Friday, June 02, 2006

 

Bend It Like Liberals

The standard of living in Canada has not improved that much in the past few years that 11 year olds are flush with cash looking to make political donations. Leave it to Joe Volpe to drag out some old luggage - lack of ethical standards - during the Liberal leadership race.

Technically Joe Volpe is correct when he indicates that no law was broken, however, ethically he is bankrupt. One would think that after all the party has been through in the past three years and during a period of renewal that ETHICS and COMMON SENSE would be prominent. Nope, not Pizza and Pop Volpe. He still operates like he is entitled to his entitlements and that optics are for others to worry about.

There are very few 11 year olds in the country who (a) have $5,400 of their own money and (b) would part with it to some random politician who is long shot to lead a struggling party. The larger issue for me is not the $5,400 by a youth clearly on behalf on a parent, but rather the fact that the twin boys who donated did so NOT as party members. The lads are three years to young to secure membership in any political party.

Liberal Party Constitution

Section 2 - Membership

1. The Liberal Party of Canada shall be open to all who desire to support the Party and who wish to be known as Liberals. To this end, all individuals aged 14 and over shall be eligible for membership in the Party without discrimination based on race, nationality or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental or physical disability.

According to The federal Elections Act a company cannot make donations to leadership campaigns, and sets a limit of $5,400 for donations from individuals. There is no age limit for donors. But the Elections Act makes it an offence to make a donation that actually comes from another person or to act "in collusion" with others to get around the act's limitations. This would seem to be a case where the shoe seems to fit.

The last word on the matter still goes to Joe Volpe and you decide if he has learnt anything from the past Liberal mistakes.

"We've adhered to the latter," he said, adding they've actually "raised" the bar with the decision to give the money back.

Comments:
Touche, Volpe has indeed raised the bar.

Do not count him out.
 
Perhaps this is why the Party needs a leader who has no affiliation with the Liberals...I doubt this is what they have in mind when they talk about 'renewal'.
 
You may remember how there was a site parodying said 'fox' at www.youthforvolpe.ca . Well, you will notice the tense: it no longer exists. Why, you ask? Because Volpe had it struck off the Web.

But don't take my word for it:
www.boingboing.net has it, as does the Globe:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20060602.LIBERALSWEB02/TPStory/National
 
Yeah, this is bad and indefensible ethically. But new? No way. I did my undergrad thesis on political campaign contributions in Ontario politics and went through donor lists line by line. Often, you'd see "John Smith" followed by the max allowable contribution at the time, followed by "Mary Smith," then "Timmy Smith," "John Smith Jr." and "Elizabeth Smith." Often "Smith Industries" was there too. All with the maximum allowable contributions. The Election? 1990. This was the case for all parties.
 
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