In-and-Out is in, unless it’s out

Deep in the comment thread here, Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch offers the following reading.

The Federal Court ruling today dodged the issue of the legality of the Conservatives’ 2006 federal election ad spending scheme issue even more than Aaron hints at, as the ruling went in favour of the candidates only because the basis of the “balance of convenience” principle means that they should be reimbursed for their full expenses now because the legality of the scheme is yet to be determined.

So, in order to have the issue of the legality of the scheme ruled upon by the courts, Elections Canada must proceed with a prosecution through the Director of Public Prosecutions, and/or an appeal of today’s ruling to the Federal Court of Appeal.

In the meantime, based on this ruling and to save court resources, Elections Canada should reimburse all expenses to all the candidates who participated in the scheme (again, while at the same time prosecuting them all).

It is in the public interest to have the legality of the scheme ruled upon by the courts so that everyone will know what is legal for the next, and future, federal elections, so hopefully Elections Canada will appeal and/or proceed with a prosecution.

Hope this helps.




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In-and-Out is in, unless it’s out

  1. Good for him for explaining the nuance of the decision – something that is often lost in a they won/they lost headline.

  2. Elections Canada should proceed with a prosecution.

  3. Seems reasonable to me. There is no need to penalize the candidates if the (il)legality of the scheme was ambiguous. I would, however, strongly support pursuing the matter further in order to clarify whether it is indeed illegal. It sure stinks, but that isn’t enough.

  4. The ruling did seem to me to be saying, essentially, you can't punish them before you concluded they've done something wrong. If you are still investigating you haven't concluded anything yet.

    The fact that the Conservatives have, as per usual, done everything they can to block you from doing your job, ignored court orders and proceedings, defied document production requirements, etc. is not grounds for assuming they are guilty… as much as it really really looks like they are guilty.

    • Do you know what happened to the documents seized when the search warrant was executed? I remember reading they were still sealed because the conservatives were claiming they are priviledged.

  5. To really split hairs, this ruling appears to apply only the two candidates who continued to be attached to the suit. Of the 60-plus CPC candidates originally involved in the in-and-out scheme, only some were attached to the suit and all but two of them dropped out. I find it interesting that this ruling, like the ethics commissioner's ruling on the CPC being neither a person nor a corporation, is really limited to narrow technical definitions and goes out of its way to say that the courts aren't ruling as to whether the parties' actions were right or wrong.

    None of this, for example, eliminates or contradicts the statements made by several CPC candidates — and their official agents — that THEY thought in-an-out violated elections guidelines.

  6. So, Aaron, will you be asking Iggy how he voted in that important US senate election?

    • Which also makes me whether Iggy will be voting for Brown in the upcoming UK election.

  7. I wasn't aware that Ignatieff was a US citizen.

  8. He's not, he never has been, and he's said publicly on more than one occasion that he's never had any intention of becoming an American citizen, ever, and that he never will.

  9. (I know, I was just being cheeky.)

  10. So does the celebration for getting free taxpayer money — yeah! double-down on the election subsidy, that means two sidoos for everyone, right Stock? — while pretending to be irked by public expenditure to political parties make Steve crafty like a fox or just sponge-worthy?
    Yep, sounds like our CONservatives.

    • This is Canada's New Government.

      Cognitive dissonance is a feature, not a bug.

      • always brings to mind the great philosophical discourses of our time: is it better to be governed by liars, or thieves?

  11. Thanks Aaron and Duff Conacher for the clarification.
    Amuses me that Pierre Poilievre was on CBC Power and Politics yesterday crowing about this and claiming that the CPC was "completely exonerated" in all this.

    Either he is even dimmer than he seems – or is the most blatant creator of fairy tales since the Brothers Grimm!

    • The two are not mutually exclusive.

      • Somehow the image of being both daffy duck and despicable came to mind…

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