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ITQ Committee Lookahead: But how will all those senior Conservative party officials fit around the table? Oh. Right.


 

A quick rundown of the witnesses who may or may not appear during the third day of hearings on the Conservative in-and-out financing, depending on whether or not the party has managed to send out its talking points on time, as, sadly, was not the case with yesterday’s inadvertent star witness, Doug Lowry:

Morning session – 10am to noon

The following witnesses are expected to appear, despite the fact that they did not have to be formally summonsed:

Retail Media chief operating officer Marilyn Dixon

  • according to the search warrant application that led to last spring’s raid on Conservative Party headquarters, Dixon told Elections Canada officials that she “didn’t recognize” an invoice submitted to the agency to back up one expense claim, and said that it “must have been altered or created by someone”

Retail Media vice-president Andrew Kumpf

  • in December 2005, Kumpf sent an email to the party that would eventually be used by Elections Canada to justify the search warrant, in which he warned campaign organizers that he was “not certain beyond all reasonable doubt” that the so-called regional media buy was legal under existing election law

GroupM president David Campbell

  • Campbell expressed his doubts via an email that also found its way into the warrant, admitting that he was “not sure” that what he described as ‘switching’ (sic) ad time to the ridings “could constitute a riding expense unless all the ridings in a region pooled expenses”, which is what the Conservative Party maintains took place.

The following witness is not expected to appear, despite the fact that the chair has issued a formal summons, although it should be noted that the Conservatives, most notably Gary Goodyear, seem now to be implying that not all summons have been served, in which case the witnesses would not be legally required to appear. (At least one previous witness, Monday’s no-show, Denny Pagtakhan, is alleged to have successfully avoided service): 

Jean Lecours, official agent to Jacques Gourde, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Labour

Afternoon session – 2-5pm

2:00 – 3:30 pm

Former Conservative candidate Cynthia Downey (Random-Burin-St. George, NF) and her official agent, Darren Roberts

  • Downey, who left the party last year over the Atlantic Accord, actually listed the money that the party transferred in and out of her campaign as a national expense when filing her financial reports with Elections Canada.
  • She also told her local paper, the Georgian, that her official agent, Roberts, was told that the money “would be taken out and used for a national campaign”, and added that she “did not see anything” and neither she nor Roberts were asked to sign anything.

Listed on the schedule and subject of a summons, but not expected to appear:

Former Conservative candidate Steve Halicki (York-South Weston, ON)

  • although his official agent, Barbro Soderberg, told Elections Canada that she had been “uneasy” with the party’s proposal, which she found “a little too creative”, Halicki insists that he did nothing wrong. In the same interview in which he admitted that he didn’t know what ads his money allegedly bought, he claims he “benefited immensely" from them, and chided local candidates for having “freeloaded” off the national campaign in the past.

Neil Jamieson, official agent for Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day

Harvey Venier, official agent for Conservative MP Jim Abbott

Cecil Cranston, official agent for Conservative Whip Jay Hill

3:30 – 5:00 p.m.

Patrick Muttart, deputy chief of staff to the Prime Minister and a senior campaign organizer during the 2006 election

Listed on the schedule and subject of a summons, but not expected to appear:

Doug Finley, Conservative Party campaign manager, husband to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley, who remains one of the PM’s closest confidante and who was forcibly extracted from the committee table earlier this week by House of Commons security

Quebec campaign organizers Nelson Bouffard and Michel Rivard – both of whom have been mentioned, specifically and repeatedly, by previous witnesses as having been intimately involved in bringing campaigns into the scheme -  Pierre Coulombe and Benoit Laroque,

Michael Donison, formerly the party’s executive director and now a senior advisor to Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan on “democratic reform”

Susan Kehoe, the party’s chief financial officer during the last election, who then briefly served as interim executive director, and whose current state of employment within the party, or anywhere else for that matter, is unknown

Irving Gerstein, chair of the Conservative Fund of Canada

Byng Gyrand and Brian Hudson, the party’s National Councillors for British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, respectively


 

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