'Peter was a cheater,' ex-MP Russell says
Former Liberal MP says Peter Penashue only won because he broke the rules
Posted: Oct 18, 2012 8:04 PM NT
Last Updated: Oct 19, 2012 3:43 AM NT
Labradorians — including former MP Todd Russell are using some harsh words to describe Peter Penashue's overspending on his federal election campaign.
"Peter was a cheater. It's as simple as that," said Russell, who was the Liberal incumbent but lost by a mere 79 votes in last year's election.
He said he was robbed of his job.
"He cheated not only me out of this election, Todd Russell out of this election, but I believe he cheated the people of Labrador out of this election."
Penashue faced some heat this week when CBC News discovered his campaign bills amounted to $24,711 in flights to remote communities during the 2011 federal election. But Provincial Airlines wrote off all costs over $7,000. The Tory cabinet minister was also thousands of dollars over his spending limit.
Penashue is blaming the overspending on his inexperience, and that of his campaign manager, Reg Bowers.
Russell said news of Penashue's overspending wasn't a huge shock.
"There was a sense even during our campaign that there was a hell of a lot of money being spread around [on Penashue's campaign]," he said.
"Some of the details, some of the amounts certainly do surprise you, but generally speaking there was a sense that something wasn't fair about this."
'Slap on the wrist is not adequate'
Russell, who's now the president of the NunatuKavut Community Council, said the minister should face consequences for his actions.
"When people knowingly, I believe, break these [election] rules, these limits, these laws, there should be severe penalties attached to that. This is about the integrity of the democratic system," he said.
"A slap on the wrist is not adequate."
Russell said there's supposed to be a level playing field for all candidates, and if Penashue had played by the spending rules, he may not have been elected last May.
"If everybody would've abided by the same rules, abided by the same laws, and honoured the limits, then yes, the outcome [for the 2011 election] would've been different."
Residents unhappy with Penashue's response
Some residents in Happy Valley-Goose Bay aren't buying Penashue's explanation that these were rookie mistakes.
"I don't think he should keep his job if it's true," said Bernie Goudie.
"Not knowing the rules is not an excuse as far as I'm concerned."
Russell said he's backing the idea of a new election.
"Maybe [Penashue] should do the honourable thing and say, 'We made very, very bad errors of judgement, we didn't play by the rules. We didn't follow the laws as they were written, and maybe it's time to go back to the people of Labrador and let the people of Labrador decide once again.'"
Latest Nfld. & Labrador News Headlines
- Safety inspectors needed in Labrador, union president says
- A union leader in Labrador City is calling on the provincial government to fill the vacant occupational health and safety inspector positions in the region. more »
- Cochrane: Where Ottawa should look for Senate scandal remedies
- The political crime spree that was Newfoundland and Labrador's spending scandal offers important lessons for Parliament, writes David Cochrane. more »
- Gluten-free treats with Emily Sopkow
- Emily Sopkow, the co-owner of the Georgetown bakery in St. John's, says she was hesitant to start creating gluten-free treats at her bakery until the discovery that one of her children was unable to eat gluten. more »
- Bank robbery suspect appears in court
- A man who was arrested in connection with two bank robberies in the St. John's area made his first court appearance on Saturday. more »
Top News Headlines
- Will Rob Ford's supporters leave Ford Nation?
- The growing controversy over a purported video alleging to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine may be testing the faith of even his most die-hard supporters. But experts say Ford's policies may trump whatever personal issues he's facing, and that his supporters may rally behind him. more »
- Hockey Canada votes to ban bodychecking in peewee hockey
- Hockey Canada's board of directors voted to eliminate bodychecking from peewee-level hockey on Saturday in Charlottetown. more »
- Neil Macdonald: How serious is Obama about curbing the drone surge?
- In a key speech this week, the U.S. president set out a host of supposed new safeguards for America's controversial practice of remote-controlled rough justice. But as Neil Macdonald writes, the underlying rationale for drone use has not fundamentally changed. more »
- Ontario man lost in Australian mountains has survival skills
- The sister of an Ontario man who disappeared in Australia's Snowy Mountains nearly two weeks ago says she remains hopeful he will be found, partly because of his training as a Canadian Forces reservist. more »
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denies using crack cocaine
- The mayor of Canada's largest city told a packed news conference that he doesn't use crack cocaine and isn't a crack addict — and new allegations surfaced Saturday involving Ford's brothers. more »
- Diamonds in the dump
- Canada Post campaigns against 'no flyers' mailbox signs
- Police investigate unusual crash in Mount Pearl
- Arrests made in Torbay bank robbery
- Closed business in Corner Brook an eyesore, says board of trade
- Crew safe after vessel sinks off St. John's
- Alleged crime spree robber elects judge and jury
- Lawyer to keep fighting for Mount Cashel victims
- N.L's two oral surgeons give resignation notices