Further to my concern that the Conservatives are politicizing the RCMP, we can add five more of their MPs to the list being investigated by the force.
We know that former head of the RCMP, Giuliano Zaccardelli, meddled in the 2006 election that first brought Harper to power.
We know that the Cons are recruiting ex-officers to run for their party (including Kingston candidate Brian Abrams) and many have been elected. And we know that a uniformed officer was caught delivering campaign signs for Conservative MP Rob Clarke (himself ex-RCMP) and while the matter was supposed to be investigated, I found no evidence that it ever was.
We also know that the Conservatives are using their own powers to hinder the RCMP watchdog from doing his job. This is sad, because if for no other reason, a watchdog can help reassure Canadians that the agency is still a source of pride. We should never be put in this position to question their integrity. They must be beyond reproach.
However, we can now add five more Conservative MPs to the list being investigated: David Anderson, Randy Hoback, Andrew Scheer, Ed Komarnicki and Kevin Sorenson.
RCMP investigating alleged misuse of Wheat Board voters list
Farmers group suspects Conservative MPs used list to try to sway vote
January 9, 2009
The RCMP confirmed Friday it is looking into a complaint that a voters list used in the election of directors to the Canadian Wheat Board was misused. (The Conservatives and their lists)
The complaint, made last November, came from the National Farmers Union, a lobby group that supports the current marketing regime of the board.
The group alleges that five Conservative MPs may have used the voters list for last fall's election to send promotional material to people on it urging them to vote for candidates who wanted to get rid of the board's monopoly over export sales of wheat and barley.
The voters list is only supposed to be available to candidates, said the group's president, Stewart Wells.
The RCMP would not elaborate on the nature of their investigation and said in a news release that the complaint alleged the Wheat Board voters list was "improperly accessed and used by unauthorized personnel."
The RCMP did not identify any specific person as the subject of their investigation.
The board's marketing monopoly, under which farmers in western Canada must sell their wheat and barley to the board, has been an ongoing source of friction as farmers are divided on the value of the system.
Last fall, five farmer-elected positions on the 15-member board were contested.
The outcome of the vote was viewed as critical to the future of the wheat board because the election of pro-monopoly or anti-monopoly candidates would assure a majority of like-minded people could set policy.
Results, announced on Dec. 8, showed farmers selected enough candidates in favour of the board's marketing monopoly to preserve the status quo.
The election was closely followed by the Conservative federal government, which prefers removing monopoly powers from the agency.
Anti-monopoly pamphlets mailed outside MP's constituency
During the campaign period, pamphlets promoting the removal of monopoly powers were circulated by five Conservative MPs.
It is alleged the recipients of those mail-outs were the same people as appeared on the voters list for the election.
Suspicions arose when people outside the constituency of one of the MPs received a pamphlet.
Wells told CBC News he wants to know how MPs selected the people they targeted in their mail campaign.
"Did these Conservative MPs use permit book information or the voters list as the basis for their mailing list?" Wells asked Friday.
"That's the linchpin of the whole discussion. Because if there is some other explanation for how these MPs arrived at the mailing list they used, then the issue just evaporates."
Four of the five MPs involved are from Saskatchewan. They are David Anderson, Randy Hoback, Andrew Scheer and Ed Komarnicki. The fifth is Kevin Sorenson from Alberta.
Wells said that when the issue arose, there were differing accounts of how the mail-outs were handled.
"It seems that the only way to get to the truth is to ask the RCMP to investigate, and that is what we have done," he said.
The RCMP said its investigation will be done by a unit based in Regina.
But then further to this, the evidence of wrong doing becomes more evident. Like why were the same typos from the list included in the addressing of the Conservative pamphlets?
RCMP probe allegation that wheat board voter list was improperly accessed
REGINA — RCMP are investigating allegations that Conservative MPs interfered with Canadian Wheat Board director elections, the National Farmers Union said Friday.The RCMP said in a news release that it's probing complaints from the NFU alleging that a voters list for the wheat board was improperly accessed and used by unauthorized people.
An RCMP spokeswoman would not elaborate, but the union claims Conservative members of Parliament used the voters list to send letters to farmers."
In the Canadian Wheat Board elections that were run just before Christmas at the end of 2008, five Conservative MPs sent out letters ... telling farmers how to vote and who to vote for," NFU president Stewart Wells said. (and don't forget they used our tax dollars to do it)
"Of course that made farmers in Western Canada very angry."Wells said that according to the law governing the wheat board, the voters' list is only supposed to be available to candidates in an election.
The farmers union claims that the mailing list used by the MPs was identical to the voters' list.
Wells said none of the explanations offered up as to why there were similarities ring true." None of their explanations account for things like typos and company names that are included in these mailing addresses," he said."The mailing addresses used by the Conservative MPs includes these typos and these company names that they just really wouldn't have access to any other way."
The letters were sent by one MP from Alberta and four from Saskatchewan, including David Anderson, parliamentary secretary for the Canadian Wheat Board. They urged farmers to vote for candidates who favour ending the wheat board's grain marketing monopoly.