About "Brian Lilley"
Brian Lilley is the host of Byline on Sun News Network and a senior correspondent for Sun Media's Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa. His weekly column is published in more than 30 daily newspapers across Canada and he appears on several leading talk radio stations. Watch Byline at 9pm ET Monday to Friday and read Brian's columns in your Friday papers.
It’s one of the oddities of Canadian politics, Liberals and New Democrats talking to American political professionals is fascinating but when Conservatives do it…..well that’s just wrong.
We can see that playing out in the visit of Hillary Clinton to Ottawa next Monday.
I’ve been getting emails like the one below for weeks now. The Liberals have been trying to raise money off of Clinton’s visit to speak to the Canada 20/20 conference by asking for help and offering you a chance to sit at the Liberal table and are you ready….MEET HILLARY!
Now really I have no problem with Clinton coming to Ottawa to speak to a left wing think tank, collect her $300,000 speaking fee and leave some pearls of wisdom – like explaining why it doesn’t matter why your ambassador and three other citizens were killed as your diplomatic post was overrun.
If Liberals, and New Democrats, want to hear from Clinton, have at it.
But I can’t help but notice that the limited media coverage so far has been cheering the idea of Hillary coming to Canada. That’s not what happens when conservative leaning politicians, or even John McCain, come to Canada.
When Republican nominee McCain visited Calgary the Liberals were quick to link his visit to the Conservatives. The Liberals and the media were still quick to link McCain to the Conservatives in a negative light despite his record as a Vietnam vet, a POW survivor and the ultimate moderate in the Senate.
“There is absolutely no doubt that the current Conservative party under Stephen Harper is far more closely tied to the U.S. Republicans than the previous Progressive Conservative Party ever was,” said Scott Brison, The Globe and Mail August 1, 2008.
Earlier that year Bob Rae was referring to the Harper Conservatives in language that Obama might call “jayvee” over connections real or imagined to the Republicans down south.
“I think if Senator Obama wins in November, Mr. Harper … is going to have some explaining to do because he’s created a crisis in our relationship with the Democratic party because of the fact we have a Republican farm team operating in Ottawa,” said Liberal MP Bob Rae. June 5, 2008 Toronto Star.
Funny, the Liberals and NDP have had key Obama organizers speak to their conventions and conferences including a top DNC official meeting with Liberals just a few weeks ago. Now they have Clinton coming. Of course Hillary’s husband employed James Carville who has advised the Liberals on and off for years but it is the Conservatives that are the farm team.
Liberals don’t even like conservative leaning politicians speaking at conservative leaning events. In 2013 longtime congressman and former presidential hopeful Ron Paul came to Ottawa to speak to the Manning Conference. A certain Montreal Liberal MP was quite upset.
“I don’t understand what wisdom Mr. Paul can bring to the Canadian setting. We’re a very different country with very different issues,” said Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia. Canadian Press, February 6, 2013.
I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for any Liberal be it Scarpaleggia, Brison, Rae or any members of the media to beat the bushes looking for negative comments on Clinton’s visit. I won’t expect columns denouncing the American influence on Canadian politics because we all know that is only bad when it is a conservative.
You can’t do much about entrenched double standards like this other than call people out on them and watch them try to justify themselves.