Big cheque, big logo
- October 14, 2009 9:21 AM
- By Rosemary Barton
Everyone likes a big cheque when it comes to handing over money. It makes a dandy prop for MPs to stand beside and take credit for.
But there are rules about such things. For instance, if the money comes from the federal government, it should state so clearly.
That's not quite what Nova Scotia MP Gerald Keddy did.
Last month, the Conservative was in Chester, N.S., to present $302,000 from the Infrastructure Canada fund. The money is to be used to upgrade the hockey rink in Chester.
So far, so good.
But featured prominently on the cheque: the Conservative Party logo.
Now, the Government of Canada has pretty strict rules about how taxpayers' money can used. The Federal Identity Program makes it clear that it should be issued in an nonpartisan way. No logos, no Conservative slogans, you get the drift.
So, it's not surprising perhaps that opposition parties are making an official complaint to the ethics commissioner.
In fact, in recent weeks the Liberals have held two press conferences alleging the Conservatives are using government money to promote partisan interests. They've pointed to pictures of Stephen Harper featured on government websites and even the shade of blue chosen for advertising the government's Economic Action Plan.
This example may be pretty obvious. It's hard to argue with a big cheque and an well-known logo.
For the record, Keddy says the cheque was produced by his office.
UPDATE: Uh oh. The Prime Minister's Office is hot on the tail of the big cheque.
Apparently, it was not authorized by PMO. And what's more, Stephen Harper's office wants Keddy to acknowledge his mistake.
A spokesperson for the prime minister says the money belongs to the "taxpayers of Canada"
and that these good projects are for all Canadians and "not just Conservatives."
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