Liberal party responds
Fri 01 Aug 2008
Byline: Douglas Ferguson
Source: National Post
Re: Elections Canada's Double Standard, editorial, July 31.
This editorial incorrectly states that, "Under the Elections Act, these [outstanding leadership] obligations should have been paid in full by June 3 of this year." In fact, June 3 was not a "repayment" deadline. Rather, leadership campaigns were required to report the status of unpaid claims and loans on that date, which then allowed them to be subject to a "binding agreement to pay." All our leadership candidates complied fully with the statutory requirements.
I also take issue with the statement: "There is little chance the remaining millions will be paid by the end of Elections Canada's grace period." In the past four months, the former leadership candidates raised a total of $977,381.97. As was reported today in La Presse, Liberal leader Stephane Dion raised $331,110 between April and June, and is on track to pay off the remainder of his debt.
On the other hand, the Conservatives seem to merit the special attention of Elections Canada. Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand, appointed to his post under the current Conservative government, has stated that the Conservative party is the only one to have participated in the "in-and-out" financing scheme in the last election. As a July 15 Canadian Press story notes: "Marc Mayrand indicated that the transactions may eventually put the Conservatives in violation of election spending limits by more than $1-million."
Douglas Ferguson, president, Liberal Party of Canada, Ottawa.