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Accountability: the act of splitting hairs

The Globe and Mail reports today that two former Conservative staffers have quit their jobs working for cabinet ministers to take lobbyist roles in private firms. The Conservative reaction is to note that they were parliamentary not ministerial aides, and they broke no rules.

What troubles me most is the incestuous back-and-forth between lobbying firms and the federal government. Tara Baran, former legislative assistant to Justice Minuster Vic Toews quit her position when he became minister and now is with Strategy Corp., and is of course lobbying the Justice Department among others. Sandra Buckler, formerly of Fleishman-Hillard is now Stephen Harper's (snicker) communications director. Kevin Macintosh, who just left Rob Nicholson's office, is now at Fleishman-Hillard.

This little shell game between government and the lobby industry has gone on for years, of course - the Liberals were masters. However, the Tories brought the government down on accountability issues and came to office wearing the white hat and riding the horse called Account-a-Billy, and it looks like they are going to play the same old game.

Except, of course, they are going to do a far better job of keeping lips shut tight about it.

"Communications director" - for a dry fucker, Harper sure can be funny sometimes.

Are we actually surprised by this? Lining up at the trough after an election victory is a long-held Canadian tradition. There's probably a vignette heralding the practice somewhere in the NFB archives.

For all of Harper's bullshit ethics talk, not a thing has changed.

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