Four-fifths of the cost of the Conservatives' 2006 election-campaign advertising in Quebec was funnelled through local campaigns in a financing scheme that Elections Canada alleges was illegal, according to testimony provided in a court case.
Ann O'Grady, until April the chief financial officer of the Conservative Party of Canada, said Quebec candidates claimed about 80 per cent of the roughly $1-million in Quebec campaign advertising costs as their own, although the party gave them the money to spend.
The way Tory ad expenses were treated varied greatly between Quebec - where, in the 2005-2006 election campaign, most Tory candidates were considered lost causes - and the rest of the country. Outside Quebec, local candidates only claimed about 7 per cent of Conservative ad costs as local expenses.
Newly filed court documents show that when she was questioned by Elections Canada's lawyer on June 19, Ms. O'Grady revealed that local candidates in Quebec paid about 80 per cent of the cost of all Conservative advertising in Quebec.
The national party paid the remaining 20 per cent.
The money the Quebec candidates "pooled" together paid for about $760,000 in ad production costs and air time, or 80 per cent of the $941,442 the Conservatives spent on ads in the province.
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