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December 10, 2006
Tories Pass Accountability Act

It took almost a year, but the Tories in Canada have made good on their campaign promises to clean up government. IThe Federal Accountability Act survived an attempt by the Liberals to delay it past a contribution deadline, a maneuver that brought condemnation from the NDP:

The House of Commons passed on Friday the Conservatives’ much-touted Federal Accountability Act.

The Tories promised during the last election to bring ethics and accountability to Ottawa, and the bill was the first piece of legislation introduced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The omnibus bill was brought to the House of Commons in April and was then scrutinized by the Senate throughout the summer and fall.

The Conservatives accused Liberal senators of holding up the legislation so the party wouldn’t be subject to new donation rules during its recent leadership campaign.

This was the fruit of Adscam, the corruption of the Sponsorship Programme that stuffed millions of government dollars into Liberal Party coffers and the pockets of its supporters. The scandal eventually dethroned the Liberals and allowed Stephen Harper and the Conservatives to come to power. The Grits spent most of two years running scare campaigns about Harper's "secret agenda"; now Canadian voters understand the desperation of the Liberals a little more clearly.

Unfortunately, the Liberals themselves don't get it. Their attempts to delay the act's passage show that they have not learned much from Adscam; they have once again handed the issue of clean government to Harper and the Tories. The NDP underscored this in Pat Martin's statement, calling their objections "smoke and mirrors" intended to deflect the new regulations.

The bill will get reviewed and updated, and it does seem that there is more work to be done. Campaign-finance restrictions should be rethought, although as with here, it's the easiest method to make it look like campaigning has been reformed, but in the end it just limits political speech for no real benefit overall. It's still an excellent start on ensuring that a single party in their parliamentary system can't just start raiding the treasury for their own partisan purposes. (via Newsbeat1)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 10, 2006 8:32 AM

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