Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Regional--National Campaigning

Today's poll question; do you think that it is morally wrong for regional campaign offices to contribute to a national campaign? Now that Elections Canada is seeking criminal charges against the Conservatives because regional offices allegedly contributed to the national campaign, it is time to ask if you even think there's anything wrong with that. Personally I don't, and thus far it would appear that most of you agree with me. I would be curious to know how much money Elections Canada has spent investigating campaign-gate 2006. It would probably take an Access to Information request, as I doubt EC puts that on their website.

I suppose Liberal regional campaign offices never ever contribute to the national campaign ever. As far as I know, that is not being investigated. What about the many reports of Liberal candidates violating election law and campaigning at polling stations on election day? When will EC and the CBC raid the Liberal campaign headquarters?


  1. Hi Iceman,

    I probably need to do a better job of explaining complicated stories on my website, but could I take a second to clarify some of the points you've made above.

    The issue is not regional campaign offices contributing to a national party campaign. It's whether the cost of running regional campaign offices (different from local candidate offices) should have been counted under the national expense ceiling, or under the candidates' expense ceilings.

    Elections Canada argues that expenses can't be counted under a candidate's ceiling if they aren't used to directly promote the candidate's election.

    The Conservative Party had raised a valid point on this question when it came to advertising, as it is hard to determine whether a campaign strategy to promote a party over a candidate in a certain riding should be within the candidate's right to decide.

    On the other hand, a regional campaign headquarters that's doing work for the central campaign and for ridings that are not even contributing to it (only 10 Montreal ridings contributed to the Montreal regional office, but meanwhile it seemed to do work for candidates in Gatineau and Gaspé, and even Moncton and Malton) did not seem to be directly promoting the candidacies of the actual candidates whose campaigns reportedly financed it.

    That's the question being raised by Elections Canada here, and so you can see the possible relevance to the other case on advertising.

    Candidate campaigns can contribute to national campaigns and to regional offices of national campaigns, that's very clear. It's called a transfer of funds. They can transfer funds to their riding association or to the national party (although they can't contribute to each other, only to other riding associations).

    But these cases don't revolve around a transfer of funds. They revolve around an alleged attempt to transfer election expenses, in a situation where the national party was already very very close to its national spending limit.

    What should be counted under the national ceiling, versus what should be counted under the candidates' ceilings, is the central issue in the legal debate.

    So, if you wanted to rephrase your question, you might ask something about the distinction between national and candidate election expenses, who should determine it, does it need to be better defined, should there just be one national + candidate ceiling, etc., etc. These are all good and interesting questions to ask.

    Thanks for allowing me to comment on your blogpost.

  2. Yes, I'm aware that it is a funding issue. However the only reason that Elections Canada is able to claim a "criminal violation" is because they are saying that the regional offices contributed to the national campaign, therefore those expenses were incorrectly filed.

    My point is that if there is nothing wrong with regional offices contributing to the national campaign, then this whole elaborate controversy is moot. Sorry, it just isn't a big deal. I don't think the average person cares, and are probably more concerned with the millions of dollars Elections Canada is spending on a witch hunt.

  3. it would all be party money whether regional, provincial or federal. it shouldn't matter where any party directs the money it raises as long as it goes to candidates running for office.

  4. If the conservatives broke the law, then absolutely, it's money well spent investigating it!

    It was money well spent going after adscam, why would it suddenly be no big deal, because it's the conservatives? Are they above the law?

  5. Adscam was a theft of tax dollars. This "in and out"-gate is arguing the role of regional offices in national campaigns.

  6. a party can legitimately raise it's own funds through campaign donates but god forbid they spend it where and when it counts.

    it's private money. not tax payer money.

    meanwhile, the block, dips and lips rely mostly on voter subsides and long over extended loans. So for the sake of so called "fairness" they have to go after the conservatives for doing so well.

    after all, how high is the ceiling when voter subsidy turn out is high? When low does it cap what can be spent from those who don't rely much on them?

    Does the Conservative Bashing Channel's budget count towards the liberal party's spending?

    after all that too comes out of the tax payer's wallet.

    I do often wonder what is going on with all those loans the liberals owe. That are long overdue and have been continuously extended by Elections Canada. Last I checked.

    Surely they've been taking advantage of the historically low interest rates. How are the to fare once things pick up again?

  7. *cough*---*"The sinking fortunes of Canada's national broadcaster was confirmed on Tuesday with the news the House of Commons will be investigating CBC's chronic noncompliance with several access to information requests. The only party that did not support this motion was the liberals." ~http://www.toryredux.org/2010/12/cbc-to-be-investigated-in-new-year.html



    I do try to be discreet about my indigestion issues but after reading that...