Why are Elections Canada and the media going after the Conservative Party of Canada (and Prime Minister Harper personally) regarding an “In and Out” financing scheme that was not only used by all the political parties until after the 2006 federal election, but was actually invented by the Bloc Quebecois and used by them during the 2000 federal election? For example, Wikipedia states:
- “In the 2000 federal elections the Bloc Québécois organized a system to inflate apparent campaign spending at the riding level, and thereby receive much higher refunds from Elections Canada. The Bloc organized “La Méthode In & Out” prior to the elections, having each candidate agree to certain spending numbers in order to inflate the overall cash flows. In exchange, Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe would sign their nomination papers.”
- “Large amounts of cash were transferred from the party organization to the individual riding associations that are in charge of running one candidate’s election campaign. The money was then distributed to the volunteers as payments for various expenses. The volunteers then donated that money back to the party. On the surface it appeared that the ridings were spending much larger amounts of money than normal, enough to drain the party war chest. In fact, a considerable portion of the money was being returned directly to the party’s coffers.”
- “Under normal circumstances the money received by the volunteers would be subject to income tax and therefore the scheme would be unattractive to them. But because the money was then spent on political donations, the cash was tax free. The only cost to the volunteer was time in filling out their tax forms – something they were giving up anyway as a volunteer for the party.”
- “The scheme may have remained unknown if not for an ironic court case against former Bloc MP, Jean-Paul Marchand. Marchand agreed to spend $66,000 as part of the in and out scheme, but spent only $22,276. The Bloc sued Marchand, saying he had broken his contract and owed them $36,362. A Quebec judge agreed with the Bloc, but lowered the amount to $16,362. When the story broke in 2003 as a result of the court case, the ruling Liberal Party immediately started to implement changes to the election law to stop this process. However, these changes were not implemented before the party lost power in 2006.” (My bolding.)
So, as I asked at the start: Why are Elections Canada and the media going after the Conservative Party of Canada regarding an “In and Out” financing scheme that was not only used by all the political parties, but was actually invented by the Bloc Quebecois during the 2000 federal election? For instance, this earlier Ottawa Citizen article does not even mention that the scheme was started by the Bloc.
Meanwhile, we are constantly hearing that the CPC received $800,000 in taxpayers subsidies because of the “In and Out” method. Yet, I read somewhere (and now can’t find the link unfortunately) that the CPC has never received that money because the claims are being disputing by Elections Canada. Therefore, it would be appreciated if someone from the Conservative Party would either confirm or deny that claim by making that information public — because as far as I could tell, the “In and Out” only involved donated money.
In any event, the whole matter is so Canadian. What a strange country we live in when neither the politicians, nor the media, dares speak about the taxpayers subsidies that the Bloc Quebecois received after the 2000 election — using the “In and Out” scheme — for fear of being accused of Quebec bashing. It is not Quebec bashing at all. It is about fairness for all Canadian political parties.
Which leads me to believe there is more than a kernel of truth in the notion, as the Hill Times reports, that Elections Canada bureaucrats are retaliating against Stephen Harper for an earlier law suit when he was out of politics?
Perception becomes reality. Therefore, all I and millions of other Canadians want, is the truth and a measure of fairness by those in our public institutions, in this case Elections Canada.