Sunday, July 09, 2006

Time for an RCMP investigation into CPoC Convention Gate Allegations

There are several allegations regarding accounting irregularities of the Conservative Party of Canada’s (CPoC’s) 2005 national convention:

1. There were corporate sponsorships *at* the CPoC’s convention. Corporate sponsorship at the national level is not allowed according to Elections Canada.

2. There was also corporate sponsorship to the convention via local electorial district association (EDA) sponsorship, which is arguably an attempt to circumvent the rules alluded to in point one above.

3. There is no national accounting of donation fees paid to the CPoC's national level via the convention. The funds are just consumed once they hit the national level (See previous story on the vanishing polling expenses as well as the vanishing convention gate fees.)

4. There is evidence of forethought and intent to cheque-swap to gain tax credits and also recoup personal expenses both - at the EDA level. (See previous story on cheque-swapping)

5. There is evidence that election expenses were not fully declared. (see pre and writ expenses such as web-blogging and again polling)

The above allegations, if true, have both tax and elections act implications. Individuals may have received tax credits that they were not entitled to for expenses that they also were reimbursed for. Further, the CPoC may have accepted money that they did not declare that they then used to run political events - including the 2005 convention and the January 23 2006 election.

All opposition parties should be calling upon both Canada Revenue and Elections Canada to ask the RCMP to pick up all CPoC records and to begin a formal investigation. There is arguably enough information (at www.elections.ca, the public statement by CPoC cabinet minister Baird, original correspondence by CPoC party execs, and documentation from the convention) to justify a formal investigation under a warrant to obtain all the raw financial records of CPoC’s EDAs and national body.

At this point with this amount of evidence against a governing party, the only issue that generally slows down a formal investigation is that the RCMP reports to the Attorney General who sits with the government that would be under investigation.

Accordingly, something very public has to prompt either the RCMP or the Attorney General to act against the government. What would prompt them to act would be something like an all party (sans CPoC) joint complaint forwarded to:

1. the Attorney General, and
2. Elections Canada, and
3. Revenue Canada, and
4. the RCMP

Such a joint complaint could be constructed in a few weeks and would be somewhat unique. I believe a joint document should be constructed because of the alleged potential scope of:

1. the number of people involved (potentially thousands of delegates)
2. the number of organizations involved (numerous EDAs and corporations), and
3. the large number of transactions involved (many banks and in many jurisdictions).

The allegations cover vast geographical territory and some new legal territory as well. By making this a cross-party complaint hopefully some small level of partisanship is removed and some level of legal discourse can be maintained.

Politically speaking, the air needs to be cleared concerning these allegations and the Canadian people deserve to know the raw facts so they can make their own political evaluation of the CPoC's convention accounting irregularities.

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