Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ezra Levant Implicates Doug Finley in CadScam

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I just seen an article over in the National Post by Ezra Levant. Ol' Ezra tells us about what great men of character we have in Stephen Harper and Tom Flanagan. He relates how he was pressured to step aside in Calgary Southwest back in 2002. Levant had the nomination in the bag but Harper needed a safe Alberta riding. According to Ezra, they never hinted at any bribes. He said he was expecting some sort of offer, but it never came.

Okay, so we all believe Dona Cadman and her family when they say a one million dollar offer was made. Nobody seems to be trying to dispute that anymore. Ezra informs us that neither Harper nor Flanagan are morally bankrupt enough to make such an offer. The only two people who could have made the offer are Flanagan and Finley. If it wasn't Flanagan, it had to be Finley. Thanks for narrowing it down, Ezra.

Here's some of Ezra's article:
Stepping aside would be a painful concession for anyone to make, but it was even more so in my situation. I had started campaigning full-time for the nomination nine months earlier, recruited over 1,000 new supporters and had spent more than $250,000 on my campaign. Giving up a sure-fire entry to Parliament was tough enough; writing off nearly a year's work and a fortune was even tougher.
So as it became clear that a conflict over Calgary Southwest was coming, we put out feelers to Flanagan to see what consideration might be offered should I step aside. Would my nomination expenses be covered? Would I receive a paid position with the party? Would my personal debts be paid? Such crass inquiries were all but ignored by Flanagan, even as an embarrassing clash between us loomed in the media. In purely pragmatic terms, Flanagan had every incentive to give me an offer --even an offer he didn't intend to keep -- just to make Harper's entry smoother. But he didn't.

As the by-election drew nearer, and the media's delight at our dilemma grew, I received a personal phone call from Harper himself. He was blunt: For the good of the party, I needed to step aside for him.

I immediately asked: "What would be the reward if I step aside? What would be the punishment if I don't?" I expected that he might offer some basic indemnity for the money I had sunk into the campaign to date, or some token position with the party in recognition for the sacrifice he was asking me to make.

"If you step aside, my esteem for you will rise," he told me. "If you don't, my esteem for you will fall." That's it: no money, no job offers, just his respect and friendship.

Okay, that raises a coupla questions. First, how can a campaign for a safe seat cost $250,000 dollars? Second, did it sound to anyone else like Ezra was lookin' fer something other than reimbursement of his massive expenses? Does wanting to be bribed count for anything in the candidate's qualifications?

Anyways, I'm with Ezra. I'm predictin' the shit will land on Doug Finley. He's been largely invisible which makes him more expendable. Flanagan and Harper go way back and both are readily associated with the CPOC brand. Finley, not so much. I wonder if Harper will use that line about his esteem when he asks Finley to fall on his sword like he asked Ezra to do.



Saskboy said...

Holy poop. I quarter mil? I had no idea that a safe seat based on party name and "sure entry" to Parliament was so pricey. Makes sense mind you, given how our terribly corrupt system is rigged out to the nines, but sad none the less.

Stephen said...

If Conservatives don't make offers of the type Levant mentions, then why did a court find that the Conservatives made exactly this kind of offer to former Conservative candidate Alan Riddell, as mentioned by Greg Weston in today's Sun?

Erich the Green said...

"Safe" seats cost the most, because whoever wins the party's nomination can waltz into the House almost risk-free. Even in the largest ridings in Canada, your election spending limit maxes out at about $100K. But that matters little if the riding always elects whoever wears the Conservative banner, even if it's some kind of dog or monkey. So what you do if you want this seat is you essentially buy it by spending wads of $ romancing the members of your party's local riding association - or constantly signing up new members (paying their membership fee for them, if necessary). This can easily run into the hundreds of thousand$. Standard fare at such nominations in the past has been to bus in hundreds of new 'members' harvested from college lunchrooms or university pubs, or from local homeless shelters, willing to X your name before getting bussed back where they came from - suspicously late and no longer so hungry or dry.

The worst part for Levant was that contributions to your nomination campaign aren't tax deductible like they are for the 'real' election to follow.

Given the salary, expense accounts, pension, and other perks an MP can garnish (more if they get any kind of cabinet position), it's not suprising that people are willing to pay so much to be "the Honourable Member".

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