Plus Ca Change

18 Nov ’06

From the Globe:

The Conservative government is proposing to open a loophole in its vaunted accountability act by declaring that party convention fees not be counted as political contributions under the law.

The issue is a sensitive one for the Conservative party, which is under investigation by Elections Canada for failing to declare almost $2-million in fees paid by delegates to the party’s 2005 convention.:

A spokesman for Treasury Board President John Baird said the proposed amendment protects taxpayers from subsidizing political convention fees.

In much the same way that a law permitting donors to give large sums directly to MPs would ‘protect taxpayers from subsidizing’ their salaries, I suppose.

On balance, going forward I don’t think a lot turns on this – the piece notes that the new rules would apply as long as the fees don’t exceed the cost of running the convention. But the Tory handling of the ethics file has been completely unimpressive. I can’t help but think that Harper is keeping a running tab on just how much his Government’s fortunes with the public in other areas might be giving him license to compromise his promises to Canadians over ethics issues. I take this as a miscalculation – I suspect he doesn’t genuinely appreciate how angry Canadians are with their elected representatives.

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