Friday, May 16, 2008

Tell us another fable, Pierre

There's a feeling you get when you read of the latest opportunity for the Conservatives to attack Elections Canada that it's all just a sick partisan game to them. Now they're targeting the agency for its upcoming likely extension of payment deadlines for Liberal leadership candidates. And this attack comes despite the law permitting Elections Canada to do just that:
Elections Canada spokesman Andre Guertin said extensions for debt repayment are "part of the law" and it is "absolutely not" preferential treatment to grant them.

Furthermore, he said the agency has no discretion in granting extensions provided that one of four exceptions apply.

Under the Canada Elections Act, any claim that remains unpaid 18 months after a leadership contest constitutes an illegal contributions unless:

-There is a binding agreement to pay the claim.

-The claim is the subject of a legal proceeding to secure payment.

-The amount owed is in dispute.

-The claim has been written off by the creditor as an uncollectable debt in accordance with normal accounting practices.
I assume that outstanding debts owed by leadership candidates that remain would fall under the first exception.

So if this is all legal and explicitly permitted, why are the Conservatives standing in the House of Commons and alleging impropriety on the part of Elections Canada and the Liberals?

Part of the answer is that the Conservatives are demonstrating once again just what kind of people they are. These have to be the most crude partisans we've seen in this country's politics to date. The frat house needling is just meant to irritate and poison the political climate. And they seem to fully enjoy doing it. That's what distinguishes them from the human population on Parliament Hill.

And the rest of the answer is in their desire to deflect from their own overspending in the 2006 federal election for which they are the only party under investigation. Throw a bomb the other way and perhaps people will forget Conservative lawbreaking. Not a chance on that one.

When they act in such a demeaning manner as this, they truly do not deserve our trust.