Oda's cash-happy habits won't damage Tories long term: ex aide 0
Bev Oda. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)
Taxpayers won't soon forget former international co-operation minister Bev Oda's orange juice tab, says a former senior Tory aide.
But her spendthrift ways are unlikely to harm the Conservatives in two - possibly three - upcoming byelections.
Keith Beardsley, a former deputy chief of staff for issues management in the prime minister's office, said Wednesday that Oda's $16 glasses of orange juice and limo rides at least temporarily dinged the Conservative's brand.
"This is the type of stuff that's absolutely golden for opposition MPs, opposition parties," he said.
"It's these little tiny things that people remember."
But by bowing out of politics before she was booted from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet, Oda, who was replaced by former associate minister of national defence Julian Fantino Wednesday afternoon, may have helped contain the damage.
Oda's resignation also leaves the Conservatives saddled with another byelection at a time when polls suggest support for the government is slipping.
Harper has to call a byelection for her Ontario riding of Durham six months after she leaves and former MP Lee Richardson's Calgary Centre seat will also soon be up for grabs. He announced he was quitting federal politics last May.
There could be a third byelection if Tory MP Ted Opitz loses his appeal of a court ruling calling for a do-over following allegations of unregistered voters casting ballots in Etobicoke Centre in the last general election.
That's up for consideration by the Supreme Court July 10.
But Beardsley argues it's unlikely Oda's spending scandals will count against Conservatives when the byelections are held months down the road.
"Politics come and politics go, issues come and issues go - it's the flavour of the month. By that time Bev Oda will be long gone," Beardsley said.
"As long as their are no other ministers doing the same thing."