28 August 2015

#27 Flying High

A little thing happened in one riding in the course of the 2011 general election. It was the riding of Labrador and the Conservative Party candidate won by a tiny margin (79 votes) and was appointed to the cabinet. The story doesn't end there, of course.

The story continues through the process of reporting donations and election spending to Elections Canada, where it gradually became clear that this particular candidate had overspent the campaign spending limit by more than 20%, that is if you count the air travel he didn't quite pay for criss-crossing the rather large riding. He wouldn't have been able to fly so much — as, in fact, his opponents weren't able to do — if it had not been for an airline “writing off” $17,000 in costs. That, of course, amounts to a corporate contribution, which is also illegal.

For once, however, the story takes an unexpected turn. Confronted with the overwhelming evidence, the candidate actually pays back $30,000 he ought not to have received from Elections Canada and does the honourable thing, resigning his seat to run again in a by-election. There is also the expected thing in this story, the blaming of an employee for the “errors” on the campaign spending.

Oh, and on the level playing field of the by-election that cost us all a bunch of money that we shouldn't have had to pay, the former MP and cabinet minister lost, probably to the opponent who would have won if everyone had played by the rules in the first place.

Further reading here

Just like Icarus
he flew too close to the sun
and had his wings melt

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