A recap of the Harper government’s first year scandals

Wednesday marks the first anniversary of the Harper government's majority.

For the Tories, it's been a year in which there have been plenty of ups and downs.

The headlines, however, were dominated by a number of Conservative party scandals.

Here's a recap of some of the more notable scandals from the past 12 months.


During the election campaign a leaked auditor general's report suggested then-industry minister Tony Clement funneled $50 million of G8 legacy money into dubious projects in his riding.

Clement claims he "recommended projects" to John Baird, the then-infrastructure minister who had sole authority to decide which projects would get federal cash.

In November, the RCMP announced that it had found no basis for further investigation of Clement.

Irwin Cotler affair:

In November, it was reported that constituents in the Montreal riding of Mount Royal were receiving calls from a telephone number identified as "Campaign Research" asking if they intend to support the Conservative party in an impending federal by-election.

There was one problem though: Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, who represents Mount Royal, had no plans of stepping down and there was no impending by-election.

According to an article in the National Post, the Conservative party eventually admitted to making the calls but claimed they were simply identifying supporters.

Peter MacKay's helicopter trip:

Opposition MPs went on the attack in December over Defence Minister Peter MacKay's 10-minute trip on a search-and-rescue helicopter in July 2010.

The helicopter picked up MacKay from a remote fishing lodge in central Newfoundland at a cost to taxpayers of $32,000.

Despite leaked documents suggesting the helicopter pick-up was only to be under the "guise" of a search-and-rescue exercise, MacKay continues to insist he did nothing wrong.

Robo-call scandal:

As Postmedia News reported in February, Elections Canada and police are looking into reports that automated calls in as many as 18 ridings falsely advised voters that the locations of their polling stations had changed.

At least some of these calls were linked to Racknine, a small Edmonton call centre that worked for the Tory national campaign.

The investigation continues.

Christian Paradis' ethics problem:

In March, industry minister Paradis was found guilty of conflict of interest for helping former caucus colleague Rahim Jaffer meet with senior bureaucrats on a controversial green-energy project.

According to Tim Harper of the Toronto Star, Paradis is now under investigation in two more ethics cases.

F-35 debacle:

Last month, auditor general Michael Ferguson tabled a scathing report claiming the Harper government's plan to buy new F-35 fighter jets was conducted with key data hidden from decision makers and parliamentarians.

Moreover, during a post-report conference, Ferguson said the Harper government would have known that the F-35 was estimated to cost $25 billion, not the $14.7 billion the public was told in the weeks before the last federal election.

The Harper government tried to explain the discrepancy away by claiming it was due to differing accounting methodologies.

Bev Oda's $16 orange juice:

Bev Oda's travel expenses to the UK caused controversy last week.

A Canadian Press story revealed that the international cooperation minister was originally booked to stay at a London hotel where she was attending a conference last June, but had her staff rebook her at the swanky Savoy hotel, where her stay cost her about $665 per night.

The total bill for her three-day stay including the room and room service was $1,995. The room charges included an orange juice that cost $16.

Oda also hired a car and driver, at a cost of about $1,000 per day, to bring her to the hotel she was originally supposed to stay at.

She eventually apologized for her lavish spending and repaid the money out of her own pocket.