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BTC: Remember when the National Post doggedly pursued allegations of government wrongdoing?


 

Funny. Just yesterday the government was publicly lauding the work of former Post reporter Andrew McIntosh. He left some years ago for the sunnier atmosphere of the Sacramento Bee. Here he is, recently writing on problems in the nail gun industry.

Anyway. In today’s Post, there’s an editorial on the in-and-out dodginess. It should surprise you little to learn the paper’s editors don’t think it’s much of a scandal. But here are the two most interesting sentences.

“So why all the attention by Elections Canada to this alleged technical breach? The official answer is that after the Liberals lost the last election they complained about the Tories transfers, a move that compelled Elections Canada to act.”

The official answer? Really?

Once more to the Elections Canada affidavit.

From page 11. “On April 11, 2007, a written referral (hereinafter called the Referral) signed on April 5, 2007 by Ms. Janice Vezina, Senior Director, Political Financing, Audit and Corporate Services, and Ms. Manon Hamel, Acting Director Political Financing and Audit, was received by the Commissioner of Canada Elections. The referral sets out that during the election period of the 39th federal general election, the Conservative Party of Canada, a registered political party, undertook with its chief agent, the Conservative Fund Canada, a planned course of action to incur and pay election expenses with respect to election advertising broadcast time, but through a series of transactions created the appearance that, for the required reporting to Elections Canada, some of the expenses incurred by various candidates. The Conservative Party of Canada incurred the expense by entering into an agreement with Retail Media, a company it engaged to purchase broadcast time.”

From page 13. “Included in the Referral is the explanation as to how and why Elections Canada became aware of the alleged media buy scheme. In late October 2006, Mr. Rani Naoufal, an auditor employed at the Political Financing and Audit Directorate of Elections Canada, discussed with Mr. Denny Pagtakhan, official agent for Mrs. Elizabeth Pagtakhan, Conservative Party of Canada candidate in the electoral district of Vancouver East (British Columbia), an election expense filled with Elections Canada by the candidate. The discussion concerned an invoice dated January 4, 2006 in the amount of $29,999.70, which had been issued to the Pagtakhan campaign by the Conservative Fund Canada relating to a media buy.

“Mr. Pagtakhan stated to Mr. Naoufal, “I think we contributed to TV national advertising. There was no way we can spend our limit so we were asked by the Party if we can help contribute.

“Upon being advised of this discussion by Mr. Naoufal, Ms. Manon Hamel, Acting Director of Political Financing and Audit Directorate, undertook a further review of Conservative Party of Canada candidate returns filed with Elections Canada with respect to the 39th federal general election. Her review identified 67 returns filed by Conservative Party of Canada candidates in which she noted amounts transferred into the candidate’s account by the Conservative Fund Canada, which closely equated to election expenses claimed by the candidate for media buys, and in which similar amounts were almost immediately transferred back to the Conservative Fund Canada.”


 
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