25 September 2007

Lesson Learned


CBC News is attributing Linda Goodyear's comments on double-billing by her Tory incumbent opponent to a typo in the Independent.

Lesson learned.

Never rely on anything printed in the Independent.

Seriously, though, there's a question here.

How does CBC know it was a typo?

The reported double-billing for Diane Whelan was $291 not the nearly $21,900 and change attributed by Goodyear, based on the Indy's report. That's a pretty odd typo.

Well, like all good journalists, they likely checked the Auditor General's report directly.

The typo seems to be about the phrase "double-billing" and the amount of inappropriate spending.

Turns out that the Indy's figure of $21,976 dollars was Diane Whelan's amount of donations made from her constituency allowance. Both the AG and Chief Justice Green called that use of the constituency allowance inappropriate.

Add to that her $291 in double-billing - and relatively small amount attributable to clerical errors - and you get $22,267. [Aded 26 Sept: The Indy didn't sum the figures; they got them wrong, putting the donations number in the double-billing category and a second figure of about $8900 in the double-billing category. Indy editor Ryan Cleary acknowledhed the mistake publicly.]

The CBC story also points out that Gerry Reid - who was at the campaign event with Goodyear - donated over $22,000.

Think about a bit more and go back to the AG's report.

Whelan dropped $21,976 in donations in just three years. That represents 49% of her constituency allowance. That puts Whalen at the top of the list of donors of public money.

Reid's $22,000 was spread over 11 years.

There were some mistakes made by both the Indy and Goodyear, but one thing Goodyear got right was obvious: voters should ask every single incumbent about his or her spending. Make up your own mind based on the answer, if you can get an answer.

And don't forget the other lesson; double check everything you read in the Indy.