Nova Scotia

Tory logos on federal cheques draw fire

Federal opposition MPs are taking aim at the ruling Conservatives over the appearance of their party's logo on ceremonial cheques at funding announcements.

Ethics commissioner investigating

MP Gerald Keddy presents a ceremonial cheque that includes the Conservative Party logo. ((
Federal opposition MPs are taking aim at the ruling Conservatives over the appearance of their party's logo on ceremonial cheques at funding announcements.

An oversized $300,000 cheque was handed out last month by Gerald Keddy, Conservative MP for South Shore-St. Margaret's in Nova Scotia. The money, from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, is for an upgrade to a rink in Chester, a community in Keddy's riding.

A photo of the cheque presentation was published in a local newspaper.

Keddy said he never noticed the Tory blue design and large Conservative Party logo in the top left corner, or his signature at the bottom.

He said he never ordered the cheque and isn't sure what happened.

'I would absolutely do it again'

"However, let's be clear, it's the member of Parliament's job to deliver to the ridings when they're able to, and I never gave it another thought," Keddy said Tuesday. "But I would absolutely do it again."

But a day later, Keddy reversed his position and was apologetic.

"It was certainly inappropriate and not something I would do again," he said.

The federal ethics commissioner is looking into the case, CBC News has confirmed.

According to an email sent from Keddy's office, the Conservative Party logo was "inadvertently" put on the cheque and the signature was a stamp of Keddy's signature.

A photo from the website of Conservative MP Colin Mayes shows him with a funding annoucement sporting the party logo. (CBC)

At a news conference Wednesday in Ottawa, Wayne Easter, a Liberal MP for Malpeque, said Keddy had used a similar cheque with a Conservative logo earlier this summer.

Easter also claimed Colin Mayes, the Conservative MP for Okanagan-Shuswap, stamped the party logo on a government funding announcement this year. Other Conservative MPs, including Barry Devolin, Larry Miller and James Bezan, have all put their names in bold on ceremonial cheques.

"This is Canadian taxpayers' money," Easter said. "It's an abuse of the system by the Harper messaging machine."

Speaking in Wabamun, Alta., at an announcement on carbon-capture initiatives, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he believed Keddy "admitted that was a mistake and should not be repeated."

'Shameless' use of party logo: Ignatieff

A Conservative Party spokesman told CBC News that the use of the logo was not endorsed by the party, which was unaware that it was being used by some MPs.

In Regina, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said the logo issue undermined the government's credibility.

"What's becoming apparent is that the Conservative stimulus program is biased, unfair, targeted to Conservative ridings and shameless in the way it uses party logos to promote a stimulus program that ought to benefit all Canadians," he said.

New Democrat MP Peter Stoffer wants the ethics commissioner to investigate how the Conservative  logo ended up on the ceremonial cheque.

"I think they broke every rule in the book," Peter Stoffer told CBC News on Tuesday.

Geoff Regan, the Liberal MP for Halifax West, considers it "flagrant abuse" by the Conservatives.

Regan said he's never seen a party logo on a cheque of this nature. Usually, he said, such cheques carry the government of Canada logo.

"Because it's not your money, it's not your party's money; it's the government of Canada's money," said Regan.

Stoffer, MP for Sackville-Eastern Shore, said it's the job of the ethics commissioner to determine which guidelines have been broken.