Another day, more interesting developments in the Conservative In and Out Scandal. Today we learn that Conservative candidates who were likely to say “hey, this allegedly sounds like a blatantly transparent attempt to circumvent our election laws, and enrich ourselves at taxpayer expense, and I question its legality” were pre-screened from participating.
Louise O'Sullivan, Conservative candidate in the riding of Westmount-Ville Marie and a former member of Montreal's executive committee, said her background in business and in municipal politics would have immediately prompted her to question the transaction.
"I don't think they would have done it with me because they knew that I was tied in to municipal (politics). ... They would have been afraid of me."
O'Sullivan described the other west-end Montreal Conservative candidates who agreed to the transfers as "all the 'yes' people."
"I was not approached and I wouldn't have accepted it," said O'Sullivan.
As Elizabeth Thompson writes in the Montreal Gazette, O’Sullivan’s campaign and riding fit all the criteria the Conservatives were looking for in In and Out participants:
In an email Dec. 15, 2005, Michael Donison, national executive director for the Conservatives, suggested the party look at some suburban Montreal ridings.Perhaps this riding was missing one key ingredient after all: a pliable candidate either willing to overlook the dubious ethic and legal status of the In and Out scheme, or one too daft to notice.
"I have been speaking to Paul Lepsoe," he said, referring to the party's lawyer. "He has suggested that surely there are contiguous ridings that we could include on the list - for instance what about all the Montreal South Shore? None of those campaigns can or will spend very much and could make their caps available."
Throughout it all, O'Sullivan and riding president Sean Ahern say they never got a phone call - even though her riding encompassed the highly visible western half of downtown Montreal.
Lastly I just love the lame defence offered-up by Ryan Sparrow. You’ll remember him as the ringmaster of the top-secret roving press briefings. I wonder who was paying Ryan's salary when he coughed up this:
However, Conservative Party spokesman Ryan Sparrow said the fact O'Sullivan wasn't asked is evidence that there wasn't a grand plan.Grand plan? No way. No master strategy. No intelligent, rational thought and consideration. We just pulled it out of our asses and made it up as we went along, Ryan seems to say. That would seem to put lie to the Steve Harper, strategic genius myth, but I’m not buying it.
"It continues to prove that the Liberal accusations that ridings were simply chosen to participate in order to receive a rebate is ridiculous. All the ads that aired were properly 'tagged' and all the rules were followed."
He also mangles the Liberal position but life is short and I'm voting no confidence in his communications skills. Besides, it’s a beautiful sunny day here in Los Angeles and I have a secret media briefing to get off to. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers