Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

In and Out: "unChristian"?

I've gotten some interesting personal attacks over the whole "In and Out" issue, with people calling me "unChristian" for supporting it.  Well, since I do consider myself to be a strong and faithful believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, of course I have to carefully consider the accusation, to see if there is any merit to it.

For the record, and let me be clear, I don't have an problem with the "In and Out" issue because I agree with the Conservative Party's assessment and I do not believe any wrongdoing occurred.  Period.

No laws were broken... in fact, the law was very carefully followed, as the specific legal mechanisms that were created for this sort of thing in the Elections Act were followed to the letter.  Let me break it down for you... of course, this is my own assessment of what I think happened, based on a layman's examination of the well documented facts.

In the dying days of the campaign, local campaigns bought pre-canned ads from the National Party at a fraction of the cost they could create ads for themselves.  Using the clearly defined mechanisms within the Elections Act, the National Party assisted these local campaigns by transferring funds to them with which they could buy the ads, and the associated airtime.

Now, on to the airtime... but to understand this whole issue, there's a WWII term everyone needs to reacquaint themselves with... "carpet bombing".  In order to advertise into my local market, I have to buy airtime with my local CTV affiliate.  However, in so doing, not only do I hit the City of Kitchener... I also hit Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Essex, Grey Bruce, and even over to the London area.  Now, a question for you... is that my problem?  Seriously, it only takes a second to think about and understand this concept... just because I'm hitting a ton of other ridings with my ad, when my intent is to hit my own riding, does not a scandal make.  I just consider it positive collateral damage.

Here's another example, a little closer to Jason Cherniak's heart... say I'm Byron Wilfert's campaign manager, over in Richmond Hill.  Say I want to air a last minute ad before the vote, but I'm short on money.  The Liberal Party of Canada legally transfers some cash to buy an ad.  And low and behold, they happen to have an ad that I can make use of, for less than it would cost me to make my own.  Okay I say, now what about airing this thing... which, by the way, has been reformatted to ensure that it legally identifies that it's my team that's putting it out there.  So anyway, I contact my local CTV station... which happens to be the central hub, but that's beside the point.  I buy a slot, and sit back with my beer and popcorn (not that I'm a beer drinker, mind you...) and wait for it to hit the airwaves.

In the meantime, my buddy over in Oshawa rings me up, invites me to hang out at his place.  So I drive on over there, about 45-60 minutes away, and we're watching TV.  And to my surprise, what do I see on TV?  Why, it's MY ad... seen in my riding, my buddy's riding, and, say, somewhere between 60 and 100 other ridings in the GTA.  Now, I just wanted to make sure residents in my riding saw it, so I bought airtime with a broadcaster that airs in my riding... but it just so happens that the same broadcaster, BROADLY CASTS my message to dozens upon dozens of other ridings.  I hit my target alright... with an effective WWII style carpet bombing sortie.

Now... who's to blame for that?  Certainly it's not me, right Jason?

Anyway, that's my outsider layman's examination of what happened... and why it's not something that bothers me.  Had I been involved in the campaign in my riding back in 2006, and we had had the opportunity to earn a few more percentage points by joining in with this advertising program, I probably would have... because I firmly believe that it's all perfectly legal and above board.

If it weren't firmly convinced, I wouldn't have spent the time here on my blog trying to defend it.  I'm fully open to hearing from others, and if you can convince me of any laws that have been broken, I'll change my tune.  But at the moment, I side with Mr. Harper and the Conservative Party on this one.  And as such, I don't think that it's "unChristian" in any sort of way... I think it falls more along the lines of one who acts shrewdly with what they've been given.

FULL DISCLOSURE: This post has not been written with any sort of talking points, assistance or prompting from the Conservative Party of Canada... this is all off the top of my head, with my layman's examination of the Election Act.

FULLER DISCLOSURE: Seems my above attempt at humour may have been missed by some... folks, it was just a tongue-in-cheek stab at those who accuse us BTer's of being nothing more than unofficial Party mouthpieces.  For the record, I don't get "Talking Points" from anyone.  ;-)

7 Comments:

  • At Tue. Apr. 15, 09:30:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Scott Tribe said…

    Chuckle.. this post is worth a blogpost on my own site, Christian Con - thanks for the material.

    And, with all due respect, it doesn't matter whether you need convincing or not. It was Elections Canada that needed convincing, and they felt your folks were engaging in activities against the Elections Act... and now the court you've appealed to or are suing the Elections Canad folks over is another legal body that needs convincing.

    So tell me.. if this goes thru the legal process and your party loses, will you accept the legal verdict? Or, will it all be the fault of Liberal appointed judges and bureaucrats that were out to get Harper? (I say that sarcastically, but I wont be shocked to see that being posted by the very serious Blogging Tory crowd)

     
  • At Tue. Apr. 15, 09:51:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    If we lose, then I guess we'll have to accept it... though I may still disagree.

     
  • At Tue. Apr. 15, 09:59:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Now back to the real world... when one finds a loophole in the tax act do they go to prison? NO. The loophole is covered so it cannot be taken advantage of any longer. Elections Canada is an arm of the LPC and thus out for blood because there is not much left of the LPC to fight. Furthermore, Elections Canada is facing a serious housecleaning and this will only ensure it happens sooner rather than later. Lastly, this will result in yet annother lawsuit as their was no need to seize any records. (real conservative)

     
  • At Tue. Apr. 15, 10:31:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Jay said…

    So anonymous, what you are saying is that elections canada which oversees our democracy is a branch of the liberal party.

    LOL

    So Conservatives are not democratic? You'll get no arguments there. So if they are not democratic then he's a dictator?

     
  • At Wed. Apr. 16, 11:51:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Mark said…

    Theres something thats going to come out of all of this...too many people were tipped off on when it was going to happen.

    The media was tipped off for sure, but theyre going to protect their sources forever. Either someone at Elections Canada tipped off the libs...or someone in the media (first on scene was reportedly the CBC) tipped them off.

    And now they have the liberal attack dog (or puppy or mongrel) Garth Turner accusing the CPC of stealing from Canadians. WHEN is it going to end? Oh ya, Harper majority.

     
  • At Fri. Apr. 18, 11:58:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous Jimmy B. said…

    You don't get "Talking Points" from anyone.

    Except from Jesus. And He works at Conservative Party of Canada HQ.

     
  • At Wed. Apr. 23, 11:37:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Ted said…

    CC: Fairly good analysis but critically mistaken on a few primary elements that flip this "close to the line" financing scheme into something illegal.

    First, you say "the National Party assisted these local campaigns". In fact, the first critical issue is whether the national campaign was assisting the local ridings or whether the local ridings were helping the national campaign.

    The evidence:

    - the scheme/plan was entirely devised by the national campaign as revealed in emails
    - even some of those involved questioned the legality of the scheme as evidenced in the emails
    - participating ridings were selected by the national campaign (i.e. it's not the locals seeking funds)
    - participating ridings were required to agree in advance that, if they wanted the national campaign's money, they had to buy the ads the same day (thus "in and out")
    - participating ridings were told what ads would be used (i.e. not a request from the riding for the use of a national ad) and some were not even told
    - most importantly, and what got Elections Canada interested, is that the ridings that were selected were ridings where the results were pretty much foregone conclusions, i.e. in these ridings it was either very clear that the candidate was going to win or very clear the candidate was going to lose. This is the most revealing part of the evidence that is coming to light. Further, in these ridings, as we now know, this "in and out" scheme accounted for 66% to 90% of campaign spending for the riding!

    There clearly was no interest or intent in "assisting" the local campaign, there was no local campaign asking the national campaign for "assistance". This was clearly done for the benefit of the national campaign.

    That being the case, then the Conservatives went over the spending limit and did so deliberately.

    Also, if it was for the benefit of the national campaign, then the local riding associations are not entitled to take our taxpayer money as spending rebates since the rebates are made available to help defray the expenses of local riding campaigns.

    As to the example of the Income Tax Act analogy of fixing loopholes, that's partly right. But the Income Tax Act has a provision referred to as the GAAR, the "general anti-avoidance rule", which applies to all tax schemes that, while technically legal in all its individual steps, is in fact specifically designed to avoid taxes. The rule applies where the scheme has no other rationale but for avoiding taxes.

    Similarly, Elections Canada can pursue schemes that are designed to circumvent spending limits.

     

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