The federal Liberal party never seems to learn its lesson when it comes with playing fast and loose with election financing. After being knee deep in Canada’s worst election financing scandal—sponsorship scandal—under former prime minister Jean Chrétien, the Liberal party again finds itself under investigation by Elections Canada.
The sponsorship scandal involved, in part, illegal activities within the Liberal administration of a “sponsorship program” in the province of Quebec, including misdirection of public funds to ad firms in return for little or no work or donations to the Liberal Party. It rose to national prominence in 2004 after Sheila Fraser, the federal auditor general, revealed the scandal and the Paul Martin Liberals were pretty well forced to establish the Gomery Commission to conduct a public inquiry and file a report on the matter.
Now we have the Ottawa’s Elections Canada probing roughly $800, 000 in expenses filed by Liberal candidates during last fall’s election campaign. The Elections watchdog organization is scrutinizing Liberal Party documents to determine whether those expenses were actually thinly veiled donations to party headquarters, The Canadian Press reported yesterday.
This, of course, happened on former leader Stéphane Dion’s watch, but senior Grits like Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae were sure to know all about it since they too, as candidates, presumably had to make the $2,500 purchase.
According to a report in today’s National Post newspaper:
“… every [Liberal Party] candidate was required to purchase … [a mandatory riding services package] which included buttons, posters, brochures, photos and templates for Web sites, lawn signs, and letterhead … for $2,500 each.”
The question is whether, in fact, these riding services packages were worth the $2,500 price tag.
So what’s new, folks? I don’t want to jump to a conclusion of wrongdoing, but this is just the sort of stunt we have come to expect from the Grits.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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