Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On dubious spending

The latest news on the Cons' own Adscam is that both the Commissioner of Elections Canada and the House of Commons Procedure and House Affairs Committee will be putting the Cons' action under the microscope - with the former having the potential to lead to prosecutions, while the latter will ensure that the story receives ongoing public attention.

But while the investigations will have to definitively answer some questions, there are others which can be addressed already. For example, it's fairly clear why the entire scheme was put in place in the first place - and the answer may say just as much about the Cons' lack of fitness to govern as their subsequent electoral violations and cover-ups.

After all, one would expect a federal party to have some ability to budget out its own expenditures over the course of an election campaign. But it appears clear that the Cons realized only late in the game that they had spent too much money early on, and thus faced a risk of not being able to carry out as many national operations as they'd have liked while complying with the rules.

Hence the apparent fact that the Cons' advertising scheme came about only in the last couple of weeks of the 2006 campaign. At that point, there likely wasn't time for the Cons to thoroughly consider the ramifications of their actions. But it's still telling that in the face of that situation, the Cons' reaction was to push forward with what they surely had to recognize to be a questionable scheme, rather than simply accepting a minor drop in advertising toward the end of the campaign in order to stay on the right side of the law.

In sum, Canada's federal finances are in the hands of a party so lacking in budgeting skills that it couldn't even project its own election campaign expenditures to stay under an $18 million limit - and whose philosophy when faced with that mismanagement was to find some way to spend more money in the short term, then deal with the consequences later. And this new indication of the Cons' lack of competence in judgment should offer yet another reason to make sure the Cons are out of office before they get the chance to make the same mistake with Canada's public funds.

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