Breaking: Mounties Raid Tory HQ

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Good summary article of some of what has been found so far:

[url= Press article.[/url]

Richard MacKinnon

You've got to know it's a case of it being better to ask for pardon than permission. Especially when your perdition puts your party in the position of providing you protection.

Will S

Some interesting tidbits from the Globe today:

"The fear is no longer about the in-and-out stuff," the official said.

Conservatives Party operatives and those in government interviewed for this story said they are trying to determine what classified material Elections Canada might have seized - and worrying that it could be released in a court case.


One Conservative said the concern is not that Elections Canada would find evidence of anything illegal - but that it could uncover material that would embarrass the government or party.

A government manual on how to obstruct parliamentary committees that caused no end of embarrassment when it was leaked to the press last year is one example of legal-but-embarrassing flotsam that can surface.

Conservative campaign boss Doug Finley has become renowned among partisans for similar hardball tactics. Conservatives now fear other plays from the Finley handbook may fall into the wrong hands.

"We've done some stuff that's not really problematic, but it's not something I'd necessarily want Elections Canada or reporters getting their hands on," a government official said.

"I'm not sure what was in the boxes, but there's a concern that it's going to get worse before it necessarily gets better."



I wonder if anyone has any opinions on how this is going to go down in Quebec. The Globe and Mail story this morning reveals that 1/3 of the Tory candidates in Quebec (26 of 75 ridings) were part of this scheme including some of their so-called "stars" like the incompetent Bernier.

Globe link: [url=

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

You have to love some of their excuses:

- "Everyone does it, and Elections Canada has never said boo." [I can't speak for the Liberals, but nothing like this is done in the NDP]
- "It's just a difference in interpretation of the law." [Actually, the law is pretty clear, and there is really no other interpretation possible.]
- "Those riding Official Agents who raised alarm bells, they're just poorly trained local volunteers who don't understand the Elections Act." [Right. So the 67 Official Agents that authorized participation in the the shell game... are they also poorly trained local volunteers who don't understand the Elections Act.]

Note that Harper has a long history of [url=]battles with Elections Canada[/url]. He and his party appear to question the very legitimacy of a non-partisan government agency governing the way elections are run. If the Conservatives get away with this, there's no telling what they will feel emboldened to do in the next campaign.

TemporalHominid TemporalHominid's picture

it sounds like every candidate in every riding is audited after every election, and if they are found to have overspend elections Canada and the candidate usually settle quietly (fines)

its funny that the Conservative Party of Canada is basically saying "the man" is out to get them, when the CPoC is the man [img]eek.gif" border="0[/img]


Remember the Mike Harris Tories' attitude? I can't remember the exact statement but it went something like "we are not the government but the people who came to change government".

This is exactly the attitude of the perpetually angry, paranoid, outsider types at the heart of the Harper government. Spending their days on childish scheming is not the same as effective governing.

If nothing else, this episode is eroding the myth (partially shored up by the media) that Harper is some sort of strategic genius. It is precisely his "genius" that has gotten the Tories into this mess. The sight of his operatives scurrying down the back stairs is of epic clownish proportions.


I agree that these stories do happen a lot. While I do not recall the NDP having spending limit problems I do recall both federally and provincially problems with cons and libs.

The truth is that I am not aware of one candidate who was removed from office because of spending too much money.

TemporalHominid TemporalHominid's picture


Originally posted by johnpauljones:
[b]I agree that these stories do happen a lot. While I do not recall the NDP having spending limit problems I do recall both federally and provincially problems with cons and libs.

The truth is that I am not aware of one candidate who was removed from office because of spending too much money.[/b]

Removal probably does not happen because of accounting mistakes (human error)found by an audit. It only happens when it is determined that there is intent to defraud (very rare). Obviously there appears to be enough evidence (67 or more problematic invoices and countless e-mails)

Elections Canada enforces and audits, and up until now, all fines and arrangments are dealt with quietly, because there probably has never been found intent to defraud.

Normally Canadians wouldn't even know about the discrepencies found by Elections Canada, its really unexciting and boring stuff... it was not until the CPoC sued Elections Canada that the media and Canadians took an interest in this process.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

It is probably worthwhile to point out that provincial Conservatives in Manitoba, for example, funded 3rd party First Nation candidates [the so-called "Independent" Native Voice] in an effort to "split the vote" against them. The disgraced Conservatives under Filmon were eviscerated, though not nearly enough of course, by the voters of Manitoba in the following election [from which they have never recovered]. During the election in 1995 itself, with the fake independent candidates, the nefarious and sinister activities of the Conservatives failed to unseat the NDP candidates running against them.

The judge running the Public Inquiry that the Conservative Premier, Gary Filmon, called, noted that the Conservative organizers had been "unethical" and "morally reprehensible".

[url=]Wiki: the "Independent" Native Voice.[/url]

[i]Plus зa change ...[/i]

By the way, here are recent important court cases in the administration of elections in Canada:

[url=]Major cases[/url]

One of the cases is Harper vs. Canada. Does that make Stephen "I'll sue!" Harper the first PM in Canadian history to have taken Canada to court [i]before[/i] he even became PM? I mean, Mulroney waited until [i]after[/i] he was PM, right?

Conservatives. Reaching ever new lows in Canadian politics.

[ 22 April 2008: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


In Ontario their were rumours and I stress rumours that the working family coalition that helped defeat Harris/Eves was nothing more than a Liberal front.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Was there any kind of inquiry in that case, as in Manitoba, or an investigation by the elections authorities?


No. As far as I know Elections Ontario did not investigate press reports of "collusion" based on 3rd party advertising.

Sean in Ottawa

The Conservatives may have made a classic blunder by suing elections Canada. While Elections Canada may go in impartial, the lawsuit would be expected to provide extra motivation both to prove themselves right and to make sure that any Conservative election scandal gets the most attention. Many people do not realize that an effect of a legal suit is that it gets the other side pissed. That is not always a good thing.

Now that the raid has brought over all the goodies, even assuming that there are no leaks-- there is a chance the EC will try to avoid those. If there are any additional scams that were not noticed before, you can bet they will be found now-- by people who are highly motivated to be unfriendly to the Conservatives.

When you want to bully someone, you need to be sure they are not holding any weapons- clearly they Cons did not think of that when they brought their legal case.

Logically, the raid makes sense- if the allegations are being seriously considered, then they would have to be examined under the assumption that the Conservatives could not be trusted to disclose materials that would incriminate them. If they went as far as to produce a scam to defraud the public, honest cooperation would be unlikely at this point.

Since this was to end-run the cap on spending then an investigation of any party that reached the cap could be considered but I thought the Cons were the only ones who maxed the limit anyway. If the Cons say the Liberals did it too then let EC have a look.

[ 22 April 2008: Message edited by: Sean in Ottawa ]



If the Cons say the Liberals did it too then let EC have a look.

What the Cons say everybody does [NDP too] is the 'in and out' thing. And it's true.

In and out can be perfectly legal. The Liberals are the ones who labelled it the 'in and out scheme'. And they are stupid for doing so. Because the Cons have been using that line that everybody does it for months now... so the Libs were helping the Cons muddy the waters.

The problem isn't the in and out- its [b]using [/b] an in and out arrangement [legally and ethically neutral in itself] to cover a large and fraudulent attempt to circumvent spending caps.


The PM sez:


Prime Minister Stephen Harper is defending the Conservative party's advertising spending in the 2006 federal election, saying it followed the rules.

But he told a news conference in New Orleans on Tuesday that if the official interpretation of the law changes, the Tories will adapt.


The final fall back position: "we will graciously accept them having changed the rules."

[b]ETA:[/b] missed this gem:


The prime minister said if the agency's reading of the rules prevails, then the Tories will change their spending strategies.

[i]But he said all the other parties will have to follow suit.[/i]

[emphasis added]

Quite the audacity there.

He knows damn well that no one else has to "follow suit". Thay have been saying that others used the "in and out" thing- which is not news- but no one has exceeeded spending limits, by any mechanism.

Trying the big bald lie.

[ 22 April 2008: Message edited by: KenS ]

Wilf Day

Check out[url=] Rex Murphy tonight. [/url] He's outdone himself, even for Rex.


Their attempt to 'manage' this affair couldn't have been been more inept, more dismally wrong-footed - if they'd handed the file over to their enemies.

Last Sunday - Sunday mind you - they invited selected members of the press - for example, CTV but not CBC, the Toronto Star but not Canadian Press - to what were ludicrously called "private briefings." This was the public relations equivalent of standing at the bottom of a skyscraper and paying someone to drop a grand paino on your head from the 100th floor. Stupid is far too kind a word for it, although if you join stupid up with 'perverse', 'self-defeating', 'embarrassingly amateur', 'witless', and 'what in the name of God where they thinking', it begins to earn its keep.

Stephen Harper's much vaunted communications strategy is now in much the same state as Rome after the Visigoths, or to bring a nearer illustration, the Liberals after Paul Martin's post-sponsorship apology tour. Poking the press with a stick, it may shock the PMO to learn, is not actually a strategy at all: it is, actually, not much more than an improper use of a good stick.

This contest/scandal with Elections Canada episode reveals a government that that has lost its fundamental political instincts, is losing ground on the great theme of accountability that brought it to office, and is so weary after 2 years as a minority, that in some matters - let's brief half the press and bar the others out - it simply can't think straight.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I saw that - it was great!

ps: awesome that you were able to find the text so quickly!


Related news:

[url= ready to turn spotlight on Liberal officials[/url]


A former Liberal official said the charges against Mr. Corbeil "are a signal to the political class of the day that there are more things to come."

Another source said the RCMP is hoping to obtain more information on the inner workings of the party in coming months. "If everything goes well, a bunch of people could spill the beans at the same time," the source said.

As the Mounties continue their investigation, they are showing a willingness to strike deals with individuals to get additional information.

The upshot of this is that we stand to be periodically getting fresh news doses of this as well as Harper's current fiaso. [And the Cadman affair waits in the wings.]

The nature of the investigations and prosecutions against Liberals is that it stands to still be fresh doses of it through an October 2009 election.

Jacques Corriveau is due for charges soon in the lineup, if not next. Like the rest, he can get lenient treatment for giving testimony on others across and up the food chain.

And somewhere along the line someone will dig in their heals and balk at a deal or not be offered one. If not before the top, the person at the top of the food chain who can give the police no information that can lead to further prosecutions [as was the case with Conrad Black]. The run-up to such a trial will take us well past the election.

I begin to see more concretely why the NDP caucus has made a decision to remain relatively in the background as to comments and demands made on the two party's scandals.

They do a fine job of sullying each other and their own side. And, it's not a great time in the eyes of the public to be a politician... so the NDP joining in the chorus of voices would probably inevitably lead to rub off of the taint.

When the Harper Adscam first came out last year I was somewhat puzzled why the caucus was holding back. I knew that they were helping reporters with leads to pursue and simply explaining the intricasies of election financing practices and law [but even that background role- not as obviously as the Liberals].

And even then I could see in a general way why it might be best for the NDP to just let events unfold, but I wasn't so sure until all of this starting coming back around.

[ 25 April 2008: Message edited by: KenS ]

a lonely worker

Guess this means for the next six months we're going to hear endless debate and spin about who's the most crooked party instead of why we need these two crooked parties.


That's OK- given the circumstances, they literally have no choice but to spin away at each other. While they do, the message larger than the 2 of them will get through.

Its worth noting that despite the slide deeeper into people answering poll general questions about politicians with answers to the effect of "all crooks"- the NDP continues to score high on trust questions.

It isn't just the NDP that will be in trouble if it dgenerates to the point- as in Italy- that low expectations stops being mixed with significant amount of hope that we'll get better.

ETA: and for what it's worth, here's the 2 spins I expect:

* Liberals: as long as it is in or returns to the news, slamming away at the Harper scandal [and the Cadman affair if it returns].

* Cons: mostly sticking to we're the good government. With limited reply to accustsions mostly pointing to the Liberal crooks in the news.

With the Libs periodically shamed into being quiet by fresh news on their stuff. And maybe the whole thing will exhaust itself other than media initiated 'reminders'... until the election.

Even if this all doesn't grievously harm the government, they'll be thrown off their game. In this context it's going to be hard for them to swagger around, effortlessly bullying the Liberals.

[ 25 April 2008: Message edited by: KenS ]

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

I'm not entirely convinced that an NDP strategy of "laying low" while the Conservatives and Liberals spin yarns is all that wise.

If the NDP has anything more to offer than saying:

"We didn't do it. Mind you, we've never formed a Canadian Government, either ... "

... then the present seems like an excellent time to publicize what it has to offer that distinguishes the NDP from the other 2 parties.

Furthermore, laying low still abandons the field to the other guys anyway. When your opponents are vulnerable, shouldn't you beat them to a pulp while you have the chance to? Why this foolish political sportsmanship? And, in any case, outlining policies that implicitly distance the NDP from the old line parties doesn't have to be accompanied by a repetitive echoing of "We didn't do it" anyway.

Just a thought. Of course, if I were to make a cheap shot, I might add that perhaps the NDP isn't all that different from the other 2 parties and, therefore, laying low is a perfect strategy.


Who said anything about "laying low"- certainly not in the general sense you are talking about.

And I wouldn't even calling it laying low about the scandals themselves- just the wisdom of not getting right down in the mud.


Interesting addition to the narrative:

[url= O'Sullivan, Conservative party candidate in a downtown Montreal riding, said her background in business and municipal politics would have immediately prompted her to question the transaction.[/url]


"They would have been afraid of me," said O'Sullivan.

Conservative party officials wouldn't say why O'Sullivan's riding was not asked to participate.

Most of the other Conservative candidates in West End Montreal agreed to allow money to be transferred in and then out of their campaigns; O'Sullivan described those candidates as "all the 'yes' people."

The documents filed by Elections Canada in its application for a search warrant reveal the Conservatives were searching in December 2005 for "Anglophone-centric" ridings to participate in a planned English radio campaign in Montreal.


"Elections Canada imbroglio sours already cynical public: What kind of country has a ruling party that mounts an assault on its election watchdog?"



If there is a single Canadian public agency with an outstanding international reputation, it is Elections Canada.

Nearly nine decades old, it was established as a non-partisan office reporting directly to Parliament. Its purpose was and continues to be the prevention of partisan manipulation and flagrant abuse of the electoral system by the government of the day.

In the wartime election of 1917, for example, the ruling Conservatives enfranchised female relatives of servicemen and simultaneously disenfranchised Canadian citizens who hailed from Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Conservatives also provided for "floater" votes, allowing the parties to determine in which constituencies their soldiers' votes would be distributed. Since Conservatives won 90 per cent of those ballots, the scheme served them well. Populist outrage expressed by farmers' parties and the Progressives – who soon became Parliament's second largest party – provided the yeast for reform and Elections Canada was created in 1920 ...


"Include polling in Tory campaign-spending investigation, NDP asks"



OTTAWA — A member of the federal NDP has asked Canada's elections watchdog to expand its probe into alleged Conservative campaign spending fraud to look into transactions used to pay for public opinion polling during the last election.

Winnipeg MP Pat Martin said Monday that the strategy to have 51 candidates pay for polling – only to be reimbursed later for those expenses by the central Tory party – appears similar to the so-called in-and-out scheme the Conservatives used to funnel advertising expenses through local ridings.

“Laundering federal campaign spending through individual campaigns in order to exceed the party's spending limits is cheating, plain and simple, and there should be severe consequences for any political party found guilty of such a fraudulent practice,” Mr. Martin says in a letter to chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand ...


There's more!

[url= polling in Tory campaign-spending investigation, NDP asks[/url]

This one is if anything even worse than the "in and out" under investigation.

The scheme around the advertising expenses was concocted ahead of time. While it's a very thin and obviously deceptive argument, the Cons can at least make the case they interpreted that they would be within the letter of the law.

This is a scam concocted to move expenses months after the election, to bring down the national spending total that was still too high even after the advertising expense shuffle.

Once again it has the hallmark of expenses that no single riding camapign would ever incurr.


the amount of money candidates claimed for polling expenses – as much as $20,000 – seems too high for a poll conducted in one riding. Mr. Martin said he consulted a polling firm and was told that a 20-question survey of 400 people in one riding would cost about $4,000.

And that's making generous allowances for the Cons. Because a 400 person $4,000 poll for a riding campaign is a pretty damn gold plated expense. You only have a use for internal polling in a very highly competitive riding campaign. That is also a campaign that has to be concerned about it's own spending limit. Simply: if you have room for $15-20,000 in your spending limit, then you are not in such a competitive campaign that you would need polling... let alone to spend unheard of amounts on polling.


“I think they're misrepresenting the value of the polling,” Mr. Martin said in an interview.

Moreover, Mr. Martin questioned why many of the transactions occurred months after the Jan. 23, 2006, election.

For instance, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's financial return shows that Flaherty's campaign paid the party $15,000 on April 1, 2006 for polling. On May 25, the party transferred $15,000 to Mr. Flaherty.

Mr. Flaherty's return has been reviewed and approved by Elections Canada.

Still, Mr. Martin said it appears to him that the Tories realized after the campaign that they'd exceeded their national spending limit and looked for ways to offload some of their polling expenses on individual candidates.

My educated guess would be that if EC chose to investigate this one, it would be easier to prove than with the advertising expenses scam that it is nothing more than a shell game.

Because the invoices for that polling will say what kind of polling it was paying for- and it's guaranteed to be national and regional polling.

Anyboy's guess whether EC will want to take this on- soonish, or at all. They have their hands full already. And there has to be some reluctance where they have already allowed these as riding expenses. They [i]can[/i] rescind that based on new information.... but will thay want to when so occupied already, and under attack by the government.

Maybe the media will run with it regardless.


Different article, Globe reporter. Same facts, but different interpretations [the earlier Canadian Press story inked above doesn't even show on their website]:

[url= demands explanation of Tories' transactions[/url]


Conservative Party spokesman Ryan Sparrow said in an e-mail that the money declared as survey expenses was used "for direct voter contact in each local riding."

When asked why it was listed as money for surveys or research, he said: "Because that's what EC [Elections Canada] told them to list it as."

If that is true that it really was voter contact work... then as far as I would know, this should not be a problem for the Cons.

But voter contact by central phone banks is commeon, I can't see EC telling them to call it something else. ???


In addition to the fact that there appears to be no Elections Canada investigation, pollsters and even opposition party members said the amounts transferred correspond with what a candidate in a tight race might spend locally on public-opinion surveys.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think so. Not even close.

But it looks like there is some sorting out to be done as to what exactly is being talked about.