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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Is Elections Canada Investigating a Conservative Party "Adscam?"

It looks like there is another Adscam brewing in Ottawa these days. This time it is not to save the country from another Referendum over Quebec sovereignty. This time the allegations are about the Harper Cons apparently “conning” the public and effectively beating the system.

Even if Elections Canada finds the scheme was legal, the Cons 2006 election advertising spending trickery sure doesn’t pass the sniff test. This kind of allegation is not the stuff of a trustworthy government with indisputable integrity. Doing indirectly what you can't do directly is great old school politics but bad modern governance.

Here is a summary of what I understand is being investigated by Elections Canada. The issue is did the Harper Cons use a campaign spending loophole and if they did, have they exceeded their $18,300,000.00 campaign spending limits in the 2006 election, and then, if so, have they broken the law?

The trick Mr. Harper’s Cons have apparently used was, after they spent the full allowable campaign limit $18,300,000.00 they discovered some local candidates had not used up their spending limits. The central party apparently “gave” the local candidates some $1,200,000.00 in total to “use up” the remaining spending limits.

The clever party apparatus puppies in Con-land then had the local candidates “give” back the money on the very same day. The central party operators then spent the “new” local candidate “donations” on targeted regional election campaign advertising.

This scheme apparently involves 37 individual candidates whose financial officers are now in a court case with Elections Canada about if this was a systematic and deliberate attempt evade election campaign spending laws or just old fashioned politics as usual.

As a taxpaying citizen of Canada, you actually kickback 60% of any party’s candidate election campaign spending, we are talking about your hard earned tax dollars. In close races, regional advertising spending, in excess of legal limits, may have had an impact on outcomes. We can’t ever tell. But we should not have to even ask that question.

The question I now have is, are Mr. Harper’s Cons worthy of our trust and respect as government? Are they worthy of our vote and our consent to be our governors? Are Mr Harper’s Cons capable of governing in a responsible, democratic, accountable, open and transparent manner AND with integrity when they would pull off such a stunt?

I wonder what other tricks Mr. Harper’s Cons have up their sleeves we don’t know about yet?

5 comments:

  1. I don't think you can really compare it to Adscam. The initial $1.2M was donations to the Conservative Party of which they get back 60% at the candidate level. Had the limit been higher and they spent it from Ottawa, they still would have got back 50%.

    Even if they are found guilty of this offense, what happens? Would Elections Canada void the results of the election and force a new one? Not likely.

    Now, it will be hard for the Conservatives to campaign on accountability. Then again, in the next election "accountability" won't be an issue because who's going to bring it up. Both the Liberals and Conservatives are facing "pot and kettle" problems.

    With these two parties the most likely to form government in the next election, watch voter turnout continue to drop and people continue to demonstrate their lack of faith in political parties.

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  2. Mark T. Both parties have credibility problems...difference is Dion is two leaders away from the Adscam fiasco..this Conservative Adscam is on Harper's watch.

    What was he thinking?

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  3. It's obviously what he was thinking... he needed to win the last election or the backroom players were going to remove him as Leader. Even now, they aren't satisfied. Harper is expected to deliver a majority government in the next election and the extreme control on messaging is prime evidence of that.

    The next few months should be interesting as the Conservatives have run out of ideas and two major problems for them (foreign affairs, environment) are now the main issues of the nation.

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  4. Anonymous8:48 am

    First of all, I would like to thank you, Ken, for your blog.

    Secondly, I would like to ask you for your opinion. Who, in your opnion, are Mr. Harper's masters?

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  5. Anon @ 8:48 - thanks for the comment on the Blog. On the second point as to who are Mr. Harper's masters, it is such a significant question I want to reflect for a bit and then do a specific posting on that issue.

    Thanks also for the inspiration.

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