Throughout all the coverage around the Elections Canada investigation into the alleged Conservative in and out scheme, the RCMP raid on CPC headquarters, the alleged attempts to circumvent election spending limits, allegations of forgery and lack of confidence in independent democratic institutions, it’s important to keep one thing in mind: it’s also about taxpayer dollars.
Particularly when Deceivin’ Stephen Harper is making completely off base comments like this:
To that end, he mocked the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois in a speech to an evening party rally where he called the Liberals crooked and the Bloc impotent. About 400 party supporters, including two dozen area candidates, were in attendance.
"We spend our own money, the Liberals spend stolen money," he said in a speech that made no reference to current allegations of election spending irregularities by his party in the last election.
First of all, what stolen money Steve? I think we should serve him with a libel notice unless he can back that up because, as he knows, if he’s referring to sponsorship he knows the LPC returned to the taxpayers every penny that was identified by multiple independent investigations having ended-up in Liberal coffers. (And on a side note, interesting to compare the responses of the two parties to those incidents: The Liberals call in the AG, call in the RCMP, hire forensic auditors and appoint a judicial inquiry. The Conservatives stonewall committees, sue independent bodies, insult the RCMP, and vote no confidence in Elections Canada.)
And second, on his comment that the Cons spend their own money, I call bullshit. A key part of their in and out scheme was to enrich local Conservative campaigns with taxpayer money they’re not entitled to. By funneling this national spending through local campaigns, it allowed these local campaigns to increase the rebate of election expenses they’re entitled to from the taxpayers. This wasn’t a side benefit or an afterthought, it was spelled-out by the CPC to local campaigns as their carrot for participating in the scheme: we send you this money, you send it back, you get a bigger rebate.
In fact, this is such a central part to the Conservative scheme that, when Elections Canada rightly denied 67 Conservative candidates’ attempts to count this spending towards their taxpayer rebates, on the grounds national expenses aren’t eligible, the Conservatives launched a lawsuit against Elections Canada to fight for the money.
So Steve, this IS about the CPC wanting to spend taxpayer money it’s not entitled to. It’s about a scheme that, in addition to allegedly being an attempt to circumvent election spending laws, is also an attempt to squeeze another $720,000 out of the taxpayers for Conservative campaigns. Money that, told they’re not entitled to, they’re suing to get anyway.
Because, I suppose, they feel entitled to their entitlements.
People don’t generally get too upset about election spending limits. But a transparent attempt to grab nearly $1 million in taxpayer dollars? That’s another matter altogether. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers