In & Out Scheme

During the 2006 election, the Conservative Party of Canada deposited money into the campaign accounts of candidates in more than 60 ridings, then promptly withdrew the funds to pay for national ads. Elections Canada says that's a breach of election finance rules, and this week, the Federal Appeals Court agreed. 



PART ONE

It's Thursday, March 3rd.

Yesterday, a Canadian warship set sail from Halifax , heading for the waters off Libya.

Currently, Canada's Navy will have the capacity to respond at a moments notice to any emergency ... so long as that emergency is about a week from now.

This is The Current.

In & Out Scheme - Panel

We started this segment with a clip from then-Opposition Leader Stephen Harper in a 2006 campaign election ad, criticizing the then-Liberal government for suspect spending ... specifically as it related to the Sponsorship Scandal. Shady transactions like that, Mr. Harper promised at the time, wouldn't be allowed if he were elected Prime Minister.

We all know Stephen Harper's Conservatives won that election and ads such as that one helped them do it. Which is ironic, because Elections Canada - and now the courts - say that the Conservative Party deliberately circumvented election law and overspent on that very same campaign.

We're talking, of course, about the so-called "In and Out" campaign financing scheme you've been hearing about on the news. Back during the 2006 election, the Conservative Party of Canada deposited money into the campaign accounts of candidates in 67 ridings, and then withdrew the funds to pay for national ads. Elections Canada says that's a breach of election finance rules. And last week, the Public Prosecutor of Canada filed charges against The Conservative Party and four of its senior officials related to using the scheme to what it called 'wilfully' exceed election spending limits.

In the past, the Conservatives have defended themselves by pointing to a federal Court ruling on the issue that sided with them. But earlier this week, the Federal Appeals Court overturned that ruling - and sided instead with Elections Canada.

David Marler is a Quebec lawyer who ran for the Conservatives in the 2006 election. He was asked to participate in one of the controversial campaign transactions and he refused. He was in our Montreal studio this morning.

Joe Goudie, is a former Conservative cabinet minister in Newfoundland. He was a federal Conservative candidate in the 2006 election. His riding was involved in the "In and Out" scheme. He was in our studio in Labrador.

And George Noble ran for the Conservatives in 2006 in the riding of Malpeque, PEI. His campaign received $7,902.49 and then returned $7, 897.49 to the federal party. We reached him in North Rustico, PEI.

We did put in a request to speak with Pierre Poilievre, the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister and the PMO's spokesperson on this issue. He was unavailable to speak with The Current.

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