Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More than election law, In and Out is about $720,000 of our money

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.

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Anonymous said...

I'm sure the Conservatives would have no problem paying back the $750,000. as long as the Liberals would agree to pay back the $10 million or more dollars they took from the Canadian taxpayers.

Jeff said...

Sigh. What $10 million, PK? Fact: every dollar that improperly ended up in Liberal coffers, as identified by the auditor general and independent forensic auditors, was repaid by the LPC to the taxpayers. That's the truth, no matter how much the Con apologists try to insist otherwise.

And another fact: the Cons are suing to get $720,000 from the taxpayers, despite Elections Canada ruling they're not entitled to it.

The Cons, though, feel they are entitled to their entitlements, it seems.

Unknown said...

Actually. The libs promised to realease how they calculated the figure of the approx $1 million of STOLEN money but they never did. keep spinning though.....

Jeff said...

I'm not spinning Jeff, because there is nothing to spin. Independent forensic auditors. Auditor General. RCMP. Judicial inquiry. No need to spin those facts.

And as for spin though, I see you're not even attempting to spin the CPC actions here, other than supporting an attempt to draw the thread away from the subject of CPC coveting of taxpayer dollars with irrelevant issues from many years ago that have been resolved. So, keep on doing nothing, I guess.

Johnathon said...

The Liberals have not pais back almost 40 million out of 100 million that was stolen by the Liberal Party of Canada.

If they have, provide the proof with a simple link to the website or sites.

Gauntlet said...

They are on an extremely low moral ground here. Even if everything they say is absolutely true, they are admitting to using a legal loophole to circumvent the national campaign spending limits, and having the taxpayers pay for it.

I mean, if this was so clearly above board, why would they only have started doing it when they ran out of spending room at the end of the campaign?

Geekwad said...

I couldn't give a wet fart for .75M of taxpayer dollars. It's just money. There's almost always more money. And that's exactly the reason why we have spending limits on elections. .75M of taxpayer dollars is chump change. .75M of extra election budget is a big deal!

Jeff said...

Are you saying I'm lying jonathon? That I'm making it up? I could care less if you believe me. It's a fact. Try google if you don't believe me, and while you're at it, if Stephen Harper isn't a soviet sleeper agent prove it to me.

Oxford County Liberals said...

I'd recommend banning Johnathon - he's nothing but a Con troll and flamer.

As for the rest of the comments - typical Cons. Kool-Aid drinkers.

Gayle said...

I particularly like geekwad's comment. Apparently it is OK to improperly take tax dollars, so long as it is less than a million.

I think I will cheat on my taxes this year. So long as my claim is less than a million dollars, our PM will think it is OK.

Thanks for the post Jeff. It is important to note that even if the CPC are not charged, or win their lawsuit, what they did is was counter to the spirit and intent of the legislation - all in order to get their hands on more tax dollars. You know if it were the liberals doing this the CPC and all their little fans would be up in arms.

Geekwad said...

Gayle, you misunderstood me. What I was trying to say was that I think exploiting the rebates (ie, fraud for money) is less important and damnable than circumventing the spending limits (ie, fraud for power).

We should have a "no griefing" election law, like found in online games. If you find a loophole, you must report it. If you exploit it and get caught, you get banned. ;-)