Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jim Flaherty Involved in Corruption. How is That News?

An interesting story about the Conservatives and two key Toronto ridings. The fact that they are challenging democracy in their selections is nothing new. Similar things are happening right across the country with this party.

But there is something worth noting. One of the candidates being questioned is a friend of Jim Flaherty's, and another Flaherty chum was involved in a bit of clever bookkeeping.

Well maybe not clever so much as dishonest, invoicing for work he never did.
Documents obtained by The Canadian Press show how in early June 2009 the outgoing board of directors for the riding — which included Ambler’s husband — voted to send $30,000 in anticipated Elections Canada rebates to the party rather than into the local association’s coffers. Ambler, who was working at the time as the director of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s regional office in Toronto, had said she would not run for the Tory nomination in Bramalea-Gore-Malton again.

“The party’s cheque for $30,000 should be payable to the Conservative Fund of Canada and sent directly to (regional organize) Karma Macgregor,” Ambler wrote in a June 9 email to her outgoing financial agent. That didn’t sit well with the new board elected only two weeks later, which immediately called for the money to be redirected back to local bank accounts.

... Ambler and the outgoing board had also made another decision in the summer of 2009, commissioning a $7,455 contract from Crestview Public Affairs for “research and analysis services.” By the fall, with no report in hand, the riding association demanded the money back. “It does not seem that Crestview Public Affairs is interested in honouring its business contract with us, by you missing another opportunity to explain to us why after six months you have not delivered our report,” wrote then riding vice-president Graham Crowson, going on to threaten legal action. The funds were reimbursed to the party shortly afterward. Messages left with Crestview president Mark Spiro, a Conservative campaign strategist and former provincial adviser to Flaherty, were not returned.
Some things never change.

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