The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

July 18, 2008

The PCs said the Liberals were crooked.. but what about themselves??

 

“Conservative MPs should not be permitted to spend “in-and-out” rebates July 17, 2008    

 

OTTAWA – Conservative candidates who may have received inflated rebates before Elections Canada discovered the “in-and-out” scheme should be required to put the money in a trust fund until the Federal Court rules if they are entitled to it, Liberal Justice Critic Dominic LeBlanc said today.  

“I am calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ensure that all of his candidates who received potentially inflated rebates due to the “in-and-out” scheme put these funds in a trust fund pending the Federal Court’s review,” said Mr. LeBlanc. “No candidate should have a political advantage by being able to spend funds they received as a result of a scheme which Elections Canada says may not comply with the Elections Act.”

Mr. LeBlanc noted Elections Canada has ruled that certain rebates may be higher than should have been allowed under the Elections Act. We learned yesterday that 17 Conservative candidates got taxpayer-funded cheques before Elections Canada discovered the “in-and-out” scheme.

“I’m sure Canadian voters would be concerned if the Conservatives permitted these candidates, who we now learn include three members of cabinet, from using these funds, while the Federal Court is reviewing Elections Canada’s ruling that the Conservatives had no right to claim this money,” he said.
Mr. LeBlanc noted that in media reports today, Elections Canada has for the first time revealed that 11 sitting Conservative MPs are among the candidates who may have taken part in the “in-and-out” scheme and have already received rebates. They include Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon, Heritage Minister Josée Verner and Chief Government Whip Jay Hill. Calculating the 60 percent rebate that each of these MPs would have received on the additional advertising expenses that Elections Canada has ruled ineligible, reveals that the Conservative MPs alone would have received over $100,000 in inflated rebates.

Mr. LeBlanc noted that the “in-and-out” scheme centres around allegations that the Conservatives attempted to put over $1.3 million in national advertising spending on the books of 67 of their local candidates, allowing these candidates to claim over three-quarters of million dollars in inflated, taxpayer-funded rebates. The independent Elections Commissioner is currently conducting an investigation and if the ad costs are assigned to the national Conservative Party, it will have exceeded the $18.3 million spending cap by over one million dollars and the party and its officials may face serious consequences including fines and jail time.

Below is a chart calculating the 60 percent rebate that Conservative MPs received from Elections Canada as part of the “in-and-out” scheme.”

Member of Parliament Additional rebate received due to apparent “in-and-out” transaction
Hon. Lawrence Cannon

$3,685

Hon. Jay Hill

$9,000

Hon. Josée Verner

$5,618

David Anderson

$1,977

Maxime Bernier

$3,000

Steven Blaney

$14,785

Patricia Davidson

$7,290

Jacques Gourde

$14,785

Luc Harvey

$22,473

Colin Mayes

$6,000

Daniel Petit

$22,473

TOTAL

$111, 086

 

 

 

 

Conservatives Attempt to Stifle Democracy

The Conservative government is further trying to stifle democracy by attempting to muzzle Officers of Parliament, the Liberal Opposition said 

“The Auditor General of Canada has been forced to defend her independence from the government’s attempt to vet her communications with Canadians,” said Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion. “Why is the Conservative government at war with Canada’s democratic institutions?”

Mr. Dion was referring to Auditor-General Sheila Fraser’s testimony yesterday at the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, where she denounced the Conservative government’s proposal to review public statements of Officers of Parliament before they are released.

Deputy Leader Michael Ignatieff said that the Conservative government has a track record of showing disregard for independent regulative authorities.

In particular, he pointed to the recent controversy between it and Elections Canada, an independent institution respected around the world.

“Elections Canada is an institution that’s earned the respect and confidence of the entire world,” said Mr. Ignatieff. “It has provided electoral assistance in a hundred countries. It has organized missions in over a hundred countries, including recent elections in Afghanistan and Haiti.

“But on Tuesday, we learned that there’s one government, this government, that no longer has confidence in Elections Canada.

“How can this government possibly explain that to Canadians and to the world?
Why does this government no longer have confidence in Elections Canada?”

Considering the Conservative Party ran on transparency and accountability during the last election, it is increasingly clear that this government doesn’t practice what it preaches.

http://www.liberal.ca/story_13922_e.aspx

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