Thursday, July 06, 2006

Tory cheque-swapping

The Tory high road:

Conservatives appeared to take pre-emptive action, issuing a press release outlining a complaint submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency. The press release accuses Liberals of improperly issuing tax receipts to party members who pay to attend Liberal functions where personal benefits are bestowed -- "meals, drink, entertainment and the like."

Ironically, party executive director Mike Donison states: "as you are aware, receipts for political contributions can confer significant tax benefits for the donor."

"It would therefore appear that the Liberal party . . . has been using Canadian taxpayers to subsidize its supporters to attend Liberal party events."

The Tory low road:

Conservative party officials engaged in a "cheque-swapping" scheme that enabled delegates to get federal tax credits for donations that were not donations.

The scheme is outlined in e-mail correspondence of Conservative party delegates before to a 2005 political convention in Montreal.

The correspondence, written three months before the March 17-19 convention, appears on a website accessible only to party members.

Here's how cheque-swapping worked: Individual riding associations footed the bill for their delegates for food, travel, hotel and registration fees associated with the Montreal convention.
In exchange, the conventioneer would make a donation back to the riding association in the same amount.

That would entitle the delegate to a tax receipt for the donation, amounting to an unwarranted benefit from taxpayers -- that is, reimbursement of a portion of their 'donation' through the tax system.

But the donation wasn't a donation in the true sense of the word. Elections Canada has ruled that anyone receiving something that has a commercial value beyond its political value is not eligible for a tax receipt

Definition of irony:

incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result

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