Friday, May 07, 2010

Whistleblower Ignored: Liberal Party Accounting Lobbyists

A member of the Liberal riding association in Westmount-Ville Marie has filed a complaint with Elections Canada - about his own organization. Daniel Sweeney is complaining about a lack of paperwork on a 20-thousand dollar loan then candidate Marc Garneau made to the riding association back in 2008. That's when a by-election was interrupted by a general election call and Garneau ended up on the campaign trail for much longer than expected. The riding association did repay Garneau, with interest, last summer. He is now Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's Quebec lieutenant. -CJAD

 Source here.

Elections Canada has ruled that no investigation of Liberal MP Marc Garneau is warranted after he loaned his own election campaigns $20,000 without a written contract.

However, in a phone call yesterday, Marc Laperriere, Mr. Garneau's official agent for the 2008 campaigns, admitted the loans were made on the basis of a verbal agreement alone -- which is not prohibited by the Elections Act.

In a decision letter written in French and addressed yesterday to Westmount-Ville Marie Liberal association president Brigitte Garceau, an Elections Canada official wrote that all loans made by the Garneaus to Mr. Garneau's own campaign were "duly reported."

Mr. Sweeney said Mr. Garneau and the riding association should have acted in a more transparent manner.
"They've admitted that there is no loan contract that was written between the MP and either the riding association or his campaign," Mr. Sweeney said, calling the agreement "unethical and not transparent, unprofessional and irresponsible in my view."

"It's ridiculous and absurd for the MP to go into an alleged loan agreement" without documenting the terms, he said.- NP May 7, 2010

Looks like Elections Canada is satisfied "no rules were broken" but a long time liberal Mr. Daniel Sweeney is justly critical of his party to have a higher standard of conduct. Kudos for him. 

What were Liberals thinking?

That paragraph said "Mr. Lee's valuable contributions to our clients include acting for foreign and offshore organizations in obtaining operating licenses, securing regulatory and governmental approvals for mergers and acquisitions ... advising government bodies on international issues regarding cross-border tax collection, anti-dumping issues, and lobbying government on policy issues as well as facilitating inter-governmental relationships."
Mr. Baird's counter-attack seemed to catch Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and other Liberal MPs by surprise and Mr. Ignatieff was clearly not pleased with the revelations. He did not speak to reporters yesterday.

"This raises a number of questions about the Liberal Party," Mr. Baird said. "Who is the Liberal Party's member of Parliament lobbying for? When he advises government bodies on cross-border tax collection, when he lobbies government on policy issues, when he calls a minister's office, who is he fighting for? Is he fighting for his constituents or some foreign, well-paid interest?" NP May 07, 2010
You'd think the Grits' first priority before climbing on the high horse would be to make sure every caucus member was squeaky clean. Because this is not in the collective DNA, however, Michael Ignatieff's hapless group handed the embattled Tories a wonderful opportunity to counterattack.  Edmonton Journal May 07, 2010

This has been an interesting week for the Liberal Party of Canada, a pile on from friendly pundits, negative polling results, questions about the mistakes of judgment of the leadership and the future of the party. How many mistakes will Liberals allow for the appointed leader and his team before they pull the plug?

h/t   The Iceman  Alberta Ardvark, Chasing Apple Pie

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