Thursday, December 16, 2010

Adventures in Con Leakage to lobbyists - Part 3.

On Tuesday the Procedures and House Affairs Committee heard from Russell Ullyatt, the former Con MP Kelly Block staffer who leaked a draft copy of the Finance Committee report to Con-connected lobbyists before MPs had seen it.

Today we got Con MP Kelly Block herself before the PROC committee, already ably live-blogged by Kady so I'm not going to blow-by-blow it, except to note that the meeting immediately descends into the committee Cons - Scott Reid, Tom Lukiwski, Ted Menzies, and the Chair Joe Preston - circling the wagons around Block to prevent her from answering any of the questions raised by Ullyatt's previous testimony. How they think this helps her personal credibility as an MP at all I have no idea.

This committee, like most of them, is composed of 50% Con MPs including a Con chair.
If the chair doesn't like a particular line of questioning, he disallows the witness from answering and that's the end of it.

Today Chair Joe Preston refused to hear any questions following on from Ullyatt's testimony on Tuesday, while the Con MPs used up their allotted time praising the apparently sainted Block for appearing before committee at all and hey isn't her son coming back from Australia today? and what are her plans for Christmas? OK, I made that last one up - only the last one.

Blocked line of questioning from opp members :
What about the printer with its pallets of boxes of mailouts stacked outside Block's office that were presumably part of Ullyatt's private direct mail business? Was it run out of her office? What was in them? More leaks? Didn't she ask him about them some time over the past two years he was in her employ?

NDP Mulcair elicits from Block that Ullyatt was recommended to her employ by Con MP Rob Clark. Ah. As already noted, when Ullyatt was Clark's campaign manager before coming to Block, RCMP in uniform were discovered using RCMP vehicles to deliver Clark campaign signs, causing a wee stir in the media about blurring use of gov resources for Party partisan reasons. You can guess where Mulcair is going with this and so does the chair who immediately shuts him down.

Much of the two hour meeting with Block posted on the committee agenda was taken up with opp members registering their outrage that Block mentioned she was only staying for one hour. Whose idea was that? Because it's going to take more than a couple of five minute attempts each by opp members to get any relevant questions past the chair.

My guess : As no one knew the two hour session was being cut to one hour before Block mentioned it after being escorted into the meeting by House Leader and veteran defender-of-witnesses-from-committees John Baird, I'm guessing we can draw our own conclusions where that particular one hour directive shutting down hour two with the committee came from.

Anyway Block declines to stay, down comes the gavel and she's whisked away by a posse - the meeting and the committee adjourned till next year - leaving us none the wiser about anything from her testimony.

1 comment:

Beijing York said...

I heard about Block leaving after only an hour and scurrying out through some back staircase, past reporters, on the 5:00 pm news.

Thanks for these updates. But will any of these freaking scandals stick? To me this is far more egregious than AdScam.

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