Thursday, January 21, 2010

The "In and Out" is Not Dealt With Despite What Poilievre Thinks

The judge has ruled in the case of two Ref-Con candidates whose claims for rebates had been denied, because of irregularities in the election funding scheme, dubbed the "In and Out".

Pierre Poilievre immediately stated that the matter was settled.

Not so fast Pierre. The matter is far from settled.

Because the legality of the actual scheme had not yet been determined, Elections Canada could not withhold rebates. However, should they pursue this further, and I believe they will, anyone claiming a rebate might still be in trouble.

Remember that several were suspicious from the start.

As Duff Conacher from Democracy Watch explains:

The Federal Court ruling today dodged the issue of the legality of the Conservatives’ 2006 federal election ad spending scheme issue even more than Aaron hints at, as the ruling went in favour of the candidates only because the basis of the “balance of convenience” principle means that they should be reimbursed for their full expenses now because the legality of the scheme is yet to be determined.

So, in order to have the issue of the legality of the scheme ruled upon by the courts, Elections Canada must proceed with a prosecution through the Director of Public Prosecutions, and/or an appeal of today’s ruling to the Federal Court of Appeal.

In the meantime, based on this ruling and to save court resources, Elections Canada should reimburse all expenses to all the candidates who participated in the scheme (again, while at the same time prosecuting them all).

It is in the public interest to have the legality of the scheme ruled upon by the courts so that everyone will know what is legal for the next, and future, federal elections, so hopefully Elections Canada will appeal and/or proceed with a prosecution.

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