Friday, 27 July 2012

Did a Conservative Riding Association take Kick Back Money?

The Facts:
  • The Prime Ministers fundraising rules for ministers and parliamentary secretaries (called Accountable Government) state:
    “There should be no singling out, or appearance of singling out, of individuals or organizations as targets of political fundraising because they have official dealings with Ministers, Ministers of State, Parliamentary Secretaries, or their staff or departments.”
  • The parliamentary secretary to the Canadian Heritage Minister is Paul Calandra.  
  • The CRTC is funded by Canadian Heritage Ministry.  
  • The CRTC decides who gets broadcast licences.
  • Stan Antony applies to the CRTC for a new radio station. 
  • Mr. Antony is then invited to make a donation to Parliamentary Secretary for Canadian Heritage, Paul Calandra's Conservative Electoral District Association.
  • Mr. Antony donates $500.00
  • While the competition was taking place, Parliamentary Secretary Calandra's riding association raised in excess of $5000 from individuals connected to companies vying for the radio station.
  • The donations become public through news reports.
  • Parliamentary Secretary Calandra tells the newspaper, The Globe and Mail that the money will be returned to the donors.
  • The office of the Federal Ethics Commissioner has not decided whether or not to launch an investigation to determine if the Conflict of Interest Act for public officeholders or the Conflict of Interest Code for MPs were contravened by the Parliamentary Secretary for Canadian Heritage.
  • The Accountable Government rule looks to be  intentionally written to have the appearance of rather than actual accountability.  If the Prime Minister was truly serious about ethics and accountability he would have said "There will be no singling out,..." instead of  "There should be no singling out...".  The word should only indicates that the action is a bad idea and not that it is prohibited.  Being a lawyer Mr. Harper would have been aware of the legal difference between the words "should" and "will"or "shall".  
  • Wishy washy wording aside it is clear that a significant amount of money was donated by individuals, with official dealings with the Parliamentary Secretary's department Canadian Heritage, that were singled out as targets for fundraising. 
  • Failure of the Ethics Commissioner to investigate this incident would imply complacency on the part of the Federal Government.

Man vying for broadcast licence urged to donate to Tory fundraiser - The Globe and Mail:

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  1. I went through about 200 comments and replies in the original Globe and Mail story. Seems the “point of law” is the issue. But the STAN guy contributed $500. I’m just confused about the amount. $500.? What does anyone think was going on at $500.? These people spend that on a business lunch, and 5 times that on a suit to wear to it. An apology gift to a colleague for a screw up, like a gold coin, is $1500. Surely a kick back for a radio station licence in TO would be free ads or a new Mercedes.

  2. From my perspective it was the fact that he was specifically invited to make a political donation to a Minister responsible for the application that is the real issue of contention.

    There is a limit of $1000 dollars placed on political contributions. Hence the scandal involving Dean Del Mastro, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister who's cousin, David Del Mastro, allegedly paid people $1050 to make a $1000 on his behalf in an attempt to circumvent the election laws.

    I doubt that the riding association intended to get caught so free advertising or a new car would be well over contribution limits and very hard to explain.


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