It's not the sexiest of political scandals, as such things go. Nobody got rich. Nobody ended up in bed with a smile on his face.
Still, the so-called "in-and-out" affair, in which a couple of Vancouver Island ridings play a leading role, suggests Canada is being run by a party that is, at best, quite willing to dive through a loophole in the law.
In fact, one disillusioned former Victoria Conservative insider claims the party has been playing fast and loose with the rules for years. Eugene Parks, who once sat as a director of the party's Victoria constituency association, says he quit the post in 2005 rather than go along with practices more suitable to "a Banana Republic." Parks says he has complained to both Elections Canada and the RCMP. Fiddlesticks, the Conservatives say, we're just following the rules.
Parks says the in-and-out scheme is just one example of what he considers money-laundering by the Conservatives. In 2006, he went public with a complaint that the party and some of its members engaged in "cheque-swapping" that allowed the members to claim tax credits they had not earned. He said the party covered the expenses of members attending a 2005 policy convention, with the members then making a tax-deductible "donation" to the party for the same amount.Cheers to Mr. Parks today...:)
Parks also said that in 2005 he was asked to take the lead with Blogging Tories, an on-line, pro-Conservative web log that could operate outside election rules. After the issue came to light on Sean Holman's Publiceyeonline website, the Conservatives stated that the Blogging Tories initiative was independent of the party.