The Harper Government Alabama


Complaint: WARNING CANADIANS: STEPHEN HARPER’S GANG WILL DO ANYTHING TO WIN INCLUDING BREAKING ELECTION LAWS MP Shelly Glover still over the legal limit on 2011 election expenses, records show Conservative MP Shelly Glover has amended Gloveru2019s campaign return for the 2011, signed off by the Manitoba MP on June 13, and it still leaves her campaign $2,267 over its legal spending limit, in violation of the Elections Act. Gloveru2019s campaign had disputed the way Elections Canadau2019s auditors were requiring her to account for the costs of roadside election billboards that she had used in a previous campaign. The agency would not allow the campaign to pro-rate the costs of the signage over more than one election u2013 a practice that would give candidates who had run before an edge over first-time candidates. The Conservatives insisted the approach was legal and had been accepted by Elections Canada auditors in the past. When the campaign refused to modify Gloveru2019s return, the Conservatives called in their lawyer, Arthur Hamilton, who engaged in a lengthy back and forth with Elections Canada over the comparatively arcane point of accounting. Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand last month wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons advising that Glover and another Manitoba Conservative MP, James Bezan, could no longer sit as MPs until their returns were adjusted. The two MPs immediately filed applications in the Manitoba Court of Queenu2019s Bench, seeking to have Mayrandu2019s decision set aside. Gloveru2019s case was scheduled to be heard Friday but was cancelled after Mayrand wrote to Speaker Andrew Scheer indicating she had filed a satisfactory return. Glover issued a statement saying only, u201cI continue to work in good faith with Elections Canada to resolve this issue as I have always done.u201d Pressed for more information, her office declined to comment further. By declaring the full cost of the signage, the revised version of Gloveru2019s return shows an increase in u201cotheru201d advertising, most of it charged by her Saint Boniface riding association, of $3,018, putting the campaign over the $84,354 spending limit imposed by Elections Canada on all candidates in the riding. Elections Canada wrote to Gloveru2019s campaign agent on Thursday, saying the return had been accepted, subject to a few small revisions. That does not mean, however, that the matter is closed. Because Glover exceeded the limit, the file must be forwarded to Commissioner of Canada Elections Yves Cu00f4tu00e9, who enforces the Elections Act, to decide whether further action is required. What happens next is largely up to Cu00f4tu00e9. He can refer the matter to the director of public prosecutions if he believes it is in the public interest, or if he feels the overspending was inadvertent, he can let the matter rest with no further action u2013 a more likely scenario. Glover won the riding handily, besting Liberal Raymond Simard by more than 8,400 votes. In 2007, Coteu2019s predecessor, William Corbett, referred campaign overspending by 67 Conservative candidates in the 2006 election to the director of public prosecutions, in the so-called u201cin-and-outu201d scandal. The party actively fought against the agency in court and denied any wrongdoing until November 2011, when it pleaded guilty to Elections Act charges and paid the maximum fines of $52,000. That case, however, was substantially different from Gloveru2019s, as the partyu2019s central campaign had co-ordinated efforts to maximize the amount it could spend on radio and TV advertising by passing on the costs to local candidates through a series of wire transfers. Two other Conservative MPs remain locked in a legal dispute with the agency, files show. Bezan, MP for Selkirk-Interlake, is still intending to challenge the agencyu2019s recent ruling that he has failed to file a corrected return. In a five-page letter to Speaker Andrew Scheer on May 24, Conservative Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton argues that Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand is trying to prevent Bezan from sitting in Parliament before the case is heard. u201cThe chief electoral officeru2019s proposal is contrary to the common law, the unwritten principles of the Constitution, logic and common sense,u201d Hamilton writes. In a letter to Scheer May 27, Elections Canada lawyer Stephane Perrault says that Mayrand has not tried to have Bezan suspended, merely informed Scheer that he had not filed a corrected return. Hamiltonu2019s letter, Perrault writes, u201cis both unusual and surprising, as it purports to challenge vigorously and at length a legal position ascribed to the chief electoral officer but which is entirely unknown to him.u201d Bezanu2019s case is to be heard in Manitoba in September. The Liberals argued in a point of privilege that the Elections Act requires he be suspended until the matter is resolved. The Conservatives say he should remain in his seat until a court rules on the question. In a ruling this week before the sitting of Parliament ended, Scheer ruled that there is no clear precedent for deciding the matter, and asked that a Commons committee consider the question. Like Glover, if Bezan accepts Elections Canadau2019s calculation for the value of re-used signs, Bezan will be over the spending limit. Bezan complains in the correspondence that Elections Canada has changed the way it accounts for the value of the signs. Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson is also challenging the agency in court on the same issue. His official agent, Garth Little, filed a legal challenge in April asking a court to accept Watsonu2019s campaign return as filed, and accusing Elections Canada of being difficult. He accuses it of making allegations that are u201chighly suspect and questionable in the extreme.u201d He reports that he and Aaron Jahn, president of the Essex Conservative association, u201cdo verily believe that Elections Canada was pursuing a vendetta against the Conservative Party of Canada due to its having lost a legal battle with the party and that other (associations) across the country were experiencing similar difficulties.u201d

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