I see nobody is talking about this story in Le Devoir. Time to change that.
“Conservative Party apparatchiks in Ottawa decided to spend $800,000 in extra advertising in Quebec during the last federal election campaign, and it’s among them, in a few hours on a Wednesday afternoon in December 2005, that they decieded how to credit these sums to several Quebec candidates to shake Elections Canada off their trail. …
“In an email unreported before now, the head of finances for the Conservative Party during the last campaign, the accountant Susan Kehoe, explains that she is desperately trying with the ad man Andrew Kumpf to find a way to get the ad bill transferred to Quebec candidates’ account. The exchange continues between her, Mr. Kumpf, the party’s general director Mike Donison and lawyer Paul Lepsoe..
“‘Considering that up to 67 ridings could profit from our ad campaign, I have asked Andrew whether he can decide which ones would stand to benefit most,’ Ms. Kehoe writes at 3:40 p.m. on Dec. 14, 2005.
“‘He came back to me with this: Quebec City (TV) — 8 ridings, Gatineau region (TV) — 3 ridings, Sherbrooke (TV) — 7 ridings. For radio — 15 ridings. Which means that, for our $800,000 Quebec buy, we would have 18 ridings for the TV component and 15 ridings for the radio component, of which only one isn’t in the 18. If we divided the $800,000 bill by 18 ridings, is it possible that a $45,000 ad buy would be too much for any of these ridings?’
“(Donison writes 34 minutes later…) ‘Andrew, we need 8 ridings on top of the 18 you’ve picked. Which are the eight ridings that could best receive any of these ads and we’ll go ahead with those. Are you able to give us precise names? If not, let me know and I’ll check with our Quebec team.'”
There’s more back and forth, and finally the little group comes up with a list of 27 target ridings in Quebec. Hélène continues:
“Determining the identity of the person who ordered the ads during the campaign is not a detail, far from it. According to electoral law, a national political party has its expenses limite. Each candidate is also subject to a distinct individual limit. To determine whether an expense is national or local… Elections Canada considers who ‘paid’ and ‘incurred’ an expense.”
There’s more. That’s certainly enough to chew on for now, though.