Harper's latest talking points on the election fraud scheme dubbed the "In and Out" is that he didn't know he was doing anything wrong and once he realized that he was, he stopped the practice. I wonder how far this would get a suspect under this government's "law and order" regime.
"I thought it was OK to rob that bank. There were no signs saying not to, and I promise I won't do it again."
For the prime minister of Canada to suggest that he wasn't aware, that fabricating receipts to get money that you're not entitled to, was illegal, is inexcusable.
And frankly. A lie.
And for the prime minister of Canada to suggest that he didn't know the election laws after spending thousands of dollars to take Elections Canada right to the Supreme Court, so that he could change the election spending laws, in favour of corporations, is inexcusable.
And frankly. A lie.
Harper vs Canada: Practice ‑‑ Stay ‑‑ Federal elections ‑‑ Spending limits ‑‑ Plaintiff granted interlocutory injunction against enforcement of third‑party spending limits pending decision on his constitutional challenge to legislation ‑‑ Whether injunction should be stayed.He would probably know the election laws in this country better than almost anyone.
The respondent sought a declaration that the provisions in the Canada Elections Act, S.C. 2000, c. 9, imposing limits on third‑party spending on advertising in the course of a federal election campaign are unconstitutional because they unjustifiably limit the right of free expression guaranteed by s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
But when he lost an opportunity in court to change those laws, he just decided that when given the chance, he would simply break them.
And he got caught.
And raking Marc Maynard over the coals suggesting that he has a vendetta against Stephen Harper because he referred to his department as "the jackasses at Elections Canada" and took them to court is nonsense. Maynard wasn't even with Elections Canada then.
Which brings us to the fabrication of invoices. Basic law. Everyone knows that if you present fake invoices to get a larger income tax rebate, and get caught, you will be in trouble and probably go to jail. This is what may happen to the four conspirators already charged.
They can't use ignorance as a defense. This was willful and calculated.
Another thing to note, is that when the Conservatives challenged this in court, it was only to get the remaining rebates to the former candidates. Only 17 had slipped through the cracks before auditors became aware of the fraud scheme. The company handling their national campaign, when presented with one of the doctored invoices, said that it wasn't theirs and that it looked as though someone had photocopied their letterhead and then added the figures themselves.
The Conservatives argument was only that Maynard had no authority to investigate the scheme.
Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand overstepped his bounds by probing the Conservative party's 2006 campaign financing before rejecting the expense claims filed by some candidates, the party’s lawyer argued in court Monday. Mayrand’s role in assessing returns filed by candidates is confined by law to approving the documents provided to him and he is not empowered to launch a more detailed audit, Michel Décary told the Federal Court of Canada on the first day of hearings into the party’s legal action against the top election official.Quite the defense.
And the 17 caught with their hands in our cookie jar, included several MPs, some cabinet ministers:
The MPs who were reimbursed are: Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon (Pontiac), Conservative whip Jay Hill (Prince George-Peace River), former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier (Beauce), International Co-operation Minister Josee Verner (Louis St. Laurent), Daniel Petit (Charlesbourg-Haute-Saint-Charles), Steven Blaney (Levis-Bellechasse), Jacques Gourde (Lotbiniere-Chutes-de-la-Chaudiere), Luc Harvey (Louis-Hebert), Pat Davidson (Sarnia-Lambton), David Anderson (Cypress Hills-Grasslands), and Colin Mayes (Okanagan-Shuswap).Someone suggested yesterday that we should stop calling it the "in and out", because it oversimplifies the matter, taming it down. This was a deliberate and wilful attempt to ignore the laws that protect our democracy and cheat the Canadian taxpayers out of a great deal of money.
It's just that simple.
David Marler has been vindicated.