The latest and greatest scandals surrounding Peter Gordon MacKay the Harper Regime’s Minister of National Defence. Please remember, politics is a contact sport, like hockey, so feel free to add contributions and relevant information as a comment below or contact us to submit content!
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- Stronach demands MacKay apologize for alleged ‘dog’ comment
Peter Gordon MacKay: Scandals
MacKay entered the first ballot of the PC leadership convention held on May 31, 2003 with roughly 41% of the delegates supporting him. However, on the second ballot, MacKay’s support dropped to 39%. On the third ballot, MacKay’s support reached 45% but many of his supporters were convinced that he had hit his popular peak. Some analysts noted that the eliminated third-place challenger David Orchard drew his 25% bulk of delegate supporters largely from the Western prairie provinces. Orchard was prepared to speak with either MacKay or Prentice to determine if a deal could be reached over some of the issues that he raised during the leadership campaign. As the results of the third ballot were called, MacKay’s campaign manager, Tory Senator Noël Kinsella, hastily arranged a backroom meeting between MacKay, Orchard, and their campaign advisors. During the meeting, MacKay reached a deal with his rival, and Orchard emerged from the room urging his delegates to support MacKay. Press officials immediately demanded to know what had inspired Orchard’s surprise move. Orchard repeatedly referred to a “gentleman’s agreement” made between himself and MacKay that had led to his qualified support.
MacKay won the final ballot with nearly 65% of the delegates supporting him. For the next few weeks, the specific details of the “Orchard deal” remained vague: a secret between MacKay, Orchard, and their advisors. However, it was eventually revealed that the “Orchard deal” promised a review of the PC Party’s policies on the North American Free Trade Agreement, no merger or joint candidates with the Canadian Alliance, and a promise to redouble efforts to rebuild the national status of the Progressive Conservative Party. The agreement also included re-examining the PC Party’s policies on government subsidies for national railways and preserving the environment. The deal also requested that MacKay “clean up” the party’s head office and specifically requested that the party’s National Director be fired. Further evidence later revealed Scott Brison‘s cellphone number written in the margins of the note for some unexplained reason. In an attempt to heal internal rifts after the convention, MacKay edited out the number. After Brison defected to the Liberal party, however, MacKay revealed the original copy. The agreement prompted much outrage and controversy amongst United Alternative supporters and was ribaldly referred to by CA MP Jason Kenney as “a deal with the Devil”.
At first, MacKay seemed to be willing to adhere to the deal. In June, several Clark-appointed personnel were let go from the party’s main office and MacKay appointed new experienced staff whose loyalties were more closely linked to himself and former Prime Minister and PC Party leader Brian Mulroney. MacKay also appointed a couple of low level staff workers who had been supportive of David Orchard’s leadership bid. In July, MacKay struck up a “Blue Ribbon PC Policy Review Panel”, made up of Tory MPs, Senators, and Orchard himself, that was to be chaired by Tory MP Bill Casey, in order to reexamine the party’s policies on NAFTA. The Committee was scheduled to hold talks across the country and make a report to the leader by January 2004.
By mid-July, political opponents and fellow Tories began attacking MacKay over the “Orchard deal.” MacKay’s conservative rival Stephen Harper suggested that the PC Party had hit rock-bottom when its policies and directions would be beholden to a “prairie socialist.” The secretive nature of the deal also led to concerns from within the party’s headquarters and constituency associations. David Orchard was seen by many within the party as an “outsider” who was attempting to turn the Progressive Conservative Party into the “Prairie Co-operative Party”. Some[who?] such as Rex Murphy, who is clearly noted below, felt that MacKay’s credibility and leadership were undermined by the deal and that electoral expectations were low for the upcoming election that was expected to occur in less than a year’s time. Rex Murphy noted in a Globe and Mail column that MacKay’s leadership arrived “stillborn” and that, perhaps for the first time in recent memory, a party immediately emerged from a leadership convention grievously weakened and even less united than when it entered the convention.
Federal government documents on Afghan detainees suggest that Canadian officials intended some prisoners to be tortured in order to gather intelligence, according to a legal expert.
If the allegation is true, such actions would constitute a war crime, said University of Ottawa law professor Amir Attaran, who has been digging deep into the issue and told CBC News he has seen uncensored versions of government documents released last year.
“If these documents were released [in full], what they will show is that Canada partnered deliberately with the torturers in Afghanistan for the interrogation of detainees,” he said.
“There would be a question of rendition and a question of war crimes on the part of certain Canadian officials. That’s what’s in these documents, and that’s why the government is covering up as hard as it can.”
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