Sunday, October 21, 2012

NCC President Owes the CTF an Apology

After Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced he was going to (finally) reform the gold-plated MP pension plan, National Citizens Coalition president Peter Coleman quickly claimed it as a victory for his group.

Nothing surprising about that.

I certainly expected Coleman would try and claim credit, but what I didn’t expect was that in doing so he would also launch a classless and pathetic attack against another conservative organization.

Yet, unbelievably that’s what he did.

In a recent note posted on the NCC blog (which was also emailed to the group’s supporters ) Coleman interrupted his boasting about the  NCC’s supposed triumph, to express his annoyance that other groups had the audacity to believe they also had a part to play in making MP pensions an issue.

As he put it, “there have been many groups coming out of the woodwork trying to claim credit for pressing for these reforms.”

While Coleman doesn’t have the courage to name the other groups, “coming out of the woodwork” it seems obvious he is referring to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, which is also taking credit for MP pension reform.

Coleman then tries to “set the record straight” by linking to some NCC anti-MP pension ads from the late 1970s and adds, “It was the NCC that first started researching and exposing outrageous MP pensions nearly 35 years ago, and it is the NCC that has put this issue in the spotlight once again.”

Interestingly, however, Coleman doesn’t link to any ads of more recent vintage, say within the past five years.


It’s simple, while the NCC was indeed a leading voice on MP pension reform in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, it became virtually silent on the issue after Harper became Prime Minister.

For some reason reforming MP pensions was no longer a top priority for the NCC.

This is why it’s so absurd for Coleman to now be demanding all the attention, like some spoiled child.

The truth is the issue of MP pensions might have fallen off the public radar completely had it not been for another conservative organization that worked hard to keep the flame of reform alive.

I am talking, of course, about the CTF.

For the past seven years, it was the CTF, with its relentless, informative and creative ad campaigns, which almost single-handedly ensured that the issue of MP pensions stayed on the national agenda.

In other words, during the Harper era, it was the CTF and not the NCC which put a “spotlight” on MP pensions.

That’s why the CTF has every right to take a bow for its victory.

Ironically, if anyone is crawling out of the woodwork on the MP pension issue, it’s the NCC president.

So why did Coleman launch such a graceless attack on the CTF? I don’t know, maybe he’s jealous of its success. Maybe his own supporters were wondering why the NCC didn’t challenge Harper on the MP pension issue. Who knows?

All I do know for sure is that Coleman owes the CTF and its supporters an apology.

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