This is getting mighty boring.
The Conservatives are defending themselves against allegations they broke election spending rules by arguing it's all a matter of freedom of speech.They've been there, done that - and lost. Harper has a history of getting into pissing matches with the Chief Electoral Officer. But beyond that, whenever anyone suggests that the electoral playing field must be kept level and the surface markings maintained to meet regulations, the Conservatives (or their constituent support organizations) go off howling that they don't like the rules.
The commissioner of Canada elections is investigating whether the party ran more than $1 million over their legal spending limit during the last election.If it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck....
The Official Opposition would like to recall a parliamentary committee so it can look into the matter as well.
The Conservatives set up a system where local candidates transferred money to the central party office to spend on advertising.
The problem is that the TV spots looked exactly like the national advertising campaign, raising questions over whether they should have been claimed as national expenses.
Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre says it boils down to the right of candidates to spend money as they see fit.
But the Conservatives would like to hold out that clearly identifiable duck and tell you that in BC it's a marmot, in Alberta it's an elk, in Saskatchewan it's a jack-rabbit... well, you should have the point by now.
If it's a national campaign ad, (something which all parties produce and which I personally loathe), running it on the local channel 7 independent TV station in the BC interior or on the cable-TV listings channel in Halifax, the fact remains it is a national campaign ad.
Poilievre would have us believe two things:
1. That any candidate can spend their local campaign funds any way they wish, ignoring established rules;
2. That funding national campaign ads in a local riding was not the strategy of the national campaign.
The former is a demonstration of arrogance and the latter is something no reasonable person would accept.
This bunch of "transparent", "accountable" cheats have historically tried to hide the identity of their financial supporters. Harper, for example, for all his spouting off about openness and transparency, has always kept a lid on where his financial support came from in his campaign to win the leadership of the Canadian Alliance Party in 2002. He has the right to do that. And we have every right to believe that he is owned by any one or more interest groups who do not have the best interests of the country at the top of their agenda.
That would be our right to exercise freedom of speech and you can bet the Conservatives don't like it one little bit.
These same Conservatives would have us believe that our right to protect our privacy from the prying eyes of government is something we shouldn't concern ourselves with. They always support their position with something along the line of "If you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't be concerned about privacy" or "Law abiding citizens have no reason to fear surveillance".
Which puts it all back into the Conservatives' sty. If they're so righteous and believe so strongly in their position, (that they followed the rules), then they should have nothing to hide. They should have no problem opening their books and giving us all a look at how they do business.
Because if you have nothing to hide...
No wonder Steve doesn't want to face Parliament.