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A telling attitude

As you might know, the Federal Court of Appeal had a rather important and unanimous ruling yesterday:

The Federal Court of Appeal has struck down a ruling which Conservatives say cleared them of any wrongdoing in the so-called in-and-out election financing scheme. The ruling confirms Elections Canada’s interpretation of electoral spending laws

The court says it was reasonable for the elections watchdog to be dissatisfied with the way the Conservative party reported national advertising expenses for the 2006 election.

My first reaction to this was that this ruling  kind of  fits in with Jason Kenny’s narrative that these blasted judges won’t rule the way the Conservatives government want them to. (Kenny sounded off a few weeks ago about how courts were ruling against his Immigration Department on certain cases, and how they shouldn’t be doing that).

My second reaction was that the ruling completely guts the Conservatives arguments  claiming this is just an “administrative matter” or a difference of opinion. These are serious charges, folks. Don’t let them fleece you into thinking they aren’t.

My third reaction: I’m amazed how many Conservative supporters shrug and merely try to brush this off by saying “look at the current polls! We can win a majority government now!” The arrogance is breath-taking. Apparently,  the facts as they stand now that show the Conservative Party broke the law is meaningless, because they’re ahead in the polls. It’s a sad state of affairs when wrongdoing is defended or dismissed because of how high or low in the polls a party is. It would/will also be a sad state of affairs if the polls suddenly drop for the governing party, and that is what precipitates them into letting Bev Oda go, or admit they were wrong in the In and Out scheme.

 

 

12 comments to A telling attitude

  • Redrum

    BTW, here’s a nice slogan to encapsulate this, from an actual Supreme Court case:

    Harper v. Canada

    www + .canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/2004/2004scc33/2004scc33.html

    Turns out, he’s always been against election ad spending limits (esp. for third party right-wing think tanks, in that case), but in 2004, the SCC ruled against him, and reaffirmed that they’re necessary to maintain a level playing field.

    Next thing you know, his campaign chiefs find a way to get around them, anyway.

    • Redrum

      further to that: a new article brings that case up today, which current NCC employee & chief Blogging Tory Stephen Taylor is tweeting about, which puts the lie to the NCC’s pretense of being a “non-partisan,” group, since even its own CEO can’t distinguish b/w it and the CPC:

      “Peter Coleman, president of the National Citizens Coalition, told The Hill Times that he believes the Elections Canada actions are in retaliation to Mr. Harper’s (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) legal fight against election spending limits when he was president of the group.

      “From my perspective, they probably don’t like Harper going back to the days he was here, absolutely … I just think it’s pretty hard to not think, if you’re sitting back objectively that there’s not a bit of friction between the Conservatives and Elections Canada,” Mr. Coleman said.

      He disclosed for the first time that the four-year court fight Mr. Harper had with Elections Canada cost the National Citizens Coalition $1-million in legal fees.”

      http + ://hilltimes.com/dailyupdate/view/89

  • billg

    Its the swing voters boys and girls..the ones that bounce governments. You guys are funny. The core of the Liberal supporters still voted red after Adscam because to them, it was better then the knuckle dragging mouth breathers, now dont get all pissy when the core supporters of the Conservatives are hell bent on voting blue because the other option just isnt good enough. So, we get to the swing voters, the ones that actually decide who governs. Why get angry with them because they see a good economy and a steady captain? Do you honestly expect the swing voters to change govts based on Oda and some bizarre in and out campaign finance thing that very few understand? Convince them you can do better on the economy and on taxes and on employment, but your wishing against the sun to rise if your hoping the Economy, Employment and Taxes dont trump Oda and In – Out.

    • Redrum

      Except that it’s pure baloney that the Harper gov’t really had anything to do with how well we’ve been faring in the economy, or that we’d do any worse under the Libs

      as many have pointed out, the factors producing the recession in the USA & the UK didn’t play out here thanks to the Libs’ banking regulations, and as it turned out, both / either party would’ve implemented a stimulus program to limit the amount of unemployment here while we rode out the global recession,

      and as Dan Gardner points out today, “The economy doesn’t care who wins: In the big picture, Liberal and Conservative economic policies are almost indistinguishable”

      www + .ottawacitizen.com/business/economy+doesn+care+wins/4369474/story.html

      So the economy should be taken off the table, and it just mainly comes down to character, then.

      The Libs were found wanting for that, and paid for it, for what happened — ahem — in 1995. (But didn’t come to light until 10 years later). While the Cons are going to be found wanting for that for what’s been unfolding continuously for the past five years and is about to come to a head.

  • TofKW

    Redrum wrote:
    Cheating on an election by overspending the limits at the national level, and getting the taxpayer to pay for that by creating phony invoices to pad expense accounts at the individual candidate level: that IS fraud. And corruption. And it was all to air ads, to help win a close election, and also to replenish the coffers of the individual ridings. Hence: another adscam.

    Again everyone needs to be reminded of recent history. Think back long ago, to when the Liberals were last in power, and how long …really long, before Adscam finally started taking it’s toll on LPC poll numbers. And even then the Paul Martin government was expected to win another minority in 2006.

    Watch this, as the media (with the help of the opposition, if they have the balls to stick with this) keeps bringing up the illegalities of the ‘In & Out’ scam, along with Bev Oda being judged in contempt of parliament. Hell for that matter there’s still the incident of Harper bribing a dieing MP for his vote. It may well tax a long time yet, but all this will eventually doom the Harper government.

  • ck

    Scott: I’m amazed how many Conservative supporters shrug and merely try to brush this off by saying “look at the current polls! We can win a majority government now!” The arrogance is breath-taking. Apparently, the facts as they stand now that show the Conservative Party broke the law is meaningless, because they’re ahead in the polls.

    As I’ve answered Mark above, it’s more than being ahead in the polls. Much more. It’s about Harper’s(and his cheerleaders, for that matter) goal to erase everything the Liberals (with the help of NDP, like medicare) did and start from scratch and replacing it with a neo-con (and socon, read “Harperland”, social conservatism for Canada is definitely on Harper’s menu) utopia. Now, they’re so close to achieving it, they can’t allow pesky transgressions to get in the way of that.

  • Mark McLaughlin

    You’re right that most people don’t seem to care about the whole in-out thing and this latest ruling isn’t likely to change that.

    Although I’m aware that this spending is to a great deal reimbursed, most look at it as the Cons spending their own money and don’t see the problem.

    Elections Canada would have more sympathy from me if they would quit giving the Liberals a get-out-of-jail free card on their leadership debts. After all, without these years of poorly justified extensions there would be a couple hundred thou of ‘illegal political donations’ that went into Liberal party bank accounts.

    That would make a headline or two I think.

    • ck

      Here is another example. That ol’ double standard. When Liberals have transgressions, let’s hang on to them for as long as we can. When Harpercons do ’em, give ’em a free pass.

      Truth is, if the Liberals were involved with the ‘in and out’, Con cheerleaders would demand their heads on silver platters very loudly.

      If Harpercons were involved with ADSCAM, they’d give them a free pass.

      That’s how desperate they are for that neo-con utopia.

      Truth is, Harper can engage in elder abuse like that Scarborough couple recently, leaving his grandmother in a cold, filthy garage with no nutrition, and his polling numbers would reach 60%. If the Liberals look at a Harpercon cheerleader cross-eyed, the Harpercon would be traumatized for life.

    • Redrum

      @Mark McLaughlin: not only does that not make any sense, but it’s also libelous.

      Being granted an extension on a debt because of a lack of solvency — or because of the likelihood of needing the money urgently due to the very real threat a snap election which is omnipresent in a minority situation — hardly makes the LPC’s new revenues “illegal political donations” — which suggests they exceeded the legal limits or came from corporations or something. That’s total crap.

      Your impulse to make an extortionist threat here, based on distorted, made-up charges – “Shut up about this or there’ll be headlines for youse guys, too” — speaks volumes about the thuggery of this Party & its supporters.

      In contrast, there is very real evidence of illegal activity in the IN & OUT scheme:

      – not only in the organized plan to circumvent the cap on the spending limits for the national campaign itself, in the first place — all to run more attack ads, BTW — but also:

      – in creating crudely falsified invoices (which they showed on Power & Politics yesterday: cut-and- paste jobs which included the companies header, but cut off the first “I” in “INVOICE,” likely during photocopying, and a lot of them also hand-scrawled in ‘plus $… GST,’ Oda-style) for at least 65 individual candidates who went along with it, claiming that they made some of those ad-buy media purchases, themselves; and

      – the candidates who went along with it who attained the requisite threshold of votes then SUBMITTED those near identical, crudely doctored phony invoices to Elections Canada (who noticed that, which is how this thing broke in the first place) for various amounts (many around $40,000) in order to receive a 60% rebate on their campaign expenses,

      www + .cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/03/01/weston-conservative-raid.html

      thus resulting in the concerted, and, to date, successful attempt defraud taxpayers out of more than $800,000 in total rebates for those candidates…

      … which Elections Canada quite justifiably said “no” to, which was the first set of court cases was about

      (with the CPC having the gall to sue the agency for not letting it defraud taxpayers with those phony invoices, and the first federal court saying, rather bizarrely, ‘Well, I guess they’re right — it should be proven in a court of law, first, that these weren’t allowable expenses, before Elections Canada can deny the rebate on them,’ and the latest ruling saying, ‘What? Hello! That’s their job — to determine what is and isn’t an allowable expense and to rebate them accordingly, and, clearly, those WEREN’T.”)

      Cheating on an election by overspending the limits at the national level, and getting the taxpayer to pay for that by creating phony invoices to pad expense accounts at the individual candidate level: that IS fraud. And corruption. And it was all to air ads, to help win a close election, and also to replenish the coffers of the individual ridings. Hence: another adscam.

      • Mark McLaughlin

        Libelous? Extortionist threat? Seriously? You’re being a little dramatic. Take a deep breath. I have no more ability to make a national headline than to swim to the moon.

        You may notice that I never said that the Con’s behaviour was above board, simply that the electorate doesn’t seem to care about it in the way that most ‘white collar’ crime doesn’t often register with people.

        The reality is that if not granted extensions the Liberal leadership candidate’s borrowed money would be over the individual limit of $1000 and against the rules. I don’t know if it’s all paid back yet but granting extension after extension doesn’t give any credibility to Elections Canada’s apparent stickler for the rules attitude they are taking with the Cons.

        I’m less likely to think that EC is unfairly targetting the Cons than I am to think that they were exceedingly generous with their discretion when dealing with the Libs. If they’re going to rap the knuckes of election rules violators, apply that stringency evenly.

  • It’s only a guess on my part, but I suspect that the Harper Government’s “law and order agenda” will not be focusing on enforcing the Canada Elections Act.

    I despair over when the Canadian electorate is going to finally recognize the anti-democratic practices of this government.

    • ck

      Joel, more than likely, if ever, when it’s too late, and Harper is long into his precious majority. Even scarier, I think the Canadian electorate really don’t want a democracy, but prefer that quasi-dictatorship Steve has to offer. What was it Thwap said a few days ago at his place? Ah yes! Something along the lines of how Mr & Mrs Suburbia never want to see another election again. Despicable when we see how folks in the Middle-East like Egypt, Tunisia and Libya risk life and limb, taking to the streets to demand democracy when not only can we not bother to vote on election day, but we downright whine and kick, scream and have a temper tantrum when the opposition gets, well, oppositional and there’s election talk.

      And yes, Harper did have a “no election” slogan once; 2009 by-elections. I saw it on a Con by-election sign in Hochelaga: “Action, No Election!” And no, I don’t believe it’s some stupid copy write error–I believe it was very deliberate.

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