04/12/2015 10:22 EDT | Updated 06/12/2015 05:59 EDT

NDP Missteps Have Distracted Us From Trudeau's Shortcomings

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's political slogan has been "building the team and the plan." So far, his "team" will be forced to be pro-choice and pro-marijuana, and his "plan" is legalizing marijuana, being against fighting terrorism, and placing a price on carbon.

Seriously. That's where the Liberals are at two years after electing Trudeau as their leader. The Liberals have still yet to release a platform, or express any coherent plan about anything really. The scant positions they have released -- being against fighting terrorism, implementing a carbon tax, and cancelling tax cuts for families and seniors -- have gone largely underreported and unappreciated.

All Thomas Mulcair has to do for the left-wing vote is not be Justin Trudeau, which he has done quite well and quite capably. The Liberals' position of vacuous nothingness should be garnering far more attention than it has been -- the Press Gallery has only started to actually seriously question Trudeau -- but Trudeau has been ably abetted by a series of New Democrats' missteps.

First came the revelation that the New Democrats had spent over a million dollars of taxpayers' money mailing partisan materials. Taxpayers' money is provided to MPs for parliamentary mailings, not partisan mailings. The House of Commons pegged this cost at $1.3 million. Those included pro-NDP mailings into ridings undergoing a by-election, meaning Elections Canada is now investigating too. (I won't hold my breath for a Council of Canadians campaign against the NDP's "electoral fraud," though.)

Then came the revelation that the New Democrats had spent millions of dollars creating beachhead partisan offices in Quebec City, Montreal, and Toronto under the guise of being "satellite" parliamentary offices. The House of Commons pegged this cost at $2.75 million, and divided the cost between the 68 NDP MPs who were participating in this scam.

The bill for the illegal satellite offices came due on March 31, 2015, making the NDP MPs' salaries eligible for wage garnishment. Surely it would be record-breaking -- perhaps for the first time in Canadian history? -- that an opposition MP's salary would be garnished in order to make taxpayers whole again following the MP's allegedly illegal behaviour? For all the recent talk about a $90,000 cheque, why isn't the media talking more about an amount 45 times larger -- the $4 million the NDP took from Canadians?

Most recently, we're finding out that New Democrat MPs have been using their parliamentary email accounts and riding offices to stage partisan re-election canvassing events. The use of parliamentary resources -- staff, printing, and phones, for example -- for political activity is prohibited. Every time someone mentions this, Mulcair screams "conspiracy" or "kangaroo court" or something else that doesn't change the fact that his party has become mired in scandalous rule-breaking behaviours that have cost Canadians money.

All of these scandals demonstrate that the NDP is not serious about respecting its position as Official Opposition, let alone being a "government-in-waiting." Thomas Mulcair has already arrogantly refused to testify again before a House of Commons committee to answer questions on his parties' allegedly illegal activities.

With allegations and errors like these, Canadians have to ask themselves why the New Democrats believe they deserve to form government in 2015, let alone why they deserve to remain as Official Opposition. Until the NDP answers that question, the Liberals will continue to get away with their platform of vacuous nothingness.

Daniel Dickin is the author of Liars: The McGuinty-Wynne Record, a book about the legacy of lies, corruption, and scandal in Ontario under the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals.


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