Lack of Accountability
However, one aspect of the Act is really starting to irk me. The Tories (and NDP) are insistent on bringing the Act into law as soon as possible and on including convention delegate fees in the limit. Coincidently enough, the regular delegate fees for the Liberal leadership convention are 995$ which is going to create several huge problems. Since these fees don't include hotel or meals, my understanding of the law is that the entire fee minus however much the Liberal handbag (which I always carry around downtown Calgary) costs would count as a donation. It's also my understanding that the Liberal Party won't be making any money off this convention which tells me that someone on the organizing committee got ripped off royally. But that's besides the point.
The real point is that this law is going to play havoc with the Liberal Leadership race and some doom and gloom scenarios would prevent delegates from even attending the convention if people who are already maxed out for the year aren't allowed to spend the delegate fees. These donations were made and these rules were set under the old system and it just boggles my mind that the rules could be changed mid-course.
I hate to accuse politicians of playing politics because, well, that's what they're supposed to do. But this is a crass partisan maneuver (and, as a Liberal, I know a crass partisan maneuver when I see one). When Chretien's fundraising laws came into effect January 1st, 2004, the Conservative leadership race was exempt because it had been called in December of 2003, even though the convention wasn't held until March. With that in mind, I don't think it would be at all unreasonable to exempt the current Liberal race or even to wait until January 1st to bring the Accountability Act into law.
There obviously isn't a lot of sympathy for the Liberals these days but Harper and Layton's tag team effort on this is just wrong. Maybe even more so from Layton who often likes to paint himself as a deity who is always above "playing politics".