Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Harper reverses on new audit powers for Elections Canada

"Tories agree to new audit powers for Elections Canada."
The Conservative government has reversed course and now says it will support an NDP motion to give Elections Canada increased audit powers.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has battled the federal elections watchdog for much of his political career, told the House of Commons on Wednesday his government will support new legislation within six months -- as proposed by the official Opposition.

New Democrats and Liberals have been making hay of the fact a Conservative-dominated committee last month formally turned down a recommendation by the chief electoral officer for new investigative powers.

Marc Mayrand wants to be able to compel political parties to back up their financial statements with receipts and details -- a power currently held by all his provincial counterparts.

The Conservative committee rejection was used by the opposition parties as damning evidence against the government in the context of Elections Canada's growing investigation into fraudulent election phone calls.
What a difference 24 hours can make.

Well done to Bob Rae on this, his 3 consecutive questions to Harper yesterday on this issue, to which Harper obfuscated, produced late Tuesday scrambling by the Harper crew and now today, the backtrack. The NDP motion tomorrow put the pressure on too, of course.

The robocon scandal be powerful. The Harper gang is worried about how they're coming off...