Goodale commentary: Breaking the Law!
Four of Stephen Harper’s closest advisors, including two recently appointed to the Senate, have been charged with serious offences against the Elections Act. They appear in court next week.
According to Elections Canada (the independent agency established by Parliament to make sure Canadian voting is honest and fair) the Conservative Party worked an illegal scheme in past elections to violate campaign spending limits nationally and bilk taxpayers for extra rebates locally.
Elections Canada alleges the Conservatives – and ONLY the Conservatives – tried to get away with $1.3 million in illegal advertising and $800,000 in illegal rebates.
Mr. Harper claims this is just a “minor administrative matter”. Really?
The charges involve the most senior Conservative officials, based on an exhaustive investigation since 2006.
That investigation was authorized by two consecutive Chief Electoral Officers and pursued by the Commissioner of Elections Canada (a former Crown prosecutor). It included a police raid on Party headquarters, resulting in the seizure of apparently forged documents.
The charges were approved in advance by Canada’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) – an officer appointed by Mr. Harper himself. The DPP says there’s “voluminous” evidence of illegal conduct. The penalties are fines or jail terms.
That’s some “administrative” matter! The courts will decide. But two other points should be noted:
First, while more than 60 local Conservative constituency organizations were pressured by national Party officials to participate in this deceitful scheme, some had the courage to refuse – because it just didn’t smell right.
They were branded “undisciplined turds and idiots” by their own Conservative Party bosses. That shows you the mentality of the people running the Harper machine.
And secondly, this case comes amidst a raft of other Conservative misdemeanors – Bev Oda doctoring documents and failing to tell the truth; Jason Kenney improperly fund-raising among “ethnic” voters. And on it goes!
Ralph Goodale, M.P.