Inside Politics

UPDATED: Commissioner won't investigate riding donations linked to CRTC bidders

As first reported by YorkRegion.com, it appears that Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson has decided not to pursue an investigation into Conservative MP Paul Calandra's attendance at a fundraiser for his local Conservative riding association that pulled in thousands of dollars in donations from individuals involved in the bidding war over a much coveted slot on Toronto's FM dial.  

Here's what her office had to say when I requested a comment: 

As reported earlier, Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson was reviewing whether Mr. Paul Calandra, Member of Parliament and parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, may have contravened the Conflict of Interest Act in connection with a fundraising event.  Based on the information available to her and the scope under which an investigation can be launched in relation to fundraising by public office holders under Section 16 of the Conflict of Interest Act, Commissioner Dawson has decided not to initiate an examination at this time.

Credit where credit is due: I only happened upon this story after being alerted to its existence -- at least indirectly -- by the Conservative Party InfoAlerteBot, which took the opportunity to put together a "long" -- and helpfully bullet-pointed -- "list" of previous "baseless allegations" emanating from the Official Opposition:

 Today the Ethics Commissioner announced she was dropping her investigation of Conservative MP Paul Calandra.  This decision is the latest in the long list of examples of the NDP's cynical and dirty practice of throwing unfounded allegations around in the hopes that the public only hears the accusation and never the eventual clearing of their victim.  

      • The Ethics Commissioner rejected a baseless allegation from NDP MP Yvon Godin on April 26, 2012.
      • The Ethics Commissioner rejected a baseless allegation from NDP MP Charlie Angus on July 18, 2012.
      • The Deputy Minister of National Defence rejected Mr. Mulcair's accusation on federal bookkeeping on May 1, 2012.
      • Interim Auditor General John Wiersema appeared at a Parliamentary Committee and rejected a false claim of NDP MP Charlie Angus on October 5, 2011.
      • Email correspondence from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration proved false Mr. Mulcair's accusation on May 2, 2012 regarding intervention in an immigration file.
      • Departmental Performance Review documents from the Ministry of Industry tabled on October 31, 2011 proved false the NDP's accusation about funding to the Perimeter Institute.
      • NDP MP Pat Martin was forced to apologize on April 16, 2012 for baseless allegations that have landed him in court.
If the NDP was really serious about ethics and accountability they would come clean on how much they took - and were then forced to return - in illegal donations from big union bosses, instead of continuing their cynical and dirty practice of throwing around unfounded allegations.


Now that the commissioner has weighed in, will the Oak Ridges Markham EDA reconsider its decision to return at least part of the money raised at the events? We'll find out when the 2012 annual reports come out!

UPDATE: According to the Office of the Ethics Commissioner,  Dawson 's initial examination of the file was not triggered by opposition complaint at all, but was self-initiated after the issue "came to [her] attention." 
 

Tags: blackberry jungle, ethics watch, paul calandra

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