ALBERTA

Joan Crockatt Ethics: Senate Tweet Draws Social Media Ire As MP Claims Misrepresentation

05/21/2013 04:34 EDT | Updated 05/21/2013 04:39 EDT
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Calgary Centre MP Joan Crockatt hasn't exactly been a darling of the Alberta political scene since her narrow byelection win last year.

But a couple of tweets over the weekend, in which she weighed in on the financial scandals plaguing the Senate, drew the kind of attacks not seen since she refused to attend public debates and turned down interviews during the lead up to her riding's byelection in the fall.

The expense scandal plaguing the Senate currently has cost the Tories two senators and the PMO's Chief of Staff.

The resignations, according to Crockatt's tweets, prove the ethical superiority of the Conservatives.

Those words unleashed a Twitter maelstrom as dozens of political watchers questioned how members leaving the caucus after allegedly being caught in questionable behaviour makes the Conservatives ethically superior.

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Joan Crockatt and Ethical Superiority

Even Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, a savvy politician in his own right, expressed surprise over Crockatt's comments.

Senator Mike Duffy is no longer part of the Conservative caucus after finding himself embroiled in a massive parliamentary investigation and accused of questionable expenses paid for by taxpayers.

Senator Pamela Wallin, who is currently being investigated for her travel expenses, is also no longer in the Conservative caucus.

The Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, Nigel Wright, resigned after it was uncovered he personally cut a $90,000 cheque to Duffy to help him repay the expenses that put the senator in hot water in the first place.

But as social media fires burned around her, Crockatt told the Calgary Herald her comments were being misrepresented.

What she meant, Crockatt told the Herald, was "That accepting the resignations was the right thing to do.”

Crockatt refused to comment further.

Crockatt beat out Liberal Harvey Locke by 1,000 votes last fall, in a race in which the former newspaper editor was criticized for refusing to attend several debates and in which she was accused of running without a platform.

Crockatt won the riding in the heart of Calgary, and by extension the Conservative heartland, with 37 per cent of the total vote, the lowest margin since the riding was created in 1968.

Crockatt won the riding of Calgary Centre, which is one riding over from the PM's riding of Calgary Southwest, by a sliver of votes in November 2012, a victory many credited to vote splitting by the Liberals and the Greens, rather than her political acumen.

Another senator being accused of abusing taxpayers' money is Patrick Brazeau, who until recently was also a member of the Conservative government but was booted due to pending and unrelated criminal charges.

Liberal Senator Mac Harb is facing similar expense accusations as Wallin, Duffy and Brazeau.