Saturday, June 23, 2007

You scratch my back...and I'll hand you a huge wad of taxpayer's money

This sort of thing doesn't really surprise me in Harper's New Canadian Government, but the Globe and Mail's failure to report Boessenkool's extremely close ties with Harper and other members of the Reform party in the early days and the (neo)Conservative party of today does.

As the author rightly points out, " is difficult to read as objective anything written by Boessenkool regarding the government of his old friend and colleague Stephen Harper."

As for Boessenkool's lobbying efforts for Merck Frosst and its human papilloma virus vaccine, in light of the recent mass experiments on women - hormone replacement therapy in particular - I'd be very wary of having a child of mine vaccinated with a substance that only protects against a few of the HPV's which cause a rare cancer which is slow-growing and easily detectable and treatable in the early stages. The fact that the vaccine is mind-blowingly expensive and will give Mr. Boessenkool an extremely fat kick-back from the drug company should give everyone pause.

You have to give them credit for the tactics, though. Who wants their daughter to get cancer? No one, of course. The fact that this gives only partial cover of a very rare disease is never even mentioned. There are, however, some extremely bad side effects.

From the June 22nd edition of

Boessenkool, Ken - Long-time friend and advisor to PM lobbied for cancer drug plan in budget

Close ties to Harper not disclosed in national op-ed piece

OTTAWA, June 22, 2007: The Globe and Mail published an op-ed piece yesterday written by Ken Boessenkool defending the Harper government's policy and actions on equalization. The Globe failed, however, to note Boessenkool is one of Stephen Harper's closest associates. Nor did it reveal he is a registered lobbyist working for a drug company benefitting from the surprise inclusion in the federal budget, passed last night, of $300 million for cervical cancer vaccine for girls.

...[T]he Ottawa Citizen reported in February that Boessenkool registered to lobby the federal government on immunization policy on behalf of Merck Frosst Canada.

...[O]n equalization, it would appear Boessenkool is coming to his old friend's assistance at a time of need, possibly as political payback.

...[B]oessenkool accuses a "previous federal government" (that would be Paul Martin's Liberals) of an "egregious departure" from the customary equalization formula and accuses them of making "ad hoc side agreements with some provinces but not others." Boessenkool fails to add, however, that as opposition leader Stephen Harper publicly supported those same agreements. He has changed the rules but adamantly denies having done so and that has created a firestorm.

...[B]oessenkool's relationship with Harper goes well beyond the professional. Ottawa writer Lloyd Mackey is a freelancer in the press gallery, filing mainly to evangelical church publications. Preston Manning had hired him years earlier to edit the Reform Party's publication. Mackey has since written a highly sympathetic book about Preston and Ernest Manning, and another called The Pilgrimage of Stephen Harper. In the book, Mackey describes Boessenkool as an evangelical Christian whose children are home schooled, and as "another of Harper's spiritual mentors listened to both at the economic and the faith levels."

...[N]umerous former staffers for the Reform, Alliance and Conservative parties have quickly made their way into lobbying firms, and certain lobbyists have become spinners for the government. In that light, it is difficult to read as objective anything written by Boessenkool regarding the government of his old friend and colleague Stephen Harper.

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