Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Karma

Tories may have taken $2M in illicit donations
Updated Wed. Jun. 28 2006
6:13 PM ET
Canadian Press

OTTAWA -- The Conservative party may have illegally accepted millions in unreported donations last year because it didn't understand political financing laws.

That's the startling conclusion drawn from testimony given to a Senate committee by the Harper administration's point man on cleaning up government.

Treasury Board President John Baird has told the committee that his party did not consider fees paid to attend its March 2005 policy convention to be political contributions.

But the Elections Act stipulates that convention fees do constitute a donation.

The Tories' 2005 convention was attended by about 2,900 party members, who paid a regular fee of $600 each, although discounts were available for some.

That means the party stood to rake in as much as $1.7 million, all or some of which should have been reported to Elections Canada as donations.


I'm willing to bet this would have gotten more than minor story status had it been the Liberals involved in it.

81 Comments:

  • dude, it hit the wire at 6:13 pm. it'll get bigger.

    By Blogger matt, at 8:50 PM  

  • this story will be get very large....like it or not they accepted illegal donations and then did not declare the donations...also it is up to people like use to make sure the story does get bigger and to make sure we remind voters in the next election about it

    By Blogger Skeena Liberal, at 9:00 PM  

  • Prove to me that it was intentional, like when the Liberals were stealing millions from Canadians to give to their buddies.

    If it's proven to be intentional, then I, and many other Conservatives, will be pissed.

    By Blogger Sean, at 9:01 PM  

  • from skeena liberal correction on my spelling of us not use....

    By Blogger Skeena Liberal, at 9:01 PM  

  • sean hate to say this ...unintentional or not ...you guys have been caught with your hand in the cookie jar...also if you are caught speeding is intentional or unintentional ....you got caught LOL

    By Blogger Skeena Liberal, at 9:02 PM  

  • Skeena, I don't think the Grits should really be using this against the Tories, and they won't.

    How are they going to play it: "They stole, just like we did! Vote Liberal?"

    The only parties to benefit from this - if it gets huge - will be the NDP and the Bloc.

    By Blogger Sean, at 9:02 PM  

  • this is to be good to be true first the conservatives back track on the fiscal imbalance, their economic policies are all second class and now they are accepting illegal donations!!!!!!

    By Blogger Skeena Liberal, at 9:03 PM  

  • This could actually be an opportunity for the Tories. Harper admits wrongdoing, the party pays it all back, and leadership is shown. Something the Liberals could have done, instead of DENY DENY DENY!

    Don't get me wrong, this could suck for the Tories, but like I said before, the Liberals don't really stand to gain much from this.

    By Blogger Sean, at 9:06 PM  

  • Sean even ardent conservative supporter would have to admit..the conservatives should now repay $1.7 million to all theirmembers and apologize to all canadians for not following and understanding the election financing rules...come on fess up...we had to ...at least paul martin had the balls to admit that errors were made....$1.7 milllion that's pocket change to you guys..hey if i remember we repaid $1.4 million ...now do the right thing

    By Blogger Skeena Liberal, at 9:09 PM  

  • Sorry Sean:

    Political parties hire lawyers to interpret the election financing laws for them, so that they can legally maximise their donations while avoiding "errors" like this one.

    If their lawyers missed this one then they are imcompetent and that begs the question of what other "errors" may be lurking in the Conservative Party election financing closet?

    Then again, maybe they did not miss it, which then begs the another question of why are they admitting to it now?

    Should we be looking for a report coming out from Elections Canada in the coming days or weeks regarding Conservative Election Financing?

    As well Sean, I thought Conservatives were supposed to be more ethical that Liberals. If that is the case I would think that you would be pissed off at the admission that the Conservative Party took illegal donations regardless of the circumstances.

    By Blogger ottlib, at 9:11 PM  

  • Shhhh. Don't tell anyone. We'll save this for the next election campaign.

    By Blogger Havril, at 9:15 PM  

  • Takes Harper down off his high horse a bit.

    And frankly, if people come to think that the CPC is corrupt as the Libs, then the Libs win on policy.

    By Blogger bigcitylib, at 9:17 PM  

  • Takes Harper down off his high horse a bit.

    And frankly, if people come to think that the CPC is corrupt as the Libs, then the Libs win on policy.

    By Blogger bigcitylib, at 9:18 PM  

  • hey we can run an entire electon campaign on this.....or wait on tony clement on that little man who likes to use swear words or maybe on same sex marriage ...or wait maybe on bad economic policies or even the fiscal imbalance and lying about it or wait on kyoto or wait should i even continue...

    By Blogger Skeena Liberal, at 9:18 PM  

  • There's one big difference - the Liberals intentionally and systematiaclly scamed the taxpayers out of our money. They set up a massive money laundering program and stole possibly tens of millions of dollars to enrich themselves. The tories may have misinterpreted election laws, were to the first to admit it - the story broke because John Baird told this to the Senate Committee. The money the Tories got was not from taxpayers, but from willing donors. There are loads of differences, but the if they made a mistake the Tories should pay back the money, and that's the end of it.

    By Blogger Andrew Smith, at 9:20 PM  

  • Well, obviously this was more incompetence than intentional deception. It's still going to be a black mark on Harper though and should make everyone a bit more sympathetic to Liberal concerns about the Accountability Act causing problems for the Lib convention.

    matt; My hunch is this won't turn into a huge story, but I've been wrong before. It'll be interesting to see how the different parties handle it.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:22 PM  

  • "like it or not they accepted illegal donations"

    WTF, there is a HUGE grand canyon sized difference between:
    1. Accepting donations given freely and not reporting it (intentionally or not).
    2. Accepting donations in brown paper bags through shading government deals without taxpayer consent and trying to hide it.

    The Tories fucked up and fessed up. The Grits really fucked up and tried to hide it. If you don't see the difference then god help you.


    "you guys have been caught with your hand in the cookie jar"

    What cookie jar? You mean the cheque books opened willingly from private citizens? That's similar to the cheques being funneled through third parties by the state to themselves? Come on, you can't be serious.


    "the conservatives should now repay $1.7 million to all their members"

    Sure, after the Liberals repay the $40+ million they ripped us off for.

    By Blogger What_The_Puck?, at 9:22 PM  

  • It's like a pissing contest between Liberals and Tories about who is least corrupt!

    Anyways, if the Tories want the screw the Liberal convention over they better cut a 1.7 million dollar cheque tommorow or shut up and allow the Liberal convention to go ahead as planned.

    By Blogger Manitoba Liberal, at 9:30 PM  

  • And when I said it would be bigger if the Liberals were involved, that's just common sense. It's the same reason abortion stories carry more weight when a Tory is involved than a Liberal.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:31 PM  

  • "Anyways, if the Tories want the screw the Liberal convention over they better cut a 1.7 million dollar cheque tommorow or shut up and allow the Liberal convention to go ahead as planned."

    Since the donations were not illegal there is no reason to repay the money. Especially since the money will likely just be re-donated back.

    They should be fined though (if possible), that's the right course of action. They should also pay that fine and show the public that they are accountable.


    Adscam is different. The Liberals should have been fined, forced to repay 100% of what they stole from the taxpayers and forced to pay interest on what they stole.

    By Blogger What_The_Puck?, at 9:42 PM  

  • I'm mad as hell! How do we know $1.7 million is the proper figure? I bet it's just the tip of the iceberg! We need a judicial inquiry! The government should sue the Cons to get back every penny. Just $1.7 m, how did we get that figure? Did the Con party negoiate that with the Con party? No conflict there. Did they pay it back? Show me the cancelled cheque! Wait until the Liberals get into government and can open up the books, boy, then we'll get the full story!

    Gee, that was fun!

    By Blogger A BCer in Toronto, at 9:43 PM  

  • What the Puck, Andrew Smith:

    The other huge difference. The Conservatives ran an election campaign where their central theme was they were more honest, ethical and law-abiding than the Liberals.

    Now by their own admission they have broken the law. They broke the law that governs the collection of money to run political parties and their elections, which strikes to the very heart of that central theme.

    On its own, this little revelation would be quite meaningless but the memories of the Conservatives election campaign are still fresh in the minds of Canadians so the revelation could have a much greater impact.

    The only thing that they might have going for them is the fact it is the beginning of the summer and most Canadians are not paying attention. Very convenient timing don't you think?

    Which begs yet another question, when did they find out about this situation? Yesterday, last month, last year, two years ago?

    For Liberals, they should be asking that question until they get an answer backed up by independently verified documentation.

    They should also be asking how much of that illicit money benefited the Conservatives in both the 2004 and 2006 elections? $2 million dollars goes along way in election campaigns and things might have been different if they did not have this money during those campaigns.

    By Blogger ottlib, at 9:44 PM  

  • bcer in TO:

    Feel better now?

    By Blogger ottlib, at 9:47 PM  

  • "The other huge difference. The Conservatives ran an election campaign where their central theme was they were more honest, ethical and law-abiding than the Liberals."

    And they have done 2/3 of those by admitting their mistake. Liberals Adscam: 0/3.


    "Very convenient timing don't you think?"

    So they should have gone the Liberal route and tried to sweep it under the rug and pretend nothing happened?


    "Which begs yet another question, when did they find out about this situation? Yesterday, last month, last year, two years ago?"

    2 days ago, I know a guy.


    "For Liberals, they should be asking that question until they get an answer backed up by independently verified documentation."

    It doesn't matter; they screwed up by their own admission. They should be fined. They should set an ethical precedent that when a political party screws up they are responsible. So basically do exactly the opposite of what the Liberals did with Adscam.


    "They should also be asking how much of that illicit money benefited the Conservatives in both the 2004 and 2006 elections? $2 million dollars goes along way in election campaigns and things might have been different if they did not have this money during those campaigns."

    Considering they are not in debt I bet it didn't help very much. I wonder how much the $50+ million the Liberals stole helped them along the way.


    I'm not defending them, I think they should be held responsible, but I think the Liberals who are screaming hypocrisy need to really think about bringing this into the spotlight because we Tories still have years of referencing Adscam. :)

    You're comparing intentionally (probably unintentionally) tripping someone with first degree murder.

    By Blogger What_The_Puck?, at 10:11 PM  

  • If they're wrong, they pay the price, literally and figuratively. On the other hand, I wouldn't get too far ahead of things.

    It all depends on the costs of the event. If the cost per member was less than $600.00 then they have a problem. If the event cost more than $600.00 per, then there is no issue. It's only considered a donation if the amount collected exceeds the cost to host the event.

    By Blogger BBS, at 10:21 PM  

  • what the puck? How did the Liberals sweep Adscam under the rug? They called in the RCMP, the AG, and then a judicial inquiry.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:22 PM  

  • Ottlib, little bit, thanks.

    So they should have gone the Liberal route and tried to sweep it under the rug and pretend nothing happened?

    If asking the AG to investigate, calling in the RCMP, calling a judicial inquiry, addressing the nation on live TV and going on a cross-country "Mad as Hell" tour is sweeping it under the rug and pretending nothing has happened, I'd be interested to see sweeping it onto the rug and pretending something has happened.

    By Blogger A BCer in Toronto, at 10:24 PM  

  • According to a lawyer representing the Conservative Party the convention did not make a profit and as such none of the $600 convention fee can be considered a donation.

    By Blogger Calicos, at 10:35 PM  

  • "How did the Liberals sweep Adscam under the rug? They called in the RCMP, the AG, and then a judicial inquiry."

    That only happened after it was out in the open, 6-8 years after it started. Only once the Liberals were exposed as the theiving criminals they are were they forced to do anything about it. They have yet to repay the taxpayer the full amount they ripped us off for.

    I'd call that sweeping it under the rug.

    But I'm a partisan hack so... :)

    By Blogger What_The_Puck?, at 10:42 PM  

  • "According to a lawyer representing the Conservative Party the convention did not make a profit and as such none of the $600 convention fee can be considered a donation".

    Well, according to Elections Canada that's not how the law works. That's the WHOLE POINT!!! The Conservatives didn't follow the law. Now, perhaps that's because they got bad (indeed TERRIBLE) advice from their lawyers, and that's a mitigating circumstance, but it doesn't change the fact that they broke the law. And I hate to tell you, but Conservative party lawyers don't get to determine what Canadian Elections law does or does not mean.

    Whether or not the convention made a profit is completely immaterial. I can have a political convention and take in $100,000 from each delegate and still not make a profit. Cars and Cristal for everyone and we won't make a dime(!) Not turning a profit on the convention means NOTHING.

    By Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own, at 10:56 PM  

  • I was at that Convention.. and I didn't consider it a donation. At the time I thought I was paying for the convention costs.

    I still say that's the way it should be. Only the portion that is profit on a convention should count as a donation... for any party.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 10:59 PM  

  • .. and another thing.

    If they do determine it was a donation, all the better for me - because I'm going to get a bigger tax refund.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 11:02 PM  

  • I should also say that, should that Conservative lawyer's interpretation of the law somehow, by some miracle actually hold up, well, first, I'll lose what little faith I have in our political system.

    But second, I can't wait to see the party that the Liberal convention will become. Because the Tories' argument seems to be that if you're staging a political convention you can take in as much money as you please, from whomever you please (even corporations, even if it's illegal to accept donations from corporations) and as long as the Convention doesn't make a profit you don't have to declare any of the money as "donations".

    Bring on the dancing girls and Rolexes!!!!

    By Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own, at 11:04 PM  

  • i'm lovin it! he he he!

    By Blogger bayboy, at 11:09 PM  

  • The fun thing is that this probably wouldn't have come into the open if not for the issues around the Liberal convention and the accountability act.

    If that Globe story showing the different interpretations of whether or not convention fees are considered deductible doesn't see the light of day, no one looks into this.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:12 PM  

  • Seriously though,

    I always thought the portion that counted as an expense wasn't a donation. That's the way it works everywhere else. It'd be silly otherwise.

    And quite frankly, if Liberals want to spend their *own* money on "dancing girls and Rolexes", that's up to them.

    As long as nobody's claiming any of this against the taxpayers, I really don't see the problem. If I spend $600 on a convention and they use the money to rent a convention hall, etc. why should I get a tax writeoff for that? It's not a donation.

    Are you guys seriously claiming that these should be donations. Do you realize that would mean the taxpayer would be footing part of the bill for our conventions?

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 11:18 PM  

  • As a person filling out a tax return, if you filled it out wrong, due to violations of the elections act, are you to blame for filling a false return aswell? It is common in other parties that the amount is tax deductable. Plus that the convention (delegates that elected the party exec) is like shareholders, they are responsible for actions of the party (corporation) so it is their fault the lawyers the exec appointed screwed up.

    By Blogger Lookout Mountain, at 11:22 PM  

  • What the Puck - if we had covered up Adscam, there wouldn't have been the Gomery inquiry, and Martin wouldn't have hyped it up to demonstrate a spilt from the previous PM after the media had dropped the story.

    By Blogger Lookout Mountain, at 11:23 PM  

  • LKO, when 'Elections Canada' is represented by a spokesperson in a month old story about the Liberal Convention, I would take it with a grain of salt. It would certainly be interesting to hear the opinion of the Chief Electoral Officer and Election Commissioner.

    By Blogger BBS, at 11:25 PM  

  • TO tory, the law is the law, just because it doesn't make logical sense to you doesn't mean its not breaking the law.

    By Blogger Lookout Mountain, at 11:25 PM  

  • "Whether or not the convention made a profit is completely immaterial." - LKO

    Since you obviously didn't read up on section 408 of the Elections Act, it states:

    "If a fund-raising activity is held for the primary purpose of soliciting a monetary contribution for a registered party, a registered association, a candidate, a leadership contestant or a nomination contestant by way of selling a ticket, the amount of the monetary contribution received is the difference between the price of the ticket and the fair market value of what the ticket entitles the bearer to obtain."

    Ticket price= $600
    Fair market value of goods and services of said ticket >$600
    ergo total donation = $0

    By Blogger Calicos, at 11:36 PM  

  • toronto tory,

    Good points (and all that "bling" stuff was hyperbole on my part to make a point of course) but at the same time, how can one claim that allowing people (or worse corporations) to give seemingly unlimited amounts of money to a political party to make their political convention a kick-ass party does not constitute undue influence on said politicians??? How can the mere fact that a convention doesn't make a profit absolve politicians from the stain of holding a huge party funded by people who have already donated the maximum amount they're allowed to under the law, so they get around that fact by paying for the "expenses" of the party's convention. I'm not suggesting the Tories spent this 2 million dollars on hookers and blow, but the extreme example does show why this interpretation of the law is problematic, doesn't it???

    If the Tory interpretation is correct, is there anything to stop political parties from holding a "policy convention" every six months to allow wealthy citizens and corporations to wine and dine politicians for a week? I just don't see how the making of a profit can possibly be the standard. I'd imagine it's pretty easy to spend other people's money without having any left over at the end as "profit", and is that OK with everyone??? Is that accountable and ethical government?

    It's OK to take money from anyone, in any amount, as long as you spend it all before the convention's over?

    Really???

    By Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own, at 11:42 PM  

  • Calicos' post makes this all make a little more sense.

    But I'd still like to know what goods and services the ticket buyers received that were worth $600. Surely that must be declared somewhere no?

    By Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own, at 11:45 PM  

  • Sean, Andrew, WTP: Do you consider "the Liberals stole money first" to be a defense? How does that change anything about the fact that the Conservatives, intentionally or otherwise, seem to have broken election laws to the tune of $1.7 million? Try a bit harder.

    By Blogger Dale, at 11:46 PM  

  • If federal political finance regulations were like Alberta regulations, this wouldn't even be an issue.

    By Blogger daveberta, at 12:10 AM  


  • Well, according to Elections Canada that's not how the law works. That's the WHOLE POINT!!!


    Actually it is not. A convention must make money for anything to be considered a donation. Given the cost of the convention, to the CPC, it is not yet known how much, if any, of the 1.7 million collected could be considered. Furthermore, the CPC indicated on the registration form that part or some of the fee may be considered a donation.

    Once the facts come out, your rant, LKO, may come back and bite you in the ass.

    By Blogger eastern capitalist, at 12:48 AM  

  • I don't think this issue will become very big for a couple reasons.

    First of all, it seems that legally the Conservatives are on solid ground. If the convention didn't make a profit as their lawyer indicates then 100% of the so called 'convention fee' is not a donation.

    My prediction will be that in a week or so Elections Canada will come out and state that clearly. If the real expenses for a convention outweigh income, then there is considered to be no donations.

    This is kinda what has been said here as well regarding the Liberal convention previously.

    Secondly, the timing was bad and no one is really paying any attention. And people who are paying attention are either a) determined that Harper is the devil in disguise or b) determined that Harper can do no wrong.

    The lines about 'illegal donations' is a bit of hyperbole and '$1.7million' is an inflated figure.

    Third reason.. good night all!

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 12:57 AM  

  • Somebody has to say it:

    If this is the level of detail by which then run their party, how can we trust them in government.

    Rules are rules. You either follow them or you dont.

    They didn't.

    By Blogger Hammering Jow, at 1:23 AM  

  • I've got a ticket to a Conservative fundraiser later this summer. It cost $100. I was told when I bought it that I would get a tax receipt for around half of that, because that's the portion that's over and above the cost of hosting the event, and that's the only part that counts as a donation.

    I can't find anything in the Elections Act that refers to "conventions" at all, leading me to believe that they are treated like any other fundraiser, under the rules quoted by Calicos.

    In short, the Liberals (and the Canadian Press) are out to lunch.

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 1:24 AM  

  • I attended a BBQ last summer, $15/person, $0 donation. Why would a convention be any different?

    By Blogger Candace, at 2:02 AM  

  • I think the law should be off the profit. So if a convention costs 500$ to put on and you charge 600$, you get a 100$ receipt.

    But according to elections Canada, this doesn't appear to be the case. Even if the law is stupid, breaking the law is still breaking the law.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:25 AM  

  • You think when you get into the millions someone would ask for a second opinion.

    By Blogger Dan McKenzie, at 2:30 AM  

  • But according to elections Canada, this doesn't appear to be the case. Even if the law is stupid, breaking the law is still breaking the law.

    Again, from the story in question:

    Furthermore, a spokesman for Baird said Elections Canada audited and approved the party's convention books.

    If that is true, Elections Canada would have seen the convention's revenues and expenses, acknowledged the fact that it did not run a profit, and thus certify that the fees collected do not constitute donations.

    Meaning that if they confirm it, this is an absolute non-issue.

    If Elections Canada says otherwise, the Liberals will have cause to celebrate. Not until then.

    The one way the Liberals can benefit from the Tory version of events being confirmed is that it severely weakens the case for making the Liberal convention fees count as donations.

    By Blogger Brandon, at 4:04 AM  

  • I don't think many understand the laws.

    It makes sense that costs have to be covered and the excess becomes a donation, but common sense and law are not the same.

    Confusion abounds everywhere.

    What about the registration fees charged to leadership candidates?

    The $50,000 is to pay for...?

    Going by what some are saying this makes for a very sizable donation which is well above the $5400 dollar limit, or does this money only cover costs? What if any is left over?

    By Blogger Ardvark, at 4:17 AM  

  • How is this different from the Liberals who have donated $5400 to leadership campaigns and then plan to attend the convention this fall?

    Will this not put them over the donation limit too?

    Liberal press won't push this because they realize it will bite the Liberals in the ass more than the Tories who have more than enough money to pay back the $2 Million.

    By Blogger TrustOnlyMulder, at 6:06 AM  

  • To all of those folks that stated the Conservatives did not break the law I have one thing to say.

    Justice John Gomery exonerated Prime Minister Paul Martin and his cabinet!

    Did it matter? No! Because in politics preception matters more than reality. So, all of the legal interpretation of the law in this post is meaningless.

    What matters will be the preception of Canadians to this issue.

    If Canadians perceive it to be wrongdoing on the part of the Conservatives, the government will have its first scandal and the Conservatives are screwed.

    If they perceive it to be no big deal then it will fade away.

    By Blogger ottlib, at 8:28 AM  

  • Two million worth of scandel when the WERENT EVEN IN POWER! I think I shall troll by the blog of every blogging Tory today and let them know the depth of my righteous outrage.

    By the end of summer we'll see a CPCer caught t-boning a hooker on the lawn of the parliament building, I swear.

    By Blogger bigcitylib, at 8:35 AM  

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    By Blogger Askinstoo, at 8:57 AM  

  • Lol that is way too close to the bone in this day and age. But hey It's not like I am complaining :)

    Have a good one

    Sean Cody

    By Blogger Gef, at 9:56 AM  

  • There's some quesiton that the 2003 Liberal Leadership convention would also fall under these finance rules.

    But here's another angle...suppose Elections Canada ruled that these are donations, which would also include observers and delegates...that means that MP's such as Belinda Stronach (delegate at the time) and Ruby Dhalla (observer on either the Newsnet or Newsworld pundit fee) and David Herle (observer) would qualify for a donation receipt.

    Now that would be deliciously ironic...catching liberals in a phony, partisan charge of their own making.

    By Blogger East Indian Conservative, at 10:23 AM  

  • Actually, that story is a bit torqued. The donations aren't "illicit", they're unreported, and remedy is not repayment, it's disclosure and issuing receipts. Sending out 3,000 tax receipts is not the same as cutting a cheque to the government for laundered money.

    Illicit donations would be any donations received from attendees in excess of $4,800 in the same calendar year. Unless Apotex is smarter than we think, slim risk there...

    By Blogger matt, at 11:53 AM  

  • Ignorance of the law is not an excuse to a crime. That is a cornerstone of our justice system. At least when illicit money ended up in LPC coffers they could make a case for honest mistake of fact.

    That an entire political party could misinterpret campaign financing laws in such a way seems ridiculous to me. I would think this would be one of the first things that they would think of when they schedule the convention!

    By Blogger Kyle Carruthers, at 12:02 PM  

  • CG, according the the Tory's lawyer, the profits are the only thing considered to be a donation. I believe this differs from the Liberal policy where (to my understanding) all payments to the party are recorded as donations and from there expenses are paid out.

    All in all, its more or less an accountants' debate though...

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 12:13 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Tybalt, at 1:25 PM  

  • The Elections Act is really big. I have no intention of reading it in detail, although a glance at its index seems to confirm Calico’s citation of s. 408. Go to http://www.canlii.org/ca/sta/e-2.01/sec2.html.

    I think that this debate dances on the head of a pin, and one might well be saying shame on the Liberals for slinging mud come Monday when the weekend/armchair party lawyers issue opinions. Assuming s. 408 is what governs, let's look at it more closely:

    "If a fund-raising activity is held for the primary purpose of soliciting a monetary contribution for a registered party...the amount of the monetary contribution received is the difference between the price of the ticket and the fair market value of what the ticket entitles the bearer to obtain."

    Everyone seems to be arguing the second portion (fair market value).

    While that’s legitimate, I think the bigger issue is the phrase “primary purpose”.

    The primary purpose of a policy or leadership convention is to choose policy, or choose a leader, not to “raise funds” for the party, therefore exempting any bona fide convention from having its fees qualify as donations. The French version of the statute is even more clear: “dans le cas où une activité de financement est organisée essentiellement pour recueillir des contributions monétaires” (literally translated as “where a financing activity is organised essentially to receive monetary contributions”).

    So, both the Tory and Liberal convention fees would be unaffected. Which is, incidentally, what the Tories have been arguing for some time (http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=8dc20e74-59f3-4056-ba48-2157383e5a48&k=12188&p=2).

    Why would registration forms note the possibility of a tax receipt? Confusion, or just to cover your ass, and maybe mollify those spending the money.

    Why would other parties issue tax receipts? Why wouldn’t they – it’s like giving out someone else’s money to your membership.

    Why would the Ontario Tories issue a tax receipt and the federal Tories not? Possibly because the provincial party operates under the Ontario Election Finances Act and not the Canada Elections Act. Section 23(1) of the Ontario Act defines a fund-raising activity as “an event or activity held for the purpose of raising funds for the party”, while 23(4) has a similar market-value exemption. While one could make the same argument at the provincial level as with the federal, at the federal level the specificity of “primary purpose” explicitly allows for an exempted secondary purpose while at the provincial the argument arises, at best, by implication.

    Furthermore, s. 23(2) of the Ontario Act requires “The gross income from any fund-raising activity shall be recorded and reported to the Chief Election Officer” while s. 424 of the Canada Act requires a party, each Quarter (in contrast to the Liberal quote in the foregoing article) to submit a return of financial transactions and a statement of contributions from individuals, businesses, etc. (s. 408 governs what a “contribution” is).

    Given the different reporting requirement and different terminology, I’m not surprised that one regime causes receipts to be issued and one does not.

    So, to sum up: a plain, straightforward reading of the legislation supports the Tory position. A lawyer wouldn’t be crazy to wonder if maybe the convention should issue tax receipts for any profit made, out of an abundance of caution, but as that’s not the case the Liberals (and the media) *in no way* ought not to be deeming this stuff “illicit”

    By Blogger matt, at 2:02 PM  

  • "I think the law should be off the profit. So if a convention costs 500$ to put on and you charge 600$, you get a 100$ receipt.

    But according to elections Canada, this doesn't appear to be the case. Even if the law is stupid, breaking the law is still breaking the law. "


    CG, please provide a link. All the sources that I'm looking at all state that it's the portion after expenses that counts.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 2:29 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger matt, at 3:31 PM  

  • By Blogger matt, at 3:33 PM  

  • I've posted my own views on this issue.

    northernontarioliberal.blogspot.com

    By Blogger Justin Tetreault, at 4:12 PM  

  • "408. If a fund-raising activity is held for the primary purpose of soliciting a monetary contribution for a registered party, a registered association, a candidate, a leadership contestant or a nomination contestant by way of selling a ticket, the amount of the monetary contribution received is the difference between the price of the ticket and the fair market value of what the ticket entitles the bearer to obtain."

    That seems pretty clear to me.

    Looks like the Liberals are going to have egg on their face with this one.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 8:42 PM  

  • As a non-partisan, I think you're mistaken. It is early on, but so far, I appreciate the Tories forthright approach to the matter - there won't need to be any need for Judge Gomery with an upfront attitude as the CPC is exhibiting.

    This is not "karma".

    You don't seem to understand that voters don't feel as strongly about hard-to-understand campaign finance rules as they do about having their own money stolen away from them.

    I am not a Conservative. I'm just stating my non-partisan perspective. I want the Liberals to be competetive, I desire a competitive democracy - and this is not your vindication. Shame on anyone who thinks it is.

    By Blogger Lois, at 12:39 AM  

  • Elections Canada wants Tories to open books
    Jun. 29, 2006. 09:25 PM
    CANADIAN PRESS

    ***(Highlights highlighted... here)***

    The chief electoral officer’s statement was released two days after Treasury Board President John Baird blurted out during testimony before a Senate committee that his party did not count delegate fees to the March 2005 convention as donations.

    Subsequently, spokesmen for Baird and Prime Minister Stephen Harper told The Canadian Press that the party’s convention books had been “audited and approved by Elections Canada.”

    Not so, said Kingsley.

    “Elections Canada has not audited the books of the Conservative party regarding this convention,” he said, noting that the independent agency does not have the legal authority to conduct or compel audits of any party’s books.

    ...

    However, earlier this month, Elections Canada spokeswoman Valerie Hache said the law stipulates that a fee paid to attend a political convention does constitute a donation “to the extent that the person paying the fee is not receiving a good or service that has any commercial value beyond its political value.”

    She told CP that any portion of a convention fee that covers lodging, meals or travel does not count as a contribution.

    **************

    So apparently, the cost of holding the convention (hall rentals, expenses etc...) itself ARE NOT deductible from each delegate.

    By Blogger Ivan, at 1:29 AM  

  • The primary purpose of a policy or leadership convention is to choose policy, or choose a leader, not to “raise funds” for the party, therefore exempting any bona fide convention from having its fees qualify as donations. The French version of the statute is even more clear: “dans le cas où une activité de financement est organisée essentiellement pour recueillir des contributions monétaires” (literally translated as “where a financing activity is organised essentially to receive monetary contributions”).

    Except if you actually went to the Convention, the registration forms themselves stated that it was a fundraising event, and as such a portion of the fees paid could be constituted as a contribution and a reciept would be issued.

    Add to that that yesterday the CPOC officials were chanting about section 408 - which deals specifically with fund-raising.

    Sorry Matt... that dog won't hunt.

    And why are they lying about the Convention Books having been audited and approved by Elections Canada? Care to try and explain that lie away?

    By Blogger Meaghan Walker-Williams, at 2:08 AM  

  • 73 comments and it*s only a slim straw.

    Oh, but it*s ever so satisfying a straw to grasp at.

    Have fun guys. Subtract convention costs from the 1.7 M$ and rip with the difference if any, but try not to look too small.

    On second thought, better forget about it as this makes other Scam numbers look MASSIVE, by comparison.

    Sorry, but it*s hard to be modest and tactful after thirteen years of injustice. TG

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 9:03 AM  

  • PS. Anyone recall the 200+ scamslist of December 5th?

    Google; Scamslist and get this:

    http://bendgovernment.blogspot.com/2005/12/httpscamslistblogcom.html

    0r http://scamslist.blog.com TG

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 9:13 AM  

  • Pick a scam, any scam. Say scam number 196.

    196 is the DND computer system for materials tracking fiasco that may not be useful until 2011 and has bloomed to about $147 million.

    There are about 200 others to choose from.

    See why this topic may not be a winner? TG

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 9:30 AM  

  • ""a portion of the fees paid could be constituted as a contribution and a reciept would be issued.""

    because it was NOT a fund raiser, any money made over & above costs would have to be considered a donation and receipt given, the PURPOSE of the Conservative Convention was not to raise money, the Liberal Convention has the appearance of a fund raiser when the fees are double a Cons convention. But it does seem to cost the Libs twice as much as the Cons to do anything. So maybe it is not a fundraiser...?

    ""And why are they lying about the Convention Books having been audited and approved by Elections Canada?""
    Is it possible they were referring to other years where the books were audited, or scrutinzed by Election Canada? Maybe audit is not the proper word and should be corrected by the CPC

    By Blogger wilson61, at 2:33 PM  

  • Meaghan:

    I encourage you to read the rest of the post you criticize.

    You challenged me to explain:
    a. why the convention registration forms contemplated tax receipts/fundraising
    b. why the Tories claimed the election books have been audited by Elections Canada, and
    c. intimated that it is inconsistent to invoke s. 408 as exculpatory when it deals with fundraising.

    Applicable stuff from my previous post:

    a. "Why would registration forms note the possibility of a tax receipt? Confusion, or just to cover your ass, and maybe mollify those spending the money."

    "A lawyer wouldn’t be crazy to wonder if maybe the convention should issue tax receipts for any profit made, out of an abundance of caution"

    b. "s. 424 of the Canada Act requires a party, each Quarter...to submit a return of financial transactions and a statement of contributions from individuals, businesses, etc."

    c. I quoted s. 408 because it details how fundraising works.

    To recap:
    a. you issue a tax receipt on any profit made, even if you don't have to, to cover your ass and simultaneously please your membership;
    b. Elections Canada has a quarterly transaction record from the Tories from the convention period; the party "balance sheet", if you will, and I'm pretty sure convention stuff shows up on there.

    What's getting lost in the debate is:
    -one only has to report contributions IF one accepts that the primary purpose of a policy convention is to raise funds; that may well be a reasonable thing. But there's obviously room for debate. Read s. 408 yourselves.

    -even if the convention is fundraiser, one only has to issue tax receipts and report contributions if a profit is made.

    -one need not repay funds unless that 1/3000th of the total profit puts a person over $5,400.

    I could very well be wrong about my interpretation of s. 408. But it is what is: go read it.

    Even if I'm wrong, the Tories haven't done anything besides failing to issue tax receipts - an absolute worst case scenario likely doesn't crack $10,000 in funds to be returned.

    Very arguably, parties issuing receipts for the entire convention amount are over-compensating members.

    By Blogger matt, at 3:29 PM  

  • and the plot thickens:

    June 30, 2006
    Canada Revenue Agency
    Enforcement and Investigation Section

    To Whom it may concern:

    Re: Improper Issuance of Political Contribution Tax Receipts

    We wish to bring to your attention that the Liberal Party of Canada has publicly acknowledged that it has apparently been issuing political contribution tax receipts for 100% of the price of admission to Liberal Party functions where the ticket buyer receives significant personal benefits - for meals, drink, entertainment and the like.....

    Yours truly,

    Mike Donison

    Executive Director, Conservative Party of Canada

    http://davidakin.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2006/6/30/2077437.html

    By Blogger wilson61, at 9:00 PM  

  • Wilson said;

    And the plot thickens.

    Plot?.. What plot?

    For that one must consult with thew experts.

    The Librano$! TG

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 4:02 AM  

  • Ahem...

    http://tinyurl.com/gg3as

    Tory Cheque-Swapping Scheme Allegedly Allowed Improper Tax Benefits

    Barbara Yaffe, CanWest News Service; Vancouver Sun
    Published: Saturday, July 01, 2006

    VANCOUVER - Conservative party officials engaged in a "cheque-swapping" scheme that enabled delegates to get federal tax credits for donations that were not donations, according to e-mail correspondence of Conservative party delegates prior to a 2005 political convention in Montreal....

    More available at above URL

    By Blogger Meaghan Walker-Williams, at 2:37 PM  

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