Conservative ‘questionable practices’ changing Canada’s political landscape

“From what’s now in the public domain – this information can and likely will change – serious questions have been raised about whether at least a couple of Conservative senators were claiming public expenses while doing partisan party work,” Jeffrey Simpson wrote for The Globe and Mail today. Simpson’s article continued, “Senators Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy were among the star attractions at Conservative riding association meetings. Their previous television celebrity status guaranteed good turnouts and earned lots of money for party coffers. The former journalists became partisan tub-thumpers and, as such, were exceedingly useful to the party. It’s just that the costs of doing political road show work shouldn’t be paid for by the general public. If they were, it would be another example of the Conservative Party sailing close to the wind when it comes to the ethics and legality of doing politics. As long ago as the 2006 election, the Conservative machine was engaged in something that became known as the ‘in and out’ affair. The party transferred money to 67 riding association that then sent the money back to headquarters in order to claim a 60-per-cent rebate from the elections agency. This money ostensibly was for local electoral purposes, whereas in fact it helped buy national television advertising time. Elections Canada blew the whistle on the ‘in and out’ scam, which was defended vigorously by Conservative headquarters. Eventually, the party settled out of court, pleading guilty and returning $230,198. Among those involved were the party’s chief money man, Senator (of course) Irving Gerstein, and its chief campaign organizer, Senator (of course) Doug Finley, recently deceased.” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

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