Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Bye, bye for you Shelly Glover?

Good Day Readers:

Two points. Unfortunately, ss CyberSmokeBlog's Member of Parliament it has submitted a written request to Ms Glover for which CSB has received an auto-reply saying a response will take 3-5 weeks. It intends to hold her to that.

Prior to the 2011 election, CyberSmokeBlog received an unsolicited voice mail from Mike 'Radioactive' Duffy extolling her virtues and why it should vote for her. Presumably, other eligible voters in her Saint Boniface, Manitoba riding also received the same. So the questions were:

(1) How much was he paid for this project?
(2) From where did the funds come?

In light of future developments CSB would have added a third question had it known. Did 'Radioactive' invoice the Senate for time spent on this project?

Point two. David M. Skwark.
'Dapper Dave' is a lawyer for Winnipeg BigLaw Fillmore Riley who a couple years ago sat on a Manitoba Law Flaw Society Disciplinary Committee who CSB first encountered during a series of pre-disciplinary hearings. The public can attend but has no standing. Usually, these are not attended/covered by the media save for a really juicy one that comes along every so often such as that for Jack 'Polaroid" King of Douglas Inquiry fame. To a standing room only crowd during March of 2010 he pleaded guilty to 3-counts of professional misconduct for which he received a meaningless reprimand from the LFSM and fined almost $14,000 a mere pittance of what he should have got.

Back to 'Dapper.' A recent Nation Post article about Ms Glover's latest woes listed him as her lawyer of record when her case goes before a Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice on Friday, June 21. Shelly Glover, along with Selkirk-Interlake Manitoba MP James Bezan are challenging an Election Canada ruling that they should not be allowed to sit and vote in the House of Commons unless or until their 2011 campaign expenses have been approved by EC.

The significance? Speaking hypothetically, of course, if both were to lose their court challenges and it can be shown they exceeded their 2011 campaign spending limits they could be out on their collective arses.

Take the case of former Conservative Minister Peter Penashue forced to resign earlier this year (March) over $30,000 worth of 2011 campaign donations deemed ineligible. He subsequently ran in a byelection and got thoroughly whompped.

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
Two Tory MPs could lose seats in showdown over election filings

By Glen McGregor and Stephen Mahar
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Shelly Glover, the Tory MP for Saint Boniface says Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand has misinterpreted how payments for salaries to campaign workers were apportioned and how the costs of campaign signs inherited from a previous election should be accounted for in the return. (Photobraph by Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

OTTAWA — Two Conservative MPs are in legal limbo after Elections Canada sent letters to the Speaker of the House of Commons asking they be suspended for failure to file campaign documents from the 2011 election.

“Those letters advised the speaker that an elected candidate shall not continue to sit or vote as members of the House of Commons pending the filing of complete and accurate returns,” said Elections Canada spokesman John Enright on Tuesday.

Shelly Glover, the MP for Saint Boniface, and James Bezan, the MP for Selkirk-Interlake, have both filed legal challenges in the Manitoba Court of the Queen’s Bench over their campaign returns.

The MPs will not be suspended from the House of Commons until their cases are decided by a judge. Both were in the chamber to vote on a witness-protection bill on Monday.

In an application filed May 24, Glover seeks an order forcing Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand to accept a revised campaign financial return she filed and declaring her compliant with the elections law.

She says Mayrand has misinterpreted how payments for salaries to campaign workers were apportioned and how the costs of campaign signs “inherited” from a previous election should be accounted for in the return.

Glover’s campaign ended up just $660 below its legal spending limit, so even a small difference in accounting could have put it over the cap and in breach of the law. A similar problem with his campaign in Labrador led to the resignation of former Conservative Intergovernmental Affairs minister Peter Penashue earlier this year.

Bezan’s campaign finished $17,000 under its legal limit but also included $28,000 in spending that it said was not subject to the limit.

“My campaign has complied with the Elections Canada Act,” Bezan said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “This is an accounting dispute between the campaign and Elections Canada.”

He added that “Elections Canada approved my campaign returns for the 2006 and 2008 elections but have changed their interpretation, which is now not consistent with the Act’s provisions. Elections Canada is not being fair or reasonable in their application of the Act.

“My campaign will be challenging Elections Canada’s new interpretation and look forward to having our return properly adjudicated in a court of law.”

Glover’s case is listed for a hearing on June 21. The legal proceeding comes at an awkward time for Glover, who has been touted as potential cabinet material with a shuffle of the government’s front bench expected over the summer.

Glover’s office issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying that she too intends to fight Elections Canada in court.

“My campaign in 2011 complied fully with the Elections Act,” she said. “Elections Canada has ordered that I claim expenses that my campaign did not incur, which is not consistent with the Act’s provisions.”

Elections Canada’s auditors have been seeking more information from Glover and Bezan since soon after the 2011 election, but the two MPs have declined to provide the requested information.

“This is the back and forth we do with agents all the time,” Enright said. “Where the process does not lead to a properly corrected return, the CEO will officially request a correction to the return within a certain period of time.”

Paperwork on file with Elections Canada shows both campaigns made large payments to their affiliated riding association, with little details about where the money went.

Candidate returns filed after an election typically contain a long, itemized list of payments made to suppliers for rent, advertising, salaries and other costs of running local campaigns.

But Glover’s return includes only nine payments, including two made to her riding association that represent the vast majority of her campaign spending. The entries, dated on election day, say that Glover’s campaign paid $73,139 to the St. Boniface Conservative Association, with no indication of who ultimately received the money.

That line item had entries of $34,777 under “other advertising” — possibly a calculation of the signage under dispute — $18,257 for “surveys,” $1,333 for rent, another $9,226 for other office expenses, and $9,545 described as “miscellaneous expenses.”

Bezan’s return shows a series of payments to 10 individuals, and $53,254 in payments to his riding association, including $17,253.31 labelled “other,” and $26,221.30 labelled “amounts not included in election expenses.”

The Elections Act requires every campaign to show where all the money it spends during a campaign goes, and auditors spend months working with campaigns from all parties trying to make sure returns follow the rules.

In the House of Commons on Tuesday, NDP MP Craig Scott said the two MPs had been “caught failing to comply with election laws” and contrasted the response with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s promise to punish those who break the rules.

“Why do the Conservatives and the Prime Minister continue to act as if they are above the law?” he asked,

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said Bezan and Glover had acted in good faith.

“Due to legitimate differences of opinion, Election Canada’s interpretation of the rules is now before the courts,” he said. “That is the members’ right to pursue and we support their right to pursue it.”

St. Boniface appears to be a hot spot in Elections Canada’s investigation into fraudulent political calls in the last election. Glover’s Liberal opponent complained of fake Liberal calls harassing supporters during the campaign, and a few days before the election, the local riding association fielded complaints about Conservative calls misdirecting voters, according to Elections Canada emails obtained under Access to Information legislation.

The court applications filed by Bezan and Glover are just the latest in a series of legal battles the Conservatives have waged against Elections Canada and the chief electoral officer.

The Tories took Mayrand to court in 2006 for refusing to approve candidate claims for radio and TV ads at the centre of the so-called in-and-out scandal, and Mayrand recently pointed out at a parliamentary

committee that the party has dragged its feet in co-operating with an investigation into fraudulent calls in the last election.

A federal court judge recently chided the party for engaging in “trench warfare” in a lawsuit related to fraudulent calls, and the CRTC noted last week that the federal Conservatives had failed to reach a compliance agreement with the agency over their use of robocalls until fines were publicly announced.

A spokeswoman for Speaker Andrew Scheer said Tuesday that Glover and Bezan will continue to sit in the House for now.

“The Speaker has consulted House officials on the facts and the provisions of the Canada Elections Act and the court applications for Mr. Bezan and Mrs. Glover,” said Heather Bradley. “The Speaker will await the decisions of the courts in the appeals before taking any action.”

Enright said Elections Canada recognizes Parliament has the ultimate authority over who sits in the Commons.

“The CEO makes the Speaker aware of the provision, but parliamentary privilege will be the determining factor as to whether or not the member sits or not,” he said.

Former House of Commons procedural clerk B. Thomas Hall said Tuesday that the House could likely prevent the MPs from being suspended as the act requires, but it would look bad.

“If the House were to refuse to suspend the MP as required by the Canada Elections Act, the courts would probably not overrule the House,” he said. “However, politically that would look very bad for the majority in the House who voted not to suspend the MPs in question.”

Hall could not recall a similar case.

“I’ve never heard of that before,” he said.

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