Back in mid-January I wrote about the Conservative Party of Canada being harassed by The Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand. At that time I pointed to two cases where Elections Canada had lost in court to the CPC. Well, according to John Ivison over at the National Post the score is now 3 to zip for the CPC versus Marc Mayrand and Elections Canada.
Conservatives won in their two so-called “in-and-out” cases. Now, according to Ivison, a judge has ruled that Elections Canada is obliged to accept a cheque for nearly $600,000 from the Tories covering money owed to taxpayers because it received too big a rebate from the 2004 and 2006 general elections. Apparently, accepting the CPC’s cheque could also require the Liberals to pay back an estimated $750,000.
Seems obvious that Marc Mayrand would have to spring to the defence of of his buddies in the Liberal Party, arguing that changing the way political parties count their election expenses would compromise the “level playing field” he is trying to create. So, incredible as it may seem, he took the Tories to court so he would not have to accept their cheque.
Mayrand obviously has a unique concept of what makes for a level playing field. How is it a level playing field when it comes to the issue of Liberal leadership candidates not repaying their 2006 campaign loans. As written about earlier, six top Liberals missed the deadline for repaying their leadership campaign loans. This after MPs Stéphane Dion, Gerard Kennedy, Martha Hall-Findlay, Maurizio Bevilacqua, Joe Volpe and Hedy Fry were all given 18-month extensions that expired this past New Year’s Eve.
Far from being level, this playing field seems tilted in favour of the Liberal Party of Canada. On one hand we have Elections Canada hounding the Conservatives in court, on the other hand, we have preferential terms being given for leadership campaign loan repayments—and no known consequences when even those special arrangements are ignored by several senior Liberals.
It seems to me that the Tories have an uphill run whenever they play on Mr. Mayrand’s playing field. Liberals get the goldmine; Tories get the shaft.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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