Tuesday, April 29, 2008

So, Pierre's New Argument is About Kingsley

This Poilievre guy sure is something. Now he's claiming that the Conservative Party of Canada is going to cite a ruling from 1997 by Elections Canada. Further claiming that former EC boss Jean-Pierre Kingsley signed off on this ruling. Really Pierre?

How do you explain this then? You were warned Pinocchio Poilievre.

Elections boss who quit warned candidates about ad expenses

Glen McGregor and Elizabeth Thompson, Canwest News Service
Published: Thursday, April 24, 2008

OTTAWA - Less than a month before he resigned from his job, former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley wrote to some Conservative candidates' campaigns instructing them to back up claims for advertising expenses that are now central to the "in-and-out" investigation of the party's financing of the 2006 election.

The elections watchdog told Tory campaign officials they needed to provide more details to support the advertising expenses in returns filed to Elections Canada.

Kingsley asked the candidates' official agents for copies of the contracts with their advertising agencies, scripts of the ads and the dates the ads appeared.

Jean-Pierre Kingsley
Ottawa Citizen file

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Font:****In a series of letters sent out beginning Nov. 29, 2006, Kingsley gave the agents firm deadlines to provide the documents and told them failure to do so would be an offence.

Less than a month after sending the letters, on Dec. 22, Kingsley wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons saying he was resigning. The Prime Minister's Office announced his departure six days later.

Meanwhile, a former Conservative party candidate is urging others who ran in the 2006 election to follow his example and accept Elections Canada's interpretation of the "in-and-out" affair.

Gary Caldwell, who will be running for the Green Party next time out, urged others to drop their claims for reimbursements based on money that was transferred in and then out of their campaign accounts by the party and to file revised financial statements with Elections Canada.

"I think it would be the proper thing to do because it seems to me that it is evident that it doesn't meet the test of the law," said Caldwell who ran for the Tories in Quebec's Eastern Townships.

However, Caldwell acknowledges that those involved in the affair are under a lot of pressure to follow the party line.

"I think it reflects the centralized nature of the party now and it reflects the fact that many of the candidates are now creatures of the party. They don't have their own personal autonomy."

While the Conservatives have said repeatedly that they have been open about the case and have cooperated with the investigation, Caldwell said he received a phone call as recently as last week from a woman calling on behalf of the Conservative Party, urging all former candidates not to talk to the media about the affair.

Kingsley's resignation had stirred intense speculation about why he would step down from a job he appeared to relish, two years before the end of his term, and amid rumours of a possible election that spring. But at the time, the public was unaware of the simmering feud between the Tories and Elections Canada over the $1.1 million in advertising purchases now dubbed as the "in and out" scheme.

The advertising purchases that Kingsley cited in his letters are central to Elections Canada allegations that led to last week's raid on Conservative party headquarters. Copies of Kingsley's letters to the agents were filed in documents used to support the application for the search warrant.

Kingsley was replaced by Marc Mayrand, who continued to look into the advertising purchases and eventually disallowed the expense claims. That meant the Conservative national campaign would have to take the cost of the ads onto their books, pushing them over their $18.3 million spending limit in violation of the election law.

That decision is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the Conservatives in Federal Court.

Kingsley is now president of the Washington, D.C.-based International Foundation for Election Systems, a non-profit group that helps run elections in the developing world.

His office said he would not comment on his work at Elections Canada or his resignation.

Earlier this week, the Liberals said Prime Minister Stephen Harper should consider calling in the RCMP to investigate allegations an invoice used to back up the advertising expenses had been altered.

New Brunswick MP Dominic LeBlanc said the allegation "raises questions about possible breaches to the Criminal Code including forgery, fraud and falsification of documents."

He said three government officials who may have been among the "directing minds" of the in-and-out plan should temporarily step down while the investigation continues.

LeBlanc cited Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon, the Harper government's Quebec lieutenant; Patrick Muttart, Harper's deputy chief of staff; and Michael Donison, a special policy adviser to the government House leader. Their names appear in e-mails discussing funding of advertising by candidate campaigns.

Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette

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