Scott Reid is a Conservative Party of Canada MP representing the Ontario riding of Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington. He has served in the Canadian House of Commons since 2000 and is quite possibly the rudest, most obnoxious and childishly boorish Tory with a seat in the House of Commons today. I listened with stunned fascination as one of what is supposed to be a united, tough on law and order Conservative Party saw another of its members break ranks and openly admit that he feel that politicians should be above the law, or at least be judged and punished less severely when they break the laws of Canada, as a matter of privilege. How else could Scott Reid have suggested with cameras rolling in a committee that if an MP was found guilty by Elections Canada of violating the rules of Canada concerning the Canadian Elections Act or was found guilty of refusing to cooperate with Elections Canada officials in the manner listed below for example, should somehow have a statute of limitations that would run out and make them non prosecutable, non-punishable and that a letter that the law says should be sent to the speaker of the house advising him of the situation and the penalties for such not be written, or sent?
Defrauding the government and the people of Canada by submitting false tax reports of campaign spending in one election.
Refuses to cooperate with Elections Canada, whose duty it is to ensure that elections are run fairly all candidates stick to the letter of the law, by refusing to give to Elections Canada requested documentation of that spending done in their campaign allowing Elections Canada to do their job, get the matter cleared up so that a non-criminal settlement can be reached and handled as an honest mistake without the need for the guilty parliamentarian to lose his or her privileges as an elected MP in the House of Commons and on Committees.
Choosing to withhold the documentation requested in hopes of somehow delaying being found guilty until he or she is elected again in the next election having done everything right.
When Scott Reid declared publicly, on camera that he felt that MP’s the likes of James Bezan, MP for Selkirk-Interlake, Man. should not be held accountable under the law for his or her past election infractions and be given a free pass and allowed to sit and vote as though he or she never did anything wrong, if they could stall long enough and get themselves re-elected, before being found guilty I think that he was saying that MP’s are above the law. His words were that being newly elected having done it all right this time rendered the old fraud charges moot. So the winning of a new election somehow absolves the crooked politician from having broken the law in the first place and the matter should be dropped as if winning a new term somehow was the same as triggering a statute of limitation protection for the guilty politician.
Scott Reid then proceeded to do what the Tories are becoming famous for and that is turning what they do wrong into somehow being the fault of the public servant for the scandal doing their job and not the crooked politician for violating the rules and breaking the law. There is a serious transparency and accountability problem within Conservative Party of Canada and it goes to the core values and ethics. I compare the Conservative Party of Canada under the leadership of Stephen Harper to that of a black hole in space. A black hole in space swallows everything it comes in contact with, stars,, planets, galaxies, solar systems, leaving only the black hole to be seen and so it is with this government as auditor generals, privacy commissioners, parliamentary budget officers, arm’s length agencies and all other watch dogs get swallowed, chewed and spit out as this government punishes those who do not write complimentary reports relating to their often illegal and almost always unethical non democratic practices and pay the ultimate sacrifice for doing their jobs responsibly and selflessly and tell the truth.
I believe that we are in the darkest times of our history in this country, because we are being swallowed by a black hole which has disguised itself as a political party. Where there used to be laws there is only a void, where there was a standalone, arm’s length institutions, we find now only darkness, where there was scientific research we find only emptiness. It is in this spirit of all-consuming ego, arrogance and childlike temper tantrum throwing, that Scott Reid used his time for questioning during a committee meeting to verbally attack and I would suggest abuse the head of Elections Canada, Marc Mayrand who was an invited guest called to help decide should an elected MP’s privilege to vote and sit in the house be removed if they have been found guilty of election fraud by Elections Canada, or should that only happen after all appeals have been exhausted in the courts even though that could take longer than the MP is actually in office and thereby render the whole process moot.
If one listens to what Scott Reid argument is, it would appear that Scott Reid does not think that the remedy for not getting your parliamentary privileges suspended should be to not hand in faulty tax reports if you’re running a campaign, but his idea of justice is to have:
MP’s hide what they have done, refuse to turn over documents and delay as long as possible any decision being made until you run and win again.
Make sure that you do not repeat or make any new mistakes in your filing and run a clean campaign the 2nd time around.
If you manage to get yourself re-elected and Elections Canada does not back off and continues to do the job they were hired to do and writes the dreaded letter to the Speaker of The House reminding him that the remedy for noncompliance and being found guilty of election fraud is to lose your parliamentary privileges you can have you coworkers gang up on him or her in committee and try to make them look guilty of breaking the law, acting unethically and overstepping their authority even though you know that they are doing their job.
Now I think that Scott Reid was upset with Marc Mayrand, because he thought that the letter to the Speaker of the House was too harsh a penalty for a Tory MP caught breaking election laws and who was refusing to cooperate, even though Canadian election law is clear that once a member is found guilty by elections Canada and that member chooses not to cooperate to straighten things out, but rather opts to go to court instead they may not sit or vote in the house; they are suspended, but there are other remedies and what happens after the letter is sent then becomes the duty of the house to decide and so in reality the Speaker of the house made the decision to suspend the privileges of the guilty party, not Marc Mayrand, as he said over and over again under the onslaught of Scott Reid’s accusations and aggressive line of cross-examination.
The question begs to be asked, “If you have done nothing wrong, why would you risk having your parliamentary privileges suspended instead of owning up to an honest mistake and coming to an agreement with elections Canada?”
Scott Reid has decided in typical Tory fashion that even if you have broken the elections law and you decide to go on the long process of getting a court’s opinion after being found guilty by Elections Canada that you should not be punished and if the head of elections Canada dares to send a letter advising the Speaker of the House of the rule that prohibits a tax cheating, law-breaker’s presence, like James Bezan, MP for Selkirk-Interlake, Manitoba from sitting in the house or participating in any voting and should be considered suspended, that somehow the Elections Canada representative has acted unnecessarily harsh towards a law-breaker. Considering that overspending on campaigns is illegal in Canada and penalties can range from fines up to $5,000 or five years in prison, I think that these crooks and cheating politicians are being dealt with quite leniently.
Where is this all going? Well the Conservative Party of Canada wishes to ensure that this type of suspension of privilege for campaign fraud will not be allowed to happen anytime in the near future and to this end they are once again going to use their majority status to force changes to the laws of Canada in order to protect their government’s MP’s from being punished for wrong doing. It would seem that Harper’s choices for candidates, senators, ministers and secretaries to the minister as well as his highest non-elected advisors are incapable of obeying the law when it comes to campaign spending, donations and expense reporting and so once again we will see what is illegal for the average citizen of Canada become legal for the members of parliament to do. Let me reiterate, “Overspending on campaigns is illegal in Canada and penalties can range from fines up to $5,000 or five years in prison.”
Consider this: reported by CBC News, Posted: Jul 22, 2013,
“It’s been more than two years since Tory MP Shelly Glover won her Winnipeg seat in a federal election, but now, questions remain about how much she spent to win it.”
“The agency said Glover undervalued permanent election signs so she could spend more money on the campaign in other ways. They ordered the pair to correct their spending files, which would put them both over the legal spending limits in the Canada Election Act.”
“Glover initially filed a challenge against the agency, but days later, she agreed to correct her spending statements and at the time told CBC she was working with Elections Canada to resolve the issue.”
“Despite the controversy, Prime Minister Stephen Harper named Glover to his cabinet last week, giving her the title Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.”
“The newly minted minister sat down with CBC reporter Ryan Hicks to discuss her spending” and says, “I did nothing wrong with my expense claims and had a minor disagreement with the tabulation,” said Glover. “I’ve re-submitted my expense claims, and it’s behind me.”
Has Shelly Glover learned anything and will she do things differently in the future? Apparently not; Shelly Glover had this to say about the situation she found herself in, “I’m going to do exactly as I did: report my expense diligently and as understood by the rules in place,” Glover said. “I did nothing wrong.” The only persons to suffer any penalties at all in her problem with elections Canada are the 2 staffers who had to return parts of their salary to help Shelly Glover’s numbers jive with the rules, but the worst part is that Shelly Glover was okay with that! Even with shorting her staff in pay Shelly Glover’s revised campaign return still shows she overspent by $2,867.
“Overspending on campaigns is illegal in Canada and penalties can range from fines up to $5,000 or five years in prison.”
“The law’s intent is to ensure incumbents don’t have a financial advantage over new candidates.” Under the Canada Elections Act, MPs who don’t comply with the rules for filing expenses can be barred from sitting or voting in the House. Section 463 doesn’t make a difference between how long ago the election took place and just because they won a new election, does not mean that they somehow do not have to answer for their old crimes. Jeff Watson, Shelly Glover, James Bezan, Peter Penashue, Dean Del Mastro are among Tories who according to them all were falsely accused of election tax fraud wrongly by Elections Canada. Politicians who have lost their seats and privileges in the House of Commons have done so because of their arrogance and refusal to use the remedies afforded to them under Canada’s election laws. Most candidates, when they’re brought to this situation, will correct their return or in a timely way seek a court order to be relieved of a deadline, because candidates understand the importance of those provisions and they act accordingly. Elections Canada should be given all the power and authority it needs to investigate and punish those politicians it feels are guilty of violating Canada’s Election laws and not having them clipped back to being moot as Scott Reid, Jeff Watson, Shelly Glover, James Bezan, Peter Penashue and, Dean Del Mastro of the Conservative Party of Canada are calling for.
If the campaign doesn’t correct the report, the chief electoral officer can make an official request for a correction. If that is refused, the chief electoral officer has no choice but to notify the Speaker of the House of Commons.
John Enright, spokesman for the Elections Canada says, “Candidates can go to court to ask to be excused from complying with a request for a correction, but that doesn’t change the situation about suspension”, he added. “Irrespective if they are before the courts, they didn’t satisfy the original request. I’ve been doing this for 25 years and I don’t recall this having come up.”
I for one think the election laws of Canada are clear and they are written in a way that makes politicians follow pay for breaking the rules and are tough enough to ensure that politicians do not violate them because they fell that they can get away with breaking them, because voting in fair and honest elections is the founding stone of the democracy that Canadians are supposed to enjoy living in. Why do Steven a Harper and his strong stable majority government have such a hard time understanding that they too must abide by the laws of Canada? Why is it that they do not get it, that to simply adjust the law to their way of seeing it when they get caught breaking it is not the way to appear transparent, or to promote that they respect the rule of law in Canada.
Why should the rest of Canadians comply with the laws of Canada and feel a sense of equal justice for all in Canada if the people responsible for making them do not? If politicians put themselves above the law, or change the law governing them to make it easier to get away with things like filing false tax reports and running illegal campaigns are we not in danger of eventually becoming more like the non-democratic countries we claim to be trying to help or coerce into having fair elections for their people? I believe that if there is to be a 2 tier justice system in this country then it is the politician that should be held to the highest threshold of the laws that they write for the rest of us to live by. Let us remember that the law states that, “Overspending on campaigns is illegal in Canada and penalties can range from fines up to $5,000 or five years in prison.”