OTTAWA - Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand has given several Liberal leadership contenders until the end of next year to repay their debts from their campaigns for the party's top job, but he has yet to rule on an extension request from party leader Stephane Dion.
In a decision made public Monday, Mr. Mayrand said the campaigns of Maurizio Bevilacqua, Scott Brison, Martha Hall Findlay, Hedy Fry, Joe Volpe and Gerard Kennedy have until the end of 2009 to make good on loans and other debts. Deputy Leader Michael Ignatieff was given an extension until the end of June 2009, and MP Ken Dryden has until the end of June 2010.
Together, these losing candidates received extensions on $1.7 million in loans and other claims.
Scott Brison, along with Maurizio Bevilacqua, Martha Hall Findlay, Hedy Fry, Joe Volpe and Gerard Kennedy, now have until the end of 2009 to make good on loans and other debts.
The extensions are certain to inflame Conservatives, who have suggested Mr. Mayrand has unfairly interpreted the elections law by singling out Tory candidates when he refused to certify election campaign expenses in the so-called "in-and-out" affair.
Oh, how the Conservatives will howl, especially with dishonest headlines from a supposed reputable source. Hey, Glen McGregor, instead of intentionally suggesting Elections Canada is giving preferential treatment to the Liberals, why don't you get off your lazy ASS and be a journalist for a few minutes. Sort of like this reporter:
Scores of Conservative candidates missed campaign debt deadline
By Joan Bryden , THE CANADIAN PRESS
OTTAWA - Conservative election candidates have regularly missed deadlines for repaying campaign debts, indulging in the same supposedly illegal conduct for which the Tories are now denouncing Liberal Leader Stephane Dion.
According to a chart compiled by Elections Canada, 426 candidates - including 121 Conservatives - sought extensions to pay off loans after the 2004 election.
As well, 401 candidates - including 125 Conservatives - sought extensions to clear unpaid bills.
Elections Canada was not immediately able to say how many of those requests were granted but typically most candidates would have been given more time.
In a guide to understanding the rules for leadership debts, the agency notes that "under similar rules that exist for candidates during an election, the Chief Electoral Officer has normally authorized late payments as long as the sources of all contributions and details of all loan repayment schedules are disclosed."
Furthermore, Elections Canada's web site lists 19 candidates - five of them Conservatives - with loans that remained unpaid 18 months after the 2006 election.
It further lists 10 candidates - four of them Conservatives - whose unpaid loans were deemed to count as donations after 18 months. In five of those cases - three involving Conservative candidates - the donations exceed the legal maximum of $5,400 per donor.
Replace SPECIAL with STANDARD PRACTICE and the article might be fair. What a joke.