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Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:16 am    Post subject: Liberal Ministers holding cash for access fundraisers ? Reply with quote

( more questionable fundraising from the federal liberals , sounds similar to what wynne was allegedly doing in Ontario )

Morneau fundraiser one in list of Liberal cash-for-access events

Robert Fife AND Steven Chase

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 5:00AM EDT

Last updated Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 10:09AM EDT

Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s $1,500-per-ticket fundraiser with an elite group of Halifax business people is part of a trend for the governing Liberals to fill party coffers by offering exclusive access to senior cabinet ministers.

The Globe and Mail found at least 20 fundraising events this year that offer donors private time with senior ministers who have enormous authority over spending and policy decisions.

These include Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mr. Morneau, Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, Immigration Minister John McCallum and others.

Read: Morneau fundraiser an apparent violation of Trudeau’s rules

Politics Insider (subscribers only): Trudeau’s new era of transparency off to an iffy start

Related: Ontario political parties pack in fundraisers before rules change

When the Liberals swept to power last year, Mr. Trudeau laid down tough new rules for his ministers in matters involving lobbying and fundraising. Asked on Wednesday about a Globe story on the Oct. 13 Morneau fundraiser, Mr. Trudeau would not acknowledge whether it broke those rules.

“The federal level has the most stringent election financing rules among provinces and jurisdictions in Canada,” Mr. Trudeau said in the House of Commons. “Canadians expect us to follow all of those rules, and that is exactly what we have done.”

The style of fundraising known as cash-for-access has been controversial this year at the provincial level. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne unveiled campaign finance reforms after The Globe revealed corporations and lobbyists paid thousands of dollars for exclusive access to Ms. Wynne and members of her cabinet. B.C. Premier Christy Clark faced complaints for attending similar events.

The federal Finance Minister will also be the “Special Guest” at a Nov. 7 Liberal fundraiser at the exclusive Windsor Arms Condos in Toronto, and would-be attendees are being asked to pay $500 for a ticket. The location is the 5,000-square-foot home of philanthropist Nancy Pencer.

On Oct. 28, Mr. Bains is the headline attraction for a fundraiser at a private residence in Kleinburg, Ont. Tickets run as high as $400.

Later this week, Ms. Joly is the main draw at a Montreal fundraiser for which tickets are also up to $400.

The federal “Open and Accountable Government” rules state that “there should be no preferential access to government, or appearance of preferential access, accorded to individuals or organizations because they have made financial contributions to politicians and political parties.”

Opposition parties on Wednesday called the event at which Mr. Morneau met business executives at the home of a Halifax mining tycoon a clear breach of those rules. About 15 business executives, including land developers, bankers and mortgage brokers, paid $1,500 to glad-hand with Mr. Morneau at the mansion of Fred George, a mining and property developer.

“When it comes to getting the ear of the person overseeing billions of dollars in public spending, that is quite a bargain,” NDP Leader Tom Muclair told the House. “The Prime Minister knows that this sort of cash-for-access fundraising is wrong, so the question is: Why does the Prime Minister continue to allow it and when will they repay the money?”

Mr. Trudeau responded that Mr. Morneau followed Elections Canada financing rules that limit annual individual donations to $3,050. He avoided answering direct questions about his ethics rules for cabinet ministers.

Mr. Morneau suggested to the Commons the Halifax fundraiser was part of his “consultation process for our budget that allows us to listen to Canadians.” He stressed that he is also taking input from tens of thousands of people across Canada.

“Like all members in this House, I am engaged in fundraising activities in support of my party. The Oct. 13 event in question was organized by the Liberal Party of Canada and we followed all of the applicable rules,” the Finance Minister said.

In June, Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson urged Parliament to adopt tougher fundraising laws that would address cases of ministers selling access for party donations.

Mr. Morneau also avoided answering the opposition on what was discussed at the Halifax fundraiser. One of the attendees was property developer Jim Spatz, who was recently appointed as director of the Halifax Port Authority.

“There is no question that when you hold a meeting like that for millionaires and it is the highest possible donation that is required to get into the room, the public has a right to know what gets discussed in these types of events,” Mr. Mulcair told reporters.

A Liberal Party spokesman declined to provide a list of all fundraisers at which Trudeau ministers were the main attraction, saying any donations over $200 are later disclosed through Elections Canada.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You couldn't have thought that any sophisticated news writer would know this was empty words just from experience, wouldn't you?

Morneau is supposed to be one of the high-quality recruits with impeccable Bay Street credentials, so you know that he knows what he's doing, and would have cleared it with the boss, Gerald Bull.

It's no wonder that they are becoming more and more like the Ontario Liberal government -- it is (the heart and guts, anyway) the Ontario team redux! [/list]

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Halifax Port Authority appointee’s attendance at Morneau fundraiser an apparent contravention of ethics rules

Robert Fife And Steven Chase

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Oct. 24, 2016 5:00AM EDT

Last updated Monday, Oct. 24, 2016 10:40AM EDT

A condominium and retail-store developer named by the Liberal government to the board of directors of the Halifax Port Authority appears to have breached Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ethics rules by attending a $1,500-a-ticket fundraiser for the governing party.

Jim Spatz, chairman and chief executive officer of Southwest Properties, was one of about 15 corporate executives who gathered on Oct. 13 at an exclusive Halifax fundraiser where Finance Minister Bill Morneau was the star attraction. He was the only person at the event who serves on a federal Crown corporation.

Mr. Trudeau’s Open and Accountable Government ethics rules announced last Nov. 27 state that a public office holder should not “participate in a political activity that is, or that may reasonably be seen to be, incompatible with the public office holder’s duty, or otherwise be seen to impair his or her ability to discharge … public duties in a politically impartial fashion, or would cast doubt on the integrity or impartiality” of the office.

Analysis:Liberals shrug off their own ethical guidelines with fundraiser

Related: Morneau fundraiser one in list of Liberal cash-for-access events

Globe editorial: For Justin Trudeau, avoiding conflict of interest is more of a suggestion than a rule

Lisa Raitt, a former Conservative transport minister in charge of ports and a former senior executive at the Toronto Port Authority, said Mr. Spatz violated the rules by going to the Morneau fundraiser at the mansion of mining magnate Fred George, who is a business partner in a hotel complex in Halifax.

“They are supposed to be non-partisan. How does the public have the confidence that it can deal with the Halifax Port Authority board in a non-partisan manner if [Mr. Spatz] is going to these super-exclusive partisan events?” asked Ms. Raitt, now MP for the Southern Ontario riding of Milton.

Since The Globe and Mail reported on the Halifax event and other cash-for-access fundraisers across the country at which senior cabinet ministers are prize guests, the government has ducked all questions in Parliament about the Open and Accountable Government rules. Instead, Mr. Trudeau and his ministers have argued that they are not breaking election financing laws.

Mr. Spatz was appointed to the Halifax Port Authority as a federal director last May on the recommendation of Treasury Board President Scott Brison, the Liberal political power broker for Nova Scotia.

Sources have also told The Globe that questions have been raised within the port authority about the “self-evident” potential conflict of interest of having Mr. Spatz sit on the board. “The [Conflict of Interest] Act is a very instructive piece of legislation,” one port authority source said. “You don’t have to read very far into the act.”

The code of conduct for the Halifax Port Authority says directors should “shall discharge their duties and arrange their private affairs in such a manner as to preserve and promote public confidence and trust in the integrity and impartiality of the authority.”

The rules also say the “authority may be as equally compromised by the appearance of conflict as with the existence of an actual conflict.”

Mr. Spatz is a major land developer in Halifax. He owns Bishops Landing, which includes shops, restaurants and condominiums, on the waterfront adjacent to the Halifax port.

The Halifax Port Authority hired outside consultants in September to examine the potential of moving one of the terminals as part of a master plan for a so-called big ships strategy that could open up 175 acres to property developers on prime waterfront lands.

Soil and slate from another major Southwest condo development is being dumped in the Fairview Cove terminal. The terminal is a short drive from Mr. Spatz’s $140-million Pavilion in South Park condo complex, now under construction.

“We are able to help the developers by providing them with a reasonable disposal option, use that material to infill one of our water lots, and there is a development handling fee so essentially it’s become a revenue stream as well,” Halifax Port Authority spokesperson Lane Farguson told The Globe and Mail.

In an e-mail to The Globe, Mr. Spatz said there is no conflict of interest because his company is not directly doing the dumping.

“A third-party contractor has been engaged by Southwest, under a fixed price contract, to perform the South Park excavation, which includes disposing of the fill,” he wrote. “Southwest has no involvement or benefit, financial or otherwise, in how or where the contractor disposes of the fill.”

Mr. Brison defended the appointment of his friend, who donated $5,400 to his 2006 leadership campaign. “Mr. Spatz is a person of strong character [with] extremely strong governance experience and an understanding of business and good governance that can only strengthen the Halifax Port Authority,” he told The Globe.

Halifax Port Authority board chairman Hector Jacques would not discuss how the board would handle any potential conflict of interest with Mr. Spatz. “I only only comment on board issues and only after a final decision or determination has been made on any matter before us,” he said. “We have a strict confidentiality requirement.”

A government official, who spoke on background, said Mr. Spatz would recuse himself from any board decisions affecting his business interests.

The Liberals promised during the election campaign to remove patronage and partisanship from the appointment process.

Mr. Brison played down the Halifax developer’s assistance to him and the Liberal Party, saying that “Mr. Spatz has donated and supported members from various political parties over the years.”

Mr. Spatz gave $1,100 to former provincial New Democratic Party leader Robert Chisholm when he briefly ran for the federal NDP helm in 2011 and has contributed to local NDP, Liberal and Conservative candidates in past elections.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau made the appointment on the advice of Mr. Brison and with the approval of Mary Ng, the Prime Minister’s director of appointments.

His office issued a statement saying Mr. Spatz was thoroughly vetted. “The government always conducts an analysis of any real or perceived conflicts of interest prior to the appointment of candidates to governor-in-council positions, including the solicitation of such potential conflicts by self-identification of candidates,” the office said. “As one of the region’s leading real estate developers, Mr. Spatz brings a depth of experience and judgment to a board that manages 260 acres of land in the Halifax region.”

The Liberals also noted that the former Conservative government appointed five Conservatives between 2006 and 2015.

The Halifax Port Authority has been working on a comprehensive plan to allow the berthing of the world’s largest-class cargo and cruise ships in two terminals. The study comes as the city’s two terminal operators are in merger talks to create one terminal.

As part of the port study, one option is to build a second new terminal in Shearwater on the Dartmouth side of the Halifax Harbour, with the federal government paying $1.2-billion for construction and dredging.

This would open up large tracts of prime waterfront land in Halifax for condo and retail development.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

October 21, 2016

Liberals hide “cash-for-access” fundraisers from website

Brian Lilley
Rebel Co-Founder

We’ve talked about Liberals scheduling fundraisers for Cabinet Ministers across the country, then finding a reason for the Minister to do some business there. It seems fundraising is the most important job for this new government and they have no problem getting Ministers to travel the country collecting cheques for the Liberal Party, while taxpayers pick up the travel tab.

But now there is more.

If you’ve been paying attention, then you know that fundraisers where high end donors get to have face time with powerful Ministers in Justin Trudeau’s cabinet has dominated headlines and questions in the House of Commons for days now.

It’s kind of a repeat of what Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals did in Ontario and the opposition parties have been hammering the Liberals over events like Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s appearance at a fundraiser hosted at a Halifax mansion and attended by corporate executives that could benefit from Morneau’s spending.

The Liberal response to this is interesting.

First they pointed out that Minister Morneau was on a budget consultation tour at the time of the fundraiser last week. Not a great response considering that as he's doing budget consultations, he’s meeting executives donating $1,500 a pop to hang out with him, business executives that could benefit from actions taken in the budget, some spending here, a special tax break there.

Then came the other response, that the Liberals were not hiding this because according to their House leader Bardish Chagger, it was all open.

“This event was open, and anyone who purchased a ticket was welcome to attend. The event was made public online,” Chagger said.

Morneau also claimed no wrong-doing when I asked him later that afternoon. But, not really.

One thing that has left political watchers puzzled, until now, is why the Halifax fundraiser for Morneau along with similar events in Toronto and Calgary did not appear on the Liberal Party website where events such as fundraisers normally appear.

It turns out that the Liberals have been using a simple piece of coding on their website to block certain fundraisers from being seen by the general public or found by search engines like Google.

The Liberals have been using a Robots.txt file. Nothing wrong with that, web designers use them all the time to make sure that when you go searching for their website that you can find their website but back end pages are hidden.

But as we look at the Robots.txt file the Liberals are using we see they are not only hiding back end stuff but also several fundraisers for Morneau and International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland.

That flies in the face of what Liberal House Leader Bardish Chagger said in the Commons.

This is not open, this is hidden, on purpose, you have to purposely put that in.

The Liberals maintain they have broken no laws or rules on fundraising, a party spokesman even saying via email it would be wrong to call the events hidden even though the public cannot see any information about them.

Spokesperson Braeden Caley said information such as the home of a host must be protected. He also said volunteers often input these events, but a volunteer in a riding association is not getting access to this file, they can’t make these kinds of changes to the website.

As for protecting an address, you can do that without hiding the whole event.

The Liberals have been hiding these because they knew they would look bad.

An editorial in the Globe and Mail on Thursday compared Trudeau’s fundraising practices to those of Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, an apt comparison and not surprising when you remember all the Queen’s Park Liberals around Justin Trudeau.

The new government of real change is really all about the same old dirty tricks.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Liberals should live up to their rhetoric on ethics

Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2016 6:00 am


A troubling gap is opening up between what the Trudeau government preaches on ethics and access and what it practices.

What it preaches is admirable. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took office almost one year ago, he gave his ministers mandate letters that emphasized they must "observe the highest ethical standards in everything you do."

In particular, he told them not to let anyone buy influence. Specifically, they were told to abide by the principle that "there should be no preferential access to government, or appearance of preferential access, accorded to individuals or organizations because they have made financial contributions to politicians and political parties."

And to top it off, the prime minister told his ministers to err on the side of caution. Living up to his lofty ideals, he reminded them, "is an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law."

Yet here we are, learning that the finance minister, Bill Morneau, hosted an exclusive $1,500-a-ticket Liberal party fundraiser last week at the Halifax home of a mining executive turned land developer. About 15 people reportedly attended the event, including other prominent business people who might well find it to their advantage to spend a convivial evening in the company of the man who directs national economic policy.

What the government practices, then, is hard to reconcile with its earnest preaching. The opposition, naturally, pounced on the apparent discrepancy, with NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair observing of the $1,500 price-tag, "When it comes to getting the ear of the person overseeing billions of dollars in public spending, that is quite a bargain."

He's not wrong. The Liberals' retort that they are following the federal conflict-of-interest rules now in force is fine as far as it goes, but it falls short of Trudeau's exhortation to his ministers to live up to the highest standards, not simply to stay within the legal guidelines.

All this is more worrisome because it doesn't seem to be an isolated event. The Globe and Mail reported this week that the Morneau fundraiser was one of at least 20 similar events this year featuring senior cabinet ministers. Morneau, Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi and Immigration Minister John McCallum are among them.

The federal ethics commissioner, Mary Dawson, raised the same issue in June in her annual report. She urged a crackdown on ministers providing access in return for party donations, and cited four examples involving Liberal ministers - including Morneau again and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. Dawson made it plain she thinks the existing rules aren't adequate to "maintain and enhance public confidence and trust in the integrity of ministers and parliamentary secretaries."

Public opinion is clearly changing on this kind of thing, which was once regarded simply as business-as-usual. In Ontario, for example, the Wynne government has brought in rules that will ban ministers and all MPs from attending fundraisers as of Jan. 1.

The federal Liberals would be well advised to get ahead of this issue before the perception that their rhetoric on ethics is just the same-old takes firm hold among voters.

The prime minister was right a year ago to urge his ministers to act above reproach, not simply within the rules. He should hold them to that standard.

- An editorial from the Toronto Star


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ethics commissioner says finance minister's fundraiser didn't break rules

Misha Gajewski, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, October 20, 2016 7:37PM EDT

Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson has weighed in on the recent complaints about a Halifax fundraiser on behalf of Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

The fundraiser, held at a property owned by a major land developer, charged up to $1,500 per guest and was attended by business executives. Opposition critics accused the Liberals of essentially selling access to the cabinet minister.

But Dawson said the fundraiser didn’t break any rules.

Mary Dawson Power Play
“It’s not covered by the Conflict of Interest Act -- but they certainly could improve the rules,” Dawson told CTV’s Power Play.

However, last year the Liberals established a strict set of directives that included avoiding situations that appeared to provide preferential access to government.

"Ministers and parliamentary secretaries must ensure that political fundraising activities or considerations do not affect, or appear to affect, the exercise of their official duties or the access of individuals or organizations to government," the rules say.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Morneau insisted the fundraiser conformed to the party’s rules.

"Like all members of this House, I'm engaged in fundraising activities in support of my party," Morneau said. "The Oct. 13 event in question was organized by the Liberal Party of Canada and we followed all of the applicable rules.

Dawson agreed with the Liberals.

“The fundraising rule is extremely thin. It’s just you can’t personally fundraise if it would put you in a conflict of interest,” she said.

She doesn’t think this conflict is likely to happen while attending a fundraising event because a conflict of interest is defined as something that furthers someone’s personal interest.

But Dawson added that there are definitely a lot of protections that could be put in place to prevent situations like this from occurring.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Kady: Finance minister's presence at pricey party fundraiser suggests Ottawa may want to follow Ontario's lead

Kady O'Malley, Ottawa Citizen
More from Kady O'Malley, Ottawa Citizen

Published on: October 24, 2016 | Last Updated: October 24, 2016 10:49 AM EDT

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau

Finance Minister Bill Morneau's appearance at a $1,500 per head fundraiser in Halifax has sparked controversy over whether it constituted 'cash for access'. Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Well, that’ll teach me to get overly smug about the squeaky-clean superiority of the federal political fundraising regime.

Courtesy of The Globe and Mail, we learned this week that Finance Minister Bill Morneau was able to find time in his busy cross-country pre-budget consultation travel schedule to drop by the Halifax home of “former gold and silver magnate” turned land developer Fred George for a $1,500-per-head meet-and-greet attended by just over a dozen local business types, including several “prominent Nova Scotia property developers.”

Not surprisingly, the report of Morneau’s presence at the Oct. 13 shindig was immediately seized upon by critics — particularly, though not exclusively, those on the other side of the Commons aisle — as still more evidence that the federal Liberals were running a “cash-for-access” scheme by using the promise of a few minutes of face time with a cabinet minister as bait for high-priced fundraising soirées.

It is precisely the same charge that has been lodged against their Ontario Liberal counterparts in the past — so convincingly, in fact, that Kathleen Wynne’s government has already brought in legislation to tighten the rules by banning corporate and union donations entirely, and capping individual contributions at $3,600, with no more than $1,200 of which can go to the party, a riding association or nomination contestant, or a candidate.

That’s a significant reduction from the current maximum allowable donations, which allow up to $9,975 to a party plus an additional $9,975 to the same party during an election, plus additional contributions of up to $6,650 to riding associations and candidates.

But the reaction to Morneau’s headline appearance in Halifax suggests that, when it comes to public perception, it’s not just about the dollar figure of an annual limit.

After all, from the perspective of the party, which was the ultimate beneficiary of the Halifax event, there is no tangible difference between someone who ponies up the full $1,525 for the chance at an over-the-canapé chat with a senior (or even mid-level) cabinet member and a diehard Liberal supporter who donates the maximum through pre-authorized monthly instalments.

After all, from the perspective of the party, which was the ultimate beneficiary of the Halifax event, there is no tangible difference between someone who ponies up the full $1,525 for the chance at an over-the-canapé chat with a senior (or even mid-level) cabinet member and a diehard Liberal supporter who donates the maximum through pre-authorized monthly instalments.

(In fact, an argument could be made that the latter is actually a more desirable catch, as their support isn’t dependent on getting them to show up at a brick-and-mortar party event.)

There are also various layers of rules and restrictions imposed on cabinet ministers and other public office holders covered by the Conflict of Interest Act and, separately, on lobbyists and others with vested interests, as well as the guidelines laid out by the Prime Minister’s Office itself.

At the same time, when it comes to public perception, there just seems to be something ineffably but unmistakably unseemly about putting a minister behind a $1,500 paywall — or, indeed, $1,000 or $500 or possibly any ticket price at all, depending on how stringent your personal political purity test may be.

And, in politics, there are times when the simple fact something looks bad is more than sufficient grounds to at least consider doing something to make it look — if not good, at least not quite as bad.

In this instance, that could mean invoking dramatic, if almost certainly draconian measures like banning cabinet ministers from attending any party fundraiser at all. (Currently, ministers and other public office holders are only legally barred from “personally soliciting” funds from any individual or organization that could create a real or perceived conflict of interest.)

Another approach could be to drop the cap even lower, perhaps even following the trend set in Quebec, where annual donations cannot exceed $100.

Alternately, we could grudgingly admit that, actually, while it may be late to the party fundraising regulatory party, Ontario may be on to something with its efforts to pair financial limits with increased transparency.

Under the proposed new provincial rules, political parties will have to post the details of any and all fundraising activities on behalf of itself, its riding associations and candidates, including the date, venue and cost (if any) to attend at least seven days before it is scheduled to take place.

The federal law could, however, take an even more targeted approach, and require ministers and parliamentary secretaries themselves, rather than the party, to disclose the same details on any and all political fundraising events they attend — or, at least, all those in which they have a prominent or speaking role — on a quarterly basis, as is the case with travel and hospitality expenses.

(Interestingly, while the annual limit to be imposed in Ontario is, as noted, more than twice as much as the federal cap, there will also be a sub-cap of $1,200 for a “single fundraising activity,” which could also be imported into the federal system at a level somewhere below the existing cap.)

It’s never going to be possible to entirely debunk the perennial suspicion — and, in the case of rival political parties, strategic exploitation of that suspicion — that politicians are more likely to pay attention to the priorities and potential concerns of those who have contributed to the party war chest.

But sharing the wheres, whens and, most critically, how muchs from the fundraising circuit would go a long way to reassuring Canadians that the days of the cash-stuffed envelopes changing hands in smoke-filled backrooms are long over. (Even if we do have to give Ontario grudging credit for having come up with the idea in the first place.)

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the new proposed annual donation limit in Ontario was $3,600, but failed to make it clear that it will cover donations to all political entities affiliated with a particular party, including riding associations and candidates.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bugs wrote:
You couldn't have thought that any sophisticated news writer would know this was empty words just from experience, wouldn't you?

Morneau is supposed to be one of the high-quality recruits with impeccable Bay Street credentials, so you know that he knows what he's doing, and would have cleared it with the boss, Gerald Bull.

It's no wonder that they are becoming more and more like the Ontario Liberal government -- it is (the heart and guts, anyway) the Ontario team redux! [/list]

was reading thru some more articles on the story today , its all too complex and such to be the work on 1 or 2 cabinet ministers trying to raise money . all these fundraisers have to be something the party itself is doing on a much larger scale .

the allegations in the rebel article are also deeply troubling that they are hiding them from public view and coded so they don't appear in search results or party websites . this indicates they are trying to keep these events hidden from public view so people don't know about them

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's my feeling too.

This goes to the 'real' top. Does Justin need to know? Probably. But I wonder if he gets a veto on such things. I don't pretend to know, it's just that it frames the question.

If 'ethics' are really the same thing as the law, then it's just boilerplate. It's just words unless there's some kind of enforcement. Otherwise, organizational boilerplate is created to deceive the public, that simple. There will be people out there who think that the Liberals are cleaning up a dishonest dictatorship in Harper. For real. This is to maintain that illusion, or at least give Trudeau some protective coloration. He can say" Well ... the Ethics Commissioner says there's no violation ... so, being fair ... what can I do?"

Trudeau's the kind of guy who destroyed two people's political careers without even telling them why until it was in the newspapers ... he can punish the 'unethical' if he wants to. If he doesn't, it's because the Liberal Party thinks it's all part of the game.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( these fundraisers continue to get more questionable , the more we learn about who is organizing and attending them )

Drug firm executive helps organize cash-for-access fundraiser featuring Bill Morneau

Robert Fife and Steven Chase

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016 5:00AM EDT

Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016 9:32AM EDT

A senior business executive whose generic drug firm lobbies Ottawa is helping to organize a $500-per-ticket cash-for-access fundraiser with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau as the star attraction on Nov. 7 in Toronto.

The exclusive event is being held at the Toronto condominium of philanthropist Nancy Pencer and funeral home executive Michael Benjamin. Helping to sell tickets are Barry Sherman, the chairman of generic drug manufacturer Apotex Inc., and Joel Reitman, who runs global venture investment firm Jillcy Capital.

Apotex is registered as lobbying Finance Canada through its consultant lobbyist John Duffy, who met with Mr. Morneau’s director of policy, Robert Asselin, three times in the past six months. The federal lobbyist registry also shows that Apotex has lobbied Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, Health Minister Jane Philpott and International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Apotex issued a statement Tuesday saying the fundraiser is unrelated to the firm but a private initiative by Mr. Sherman.

“This is a private undertaking of the Sherman family, who undertake numerous charitable events as well as supporting events for the democratic process. Two other couples are hosting the event as well. No one else from Apotex is planning to attend Mr. Sherman's event,” the statement said. “The fundraising event is not part of Apotex's program of government relations. The company's government relations efforts are duly registered under the federal Lobbyists Registration Act and available online for the public to see.”

The Liberals have come under fire in recent days after The Globe and Mail reported on a cash-for-access fundraising system that uses cabinet members to draw big donations. This practice appears to violate rules Mr. Trudeau put in place last year that ban giving preferential access to government officials in return for donations.

“They lobby the government because they have big interests,” NDP ethics critic Alexandre Boulerice said in an interview. “Can you imagine the privilege to have the Finance Minister at your home months before the next budget? This is incredible. Ordinary citizens don’t have that kind of access.”

Mr. Morneau was the prize guest at the Halifax mansion of mining tycoon-turned land developer Fred George on Oct. 13. About 15 corporate executives – including property developer Jim Spatz, who the Liberal government appointed to the Halifax Port Authority last May – paid $1,500 a ticket to hobnob with the minister as he prepares his second federal budget.

The Liberals had planned a $1,500-a-ticket fundraiser for late September in which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the feature guest, but it was cancelled and Mr. Trudeau led a delegation to the funeral of former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres.

A Bay Street insider told The Globe and Mail the Trudeau fundraiser invitation came from one of the organizers, who e-mailed him a link with instructions on how to make the $1,500 payment by personal cheque or credit card.

“It starts right at the top. It’s a matter of leadership,” Conservative MP Blaine Calkins told The Globe. “[Trudeau] is not following his own rules for ethics and accountability and the appearance of a conflict of interest…when somebody is at the event that is a potential beneficiary of a government contract or a change in government policy.”

The cancelled Sept. 29 fundraiser was organized by senior business executives Geoff Smith, CEO of the giant construction firm Ellis Don, and Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar, Canada’s second-largest automotive parts company. Both companies could benefit from government decisions concerning infrastructure and auto policy.

Other organizers were Toronto lawyer Malcolm Mackillop, who was chair of the event; Carol Wilding, CEO and president of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario; and high-profile labour and employment lawyer Laura Williams.

The pay-to-play fundraiser was planned for Toronto’s private National Club, where membership ranges from $1,625 to $2,850 with an initiation fee that starts at $2,500 and extends up to $8,500. The club boasts having a 40,000-bottle wine cellar for its 1,000 members.

The fact the Prime Minister was planning to take part in this $1,500 fundraiser may explain why he has refused to discipline cabinet ministers for violating the new ethics rules he laid down three weeks after taking power last November. Those rules stated “there should be no preferential access, or appearance of preferential access, accorded to individuals or organizations because they have made financial contributions to politicians and political parties.”

The rules outlined in the Prime Minister’s Open and Accountable Government rulebook also said there should be “no singling out, or appearance of singling out, of individuals or organizations as targets of political fundraising.”

The PMO has said the fundraisers are not exclusive because they are open to all, and that no laws have been broken.

The NDP wrote to Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson on Monday, urging her to investigate the Oct. 13 fundraiser in Halifax. Ms. Dawson said last week that the current law on conflict of interest prevents her from making a finding on whether the Morneau event was improper.

Ms. Dawson told The Globe last week she cannot pass judgment on whether the fundraisers breach Mr. Trudeau’s rules because the Liberal Prime Minister gave that mandate to the Privy Council Office, the senior bureaucracy that serves the Prime Minister’s Office.

In a later TV interview, she noted that the Trudeau fundraising rules are “much more stringent” than the Conflict of Interest Act, which she enforces as an independent watchdog. She said those rules should be added to the federal ethics law so she can crack down on special-access fundraisers.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lobbying watchdog investigates Liberal fundraisers

Robert Fife and Steven Chase

Ottawa — The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 1:13PM EDT

Federal Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd says she has launched an investigation into the governing Liberals’ cash-for-access fundraisers.

Testifying before the House of Commons ethics committee, Ms. Shepherd said she is concerned about wealthy donors – with a potential interest in obtaining government favours – ‎paying up to $1,500 to meet senior ministers at private fundraisers.

“Obviously the placing of the public office holder in a conflict of interest is something [that] would be a potential breach of the [Lobbying] Act, so all I will say is that I am currently at looking into it,” she said.

‎Ms. Shepherd said she will be looking into the role played by Apotex chairman Barry Sherman in helping to organize a $500-a-ticket fundraiser where Finance Minister Bill Morneau is the feature attraction on Nov 7.

The giant generic drug manufacturer has lobbied the finance department on three occasions. Apotex has also lobbied Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Health Minister Jane Philpott.

“This is an issue that potentially creates a real or apparent conflict of interest, which is why I am looking into it,” she said.

Ms. Shepherd said she launched the investigation after The Globe and Mail ‎reported Mr. Sherman’s role in the Nov. 7 fundraiser. She also received a complaint about the event from Democracy Watch.

The lobbying czar said her investigators will seek details from the government and Liberal Party of Canada on other fundraisers where donors are paying up to $1,500 to hobnob with ministers.

The Globe has reported on at least 20 fundraisers featuring the Innovation Minister, finance minister, Infrastructure Minister and Canadian Heritage Minister.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( I don't normally use "vice Canada " as a source however this is an interesting article about these fundraisers , includes how much some ministers wanted and who some of the people paying the big $ were )

The Liberal Party Has Scheduled More Than 100 Cash-For-Access Events in 2016 Alone

Justin Ling

By Justin Ling

October 28, 2016

If you wanted an audience with Finance Minister Bill Morneau during his two-night engagement in Vancouver this past April, it would have cost you between $1,000 and $1,500.

If you were looking for facetime with the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister for Infrastructure and Communities, in Surrey in February, that would run a cool $500.

But for some quality time with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself, at one of his 16 fundraising events held in 2016—which have been dubbed by the media 'cash-for-access' events—you'll likely be paying the maximum allowed: $1,525.

These details, which come from a breakdown of every Liberal Party fundraiser and "appreciation event" for deep-pocket donors held in 2016, shows that the governing party has been charging a hefty sum to be in the same room as a senior member of the Canadian government.

All-told, the Liberals have held 89 fundraisers so far this year, and have another 10 scheduled for October and November. The list includes all fundraisers with ministers and parliamentary secretaries, as well as the one event with the prime minister's senior advisor, Gerry Butts.

For quality time with Butts, Trudeau's right-hand man, in Charlottetown in August, it would be a steal at just $125.

Most events also have special pricing for youth members, or for those who are already donating large amounts to the party.

Information on the fundraisers were provided to VICE Canada by the Liberal Party, while information on upcoming events was pulled from the party website. The event pages on the Liberal Party website are taken offline immediately after they happen, and are not cached by Google or the WayBackMachine.

Attention has honed in on the fundraising practices in recent weeks, as news has emerged that senior Liberal ministers have been spending their evenings rubbing elbows with Liberal donors that, during the day, work in jobs that might put them in that same minister's office.

A Globe and Mail story, for example, showed that Finance Minister Bill Morneau is slated to attend a $500-a-ticket fundraiser with the chairman of a generic drug manufacturer and the head of a large investment firm, amongst others.

Another upcoming fundraiser, scheduled for this evening, will see Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, attend a $400-per-person "Vineyards of Ontario" event hosted by a Liberal volunteer who, according to her LinkedIn page, is the president of a company that does "dynamic communications and fundraising consulting services to industry, government and non-profit sector."

The numbers show that Morneau was the most prolific fundraiser, with 20 events either under his belt or coming up later this year. Trudeau is a close second.

The fundraisers are a mix of local events, that raise money for constituency associations, and national events, that pour money directly into party coffers.

From there, Sohi and Bains each had nine events apiece, with tickets ranging from $175 to $1,500.

Under Canadian political financing law, each individual donor can only give $1,525 per year, for all political parties and candidates.

While many ministers charged $1,500, the prime minister was the only one to ask for the full $1,525 to attend some of his events. Other events with the prime minister went as low as $700.

Who wouldn't pay to spend time with these hunks? Photo via The Canadian Press

Those who have contributed at least $1,500 are members of the elite Laurier Club, the party's exclusive group for their top-tier donors.

According to the Liberal website, becoming a member of the club will get you "invitations to exclusive Laurier Club events across the country, attended by prominent members of the Liberal Party" and "insider updates and briefings."

Braeden Caley, a spokesperson for the Liberal Party vigorously defended the fundraising events, writing in a statement that "federal political donations are governed by some of the most strict political financing rules in Canada and all of North America—and rightly so."

Caley added that "the Liberal Party of Canada and all of its MPs and volunteers often host hundreds of open and public events each month – as part of our work to be the most open and inclusive political movement in Canada. In fact, the Liberal Party of Canada is the first and only federal political party that has made it completely free for Canadians to join, get involved, and participate in party affairs, regardless of their background."

The Liberal spokesperson proceeded to list a number of fundraisers where Conservative Members of Parliament also charged large sums for access.

And while it is true that the strict donation limits, originally brought in by the Conservative Party after a series of scandals highlighted the power of money in the Liberal governments of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, Trudeau's Liberal Party has developed a strategy to beef up their fundraising, despite the limits.

Under the 'Leader's Circle,' a tier up from the Laurier Club, Liberal members who have donated the maximum are encouraged to sign up at least 10 others to also donate the maximum allowed. The process, usually referred to in the United States as "bundling," creates mega-fundraisers.

"With limits on political fundraising, donor networking and bundling are of the utmost importance to growing the Party," reads the Leader's Circle website.

"Leader's Circle members can look forward to a variety of recognition opportunities including an annual dinner with the Leader and invitations to events and discussions with leaders within the Party. Top Leader's Circle members will be recognized within the program and the Party."

In the United States, each bundler is required to report all of the donations they've pulled in to the Federal Election Commission. No such reporting requirement exists in Canada.

The breakdown provided by the party to VICE Canada shows that there were 31 "appreciation events" for Laurier Club members in 2016 where ministers attended.

Morneau was present for six, from Charlottetown to Saskatoon, while Prime Minister Trudeau was on hand for two, including one in Ottawa.

Cross-referencing the event list with Elections Canada election financing database showed that there were plenty of prominent Canadians who were willing to shell out the $1,500 to see Trudeau on the exact days he was holding fundraisers.

Terry Booth and Steve Dobler, co-founders of Alberta-based Aurora Cannabis Enterprises, a publicly-traded medical marijuana company, donated $1,525 each to the Liberal Party on March 3rd, 2016, the same day that Trudeau was holding a $1,525-per-ticket fundraising event in Vancouver. It was the first time that either Booth or Dobler donation to a political party since at least 2004, when the database begins.

Rubsun Ho, CEO of Crowdmatrix, a private tech investment firm, paid $1,525 on May 19, the same day that Trudeau held two $1,525 fundraising events in Toronto. Thomas Milroy, a senior advisor at the Bank of Montreal and former CEO of their capital markets division, also donated the maximum on the same day.

When reporters in Ontario highlighted a similar cash-for-access system in Queen's Park, Premier Kathleen Wynne brought in strict limits on these fundraisers, banning any sitting politician or candidate from attending any fundraisers at all. That bill is currently being debate in the Ontario legislature.

No such legislation is currently being considered on the federal level.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So much for keeping the money out of politics, and all that happy horseshit!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Liberals have slight fundraising lead on Conservatives

Conservatives attribute Liberal fundraising gains to cash-for-access dinners

Kyle Duggan
Written by
Kyle Duggan

Monday, October 31st, 2016

The Liberals and Conservatives are virtually neck-and-neck in the title for top fundraising champ.

The Liberals brought in $3.2 million in the third quarter, edging the Conservatives only slightly — they brought in $3.1 million — according to fresh documents parties submitted to Elections Canada for the third quarter, which runs from July to September.

The Liberals have been consistently out-fundraised each quarter by the Conservatives despite their 2015 electoral success, except in Q4 last year. All three main parties’ fundraising levels are down precipitously from historic election highs of a year ago.

The NDP’s finances, meanwhile, really felt the summer doldrums. They hit their lowest level since 2011, with $972,607.

The Conservatives sent out a fundraising email Monday raising the alarm with their supporters about the Liberals’ gains, and attributing them to their cash-for-access fundraisers. The Liberals have recently come under scrutiny over offering up cabinet ministers to wealthy donors at pricy fundraisers.

“This Liberal scheme completely goes against the Prime Minister’s own rules, and has resulted in at least one investigation by the Lobbying Commissioner,” the fundraising email reads. “And if that weren’t bad enough – sometimes the very lobbyists who lobby the Liberal government are the ones organizing the fundraisers.

“While the Liberals cater to their rich friends, we’re proud to be representing ordinary Canadian taxpayers like you.”

The Liberals, meanwhile, suggested they’ve got dibs on claiming the big-tent party label.

“The Liberal Party of Canada received support from the broadest base of grassroots Canadians of any federal political party,” a party spokesperson said in an email.

“With corporate and union donations banned at the federal level, the Liberal Party of Canada is entirely powered by the support of grassroots individuals.

“Over 34,000 Canadians have registered as new Liberals in the last 3 months alone.”

The past few quarters also show that donors are starting to feel less invested in the fight; the post-election fundraising well appears to be drying up.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Law firm’s event for Liberals draws cash-for-access charge

Robert Fife and Steven Chase

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Nov. 01, 2016 5:00AM EDT

Last updated Tuesday, Nov. 01, 2016 5:00AM EDT

A major law firm whose expertise includes mining and resources permits and regulations hosted a private Liberal Party appreciation night on Aug. 29 for Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, which the opposition is calling a “brazen example of cash-for-access” fundraising.

The event took place in a boardroom at the Edmonton offices of MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman, according to the notice advertising it on the Liberal Party website.

The Aug. 29 event was open to any donor who had paid an annual $1,500 fee to join the Liberal Laurier Club, an elite fundraising arm of the Liberal Party, which entitles contributors exclusive access to senior cabinet ministers.

The Liberals disclosed such events last week in a list of all their fundraising activities. The appreciation events are free for those who have already given the maximum party donations or committed to monthly donations that will reach that amount by year end.

Read more: The Trudeau Liberals trade access to power for cash. here's how to stop them

Read more: Donation stats indicate Liberal fundraisers are exclusive events

The opposition parties have hounded the Liberals in the Commons over such fundraisers, which The Globe and Mail first revealed on Oct. 19.

“In another brazen example of cash-for-access … the Minister of Natural Resources attended a high-priced fundraiser at the officers of MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman. MLT is one of the largest law firms in Canada. It specializes in the natural resources sector, the same sector that the minister regulates. This is a clear conflict of interest,” Conservative MP Mark Strahl told the House of Commons.

NDP MP Alexander Boulerice called the fundraiser “totally unacceptable.”

“It is access-for-cash,” he said in an interview. “It’s the good old Liberals giving access to ministers.”

Less than a month after the Edmonton Laurier Club event, MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman merged with Aikins, MacAulay & Thorvaldson, Manitoba’s oldest and largest law firm.

The Registry of Lobbyists in Ottawa shows lawyers at Aikins have five active registrations for lobbying the Department of Natural Resources, among other federal institutions. Mr. Carr is the MP for Winnipeg South Centre.

“This firm [Aikins] has lobbied the minister’s department on several occasions, so once again, we have Liberal insiders hosting ministers at exclusive high-end fundraisers and then turning around and lobbying them,” Mr. Strahl told MPs.

Government House Leader Bardish Chagger replied that the Liberals are following election financing rules, which she said are superior to those of some provinces.

“In fact, in some provinces, individuals can donate in the tens of thousands of dollars and in other jurisdictions they have no limits,” she replied, reading from a prepared statement. “Some provinces accept donations from unions, trade associations and corporations. That is not the case in the federal system.”

The merged law firm did not respond to a request for comment from The Globe.

In an e-mail, Liberal Party spokesman Braeden Caley‎ said, “‎MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman (MLT) has made their space available for a variety of non-profit and political events” and that MLT was not registered to lobby the federal government on any matter.

Federal lobbying commissioner Karen Shepherd said last week she is investigating what she called the “pay-for-access” fundraisers, which Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson has called “very unsavoury.”

Asked on Monday about the Aug. 29 event, Ms. Shepherd’s office quoted from the Lobbying Act: “Lobbyists engaging in political activities may need to restrict their lobbying in cases where their political activities could create a sense of obligation on the part of the public office holder, if lobbying the public officer holder would place them in a real or apparent conflict of interest.”

Ms. Shepherd said last week that lobbyists who organize or sell tickets to political fundraisers “create a sense of obligation” and put a minister in a real or apparent conflict of interest.

Elections Canada figures show that, for the first time in years, the Liberal Party edged out the Conservatives in donations between July and September of this year, raising $3.2-million compared to $3.1-million for the Tories. The NDP brought in only $972,607.

The Liberal events, at which donors pay up to $1,500 to meet senior ministers in charge of major spending or policy decisions, appear to violate the Prime Minister’s Open and Accountable Government rules, which state “there should be no preferential access, or appearance of preferential access” in exchange for political donations.

“These are not open to the general public. These are exclusive fundraisers for people who can afford it and who happen to be invited,” Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose told the House. “They are being hosted and attended by insiders and lobbyists who want something from the government.”

As he has done for the past two weeks, the Prime Minister ducked questions about the ethics rules he brought in last November. Instead, he told MPs the fundraisers are part of the Liberal government’s effort to “consult and engage” with Canadians.

“The fact is, Mr. Speaker, there is not preferential access to this government. This government is demonstrating an open and transparent approach,” Mr. Trudeau replied. “Not just in following the rules, but being more engaged with Canadians than any previous government.”

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Liberal Ministers holding cash for access fundraisers ?

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