carolan is such an ideologue. He is trying to wrestle the title of village idiot away from fellow North Shore News columnist Trevor Lautens. The North Shore News meanwhile seems eager to recapture the title of Vancouver’s most backward newspaper, a title it automatically won every year Doug Collins was on Staff. Here are his most recent idiocies:

“Fellow citizens never mind the avian flu. Consider instead the contagionof
unelected officials their weight around with the health of our civil society.In
Ottawa, Bernard Shapiro, the unelected Liberal-appointed parliamentary
ethicscommissioner, is hassling Prime Minster Harper about David Emerson.”

I am not sure if Carolan is calling for an elected MP to be sworn in as ethics commissioner. (Incidentally, the ethics commissioner has no power to sanction anyone. That is left to the house.) Needless to say, that is as bad idea as appointing Stockwell Day to cabinet.

Anyway, Conservatives have tried to paint Shapiro as a Liberal appointed hack. He is not and the Conservatives have some nerve painting him as one, but this is politics and Harper knows that lying has served his mentors in the Republican Party well. Carolan, on the other hand, has no excuse. There is no reason for him to parrot Conservative party talking points. He should know that all parties backed Bernard Shapiro’s selection in the spring of 2004. He should know that one of Conservative’s campaign promises was to the "Strengthen the role of the [aforementioned Liberal appointed] Ethics Commissioner”. He should know that Harper’s threat to not cooperate with the ethics investigation was not exactly in keeping with the following: "Stephen Harper will . . . prevent the prime minister from overruling the ethics commissioner on whether the prime minister, a minister, or an official is in violation of the conflict of interest code." Hell it is was not even in keeping with the code of ethics: “27.(5). Once a request for an inquiry has been made to the Ethics Commissioner, Members should respect the process established by this Code and permit it to take place without commenting further on the matter.27.(8). Members shall cooperate with the Ethics Commissioner with respect to any inquiry.” The PMO said Harper was “loath” to cooperate.

That said, in light of Shapiro’s most recent report, do not expect the Conservatives to introduce a new ethics commissioner any time soon. They already have their man, only Carolan did not know it at the time is probably wishing he could go back in time and rewrite his column. It is hard for Carolan to pronounce Shapiro’s report objective having just characterized him as a hack. After all, hacks are by definition guided by something other than the facts and as in common law, precedent matters.

“But Shapiro’s ethics appear selective: Where was he when Belinda Stronach
wasinstantly rewarded with a cabinet post after defecting to the Liberals
lastyear, foreshadowing the Emerson switch.”

Does the North Shore News employ a fact checker? The reason why Emerson was investigated and Stronach not was that Shapiro was asked to investigate Emerson, but was not asked to investigate Stronach. The CBC explains the relevant Act. "the 2004 amendments to Parliament of Canada Act that sets out Shapiro's powers and duties, requires him to investigate anytime he has had a formal request from a member of the Commons or Senate. The act allows him to discontinue an examination if he finds no merit to the allegations. But even if he discontinues it he still is obliged to provide the prime minister and Parliament with a report setting out the facts in question and his own conclusions."

“Under the gutless Federal Liberals the Supreme Court began flexing its
abs,functioning as judicial activists rather than interpreting laws.”

Yet more parroted dribble from Carolan. What the hell is an “activist” judge? As the class of Vancouver Sun's editorial deparment Peter McKnight pointed out, the only coherent and comprehensible definition of judicial activism is when the courts over rules government legislation. The problem for Conservatives is that by that measure the most conservative Justices in both Canada and the States are also the most activist. In study after study conservative judges over rule more legislation than liberal judges. That little ditty should not trouble Carolan though. For him, “the facts don’t matter”.