I watch and/or listen and/or read transcriptions of Question Period two or three days a week. I usually listen to it while I work. Sometimes I'll watch a little bit, especially when I enjoy the question being asked. And I am enjoying the questions re: Penashue and election spending.
He is allegedly accused of the following:
- Overspending on his election campaign by $4000
- Accepting corporate donations and trying to hide it
- Requesting discounts from corporations that amount to donations
The First Corporate Donation
The first is that records may suggest a corporate donation to Tory MP Penashue.
Penashue deposited a single cheque from a company in his province, but wrote separate receipts to the board members for the donation.
Corporate donations are illegal in Canada. It's also illegal to contribute indirectly, by going through another person to make a donation.
I'll leave it to you to decide whether or not he broke the law. I should also mention that the receipts for the board members were for $1100, the maximum personal donation. You'll read about that later.
The Second Corporate Donation
The second concept is that an airline wrote off a large part of his airline bill. His bill was $24,711 and he paid $7000. That's 71% forgiven. For more on that - Penashue campaign finances were fine, says former agent.
A discount on the commercial value of an item or service provided to candidates counts as a political donation. Corporate donations are illegal in Canada.
Once again, the choice is yours - does it seem like laws were broken?
Is This an Admittance?
He blamed a volunteer within his campaign, suggesting a volunteer accepted a corporate donation., which is illegal. The email, which is a printed and manually redacted document, states that corporate donations cannot be received.
He places the blame on Reg Bowers, his campaign agent:
But Bowers, in an interview with the Toronto Star, said Penashue's campaign fell within federal limits.
"I did not sign off on the $4,000," he said, referring to the amount by which Elections Canada said the campaign overspent.
"When it left my desk, it was under the cap," Bowers, who was subsequently appointed to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, told the Star.I'll leave you to decide what happened here - Penashue blamed Bowers, Bowers said there was no problem and then received a plum position.
And Yet He Takes No Questions
From Chris Hall, CBC:
While all this plays out he sits in the Commons, taking the heat, but taking no questions.
It's a difficult position to be in. Attacked, but muzzled. Apparently unable to defend himself, or to explain, which is the essence of parliamentary accountability.
The Conservatives clearly believe the best tactic is to let others answer for the weakened members of the herd, and to turn the focus back on past opposition breaches whenever they can.
So, I let you be the judge and jury for yourself. Do you think he broke the law? Do you think he should explain himself in Question Period? Do you think he had an unfair advantage in the election because of this?