Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Elections Canada's Bold Move

It looks to me like Elections Canada is skating on thin ice. The Globe and Mail reported:

RCMP officers raided Conservative Party headquarters in downtown Ottawa yesterday to execute a search warrant requested by Election Commissioner William Corbett.

The police worked behind closed doors of the 12th-floor suite and at a mailroom on another floor. They were searching for information related to Mr. Corbett's investigation into whether dozens of Tory candidates improperly claimed advertising expenses that should have been declared by the national party.

It's obviously a complicated issue. Elections Canada is with holding campaign reimbursement funds from the Conservative Party and investigating whether the party declared expenses properly. The Conservative Party is suing Elections Canada for the funds that are being held.

There is often a blurring of lines between candidate's campaign budgets and the National Campaign. For instance, on an earlier campaign I was involved in the National Party's call centre did local polling to aid the candidate in a key riding. On a separate campaign for the Canadian Alliance, the local campaign was given the opportunity to pay for generic National Party advertisements on local radio and TV stations.

I don't know the particulars of the latest issue, the Conservatives obviously believe they are within the rules, but both arguments clearly rest on technicalities. The scandal today is that Elections Canada, a neutral agency, has made a media splash by engaging the RCMP and leaking the story to the media. Predictably, the news headlines on the radio during my drive home yesterday and into work this morning simply reported that the RCMP was raiding Conservative Party headquarters, suggesting that something criminal had happened. Clearly this is not accurate, the news will pass because there's no real story, but the damage has done and the Conservative Party is going to look a little more murky to the general public.

William Corbett will do well to remember that his position rests on being neutral and foregoing politically motivated attacks. He should apologize immediately.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I Don't Really Care

The NHL Playoffs begin today. Once again the Toronto Maple Leafs have long been eliminated from the playoffs. It's sad to say, but I don't really care. Now that it's been over 40 years since Toronto won a Stanley Cup, 3 consecutive years when they did not make the playoffs, and 4 years since the season was cancelled because of the player's strike. It's safe to say that I am firmly off the bandwagon.
I'm not planning on following the playoffs very closely this year, and I may not follow the season next year, until Toronto starts to win. It's a sad reality, but most Toronto Fans should know that there's no incentive for the team to do better unless folks start tuning out. The team can make incredible profits because we keep on watching, and buying tickets regardless of the effort they put forward. If they notice their revenues drop, maybe they'll show up to play next season.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Choice

I've got about an hour before I should go to bed. I could start on my income tax, or I could start reading the books I borrowed from my brother in law, Dante's Divine Comedy. Book 1 in the trilogy is all about Hell. So I've got a choice:

Hell or Income Tax. . .

Right now I'm undecided.