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Ontario Court of Appeal gives Canadian democracy an early Christmas present

Basically, they’ve told the Conservatives they’re not allowed to game the spending limits during an election campaign:

The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned a Conservative victory in one of the federal party’s campaign financing fights with Elections Canada. The strongly worded ruling reinforces the principle of maintaining a level playing field for election spending by political parties. The appeal court unanimously ruled that the Conservative Fund Canada cannot change its spending reports from the 2004 and 2006 elections to reflect GST rebates totalling almost $600,000.

Expect the Conservatives to appeal to the Federal Court and then the Supreme Court of course, while their supporters online fulminate about liberal/Liberal judges.. but savour the victory for now.

10 comments to Ontario Court of Appeal gives Canadian democracy an early Christmas present

  • Redrum

    Before I forget, I’d also like to address the red herring that the rat coughed up: “the idea that donors should fund parties… [is] especially good for democracy.”

    Let’s ignore the fact that it’s irrelevant to whether the CPC is trying to bend the election spending rules for a sec., and address it square on:

    Actually, the recent behaviour of the CPC makes a strong case that making a political party’s survival contingent on donations can deeply subvert democracy, particularly when they’re the Governing party.

    Why? Because it distorts not only their decision making but also their actions and puts them in a conflict of interest with advocating or doing what they truly believe is in the best overall interests and/or at least truly represents the majority opinion of ALL their constituents (not just the ones most likely to donate most generously).

    This has led to shameful actions like continuing to polarize the country by trotting out their various ‘tough on crime’ & ‘let’s kill the gun registry’ or reform the HOC seat distribution etc. etc. bills in a half-hearted fashion, and letting them get defeated or die on the order paper time & time again, so they can keep going back to the well for more donations. Thus, they’re even betraying their own base to wring more money out of them. And there’s a whole range of issues they probably _won’t_ act on even though they know it’s in the country’s best interests & they may not be opposed to them themselves, if they believe it’ll piss off the most bountiful donor demographics.

    One way to at least partially rectify that would be to do what the politicians & sr. political staffers themselves have to do to guard against such conflicts of interest: put the financial side of things in a blind trust, such that the governing caucus must remain oblivious of the effects of their ongoing decisions, actions & inactions on the Party’s coffers.

    As it is, our political system is increasingly becoming like perennial Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker / Messner televangelist telethons: all about doing nothing but scare the bejesus out of people to wring ever-more cash out of them. It’s both divisive and a national embarassment, and, yes, an affront to democracy.

  • TofKW

    Redrum Reply: “But as you seem to be new here, perhaps you should know: people like Ridenrain & The Rat are Conservative trolls from places like SDA…”

    Actually, The Rat, Ridofbrain and Fred From BC are more than likely coming from places like the PMO.

    Harper government monitoring online chats about politics
    Correcting what it calls ‘misinformation’

    And as for any posts from CanadianSense …she’s just a garden variety loon that even her own Conservative MP avoids like the plague.

  • Gayle

    I think they have to go straight to the SCC, and it is not easy to get standing to have an appeal heard there so they may be SOL. I wonder if this decision will have any impact on the In and Out lawsuit – didn’t EC appeal that decision?

    • Redrum

      @Gayle, I guess you’re right about it leapfrogging to the Supreme Court, next; the PMO’s already signalled their intention to do that: www + .winnipegfreepress.com/canada/breakingnews/elections-canada-wins-court-appeal-to-overturn-conservative-campaign-accounting-112264229.html

      But I wonder, why didn’t Tymlee complain about your post being, er, acronymious?

      • Redrum

        p.s., the pundit’s guide has a new post explaining the inter-relation b/w the 3 ongoing cases:

        www + .punditsguide.ca/2010/12/elections-canada-wins-appeal-of-gst-rebate-case/

  • Donors are taxpayers, and having taxpayers be donors when they vote is democratic.

  • the rat

    You seriously think allowing political parties to take more money from tax-payers than they should supports democracy? Funny, I thought political parties returning to taxpayers money they aren’t entitled to was a good thing and especially good for democracy was the idea that donors should fund parties, not levels upon levels of taxpayer money.

    • Redrum

      @the rat, it’s a wonder you can even speak/write, given how much you’re choking on your own hypocrisy.

      First, as you no doubt know, it’s simply begging the question to say the political parties aren’t entitled to a (50%) GST rebate: as nonprofit agencies, under the Revenue Canada rules, they are, which is why the CPC (& LPC) applied for and received them; and as this court just ruled, it IS consistent with the Elections & Excise Tax Acts to get both types of refunds (50% of all election expenses & 50% of the GST). Is that/ are those dumb laws to permit that? Maybe, but that’s how it now stands (until the next two levels of appeal resolve this, that is).

      Second, it’s not as though the CPC is doing this for the taxpayers’ sake: they applied for the GST rebate, after all; and only thought better of it both to try impose a hardship on the more cash-strapped LPC to make then return theirs, too, and also to give them more headroom both for allowable expenses both for subsequent elections and for the past ones they’re still facing rulings on, for the In-and-Out shenanigans.

      Third, you’re just blowing smoke: there’s nothing undemocratic about having taxpayers subsidies for political parties — in fact, that fosters democracy, by opening up the process to the smaller players that don’t have the support of the big corporations or unions: hence, the vote subsidy.

      Fourth, if you or the CPC were REALLY opposed to taxpayer subsidies for parties, you’d eliminate the 75% tax credit for political donations, which is benefitting your party so richly.

      For the non-conbot-liars interested in more backgroung on this, see:

      http + ://www.680news.com/news/national/article/64523–take-the-money-and-run-elections-canada-fights-to-reject-tory-gst-refund

      and www + .punditsguide.ca/2010/06/conservative-gst-rebate-appeal/

      • Tymlee

        @Redrum,

        Re: @the rat, it’s a wonder you can even speak/write, given how much you’re choking on your own hypocrisy.

        Evidently your own debating skills rely to some extent on an ad hominem premise. http://bit.ly/hOIOJO

        The very introduction to the body of your comment, as quoted above, created such a bias from my perspective that I was disinclined to read the rest of your comment. How easily an attentive audience is lost when fallacious arguments are the only gateway!

        • Redrum

          @Tymlee, ok, pt. taken, & sorry for the overly graphic intro; I’m a little crankier than usual, for various reasons (like the shorter days).

          But as you seem to be new here, perhaps you should know: people like Ridenrain & The Rat are Conservative trolls from places like SDA (Google: site:smalldeadanimals.com “Posted by: the rat at”) who pounce on new ProgBlogs posts to try to squash criticisms levied at the CPC using the only tool they know how to wield: The Hypocrisy Hammer (maybe cuz of their extensive training in Super Mario/Donkey Kong). And since that IS the only argumentative tool they seem to understand, sometimes I smash them back with an even bigger one to try to make them crawl back to the tunnels & bridges from whence they came. They don’t come to dialogue, they come to try to get a rise out of & demoralize those w. dissenting views.

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