Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bonds: Not just for criminals anymore

Sean over at Public Eye Online has some interesting news: prospective Conservative nomination candidates are being required to post two $1000 bonds with the party. To my untrained eye this looks like an election financing violation waiting to happen.

According to the party’s nomination rules and procedures - which were distributed to riding associations this past June - candidates must make out a $1,000 cheque payable to the Conservative Fund of Canada to "serve as a Good Conduct Bond." Those who follow those rules and procedures will get their cheque back. But it’s tough luck for those who don't.

I can certainly see the desire for the CPC to try and keep some of the, shall we say nuttier, people that tend to seek their nominations in check. Doesn't really mesh with their supposed love of free speech and power to the people, but I understand the motivation. Still, borrowing from the criminal justice system and putting them on bail is an interesting choice.

But wait, there's more:

And the news is even worse for candidates who win less than 10 percent of the vote at a nomination meeting. They have to relinquish their $1,000 "Non-Frivolous Bond."

As Sean points out, if you want to run for the CPC for "shits and giggles" and you don't behave yourself either you'll be out $2000. Pricy, and not just a tad elitist.

Donation limits

Here's my question though. As reported, the $2000 in bonds are in the forms of cheques payable to the Conservative Fund of Canada, and if relinquished would be cashed by the CPC. In that case, I'd imagine they'd be treated as political donations by the candidate to the CPC, right?

But…didn't the CPC lower the annual political donations limit to $1000? That would seem to mean that if both bonds were forfeited, or if just one bond was forfeited and the candidate had donated even $1 to the CPC over the past year, and you'd imagine someone seeking a nomination might have gone to a corn roast or something, that would put them over the $1000 legal donation limit. Which means the candidate would be making an illegal political contribution, and the Conservatives would be knowingly accepting illegal contributions.

Wouldn't it?

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Anonymous said...


more excellent Dion timing,

just as the Lib's motion to force Kyoto is being debated,

(where Buzz hargrove is lamenting - quite justifiably given the economists' predictions- as it will cause a loss in jobs, particularily in the auto sector),

we hear news of massive layoffs in the auto sector.

Southern Ontarions are just going to love the additional stress of Dion toying with their livelihood.

Anonymous said...

Uh oh, speggtio,

looks like the CPC may be dropping the writ on the kyoto motion:

To destroy the economy, or not destroy the economy.

That's a tough one.

I'm thinking Canadians will want to.....................................NOT...destroy the economy.

Or more appropriately, not want the Liberals, after falling behind on kyoto for years, force all Canadians to make up for the Libs' mistakes (particularily when a couple new Chinese coal fired plants will make the moves moot).

Destroying the economy for nothing?

I'm thinking that won't fly.

But hey, maybe Canadians are a stupid as the Libs seem to think they are.

Jeff said...

Chuckles, as tolerant as I am of vibrant discussion, if you could at least try a little bit to keep it on topic I'd appreciate it.

If you have a theory on Stephane's responsibility for the Maple Leafs; poor season though, feel free to share.

Walks With Coffee said...

Steve Harper illegally over contributed to the CPoC when the limit was $5000... and on public record at elections canada corporations donated to send people to the CPoC convention... so, yes, they would knowingly over contribute... they have to pay for attack ads you know.

Kevrichard said...

this good conduct bond seems like a plan to prevent members with loose lips from opening their mouths when an election occurs, harper really likes to rule his party with an iron fist.

Scotian said...

Given the way they deliberately decided that election campaign financing laws regarding conventions had a unique meaning that worked in their favour that no other party ever had including both parents of the CPC to give any benefit of the doubt that this is unintentional would be foolish IMHO. This is a party led by those that will use any and all advantages they can generate, even those that cross the lines so long as discovery/proof of this is not shown until after the election is over, and if they formed a majority government they would no doubt feel they could manage it and it would unlikely survive for as long as the 4 years a majority tends to run.

I know this is a PM that will violate election financing laws regarding contributions both personally and as a party leader. I know this is a PM that at the minimum covered up for someone(s) in his party fabricating evidence "proving" a specific criminal allegation against a sitting PM/government that he and his entire party endorsed as complete uncut and totally true when first "full" release occurred on May 31 05, demonstrating a level of contempt for making slanderous charges and arguably breaking criminal law himself even if he has not been charged for it. I know that he will say anything he thinks is necessary to gain advantages, the Income Trust promise was one example, the sudden flip-flop regarding the reality of man made global warming we are seeing while simultaneously claiming to do anything close to the minimum that is deemed necessary is a economy killer which is the same argument he had against Kyoto for the last several years when he didn't believe in man made global warming is another.

So I would view this with nothing but skepticism and a total unwillingness to give any benefit of the doubt regarding anything that cannot be ironclad proven first. This is far too similar to the same sort of methods adopted by the GOP to gain major advantages to their side while shutting out their opposition from being able to match them. The specific tools by which this aim is done is clearly different, but that is inherently necessary given the major differences between Canadian and American election financing laws and regulations. I have said it before and I will say it again, Harper is a true movement conservative in the NA sense of the concept. He may have some social conservative traits to him but that is not his fundamental interests for this country. No, he wants to reshape us into a much more compatible "mini me" of America than we currently are with our profoundly different approach to social justice and welfare in our respective societies. He will use whatever tools he thinks he can make work up here that have worked in the USA for the GOP against the Dems, which is why he kept consulting folks like Ralph Reed, Grover Norquist and Frank Luntz over the last few years on how to shape winning strategies and tactics to gain and hold government.

This feels like one more example of this and needs to be viewed with total distrust and skepticism IMHO.

Anonymous said...

I think someone should write Pat Martin of the NDP about this and see if he's strong enough to question Harper on it.

Would be a good test eh?

burlivespipe said...

Pub-Eye's posting is kinda confusing... My reading of it was that there was just one $1,000 bond, not two. However, from the president's council that I attended recently put the financial donation limit as follows: the limit is actually $1,100 for a political party; you may also donate $1,100 to a riding association; and, you may donate a further $1,100 to a nomination candidate. Now that adds up to $3,300 (the extra $100 per is the annual inflation)... Like Scotian, I am certain the Cons have creased these rules to the extreme and believe that they have found every loophole and added a few more of their own.
Harpor was able to break the donation law last time and barely got any press at all. Had it been Paul Martin, we know CanWet and NaPo would have been all over the ship stuff and cryin' to the clouds, along with Stock, Jason and ol' Harpo.

Joe Calgary said...


You got it right bud. There's no issue with the two cheques, because one is local riding, and one is federal party.

BCer, your getting hung up on Chuckles, but he's called it. All the wasted time on a Bill made Law that if the Cons get a majority, will die PDQ.

The Law will never get a chance to get tested in court. Nor will the Liberals be much appreciated for having pushed so hard for it.

Harper is going to use this new "forced opposition" law against Dion.

He's going to paint a big bright line in the sky, and he's going to say to Canadians "this is what we are DOING", not pretending to do like the Liberals did, and this is what Mr. Dion wants you to do: Give up your jobs, sacrifice the economy, and send money to Russia and watch China continue to blithly pollute, and this is his vision."

You know what Canadian Voters are going to say, "As long as we are doing something, and it will be effective, we don't care about Kyoto... especially if it is going to cost our jobs."

Even Buzz Hargrove is going to swallow his hatred of the Tories and tell the world "Vote Tory, cause Dion is going to ruin us".

Meanwhile Mssr. Dion is now flipflopping on Senate term limits, members of his own party are questioning his judgement on the Anti-terrorist legislation, and even McCellan, Colter, and Irwin, senior liberals all, are pissed with his position.

This guy has done more damage to your party in 3 months than Martin did in a year of looking desperate.

But you keep worrying about a couple of grand in legal donations, designed to make sure a contender is really there for the right reasons, and shows commitment.

Luckily we don't worry about discrimination in the CPC, we let anyone with a couple of grand take a shot at a chair.

Anonymous said...

CPC also lets anyone without a brain to run - brains don't count, just electibility - a senior advisor to Harper said so.

I'm sorry, but the "auto sector" has had many, many years to come up with green cars and now it's caught up to them.

And, it's a 'falicy" that going green will ruin the economy.

The other countries that have are doing very, very well.

Unfortunatley, the "brainless" conservatives fall for Harper/Baird garbage because in the words of the Conservative advisor you don't need brains to be a conservative.

Anonymous said...

A point is missing here - parliament belongs to the people and MP's are elected to parliament on behalf of the people.

Harper is spitting in the face of parliament and therefore splitting in the face of the people of Canada and there is only one description for this action - it's called "dictatorship". Harper does not own parliament - the people do.

He should resign!

Jeff said...

Burl, it's two bonds of $1000 each. One for good conduct, the other is kept unless you get 10 per cent of the nomination vote or not.

And on the issue of where the money goes, my understanding from the article was that both go to the national party, but that could be mistaken. Either way, both are pre-writ.

I'm not aware of there being separate donation limits for party, riding, nom campaign, election campaign. That would be four separate limits totaling $4400? Is this something new? Previously, there were only separate limits for a campaign and a party. As I've always understood it, donations, whether to the national party or a riding association, have always counted against the same limit. I would be surprised if that had changed, and if it has it certainly makes a mockery of the Con rhetoric here about lowering donation limits.

Anonymous said...

There are 3 opportunities to max out; I may have made a mistake on the nomination candidate as oppose to candidate, but it tallies up to $3,300. That was what the BC grand poobahs were told.