Thursday, March 6, 2008

Another CONservative Scandal Nears Resolve???

NOT...But at least we won't be hindered by the Chair of the Committee any longer.

Opposition Removes Committee Chair to Stop Procedural Tricks Preventing
Investigation of the "In and Out" Scandal

OTTAWA-The three opposition parties united today to remove Conservative Procedure and House Affairs Committee Chair Gary Goodyear for abusinghis power to prevent a Parliamentary investigation into his party's alleged scheme to violate election spending limits during the 2006 federal election.

"For over six months now, on countless occasions, Mr. Goodyear has arbitrarily ignored parliamentary practice to help his party prevent an investigation into the 'in and out' scandal," said Liberal Whip Karen Redman.

"Elections Canada has refused to provide refunds to more than 60
Conservative candidates who improperly claimed national advertising expenses as local campaign expenses, contrary to the Elections Act. This could mean the Conservatives exceeded the legal spending limit in the last election by over $1 million. This is very serious and Canadians deserve answers."

The Conservative Party has been under investigation by the independent Elections Commissioner since last spring for allegedly funneling over $1.2 million in national advertising costs to regional candidates during the 2006 federal election in order to circumvent federal election spending limits.

In January, Elections Canada filed an affidavit pointing out examples of how Conservative candidates booked widely different amounts to claim expenses for the broadcast of the same national party ad. They indicated their concern that the scheme was designed to make use of unused local campaign
limits to book national expenses, rather than to fund actual local advertising.

The Liberals' call for Mr. Goodyear's resignation was echoed by Committee members from the NDP and Bloc Québécois.

"The Conservative government has literally written the book on how to disrupt democratic operations and grind parliamentary business to a halt," said Ms. Redman. "Since Mr. Goodyear continues to stubbornly follow the
Conservatives' obstructionist playbook, we had no choice but to remove him as Chair.

"We hope that newly elected Chair, Joe Preston, will allow for a workable environment which will allow that Committee to do meaningful work on behalf of Canadians."

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