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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Durham Liberals set up front group to secretly solicit donations

The party rightly thrown out of office in 2006 for their shady handling of taxpayers' money should have learned by now.

There's this new organization called "Durham 4 Vets."  It sounds like a great organization, as are most organizations that make it a priority to assist those who have served Canada's interests at home and abroad. They can't spell that well, but their intentions seem good.

Upon entering you're given this page:

(It's heroes, by the way, unless you're intending to speak up for heros, a type of fish.)

So far so good.  What does this organization stand for?  They've taken exception with the NDP's decision to vote against tough penalties for people caught defacing war memorials.  Great.  They also encourage Canadians to wear poppies and remember the ultimate sacrifices our veterans made - and continue to make - so Canadians can carry on living our way of life.  Also great.  And I can even sign a petition saying I'm concerned about Canada's veterans and want to make a $20 donation to keep this organization going.  Perfect.

So let's theoretically say that I, as your average Durham resident, want to donate to this seemingly great organization.  But who's their President? I'm not sure. Their Managing Director?  Their founder?  Their Board of Directors?  What's their address?  When were they founded?

I mysteriously have no answers to any of these questions.  I guess I can just blindly click the "Donate" button and hope my money gets to the right place.

Oh, wait. It's a Liberal Party front group, attempting to secretly funnel donations intended to "support our vets" into the Liberal Party's byelection campaign in Durham.

The irony here is overbearing, as is the potential illegality of such a campaign.  But let's first consider the irony: the Liberal Party attempting to campaign on supporting our veterans, yet, when in office for over a decade, they drastically cut funding for Canada's National Defence. There was a name for that decade - the Decade of Darkness - and not just because the Liberals were frivolously handing taxpayers' money to their friends in dark alleys at night.  (Where is that money, anyway?)  Liberals campaigning on supporting our veterans would be like the NDP campaigning to have the lowest corporate tax rate in the world - their words simply don't match their actions.

Next, the potential illegality.  Contributions - obviously - have to be freely given to a political party or candidate with the intention of supporting that party or candidate.  To attempt to secretly solicit funding for the Liberal campaign under the guise of a front group for "supporting veterans" is tantamount to fraud.  It's taking your money intended to support our veterans and putting it in sticky Liberal hands for a completely different purpose.  Since when do the Liberals have any ability to take your money and support our veterans? They don't.

In fact, there isn't a single Liberal logo on this website.  It's not until you click the Donate button that you actually discover the warning "gee, we can't actually fraudulently take your money this way, so if you'll continue to our Liberal website we'll take your money there."

(It's actually the Canada Elections Act or at least the Elections Act.  And "To donate to continue our campaign" makes no sense whatsoever; I think you're missing a "Click to donate...")

This desperate funny business comes at a time when the Liberals have already been fined for illegal robocalls and have a history of shady money handling.  It's a complete disgrace that the Liberals are using our veterans as a charity (in their words) to solicit campaign funds, and it might also be illegal.

I'd love to see what the Chief Electoral Officer has to say, and I'm sure you would too. So here's his contact information:

Email: info@elections.ca

General Complaint Form

Phone: 1-800-463-6868

Mail: Marc Mayrand, Chief Electoral Officer
Elections Canada
257 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0M6