Just because I’m in Las Vegas doesn’t mean I’m ignoring what’s happening at home.
The Bulte story is gaining traction in the MSM. Michael Geist (who has provided most of the impetus for this story) reports that the Canadian Press and the Toronto Star have covered the issue as have the Globe and Mail and the CBC. (Also check out Rob Hyndman, as well as here and here, who commented on my previous post on this issue.) Geist quotes Jack Granastein from the CP article and then adds some pertinent comments of his own.
“I worry when any politician, at any time but particularly in an election time, is given a fundraiser by a lobby group. Politicians should be somewhat more careful than to be seen to be in the pocket of a particular collection of lobbyists on a matter of public importance.”
The concerns are dismissed by both Sam Bulte and CRIA’s Graham Henderson. Bulte responds that “nobody influences me, nobody can buy me” and that “people raise money all the time.” Well, some raise more money than others. Bulte is apparently one of the best. I’ve already posted on her prodigious fundraising from the pro-copyright lobby. It is also worth noting that a review of the 2004 Ontario Liberal riding association returns reveals that Bulte ranked 5th among the more than 100 ridings in terms of total contributions of individuals, corporations, trade unions, and associations.
What I find astounding (but really shouldn’t) is the unwillingness on Ms. Bulte’s part to realize that there is any problem with what she is doing. To suggest that “nobody influences” her is patently nonsense. Of course, she’s influenced by her relationships with the Henderson and the CRIA – are we all not influenced by those people we choose to associate with.
The issue is that she is the Parliamentary Secretary for Canadian Heritage and will have impact on any Digital Rights Management legislation that comes before the house. (This is assuming the Libs win again – which hopefully won’t happen.) To be as closely linked to Henderson et al, and to be having a fundraiser hosted by these folk a few days before the election is at the very least “the appearance of evil”, whether or not it actually is. It smacks of Liberal arrogance and may prove to be a very costly blunder for Ms. Bulte.
Read my earlier post on this issue here.